Saturday, 16 December 2017


I get migraine, a lot. Today's self care is *not* going to a xmas get together that I really want to go to. I'm on the verge of a migraine and the very long drive in bright summer sun along widing roads there and back would wipe me out for the next couple of days.

So today I'm staying home, pottering around.

Friday, 15 December 2017

While collecting windfalls at the park the air was charged with the vibrating sounds of cicadas calling out to each other. This little guy landed on my sholder and seemed quite comfortable there, until deposited upon a tree.


Waste Not

I found these beautiful grapes at a local market. The taste amazing and the skin shines a lovely deep red black in the sun. They are called Midnight Beauty. Sadly they are seedless, so no growing my own.

I'm saving the skins in the hope of making a fermented dye, the flesh is too nice to waste.

Fermented dyes are a new thing for me. The idea is to extract the anthocyanins (water soluble pigments) which often dissipate with heat. Fermentation processes extract the dyestuff without degradation.

Dying on silk and wool should work best, however cellulose fibres can be used to with a soy milk protein bath.

Some dyers also ferment their wool, with the dual hope of softening it to the touch as well as creating a rich deep colour.

My method is to fill a shallow wide jar with the skins and a handful of past their prime blueberries, cover with water an allow the sugars and yeasts already on the fruit to do their work. Importantly I'm not going to seal the jar, just cover with a bit of plastic wrap pricked by a pin to release the gasses.

Grapes and berries aren't the only thing that you can use as a dyestuff with this method. Some research has gone into purple potatoes, flowers, cabbage, wood chips, coconuts/candle nuts, lichens and sap.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Slow Steep

I've had these dried apricots soaking in white rum for 2 years. Today I placed them in another jar covered with sugar to create a syrup.

The smell of the rum is divine, filling the whole kitchen. I'm sampling the results with sugar crystal lollipops.

Next I need to save up for gin and cherries.

Would you like to know how to make your own Fruit Liqueur? I started my journey here and here and here

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Playing with colour

Its school holidays, which means I get to have a break from conservative school approved teacher hair and be more me.

Someone asked me what my natural hair colour was a few months ago, without thinking I said "Blue," the corrected myself to "Green" before my brain kicked into gear and replied "Black. I mean black." I just happen to feel more myself when its blue or green I guess.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Wool blanket, eucalyptus ecodyes, over stitched with hand dyed cotton. Mothholes patched with fine cotton to resemble tiny fallen gumnut flowers.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Ecodye on opshop silk

Visiting a dye tree

The leaves and gum-nuts of this beautiful tree give a rich deep red when steamed or boiled on wool and silk. I make a pilgrimage to pick up windfalls once a month.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A Garden Visitor

Can you see what I see on my wattle tree? This beautiful stick insect is more than 40cm long. Native to my area. Herbivorous, they rely on looking like twigs, when they move they even sway as if blown by the wind.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Rust, Rust and Rust

This was once a baby blue wool blanket. The leaves were soaked overnight in rust water before the fabric was bundled and simmered overnight in a slow cooker.

How to make rust water? There are two ways.

1. Iron Oxide: Ferric (FE2) is known for its rusty deposits on other materials.

Find discarded bits of metal that have gone rusty. For example squashed bottle caps, old bike chains, tin cans and the like. put them in a bucket of water and soak until the water turns a rusty brown. Vinegar helps to speed up the process.

2. Ferous Sulphate: (FE3) is a clear water soluble iron
You can buy Ferris Sulphate from your local hardware or garden shop. Measure out a few teaspoons into a bucket of hot water and let sit overnight. This is also the same compound that humans take as a iron supplement.

The type of Rust Water that you use changes the chemistry of your dye pigments, altering the colour, fastness and fabric stability over time. High concentrations of iron eat away at fabric.


I get migraine, a lot. Today's self care is *not* going to a xmas get together that I really want to go to. I'm on the verge of a mi...