Look What Artfire has come up with!! We can now curate collections of items that we like, and I am using this one to show you a few things that are are available in my Birthday Sale!
Archive for July, 2010
It so far has been a very dry late Spring and Summer, with so many storm fronts approaching and splitting…. rain to the North, rain to the South and none here…. (The date on my blog is not coming up right, so I am writing this on July 25- time for some tech geek help to figure out what is going on.)
When we did get precipitation, it was just enough to raise the humidity and barely dampen the bottom of the bucket I have used as my “rain gauge”. The lawn became pretty crispy, and some of my newest additions to the gardens were looking sad. The spring that I use to water my gardens and planters, dried up a couple of weeks ago, and I have had buckets in sinks to catch hand or dish washing water to use to keep planters and new babies alive without using too much from our well which likes to go dry in Summer.
It seemed as if every time there was rain in the forecast, all we got to see were white, puffy clouds like these. They are really pretty, but when you are praying for rain, not what you want to see every day.
Finally, on Friday July 23, we woke to a nice gentle rain shower…. heavy storms were predicted, and there were severe ones in other areas not far away- even a tornado, but the half inch we finally got was wonderful. The above photo is of the pink Nicotiana in one of my deck planters… the blurry flower had a drop off the eves fall on it just as I clicked.
Another nicely wet planter… This one has a volunteer Tomato plant growing in it…. I left it there to see what it does…. the only tomatoes I have grown on the deck have been grapes, so I am hoping for similar ones.
The rain on Friday came with a very hot and humid air mass that hung around for the weekend. This photo above, and the following ones were taken Saturday evening. We began the evening listening to many severe thunderstorm warnings, then tornado watches and warnings. Tornadoes are not common around here, but this summer there have now been at least 4+ in the region. By the time I took this photo the sky was looking pretty “spooky”…. with pinks, yellows and black clouds.
This was the sky a bit later… The color doesn’t show great in this photo, but it did pick up all the different types of clouds that were present, from little white wisps to dark ominous ones.
Shortly after the previous photo was taken, the rain started to fall. Heavy downpours were forecast, but things came fairly gently…. what we need to get moisture into the ground. The sky really began to change, and I was amazed that my camera got the colors pretty close to what they were. We were babysitting our granddaughter Jenna, and she had to have her stool by the front door to look out with her “Poppy”. The pink in the sky made the water drops on the door window look pink, too.
This was the first time I remember seeing clouds that looked like this…. The puffy ones higher up were like cottonballs, not like normal cauliflower T-storm clouds, and the lower clouds were darker, wispy ones. It was spooky and amazing at the same time, especially knowing that a possible tornado had been spotted by the weather service in the county to the West of us.
As you can see by the times of the photos, I was clicking as many as I could…. This one came out a bit more orange than the actual sky, but shows the shapes of the clouds great. It was a wonderful combination of bright pinks, oranges, shades of gray and even blue sky peeking in the distance.
The colors in this photo are pretty close to what we saw… The trees in my Maple tree garden made some great silhouettes against the sky. It kept changing so quickly.
This was a different angle, catching the white wisps below the streaks and ripples above in pinks and blue-grays.
This shows the blue sky creeping in along with more dark streaks following.
This is the last photo I took because it was getting too dark for the camera. I really didn’t expect the photos to show as good as they do with my old Kodak digital, but sometimes I am really amazed at what I end up with. We only ended up with less than a half inch more of rain from this storm… much less than fell other places nearby, but yesterday AM while in church we got another rain shower that gave us a total of an inch. An inch and a half of rain in 3 days… That’s the way we needed it to come…. mostly gentle enough not to wash right off, but soak in.
OK, I have to add at least one more flower… The last bud from my newest Oriental Lily bloomed…. It has been glowing in the garden… I can’t quite see this one from my kitchen window, so it forces me to get out to wander the gardens to see it. That is how I have planted many gardens…. You have to walk around or through them to see all the treasures in them. I will have to give my gardens another day to recover from the rain until the Petunias and Phlox are “photo worthy” again…. the rain knocked off or turned flowers to mush… I am sure it will be worth the wait!
Now that all the fabric I dyed last week has been thoroughly rinsed and then ironed, I know what I have to play with and what will need some more work.
As you can see in the photo above, that all was not lost… far from it!! I ended up with some pretty wishy-washy colors, but there were some very pleasant surprises. After some comments made and information from others, I am not tossing my dye concentrates yet… I will give them another try, but this time give the fabrics more hours in the soda ash soak. I only left these an hour or so because I was in a hurry. Here is what hurrying got me:
The above photo is the only one taken of what any of my fabrics looked like fresh out of the dyebath after only an initial rinse. It was really striking with the rich, deep colors, but as I began to rinse, more and more of that beautiful color left….
The piece still has some great patterning, but is nothing like it first looked. The golden yellow stayed the best because it was the only freshly mixed dye I had used.
One of the clean-up fabric pieces… not much color left….
I think this is my favorite piece…. I love the soft colors and the way the fuchsia faded to a pale rose into the green. Very sky or water-like…
This one kept quite a bit of color. I love the icy patterns that I got.
This one is even icier with less rose tones and touches of greenish blue here and there. This is a 2 yard piece that I cut in half lengthwise… I thought it was only one yard, but now I have a long piece.
This was supposed to be a deep, dark green… it still is green, just more of a seafoam shaded piece. I wanted some pieces for mountains, but got seashore instead.
This one held a bit more yellow…. still lots of patterning.
This is another green… more “minty”, and this started as a white on white print… I have two sides to choose from
This one really surprised me… I was amazed that the black that I watered down before putting it on, stayed much better than I expected. This was expected to have much darker fuchsia. I had tried to get these colors and patterning on purpose in the past… I got it by accident… A happy accident…
One of the more “wish-washy” pieces. This will be used for sunprinting, or may be cut up and used for skies….
This one is really pale… Another white on white, so I have two sides to choose from. Not sure if I will do more, or leave it to use where I need just a touch of color.
Any better description?? This one reminds me of something that the mustard bottle blew up on… Probably my least favorite, so this is in line to be overdyed or painted. This is the piece of fabric I placed in the bottom of the bucket that Shibori 1 sat in, so I could catch all the drips…. very sad pale blue and mustard….
A random few smaller pieces. Most that I did were one yard pieces, but these are fat quarters and a half yard. The fat quarters were clean-up “rags” and I am still amazed at how much the black stayed around…. that golden yellow did great… the difference fresh dye makes. This dye session was a real learning experience, but gave me a lot of great usable pieces. I will have to play with soda ash soaking things much longer to see if I can get more color from the old dyes… I hate to toss anything out if there is any good in it….
I gotta add a couple flowers… This Lily is taller than I am, with gobs of flowers. It smells wonderful!
It looked like a spotlight was on this Hosta, with the sun beaming through the leaves of the trees in the back yard. It has bright lime green leaves which look even more yellow in the sun.
I need to get back to the studio… I have a group of postcards in the works…. Photos when I get more done…
Yesterday I had the chance to “run away” from home to play with friends. Three of us got together and had a dyeing party… Fabric Dyeing that is…. I had a blast scrunching fabric into little plastic containers and squirting dyes onto the fabrics. After a bit of waiting, we began opening up our new creations. It is so much fun to start rinsing out a piece of dyed fabric, unfolding it so see all of the little nuances and color variations that were created in the process. My day ended up being more of a learning process than I thought….
The above photo shows a piece of fabric that I dyed back in April and blogged about Here. This was sort of what I was expecting to see from the newest dyeing session. I did want to get some pieces in various shades of greens from deep, dark to light, as well as some pieces in blues, purples and multicolors. The following is what happened, and some very important lessons learned:
This photo shows a few pieces soaking after their first rinses and an overnight soaking. I had used my dyes full strength like I had in the April session. I also used the leftover dye concentrates from April, too…. That ended up being my problem….
Above photo- my “Dark” Greens and a sweatshirt that looked like it would be pretty deep blue with purples upon first rinse……
- Mix your dye concentrates fresh for each dyeing session if you want vibrant colors. Mine were mixed in April and used in July, stored in my kitchen which reaches temperatures over 80 degrees in summer even with the AC running. Just because I got away with old concentrates in the past (during the winter), doesn’t mean I’ll get away with it again.
- When using old dye concentrates, if your fuchsia is a bit lumpy or “clotted” looking, take that as an indication that things are not right…. Fuchsia can have a few specks, but lots of gobs… not good.
- The way a piece of fabric looks upon first rinse out is not always what you will end up with after all the unused dye particles are gone. Each rinse ended up with my fabrics getting lighter and lighter. The colors pretty much rinsed all out.
- If your darkly splotched clean-up fabric pieces that have been soda ash treated wash out to super pale colors, realize that there may be something more going on than too short a batching time. Mine rinsed out really pale, and still I thought that I could get deeper colors by just trying again. I don’t learn too quickly at times…
- Never have preconceived ideas of what you want to end up with when you are playing with dye- the same goes for paint… you never know what you will end up with. I think that is the best part of playing with paints or dyes.
- Most of all, Enjoy the process, no matter what you end up with.
This is one of my first attempts at pole wrapped Shibori dyeing. I had wrapped this piece around the pipe back in April, but didn’t add the dye because I had already made a big enough mess in my kitchen at the time. This piece was spectacular when it was first unwrapped and given a quick rinse. By rinse number 2, it got lighter…. then by the time the water was running clear, this is what I ended up with. The golden yellow stuck around the best because it was freshly mixed dye that my friend gave me. I just added it without thinking too much on the end, and it ended up being the only “bright spot” in this fabric. I do love the patterning I ended up with, and the pastel colors are different than what it looked like at first. I also love the colors that did stick around… I do like pastel colors.
This I call a “dribble catcher” because I placed it in the bottom of the bucket I used to catch the dribbles of dye as I poured it onto the above Shibori piece. I also let the pipe rest in the bucket while I let the soda ash do it’s job. This caught a bit more color in places…. This fabric is a white on white print, and this is the back side of the fabric. I love to play with these because you get something different on each side. Most of this 2 yard piece did end up rinsing out to the pale blue shades, but you can definitely see the golden yellow.
This is the “front” of the dribble catcher piece. I prefer the look of the back, but this side is interesting.
This is my second Shibori piece. It also began looking much deeper colored. I wrapped this one a bit differently than the first, but both pieces ended up being pastel, too.
This began the day as a white sweatshirt…. It then looked as if it would be deep blues with rose and purples… now it is a pretty near turquoise blue with a few flecks of pink.
Even though I was expecting to end up with some deep colored fabrics somewhat like the ones in this photo, the results were wayyy lighter. The great thing about fabric is that if I really don’t like what I end up with, I can just go ahead and mix up new dyes, re-scrunch the fabrics and pour on new colors, and it’s like Christmas all over again…. Opening up and rinsing out dyed fabrics is a lot like opening up Christmas gifts. You never know what you have until you open it up (and in the case of dye- rinse it out).
In the two dyeing sessions of this year, I have learned a LOT about dye and what I can and can’t get away with (OK, I am always trying to break rules . Even though I didn’t end up with fabric colors I was looking for, I ended up with some really pretty fabric that I can leave as it is, overdye, or even add a bit of paint (sunprinting over some of these might be really fun). The best part of the day yesterday was being able to have a “play date” with a couple other fabric lovers. That is better than getting the “right” colors.
Now more fun begins…. Time to see what I end up with playing with my newly colored fabrics.
The very first few days of July were nice, with warm days and cool nights, then the heat arrived….. We are now in day 3 of a heat wave with temps in the mid 90′s.
(Today’s date is July 7, but the blog seems to think it is still July 1st..?.?.. I guess I’ll have to figure out what is going on…. Later….)
There has also been no measurable rain in a loooong time… The lawn is pretty crispy, but the gardens are doing pretty well with the hay mulch on them and occasional waterings. I have been lugging hoses all over to keep the newest plants growing well. The Front door garden is pretty colorful now with the Phlox coming into bloom along with the Daylilies and Echinaceas. You can also see the mildew on the tall late blooming Phlox in the photo above. The lower growing varieties seem to be much more resistant to the nasty white powder that makes the plants really ugly.
Since my last post, I went back to Fillmore, NY to see family and had a bit of trouble getting on the road….. The van really needed new brakes, but during the repair things didn’t go all that smoothly. A few more parts were needed, and after an extra day of waiting, I now have brakes that stop the van very smoothly! You can see that the Maple Tree Garden in the van photo, with the Annabelle Hydrangea in full bloom.
The main reason I went back to my hometown was to see my grandmother who has ended up in the nursing home again… another fall. My sister was also visiting from TX, and I wanted to get some plants that I had taken up earlier in the spring planted for my mom. It was a busy visit, and the garden around Mom’s deck and patio is looking much better. The Hosta, Phlox, and Echinaceas I took from my gardens are now in their new homes. Amazingly, there was a lot of rain the day before I did Mom’s gardens- over an inch- we got nothing in PA….
My sister and I stayed at my gram’s house and did some cleaning and preparing of things for her to come home when she is able. The first couple of days, there were not too many cats around, but by the last day there were cats and their babies showing up. Here are a couple that I lured out with some milk. They were pretty skittish, there was also a gray one hiding behind it’s mom.
I had an appointment with my Rheumatologist in Tunkhannock the first day I was back home, and while driving back up RT 6, I decided to “play tourist”. I stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks along the road and took a bunch of photos of the Susquehanna River, farms and surrounding mountains. The above photo was taken at the Wyalusing Rocks overlook, and shows the river curving through the valley. Here is a link to some tourist info for Bradford County, PA. More info about our area can be found there.
The photo above here is from the Marie Antoinette lookout. There is a lot of great stonework, and you can see for miles around.
This is the view from the other end of the lookout area, showing more of the stonework and more of the river and mountains.
This photo shows some of the farms in the valley. I will be using these photos as inspiration for some new art quilts and quilted postcards.
Back at home, I have been taking walks through my gardens with the camera.
This photo shows the Mound Garden in the back yard with the Echinaceas and Hosta in full bloom. So far these plants are doing well in the dry weather.
Here is a close shot of one of the more popular flowers with a couple of visitors on it. The honey bee tried to chase off the bumblebee, but I caught them both sharing the flower for a bit.
It might be hard to see them, but there are some sweet corn plants in the veggie box. I think some critters helped themselves to many of the seeds…. not many plants came up. This bed has always been very dry, so I hope with the hay mulch I won’t have to water very often and hope these plants will take off.
Back around to the Front Door Garden, and more Echinaceas, Asiatic Lilies and Hemerocallis (Daylilies). I also have some Gladiola bulbs planted in the bare spots in this garden for late summer color and flowers to cut and take indoors.
This is a closeup of a pair of Daylily flowers. Many of the Daylilies lost their buds due to the late freeze we had, or that is what I think happened. I have found lots of shriveled or deformed buds.
This is my favorite Daylily variety… The white color shows up really nice in the evening, even as the flowers are fading after their single day of bloom.
One of the few flowers this plant will have this season. Most of the buds died, but this variety is supposed to be a rebloomer, so maybe I’ll get a few more late summer. The photo makes it look bigger than it is… this flower is half the size of the other varieties.
I love pink, and I really love these pink Petunias- Raspberry Swirl, I believe. I have one plant in one of my large square planters along the front walkway.
OK, this is getting long….. I have more flower photos, but will save them for a later post. I may be wilting in the heat, but the flowers are still blooming!