Thursday, 28 October 2010

Eco dyed fabrics

And heres afew pics of some results of eco dyeing, using amongst others the smaller 4' tall bamboo plants, sprays of leaves, which gave me a smashing yellow! I hadnt anticipated that colour from green leaves, so am thrilled with the effect.
I have bought myself a eucalyptus too now, so had a bash with those leaves though Im not sure which leaf produced which exact result on one or two of these fabrics lol
This shows the bamboo spray and
this is when I opened the wrap, after steaming it and allowing it to rest for 24 hours or so, in the steamer.

Again at the unwrapping stage, assorted leaves and some pine tree sprigs in there too.

This one is been my favourite of this bunch, it was an old piece of heavy linen, which I laid leaves in, some eucalptus is in this wrap, but also bamboo, onion skins and slices, virginia creeper and clematis leaves too.

As I unwrapped it, it looked interesting. Id enclosed the leaves then folded the fabric up ina  parcel of sorts and that may have accounted for the final images on it.

On this one you can clearly see the rich yellow colours of the bamboo and I think the brown was brown onion skins.

These are that lovely heavy linen and its an almost mauve tinged mix with browns and honeyed grays, hard to explain and of course then blessed pic doesnt do it justice! So Im not altogether sure which leaf produced which lovely shape or texture-ish look!

Forgot to flip the piccy's round but you get the idea. Its a very dense and interesting coverage and must have more to do with the folding up and mix of foliage. One layer did have onion slices in, but I used brown ones on this batch, you can probably spot the circular shapes
on this one below. 

 This last piece was an accident lol I had it ironed and folded up along side the cooker and when I took the steamer off the pan. I placed the steamer on the folded fabric. It had been previously dyed in a pot of sloe and also elderberry ( I think...)
But this amazing effect was presumably as the heat forced the dye out to the edges?
So learn from that error of jusdgement unless you too want to achieve a mistake like this too!

Halloween pins and mummified cat in the making

I made afew halloweeny pins, which I'll show here.........for fun, quite like the one with the limp bow lol
and heres the modroc base for the mummified cat in the making.
Its at work drying off thoroughly, in wait for my starting the egyptian topic box.
Also posting a piccy of my attempts at friendly plastic, not sure if Ive posted them before but Im intent on posting pics now just to annoy blogger even more ! lol

Id had the idea that the egyptians thought so much of their animals that they had them mummified and entombed with them but they actually bred cats, ibis and gators so they could be killed and mummified, then placed in tombs to show respect for whoever had died!
It tickled my fancy though when I read that several Ibis had been unwrapped and theyd found only afew feathers had been enclosed, so either the embalmers had a scam going or they ran out of Ibis and shared the feathers about abit!
I prefer the scam idea lol though it highlights the deviousness of human nature then, as now!

WW1 Topic Box

The Topic Box is growing, my brain has kicked in and Ive more ideas of what to put in it at last.

I mentioned the swell paper diagram, so will post a picture of it here, assuming blogger allows me to do so.
Ive also printed out , explanatory text in large print, about the trenches with braille laid over the laminated pages. They work really well this way with our VI children and are easy to wipe clean when they come back off loan.
Im going to include pics too of the trenches model.
Its set in a plastic container, and isnt to any particular scale, except if anything, its suitable for small fingers to explore.
I started by laying an A3 paper in the container and drawing roughly the layout I was going for.
Using a stanley knife, I incised through the paper, leaving outline marks with the blade on the plastic, then simply drew over them with a black marker, so Id know where to position things.
Does that make sense? Maybe the pics will explain it, but blogger is playing up and Ive had to start this post again and will try and insert pics when Ive got all the text in place.
I used packing styrofoam pieces as a former base, building them up here and there, see piccy.
Then I used ModRoc, its what they wrap round broken limbs at hospital, to 'pot' it whilst it heals. And I used that to build up layers so the trenches and tunnel opening has taken shape.
Obviously it will need painting and various corrugated sheets ( silver cardstock) and hazel fence panels placed in situ - woven like wallpaper? or I could sit and weave some clematis fronds and allow them to dry?....nah lifes too short as it is!)
I have left the suggestion of a warm and dry 'command centre' so that will have a door in it, though not sure theres enough room for it to actually open.
Im wondering about barbed wire on the 'no mans land' area above the trenches now. You can buy miniature barbed wire but chances are that it too will be sharp!
I dont want any VI child or teachers aide! impaled on the barbed wire so will have to think round that lol
I will trial some novelty yarn, like eyelash knitting yarn maybe, soaked in something to make it firm to the touch.
Okay lets see if blogger will play ball and load in some pics!

heavens, its worked.................!
so thats the diagram and feels raised where the black print is, with brailled text stuck over the printed text.

Here's the marker pen design, showing the command
centre with a door top left. The tunnel dotted lines bottom right and showing the bendy route the trenches took, rather than dug out in straight lines. So it cut down the blast and shrapnel from bombs that landed within the trenches.

the same model from the reverse ....

And heres modroc is position, forming the general shape of the model. Its not looking too bad at the moment and Im quite pleased with the sizing, though in one passage the soldiers would need to shimmy through lol But it will give a child the general outline to feel with their fingers.

Next week when its thoroughly dried through I will paint it and add detail to it. Whilst I was making a right mess with the modroc, I also made a cat shape, ready to wrap in bandages, shes going to become a mummified cat for the Egyptian Topic Box...........but it will WW2 after this one, unless I fancya  break from war torn topics!

Of course blogger wont let me post her piccy.......hey ho

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

WW1 Topic Box

Ive begun a WW1 Topic Box at work and have collated lots of info, printed it out in large print, laminated the pages and then brailled up all the text. Now Im gathering together tactile elements to pad out the info.

I made a swell paper outline of trenches today.
Swell paper is a paper source that you print onto and then pass it through, a very, very hot toaster like gadget which raises the printed image.
It bloats the print up so it becomes tactile and is especially useful for diagrams for the visually impaired.
Youd expect the trenches to have been straight lines but they weren't, the idea being that bomb blasts would be stopped from blasting right through and along the trench lines.
Should've taken a picture of it, otherwise why mention it! << dummy -will take one tomorrow.

Anyway Im going to make a 3D model I think of the trenches, a Tommy's and a german helmet as well.
So it was off back to the el cheapo shop for more plastic bowls and strainers lol

The plastic strainer should be a good base for the german spiky tipped helmet.
The green and orange ones will be the base I'll use to make Tommy's tin hats.
I also have to make one for the WW2 box which is next on the list.
Now the chip strainer may form the inside of the tin hat, not sure yet if it will work. It was really made out of leather strips and the chin strap was attached to it of course.

I do have a shell casing that I brought home with me from a trip to Masirah, way back when I was still aircrew and I will put this in the topic box. But it was collected and is dated 1972 and is a larger size than a 1917 shell case I have.

These two shell cases were brought up from the north sea, taken off a merchant ship that had been commisioned to take weapons to Belgium in WW2. See the fabulous barnacled surface on the larger one?
I bought them off a trader I knew who was at a car boot I used to go to fund raise for cat rescue.
Wish I could recall the name of the blessed ship they came off! He had several and I so wish I'd bought more of them.

These will not be going anywhere near the Topic Box!

Niether will this picture of my Grandad!

He volunteered to go to war, but by the time he got to France they realised he was only 14 years old, so he was made to look after
 the horses, far from the Front Line.
As a result he came home and lived to a ripe old age bless him and this was the certificate that those that did come home received.
This is about A3 in size, in its original frame though I have had to replace the glass in it.
I adore it. It would have been hand coloured and has notes in pencil on its back, stating eye and hair colour, plus his
 skin complexion shade.
He never spoke about it, that war to end all wars.


Another two trees, one with a sleeping cat and the other with an over the top broken broach, featuring a flower and bejewelled dragon fly on it.
Not sure if they are finished yet, need to see them on the wall a while to be sure.

Friday, 22 October 2010

An unknown tomb continued

Now a very kind gentleman has given me some instructions to see if I can manage to post more than one pic on here at a here's hoping !
The first ( may be the only lol) pic is what the tomb must have looked like at some stage in its past life, a framed pic of it alongside whats left of the internal surround. Sheer quirk that the glass reflected the way it did, I dare say its a 'bad' picture, but then I quite like it that way!

Well how bizarre! I have previously inserted pics individually, but this time I opened two pics and then selected them both to be posted at the same time........
and its worked............ Thanks to my blogger guru! Your a star, though my settings were already selected as you'd suggested, so I reckon you've thrown some bones at your end and 'fluenced the cyber systems for me !
But I'm grateful none the less!
This second pic is a little of what they have uncovered benath the limewash of paint that had been blethered on the interior church walls, way back when.
It must have looked delightful in its hey day.

Yet again, a 'layer' of a society, beneath another 'layer' of a society that has come along later, and overlaid the previous proofs of human lives lived and lost. Much like archeology and the marks made by our forbears....all so close to the 'surfaces' yet we might never see them, if we don't peel back the layers, look beyond what's in front of our eyes?
Take not what we see as granted.
This is a peaceful little church, not that I'm religeous but it is a spiritual building and well worth a visit, especially if you have photographic skills and not just a point n shoot like me!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

You can see where one of the damaged female saints should be, she's on the upper right plinth........but she's lost her head, and torso too....poor lass. It just looks as if this fine tomb should be in a much grander situation doesnt it? Yet to be fair, it is such a anomoly where it is, I'd hate to see it taken away!

The church has all white painted interior walls but they have carefully removed the paint from a couple of places and there are the remains of colourful murals beneath it. It would be lovely to see it as it had once been, but thatw ould be expensive to fund for such a small village church.
I assume the walls were blethered over with whitewash when the churches of England were sacked and robbed by whoever it was...was it Cromwell? Some contrary chap or other.

An unknown tomb (4)

Im fast losing patience with blogger at the moment, I want to load in
several pictures and it simply wont allow me to post more than one at a time, per post!
Godamned cyber world systems!
Is this terrorism at work or am I overloading with pics do you think?
lol blummin annoying either way...anyone have any advice? meanwhile I may have to have a gin to calm down 

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

An unknown tomb (3)

And this is how it looks from the if there were only a chatty spirit, who might divulge what went on and who it is intered within.....

An unknown tomb (2)

I bet blogger wont let me post the other pics either so this may be several posts of one pic each time lol
There is a window above the broken areas of tomb, its as if this tomb has been lifted from elsewhere and set in this wall, like an afterthought. Or maybe more like a treasured remnant of a resting place thats been vandalised in years gone by?

An unknown tomb at Welwick Parish Church (1)

This is a fascinating tomb thats within the Welwick Parish Church in East Yorkshire.
Its a conundrum for them because they dont actually know who is laid in there!
But its such a mismatched, yet beautiful 'inglenook' like construction, that I almost hope they never find out!
Its an enigma and is as interesting from the outside, as it is from the inside!
There are damaged figures of both St Catherine and St Margaret above the interior and its elaborate carved stonework, suggests to me that its not a bloke in there, but a woman.
 I'm sure thats just my creative imagination at play, but in that case, she's been clandestinely buried there, safe from whomsoever was chasing her in life! lol
I have some other pics of the tomb to load up but blogger is faffing about and not allowing me to load more than one picture at a time....godamit!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

My windfall bundle in position

Well this is my first windfall bundle, in situ, nestled amongst the ivy clad wall, south east facing.
We'll see what state it is in come 2011!
I'm preparing another which will go in a more exposed position.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Giveaway! Want some foil?

Since Ive learnt such alot from cybering around on folks blogs and been lucky enough to win a couple of gifts in Giveaways, Ive decided to offer a Giveaway myself.

The batch of foils here are up for grabs if anyones interested. They will work with card, paper and fabrics so you should get plenty of use out of them.

They will iron onto fabrics beautifully, but do remember to lay a piece of freezer paper over it to protect your iron.  You only need to iron the wrong side, the dull side, once and you never do it again...but no point in wasting an hour cleaning the blessed iron when you can avoid the mistake in the first place! <<<< learn by my mistakes lol

If you put glue stick on your surface, or paint, sponge or dab pva on, the foil will transfer, either with the heat of an iron, or by firm pressure. Using the back of a spoon is a good way of burnishing the foil down, just like you might use it if you were 'flower spooning', like I did in the summer with flowers and leaves.

This foil can be expensive to buy in packs and so this is a useful gift for someone. Im happy to post overseas, since I know how disapointing it can be if the giveaway is limited to one side of any ocean, besides its light enough, it wont cost an arm and a leg!

The gold foil is about 2.5' wide so a useful width for larger projects.
There's at least 2 mts of gold and assorted narrower strips of other colours as you can see.

Im going to give a good length of time for folk to sign up to this, so the cut off date will be noon UK time on 14th November, and I will post out as soon as I have an address to post it to!

I dont have a large following so by leaving a message and email if necessary please, you stand a very good chance of winning! :)
But please tell anyone else you know that theres a chance to have some seems only fair!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Latest tree

This is the latest tree in the forest, deliberately offskew abit, because its growing out of rocks on a slope..

Theres a small bronze bird on a perch, up on the right side again.
This 'foliage' was a horendously ruched fabric ladies top, but I quite like the lift that the steamed fabrics ruching gives to it lol
Just as well cos I picked up 4 others made in a similar way at the same jumble sale in the hope they might make interesting foliage!

Oh and I have decided to have a Giveaway, so pop back tomorrow for details, assuming Google allows me to load blessed pictures, cos its not playing ball this evening lol

Miners lives

Those Chilean miners captured the hearts of the world didnt they, and the efforts to bring them to the surface were extraordinary to watch.
Men working as a team above ground, to save those who had worked as a team beneath ground.
Remarkable to watch and what an incredible event to have been a part of, well,
above ground that is!

Sadly since then there have been further reports of miners killed or trapped around the world .......China and Equador to name but two.

I was spell bound from the beginning of the Chilean disaster, partly I think because my male relatives from my grandfathers generation, (he was born in 1900), had been miners too.
I grew up with the picture above, though it was never properly framed until I took possession of it.

When my Dad was a child, it had hung on the wall of his grandmothers house in Ferneybeds in Widdrington, up in the north east of England.
It was one of many mining houses and Grandad told me, that dam near every house would have had a copy of this lithograph, either on their wall or in a draw.
It is a lithograph, printed in 1862, on wallpaper of the time , so the back side is a faded, simple flowery pattern.
It had been passed down the family line to my Dad, and I have loved it since I was a child, and now it graces my wall, as it once did my Great Grandmothers.

It was printed to raise money for the families, of all the miners who died in the Hartley Pit disaster of January 16th 1862.
The huge great beam that sat above the shaft and was responsible for the raising and lowering of the cage, sheared right across, as the lithograph shows and half of it dropped into the shaft itself.

As far as I know, I had no relatives in this disaster, but it shook all the north eastern mining communities, the loss of life at that time was so great.
As a result, new laws were brought in after it, to ensure adequate ventilation and an alternative escape shaft were in all mines thereafter.
Mining always has always been a risky business and in those days, deaths were common. But so many deaths at Hartley, brought rebuke and intervention, so mine owners had to rethink some of the safety issues that had for too long been neglected. 

What was sad at Hartley, was that whole families of menfolk and boys died together. Families lost their father, several sons, the youngest was only 11 in one case, brothers, uncles and nephews.
If you read the names on the monument, you cant help but feel for the women who sat above ground for the 24 days, waiting for the bodies of their menfolk and boys to be brought to the surface.
The Illustrated London Times has the journalists reports from the time, having researched it because I have this lithograph, I wept at some things he said at the time.
( in case your interested)

190 men and boys died of carbon monoxide poisoning
1 stranger in the mine at the time died of it too
the pit ponies were also poisoned
and 5 men who had been in the cage at the time the beam sheared, also died.
So I felt I had to watch too and hope, that the 33 miners would be brought to the surface, not expecting I suppsoe that they would be alive and well.
Though I think they will have a great deal to cope with, having had the world watching them, now they are above ground.
I suspect they will have a different kind of hell to go through as the months pass.

On a lighter note, Ive completed another tree.......
but Google is faffing about and wont let me upload it!
Will try again tomorrow lol

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Spooky steam n dye results!

So, having washed, dried and ironed sundays steamed fabric n leaves and the sloe died pieces too, imagine my surprise when I could 'see' moths emerge within my fabrics!
Or is it simply MY eyes deceiving me?
This on the left was the steamed onion skins and slices, laid amongst the (suitcase) wood slivers. The wood has turned a lichen like green, the onion slices show as grey-mauve.
And there's a moth like creature just below centre right?

So, serendipity at work, but then....

this one was the fabric wrap of eucalyptus leaves with red onion skins, again steamed.
Now it struck me as having a similar winged look to it.... I played about with the camera to try and get a closer shot.....this is a point n shoot remember for me, with limited camera skills lol
but in this darker picture, it struck me as more of a cutie bear face central to the wings?
Please tell me you can see it too!!!

 it is a little lighter.....
now I can see it looks more like a cutie bat with wings I imagining this lolol spooky!!!
And halloween is on it's way lolol
Now this one was the sloe berries dye tub, with just a brief 24 hours or so dunk. I scrunched up the fabric then just tied it here n there round, with thick elastic bands.
Its an old table cloth I picked up at a jumble sale and you can see the weave pattern on it.
May re dunk this one, think it might be nicer with an all over colour.
Might tie dye it in elderberry, to get a second colour in there too, more blue mauve maybe, than this pink mauve.

My fabrics have arrived from Kim in California, thanks Kim!!
These are for the Brown Bag Quilt challenge I mentioned in a previous post, Kim and I have swapped fabrics and the idea is to make a quilt of whatever size, by next March 1st.
We are to send completed quilt pics in to 'littleredhen', so we all get to see the finished swapsies. Neat that!

My minds eye was expecting to be sent florals lol but this fabric is a smashing surprise.
I do have some african fabrics Id bought in oddly enough, so am thrilled with these!
My grandson is very into big cats at the moment so it seems likely this may be a wall hanging or quilt for him.
Im allowed to add 10% of another fabric to these, so now Im trying to decide what colour to add........
I do have some gold and orangey batiks, but then also have a red thru to orange 1" striped fabric that might suggest the sunset and the Masai as, this needs thinking about!

Heard on the radio that this week is National Knitting Week - so now Im feeling guilty that Ive not got anything on my needles at the moment lol talk about being suseptible to blummin suggestion!

Now Ive noticed that folk post before and after pics, of their workrooms and stash, and have been awed by the tidy rooms and clear workspaces.
So with tongue in cheek here are some pics of my 'before' from some weeks ago, when I was shifting stuff from all over the house, theoretically to the one bedroom-come-workroom.

See under the table those white laundry baskets? Each full of wool and novelty yarns........
now moving round to the'll notice more of the laundry baskets right? All wool yes, and at this point there were 3 more still in my bedroom................and 3 under the table on the WHY have I not got any knitting on my needles this week????

Now this was the moving in stage to that room, but although I have redesigned areas in there..........abit, with additional shelves ........when I take the 'after' pics, you might be hard pressed to see much difference!

I'm working up to taking the 'after' pics, dont want to shock myself too much BUT, I now know I do not NEED to go to any more stitching shows for a year or two.  Till I have made headway with the stash I have...and found what Im looking for at any one time or another!
I'm going to have SO much to do when I do finally

Monday, 11 October 2010

Folgate Challenge Roses and steaming fabric with leaves

Well what a lovely weekend weather wise.
I gathered in some Sloe berries to see if they'll dye, to try and determine if they are what some of you refer to as Chokeberries.

But I also wrapped some fabric round red onions slices and outer leaves, along with some shards of, well wood!

I'd had a large old leatherette trunk in the garden the last few summers or so with plants in it, but this year the bottom had well and truly fallen through.
So I took it apart and redistributed the earth and plants.
The swathes of it's lid and sides I laid at the farthest edges of the garden, tucked behind plants, mainly because they struck me as interesting, having rusting locks and corners showing.
As the lid and sides have seperated, so a thin layer of wood emerged, hardboard maybe?
Well its been rain sodden, snow logged and traversed by snails with areas of lichen on it I pulled some of it out, broke it into pieces and laid that amongst the onion pot pouri.
I wrapped this all up with salt water wet, pieces of an old bolster pillow cover and an old tablecloth.
Like so! I laid the second piece of fabric on top of this, then folded and wrapped it all togther and laid it in the (dye only)steamer top, which sat above the sloes simmering away for about an hour.
Then I transferred this steamer onto another pan that had some (ragwort, my pal Jean thinks) so it could steam away for another hour.
I have left it to settle, still wrapped up in the steamer, but it looks - cos of course I had to take a peep! -     
                                                                    much marked!
But Im going to let it rest, so will wash n dry it and take a piccy tomorrow. Now it was all laid on a bed of already simmered through eucalyptus leaves in the steamer, so it will be interesting to see whats occured in there!
I also made a similar bundle, with iris and eucalyptus leaves as well and sprinkled coffe granules amongst idea why .....

Oh and a used teabag, ended up is in there too, but no, no Bovril! What I did, was lay a second piece of fabric over this, to the left here,
then laid the iris leaves on top of that second piece, below.

You can just make out where the coffee has begun to spread on the wet fabric at the top right there.
I rolled this up in a bamboo place mat, and its now hung outside amongst the ivy that festoons one of the back gartdens walls.

This is my first 'Windfall' bundle (ala India Flint - see her blog for more about this and join in!)

So it is going to weather the weather and see what transpires in the winter months.
Pop back in january 2011, I may open it then!

And these are my roses made for a Shelagh Folgate Challenge with a hand made stencil leaf shape - difficult to see it though, since Ive used a black foam ( neoprene) that I got from our local scrapstore.
But heres a green version of it using sharpie pens...