Playing with Dyed Silk

I taught a couple more Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing classes this month. In these classes students practice on a piece of silk before they actually dye their scarves. In the past I’ve suggested making cards with those scraps. For these classes I had finished cards to show and the supplies needed for them to make their own cards.


Here is how I made those cards. The fabric needs to be stiffened. I used Terial Magic fabric spray. After soaking the fabric, I let it dry for about 10 minutes (I blotted the fabric with a towel to hurry the process) and then ironed it. The stiffened silk was attached to the card with Stitch Witchery. That’s it.

I also made an ornament using those dyed silk scraps. I started with a paper mache ornament blank and Golden Regular Gel Medium.

silkscrapornament1After spreading the gel medium on the ornament, I added cut some silk pieces.


Then I covered the silk pieces with the gel medium.

silkscrapornament3After the ornament dried I brushed on Jacquard True Gold Lumiere. After it dried, this is what the finished ornament looks like.


Here are some pictures from those classes this month. So much fun! And so easy! I’m always amazed at all of the beautiful results.

I’ll be teaching another Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing class on Saturday, November 5 at Scattered Art. This class will give us an opportunity to make some holiday presents.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on another class where we’ll be painting these cute zip bags.


It sure is hot here. I’ve been getting up and out early in the morning putting in a couple hours on weeding and mulching before the major heat. With all of the stuff Dave has to do in the garden I volunteered to clean out and mulch his Butterfly Garden. So I’ve been working on this project for a couple weeks and today it’s finished except for a few new plants Dave will be adding. Over the years he has added some beautiful plants, and it’s a wonderful area for the butterflies and bees. And the birds love the birdbath. Now to move on to some of “my” areas that I’ve postponed. If you look at the photo in the top right of the picture you can see the asparagus ferns!


butterflygarden2It’s amazing how many hours are in the day when you get up at 5:30!

Yesterday I worked on something I’ve wanted to make for years – coiled bowls. These are just the first ones that I’ll be painting.  I can’t believe how good I felt to finally sit down and do this! I’ll be making bigger ones next time and also adding fabric.

ropecoilbowlsThat’s all for today. I’d love to hear from you if there is something you’d like to create, but just haven’t taken the time to do it.

Posted in art, Colorhue, dyeing, fabric, silk, teaching, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Ice Dyed Parfait Revisited

In 2012  I tried the ice dyed parfait technique and even though I liked my results, they were way too dark and I felt I was a bit out of control. A couple years later I tried it again only this time I didn’t use ice.

Back then I pretty much guessed at the amount of dye color I needed. Now that I’ve refined the ice dyeing technique with my dye calculator, I’m able to get, I believe, much better results when using ice. I thought it was time to try the ice parfait dyeing again.


I first marked all of the pieces by number so I know where they were in the parfait. The bottom one is #1. I scrunched up this first piece of fabric and put it in the bottom of my dye container.


Next came the ice.

iceparfait2The the dye.

iceparfait3I like to spray any dry dye sitting on the ice cubes. This is important to help keep down the amount of speckles on the next piece of fabric placed in the container.

iceparfait4Now to add the next piece.

iceparfait5After my fifth layer it was time to wait. Here is how the finished parfait looks like.


Usually I would wait 24 hours, but because it was so hot and I am testing out my batching times, I only allowed it to batch for 6 hours in the 81 degree garage.

Here is how it looked at 6 hours.

parfaitend5As I peeled off the fabric, there were still a lot of ice cubes.

parfaitend3 parfaitend4


And the last one or #1 still had lots of cubes.


Here are the results from bottom to top with the dye color used:

#1 – New Black

icparfait1#2 – Orchid

icparfait2#3 – Pewter

icparfait3#4 – Mermaid’s Dream

icparfait4#5 – New Black


I’m always amazed at the results I get from ice dyeing and this session was no exception. I really love these pieces. Because I cut back on the dye and the batch time, the bottom two pieces aren’t as dark.  Oh, I do want to try another ice dyed parfait soon.

Just a reminder that my Icy Delights online class is still open for registration. Since I opened the class in May, I’ve added my dye calculator to help calculate the color amount needed,  and to get more consistent results. I also have added a new video about batching in the sun. For info on my class go to There’s a promo video that will let you know what’s included. The classroom is open for questions and all students are welcome to join our Facebook group. There has been a lot of great sharing in that space. We’d love for you to join us.

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, ice dyeing, surface design | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Harvesting Lavender 2016

This year has turned out to be a great year for our lavender. I thought I’d take you through the process of harvesting and then show how we have used our lavenders in the past.

Here are the plants before the harvest. Grosso lavender, which I’ve cut off in the back of this picture, is not quite ready to harvest.


I started with Melissa, the lavender with white buds, in the front. The only thing difficult about harvesting lavender is that the bees are all over it, buzzing around me as I cut. I keep telling them that I planted it for them, and now it was time for me to take it in! So far no bee  stings!

I tried to get a picture of them all flying around, but all I could get was one bumble bee.


Then I cut the lavender.

melissaharvestOnce harvested I take it inside.

2016lavenderharvest1I mark and cut holes in the bag before I bundle the lavender.

lavenderbagging1Once bundled, the lavender goes in the bags.

lavenderbagging2I used to hang this in the garage but now that I’ve converted the back area to my dye studio, it’s going to the basement to hang and dry. Once it’s dry which will take several weeks, I’ll strip the stems and put each of the variety of buds into their own plastic bags for storage.



Now what do we do with this lavender? Melissa is a great culinary lavender. Dave uses it to flavor his iced tea.  Another favorite is the Lavender shortbread cookies. Here is the recipe.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Melissa would be great for lavender sugar, but I made it with Royal Velvet. See the recipe here. This sugar can be put in all kinds of baked goods.

Lavender Sugar

Lavender Sugar

Dave made a simple syrup with lavender which we used in tea and poured over fruit. See his recipe here.

Lavender Syrup

Lavender Syrup


Lavender is also good for bug spray since the bugs really like me when I’m out in the yard. Here is the recipe for my bug off spray.

Ingredients for Bug Off Spray

Ingredients for Bug Off Spray

Lavender bath bags are nice gifts.

Lavender Bath Bags

Lavender Bath Bags

And of course, adding lavender to our soaps. Recipe here.

Lavender Basic Bar

Lavender Basic Bar

However, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of drying it in bags and bud denuding, you can make a lovely wreath of the fresh stems. Directions for this wreath are here.


Or just put them in a vase to enjoy.

lavenderharvest3I really love lavender and so glad we can grow it here.

That’s it for today. I have some fun ice dyeing to show you next time. Hope you are having a wonderful Father’s Day and a colorful weekend.

Posted in crafts, gardening, Lavender, preserving, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Review: Jacquard Solarfast

June is a great time to sun print. In 2014 I was in charge of the June blog posts on the Fire blog. For that month I chose sun printing and asked three other artists to join me in blogging about various ways to sun print. One of them included Jacquard Solarfast, a product I had never used. The June posts start here.



I had wanted to try this type of sun printing, but just never got around to it. Then the good people at Jacquard sent me a Solarfast kit back in September to play with. I waited until now to try it to make sure there was plenty of sun. Here is the kit.


Let’s get started.

I pour the dye directly on the fabric, but wanted you to see how they look straight out of the bottle. As you can see, it’s hard to tell colors. This is orange and blue. They will appear clear when you spread them on the fabric.


Lay out your fabric on foam core or a piece of cardboard. This will help you transport the fabric to the sun.


Pour Solarfast in the middle of your fabric.

solorfast3Using a sponge brush, spread it over the fabric.

solorfast4You don’t want the fabric to be real wet, so take a paper towel and blot it until the fabric is just damp.


For this next step,  add what you want to print. For this first example I am using photo negatives that I printed out of my inkjet printer. Jacquard has a great Solar Fast negative generator. The steps are simple:

  1. Upload your picture
  2. Change it to black and white
  3. Change to negative
  4. Use the sliders to increase the contrast and brightness if necessary.
  5. Print out on ink jet transparencies or the Solarfast film. You can also download the negative image to your computer for printing later.

The Solarfast kit came with film. However, in my experimenting I quickly used it up. I ended up using my inkjet transparencies and they worked fine.

I decided on this picture from our Hawaii trip.

IMG_0664After printing out the negative and letting it dry, I placed it on top of the fabric. Be sure the transparency is ink side up.

solarfast6Cover with glass and then set it out in the sun.

solarfast7Now to wait. I gave it around 15 minutes. Jacquard had a chart for estimated sun exposure times for the various colors.

Bring the fabric in and remove the glass and negative. Don’t do that in the sun.

Then wash in hot water and dry and you have your Solarfast print.


I had to try this several times until I realized my negatives were not opaque enough. One of the suggestions from Jacquard is to print two negatives and stack them. That worked great. Save the negatives to reuse.

Here is another picture – one of my favorite irises.


You will notice the colors are a bit different. I thinned them with water and mixed them.


But you don’t have to just use negatives.  I love to use our ferns in sun printing. These ferns I preserved two years ago and they still work great. See my tutorial on preserving botanicals here.

Follow the same procedure above, but instead of the negative, place the ferns or other masks over the fabric and cover with glass.


Again bring the fabric out of the sun before removing the glass and the ferns.

solarfastfern4The finished piece


I also love using this fabric as a stencil and for sun printing.


and the finished piece.


Lastly, I used one of my thermofax screens. For this I put the thermofax screen over the dry fabric and used a foam brush to add the Solarfast dye.




Then I just set the fabric out in the sun without the glass and watched it turn colors before my eyes. Pretty neat.


The dye isn’t real thick, but worked fine with my screen.


This is fun stuff. I just used this on pieces of fabric. However, this works great on t-shirts. I could also see these images on tote bags or small canvas zip purses.

Here are my tips:

  • Blot the fabric so it’s just damp.
  • Be sure negatives are opaque. If not, double them or run the transparency through the printer twice.
  • Let the transparency dry before covering with glass.
  • Place the negative ink side up.
  • If you don’t want such bright colors, thin them with water. I thinned them 1 to 1.
  • You can also draw on the transparency and sun print your art work. I was going to draw a mandala but ran out of dye!
  • Jacquard has lots of information online. Be sure and read it before proceeding.

I thought that my colors were limited by the three that were in this sample kit. However, the more I worked with them I realized that they blend well. Watering them down also gave them a softer look that I really liked especially on the iris prints.

This is just another option for sun printing. This works great for the other printing I did, but if you want to sun print your photos, this is the way to go.

Disclaimer: I received this product from Jacquard. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation.




Posted in craft product reviews, sun printing, surface design, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Eco Printing With Jacqueline

It’s funny how I swore at the beginning of the year that I would not be dragged into another art form. But then I got an email from Jacqueline Sullivan about her Eco Print Retreat “Exploring Nature’s Patterns” and my resolution for the year was broken!

The retreat took place at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Cincinnati. This is a quiet oasis in this bustling city. Here is the beautiful labyrinth on grounds.

labryinth1 Of course I had to walk it.

I spent the beginning of the retreat picking plant leaves and flowers to print with.


Saturday morning Jacqueline took us through the whole process.

prepforeco2prepforeco1prepforeco3So we got started and placed our bundles in the turkey roasters.


Here is my first bundle that had been cooking in the onion pot for 2 1/2 hours. That’s deli paper hanging out the sides.

ecounveiling1And here is a reveal of one of the pages. This is False Indigo or Baptisia. These were my favorite leaves.

ecounveiling2And now to remove the leaves.


Here are a few of those first prints.


And here are some of my favorite prints. These are on deli paper.

ecodelipaperThese are on a variety of different papers.

ecoprintsWe also made a journal. Here is my favorite piece of paper and the journal.



Then we worked on silk. I didn’t get a lot of marking on this one. I’ll be over dyeing this piece.

ecootherscarfThis one did work out although I would have liked it darker. I should have kept it in the pot longer.

ecoscarfIt was so much fun to get away and to learn something new. I recommend, if you have a chance, taking a class from Jacqueline Sullivan. She’s a great teacher. Also, Glenda Miles was great with correspondence and all of the before retreat info and also taking care of us during the event. She’s a great event planner and artist. Check out her website on her company and upcoming art classes.

As I said, it was so much fun to learn something new and to meet and spend time with other artists. Now to get back to my art. Looking forward to my Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing classes this weekend. If you’re local, you still have time to register for the Friday evening class. Contact Dolly at 812.490.0074.

Posted in art, art get together, eco printing | Tagged , | 6 Comments

June this and that

It’s such a busy time around here with gardening and all. This year I met one of my goals – to have the asparagus bed and the shade garden done before June 1. This was a first and pretty exciting.

Here is the asparagus bed all ready for the summer. The stalks will produce beautiful ferns before long.

finishedasparbedHere is the shade garden.

shadegarden16catshadegardenshadegardenmushThe cherries have turned. We got just enough for one cobbler from our tart cherry tree and only seven cherries from the sweet tree.

The lavender bed is doing great this year. I’ll be harvesting the buds in the next week or so. The large lavender on the left with white buds is Melissa which we use in baking and in iced tea. I wrote a post about making Lavender shortbread cookies here.


I also ice dyed a couple mandalas. They are only 12 inch squares which are really hard to fold. Next time I’ll try larger pieces of fabric.

newblackmandala Brazilnutmandala

Then I’ve been playing with paint a bit.

paintpractice These sponges are going to be fun with stencils!

spongesThat’s all that’s going on here. I’ll be taking off soon heading to Cincinnati for an art retreat where I’ll be learning something new. Can’t wait!! Have a great weekend!

Posted in gardening, ice dyeing, Lavender, stencils | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Remembering – Happy Memorial Day


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Making Bridges and Prayer Flags

I bought my Scan and Cut last year and haven’t really used it like I was hoping I would. It seems to have a higher learning curve than my Silhouette. I wanted to make some prayer flags this last week and use stencils for the words. I could easily whip the stencils out on my Silhouette, mostly because I’ve used it so much. But I wanted to make the stencils with my Scan and Cut.


The problem with making stencils is some of the letters fall out with most fonts. For example the “e” in the above words needed to have a bridge added in order for that letter to work as a stencil.

Since I’m sure others who own the Scan and Cut might have the same problem, I decided to make a video tutorial on how to add the bridge to the “e” or any other letter than needs a bridge. It’s really easy.

Here are the finished stencils.

stencilscutAnd my new flags blowing in the breeze.

prayerflagsoutsideI had so much fun making the flags. I’ll be teaching my new class, Wind Wishes: Inspirational Flags, at Gilda’s in August.

Have a great weekend!



Posted in crafts, flags, stencils, surface design, tutorial, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hitting The Wall

Do you have those days when you just have trouble creating? That’s how it’s been for me this week. It seems like I keep hitting the wall. You know that wall, that one that keeps your idea in your head from getting out onto your work table or when the idea comes out you really question why you even attempted it.

I’m not giving up on mine, but just not sure when or if they will be blog worthy.

Here are pictures of a several of them.



This one I believe will work out if I can move with it. Right now it’s sitting on my table waiting for me.


After being so focused on the ice dyeing class for the last several months, it’s been good to look at some other creative adventures. One thing that is good right now is that I do have a lot of ideas and I have been working on stuff. Now if I can just get them out of my head!

Meanwhile, I have been getting some gardening done. I dug up all of these ostrich ferns and got rid of them. They just don’t play nice with the other plants. They are very evasive, and spread all over trying to crowd everyone out. I don’t like that and neither do the other plants including the hostas.


I took this picture before I dug them up. This was just one area they had spread. They were all over this shade bed. The lovely fern on the right is not an ostrich fern so it gets to stay.

fernsbeforeAnd the after shot, although not quite the same camera angle.

fernsafter I like to use ferns to sun print and these ferns were not even good for that. So we’ve ordered some replacements that in addition to playing nice, may even be nice to play with!

This Fallopia is also a somewhat invasive plant, but it’s not real bad. I find shoots several feet from the mother, but they’re easy to pull up. And it’s such a pretty plant.


Here it is closeup – beautiful leaves.


I received this in the mail yesterday. I had ordered it as soon as she announced she had written it. In light of hitting the wall, this is the perfect book for me. I can’t wait to sit with it this weekend.


Hope you have a wonderful and creative weekend. Maybe next week I’ll have a finished piece to show you. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in drawing, fabric, mandalas, Ramblings, surface design | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

More Dyeing and Irises

Since launching my online class, Icy Delights, I have been trying to catch up with what I wanted and needed to do and had put off while getting that class ready. Unfortunately, it has rained a lot so I’ve not got my mulching and weeding done. My goal is to have it completed by the end of the month. We’ll see.

First of all, it’s been so much fun in my class. Students are just starting to show their beautiful ice dyed pieces. Don’t forget, you can save $10 on the class until May 17. Be sure and use this link.

I did dye a few things this past week. Here is a rayon shirt that I ice dyed.


If you’ve not dyed much or haven’t dyed on fabric other than cotton, it’s quite a surprise. The first time I dyed silk I was pretty disappointed. The colors are more muted than on cotton. But also rayon, like the shirt above, is more muted than a  piece of cotton I dyed with the exact colors. So if you decide to dye, whether it is ice dyed or regular dyeing, just realize that there will be a difference. Once your expectations change you will love how the fiber reactive dyes look on these fabrics.

Here is an example of Dharma’s Mermaid’s Dream on cotton and the small silk tissue holder. You can see how muted the colors are on the silk. But they’re still beautiful.


And speaking of dyeing I had purchased some “Muck” dyes from Dharma Trading and wanted to see what they looked like. These are limited run colors and are pretty cheap. However, if you fall in love with the colors you won’t be able to replace them. I chose “Iced Berry” and “Life’s a Peach and Then You Dye” and tested them on some old hankies. I’m not sure I’d call that peach. I believe the middle hankie has a mix of cotton and poly since it dyed so light. Regardless, I like how they turned out, especially the top one. I love pulling colorful hankies out of my purse!


I’ve been wanting to play with these kids blocks I bought at the thrift store.


So I thickened up some dye.


And then used them as stamps. I’m not real excited about this piece, but it’s a start.

kidsblocsprintMy other experiment with the thickened dyes didn’t turn out well enough to post. I’ve not given up on my idea, so I’m sure I’ll be sharing a better version soon.

Of course the iris count still goes on. Here are a few more from our gardens.

That’s all for today. Again, don’t forget about saving $10 on my Icy Delights class. Here is the link.

I hope you have a colorful day and as always, thanks for dropping by.

Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, gardening, ice dyeing, irises, online classes, surface design, Thrift store finds | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments