Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Morning Pages and Journals….

This morning I opened boxes that had been sealed in 2003 for our move to Toronto.

They've moved with me, boxes unopened, several times since then.

Journals and Morning Pages….

I discovered Julia Cameron's Book,  The Artist's Way

and began writing Morning Pages (3 long hand written pages) in 1994.

At first I wrote on pads of lined paper…
then transitioned to writing in 'book form' journals a few years later.

I prepared a shelf for my journals and these morning pages….

as part of my

 S. P. A. C. E.

(an acronym for Sort, Purge, Assign a place, Containerize, and Equalize, the last I changed to Evaluate)


This is organizing specialist, Julie Morgenstern's system for organizing and purging.

I read Julie's book 'Organizing from the Inside Out' when it first came out…

and I've turned to the 'SPACE' concept every time I attempt to organize. 

Part of how I'm attacking my current sweep of organizing….
is going through everything I own, and putting 'like' items together in one spot.

Moving frequently, and being under construction for most of my adult life, with several studio moves,
had me duplicate items that I want (and need) to condense. 

Also, I've just kept too much stuff.

The next step will be to go through these papers, and see what I've been up to all of these years.

As for the daily writing (Morning Pages)….

I wonder if any of you have done that, and purged the pages?

They are not really journals. I consider them Brain Drain. A way of purging my mind of useless worry.

Who needs to save worry (and fear and anger)…..?

OK there were lots of desires in there too 
(that came into fruition I must add.)

I'm also sure that half of the pages in the formal journals are empty. What do we do about that? 

I need to free up space. 

I'm considering a ceremony.

or maybe I'll just dump them.

I know how good that will feel.  Just getting them out of the boxes feels good. 

Releasing their energy and all that….

Read what Judy Martin did with her journals HERE and HERE…..

I'd love to hear what the rest of you do with yours.

+ + +

I just Googled 'what to do with morning pages'
and came up with

A discussion on Julia Cameron's blog regarding the subject.

Looks like a bonfire is in my future.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kakishibu update...

And the experiment continues,
Both with my iPad posting and the dye process.

These photos were taken with my old Cannon point and shoot (instead of my phone),
then downloaded directly from the camera card to my iPad.

I really missed using that camera.


Kakishibu on cotton muslin after a day of recoating with the dye and folding (and refolding) for effect.

I used mostly a spray bottle for the subsequent coats.

The Kakishibu is a rich tannin coating, not exactly a dye.

What you see here, is not the same on the other side of the fabric.
 It does not penetrate with subsequent coats.


Same on linen with same technique. 

I like the linen better & wished I had not wasted the expensive brew on the cotton. 

As my Montenegren housekeeper used to say,

"Education costs money, whether you go to school or not."


I also found out I probably need to buy a new computer. 

I think this iPad might be fine for now.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kakishibu distraction....

I'm attempting  to do two things at once here...
Fuss with this blogging app (now from my aging iPad, instead of my phone)
whilst describing a process I was compelled to undertake after finding this bag of Kakishibu during my studio clean up project.

It's probably the last thing I should be doing...the dying thing....
But combining it with the blogging experiment keeps me on track as I ready my house and suitcase for our upcoming to Scotland and Ireland next month.


What IS Kakishibu?

Kakishibu is made from persimmons that have been concentrated, filtered, fermented, and matured.
Kakishibu is a Japanese traditional natural paint or dye.
Since ancient times, Kakishibu has been used as a waterproofer, insect repellent, and antiseptic, by applying it to woods, clothes, and other items.
This can make some products have greater strength, and last longer.

I had used this in the 'far long ago' to stiffen handmade paper and fabric. 
It's more concentrated when used in this way, and painted on in layers to achieve it's protective and hardening qualities.

Used as a dye, this is how I proceeded.

Step 1: 

I soaked 2 yards of fabric in soapy (ph neutral) water


Step 2:

I added 50 grams of Kakishibu powder to 2 liters of water. This is the 'dye' ratio recommended by an instruction sheet I had on hand. It could have been three liters, but two were enough cover my two yards of muslin.


Wow. This photo looks blurry!

(Remember this is a blogging experiment too!)


This is what it looks like while I whisk it in.....foamy and the powder sits on top
BTW I wore a dust mask.

I added it to one liter of warm water first.

It takes awhile to mix in.....

Then I added this to a small bucket and added the rest of the warmed water...

To that I added...


Two yards of wet cotton muslin.

I did not rinse the soap from it.


This is what it looked like after an hour.

Much like my Avocado dye result...only quicker!

From my experience this is an additive I will continue this experiment over the next several days

Inspired by the rich color and texture of Sakabukuro (sake bags).....

Which is not pink or whimpy peach.

Although it will become darker when exposed to light. link 

You'll just have to look it up.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Checking in and a test....

This is a little test to see what blogging from my iPad looks like.....
I'm preparing for a month long journey in September and I'm thinking about blogging from the path...or not. A two year struggle with the photos on my MacBook has me grumpy with the whole process...
Along with the written are iPhone photos of our daily doorstep visitors.

This one is sure I can't see him.

Hmmmm. I'm not sure about this format, but in a pinch it might do.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Progress report….Avocado Dye

So this is what happened with the Avocado Dye experiment.

After scouring everything on the subject I could find on line,
I picked out the techniques that made the most sense to me and proceeded this way…..

To prepare the fabric:

I soaked a thrifted silk shirt (that had been previously 'eco' dyed with eucalyptus, walnut and iron),
and small pieces of undyed silk and cotton jersey fabric
in warm water with a squirt of ph neutral dish soap 
(in this case Mrs. Meyer's Lavender).

I soaked these overnight and kept them wet in the solution until I put them directly in the dye pot
(when the dye solution was ready*).

*To prepare the dye solution:

I covered the skins and pits of 15 previously frozen Avocados with cool water in a large stainless steel pot.

I did not weigh the fabric or the dye stuff.

I slowly brought the pot to a 'just before' boiling point and left it there for 1 hour.

While it was simmering, I skimmed (and skimmed and skimmed)
the green slush of the avocado meat from the surface.
All accounts said this is not necessary, however it seemed like the best thing to do,
since I was 'into' it 
and curious….
while waiting for the brew to become the infamous 'pink'.

After one hour of the 'almost boil', I turned the heat off and let the pot cool on the stove over night. 

In the morning I poured the sludgy brew through some cloth placed in a sieve until it's liquor ran clear.

To dye the cloth:

I squeezed the soapy water from the items to dye and placed them in the cool dye bath.

I did not rinse the fabric (of the soap) before it went into the pot with the clear liquor.

I may have added a bit more water to cover the fabric.

I used my tap water for the whole process.

Then I repeated the 'almost boil' process, bringing the pot to almost boiling, and cooking the fabric for one hour.

After the hour I turned off the heat and let the fabric sit in the dye to brew overnight.

The next morning, I extracted the items from the pot,
then ran them through the wash with no soap in cool water.

then I said….

"oh, pink rays of morning sunlight please bless this wet shirt"

(just kidding, I didn't say that)

this was a surprise.

here's the almost dry…

thrifted shirt in the background, 

fabric from left to right…

some kind of silk, PFD cotton jersey from Dharma in the middle, mystery fabric on the far right.

I'm sorry I don't have the 'before' pics of the fabrics

The silk was off white and the cotton was very white.

The results:

The shirt color did not shift as much as I'd hoped,
 however it seemed darker and more uniform in color than before.

Obviously the silk took the dye more than the cotton did.

I did not presoak the cotton in soy milk as is often recommended. 
I'm not sure it would make a big difference, but it might. 
I would definitely go to the trouble if I were to dye a cotton garment with this process.

The dye bath does not seem exhausted, so it's in the freezer for future use.

I'm not sure what I'll do with this information, 

but I consider this experiment a success.

Yes I do.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Seeing Red...

I've had some extended time alone, and realize I haven't written a post since April.

A brief report.

I've been traveling, sewing and continue with my de-cluttering and organizing. 

I made myself a commitment
 to get my place settled and into my studio before the end of the summer. 

It's been a huge undertaking.

 Moving is hard.


It's often been difficult to maintain and re-establish equilibrium. 

And it seems to be the theme of my adult life. 

In my case, I believe it's greatest toll is felt on my creative pursuits.

 The giant glitches in my computer over the past two years have also taken their toll. 

For instance, as I attempt to post a photo from my phone, this is the new muck I must wade through before it happens….

iPhoto has detected inconsistencies in your library. Please click Repair to avoid any potential problems.

So today I have a dye pot on the stove filled with Avocado skins and pits.

 I'm hoping for the pinkish color that's claimed.

Sort of this color….

or a 'Wood Rose' shade would be nice.

In the mean time, as I photographed this zinnia, 
I became enamored with the quality of light shining on my stove top. 

In addition to the soft pink….

thanks to this morning's visit to our local grower's market...

I noticed some reds.




I was amazed to see what local growers produced in this year's searing heat and drought.

The pickings were slim at best, 

but SO appreciated.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Another for the pot….

Flowing with momentum that began with the Maggie Dress inspiration,

I decided to tackle Alabama Channin's A-Line Dress.

This pattern is found on a CD included with Natalie's latest book, 

Learning from my last endeavor with the Maggie Dress, I found it fairly easy to have my local printing shop upload the CD and print off the simple pattern.

I have to note that since the print shop had never done this before, it did take them a few tries to execute the large scale pattern.

They were as happy to persist as I was prepared to be patient.

I chose to use an inexpensive
 PFD (prepared for dye) cotton jersey from  Dharma Trading Company for the short dress version.

I've sewn more than a few pieces from the A/C collection and found I needed to alter all of them in one way or another.

Making a sample is the best way to figure this out, especially if you plan to embellish with layers and appliqué.

I made a slight change to this pattern….

Although it looks VERY nice in this photo, the v-neck was a little too severe for me…

so I chose to round it out a bit….

This fabric from Dharma is very white with a sort of blueish tinge and has less drape than the buttery Alabama Chanin Organic Cotton Jersey, but it is forgivable at $4.58 USD per yard.

I also think it is still a little too full in the skirt, which might disappear when made with the softer drape of the A/C cotton jersey. 

 This one has pockets, which I LOVE, and was VERY easy and quick to stitch together.

I plan to pop this into the dye pot along with the Maggie Tunic and a long skirt I made.

I'm thinking Indigo.

Still aways off.