Moving back home.

Back to this home.

I know.

But this site will shut down in December – due to lack of funds and will to maintain a difficult to navigate site.

Hope you follow me back there.

Thanks for all your perseverance and kindness.  You have become good friends.

tiny seeds

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I am still here.  I have been so hectically busy, and now I am exhausted.  So tired.
But – I think we will be stopping here a while.
I have what for me is a huge work space under the light of a room length window.
My daughter has her dream converted attic bedroom – that is such a perfect studio in the making, roof lights and all.
My son has completed his final exam and a First Class Degree in English Literature. He deserves it. He worked so, so hard.

We are happy to have a home.
We are blessed to have this home.
We are grateful.

Thank you.
xx

My Pass-It-Along

PLEASE NOTE! I AM IN THE PROCESS OF MOVING ONCE AGAIN – NEW ADDRESS AS YET UNCERTAIN – ALTHOUGH I AM MOVING OUT TOMORROW!! NOTHING LIKE LIVING ON THE EDGE IS THERE?

SO – JUST TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THOSE THAT TOOK UP THE OFFER OF SEEDS – I WILL BE POSTING THEM SOME TIME TODAY OR TOMORROW AND ALTHOUGH THERE ARE A FEW PACKETS LEFT – I WILL NOT BE ONLINE FOR A FEW WEEKS TO RESPOND.

PLEASE CHECK BACK IN OCTOBER – HOPEFULLY I WILL AT LAST BE MORE SETTLED!

XX

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IMG_5548 coin rings blue spoon Japanese Indigo Flowers Indigo leaf harvest

 

the first seedlings indigo seedlings

 

a gift from clarabella

 

Clarabella kindly gave away some of her Japanese Indigo seeds at the beginning of this year.  If you have been following this blog you may have noticed how I fretted over whether they would sprout – grow – survive the move(s) and then experiment and flounder over extracting the dye.  As it turned out the only thing I managed to dye blue (using the cold dye method) was my wooden spoon!  However – I did make a LOT of mistakes.  I am also wondering whether the dried leaves – which look a gorgeous blue now – will yield any dye, so I am still experimenting and hopeful.  I should have attended one of Claire’s workshops, but circumstances never allowed,  Hopefully things will be a little different next year.

So – to the  point of this post.

If you would like to grow some Indigo next year – I am harvesting the seeds.  Just drop me a line letting me know if you would like some and they will be sent to you shortly. I don’t think that they should be sewn until Feb/Mar next year, but there is nothing like being prepared is there?

Plus – for those interested in dying I found this bookmark on my computer that led to a free ebook on vegetable dying  by Ethel M. Mairet.  I will have to print it off and really get to grips with it over the winter.

A little bit of Welsh heritage

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This is a medieval Raspberry Bush that is so big and gnarly that the children could (and did) climb in it – plus the raspberries were huge and juicy and delicious!!

I love visiting this place – Elizabethan Manors, Italian gardens, rows of miner’s cottages, Mr Thomas the Tailor’s perfectly preserved shop and contents, old fashioned sweet shops, bakeries, corn mills, cider presses, woolen  mills and so much more, all transplanted to this living heritage site to preserve our Welsh culture and history.  The weather was a perfect Summer’s day, and spending it with my sister and her little family – watching them run around taking their own photographs was just thrilling to me.

The weather has more than a touch of Autumn about it today – but I’m not sad.  The Summer months have been near perfect for me.  What has it been like for you?

Good I hope!

A great day

Dinas Rock

Looking down from the top of the rock face.

Dinas Rock

We walked down this rock face.  Yes we did!

mushrooms

GIANT orange mushrooms!!

Dinas Rock Falls

Showing them how to do it

Josh showing them how to do it.
He’s been doing this since he was still in single digits.

Dinas Rock Falls

And sporting his d’Artagnan look (just for fun – he shaved his 3 week beard today)

Dinas Rock Falls exhausted but happy

 So this was a great day.  A GREAT day.

Happy weekending everyone.

Slate Grey Days

Slate Grey Roof refelctions windows and doors grey rain

These days have been slate-grey, with rain of all kinds:  soft, light and misty to hard, heavy and loud.  The Taff River that runs for 64 km through the Welsh Valleys and has it’s source in the Brecon Beacons, Taf Fawr and Taf Fechen is as familiar to me as the grey cloud that hangs over the hills around these old miner’s cottages.  The persistently falling rain this week, has lifted the Taff from a mere trickle with islands of trees and greenery around shingle and riverbed rocks –  to a treacherous,  torrent of mud-coloured rushing, rolling water that drowned all signs of shallow river bed and green growing things.  

I am looking at the woodburner and wondering how soon to order in the coal and logs.

It’s not cold yet, but the grey makes me long for the cozy nights and yes, even a yearning for Autumn that is just around the corner, probably my favourite time of year.  As much as I love the warmth of the sun in Summer, the sun in a crisp blue Autumn sky can not be beat.

 

 

New Jewellery

WIP

This is just for me – in the process of being burnished to rub out those bezel kinks.

It’s my birthday this month and I am spoiling myself – The Opal is precious to me and I’ve wanted to do something with it for a long time,.

Hippy Chick

Hippy Chick Turquoise

solstice

simple cuff

Skinny Ribs

A gift

Scribble and Jade Ring

I’ve finally updated the shop, which has been neglected for a long time.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Blue Spoon

blue spoon cross hatch clamped circles coin rings storm rising

Storm clouds rising over my test dye results.
The colour results were disappointing – I was expecting the same lovely turquoise as my spoon.
Lots of reasons for that – I did not follow instructions to the letter, well not at all as it turned out.

I ought to have kept the dye mix cold – not as I did on a hot summer’s day.
Adding ice to the mix did not help after sitting in the sun for a couple of hours.

I should have left the fabric no longer than an hour.
I left it for a day and a night.

But – I do know that the dye potential was there – as evidenced by my lovely blue spoon.
And I have several pale, subtle green samples (they survived a machine wash on the cold cycle)

I LOVE the patterns derived from clamping.
I want to try making snowflakes next….a similar process to folding and pleating paper cut snowflakes (that’s the theory)

And even though I have left the dye bucket out in the rain yesterday – I have sunk in some more fabric.
Optimism seems to be the new version of me this week…
or is it bull-headedness?

If this fails, I still have more plants growing and will make a smaller dye mix next time.
And as the dye is more effective on animal fibres, I will dunk yarn and a silk scarf I’ve had for years.

On the plus side the dye is fairly fast with the addition of white vinegar.
I will iron the fabric and set it aside for a sewing project.

How have your projects been coming along – any success/disaster stories to share?
I would love to hear them.

Published

I made a book for my family last Christmas.

 

I decided to share it with you – for a preview, click the link below, the image, or BOOKS on the menu above.

we all fall down…

This is the year for me to be more brave – and so I think I will be publishing a few more of these.  The photography is also by me.

Happy Weekend All!!

A little Friday Alchemy

Indigo leaf harvest

Japanese Indigo Flowers

Japanese Indigo stems

Japanese Indigo Smoothie

Japanese Indigo Spoon

The first stages of my Japanese Indigo harvest and cold water dye extraction – I had to use ice cubes because it is so HOT here today!

My spoon is green, but can you see that my nails are already starting to turn blue – as I am typing and waiting for my fabric, they are turning bluer.

I have been excited all day long, from shopping for supplies – buckets, spoons, vinegar elastic bands and lollipop sticks – to harvesting, blending, stirring, smulching, and preparing the fabric using some basic shibori techniques.

I will post the results in a few days as fabric stews and sets…

Contemplation

Woodland Stile Yarrow Valley walk baby fern early morning walk

Do you remember that I said I was moving into my brother’s home?
Well now I have a SOLD sign hanging over the door.
And no – I did not buy it.

I don’t know why, but the Gypsy life seems to be the one for me these last few years.
It’s strange, but I feel peaceful, hopeful and optimistic.
It’s all going to work out – one way or another.

Meanwhile – I have been invited to write some crafting course proposals for community education.
This is so exciting! (I have decided to postpone the Ceramics MA until I am more settled)
It also means I may have some work next term doing what I absolutely LOVE to do!!

I will be soaking up the sun, dying fabrics with my Japanese Indigo plants, experimenting with cyanotype printing onto fabrics – this Summer has been perfect for it hasn’t it!
We are enjoying where we are for as long as we are here.
Have a perfectly happy weekend my friends!

Wilting

 

lilies with painting

wilted lilies

July self-portrait

Just a brief stop over to say hi, we’re fine – almost unpacked and absolutely LOVING being home in Wales again.

Never one to complain about the sun. 30+ degrees.
I am soaking up every ray.
Last night’s thunder and lightening and rain gave way to more sunshine today.
Oh thank you Summer!

P.S.
I had to remove the lovely lilies outdoors – the pollen was doing spectacular things to my lungs and nose….

moving again

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Surrounded by boxes again. Cleared away junk and donated to charity again. Even thrown away magazines (gasp! sacrilege!) I quite like the empty shelves and work surfaces. I would like to live like this – uncluttered and all minimalistic. I even like the empty kitchen cupboards, keeping only the very basic items of food. Why do I store tins – I won’t tell you the number of out of date tins of tomatoes I threw away yesterday, I’ll just tell you that I had this voice in my head, (my mother’s) telling me about all the starving children in India!!

Let me also tell you that I am very, very blessed to have a family that love me so very much.
They always, endlessly are there for me when I need them and I always seem to need them.

Did you know that I am the eldest of eight children, and that thankfully our parents are still with us. My father who is 75 and still works a few days a week at the Barber Shop now owned by my sister – is insisting on driving up here to help me move! He is a story all by himself that man. I may sit myself down and try to write it one day. I have learned that I am not the independent Miss I imagined myself to be when I was young. They have helped me through three marriage break-ups, almost 28 years of single-parenthood, unemployment, illness…the list goes on and on. They support my schemes and ideas. They are the biggest fans of my work. They are helping me move my family back home to Wales.

I am a Welsh woman friends. I love my Country. I did not always know this. But now I do. And when the sun shines – it is the most beautiful place in the world. A reminder for the American readers – Wales is the little Country attached to the left of England. We even have our own flag! And we do not always get remembered as well as our Irish and Scottish Celts but we are there all the same and have been here for centuries – didn’t we also have our very own Kings and Queens!

Well where did all that Nationalistic pride come from?

I will be off-line from tomorrow and will be for a couple of weeks due to the move and delay in connection at the new house.
Which means that the shop will be shut down for quite some time and may even get a little make-over in the process of all this change!

Have a wonderful Summer my friends!

I WILL MISS YOU!