Organic Dyeing with “Blood Madder” Concentrated Powder Extract


On a wintery day during our February school break, I did some organic fabric and fiber dyeing. This time I used “Blood Red Madder,” concentrated powder extract. My source for this vegetable dye was Organic Plus.


I decided to try a little experiment. Two dye baths were set using the same selection of pre-washed and mordanted fabrics:  cottons, linen and cotton canvas. The first dye bath,  set up in a stainless steel pot, stayed on my heated stove top for the entire dyeing process. Fabrics from that bath are pictured above. In the second dye bath, set up in a 5 gallon bucket, I used hot water but did not cook it on the stove top. Those fabrics from the second dye bath are pictured below.


You can see that the fabrics from the first heated dye bath did produce slightly darker, richer colors, but honestly it wasn’t a significant difference. If I had enough large stainless pots, I would probably keep the baths on the constant heat, but I was also pleased with the dyed fabrics from the second unheated dye bath. Good to know, in a pinch, that you can still get some beautifully colored dyed fabric samples without the constant heat and cooking!




I also dyed rayon bias ribbon, cotton Cluny Lace and bobbins of cotton embroidery floss, pictured above. What a yummy bounty of warm and cool pinks and rose blushes. I am thrilled with the range of colors from both my batches of fabrics and fibers.

Can’t wait to incorporate these goodies in sewing and stitching projects!

What kinds of colorful makes are you creating these cold winter days?!

Creating Valentines 2017

Less than one week til Valentines Day and the studio has been humming with heartfelt creating. Hand-painted papers and fabrics are at the ready!

What treasures are you working on?!

New Years Organic Dyeing


To welcome in the New Year, I decided to set another organic dye bath, this time using an extract of Cutch. According to Kristine Vejar’s amazing book, The Modern Natural Dyer, Cutch “has more than a thousand  species…achieving colors ranging from copper to terra cotta.”  Linen, cotton and rayon fibers and fabric went into my pot.


Here’s my bounty! I was thrilled with the results. My color range was from a fawn to a mocha, subtle shades with warm rose brown undertones!

Happy New Year! What have you done to artistically/creatively herald in 2017?!

Merry Christmas Make & Give!



Merry Christmas Everyone! There is one more post of Make & Give and this one is a repeat recipient. Up the street we have neighbors where Mrs. is a RN, Mr. is a firefighter and one of their sons serves in the military, he has made several tours overseas. Every year we decorate a tree in patriotic colors to commemorate the family’s service to community and country. Their daily acts of bravery make my heart swell with civic pride. On the steps above this year’s mini spruce you can see trees from previous years…how nicely they have grown! A very Merry Christmas to these neighbors and to all men and women who serve our towns, states and country in every way.

Thank you for following this my third year of Make & Give. I hope I have offered some inspiration to encourage your own versions of making and giving during the holiday season. I am often asked where I find my ideas for my M & Gs. By just keeping my eyes and heart open, I find loads of inspiration. This year there were many extra M & G’s that I didn’t have enough days to include them all in my daily posts. Hmmm that brings to mind a new idea! Stay tuned!

Merry and Happy Holidays to you…B- and Stay Inspired!


Day 25 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Playing Santa at the ER on Christmas Eve/Hanukah!


Years ago, I was a patient at the emergency room of one of our local hospitals on Christmas Eve. While we waited for what seemed to be an eternity, a family came into the Waiting Room and went around to every child and adult and gave each a little Christmas present, (mine was a toothbrush!) But what was most memorable was the gesture behind the gift. I remember saying to my husband that one day I would love to come back to return the favor.

This afternoon was that day!

My family and I were escorted around the different wings of the ER/Triage and were allowed to knock and enter rooms to distribute treats and peppermint candy canes. A few weeks ago, John and I went out shopping for coloring books, crayons, toiletries and candy. One afternoon while watching football games, John wrapped every single gift:  what a guy!

The ER was thankfully not too busy when we were there. We did stop in to visit and gift many people, who were delighted by our holiday cheer. The hospital coordinator told us that after midnight into Christmas morning the ER will be packed with patients, so we left all the other wrapped gifts for the staff to distribute as they saw fit.

I was so happy to establish this tradition and to do so with the support and presence of my hubs and two children.

Is there anyone going through a rough patch that you can reach out to over the holiday season? A few minutes of your time and concern will mean so much!

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Hanukah to all!


Day 24 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Scarves, scarves and scarves!


Those of you who know me well know about my daily afternoon Starbucks coffee ritual. On the way home from teaching at the nursery school, I pick up my customized Mocha beverage. This truly helps me to power on through sewing lessons with private students in my home studio.

I have often thought of purchasing a beautiful expresso making machine for the time and money it could save me but to be honest I do enjoy seeing and chatting it up with my friendly baristas.  They are such fun and interesting young people!


So every year I gift each and every barista in the 3 different Starbuck locations in my area with a fringed fleece scarf.

Now that’s a lot of scarves…this year it was somewhere over 45! But they are always so excited to see me walk through their doors with my big bundle of goodies!

Look at those happy faces!


Merry Christmas and a big caffeinated thank you to my Starbucks family!!



Day 23 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: A surprise for this Make & Giver!


Upon returning from my daily “elf-ing” deliveries this afternoon, I found a package left at my front door. And look what was inside…someone has surprised me!  I have to say I don’t know who may have done this unexpected nicety. I’m stumped and everso grateful for this generous gift! I will wear and treasure this “Blessing Bracelet”, share the sweets and say a prayer of thanks for this mystery Santa. Bless you back!


Day 23 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Queen of the Silver Lining


I’m very excited to tell you about today’s recipient of Day 23 Make & Give. This lady is without a doubt one of the most resilient, positive people I know. She is truly the Queen of Silver Linings. In past years she has weathered the most difficult storms imaginable.  And despite how rough things got, and they had to be unbearable, she navigated through with the utmost style and grace. This gal is the definition of inner strength.

So for my dear friend, I am gifting one of my handmade journals, as she is a most gifted (and published) writer, a copy of one of my favorite holiday CDs and some jingle antlers because she loves to be festive!

Write on and jingle all the way, dear girl!

Is there someone who inspires you…remember them today and always….


Day 22 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: You can do this!


Recently when the outside temperatures began to fall, we started changing our clothes from summer/fall to winter. I asked my family to please put aside all gently used coats, sweaters, pants etc. And boy, was there a whole bunch of goodies ready for donation!  Today my son loaded up the car up with these bags and off we went to fill the donation box.

So here is today’s M & G:  go through your closets and drawers and gather up garments that can be passed on to someone who really needs them. Because “baby it’s cold outside.” There are donation boxes everywhere! You can do it!


Day 21 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Kindness rendered and returned


Life and times here in our home and in my studio, these last couple months sure haven’t been the same since our sweet and beautiful fur baby Millie passed away. Such a lively and loving kitty! During her decline we had many phone conversations and visits to our vet at The Greenfield Animal Hospital. Millie and our family were always treated with the greatest kindness and care. It seemed befitting to dedicate today’s Make & Give to Dr Andrew Marsh, Colby and the rest of the staff.


I fringed up a batch of leopard anti pill fleece scarves for each person on the staff and added a nice big loaf of my home baked cranberry orange pecan bread. It’s just a little token of the great appreciation and affection we have for those lovely people!  When I dropped everything off, they seemed so surprised and grateful. For them it’s just the professional and yet personal way they conduct business at The GAH.


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