Organic Dyeing with “Blood Madder” Concentrated Powder Extract

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?!

Day 17 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Painting Holiday Papers…

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Another day of prepping for more Make & Gives! Today I’m painting with acrylic paints and my favorite old sea sponges on some nice, heavy watercolor paper! Once dry, I hole punched and used the worn down eraser end of a pencil to stamp holly berries on the “greenery” tags!

Also made extra painted sheets for holiday notes! Love my painting days whether its on paper or fabric!

What are you creatively up to lately?

B-Inspired!

Day 16 of My 25 Days of Make & Give- Canvas & Satin Sewing Journals

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You all know how I adore making journals and I have to say that these beauties are probably some of my very favorites! They are actually journal covers that hold a composition size notebook, which means when you fill up that notebook, you can replace it and start journaling all over again! Another feature about this particular journal cover is that since it is made from a very sturdy 7 oz unprimed cotton duck fabric, you can paint or stitch on to your hearts content. It will hold up beautifully! Now about that luscious heavy, double faced satin ribbon…its just gorgeous! I picked it up in NYC at a studio closeout sale…each journal used about a 50″ length, in order to make a nice bow. The buttons are vintage.

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I added a little hand stamping on the front and the inside back flap.

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These lovelies are going out to some of my sewing students and needle art aficionados.

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Enjoy my enthusiastic sewists!

B-Inspired!

Day 13 of My 25 Days of Make & Give- Kindness Matters

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Today I visited my friends at Unity Pharmacy, in downtown Fairfield. Naga, the owner and head pharmacist, is pictured above. Look at that smile…it’s always like that! Back story:  as you all know we lost our very much beloved, 17 year old kitty, Millie, on October 23rd. M was “one in a million”…my fur baby, constant companion and studio muse to name just a few of the roles she held in our family and home. I miss her terribly, all the time. M was on a low dose, “for life” steroid maintenance program for the last couple years and Unity Pharmacy is from where we received our monthly prescription refill. Every single time I walked in to pick up M’s meds, I was met with Naga’s sunshiny smile. She and her staff were rooting for our dear M. They always nodded and said they put extra chicken flavoring in her medicine, so that she would chow it down!

I baked Naga & Company one of my traditional Eggnog cakes as a little thank you for all their kindness to us and M, who she never met. Kindness matters…always.

B-Inspired.

Day 12 of My 25 Days of Make & Give-Stitch Journals

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Today’s M & G goes out to my creative friends who enjoy and inspire me with their embroidery and stitching. Pictured above are just a few of the goodie bags I sent to them.

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Inside my Shibori dyed canvas bags, I packed embroidery floss, I dyed in indigo and marigold and a handmade canvas journal for each to embellish.  I bundled up these treats with: pieces of dyed hemp used for binding in my Shibori dye baths, silver and gold spray painted wooden beads and thread spools and marigold dyed canvas tags I lettered with their initials. I can’t wait to see how they stitch up the journals! All these gals are so creative and inspiring!

Enjoy ladies and please send along pics of your stitched journals!!

B-Inspired!

Day 9 of My 25 Days of Make & Give-Installments of Gratitude!

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Hi everyone! Today’s recipient of my M & G is my friend Katie! She generously offered to design my dream come true new business card and stationary!  I have always wanted a very special design that represented my sewing and fabric dyeing skills and business. Katie made that happen and what’s even more impressive is that she makes it sound like it ain’t no thing! I have sent along little installments of my gratitude to her and when I was so lucky to hang out with her, I gifted her with one of my hand dyed cotton waffle knit tops! Thanks girl for all your hard work and brilliant creativity! I’m thrilled with the results! You’re  amazing!

Has someone graced your life with their creative spirit? Find a way to express your gratitude and B-Inspired!

Day 8 of My 25 Days of Make & Give- Grab a book!

I love this annual tradition!

Our family donates a whole bunch of books that I use to fill up the ” free for takin” book rack at our local train station.

Enjoy a good read travellers!

Day 7 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Handmade Journals

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Finishing up a bunch of sweet lil natural canvas journal covers for purse-size journals. They hold horizontally bound spiral notebooks, which when filled with all sorts of inspirational creative thoughts(!) can easily be replaced with new ones.

I kept the hefty 7 oz weight canvas covers plain with raw fringed edges.  They will be gifted to some of my creative sisters who, no doubt, will beautifully embellish them in their own signature style!

What are you doing today to inspire someone?

Day 6 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Cuppa Coffee

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What a day…downpour after downpour and then the wind kicked in. But what if you had to stand outside in it for hours and hours, very rough going for sure. This sweet woman is my favorite Salvation Army bell ringer. I only have the pleasure of seeing her at this holiday time of the year, stationed at our supermarket.                                                          She is a wonder…always with a kind word.

It was just this cuppa of coffee and a nice big cookie that made her day.

Is there anyone out there that you can surprise with a warm beverage and a snack, to help them get through their long day?

B-Inspired!

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