Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Natural Dyes

I took a short workshop in February on natural dyes, paints, pigments, and paper which was really inspiring. I have been experimenting with different plant based dyes including onion skins, beets, red chard stalks, California Mountain Lilac, and wild fennel. It is super fun and fulfills my need to not throw ANYTHING away - (shout out to Mom for the lifelong guilt for wasting). 

I soaked my textiles in Alum Sulfate beforehand, but someone told me that Alum Acetate is apparently better for cellulose materials (plant based textiles). 

This is the onion skin dye, which only boiled for two hours and the yarns only soaked for about one hour. The color is vibrant and it took almost no time. 


Here are the drying yarns lookin pretty in the sunshine. 

 This is the beet/chard dye. It sat in my fridge for five days while I waited for the Alum to come in the mail, and it didn't work to dye the yarn very well. I think the dye probably needs to be used immediately to have the greatest staining power. Now it kind of just looks like a dingy white and purple tangle. Going to retry with fresh chard stalks! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rainy February garden

Here are some savory and sweet photos of all the little details happening in our garden right now, after a long windy day of rain yesterday and a day of sun showers today. 

Blueberry flowers (hummingbirds were pollinating them this morning)

Daffodils (I am trying to force pollinate them.... more on that later)

A winter sunflower, almost blooming!

volunteer lavender

And finally, some pumpkin seeds to save for spring. I saved lots of pumpkin seeds this fall of myriad varieties and am super excited to see if I can have a full squash garden over the summer. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Soap / toothpaste recipe!

I can never remember to buy toothpaste, shampoo, hair products, cosmetics, etc. It's one of those things where I forget all day until I go to brush my teeth and bam! the tube is empty. Or bam! my shampoo is gone and I have to borrow yours (sorry). 

So I decided to just make my own, in bulk, with only natural ingredients. It's probably one of the best choices I have made in a while. Not only am I using products that I feel good about, having made them myself, but they don't contain any preservatives, sulfites, or other weird chemicals.

Here is the easiest recipe in the world (arguable maybe) for making toothpaste which doubles as body wash:

1. baking soda
2. coconut oil
3. essential oils

I looked at a ton of recipes which contain other speciality ingredients but just these three are working pretty well for me. I have been using the coconut oil toothpaste at night and Tom's during the day, because I'm not sure if my recipe is totally successful yet. (Breath / cavities results pending).

Mix baking soda with coconut oil (I heated my oil for easier mixing. Funny aside - there was some foil seal left on the plastic bottle and it sparked my microwave. Exciting!) Add 10-20 drops of oils to start. 

Then, test it out. Too salty? Dilute with more coconut oil. Or add more oil. 

To turn this sucker into body wash, I added more and different oils (like orange, which I want on my body but NOT in my mouth). Then I mixed in some coarse sea salt to act as a scrubbing agent. You can do so many different things, just be creative with the key ingredients. 

Mariah Carey

Why have I never seen this video?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blueberries for Sal

Hey, guess what? I made this video for one of my classes. I want to show it to my students next year (or any other years in the future). 

Just click through with your arrows until you get to the youtube video and you can watch me read you a book out loud. This is one of my favorites from when I was a kid. :) 

Blueberries for Sal