Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Camping At Home

Is it really June already?  Where did May go?  I think I blinked and it was gone.
I got most of my gardening plantings done over the weekend.  The marigolds and salvia are planted along both sides of the front sidewalk and the tomatoes, butternut squash and zucchinis are planted in the back vegetable garden. 
I just have some weeding and transplanting to do in the other areas and I’m finished but usually by the beginning of June, I’m completely done and watching everything grow.  Again, what the heck happened to May?
So this past weekend, Jen, her hubby and grandson decided to try out their new tent for an overnight adventure out in our apple orchard.
Now, first of all, we still call it an apple orchard even though the apple trees are long gone from that area.  It used to be an apple orchard when we first purchased this house and property about 30 some years ago but all that’s left are a few apple trees which produce more poison ivy than apples.
Anyway …. gosh, I tend to get off subject very easily.  So Jen and Jason wanted to try camping out  and wanted to keep the camping area relatively close to our house.  They were a bit concerned that in the middle of the night, their son might suddenly decide that he’s had enough of bugs and the dark nightime sounds.
Grandma and Paps house with a bed could be a quick refuge in that case.
Good idea, wouldn’t you agree?
Well, Rachel’s boyfriend was visiting us this weekend, so he brought his tent too.  It turned into a big family camping outing.
camping Lots of fun was had by all and he ended up loving the adventure.  Now they know that he’ll be fine when they take their real vacation to go camping somewhere other than gramma and paps yard.
100_3891 What a life for a kid!

Besides all the yardwork and the camping and everything else that was going on over the holiday weekend, I was able to finally get the right color dyed for my strawberry candle mat.  I’m telling you, I had the most trouble getting just the perfect color. 
I dyed one fat quarter way too dark, so that will be saved for another project.  I finally got the right dye color combination but it was still a little too pink, so I loaded it up in my white enamel pan and casserole spot dyed it in the oven.  It came out absolutely perfect.100_3896 The wool on the left was the original color that I tried, which was waaaaay too pink.  The wool on the right is the exact color that I wanted.
The only problem is, I didn’t keep track of the dye measurements that I used, so to get this exact color, will be difficult, if not impossible.
My dye recipes tend to be like my meatloaf recipe.  I don’t have one!
I use the same ingredients each time, but I never measure.  I put a pinch of this and a smidgen of that in and along with the basic ingredients of wool and hot water, I dye my wool.
Which is one of the reasons why I will probably never share with you how I dye my wool.  I will never claim to be an expert at it.  It’s always going to be an experimental process for me.  I’d much rather you get professional help from professional people who dye wool for a living.
I use Cushings dyes, which may be purchased here at the Cushing website.   The website also includes some basic dyeing instructions and tips, so if you’re really interested in hand-dyeing some of your own wools, just do some research, starting at this site.
Cushings dyes come in a great assortment of colors, but most times, I don’t just use one color dye.  I mix colors to get the shades that I want and since I don’t measure, I know when I’m doing it that I might mess up some expensive wool.  If I were to show you exactly how I do it without giving you exact measurements, there’s a good chance that you would mess up some expensive wools too, which would place blame back on me.
The other reason why I don’t like to share how I dye my wools is because it’s not something that should be done without the proper tools and equipment and I don’t want to unknowingly give you the wrong and possibly dangerous information.  It’s not something that you can open up the packet and throw in with some hot water and wool.  Extreme care needs to be taken for safety.
The powder that is used for dyeing wools is acid based so  kids should not be around in the area while dyeing.  Extreme care should be taken when mixing the dyes and a dust mask should be worn along with protective gloves. 
I’ve actually found little particles of the powder dye up above my stove on my microwave because  the steam from the hot water drew the dye particles up into the air.  If it lands that easily on my kitchen surfaces, it can just as easily be sucked up into my lungs. 
So for safety reasons, I don’t want to have someone come back later, after reading my dyeing instructions, to tell me that because of what I’ve said, their lungs are now coated purple and yellow and their kitchen ceiling has turned a pretty speckled mix of colors that can’t be removed.
All I can do is warn you to be extremely careful when dyeing your wool … read the instructions on the packet and follow them exactly, don’t take shortcuts to try to save time.
That’s all I’m going to share about dyeing.  Sorry, I hope you all understand. 
So, tomorrow, FOR SURE!,  will start the Strawberrry candle mat tutorial.
I have it started already and even Rachel, who knows nothing about sewing said that the strawberries are a much better color now!
Happy Day everyone!


Buttonchief7 said...

Your family camp-out looked like lots of fun. Got a tip from Polly Minick's rug-hooking book concerning toning down a color like red by putting it in green, it's color wheel opposite. No art classes here for me except grade school so it's all self taught and reading what relates to my hobbies. And isn't it fun to create your own unique color with dashes of this and that? Peggy

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