Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scrappies -- Tiny Rag Dolls

At the very zenith of creative puttering, I have been going through my box of fabric scraps and experimenting with natural dyes.  It's not so messy as you might think -- I have a dye bath in a bucket on the back porch that yields various shades as the dyestuff depletes or is replenished.  And I have googobs of fabric scraps from other projects.

So I have begun making these tiny rag dolls as the perfect excuse to stitch meditatively without the machine, and use the samples of cloth as I experiment (er, putter).  I find a running stitch actually is much more flexible getting around the curves.

Their faces began as a hand cut stamp that fades out according to what sort of dye is used, which is fine by me; the whole intent is that they should look old, cobbled by my inner little girl learning her needlecraft, and played with.  Wrinkles and tatters are not just tolerated, but encouraged, including the old thread piled up inside the battered buttons, and the puckering from pulled tight stitches.

I especially enjoy the French knot hairdos, which remind me of the pin curls before bedtime, a very long time ago.  How did I ever fall asleep with a headful of those?

The colors came from alkanet (the purples), madder (the orangy pink), walnut and ordinary black tea.  The fabrics  from old hankies, ornamental linens, laces, quilter's scraps of silk and feed sack prints.

A bit of research on line yields many exciting blogs on natural dyes, and for now, I recommend the most exciting and impressive Cornell Mycological blog that probes the use of mushrooms and lichen as color sources.  And here in the Great Northwet, we are surrounded by fungus and lichen, and deep native textile traditions of pattern and color.  More on all of these things as puttering advances.  You may not realize it, but we are surrounded with dyestuffs, leaves, grasses, vegetable peelings, soil; it's almost limitless.  Stay tuned for new links and the products of that back porch dye pot!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Shiniest Star, Rescued

Well, it's Abbie, a very petite (only 23 lbs) Pembroke Welsh Corgi, who came to my home as a rescue, but I believe it's I who got rescued!  She has given me everyday, all-day loving companionship and goes everywhere with me.  And everywhere she is welcomed because she just radiates a loving, playful, and calm appreciation of humans in all ages and sizes.  Her only flaws are the funny ones that make me laugh, like stealing socks, tissues and underwear and showing them off.  She just learned that I prefer she not discipline the vacuum cleaner, and she learned it fast.  She's my smart, shiny star!

And she gets her rewards regularly, so I can show my gratitude.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Minutes of the Meeting of Homeowners: ParTAY.

Abbie does not flinch for firecrackers or fancy headgear.

Mr. Shinn samples a Cuban-style Empanada, mui tasty!

A great feast of many courses was shared.  We had dishes from many cooks, Korean, Mexican, Cuban, and plain old we-don't remember-exactly-where-we-cam- froms, such as hotdogs and potato chips.  

Sami, Maximiliano, and Ramon.

Sami and Miguelito light up the night.
There being no further business, new or old, the meeting of the Association adjourned when the fireworks ran out.  A good time was had by all!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Pie

For our block party, where they like to blow up lots of fireworks and I mean lots.  I figure if you can't beat 'em, feed 'em pie, a deep dish peach pie.  I hope it will be good -- the peaches were rather odd, it seems they have picked them green and rubbed the fuzz off; for someone who grew up in Georgia, it seems very unpeach-like.  Anyway, here it is, made from scratch, with a flaky crust sheltering 15 peaches, peeled, sliced, spiced, baked and filling the house with a very good smell.  Wishing you all a Glorious Fourth!