Dress, Patrice’s drawing challenge

I was so glad to be able to be a part of Patrice’s drawing challenge this week.

Let me just say that I love clothes, Chloe loves clothes, we both love looking good and feeling good in clothes, but what we don’t like is knowing that hundreds of pounds of textiles end up in land fills every year because the fashion industry has a terribly slavish built-in obsolescence. And we also don’t like that new textiles carry toxic ingredients in them, such as “safe” levels of lead and cancer causing fire retardants. Clothes are soaked in them and we are expected to put that against our skin. We also suspect that each sequin sewn on to clothes manufactured in developing countries has probably been sewn on by child labour.

So we tend to buy a lot of second hand, ethically sewn, and organically produced clothes.

This time around, I decided to see if I could do some eco printing on some clothes, and see what the results would be.

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So, with the gathered leaves, and a quick trip to the local thrift shop, which produced a shawl, a T, a summer dress and a linen tunic…
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I soaked the clothes over night in a vinegar water solution, and we started to layer the leaves.

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Now the thing about eco printing, there are very few instructions out there, and it seems that people give various pieces of the puzzle but not the whole process, so I basically pieced together a system, (which is probably pretty unique to me, since I have very little idea of what I’m doing), from several blogs, videos, and snippets of books on-line. One gal’s blog which I found very beautiful and inspiring is this one: Obovate Designs. You should check it out, Melinda makes the most beautiful eco prints.

One thing I knew for sure, there are things called mordants which change/deepen/fix/help with the colour, but apart form vinegar, they all seemed pretty chemically, and not wanting to contribute to more chemicals in the environs, I chose to only use vinegar.

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I used leaves, red onion skins and spent dahlia flower petals on my two pieces, and C got creative with pomegranate seeds and beet slices on her two pieces.

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That is, when she wasn’t eating the supplies. :D

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I turned the clothes wrong side out, and did a sort of sandwich of leaves in the middle. With the shawl, I spread the leaves on one half and folded the second half over. Then we folded the clothes and wrapped them around a stick and bound them with elastic bands.

Then we put them into my large turkey roaster on a steaming plate, and steamed them for two hours.

Then we put them aside to rest overnight.

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Some days I have about as much patience as a small gnat, and this three day project really stretched what little I manage to achieve, so on the third day, we ran to the kitchen first thing in the morning and started to unroll out clothes.

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The more leaves, seeds, slices and petals we picked off, the more delighted we were with the result, and the dye material all went into a large bowl and straight into the compost.

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Then we hung out or eco dyed creations and waited for them to dry.

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And this afternoon I gave them a little iron, and we had a fashion show!

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C dress

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We are actually thrilled with our first eco dying try. We love the earthy quality the natural materials gave our clothes. And the best part is that we created something unique and genuine. Recycled clothes, natural dyes, Earth friendly products. It’s all good.

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If you’ve stuck with me thru this whole, extremely long post, thank you, thank you so much and bless your sweet, pink hearts. :D

Here, again, is the link to Patrice’s site where you can see more wacky, creative and fun twists on the Dress theme.

Big hugs for a wonderful, eco friendly weekend for all. :D

A little autumn magic

Today, after a bunch of errands and a shaky nerves inducing dentist’s appointment, (always the way for me even though everything always turns out just fine), I promised myself a little calm and a little autumn harvest of leaves.

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I found my favourite little park and had a walk. Look what I found!

Beautiful amanitas!

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My absolutely favourite mushroom in the world. The humble toadstool.

But isn’t it just right, isn’t it perfect? Isn’t it autumn to the max? I think so. Those were fairies who came down last night to dance on the grass, to recline in the soft moss under the trees. Those toadstools are formed from autumn fairy magic. We all know this. :D

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OK, maybe I did actually stop here to collect some leaves for an upcoming art project. But being in the company of autumnal fairies is always lovely.

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Hello from Sunday night

Does this ever happen to you with a shortened week?

There was the holiday Monday this week and I keep feeling like it isn’t Sunday today.

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Or maybe the shortened work week has been so intense, that I felt a little like I was going in two different directions at the same time, (boy I really could use another weekend), and consequently, there has been very little art happening round here.

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So, half way thru October and some plants are really pushing past their prime now, aren’t they?

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While other plants are just coming into it.

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I’m still not ready to give up the Indian summer yet, even though I can quite definitely see that it’s over, I’m still hanging on to it with as much hope as I can and with lovely sunny things like olives, which always remind me of warm France, but I’m so happy that the “r” months now are fine for mussels, another absolute favourite of mine. Does anybody still believe in that myth about not eating shellfish in months which don’t have an “r” in them?

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At home, I’m over the bright colours of summer and feeling a more subdued, neutral tone. I’m also taking more time to read, and am rummaging thru my library, my friend’s books stashes and my favourite book haunts for new, lovely books to read. It’s so lovely to start to cocoon at home with books and quilts and open fires and early evenings. I’m sort of looking forward to the long winter nights, but I’m sure I’ll be feeling differently by the middle of winter.

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Today the weather in my part of town, (right under the mountains), was that sort of grey/black gloomness which bunches up the clouds and dashes them against the mountains, that kind of unpredictability the west coast is best knows for, but on the other side of town, beside the river delta, there was sun and scattered clouds. So a walk at the river it was. A walk by the old fishing village, in the warm wind and weak sun.

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And just now, the sky is full of hundreds of snow geese returning, some 20,000 strong, returning to the delta for the sun and the mild, escaping the harsh, just as I’m beginning to welcome the cooler seasons.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Chloe and I took a long lunch and got lost in vintage dresses.

Isn’t it wonderful to take one day of the week and take some time?

C and I decided to go to a favourite, funky part of Vancouver, called Commercial Drive, to our favourite coffee shop, Cafe Calabria, for lunch and a good mooch around the neighbourhood.

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It’s been one of those soggy Vancouver days where it’s hard to feel motivated to go anywhere, but the promise of visiting the owners (our long-time friends), hot tea, a sticky coconut macaroon and a Frank’s special panini, was just too tempting.

There was way too much macaroon and panini for us, so we took half to go.

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And we wandered up and down the block till we came to C’s favourite store, Mintage.

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You’ve got to love this store. Just look at the juxtaposition of those frilly tutus above the cowboy boots!

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There’s so much fun here, from vintage bridal…

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To heavy woollen sweaters.

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And accessories too. Shoes and boots, belts and purses, scarves, tuques, and the most amazing jewellery.

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When I look in my closet, I’d love to see funky cowboy boots, soft, beaded moccasins and an old pair of roller skates. I’d love it just for fun.

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C and I grabbed a hand full of vintage dresses each and tried on the fifties. (These dresses were such keepers…OMG)

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We squeezed and wriggled our way thru the sixties…

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We flower powered our way thru the seventies. (Hey, I had an almost identical dress to this one for my high school dances, and, if it wasn’t for the $180 price tag, I so would have bought it! Loved the way it looked and felt on.)

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And we giggled our way thru the eighties. C dubbed the black dress “the Avril Lavigne” dress.

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We ended up with this keeper bunch which we loved to pieces.

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When we were speaking to the lovely Alex at the cash register, we told her we couldn’t think of any place to wear the (above) pink and lace dress, and she told us a story. She was late for work, dressed in her wonderful vintage, ran to the bank for some cash and suddenly she was aware that it got deathly quiet in there. She thought for a split second that there might be a bank robbery happening and, looking around, she saw people smiling and complimenting her on her dress. So she said, “It was the fabulous dress all along!” So that’s it, we shall wear the pink and lace one to do our deposits and withdrawals.

Too much fun :D

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Photo challenges: Autumn colour and refraction

It’s been rainy here on the West Coast, but there’s still enough light to cause a refraction in the Murano vase holding garden dahlias. :D

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For the WordPress photo challenge: Refraction and Photo Friday: Autumn Colour

Back to Princeton, (part two-ish)

It takes about thirty seconds after one sits down for a dog to find a lap.

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Dachshunds, Nash, Eddie and Baxter, are generally lap dogs Coco the Wookie thinks she is too, so tea, coffee and reading always include a dog nose in your book or cup.

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And while they ran around with the big dogs and barked at and charged any visiting squirrel, sometimes their short little legs need a helping hand.

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Margot trained as a farrier, and has hung some of her horseshoes into a funky wind chime.

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There is plenty of wood for open fires to keep the cabin warm and heat the area around the fire pit.

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There are plenty of games at the cabin. Some I’ve never heard of, like Settlers of Catan, which six of the twenty-somethings played for hours in the evening, and some like Guess Who and Crib, which are old favourites. And while those games may stay on the shelf in the city, there’s always time to play them at the cabin.

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And the horses, General and Levi, were in their element up there. They do come back to the city after the weekend, but the glorious freedom of those meadows, forests and open country, will stay in their hearts till they come back to the cabin again.

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And so was Lizzy…who thinks she’s one of the small dogs. Chloe thinks she’s a divine creature, and she certainly looks it, with her big blue eyes and silky coat.

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This weekend, our friend’s cabin, this beautiful semi-arid, meadow and forest country of sage brush, yellow pines, deers and owls, was such a welcome break from the hectic city. We got the rest we so desperately needed and were able to forget our worries for a while, and that is priceless.

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We must leave this place and go back to the city now, but we will take this country back with us in our hearts.

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Got even further out of town to Hedley.

Years ago, before a faster, more direct road was built to the interior of BC, my family and I used to travel this way.

This was years before Chloe was born, but I remembered the road beside the river and the charming little towns along the way. Sunday afternoon I asked Chloe if she’d like to come explore with me.

She said yes.

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So we jumped in the car, stopped by the river to pick some late wildflowers, and followed the highway beside the river for 25km.

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I found the little town I was after. This is Hedley.

It’s built under an old gold mine and has about fifty lovely little houses, two streets, three restaurants, four stores, one old saloon style hotel and a yard sale.

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We asked the ladies of the yard sale where to walk and what to see. They sent us down the street to visit Rod.

We found Rod’s funky junk and anything store and said hello. Rod was sifting thru a gold pan with loads if little gold flecks and he was putting the gold flecks into a tiny glass bottle.

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He said, “do you ladies want to see something special?” We said, “sure we do!” He opened a door and said, “step inside and close the door behind you.” He turned on some black lights and we were standing in his amazing imaginary universe. It was the most surreal moment. Gorgeous futuristic buildings and paintings straight out of Rod’s imagination made for the most amazing out of this world experience. There was no way to truly capture the moment with a photo but I tried.

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We walked around, looked at everything and mentally moved into several of the charming little houses and imagined what a summer cottage in this town would feel like.

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Oh, and, I bought a paint by number set from the ladies at the yard sale for $2.50. I’ve never done a paint by number because it’s a cultural thing and I didn’t grow up in North America, but boy is it a lot of fun. :D

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Got out of town, Princeton, part one

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Hi everyone, it’s Monday night and I just drove into my dreary, rainy city of black forests and snow capped mountains, but my spirits are full of gold leaves and small towns, grasslands, rivers and lakes.

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Chloe and I spent the long Thanksgiving weekend at our friend’s cabin, with five parental units, seven 20-somethings, six dogs, two cats, two horses and one huge roast turkey.

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How lucky were we to have a weekend of horsey kisses, campfire chats, table games, late evening silly movies and chilly morning breakfasts?

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Very lucky indeed. More tomorrow. :D

Challenges! WordPress and Photo Friday

Dreamy and Blur.

A photo of a gentle, autumnal morning. Gone in the next rain. Gone in a blur. :D

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Cookie, Stefanie’s drawing challenge

Stefanie says “cookie is a nice word, isn’t it?”

Oh it SO is!

I’ve done so much of the painted cookies in the past, that I decided to do something completely different.

So when is a cookie not a cookie, but still is? When it’s a little silver cookie necklace.

Here is a little fortune cookie with a fortune to keep you happy and lucky all the time you wear it.

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I had something in my mind, and as usual, I took the approach of, “how hard can it be?”

I cut out a small disk of silver, which I then bent and hammered out and bent and hammered out about a half dozen times. (yes, that is a hockey puck, we are Canadian after all :D ) Anyway, turns out, bending a small silver disk in two opposite directions is bloody hard! But, after heating it red hot, it became a bit more pliable for a few seconds, but that was enough to get a good bend.

Then I cut a little fortune in which I engraved, “Love is” one one side and “you” on the other.

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Then I punched holes and soldered jump rings and chain, and pickled and filed and polished and polished and polished.

And then I got a certain freckle faced girl to model it for me.

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I’m really happy with it.

Come visit Stefanie over the weekend and check out other cookie enthusiasts, and please pardon my absence till Monday afternoon, I’m getting out of town to a friend’s cabin for our Thanksgiving weekend and will not have internet, but I’ll be around just as soon as I get back into town. Sending big chocolate chip cookie hugs your way. :D

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