Sunday, April 24, 2016

Indigo dyeing

Yesterday I took a class at The Workroom. I needed to take a brain break from school.

Indigo Dyeing
Check out the link to The Workroom class HERE. I would HIGHLY recommend taking this class.
For those of you who have known me for awhile, you may remember that I have taken natural dying and indigo dying before. I'd send you back to my past post to look at it, but all of the photos have disappeared off of my old posts :(

But this was much more in depth. The instructor, Julie Sinden was very knowledgeable. (go and have a look at her BEAUTIFUL felted hats here). Her dyeing blog is here -- Julie doesn't post on it anymore, but there is lots of interesting information.

Anyway, back to the class. I wasn't really feeling well this weekend, so I was a bit off my game (a lot off my game, actually)  and didn't feel like doing anything :( . And I don't really like tie dye, and I don't really like dark blue, lol -- so that didn't help. I saw a lot of what other people were doing and that will inspire me more at home.

We mixed our own jars of indigo and then made our own vats. (we also had the opportunity at the end of the day to make a "live" jar to take home. That is right up my ally -- fermenting, etc, but I was just too tired to do it). Here is my jar, in the process of turning to a yellowy green - which is what colour the dye is when it is ready. It truly is magical. You put your fabric into this yellow dye, and then when you pull it out, it chemically reacts with the oxygen in the air -- and the oxidizing colour goes from green to blue!

I did dye a big pile of fabric -- and I did a bit of shibori. I will like to experiment a bit more with clamping resist -- which was my favourite part of Glennis's class when I took it. but I just didn't feel like it yesterday. But I loved the results of what everyone else did in class! If you do instagram, check out #workroomindigo.
 And there are many photos on Flickr of past indigo class work!

I'll use a lot of this blue in some small wall-hangings that I'm working on (sand and sea).

Some of the pieces are also some antique napkins. I'll use them for sure in Nova Scotia.

I did a bit of stitching to the front of a yellowish tshirt/tunic that I had, but didn't wear. It's still kind of yellow and green, so I think I'll put it in another few dips of indigo to make it more... green and blue? I'm not sure if it is salvageable :) Unless I just keep dipping and make it more solid :) . I should have just dyed it solid to start with :)


I also did some stitching around the neck and armholes of this sleeveless tunic -- it was white linen. I'm happy with how this turned out. It will be a Nova Scotia tunic. I wear a bit of blue there :)

The next class I want to take at The Workroom is Visible Mending --you can see some photos in the flickr pool here. You can check some of the work out on instagram here too! 
 I missed the boat on the current offering of this class -- but I'm hoping that another one will come up -- in september or early fall.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories -- Dead Milkmen

I was surprised to find 3 Dead Milkmen tapes in my carton.

I saw them play (a long time ago -- maybe 27 years ago?) in a small venue in London (Ontario) -- Call the Office (which is still open and hosting live bands!)

I always liked Punk Rock Girl (their most successful single) -- but I never had the album that it was on ( Beelzebubba).

After playing all of these tapes, I'm keeping Bucky Fellini and East Your Paisley -- but tossing Metaphysical Grafitti -- it's too "produced" for me :)

No actual mixed tape with Dead Milkmen on it. Because no one else that I knew liked them! Well, my bestest friend and band watching buddy Miss Kitty Cara did, until there was an...incident.... at the Dead Milkmen show. And then she didn't like them. lol. Remember that Miss Kitty Cara? :)

I took the tape photo when it was sunny out, and I'm so happy that I did  -- BECAUSE IT IS SNOWING LIKE CRAZY OUT!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories #2 - Jane Siberry

*Each weekend I will be sorting through my cassette tapes and justifying my reasons for keeping them, or letting them go. Please join me in my journey....

I had no idea that cassette tapes were making a comeback. I don't really think that they are. But there have been numerous articles lately about their re popularity. Really? Read about it here. Even Justin Bieber has released a recent album on cassette. Whaaaat?
I'm ignoring this new trend -- because as soon as I heard about it, I though "Maybe I should save these tapes that I'm culling?" NO NO NO NO NO!
Some companies are still making cassette players. Sony just stopped making the cassette walkman in 2010. I get that. I use them in my classroom. But let's not bring them back, ok? They deserve a natural death.

On the chopping block this week is Jane Siberry. (She was briefly known as Issa around 2006-2009). Let's see how she fares :)

I was introduced to the music of Jane Siberry in 1985 by my friend Miss Kitty Cara. We went to see her play in London (Ontario) at Althouse College. Her voice was like angels singing. It was a kind of  new music genre for me. At that time, I preferred (and still prefer), guitar driven music -- and less "produced" music. But something about Jane struck a chord in me :)

Here she is around the time I first heard her:

Here she is singing Calling all Angels with KD Lang in 2014

So, back to the tapes:

 We have The Speckless Sky and The Walking (commercial tapes). and Bound by the Beauty and No Borders Here are recorded onto a tape. It's my writing -- so I copied them from someone!
The Speckless Sky is my favourite of the bunch -- It's a keeper -- although one of the songs is all wonky and stretched out. I actually would replace it on cd, but it's not available - well, it is available used... from England.  Also not available on itunes  but it IS available on bandcamp :) via Jane's website. I think that I'd rather get a digital version and have the money go to Jane than buy a used copy.
The verdict:
I think that I'd play The Walking again, so Speckless Sky and The Walking will go into the keeper box. I like Bound by the Beauty too -- but I could live without No Borders Here, I think. Too bad that those two are "attached".  (I'm not actually throwing them away -- I just put them in my neighbourhood "Little Library" and someone takes them all.....). So I guess that I'll be keeping them all!
Not doing too well on this sorting, am I?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories

It's March Break! and it feels like spring! It's raining and miserable out :)

Lately, I have been puttering around my basement (cleaning, tidying, sorting, jettisoning, sewing). I listen to music on my basement stereo. When my cd player broke a few years ago (Denon! But it changes 3 discs, and that mechanism quit), I pulled a handful of tapes out of a carton and I have been playing the same few tapes since. Yes, my tape player (Nakamichi) still works. Beautifully. Does anyone else still have a tape player? Anyone? Bueller?

This week I have decided to sort my tapes. I have an unopened carton. I'll open pandora's box, and hopeuflly there will be some happy surprises. Get rid of the ones that I will never play again. While doing so, I have been reminiscing about the music, the mixed tapes, my youth.... I also have some blank tapes..... so maybe someday soon I will make a mixed tape. That only I can play :) I'm going to work from the top of the carton down in no particular order.

So, I guess that I've decided on a new blog feature. Weeklyish.

Mixed Tape Memories. 

I will sort the good, the bad and the truly awful. I might not show the truly awful.

First out the door are the 3 on the right. Fine Young Cannibals, The Pop /will Eat Itself and Andy Prieboy. I think that I got them all from "The Columbia House Record Club" You know, when they send you a whole whackload of tapes for free, and then they send you one every month that you have to pay for? Don't judge. That was the teenage me. 
Anyway, those 3 just had one song that I kind of liked back in the 80s... early 90s?
I thought that the Matthew Sweet tape would go with them, but after a play (because I am playing all of these tapes first- it seems wrong to just toss them) I thought that I might listen to it again :)

 The mixed tape is a bit of a mystery. It looks like my brother's writing -- but it is not his style of music at all.

 On one side is David Bowie's Let's Dance (I have the CD :)  The hilarious thing is that it seems to have been recorded over some classical music, because in between songs, you hear some faint music underneath the slight hiss of the recording.

The flip side is a true mix. The Smiths (I wasn't a big Smith's fan, and still am not). But I like most of the rest of the songs, however unrelated they are --Joy to the World by Three Dog Night; Should I stay or Should I Go by The Clash; There is some Ramones, Public Image Limited, then Wild Thing by Tone Loc (yikes!) (not by The Troggs which would have been much, much , much preferred),  REM, and then, oddly, Helter Skelter. Which gets cut off abruptly when the tape ends mid-song. 
So, despite The whiny Smiths, this mixed tape is a keeper -- because I will listen to it again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


My word of the year for 2016 is "possibilities".
I'm celebrating all of the things that could be. All the things that I will become.


There are so many things that I would like to do this year. Some I have already started.
I want to sew more.
I want to take more classes. (I miss Art Unraveled!)
I want to share more of what I am reading. (I'm working my way through the Governor General Award winners for 2015)
I want to can more. (and build a proper pantry)
I want to walk on a beach every weekend. Or at least most weekends.
I really do want to spend more time with friends and family.
I want to get even stronger!

All of these things are possible.

It's a definite possibility that I will post again this year :)

Happy 2016!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holiday in the Hood!

If you are in Toronto this weekend, please come to visit me at the Holiday in the Hood Artisan Market! 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Station Eleven

I have an obsession interest in books that have to do with the end of the world as we know it. I've just finished reading Station Eleven.
My other favourite books about Post Apocalyptic society were The Dog Stars (which I wrote about here), Oryx and Crake and the others in the series, The Road (too depressing), The Stand....

On TV I am fascinated by Walking Dead -- and my interest isn't in the zombie storyline -- it is the interactions of the people after the collapse of society. I thought that the short-lived  Revolution was going to be good -- but it dealt too much with the wars (the revolution) and the whys -- not in the "hows" (how to survive). I need to know how I will be able to survive come the apocalypse.

So, I'm not a survivalist (have you seen some of those survivalist websites???) But I hope that I would be somewhat prepared if it did happen. And Station Eleven makes it not seem so bad (except for that big fact that almost everyone in the world has died).

In Station Eleven a highly contagious and lethal strain of the flu sweeps the world and causes the collapse of civilization in a matter of days, leaving behind isolated groups of survivors struggling to come to terms with their new world. Much of the book follows a group of survivors (The Symphony) who are a traveling band of performers (Shakespeare!) who roam through Michigan from settlement to settlement. Parts of the story is told in flashbacks from the past -- throughout the collapse, up to the  "present" -- 20 years from now. It is a sad, sweet book, but it gave me much hope :). I would definitely recommend it!

And on a related note -- I've become a weee bit obsessed with preserving food!

(I love this book -- and especially love the tags on the jars!) 
Mr. B and I are taking a canning course through the West End Food Coop. We come home with about 10 jars every class (every two weeks). Last session we made quick pickles (i.e. not fermented) AND cranberry sauce. Up next is Pumpkin Maple Jam and pumpkin pickle. And this weekend I canned 10 jars of Apple Pie filling!  I am ready for the holidays!
So, if any of my friends are reading this -- please don't put canning jars in the recycling -- give the jars and the rings to me when they're empty (I am always surprised when I see them in the recycling -- re-use them, people!). Anyway, give me some jars, I will give you some jam. Win - win.