Voyage Through the Virtual Village (AKA “Blog Hop Around the World”) :-)


OK, friends, here it is! So fill up those buckets of tea, gather some food and prepare yourselves for a somewhat lengthy stay . . . and big hugs to anyone who makes it through to the end . . . I’ve not written for a while and this is what happens when all that energy is kept pent up . . . some of you may need to come back and read this in sections . . . consider yourselves duly warned . . .

I’m sure you all know by now that everyone in this Village holds their own special place in my heart, each for their own unique self, and it’s been a great privilege to share vicariously in the lives of so many diverse people: gardeners, crafters, artists, writers, parents, travellers, designers, and so on and on . . . we may never meet in person, but in some ways we meet so authentically here in the Village that it makes no never mind to me, as some would say. You are each a treasured part of my HeartFamily and no matter what the future might hold for any of us, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers, in my heart, my mind, my memories . . .  but put that aside for now . . .

Today I want to take you on a trip, a Voyage . . . here we go, off to meet a few of the others in my Village. I hope some  of them come to dwell in your Villages, too . . .

I’ve been following posts by several friends as they participated in this Blog Hop Around the World and now I’ve been invited to join in . . .by Jess, the Rabid Little Hippy. In the beginning of my blogging days, I saw a comment by Jess somewhere and was enchanted by her blogname, being a Rabid Larger (and Older) Hippie myself. Since then, she has become a great friend, supportive and encouraging, not to mention inspiring. In many ways she is the daughter of my heart, just the sort of daughter I might have wished for . . . and maybe more like me than a daughter of the blood would have been . . .

I love everything Jess and her family get up to, although some days I feel I need to lie down and rest after reading about all she accomplishes in a day or a week . . .  😉

. . . and then there all my other new friends that she has led me to . . . this Virtual Village is just what any extreme introvert needs . . .

a new waterlily bloom about to flower more water primrose and I still have my water hawthorn flowering too. I definitely need more plats in there to prevent evaporation and to cover the water surface more though.  Orik's personal race track. He loves doing laps around the garden bed! The area where the bench now sits has had its tyres ripped out, the soil moved into the garden bed and tiles are down now. Todays work with Jas and Eggra as assistants.

 The removed bed is now in the corner here. Once the chooks have done their work the wire will be removed and reo mesh upcycled into trellis for the grapes I'm planting here. They will in turn shade the rest of the bed from the early afternoon sun onwards, providing a micro-climate. Well, that's the plan.  Above are three photos of the Rabid Little Hippy’s backyard garden, where chooks, goats and other lifeforms also reside. Also out there you will often find Martin, her husband, as well as three of the cutest Pint Sized Permies, whose activities are occasionally posted in their own blog. Jess introduced me to hugelkultur and rocket stoves, not to mention a wagonload of information about various ecological issues and more. The Rabid Little Hippy and her entourage dwell in Ballan, Victoria, Australia.

And me attempting to do the same

Here is Jess sporting her Katniss braid . . .

creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, doesn’t it?

From comments on Rabid’s posts, I found myself often on The Road to Serendipity with Narfie and Stevie-boy and the two pups . . . and that led me to so many others that I can’t name them all.

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DSCF7039Above are two photos of the Sanctuary, a HUGE veggie garden completely encased and roofed with fishnetting to keep out various predators. The netting was completely installed  by Narf7 and Steve last year. The bottom photo was taken on a walk with the two ‘pups’, looking across part of the river Tamar to The Road to Serendipity (somewhere in the middle of all that lovely green). Serendipity Farm is in Tasmania, south of Australia. Go visit the Farm and you will learn, love and laugh ’til you fall off your chair . . .

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Creativity takes many forms at Serendipity Farm; music, cooking, renovating, etc. Still, I feel the most creative thing of all  is found in Narf7 and Stevie-boy’s approach to life, love, learning and all that good stuff . . .

My blog-following is most eclectic, like me, and so I decided to invite an eclectic batch of friends and see what happened. I can now tell you that I’m quite over the Super-Moon (which was happening as I typed the draft for this post):

But first . . . My answers to the questions:

  • Why do I create what I do? Wish I knew! I just can’t help it; it’s like reading . . . if I were locked up with only a cereal carton, I’d read every word on it (several times), then I’d write on it (in blood if necessary), then I’d see what I could fashion from it . . .  Honestly, I think creativity is a vital part of each of us, although in some people it’s farther down the list of strengths than it is for others. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t create and the very act of creating has healed me, entertained me, amused me, given me hope and strength, distracted me when I most needed it, oh, and so much more . . . kept people warm and fed, made a home of wherever I happened to be living at the time, filled a gap when the budget didn’t stretch to something I wanted or needed. I learned to be creative with sewing because I am tall, with long arms and legs, and women’s clothing rarely fits me. Many tops have sleeves a couple of inches too short; pants stop above my socks, and so on. In my slightly younger days, I hand-stitched long skirts and dresses and even a couple of pairs of pants. I still have most of them, but they are not available for a photo session. I fell in love with Folkwear Patterns and hand-stitched the Kinsale Cloak from a heathery green fabric of unknown components. I never finished the hood, but I loved that cloak a lot. Fully lined, with topstitching and it was so cosy! Somewhere along the way, it seems to have disappeared, but I still have the pattern and would like to make it again one day; this time from a woollen fabric. More recently I discovered the Sense & Sensibility patterns for days gone by . . . I own most of the Edwardian patterns and some of the crochet and Romantic Era patterns as well. And that’s only the sewing of clothes bit of my creative endeavours . . .

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Some dyeing I did for the Etsy store (closed for a while now)

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My favourite drawing, which is the cartoon for a couple of watercolour paintings.

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A casual drawing of a ‘hobbit home’, done while drawing with children.

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A ‘plain’ shawl that I somehow managed to complexify and bits for two of several knitted bears, something I love to work on when possible.

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A round shawl I made up as I went along . . .

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My favourite shawl; mossy green and also invented as I worked. It has a macramé fringe and a pattern of ‘holes’ worked in just for interest.

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Two of the double-sided crochet bits I’ve made. This is from an easy pattern shared by a bus driving friend and posted here a while back.

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The most creative time of all . . . loving someone small . . .

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A crochet doily with white and ecru-leaved violets; I made this several years ago, when I was still living on the west coast of BC.

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Hexagon flowers for an eventual ‘Bestemor’s Flower Garden’ piece. Bestemor means Grandmother in Norwegian and it is what my grandkidlets call me, in homage to my Mum’s mother, who died years before I was born. I wish I had known her . . .

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Three of the hand-sewn dolls for my grandkidlets . . . from a rough pattern.

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Above, one of my Dad’s stained glass lampshades and on the back of the couch, a quilt made by my Mum, with her quilted pillow in the centre front. They both did so much more . . . I love that creativity has been passed down in my family for many generations.

My parents, with me and the first two of my brothers, back when we lived in a small one-room shack with no power, no indoor plumbing and a wood cookstove that also kept us warm. My creativity began even before that, though . . .

  • How does my creative process work? Well it’s different when you’re not so skilled and also very eclectic. (Do you think there’s a relationship between those two?) If I stuck to one or two creative endeavours, I might have mastered them by now and life would no doubt be quite different. But no such luck. I am inspired by an idea, a photo, a pattern, whatever; I gather materials and I start a project . . . then, “oh, look, a blade of grass!” (that phrase is a family joke among my sisters, often used when we are talking about something and then digress and then digress again [but we always come back to the original topic] ) and I am off learning about something else. Or maybe I had to move and my projects are in storage and I can’t stand the emptiness that comes when I have nothing on the go . . . so I read a bit (if you think I’m being honest with ‘a bit’, think again! LOL) but it’s never enough; I have to make something . . . so off I go on another project and then, there it is, that ‘blade of grass’ and away I go again . . .  In a perfect life, I like to have several things on the go at once, set up and waiting for me. Then I can ‘feel’ what I want to do for the day and pick up where I left off. In reality, I do have several things on the go at once, but practical considerations often determine what I work on at any given time. So, when at my Aunty’s, I need a project that doesn’t require me to read a pattern so that I can pay attention to our chats. One of the major reasons I fell in love with Dani’s Bavarian crochet afghan. I have finished two, have a large one well under way and am in the middle of one I haven’t really mentioned yet. Photos at the bottom of this post, but no peeking!

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The large Bavarian afghan above; two for the grandkids below.

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  • And I have enough yarn now . . . sigh . . . the first Bavarian was meant to use up two oversized balls of acrylic; then I had to buy more so there would be enough afghans for each of the soon-to-be-six grandkidlets to have one of their own and the parents to have one large enough to cuddle under . . . and then there is my other son and his former girlfriend. Like Scarlett, I’ll think about that tomorrow . . . A major part of my creative process is that simple projects somehow become complex and, like objects in the mirror, much larger and nearer than they seem) One reason they become complex is that I am creative with practically everything, and in a rather slap-dash, ‘what-the-hey’ manner. “oh, well” is a mantra heard often in the inner regions . . . but I LOVE it so much!! Why? I ask you . . . I makes me happy and frustrated, often in equal parts, to be creative; to learn and do; to master; to design (a life-long love of mine, designing); to teach . . .

When I can, I love to make things that are more challenging; last year I started my first Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’; some of you will remember it; not perfect, but it will be warm and cosy, and the lovely hot magenta background is very cheerful. Only the sleeves and buttonbands to go now (and maybe a hood), but it’s on hold at my friends’ place at present. I used traditional Fair Isle motifs, but the cardi itself and the arrangement of the motifs are all my own doing; the shape of the cardi evolved during the knitting . . .. as did the collar . . .

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A favourite quote . . . from Stephen Hunt.

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My Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’ . . . and that’s my lovely, 94.5 year old, under-five foot Aunty helping out as my photographer’s model . . .

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A Fair Isle style bag I invented, also with traditional motifs.

  • How does my work differ from others of its genre? Well, my friends, if I had a genre, maybe I’d have an answer for you . . . The best I can say is that I am wildly eclectic, with a wide range of creative loves that encompasses language and languages, music, folk art, fine art, design, almost all the arts known to woman including fibre arts of all sorts, traditional skills and current ways, and more. Perhaps what is different at times is that I am a philosophical thinker by nature (my top strength), so things I make often have meaning for me that they don’t have for others. I like to make things by hand. I’ve done a little spinning, some weaving, some dyeing, and so on. I’d hoped to do stamping and free-hand painting on some of the silk scarves, but those plans are on the shelf for now. I designed a Cowichan sweater for my husband a few decades ago, with symbols that are meaningful to him and knitted from unspun yarn in cream with light and dark brown motifs. So far as I know, he still has it. I have a couple of photos of it and will post them here if and when I locate them . . .

I like to combine media, too. I’ve done a little printmaking and the idea of combining that with watercolour and then collaging on top of it all is very exciting to me. I have created a few masks and art dolls. One piece I especially like is a four-foot circle of thin plywood covered in canvas. I fastened three masks of my own face on the front, then painted the entire thing white; it looks like faces emerging from the background.

  • What am I presently working on? Well, the Bavarian crochet afghans, of course, and here is a series of photos of pieces of the latest one, which is my way of being creative with a lovely pattern:

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Does that seem confusing? The large piece is the centre; there will be twelve smaller pieces (below is the photo showing the centre and three of the smaller bits) surrounding it, then there will be several rows all around and all in white. I may throw a row of purple in there somewhere, too; that depends on having enough left to complete the work. I have only one ball of the purple, but have three balls of the white and a good chance of getting more if needed. No chance of more purple; the yarn is different from the same brand now; softer and finer spun. But I do want a purple edge, as it will show wear a bit less.

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Here you can see the centre piece. Each side of it will have two of the purple hearted squares and the four corners will be the white hearted squares. Hope that’s more clear.

Here are the latest photos of this piece, which is turning out even better than I dreamed:

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As you can see, this new piece is now wider than a single bed . . . and still growing . . .  I call it “Violets in the Snow” and it’s my favourite of the Bavarians I’ve made so far.        I think I’ll be keeping this one . . ..

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A detail of the corner as it is today . . .

OK, that’s enough about me . . . 🙂 Four people have been kind enough to allow me to twist their arms ever so gently and have agreed to take part in this Blog Hop Around the World, or, as I like to think of it, this Voyage through the Virtual Village:

(Please note: all photos from participant bloggers are used with permission)

First up is Sarah from the Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm
(pronounced: fruu-lings-cab-ee-na)

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Sarah and her lovely family live in an old California gold rush town. 20130228-195603.jpg

Backyard chickens and so much more . . . but I’ll let Sarah tell you about that . . .

Her creativity is evident not only in her approach to sustainable living, but also in her artwork:

2 Nordic Animal Prints of Hand Drawn Illustration Designs with Rune Poems - Goat, Chicken, Horse, Sheep, Duck

One of Sarah’s Celtic mandala drawings, perfect for using as is or for colouring in.

On the blog are a page for Printables, with excellent resources for small-holding farmers, as well as another page with a variety of DIY projects. Check them out!

Sarah has an Etsy store, the Little Farm Shop, and it was there that I purchased my lovely raven amulet necklace:

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. . . as well as her beautiful ‘Backyard Farm Coloring Book’ for my grandkidlets and for a friend’s children, too. These are a perfect gift, as you can email them to whomever and they can print out as many copies as they like. Children can colour the pictures, then send them to Grandma or . . . all while learning a bit about backyard farming.


23 Thorns tea-towel

The Official Tea Towel of the 23 Thorns household . . .

Next up is . . . Mr. 23 Thorns! I first discovered him via The Road to Serendipity, and he makes me laugh and sometimes cry, often at the same time . . . Writing is one of my favourite forms of creativity, or I should say, reading other people’s writings.

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Mr. and Mrs. 23 Thorns (she has her own blogs: Tracy  Loves History and The Rubbish Collection Day Collection. This woman has the most inspired approach to taking out the trash that I’ve ever heard of; she, too, makes me laugh and sometimes cry. They deserve each other (and I mean that in the nicest of all possible ways)!

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Mrs and Miss 23 Thorns

As you can see, the 23 Thorns children are as creative as their parents . . .

Here are links to a couple of my favourite 23 Thorns posts . . .

  • Jesus died. But now he lives. In Detroit, sort of. This post introduced me to the work of Jesus Rodriguez, a man whose music and approach to life continues to inspire me. If you are intrigued, check it out . . .
  • Parenting for Dummies.  As my parents, and later myself, had quite ‘relaxed’ approaches to parenting, at least when it came to letting kids roam free, climb trees, take risks, etc., I found this post both refreshing and amusing. Don’t let the first line fool you; Mr. 23 Thorns loves his kids as much as any of us; he just doesn’t subscribe to the “wrap ’em in cotton wool ’til they grow up” philosophy.

23 Thorns kids n elephant  23 Thorns kids road trip

As you may have guessed from the photo on the left above, the 23 Thorns do not live in Canada . . . nope, they live in South Africa . . . I hope, if I ever get there, to camp somewhere nearby . . . I dream of hearing the birds, maybe even elephants, at night.

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Fierce Protector of the 23 Thorns household . . .

Mr. 23 Thorns also writes Why Books. That is a link to a wonderful post about WWI.


Getting Stitched on the Farm

Third brave participant is Kristin Nicholas, of Getting Stitched on the Farm. Kristin has her own shop, where you can browse for patterns (I’ve bought a couple), books, kits and more, even wallpaper!

  

Kristin has books of knitting and embroidery patterns in her shop.

One of the wallpaper patterns she painted by hand and which can be purchased.

Color by Kristin is her own brand of yarn. Half wool, a quarter each alpaca and mohair.

You can find these in the Embroidery Supplies section.

Kristin began sewing at age nine and, like me, learned to knit, crochet and much more soon after that. She was lucky to have a German Gran who taught her embroidery.

She sells her own notecards and postcards, too, in sets of assorted or single image.

  

Kristin has written several books, too, including these. I bought the centre one and love it! I will take it along the next time I visit my grandkidlets. My eldest granddaughter taught herself to stitch by age 5 and is still interested at 15.

Kristin lives a couple  of hours from Boston, Massachusetts. If you are going to be in the neighbourhood, you may be able to take in a class or two. This one interests me . . .

See her post on Fabric Printing if it interests you, too . . .

As you can see, Kristin’s creativity has many outlets. I have found her blog more than inspiring. Now if I only had more time . . . note to self, plant thyme next spring . . .


City House Studio

Fourth and final participant will be Michelle of the City House Studio blog. I found her through a couple of sewing and quilting blogs that I follow and was instantly smitten with her work and with her fresh approach to quilt design.

One of Michelle’s gorgeous quilts.

. . . and this is her Farmer’s Wife Quilt, completed in 2011. 90 blocks, to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday! More than impressive, isn’t it? There is a great story behind this quilt; you can read it here. It covers from the 1890s to the 1930s. I love the tradition that is carried on through the stories and by people still making this quilt.

here she is with her Gran and the quilt.

And here’s the back of it . . . equally lovely.

I love her Scrappy Asterisk Block tutorial and it’s on my ever-lengthening list . . . this is the first of Michelle’s quilts that I read about and it caught both my eye and my imagination. I simply adore anything not ‘in-the-box’ when it comes to design.

Michelle has an Etsy store and it should be open again soon. I happen to know she’s extremely busy getting some quilts ready for several fall fairs. Which explains why Michelle’s Blog Hop post will see the light of day in September – watch for it!

You can buy patterns from Michelle’s Craftsy store, too.

See her “Read” Library Tote pattern here or her Bionic Gear Bag Notions tote here.

Now, if you’re into free motion quilting, be sure to visit Michelle’s FMQ Challenge blog. That’s one example in the photo above. And then there is this:

Don’t know if I’ll ever have time for trapunto quilting, but I hope so. At least one piece, maybe a pillow . . . Project lists certainly give us reasons to live, don’t they?

 

Two of Michelle’s ‘Sticks’ quilts. I. Want. More. Time. !!!  🙂

I’m not sure where this Blog Hop began, but I have traced it back a ways for you, in case you, too, are afflicted with terminal curiosity . . .

Rabid Little Hippy

The Road to Serendipity

The Contented Crafter

Boomdeeadda 

One Spoiled Cat

These Days of Mine

A New Day Dawns

Simply Trece

I’m assuming the Hop goes back much further, but have run out of time; if you are interested, I’m sure you can do what I’ve done so far; go to the last blog listed and go back through posts to around June (or earlier, as you go on), then look for the specific post. It’s been lots of fun, just seeing all the different types of blogs that are linked through this Hop. If you read the posts, you will see that there are branches to this hop; as many bloggers have twisted the arms of found three others to ‘volunteer’ to join in.

It wouldn’t be a “post accompli” without a bit of music, would it? Much of it is folky, so if that’s not your thing, no worries. None of us have enough thyme for everything, do we?

Heiland Harry by The Corries, in honour of all the young men who never returned from the various wars they were sent to fight.

Like Janis by Jesus Rodriguez (Sixto Diaz)

Asimbonanga by Johnny Clegg (with Nelson Mandela!)

Hobo’s Lullaby by Arlo Guthrie (written by Woody Guthrie), in honour of all those out of work and homeless . . .

Two songs that link to my childhood now:

The Log Driver’s Waltz by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. My Dad used a peavey like these when managing logs in a boom im a holding pond. I don’t think he ever rode a log through whitewater, though.

The Frozen Logger by The Weavers. My Dad used to sing this all the time. I learned it as a young child and I still love it.

A half hour of Stompin’ Tom Connors, a Canadian icon. I don’t listen to a lot of country, but I still love Stompin’ Tom, who passed away not that long ago. A true, true Canadian!

His The Hockey Song will always be one of my favourites.

and, of course, Runrig, singing The Water is Wide and Steppin’ Down the Glory Road.

. . . performing An Sabhal Aig Neill, followed by the Drums . . . should make you dance!

Last, my favourite rendition of “We Will Rock You!” This one’s for the more rockin’ of my followers.If you want a lot more more rock and a lot less folk, here’s one of my favourites from Woodstock . . . Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this voyage . . . I sure did. Hope it was worth the wait.

Here we are, home again . . . someone has the kettle on and there are treats ready for our tea . . . too busy now? Come by another time; the door is always on the latch . . .

BTW, the Happy Hibiscus says ‘hello’ to all of you; this is the most recent of an amazing summer of flowering. I think it’s thirteen or fourteen so far and there are another two or three buds coming along. The most I ever had in one year, ever, was three and that was once. Most years there has only been one and occasionally there were none.

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Random stuff (including a huge surprise!!) and two big thanks to Wendy . . .

First I apologize for not answering all your lovely comments (again!). I’m nearly out of time and I had to make a choice. So the post won out . . .

No, not the lovely Emerald Scarves post . . . due to events beyond my control, I’m still not quite done with the ironing. But, to my (small) credit, I did get the dyeing done!

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A variety of ribbons, some with one dip, others with two; the ones on the far left are amethyst purple with green over-dyed at the bottom. I wasn’t thinking when I tied them onto the dyepot handles, so the purple transferred to one of the greens, leaving (luckily) only a couple of purple blots. I will likely use that bit of ribbon for something myself.

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One of the first green scarves, just rinsed and about to be rolled in a towel ’til it’s damp dry and ready for ironing. This time I’m ironing them damp, with spray starch as well.IMG_5712   IMG_5713

There are six darker green scarves and three lighter green. In person, it’s a marked difference; in the photos, I don’t think it shows up that well. Both are very spring-green, though, and looking at them makes me happy! (these are not yet ironed, of course)

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What I was watching while the scarves cooled enough to rinse out: an old favourite, “As Time Goes By” with Geoffrey Palmer and Judi Dench, whose work I love. I just saw a film on tv called “The Lavender Ladies” starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith!!! Set in the ’30s, they are older women who lived through the First War. There is a violinist, too,

whose playing is so moving . . . I won’t tell the story; you’ll have to find it yourself. 🙂

Now, I have to say there are two reasons to thank Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle:

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The Golden Yogini Milk mixture, coming to a boil (I had fun playing with the spoon and swirling the floating spices around in fascinating patterns (see left photo)  🙂

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  Ice cubes, waiting for the golden goddess to descend and transform them . . .

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The frothy drink in all its golden glory . . . it was as yummy as advertised, even though it was iced, but not as thick as my coffee shop iced lattes; next time I’m going to try adding some protein powder and maybe a banana. Banana chai, anyone?

This next bit deserves its own post, but I am conscious that FeedReaders can get clogged up by people who post multiple posts in one day (never mind over a week), so I’m just tacking it on here. It’s definitely the biggest bit of the day, though. 🙂

Background:  Today, while waiting for a the grocery list to be made up, I played a few games of Bejewelled Blitz, my not-so-secret vice. I play with two young friends and we each send ‘gifts’ of coins to the next person, who sends to the next, etc. So we all get 40 ‘gifts’ of virtual coins a day (ideally). In addition, there are monthly bonuses you can ‘buy’ with your virtual coins and ‘boosts’ that cause you to win more points. If you buy a ‘shamrock’ bonus, at the end of each one minute game, you see nine shamrocks and when you click on one, you gain however many coins are behind it.

🙂 I know, get to the point, Linne (you are assuming I have a point, and you are correct!) Today, for the first time, ever!!!, I chose the highest-paying shamrock four times in a row! 100,000 coins (all virtual, of course; I’m not the sort of idiot who spends hard cash on virtual coins to play a game . . . I may be financially challenged, but not that much!)

Anyway, that made me feel VERY LUCKY and quite Green Little Leprechaunish and Pots-o-Gold at the end of the Rainbow were seen floating around between my ears (well, I have to keep something there, don’t I?)

So, to make a long story longer . . . (still practising Anticipation 101, are you? Good!

When I went to the grocery store, I took along Mum’s lotto tickets from last week along with my own tickets. Just in case, you see . . .

AND . . .

WAIT

FOR

IT:

TA DA!!

Winning Ticket 24Mar2014 Guess what? I won! (Mum didn’t, but I’m the one who BELIEVES!   🙂  )

Now, wasn’t that nice? And worth waiting for? The last time I had a win over $20 was about five years ago, when I won $100, just when I needed it. So I bought a couple of tickets for us for this week and the rest went into the grocery fund.

As you can see, I’m on a roll, here . . .

Oh, I forgot to say why I’m thanking Wendy for this (and any of the rest of you lovely readers who put up with my teasing and procrastination and whatnot . . .

You may have seen our comment exchanges centred on how nice it would be to win the lotto. Well, here’s the first taste . . . As I always say, if you don’t buy the ticket, don’t expect to win . . . both Wendy and I know people who’ve won large amounts twice (the man I met is a friend of a friend and won two very large lottos. It was very inspirational to meet him.) Anyway . . . Wendy’s comments caused me to think about being lucky and how lucky I’ve been all my life, in so many ways . . . and now I wish that you all may be even luckier than I am . . . always . . .

 Now, for all you folkies and John Denver fans, here’s a link my brother-in-law sent me:

The Chad Mitchell Trio reunion with John Denver (1987)

It’s over an hour, so I haven’t heard it all yet, but if you like this sort of music, it’s great!

 For those of you who like very bad jokes (or, more likely, your men who do LOL), here’s a song by Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly   Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

It’s from a movie called “A Prairie Home Companion” (Robert Altman’s final film) with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Garrison Keillor, Lily Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, Maya Rudolph, Virginia Madsen, Lindsay Lohan, etc. It’s loosely based on the real-life radio show of the same name, which was created by and stars Garrison Keillor. I love the move, because much of its music and style are what I grew up with when I was young.

And the 20th Anniversary Concert (1989) of Steeleye Span

and one last album: The Pentangle, the first by the group of that name

“The Pentangle was the 1968 debut album of the band Pentangle: Terry Cox, Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson.

It brought together their separate influences of folk, jazz, blues, early music and contemporary song-writing.”

about time . . .

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That’s a.m.! (my nice note from Christi is below – it came with poor Delilah, now deceased). But I think of Christi (and then the rest of you folks by association) whenever I’m in the kitchen . . .

Well, the ceilings have been looked at and discussed again and it’s possible they will wait for the place to be empty before fixing them. We hope!

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That’s our living room (lounge) after quite a bit of work (I’m not showing you the ‘before’ pictures LOL!)

So . . . finally everyone was gone, Mum was making her supper and I sat down at the computer to get some work done.

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I’d created tags for the scarves, but it took me a couple of hours before I finally figured out how to print them on business card blanks . . . and then the printer spoilt three sheets, drawing them in unevenly and also ignoring the margins. Aarrrgggghhhhhhh…………
The last sheet (part of it is seen above) was usable, just. Oh, well . . .

Then . . . I was planning to upload a couple of scarves into the store. I took pictures out on the balcony this afternoon (the Etsy Guidebook says natural light is best). Not for the iPhone, apparently, although I haven’t figured out why . . . All my photos here are taken with the phone. So I tried taking new ones by putting a large piece of cotton fabric on Mum’s bed, then a scarf and photographing it in sections so the detail would be clearer.

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An outdoor pic

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An indoor pic
What to do? I had set today as my deadline to open the store, but had no usable photos.
Woa… is me (I’m one letter away from turning blue . . . 😉 Nothing like a bad pun, eh?

But all is not lost! Last time I was visiting my friends, Mrs. and Mr. Crafty, I photographed her dolls Jenny and Jed. Remember?

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Jenny

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Jed

So . . . a couple more hours were spent invested and finally I had all the information typed up, photos uploaded and the Store Announcement changed . . .

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An adorable couple . . .

. . . and the store was officially open!
Whew!!! But at least I learned a bit . . .

By then it was 2:00 a.m., so Mum went to bed and I made some supper (no, not chocolate; steamed veg and pasta) and watched the last of the director’s commentary on “How to Train Your Dragon”, which I’d viewed over a few days last week. Just what I needed!

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. . . and fell asleep . . .

So, the linkie to the store is coming up soon . . .

Bet you thought I’d forget, eh? 🙂 It’s now after 5:00 am and I’m done for now, so . . .

. . . Go forth, my friends, and, as Jean-Luc Picard would have said (had he been captain of the spaceship ‘Serenity’, “Make it Shiny!!”

Silken . . . part 4 ~ The Blues in progression

Well, I wish I had more to show you, all teasing aside . . . When I dumped out the water this morning, there was still a lot of colour in it. So I have now washed and rinsed another three times, not counting quite a while of rinsing under a running tap. (not so ecologic, I know. But if it were possible, I’d be using natural dyes and working outdoors. Then the dye disposal wouldn’t be a problem, at least not with my batch sizes.)

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Still too much colour in the rinse water . . .

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More rinsing under the tap . . .

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Looking better . . .

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Nine scarves folded in fours and piled at the edge of the sink. This is really just a ‘teaser’ shot to show some of the detail . . . I thought they were done and ready to hang for drying, then squeezed them out and discovered quite a lot of colour still coming out . . . back to the rinsing . . . good thing I’m patient with process. (actually, sometimes the journey is better than the arrival, in my opinion)

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It looks even better in real life . . .

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The ribbons, hung to dry. (I just checked them and they are done drying now; it’s been a few  hours since I finished the rinsing). I had meant for the top part of each bunch to remain white and then be dyed a different colour (purple? green? rose? hmmmmm……), but the overnight ‘sulking’ caused some of the dye to migrate into the white bits. Oh, well, they’re still pretty. And I can still dye the tops. Not sure if that blue will morph the new colour, but it will be ok; I’m planning to use something harmonious.

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So . . . what I have above is three photos, each of one of the stacks hanging up to dry atop the frame that once held shower doors. I folded each scarf in half and then again, then stacked them three to a pile. I just turned them over, but they are drying nicely in spite of the depth of the fabric. Of course, the silk is quite thin. I couldn’t do this with cotton, so will have to figure out a drying system soon. I couldn’t resist giving you at least a peek. Next up . . . an ironing session (love ironing!) and then final photo shoot.

If you want to see some great historic tie dye work, check out Courtenay Pollock’s site and blog. He created the backdrops for the Grateful Dead as well as T-shirts for them and their fans. He’s still working as a tie dye artist, now based in Powell River, BC.

GratefulDead tie dye backdrops by CP

Amazing, aren’t they? 200 hours more or less just folding and tying. 16 panels in all.

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As the scarves dry, some of the intensity is lost, but they are still pretty vibrant.

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The ribbon is lovely and on the right you can see my ‘test strip’ of a bit of watercolour paper that I dipped in the dye before adding the scarves. I’m finding that’s a good way to preview a colour. The dyebath is darker and more intense, likewise the wet silks.

And while we’re talking about the Dead (if any of you are DeadHeads),
here’s a link to my favourite song of theirs:

Ripple

“If I knew the way, I would take you home . . . ” Ah, nostalgia . . .

I’ve set myself a date for opening the store, but will wait to announce it, as life is always uncertain. I have a few things to do before I’m ready, like figure out how I will package these for shipping. I have some embellishing to do on a few, too, and that should be loads of fun. Maybe instead of all this posting, I should just install a webcam and you could log on and watch me . . . then again, maybe not. 😉

Well, back to ‘work’ . . . I’ll leave you with two songs.

The first is Runrig’s ‘Oran‘ (Song), which I love and am listening to just now.

It’s in Gaelic, of course, but here are some of the lyrics translated:

Looking out the window of morning
From the evening to the door of night
I asked the question
and the answer was in the water
It was the earth.

Sing, sing, sing
A new song, a song of the dust

 

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Sunday’s breakfast: Norske Egg Pancakes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Ice Cream, and honey sent to me by my sweet sister in New Mexico. The honey is from Colorado.

And what would a post on the Blues be without a blues song or three?

3 fine examples of blues music from the ’50s:

Got my mojo workin’ – Muddy Waters
Frankie – Mississippi John Hurt
Crawling up a hill – John Mayall

 

 

Silken . . . part 3 ~ Blues in the Night

It’s 2:00 am, so I will NOT use my words (much) . . .

Earlier, the twilight seen through the icy doors set the mood:

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The plum scarves and shawl ate all the dye and were quick to wash out. The Blues, on the other hand, took nearly two hours, including carefully cutting off all the ties. And there were a lot of ties this time!

20140303-021038.jpg Looks good, so even though the witching hour is upon us . . .

20140303-021132.jpg Hmmmm . . . a fair bit of dye still in there . . . blue goes farther, I guess.

20140303-021236.jpg The first bit untied . . .

20140303-021329.jpg The lovely strings after being removed.

20140303-021432.jpg After washing with Orvus paste and water, there seemed to still be a fair bit of dye in the silks . . . so I dumped out the water, rinsed the silks in the sink, filled the pot with more water and Orvus paste. After swishing them well, I have left the silks to sulk overnight. Tomorrow . . . another Happy Reveal!!

I absolutely LOVE this colour and will be using it again . . . I hope I can achieve the same or close when I dye the cottons. I have to go read now, or I will be up all night; instead I shall dream of singing the Blues . . .

Did I ever tell you that when I was briefly in uni I had the chance to see Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee? (evrn before I saw Dylan) Only about fifty people showed up; they weren’t that well known in Victoria, I guess. We were in a big room in the Student Union Building; sitting around informally. The pair stood in the centre. I was in the first circle and it was incredible! I couldn’t believe my luck. I was already into R&B, but wasn’t knowledgeable; I just knew what I liked. I’ve never forgotten them. Here they are with Pete Seeger on his tv show Rainbow Quest, singing a Happy Blues song, The Rock Island Line:
http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=6bSQKOGD8AU

Here they are again, singing Down by the Riverside. Pete’s wise words at tbe beginning are worth hearing even if this isn’t your sort of music:
http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=I9eDU045u_E

Just the two of them this time, singing Born and Livin’ With the Blues:
http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=P6C61sxbjII

A blast from the past if you’re feeling Moody, so to speak 🙂 (this is the long version):
http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=IAjGdmFKf8E

A last glimpse of the twilight earlier:

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Silken . . . part 2 ~ the Blues

I have been trying for a long time (try over three hours 😦 ) to edit a post on the new blog. Alas! Something isn’t working. Hope it isn’t Mum’s computer . . . but everything else seems fine.

20140302-023416.jpg An old favourite, ‘though I first read it as an adult. Published in 1906, when my Mum’s mother was fifteen and living in North Dakota; her Dad was sixteen and still in Lillehammer; my Dad’s oldest sister a wee baby living with her parents on a communal farm in Russia.

Anyway, I will share some news here now and edit that post later. I hope 🙂

I have been busy in spite of wanting to curl up in my shawls and read, with hot drinks nearby (I confess, I have done a bit of that, too . . . temps down near -39C with the wind . . . and next week apparently we get several days above freezing)

20140302-023846.jpg Second of four books in a good mystery series. His Lou Boldt series are his best, but he seems to have moved on to other characters. Ridley Pearson often refers to Seattle in winter as being in ‘the rinse cycle’. If you have ever been on the coast in winter anywhere from northern Oregon to Haida Gwai’i, you know what he means. 😉 Mysteries are good for keeping the mind occupied and distracted from compulsively checking the temperature on the iPhone app to see if it’s T-shirt weather yet . . . who, moi?

Ok, back to sharing my busyness:

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Yes, that’s a batch of scarves turning blue . . . holding their breath? No, just dyeing . . . 😉

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Just before I began with the blues, I poured half of the green dyestock into an old jam jar (Mum likes strawberry jam and for some reason I like the jars and have been squirreling them away; well, now I have a reason 🙂 )

20140302-025007.jpg Why e-books will never replace the real thing . . . On my way to look for more favourites to re-read, I spied this treasure! I would never have known of it if I was unable to browse, letting my eyes do the walking. Such serendipity! I may yet survive ’til spring . . . assuming such a thing exists; on days colder than -30C, my faith is flimsy . . . Non-fiction, this is the story of Ray Bradbury’s months spent near Dublin in 1953, when he was writing the screenplay adaptation of ‘Moby Dick’ for John Huston, who was a genius. After reading the first chapters, though, I could see why he was married five times . . . Written in Bradbury’s unique voice, it is a very different look at Ireland just after the War. The advice he is given on bicycling at night is startling: keep your lights off and ride on the wrong side of the road, so as to avoid accidents. He is a genius himself, Bradbury, well worth re-reading for the joy of his way with words and language, nevermind his stories that take your mind ‘where no mind has gone before’ (well, except Ray’s) 😉

Then I added more green as well as some yellow and cooked it all again. What do you think of the new green?

20140301-234349.jpg Maybe that last picture shows the colour difference better.

Here is the Happy Hibiscus again. I think it’s feeling a bit tentative about opening those buds . . . it’s right next to the frosty glass doors and we keep the temperature down here.

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Today those buds looked like this up close:

20140301-235051.jpg That’s not a sky full of clouds behind the HH, it’s the artistic work of one J Frost.

From the kitchen you can see the colour beginning to show . . .

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Need a smile?

Listen to The Tortoise

Those are my other favourite singers. Well, two of them, anyway. I have a lot of favourites.

Were you wondering what happened to the silky bits?

20140302-022450.jpg Here they are, cooling off in Mum’s second bedroom and attaching to the last of the dye. As to how they have turned out . . . for now, we’re keeping a lid on it . . .

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😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

This song is for . . . you know who you are 😉

Voila!! (part the second) the Mystery revealed . . .

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Left: you can see what I mean by ‘teensy ties’, can’t you? This was taken through Mum’s lit magnifying glass on a floor stand. On the right, one of the ties about to be undone. There is a trick to this; you have to begin at the proper end of the thread or it’s very hard to undo. Once you start in the right place, it goes much faster. Altogether, it took me three hours to remove all the threads.

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Left: here you can see the ball of threads already removed; I was about a third of the way through. On the right, a close-up showing some ties remaining, others undone.

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Left, the final tied end (I thought; later I found one more very small one) Right, the final ball of removed threads. They must be cotton; they didn’t take the dye. I’m saving them to use in another tie-dye project some day soon. Waste not, want not!  😉

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The photo on the right is closest of them all to an accurate depiction of the colour. On the left, the project with the ties undone, but the stitching around the edge still in place.

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The project spread out and anchored on top of Mum’s bed. It’s almost the size of the bed, even with the crinkled texture from being tied so tightly. One picture is the front, the other is the back; I can’t remember now which is which, but I think the front is on the left.

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Left, a close-up of the back; Right, a close-up of the front.

Have you guessed what it is yet? No? I could wait and tell you tomorrow, but you’ve all been very good and practised Anticipation very studiously, so I’ll tell you now:

It’s a Bandhani Shawl. The silk piece is hand-tied in India, then dyed by me. The ties give it a very deep texture, so it must be dry-cleaned. If it is washed, it will still be pretty, but will then be quite flat. The texture also makes it quite stretchy (that’s why you can see various items holding down the corners. It’s opened up a bit  with the stretching. I think that when worn, it will cling in a very nice way to the wearer. Next time I get the chance, I’ll see if I can get a friend to model it for me.

Next up: a dye lot with the lovely blue colour (and who knows how THAT will turn out?). I have more of the scarves to dye, plus another shawl. This time, I won’t dye the entire shawl one colour; instead, I plan to paint it with different colours. That should be quite pretty, judging by how this one turned out. Stay tuned . . . and thanks for  your patience!

I have more colours, too, and I do love mixing my own, so you never know what will show up here after the blues . . . isn’t this fun? I’m just dyeing to do more . . .   🙂

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Voila!! (Part the first)

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These are the dental floss ties I used on the first three projects. They took the dye quite nicely, so I’m saving them for use elsewhere; maybe on my neglected day cards.

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On the left, a close-up of the Mystery project front. You can see the multitude of ties (I didn’t tie those; it was done by a master artist in India. If I’d done it, I’d still be on the first couple of rows). On the right, a close-up of the back. Note: Colours are not accurate.

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The Mystery project, front (left) and back (right).

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Scarf # One, both ends.

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Scarf # Two, both ends.

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Scarf # Three, both ends.

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On the left, the bundle of silk ribbon which is half dyed. The other end will be dyed as part of the next dye lot and will be a different colour. On the right, a close-up of the detail in one of the scarves. I’m quite happy with how these came out.

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On the left, a close-up of the ribbon. On the right, the Mystery project, hung up to dry.

* * * INTERMISSION * * *

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The Barn Cardi to date: on my Aunty, it reaches to her ankles;

maybe I should have kept going? 🙂

Not sure if I’ll have time to write the second post;

I have all the photos in already, but there’s still a way to go.

If I don’t get it done tonight, tomorrow for sure . . . savour the Anticipation . . .

🙂  🙂  🙂

Big Group Happy Dance!

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See how the water is nearly clear?

That means the dye is properly used up, or exhausted.

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Yes!!

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Dumping the water out.

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Cutting the ties from all but one of the pieces.

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The beginning of the Big Reveal . . .

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. . . ooooh . . . looks like it may have worked!

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The big mystery . . . and if I told you now, what would you have to Anticipate?

Anticipation 101, remember??  🙂

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Rinsing the other pieces in tepid water in the sink before . . .

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. . . adding the Orvus Paste (special detergent to remove any excess dye)

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Very viscous . . .

By removing excess dye you prevent the unfortunate accident of the item accidently dyeing something else in the wash somewhere down the line . . . a good thing!

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Where we’re at now . . . I ;have ‘Foyle’s War’ to watch (right now!) and then I’ll rinse this out again, then hang everything up to dry. More tomorrow . . . are you excited yet? I am!

I did have a sneak peek while unwrapping the first items and I have to honestly say I really love how they turned out.

Freestylin’ just seems to work for me for some reason . . .

except when it doesn’t, of course . . . 😉

What I’m listening to as I type this:

Asimbonanga by Johnny Clegg

Bridal Jig / Lannigan’s Ball by Prairie Ceilidh

End of the Line by The Travelling Wilburys

General Taylor by Great Big Sea (that Sèan can sure sing!)

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

Handle With Care by The Travelling Wilburys

Henry Martin by Figgy Duff

All thanks to my iPhone’s iPod app . . . some days are just good ones!

Hope yours was as much fun and I’ll see you tomorrow . . .  😉

Remember, Anticipation is more than half the fun!

Big hugs to you all. ~ Linne