Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Jun 27, 2017

Small Dyeing-Avocado Skin

The skin from half an avocado, cut in two (no dyeing reason for cutting, that's what I do when I am opening an avocado to eat.)

This was rather unplanned, I just put the two pieces in a small pot --
(I confess it was my regular cooking pot - usually I am scrupulous about NOT using my food pots, but I didn't feel like getting out my dye pot which is huge and I wasn't doing anything but simmering an avocado I rationalized ) -
I simmered it for maybe 30 minutes, and there was a dark lovely ruby color to the water.
(And now I have to confess that I stuck two pieces of fabric - one silk, one cotton - into the pot, right along with the skins and let it sit an hour or so, with a stir once or twice)

I rinsed them with vinegar and then warm water and let them dry overnight.
I put the avocado water into a little jelly jar.
And thoroughly washed my pot and decided I MUST add a small pot to my dye-dedicated cookware.

 Here is the jar of ruby avocado water, with the morning sun shining through.

In the morning, I added a teeny bit of alum to the jar. And it darkened considerably, became a very dark maroon. Added smaller silk and cotton squares.

Here are the results.


on the left, without alum, with skins left in pot.on the right, with alum

on the left, without alum, with skins left in pot.on the right, with alum

I think I am going to focus on experimenting with avocado. I have a nice lot of skins saved in the freezer as well as seeds. And I've been gathering other mordants to try.
Much to 'what if..?" with.

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Jun 23, 2017

Visible mending

A favorite pair of cotton pants with a mesh bit at the bottom that keeps tearing.

 At first, I repaired with black thread, stitching and weaving,

but in the wash, the laundry bag I put them in opened, and my repairs did not survive the agitation.
So I decided upon this:

That lovely purple patch is a soft, worn bit of fabric from a favorite pants from years ago.  It seems like a blank canvas asking for some embroidery. I might oblige. The other bits are from repurposed thrift shop finds and kantha cloth scraps bought on etsy. 

I suspect I will wind up repairing and repairing, until there is no mesh left. Just the patchwork mending.
I'm okay with that.

Jun 7, 2017

Lemon balm

Communing with the plant spirits these days. No plans written in ink, just dreams, just staying open to what comes.
Last month I discovered a big patch of Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) which migrated from a plant that had been potted last year.

I've been enjoying it snipped over my daily fruit salad.

It seemed time to harvest some the other day, so I cut enough for four bundles, washed it, let it dry on a towel, then made bundles.

Trying something I just read about...setting the bundles to completely dry in paper bags with holes. I liked this idea because it protects them from dust, etc. until they are dried enough for more a permanent home in jars.

And I'm posting this picture to remind myself that I am determined to label things this year!

I had a bunch of stray leaves left on my table outside that dried up nicely, so I made a couple of sachets with them. I wrapped the lemon balm in cheesecloth for an inner bag and then used the fabric that I dyed with turmeric root.  So much plant spirit goodness in this little project!

About 2" X 3", these are sweet and subtle, perfect for tucking in pocket, purse, or under a pillow and squooshing a bit to get a light scent of lemon, a moment of calming aromatherapy.

There will be tea in the future. And, a second harvest which might yield a tincture, depending on, of course, the dreams...

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Jun 2, 2017

Work In Progress: slow stitch story

this piece is just beginning to tell me a story.  bits and pieces.
something about maps. patience. wandering.

May 17, 2017

work in progress - stitch

work in progress.
or could just be a 'what-if?'
play or experiment.
it's a 'we'll see...'
[unstitched remnants of kantha cloth which are stitched remnants of vintage saris,  stitched to a remnant of a cotton blouse which was accidentally washed and dried with an ink pen]

May 15, 2017

Finished Object-Scarf-Close To You

Pattern: Close To You by Justyna Lorkowska
Yarn: Queensland Uluru (as color A) and HiKoo CoBaSi (as color B)
Needle: size 6 circular

The only pattern modification was making it for two colors. I used B for the eyelet row and the 3 rows following it. On each eyelet row, it begins with BO 8 stitches. Rather than cut Color A each time and attach Color B, I chose to bind off those stitches using both yarns, and carry the non-working yarn up the side.

This pattern was super-easy to memorize and thus a pleasurable carry-about knitting project.

About halfway through, it became clear to me that this scarf was not going to be for me, and soon I knew just who it was for. I'm packing it up this week to make a journey to a dear friend. Meanwhile, I have started another.  We'll see if I get to keep this one!

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May 9, 2017


bees, sea, grieving

this death
     that one.
          all those.

the wind full of Amazing Grace,
the sky full of our eyes,
the earth brave with her burdens,

but grieving

about her ruined sea
about the bees


about the time
she’ll hear us say remember


 ---Zann Carter
[first published in Dirty Chai, Issue 8 Fall 2015]

I want to blog a bit about my poetry, because that is a huge part of my creative life. I am happiest and most fulfilled when my days are composed of writing time and fiber arts time. The tactile, in-motion process of working with fiber and beautiful tools complements the cerebral process of writing, working at desk and computer - each an antidote to too much of the other. Often, too, each art informs the other.

I no longer post my poems here because most journals consider that to be publication and they will not consider previously published work. Two years ago, I began a concerted effort to submit my work here and there, to enter contests, etc., so it's important that I follow all the rules.

At any given time during my effort, I had 10 or so manuscripts out for consideration and at the end of a year or so, had gotten 7 acceptances out of perhaps 50 total submissions. I think that is a fairly decent ratio. I am gearing up again for another such effort.

Right now, I have one batch of poems out. My goal last year was to do at least one submission a week. And I specifically set aside Sunday as Submission Sunday. That routine worked very well for me and I quite liked the alliteration. I think that this time I want to challenge myself to submit more often, and to take advantage of simultaneous submission when journals allow that and it seems most of them do.

I can post links to my poems in online publications and I believe I can post those poems here as well as poems in print publications after they have been out awhile, with an acknowledgement to the publication.

So. We have just ended National Poetry Month. It was quite a wonderful month. I was delighted to be invited to participate in a reading and panel with three other local poets, held at the public library. That is how the month began for me.

April ended with the Lit Launch - an annual event with local colleges and universities, where all the literary magazines are distributed. For several years, our DIY lit mag, subTerreanean, has been invited to take part as well. subTerreanean comes out of the poetry community we've created with th' poetry asylum, and a monthly open reading that is in its ninth year.

I was also invited to read some of my poems at Indiana State University - that was on May 1, so it seemed like it was part of National Poetry Month as well.

And then there was this year's NaPoWriMo - the annual poetry month challenge to write a poem every day. I've completed it five times now. This year, I managed 23.  And I'm not at all unhappy! As usual, when working at the rate of a poem a day over a period of time, some are promising, some are not, and a couple end up splendid and ready to meet the world.