Test post

I have not blogged for far too long. I ran out of space to upload my photos to WordPress, and didn’t want to pay the amount they weer charging for more storage space, which was approximately equal to a year’s worth of Heat’n’Bond.

My photos were uploading to Flickr fine, but I needed to find a way to easily get them into a blog post. I’m trying a new app, and if this works, I will try to go back and update you on what I have made in the past 6 months.

For now, lets see if this image comes across from Flickr ok:


Fabric Dyeing with Edwina Mackinnon – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I had an excellent day dyeing fabrics with Birmingham Embroiderers’ Guild. Edwina Mackinnon led the workshop, teaching us how to achieve lovely effects with procion dyes. This post has the finished fabrics.

We started by dyeing a colour spectrum. As this post was likely to be very pic heavy, I created some slideshows instead:

Most of the techniques involved mixing dyes in various proportions in sequential bags, and adding fabrics scrumpled to get these lovely patterns.

The next set of fabrics I dyed was with complimentary colours, on a scale from fuchsia to green:

My favourite technique was this colour family dyeing one, where we added one colour of dye, allowed it to fix for a while, then rearranged the fabric, and poured a second colour in. This took in different places, so produced lovely crystal-like patterns:

We also did some folds to use up leftover dyes.
Folded into a square and dipped in dyes:

Folded into a long thin concertina, rolled up into a pinwheel, and then dipped in one colour of dye, with others poured on top.

Randomly scrumpled, dipped in one colour with another poured on top.

The last piece I did was plow dyeing, tightly pleating fabrics to get these strong patterns.

It was excellent fun, and I love the fabrics I made.

Plenty of Printing

Today I did some printing, using the stamps and stencils I cut yesterday. I’m working towards a couple of nature inspired competitions for next year, so I wanted to make plenty of prints to be going on with.

Envelopes, tags and zig zag books to tip in to my sketchbook.

Lots of sketchbook pages, for evening colouring

Prints on fabric:

And on deli paper, which is excellent at picking up small details from the Gelli plate:

Lots of prints on A4 copier paper:

Including some backgrounds from stencils to go with the prints:

And this print on thick round khadi:

All in all, a good day:

A productive day

This morning, I set a batch of chutney going, using the apples from our tree. It’s been slowly brewing for hours now, so soon I will have to go and jar it up.

I’ve also discovered I can use my pyrography tool as a hot stencil cutter, so I cut the stencils in much quicker time and better detail than I was expecting. It’s hard to photograph clear plastic, so the best thing I could think of was to hang them on my washing line:

Honeysuckle, comfrey, ivy.

Bumble bee, lavender,  apple blossom, chives.

I also cut positive and negative stamps of the bee, apple, ivy, and comfrey.

And blocked the Turner’s Hill TV tower piece.

A new beginning…

I’m working towards a couple of competitions next year with a garden theme, so I have planned a couple of stencils. As per my usual style, they are rather complicated. If I can get them cut as planned, I will be very pleased.

Not too sure how to cut the hollyhocks!


I spent some lovely summer and early autumn evenings picking blackberries, giving me a 4kg harvest.

Last Sunday, a friend and I spent several happy hours in his kitchen, listening to some good music, and making jam.

Berries ready to go.

We had plenty of jars to use up.

Very precise measuring of jar apertures to cut waxed paper circles!

How much sugar!

Bubbling nicely 🙂

I didn’t take any more photos after this, but we made 13 jars of blackberry jam, and 8 jars of blackberry and apple jelly. It’s lovely, great in porridge.

We also made some non-Newtonian semi-Freddo, with some of the water which we poured over the berries, boiled for a bit, and then changed our minds, so poured it off and froze it. It is amazing, quite tart, but wonderful with chocolate ice cream. We’ll never be able to replicate it, sadly.