Friday, November 27, 2015

Eco-dye reveal

Some of you will remember this post from Day 16 of AEDM where I showed a different (to me) way to eco-dye fabric.  I let the fabric sit for 12 days, then after the last of my Thanksgiving guests left, I didn't want to wait any longer to see if my latest venture in eco-dyeing produced something I would be able to use, or if it had been a wasted (and expensive) experiment.  In the middle of decorating my house for Christmas, I knew right away I didn't want to wait any longer.

I promised I would show my eco-dyed fabric once I removed it from the container.   If you don't remember or didn't see the original post, you can check it out by clicking on this link.  So. early this morning, I tackled the eco-dye reveal.

Some of you had no idea what alum was.  I had heard of it before, but never used it.  I remembered you need it if you are making pickles, but that was all I knew.  I also knew I had to look in the spice section of a large grocery store for it, too.  You can read all the specifics of it, its compounds, and its other uses at Wikipedia.

Once again, I'm beginning with a few words of caution.  Better safe than sorry is my motto.  If you used any rusty elements in your eco-dyed fabric, you MUST, and I repeat MUST neutralize the rust by washing it in a bath of baking soda water.  You also MUST wear some type of gloves, either disposable like mine, or permanent kitchen gloves.  The rust interacts with the hemoglobin in your blood, and if you have even the tiniest cut or scratch on your hands, you could die from interacting with the rust.  So, please be safe and do as I ask.  This is NOT one of those times when there are no rules.  This is a rule you must follow, PLEASE!

Into my kitchen and off my soap box, I'm ready to remove the pieces from the jar I placed them in earlier in the month.

Two of them looked very interesting in this state, especially since all the fabric started out white.

It was interesting to note that the alum had turned the rusted areas black, not brown, as has always been the case in the past.

The same was true of my second bundle that I'd wrapped in a rubber band.

My biggest surprise was the copper wire.

You might remember how tarnished it had been when I added it to the mix of fabric, flowers, and herbs.  Now it was clean and shiny.

I admit this was very disappointing.  After it had been rinsed in the baking soda water, there was very little color

or markings.  I will probably overdye this one.  BTW, placing the fabric outside was a disaster.  I didn't realize how cold it was and how much ice had accumulated until I tried to hang it outside to dry.

I dried the three pieces INSIDE, and decided to create another batch, especially since I still had my disposable gloves on.  However, before I did that, even with gloves on,

I knew it was time to put some holiday decorations, in the form of tree shaped cookie cutters, on my window sill.  Although I thought this was a bit cluttered, I still preferred it to that ugly jar of eco fabric.

For my second batch, I started with a fabric I had dyed previously.  I think this was snow dyed, because it's so pale.

I added more herbs and two rusty lids that had previously been bent to fit inside the container I was using.

I used a rubber band to hold the floral bits and lids inside the fabric.

This is another piece I had dyed in the past.  It also didn't turn out as I'd hoped, so it was going in the eco-dye bath

along with more flowers, herbs, leaves, and two rusty lids.

These lids weren't as rusted as the previous ones, so they were harder to bend.
 Another rubber band held the bundle in place.

I was surprised at all the bubbles I got when I added these to the alum water.

I had somehow left this leaf out of the bundle, and it was too late to add it, now.

While the three original eco-dyed pieces were drying, I decided to decorate my front porch.

You can see where I hung the basket I completed yesterday (Day 27 of AEDM).  I knew I had to clean the bean pot that my tree sits in, but it was so cold, I decided to take a photo, then clean it once my hands warmed a bit.  And in case you hadn't noticed, or didn't know, I decorate my home with miniature and table top sized trees, since I can't fit a real or even fake regular sized tree in my home.

Finally the first bundles were dry.  They are now safe to handle, since they have been through the baking soda bath.  The large fabric on the left is the one I showed while it was still wet and sitting freezing on my porch.

The fabric on the right shows signs of rust and botanicals.  I can work with this fabric.

I must really have been fascinated by that large fabric, but no matter how often I photographed it, it never looked any better.

The smallest fabric (from the smallest bundle) turned out to be my favorite.  I only wish the light was better in my craft room so I could show it off better.  I personally think the botanicals did less for the fabric than the rusty lids.   Although this is a great way to eco-dye fabric, especially if you have limited space and can't afford to get messy, I still prefer the steaming and plastic bag approach better. 

(As an aside, I have no idea why blogger suddenly decided to change the words/font into center alignment, even though I have it showing left alignment.  Just one of the quirks of blogger today, I guess)

This is Day 28 of Art Every Day Month, or AEDM, where I revealed my eco-dyed fabric and created two new bundles that I'll reveal sometime in mid-December.
 Once again, I'm grateful for your comments and your continued and increased support of my projects during this month.  I'm also grateful for your comments every day, not just during November.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A tisket, a tasket, a botched green snow capped basket

For Day 27 I deconstructed a basket, and tried to change it from a spring basket to a Christmas basket.  To be perfectly honest, this was a three day project, but I saved yesterday's and the previous day's photos so I could show it all today.   I finished up as the last of my Thanksgiving guests were leaving.

I began by removing the floral design from the basket and bringing out my snow and white spray paint, both of which I had gotten at my Household Hazardous Waste Swap and Shop.  I pay for it in my taxes, so I feel I have the right to get free goodies any time I'm in the area.  Alongside the basket are some snowflakes I want to add to the basket.

My first problem came when I tried to use the Krylon spray paint.  It definitely didn't want to spray, even though I removed the sprayer and cleaned it inside the house.  When it still refused to spray, I removed the sprayer from the snow and used it.

My second problem was the white paint activated the green dye on the basket.  Now I had a huge problem on my hands (and fingers, too).

Not to be deterred, I sprayed the glittery gold snowflakes white.

I removed the sprayer from the paint, washed it inside, and placed it on the snow.  I was starting to like what I saw, even though the white from the paint had turned a bright green.  That was the end of Day 1 of this project, and I carefully placed it inside where it was warm and could dry properly.

For Day 2 of this project, it was time to bring out my matte finish sealer so the snow would be less vulnerable to the elements.  I had read the snow would clean up with soap and water, and I didn't want that.

However, when I sprayed the sealer, the snow was somehow activated in a NOT GOOD really bad way with the sealer.

I had gone this far though, and I intended to finish what I started.  All that was left was adding the finishing touches and the pieces I wanted to include in the basket.  I finished late this evening, after my guests had gone home, as you can see.

It may not be the project I had hoped for, but it was the project I was stuck with.  And I recycled old Christmas ornaments and art I made in the past.  Tomorrow (Friday) when I decorate my home for Christmas, it will take its place outside where it will hang on my porch instead of a wreath this year.

This is Day 27 of Art Every Day Month, or AEDM where I spent three days creating this Christmas basket to hang on my front porch to greet and welcome people to my home. 

As always I'm delighted you visited, and maybe got a laugh or two out of this post.  It was more fun to write up than it was to actually work on this recycled basket.  And if I didn't make it around to visit today, please chalk it up to a holiday celebration at my place.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give thanks

For Day 26 I'm celebrating that uniquely American (U.S.) holiday we call Thanksgiving.  Admittedly my favorite holiday of the year, there is no pressure to give gifts like on Christmas or Valentine's Day, and it's often the time immediate families get together because they usually spend time with their own family at Christmas.

Today I'm giving thanks.



I'm giving thanks because I'm grateful for all my friends who take the place of family who are no longer with me.

And special thanks go to my loyal internet friends, followers, and readers.  In many ways, you too have become my family.

I'm showing special thanks to all the friends I've made at Art Journal Journey with Suzi as host, who I'm joining with my take on autumn colors.  I'm also thankful for Moo-Mania and More because they were the first challenge group I ever joined and created art for.  This fortnight their theme is layers, and I seem to have lots of those.

This tribute to Thanksgiving was created starting with a book cover to which I added scrapbook paper, handmade (by me) paper, a dictionary page, a tag, a paper doily, fancy fibers, and various silk and natural leaves and flowers.   I scrunched the tag, then added pigment ink to the high parts, after which I stamped (yes, as shocking as it may be) the words onto the tag.  This is where my art is displayed for the Thanksgiving celebration.  It will sit among the desserts on this Hoosier type free standing kitchen cabinet.

In addition to Art Journal Journey and Moo-Mania and More, this is Day 26 of AEDM.  Only four more days and I'll have actually made it through Art Every Day Month.