Friday, April 29, 2016

Rhubarb Leaves in the Dye Pot

Last week I was told about rhubarb leaves being used to dye wool yellow. This time of year is the perfect time to try it with the bed of rhubarb bursting, so I got out the dye pot, boiled some leaves and waited.

I did learn that it is mostly the rhubarb root that yields yellow. Well, I really like my rhubarb and didn't want to dig up any roots, so the leaves would have to do. Another thing I learned is that rhubarb is a natural mordant. Cool. I chopped a lot of leaves and boiled them down. Instructions I read were all about the ratio of leaves to wool yardage. Um, I just filled the pot with leaves and then covered with water and boiled. I cooked them for about an hour or maybe two. I got busy with other things and kinda forgot about them. After they cooled, I strained the pot. You can see the yellow tinted water in the pot.

There were several warnings, since rhubarb leaves are poisonous, about ventilating the room. 

I used well water but that isn't recommended. I soaked the wool fabric in water and a bit of Dawn dish soap before dyeing. It helps the fabric absorb more dye. I also heated the pot in the oven rather on the stovetop. The dye water never did turn clear even after soaking overnight with vinegar added. Truly an experiment. I liked the soft color that came from the leaves but it isn't much of a yellow. Definitely tan. Maybe aged yellow. It was surprising to me to see the drastic change of the gray fabric that was in the dye pot. Since both pictures show the wool in the same order you can compare.

The wool from this dye pot will get used for sure. It's very soft and pleasing. Yellow? Not this time.

However, look at these beauties! All purchased at the Hook-In last week. Amish Country Wool Artisans host a great hook-in every year in Berlin, Ohio. These wools came from two of the vendors; Thy Shepherd's Wool by Kathy Skinner and Heavens to Betsy by Betsy Reed. Love all of them. Can't wait to create. We need a palette (stash), right?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Amish Country Wool Artisans Hook-In

Before a road trip, there's always packing to do. I kept packing and packing inventory and display pieces for the Amish Country Wool Artisans Hook-In all the while hoping I wouldn't have to strap my friends to the top of the van! One van, four women, all their rug hooking stuff and suitcases, a vendor display, lots of inventory, and don't forget the snacks! That van was packed solid and Ohio bound! 
I love this Hook-In! The ladies that run it do a great job. Lots of beautiful wool and other rug hooking goodies for sale, beautiful rugs on display, and great food.

The hum of chatter and laughter in the room as old friends meet and new friendships are made is wonderful!
Everyone smiles all day. It's awesome to experience.

Thank you to everyone who made my day a successful one. Thank you to my friends who made the many miles of a road trip cruise on by fueled by love and laughter. You are the best!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Who knew blackberries were so packed with vitamins and minerals? I'm just finding out and the bushes in the garden just got elevated to royal queen status!
These beautiess are from last year. Won't be seeing anything like this for awhile. My bushes aren't even leafing out yet. But baby, this year the birds or bugs aren't getting a single one. Each little berry packed with a punch! Vitamins A, K, B6, B5, C,  Calcium, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Thiamine, Niacin, Folic Acid, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Manganese! All in a 1 inch berry! Bring on the smoothies, the cobbler, the whatever! Bring on the goodness. Thank you God for providing in so many unique and wonderful ways!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Backyard Chickens

 Spring has come and as the grass shines greener every morning, my thoughts go to chickens. That green grass makes amazing orange-yolked eggs and I look forward to them every spring. Between my dad's forays into keeping chickens, and other family members with chickens on their farms, I've been around chickens my whole life. The funniest kid memory is the coop that my dad built for 3 Easter peeps given to us. It was a dog house with an old oven shelf on a hinge: door to keep them in and a ramp to let them out. Chickens living in a doghouse was pretty funny to us kids. Here's a picture from the late 1960's of my brother talking to the hens. I can remember standing in the back of that coop on Saturday mornings shelling field corn off the cobs for the hens.
That coop started out on my uncle's farm. They weren't using it anymore so my dad disassembled it and put it back together on our place. Seems we grew beyond the dog house.                                                        

 Evidently, chickens have made their way into my sewing room as well. Here is a pin keeper that I made. She's made from repro civil war fabrics. Her nesting pillow is trimmed in vintage rick rack (or wavy braid as it was known during the Civil War era). She has an emory strawberry with her at all times and of course she has beautiful pin feathers. Ok, I couldn't resist.

.....And there are chickens in my Etsy Shop. Stop on by and you can see the patterns for two hooked rugs featuring chickens.

This sweet chair pad features my hooked portrait of one of my favorite hens that scratched the dirt here on the farm. Her name was Miss Paisley.

The other rug depicts one of my favorite farm chores. You guessed it, feeding the hens.

My Etsy Shop is found at

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chalk Paint Love

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I love chalk paint! What a dream for old furniture. I love the texture of it. I love how it covers. I love how the final wax and buff brings out layers of character. These are table top pieces that will fit together for a booth display at the Amish Country Wool Artisans Hook-In. All my display pieces have to knock down as flat as possible because there is only one van traveling from PA to OH and it has to hold a booth display, show inventory, 4 women and all their luggage, hooking frames and snacks!
Turning old windows, an old herb rack, turned posts from the clearance shelf at Lowes, and a pail of chalk paint into a display for all my rugs. I can't wait to see my early style rugs up against the chalk paint. Love.
Just a couple of weeks till it all comes together in Berlin, Ohio.
Hope to see you there!