Beach walk

Kipper and I had a lovely walk on the beach this morning; no wind and the sun shining.

beach Aug 14

Beach August 14

The tide was way out so a good chance to walk around the rock pools:

rockpools Aug 14

The king tides recently have caused a bit of dune slip and damage:

dune slip

timber split

The sand had been completely washed away under these stairs. These photos were taken on my old phone and go a bit grainy if I zoom in!

We are so lucky to have such a beautiful place to recharge the batteries, I am grateful every time I go for this walk.


August 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

August is ice dye

I have been reading several blogs where people have been experimenting with snow and ice dyeing. We are too close to the coast here for snow (though today it is snowing just 1 hour from here) so for me it was going to have to be ice dyeing.

I filled up two ice cube trays, hoping that would be enough for the technique. There are some great tutorials on You tube which I checked out before beginning.

I set up a kitty litter tray (not used for cats, only dyeing) with an old metal cake cooler. Most tutorials on the internet showed using a plastic drip tray but I didn’t have one, the metal did not affect the process.

Using cotton sheeting I put a sop cloth in the bottom of the tray to catch the excess dye.

sop cloth

The fabric had all been pre-prepared with soda ash solution a few days previously and dried, so I re-dampened the fabric and then scrunched

ice dye 1

Ice dye 2

or concertina folded onto the cake cooler.

landscape 1

Landscape 2

The scrunched fabric created some lovely flower like patterning, the pleated fabrics were more landscape like. Even the sop cloth had some interesting patterning.

The fabric was covered with the rather large ice cubes and then (mask in place) procion dye powder was sprinkled over. The whole tray was encased in a large plastic bag and left alone for 48 hours to perform its magic.

This was a quick easy process which I will definitely be trying again with different size ice pieces, different ways of arranging fabrics and different colour combinations. I will also try using the fabric straight out of the soda ash soak to ensure good colour coverage (though it may reduce the patterning if too wet).



August 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm 1 comment

Sun prints in wintery July

The technique chosen for our fabric swap for July was sun printing. As it is winter here it was a matter of waiting for a sunny day. I have a great north facing verandah which is ideal for this technique, if the sun is shining. However the afternoon was so sunny I set up the fabric on a plastic sheet on the large outside table.

I used dampened cotton sheeting and painted with dye na flow. I had a lovely bronze miscanthus whose seedheads were looking amazing so I chopped those off the bush and pressed down onto the wet fabric. then the wind started blowing! A quick run into the garage yielded large metal washers which were placed over the grasses to hold them down. An hour later the sky darkened and rain threatened so the son was coerced into helping lift the whole kit and kaboodle onto the porch. Another couple of hours later the washers had made definite impressions, the grasses were more subtle! On checking the weather report a storm was heading our way so once again son was enlisted to help move into the shed.

The result using the dye na flow is quite subtle. From other fabrics I have received I believe the best ‘impressions’ result from using those dyes/paints specifically formulated for sun dyeing.

sun print

August 9, 2014 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

Three new fabric techniques

I have sent my June, July and August fabrics all off at the same time. Hopefully the swap partners in US will have received their surprise packages in the mail before reading this.

June technique was ‘resists’. This was a great open ended challenge, but it also was a very long exercise, mainly due to the cold and wet winter weather here and the number of processes I decided to incorporate. I decided on a three step process:

1. Cotton sheeting from Op Shops (Thrift shop in US) were torn into strips and concertina folded and clamped:


Procion dye was added with syringes and they were left to batch for 48 hours. I also folded up a couple of extra cloths to use up the dye and placed a piece of fabric top and bottom to soak up extra dye:

Itajime in the tray

And this is how they looked after rinsing, washing in synthrapol, drying and ironing, This is definitely a time warp happening here, going way back to those 70’s tie dye. Luckily there are more processes to come!

Back to the 70's

The one on the top left was the one of the extra folded pieces. Here is another:


2. The fabrics were laid out on plastic sheeting and spread thinly with a flour resist paste. This was left to dry for 48 hours and then scrunched up to crack the flour layer. I did lots of scrunching in different directions, as I needed to get rid of that 70’s tie dye look.

Flour paste 1

Close up of the crackling:Flour paste 2

The fabric was then painted with watered down fabric paints. Because I was trying to tone down those tie dyes I used darker colours in Lumiere and opulence paints.

Flour paste 5

Once they were batched for 48 hours, I scrunched the fabric up again and scraped some of the dried flour off with a paint scraper. They then went into a plastic bucket of cold water, soaked for 10 mins, and then I scrubbed the remaining flour off with an old dish brush. The lumiere was a bit more resistant to scrubbing-just soak a bit longer. The fabrics were hung to drip dry a bit and then ironed to set the fabric paint. When ironed they were a bit stiff so they had another wash in soap to remove any flour paste residue, drip dried and ironed once again.

The resulting fabric now looks like stained glass windows, some very vibrant, others a little more moody! I only made enough of this technique to swap so I will have to do some more flour pasting for myself.

Crackle dye

3. For the last application of resist on these fabrics I was going to go with the stained glass window theme and I created a gothic window stencil to use with the toothbrush/oilstick technique to add the windows to one corner of the fabric. However I love these crackly fabrics so much I decided to leave it up to the recipients as to what they wanted to add.

See next post for the July technique.


August 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm 1 comment

Surface design group

I have been participating in a fabric swap group over on the Stitchin’ Fingers Ning site. This involves using different techniques to alter or decorate fabrics and then posting to the others on the list. At this stage there are now two of us from Australia and 7 from USA. It has been great fun to not only receive fabrics in the mail each month from all the other participants, but also to chat online on the site and share ideas and tips on each of the processes.

So far our swaps have involved an interesting range of processes with a free choice month every now and then. February and March were free choice so I did some hand dyeing, overprinting and gelliprinting. Unfortunately forgot to take photos of most of this process.

April was a directed swap-printing. For this one I took garlic as my inspiration (eaten afterwards so no wastage!) I cut the hand of garlic in half and made a few sketches, simplified the sketch and carved into lino for printing. I used some hand dyed fabric to print onto using black block printing ink.

Lino printing

May was Collagraph month. I used the covers of an old address book as a base, gluing rubber bands to one and spaghetti, All Bran and burnt matches to the other. Both were sealed with gesso so they would survive the printing and washing off process.

collograph 2

collograph 3

These are the prints drying on the porch:


My June (resists), July (sun print) and August (ice dye) fabrics are almost ready to post off. I will post photos in about two weeks when they have arrived at their destinations.



July 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm 1 comment

Getting closer

I am just about to spend the rest of the day putting the final coat of paint on the very, very long project of the girl’s shed. This is all the woodwork which is quite a slow process-skirting boards, window and door surrounds and the huge cupboards. This means I can finally start moving in all my ‘stuff’ which means a big sorting through, emptying of all the cupboards inside and probably numerous bags to go to the Op Shop.


The view out the door (ignore the work table)

The view out the door (ignore the work table)


The row of cupboards

The row of cupboards

Inside the cupboards

Inside the cupboards

view to the right

view to the right

view to the left

view to the left

the sink unit (to be plumbed in)

the sink unit (to be plumbed in)

Hopefully this second coat won’t take the five hours the first coat took!

The floor is still covered in old carpet pieces for protection. Unfortunately I didn’t think to do this before the shed ‘putter upper’ got to work and took chunks out of my¬†specially chocolate coloured (for heat absorption) concrete floor. The floor will be given two more coats of sealant when all else is finished off.

Autumn will be a great time to get a garden going out in front and on the side of the shed, hopefully some plants for a dye garden (if we can get some decent rain-temperatures here 20 celsius all week and only just over two weeks until winter-amazing).

I am still debating about the rest of the furniture- do I buy a second hand large table for cutting and sewing (2 metres or longer) or make one up from bits and pieces; do I buy that very expensive adjustable Horn sewing table ($1000 is a lot of money for quite a simple table) or once again, make something up. Big decisions!!

May 15, 2014 at 11:48 am 2 comments

Shed Update

The shed is almost complete, just waiting on the carpenter to fit out and finish off and the plumber to install the sink.

Absolutely love the trapezium lights, thanks Jackson:
lightsAnd a great find at the vintage market was this quite old dress form, would love to know how old? I have been looking for one for ages.

dress form

dress form 2

I will need to give it a good clean up and see if all the fittings inside still adjust. I will make a champagne coloured silk slip to go on this to display my grandmother’s wedding dress.


April 7, 2014 at 11:20 am 2 comments

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