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Coffee Dyed

Handmade cotton doilies Cotton doily Doily Coffee Doily Coffee dyed doilies Solar dyed cotton doily using coffee grounds Solar dyed with coffee Coffee dyed cotton doily Coffee dyed cotton Coffee dyed


Silk Scarves

Crepe de Chine scarves in the window, utilizing the sun for solar dyeing.

Stitching and Dyeing 009

Stitching and Dyeing 017

Above: Red and yellow onions skins wrapped tightly in the scarf and then stuffed into a Mason jar.

Below: Pomegranate to the right. Cranberry to the left.

Stitching and Dyeing 018 Stitching and Dyeing 010 Stitching and Dyeing 011 Stitching and Dyeing 012 Stitching and Dyeing 013

yesterday was hectic

Hence only one project picture of portly pillows poked up precociously.

Ok, a pillow can’t be precocious…

I think.

Vintage cotton napkins, rust and botanically dyed, cut up and quilted

Moving on.

These are some of the cotton napkins dyed, deconstructed and then reconstructed.

It all started with a book.

I found it at the library.

I was never particularly interested in quilts. I don’t usually like the colour combinations or design. A little too grandma fussy for my taste sometimes.

Though I will say check out Kirsten Jane. She first got me with a post on shoes that she made. But I loved her Improve Patchwork!

Nine patch pillow, rust dyed and eco printed

Back to the book.

The title was – Around The Quilt Frame: Stories and Musings on the Quilter’s Craft by Kari A. Cornell.

A Great Quilting Truth of the Universe by Lisa Boyer made me laugh out loud, uncontrollably. It is me and my sister in quilt land.

It was funny. Though not a quilter, many of the stories touched on things that I definitely could relate too. Unfinished object takeovers. Husband’s in fabric stores. Hoarding tiny scraps, of bits of fabric, because you hate to waste any, because maybe you’ll use it, someday.

The stories about the history of the quilts was particularly fascinating. You used what you had – feed sacks, clothing, bits and scraps. Whatever you could find, or beg and barter for. Each piece meant something; it was a memory, something beautiful that only you and it knew. Pieces of the dress that made you feel incredible, your child’s first piece of clothing, a shirt of your husband’s that always had good memories attached to it . 

Rarely, if ever, could you go to the fabric store and perfectly match prints and solids in monochromatic or analogous splendor, double checking your colour dominance was just right.

This is my kind of quilting. Beauty carefully saved and treasured. Beauty purpose built from unmatched unknowns.

vintage cotton napkins, rust and eco dyed

Because that’s why I love natural dyeing so much. You start in and just enjoy as you go. Sometimes it’s what you expected, sometimes it’s better then what you expected, and sometimes you have no idea what happened but “that’s pretty ugly, what will I do with it now?” Each piece reminds you of the walk you took to gather those leaves or flowers. What you were talking about when you gathered that particular rusty bit. The scent of the dye pot. The truth in colour.  

So I thought I would try quilting with some of my recent dye batches. The Rusty 9 Patch Pillow turned out quite well, I thought. My starburst on the other hand…

But then I read an interesting post by Wendy Feldberg over at Threadborne which she appears to have taken off. She was talking about creating with her grandson and the joys of imperfection, seeing things through a child’s eyes and just being happy with something you’ve made – even if it’s not perfect. I appreciated the perspective. This definitely is an Imperfect Starburst. But I’m leaving it like that. In fact, I made it up into a lovely little tossing pillow – perfect for beaning someone in the head in a pillow fight. 

Cotton, rust and eco dyed, quilted, starburst, 9 patch, pillow

And we thoroughly enjoy it just as it is!

Quilted starburst pillow. Rust and eco dyed. Vintage cotton napkins.

Purple Plum














Crab Apple

Natural colour crab apple dye pink



Iron Mordant



Eco dyed, natural colour, no mordant




No mordant

Botanical Dye Project – Cotton. Part 2.

Cotton, alum mordant

Blueberry, crab apple, purple plum, coffee and cinnamon.

Cotton, eco dyed, alum mordanted. Purple plum, cinnamon, coffee, blueberryFree form cotton crochet.

Cotton, alum mordant

Top to bottom: Coffee, cinnamon, purple plum, crab apple, blueberry.

Cotton, alum mordant

Cinnamon, purple plum, blueberryCinnamon, purple plum, crab apple.

Snow and Projects

Cochrane Ontario

We should expect the snow, and earlier because we’re in the North now. I always hope that it will take longer for it to finally get here though.

As much as I don’t enjoy the cold, it is beautiful!

Iron infused leaves on alum mordanted cotton

Leaves from a bush outside {unknown} on vintage cotton napkins. Iron bath for about an hour. 

Knotted and soaked for a couple days

Men’s Cotton Shirt pulled apart, this is the back. Knotted a couple times and then soaked in coffee for several days. 

Men's Cotton Shirt mordanted in alum, wrapped with raspberry leaves then boiled in iron bath

Section of Men’s Cotton Shirt, alum mordanted, with raspberry leaf prints. 

Cochrane Sunset

I saw a bit of this sunset out our East facing windows and had to walk out to find it. It filled the horizon all around us with splendid colours. Imagine if we could use the sunset to dye? What wonderful colours we would wear.

Cochrane, Ontario

Cochrane, ON

Cochrane, ON

Cochrane, ON

Cochrane, ON

Roasted Garlic

Most people have a definite relationship with garlic. In our family it was love, love, love! And it still is.


So here is an awesome spread, and, or, add in, made with roasted garlic.

Peel 3 or 4 heads of garlic. Yes, heads.


Place in a small oven safe dish like a mini French White round baking dish.

Because olive oil is expensive I half and half it with vegetable oil. I want the flavour but completely covering the garlic in oil takes a lot of olive oil.

However if you have enough, by all means use straight olive oil.

Sprinkle on a little coarse salt. Friends of ours just came back from Italy and they brought us some Truffle Salt so I put some of that in to see what it would do.

Then pop them into the oven with your Roasted Toms at 200. The garlic only needs 2 hours or so, so I wouldn’t suggest putting them in with your toms overnight. They can get too roasted and don’t taste as good. But 2 or 3 hours is perfect.

Pull them out of the oven and spoon the garlic cloves out into a small jar, smooshing them with the spoon as your put them in. {Save the oil in a glass jar in the fridge. I’ll explain later}

This makes an amazing spread for crusty bread. You can also smear it on crackers, add a bit of aged cheddar and a slice of your favourite hot pepper, like serranos, and enjoy!

Or you can smear it onto crusty bread and then add a dollop of some fantastically delicious Black Olive Tapenade

Botanical Dye Project – Cotton

Roasted Tom

I had said the Black Olive Tapenade would be the recipe this week but then I thought maybe I should give you a run down of the bits that go into it first and then give you that recipe.

Not that it’s tricky or anything, it just has many parts that require a bit of work before you put them all together.

First up my new favourite thing!

Roasted Tom


Amazingly simple and yet so very yummy. We were watching a Restaurant Takeover at a friend’s house awhile ago and they were making a pizza sauce. Corbin suggested roasting the toms first in order to get a super flavourful sauce. I had done slow roasted toms before because of a book by Skye Gyngell “A Year in My Kitchen”. Many people found the book a bit pretentious, I thought it was beautiful and the Toolbox section is valuable.


I usually grab a bag or 5 of those reduced toms on the 50% off rack at the grocery store. You want them good and ripe but not smooshy. Garden toms are of course so much better but I only had enough for one tray full of those lovingly gleaned from friends.



Wash up your toms {they can get a bit wet in those bags}.

Slice in half and take out the stem remains.

Arrange willy nilly on a cookie sheet, tightly packed.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.


{Aside: I had always used table salt, growing up, at my parent’s place. Most normal households have salt shakers full of regular old table salt. But one day, after I was married, I ran out. We were having a tight week so I looked in the cupboard and there was some coarse salt, or pickling salt. Salt is salt right?


After cooking for about 3 years now with coarse salt you realize the huge difference in saltness.

Table salt permeates everything with an ubiquitous salt taste.

Coarse salt allows the food to retain it’s own flavour and then adds, in little crunchy wonders, that splash of salt flavour. It’s a party in your mouth.

Never again shall I return to drab old table salt!}

Place your Toms in the oven just before bed and put the temperature at 170.

Go to sleep.

Next morning you will have lovely slow roasted toms.


Depending on the size they can turn into sun dried toms too. I had a batch of little ones and I shouldn’t have left them in that long. Though they made some nasty rapini I foolishly purchased a little more palatable.

If you don’t want to leave them in overnight you can roast them for 5 or 6 hours at 200. And yes, they do need that much time to turn out as beautifully as they can be.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Next up: What you need to put in the oven with your Toms for a super yummy Tapenade.

Home not House

Slowly but surely we’re getting settled into the new house and routine. Here’s a little tour of bits and bobs that have caught my camera over the last month moving in.


A house plant who’s name I haven’t found out yet.

A wonderful shed find – I don’t know if the date on it is actually how old the box is but that would be pretty cool.

And of course Autumn preserving. 

Tea and Tomatoes

Home of the Birds

Wretched, rainy, grey weather has brought the birds in scads.

Mainly House Sparrows but also White Crowned Sparrows, White Throated Sparrows and Gold Finches.

Plus our much beloved Chickadees.

Birds are so lovely.

Win My Scarf – One of a Kind, All Natural, Wearable Art

While we’re moving…

In honour of you, my dear reader, I have decided to do my first giveaway.

During the month of August hit the “follow” button in the tool bar to follow the blog and leave a comment for me at the end of this post.

You will be eligible to win this….

One eco dyed Flat Crepe Silk Scarf 13” x 70”

This was the first proper leaf print that I did in my whole new ecobundling adventure. It made me so happy!

My husband said to describe the colours as “of the forest” – the base is a silvery grey with green/gold accents. But there are so many slight variations of colour that I don’t even know how to describe. Hopefully your monitor will give you as true a rendition as possible.

I hemmed it myself so there will be variations in the stitching.

Do not wash it unless you have to. If you do, rinse it in cold water with a mild detergent and iron to dry if you want it smooth. If you prefer the crinkly look, twist it and let it air dry.

This is a completely one of a kind piece of wearable, natural art. Expect the colours to subtly morph over time as you wear it and wash it.

I hope that you enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.

There will be a draw August 31 and I will contact the winner for their mailing information.


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Dear Readers and Friends,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your contributions so far. Your kind comments, information passed on, and encouragement have been very helpful.

As I’ve already mentioned we’re moving up North, so I’m taking a break as we pack all of our things and shift to a new adventure. Hopefully the blog will continue in September when everything has settled down and I’m sorted out. I can’t wait to actually start crafting the silk into something wearable, but, for the moment, that will have to wait.

Oh, and we’re up to 119 species if you’re interested.

We saw a Black Throated Blue Warbler while camping in Awenda.

So pretty!

And some incredible fungus or mushrooms. I don’t know what they are but that faint pink in the stems is stunning.

{So I did a little research and these are Monotropa Uniflora. They are a member, funny enough, of the blueberry family – Ericaceae. Not a fungus at all.}

See you in September

PS Make sure you check out the August 1 post. I have a surprise for you!

My Favourite Picture So Far

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Little berries from the vine on our house – name unknown – wild rose leaves, purple smoke bush, maybe some purple sancherry.

I think the berry prints are absolutely incredible, so perfect!