Like a random word post, and it’s been awhile, so figured I’d give it a whirl today. But first- I JUST realized that after I send a post live I often have some editing (misspelled words, etc.) that I correct and update. Those updates do NOT seem to be going to those of yall who get the post emailed to you. I will try to fix that and also be more vigilant with my pre-launch editing moving forward.
Sheep: My brother and I had the odd history of growing up in a city neighborhood with a feral sheep. His name was Stinky, and he supposedly belonged to the young married couple at the end of the street, but he wandered wherever he wanted to. As toddlers my brother and I was terrified of this huge, male, unshaved sheep. One time he trapped us in the garage and we climbed on my Dad’s car to escape him. I prefer Stinky to any religious or political sheep though, boy those are the worst.
Material: Well hmmm, I’m having a hell of a time finding acceptable fabric/material for new curtains in the kitchen. I want something Scandinavian with a white background and multi color print without being too twee or whimsical… or geometric. Hence the “hell of a time.” I did finally find fabric for my slipper chair in our living room. I reversed it so the side showing is actually the back of the fabric, but we like it more like that. I recovered the chair last weekend.
Warning: Had enough health warnings lately that the husband and I are walking more, drinking less, and cutting back on cheese. Cholesterol. Weight. General weird ailments (plantar fasciitis sucks but is almost cleared up) that it’s time to just commit. Heed the warnings… we’re trying.
Art: I still haven’t finished the 4′ painting I’m doing of my husband… but I hung it on the wall so it didn’t get toddlerized- I better finish it or that will be the picture I’m “almost done with” for the next 40 years. I showed it to my mom and she asked if his hair was supposed to be a bike helmet. Actually its a bandana in the picture I’m working from… but thanks Mom.
Bullet: At our last house I found a bullet in our hallway once. We didn’t have guns. It remains one of the weirdest feelings to bend down and pick that up of the carpet. Someone brought a gun and bullets in my house. Or didn’t and didn’t realize a random bullet fell out of their pocket. Or… I have no idea. It could be from some totally different scenario I haven’t considered. Weird to think you know so much less than you think you do about what goes on around you sometimes.
Advice: I try to stockpile advice for the girls’ use later in life. Like, if a boy doesn’t seem a little nervous around them, they need to realize he’s trying to play them, not love them. Or that washing you’re face with a face cleanser every night really DOES make a difference. Or that starting to moisturize in your 20s is important. Or that there are no princesses waiting to be rescued in this family- they need to be women who are always capable of rescuing themselves. So far there are only two pieces of advice I’ve ever given them that seems to have stuck. First is that they should try to be the hero of their own stories. And the second is that the thinner the eyebrow the crazier the woman. GOD HELP ME why that last one that I just tossed off without thinking after a couple of glasses of wine should be one of the main ones they remember and cleave to, but parenting is weird like that. I bet you anything they mention it in my eulogy. I SAID IT ONE TIME FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!
I was out on a construction site for work today next to the police station in Cibolo, TX… and there was an old cemetery across the street that looked beyond intriguing. I’ve discussed my love of old graveyards before here.
I wrote on that previous post about the peace of graveyards, and how time kinda removes the grief from death… but it wasn’t how I felt this morning. God, there were just so many children… parental loss and it’s screaming anguish was still so upfront in this graveyard.
The symbolism though… the lamb, the tree cut down too soon…
Or this one, that was excruciating to imagine those parents who lost their 2 and 3 year old daughters two days apart in 1890. What sickness was in the house… what grief those poor people endured. It still hung heavy in the air around this dual grave:
The ratio of children to adults was much too high for a normal (I use that phrase loosely), more enjoyable stroll around a graveyard. But there was still the normal interesting things that are what I like. (said the crazy person…)
I always knew tree trunks were Woodsman of the World headstones… but turns out why there are so many of them is interesting. They were free with W.O.W. life insurance policies! And the Germans would be damned if they were going to pass up a sweet deal like that! Hence SO many tree stump headstones! A tall trunk is for adults, short logs are for children… not sure if the 2 cut logs the larger trunk is astride means they lost two children or just that they sprang for the more expensive policy package.
No one is REALLY sure why there are so many cemented in sea shell covered graves in the South… many of them far away from the ocean. Loose, non cemented in shells (often conch shells like the two closest to the headstone on the picture above) generally mean someone took a pilgrimage and brought it to the grave long after burial. (European symbolism there of a pilgrimage). Slaves often marked graves with shells because the ocean brought them to this place, and so the shells symbolized taking them to their final home. Perhaps these German immigrants used them for the same symbolism? My favorite theory (though I don’t think it’s right) is that shells were used s shingles on grave surfaces as a protective “roof”… so totally utilitarian. And while that DOES sound very 1800s German it doesn’t quite jive because the rest of the graves are so ornate. Shells have generalized Christian symbolism… we may just have to leave it at that and that it was just a Victorian fad.
The urn was a symbol of death long after cremation went out of fashion, and the shroud symbolized variously: the last curtain between life and death, or protection, or that death has fallen over something. I’ve seen shrouded angels (fucking terrifying, lemme tell ya), shrouded fruit baskets, shrouded obelisks and urns… there were some pretty talented stone carvers back in the day. It’s one of my favorite things to look for in cemeteries, the shrouded statuary.
And then there are the hands. The hand like that is SUPPOSED to be pointing up to heaven and God, but which always look like a shaking finger like “Oh you! You got me! Never saw that one coming, I didn’t!”
Next there are these, my VERY favorite things- enamel pictures from the 1800s. The glimpses of people… generally in the prime of their lives even if they lived to be old… which I LOVE. I HATE modern obituaries that only have the pictures from the very end of life… I love seeing people from another age, in their prime, looking out at the world like this! Now, as much as I love graveyards, I never wanted to be IN one before. Cremate me and cast me in the Frio River in Uvalde… but I’m tempted by the chance to be one of these for the next few centuries…
And inscriptions… There was one that read Asleep In Jesus from 1915 for a 25 year old dude. Which is just weird and I hope just the result of iffy English skills. Or this one:
It reads, or as damn close as Google Translate can get me, “The silent grave is unafraid of the Devil, because of faith in God and no fear of Judgement.” Well okay then.
I guess I love old cemeteries for the same reason as I like older neighborhoods and not the cookie cutter new developments. Variability! Individuality! Craftmanship! Interesting Things!
Here’s the thing, every once in a while I think like, huh. So THAT’S how I turned out, to be someone who likes old cemeteries. Who would have known when I was younger that I’d grow up to be that? Wonder if quilters or giant pumpkin growers or people who collect typewriters ever wonder the same thing?
Linking up with Samantha at Fake Fabulous HERE- check it out!
So why are there no white spots, even though these were more tightly crammed in than the previous batch? I may have soaked these more than the other ones… so maybe the white on the previous set were dry parts in the center of some folds? Not 100% there…
Here is the thing- LOOK at the color variability within the batch though!
Here is how one of the first two scarves I was struggling with turned out:
So those scarves were 40% synthetic and 60% cotton… JUST like the ratios on the pashmina’s I did in the same dye batch. Can you imagine if I had just decided I couldn’t figure this out and thrown up my hands because of those things? Because here is how the pashmina’s turned out:
Check OUT that color variability from the same dye batch.
So if at first you don’t succeed… try a different fabric!
As to the color: funny how when I was a kid purple was my favorite color but it doesn’t do ANYTHING for me these days… I like the previous set better, but I’m also not a huge fan of turquoise. Blasphemy, I know! But it’s not about what I like best… it’s having a nice range of choices at the craft fair and using all the dye in my collection. I do think they turned out purdy though.
So how about them apples?
So my 24 hour experiment in ice dying with the use of soda ash… rousing success. Aside from the unpredictable nature of the dye itself that is. Let’s be clear- those colors SHOULD have been true blue, black, olive green, and yellow. And we ended up with torquoise, brown, black, pink, a few yellows, and on the 4th one (not pictured, but a gauzier fabric so was already dry and was pulled off the rack at the time of the picture) spots of neon orange.
But lord above, I think this whole thing might work out after all. Interestingly, even though all of these fabrics are synthetic and blends, it’s the natural fiber dye that’s working best. And, of course, most of the dye in the stash is iDye Poly instead of just the iDye powder. Sigh.
So here are the steps that led me to this last go round. Make sure your fabric is prewashed. I just tossed all the scarves and bandanas in the washer and washed with regular detergent.
Step One: Brain Folds
So I watched a video of a dyer who said the more folds in the fabric the more interesting the ice dying comes out. She said she tries to aim for a brain folds look, which seemed easy enough to emulate. The edges of that ol’ garage sale dish drainer have large holes on the corners so I prop it up with some scrap pieces of 4x4s from when we installed the fence extension. I’m a LITTLE concerned I put too many scarves in this batch and the whole thing might be too tight for the dye to work down… Only one way to find out.
Step Two: Saturate
So I totally soaked it with water. Some people get the scarves wet before the folding into place stage, but this seems easier to me. Also, maybe some dry spots will be more interesting. And this keeps me from getting soaking wet myself.
Step 3: Sprinkle with soda ash and salt. More than you’d salt food for both by about 4 times, but no clumps.
Step 4: Sprinkle on dye powder over surface. Particular colors in spots, some overlapping, but not to much- you don’t want muddy colors. So I hear.
Step 5: Sprinkle on more soda ash and salt. I also poured on the dye activator liquid, which as far as I can tell hasn’t done anything yet, but I might as well use it.
Step 6: Top with ice, evenly cover surface with about an inch or so depth.
Step 7: Wait 24 hours.
Tonights batch (the pictures used in the steps above) are Black (was in the natural fiber dye sleeve, but I may have mixed up the bags to sleeves.. or the black from the experiment yesterday was poly dye… I don’t even know anymore.) Poly purple, all the rest of the poly turquoise that has come out denim blue in the past, and a few dots of the brilliant blue natural fiber dye that turned out turquoise yesterday. I went heavier with the black and purple.
Yesterday I only did four scarves, tonight I went with six and two bandanas, but three were gauzy scarves, including the first two I was experimenting on. The poor ugly ducklings are pretty stiff with salt at this point. Fingers crossed for some swans out of those two on the third try.
Now we wait and see. This part kills me…
So… ice dying, right? So I loved the look of the scarves I did last week:
But once I put one on to wear it read as really subtle since you lost the marbled look with it scrunched up around the neck… and my husband said the couple of light tan spots read as looking dirty… so okay, I’ll just over dye those spots in red with a poly dye for synthetic fabric.
But… it didn’t take. Just gave a blah light pink diffusion over spots… so that sucks. Okay, so then I overdyed and went heavy with it the next day with the red dye for cotton fabrics.
And… it still didn’t take. I even used the dye activator liquid that came with the dye, and salt… it’s a bit of a mess. I rinsed the one on the left in the picture above out after 2 hours, I’m going to let the one on the right stay out there longer and hope the cat doesn’t walk on it and the dog doesn’t pee on it. This is asking a lot of fate, I know.
I sure as hell hope it’s either just the particular fabric on these scarves or the red dye color from both types. Because 30 scarves that look like this ain’t gonna cut it, methinks.
I’m just going to chalk it up to a learning curve… like the first pancake that never turns out right.
One other thing- it’s disappointing to see that now that I have all this poly dye, it’s stating that it really needs to be heated to set… as in boiling the fabric with the dye. Well, that is just not going to be possible here. Now, the poly blue took well enough without it… but that poly red sure is a mess. I’m just going to do a test on the next few scarves of all the dyes in stripes to test the colors and see what I can work with- since the poly red and blue reacted so differently, and the natural fiber black and red took so differently I really just need to see them all in action. Watch it be the first one to sell…
Child says: “I made this for you!”
Translation: “Here, throw this away when I’m not looking.”
Parent Says: “I love it!”
Translation: “I’ll throw this away when you’re not looking.”