Thursday, 5 September 2013

Crazy Crafting

 I have been crazy crafting these last couple of weeks!  First of all I need to share about our visit to see our lovely friends Lyle & Kirsten.  They live on an acreage near Ponoka which is a fair distance from us.  This is unfortunate, because we don't get to see them as often as we would like.  We drove up to see them this past weekend and a fabulous time was had by all.  While the guys were busy mountain biking in Red Deer, Kirsten and I decided to get creative.

First of all she taught me how to make cold process soap, which I thoroughly enjoyed!  The little bar on the left is sporting one of her soap tags, but was mixed from scratch and poured by me.  Of course I loved it so much that I now have some soap making supplies on the way to me so that I can make more in future.  Her recipe is wonderful.  I love the lather on the soap and it does a great job of moisturizing the skin.  It's fragrance and dye free, and contains minimal ingredients.  I think it's fabulous! 

 After we finished making our soap, we decided to try some fabric dyeing.  We wanted to experiment with batik dyeing which uses a wax resist and fiber reactive dyes.  We mixed up the dyes, and melted some wax on a hot plate in a double boiler set up.  Kirsten had cut some forms out of foam, and we used those and paint brushes to add the wax to our fabric.  Since we were just experimenting we used old white sheets and tea towels to see what would happen.  Kirsten tacked up an old crib sheet between two saw horses that we were supposed to share, but I was having so much fun that she let me have at it like a canvas.  All the white bits are where I applied wax, I also did a bit of tie dyeing and painted on the rest of the colour.  While I was preoccupied with this portion, Kirsten was going crazy with the foam stamps on some of the other fabric.  Below I have a shot of her next to our dye table with all of our premixed colours.  To the right is a picture of our fabrics drying with their first layers of colour.

 Unfortunately, I forgot to get some pictures of the finished works!  We had a lot of fun, but some of the sheets had some heavy amounts of wax on them and it was difficult to remove.  Lessons were learned and we now have a list of do's & don'ts.  I'm sure we will get even better results the next time we try this!

In exchange for my lessons in soap making I spent some time teaching Kirsten how to spin, and despite exhaustion from the activities of the day we managed to each finish a skein of yarn.  Kirsten's was a thick and thin two ply which I don't have a photo of, and mine is a three ply fingering weight yarn that I have had on the wheel for several months waiting to get finished.  It felt good to get it completed.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and we returned home.  However, I felt inspired and over the past few days I got some canning done and also got adventurous and completed my first quilting project.  I have found myself sewing a lot more lately than I ever have.  I was sharing with Kevin yesterday that I really like the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing something with my own two hands regardless of the craft.  It's nice to be able to sit back and say "I made this!"  My wonderful grandmother passed away at the end of June, and as strange as it might sound, I like to believe that she is channeling her passion for sewing through me.  I feel as though she is close to me when I am at my sewing machine, and it is a comforting feeling.  This week, I finished my first quilting project.  It's a little Halloween centerpiece.  However, I am thinking I might use it as a wall hanging and put it in my cubicle at work for the coming holiday.  It's a first attempt at this craft, and I know that everything doesn't line up the way it should, but I am incredibly happy with this little piece and look forward to maybe trying some other quilting pieces in future.

  As for the canning, I ended up doing some pickling.  These are my first batch of pickled anything!  My husband wanted pickled beans with habaneros.  The beans were being sold by one of the local hutterite colonies and looked lovely, so I got them as I hadn't grown any this year.  The habaneros were our own.  This is the first year we have had a really great crop of them.  I used them in my salsa this year, and Kevin likes to add them to our breakfast skillets.  They are also great in jambalaya recipes!  They are pretty easy to grow and just require some good sun and heat.  I look forward to growing more of them next year.

Well, that's about all I have to share at this time.  I think I need to do posts a little more frequently so that I don't end up trying to squish so much into the few that I do get done.  I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in crafting, and hopefully it may inspire you to try and do something that you've always wanted to!

Take Care & Happy Crafting!