Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Little Linen Fae

 One morning before breakfast,
while pouring out some tea
I heard a rustling in the cupboard,
hmmm what it could be?
I peeped inside the open door, 
and found to my surprise
A dainty little Linen Fae,
there before my eyes!
 Clambering from the tablecloths, 
she bowed her head down low
dressed in an old white hankersnif 
and shoes with pointed toes.
She said with a voice light as feather down,
 and quiet as a mouse, 
" I heard that you might need some help, 
with a few jobs around the house"

  For linen faerys, so im told
would visit folks in times of old
and help them with their daily chores,
of matching socks and tidying drawers
They found lost bobbins, thimbles and things
fluttering on silken wings 
returning all to rights as you slept
then when day aproached away they crept.
  So my Faery set to work, folding up the cloths, 
fixing snagged embroidery
and checking well for moths
when all was finally finished
she had done her very best
she came to me once more
and this was her request
 A cotton patch for her dress 
was all the payment she would need
each tiny square sewn with care
to mark all of her good deeds
  But now the day grows late, and I must fly
over hills and vales and fields of rye
To the home of a friend who likes to sew
To a warm cosy cottage, to a lady named Jo
Her cottons need sorting and buttons as well
So my dear friend I bid you farewell

Then off she fluttered, up and away
Leaving me with cupboards clean
and a happy story of a linen fae 
what a splendid sight to have seen!

Copyright - 2017 Scarlett Wadey

Friday, May 5, 2017

An adventure in Eco Printing

Morning my dears - it all went a bit quiet for a while didn't it!?
Well as so often tends to happen, life distracted me away from our little online world and I have been busy in the garden - so much work to be done! Last year you may recall we were undertaking some fairly major demolition and over the course of the last few months no less than one hundred tonnes of concrete and rubble have been removed from our little garden! ( it is safe to say that prior to this there was little chance of growing anything at all! ) now we are left with a blank canvas which though inspiring, is also a little daunting! So we have been sketching away, dreaming up planting schemes, marking out raised beds and the like. A big consideration for me was to include plants that would be not only beautiful, but useful too. Whether veggies for the kitchen, herbs for teas, tonics and salves or for use in the dye pot. 
Dying fabric and wool for use in my dolls and around the home has always been exciting for me, the suprise of lifting out a skein from the dyepot and discovering the colours it has developed never grows old! Up untill now I have mostly relied upon a little set of eco friendly organic dye powders, blending them together to create the shade needed, and simply fixing with an acid ( typically vinegar ) This is an instant fix for colour junkies like me, results are seen in moments you can tinker and tweak over the dyepot to your hearts content - it makes for very spontaneous creations - which I love, and also allows a little more control should you need to match  a particular shade for example. However with the possiblity now of growing my own plants to use, I have enjoyed reading up on various methods of dying with plants in their natural state.
My main source for information has been from a book titled Eco Colour - botanical dyes for beautiful textiles by India Flint. It is a exceptional book with a wealth of knowledge of dye history, extraction and application - interwoven with personal stories and is visually stunning too ( pictures in a book are as important to me now as they were to me when I was a child! ) 
So - where to begin now?
Some of you may follow Juliane of "notes from bjorkasa" and enjoy her annual instagram series #onebouquetperday in which she collects a small posy of flowers everyday, noting the species and where they were found. I have enjoyed welcoming more flowers into my home ( even if they are now displayed in old jampots and teacups for lack of vases!) so with natural dying in mind, yesterday I set out with a basket around my home town to collect some foliage and flowers.
And now - for all of you so patient and kind as to have read this far 
( thank you - and sorry for waffling! ) I will share the pictures! Hooray!

 I collected as much variety as I could, paying attention to shape aswell as colour. 
The contects of my basket included:
Photinia, Aquilegia, Fern, Oak, Maple, Acer, Copper beech, Pieris, Forget me knot, Californian poppy
Dog rose, Oxalis triangularis, Sycamore, Red velarian, Ajuga, Herb robert, Daisy, Pansy, Buttercup, Alkanet and

 Plants were arranged over some premordanted heavy linen fabric, covered with more fabric and then bashed to release their colour. I was a little delicate as first, attemping a gentle roll with a rolling pin, then a careful tap with a rubber mallet, to eventually abadoning my concern, and whole heartedly pounding the fabric with a  hammer! The plants quickly bruised and offered some interesting pattern and colour straight away, the valerian and oxalis in particular stained with a deep turquoise when they made contact with the alkali fabric. After ten minutes or so when all the plants had been covered I realised that my neighbours might actually not be enjoying the happy sound of my dying cloth, so began the next step, tightly rolling the fabric and steaming. I sadly don't own a steamer, so a seive over a pan had to suffice.
The last step was undoubtedly the most difficult....

Waiting! Oh how I wanted to sneakily unwrap just a corner, just to take a tiny peek! 
A whole day and night is a very long time to wait when you are accustomed to the instant gratification of comercial dyes!
Finally - now breakfast has been put away, dishes done, laundry on, children at school, 
tea in the pot, finally I can see if this eco dye has worked!
  Unrolling the bundle I could see that colours had indeed taken to the linen, 
imprinting the shape of some of the foliage and flowers.
Colours were rich and bright, though not the same as when the plants 
had first been hammered onto the fabric

 Some plants left very clear impressions, here you can see californian poppy, valerian and oak leaves.

Overall I am really encouraged by the results, some good clear marks and nice variety of colour. I am hoping that I will be able to make some swatches next time to document the different plant species and the colours they yeild through different methods.
 Here is a nice comparison of the collected flowers alongside their finished ecoprint

So - there you are my dears - this is what I have been up to. Plans for little girls swirled up in swathes of flower dyed fabric are whizzing around in my mind - no doubt some will make their way to reality before too long! Much love to you dear friends, have a colourful day! xx

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Solassi and her Cactus Babies

Morning all!
Over the last few weeks I have been working on a brand new style of doll.
As I sketched new pattern pieces I imagined a girl of maybe 11 year old, all long spindly legs after a growth spurt, still with a little clumsyness of youth, but the hint of elegance of becoming a young lady. I hoped to create a doll with a nice proportion to sew clothes for, who would enjoy twirling and admiring delicate stitchwork - who might enjoy pouring over my fabric collection with me!
Little did I know, that this fine young lady, Solassi - would share a different interest of mine!

For those of you that follow the ramblings of my blog, you may know that last year we bought a little house in need of entire renovation - rafters to the ground - everything needed doing! And while we have slowly worked away making home -  the garden has been left much to its own devices, a distant dream of next year when we can turn our attention to happy notions of herb gardens, plants for natural dyeing and perhaps a few chickens!?

 In the absence of my much needed outdoor space, I have invited the greenery indoors, and busily set about propagating easy care succulents and cacti babies to cheer up our windowsils! In truth they have near taken over! While I have carefully repotted, gently misted and whispered encouragingly to my little plant babes, Solassi has been by my side! So delighted in tiny fresh rosettes of leaves emerging, keen to find the names of every new plant and ensure each is enjoying its fair share of sunshine - who would have guessed her to have such tiny green fingers!

It wasn't long though of course before my mind wandered ( as it's prone to do!) and I found myself stitching away at a tiny cactus baby doll. Madness! but oh with their pinchy rosey cheeky, happy little smiles and soft plush fabric how could I resist! And so my collection of those grew too, each one different, some with embroidered "spines" some bursting into bloom and all extremely cuddly!

Now Solassi and I really have our hands full! The little ones have grown so fast I know really they had best venture out to find new homes!

Over the next couple of days Solassi and her Cactus babies will head to my etsy shop, I can assure you even the least green fingered gardeners will enjoy keeping these plants! xx

Friday, October 7, 2016

Atsuko Mayumi and the goldfish

Autumn! Finally my favourite season! Cosy socks, the swirling confetti of leaves caught in a breeze and all manner of warming fruit crumbles and puddings - yup this is my time of year!
October in our town sees a special highlight in the calendar - "Goose Fayre"
On this day countrymen from all over the county will visit the town to sell their geese ready to fatten up for Christmas dinner - over hundreds of years it has grown from a simple stock trading day, to a full day of festivity! Children are all permitted the day out of school to visit the markets and sample the delicious treats on offer, ride the dodgems at the fayre and waddle along with the geese at the stock trade. Its a really fun day to get together and celebrate this time of year.

This year we have had the pleasure of taking a guest along,  Atsuko Mayumi

This warm hearted little soul has been the perfect house guest - full of sunshine smiles and happy chatter - she loved walking around the fair yesterday evening with me and my boys - and was so delighted when I put a shiny 50p piece in her hand for her to spend on the helter-skelter, or on some candyfloss - or whatever she wished from the fair.

On our way home, Atsuko was lagging behind as we walked up the hill for home, I thought she was still staring after the lights and colourful commotion of the fairground, and maybe was a little tired, but as we got closer to home I realised she was struggling along, carrying something behind her back.

" what have you got there?" I asked her,
and a little sheepishly she lifted the heavy bag from out from behind her back -
" you said I could spend my penny on whatever I wanted!"
she blurted, her cheeks flushing - anticipating I might be a little less than pleased!
" his name's Lucky!" she added triumphantly " because I won him with the hoopla's!"
" the hoopla's indeed!" I chuckled! "what a lucky goldfish, we better sort him out someplace to stay"

And so Atsuko Mayumi helped find a little fishbowl and placed little Lucky inside, sitting until bedtime watching him swimming in his new home.

 We placed the bowl right next to her bed so that she could keep an eye on him all night - but you know, that sweet girl was so tired from the excitement of the fair - when I peeked in to check on them not five minutes later - she was fast asleep and dreaming!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A morning with baby Anders

It's funny how the smallest and most simple of tasks can stretch to taking up all morning! It's just the way with babies! Dressing and changing and bathing, with a good bit of playing and cuddling can really take a long time! Especially when each precious little pose needs to be photographed! I often wonder how newborn photographers manage it, every tiny smirk, wrinkle of a nose unbearably cute yawn ( which always sets me yawning too!) literally everything is scrummy about babies! They must take thousands of photos, and how do you narrow those down? This afternoon while baby Anders slept, I spent an age pondering which to include in this blog post - and well whittling over one hundred down to these few was tough!
Here is a little photo story of our morning....

Morning little sleepy head! Little Anders was up with the lark, eager to play with his favourite toys!
He played with his blocks and little knitted Bunny Bun
 Anders, like most little ones, is growing up fast!
Roughly stacking and tumbling his blocks,
he surprises me with just how well coordinated he is already!
Before too long it is time to take a bath
 Don't you just love it when they are still small enough to bathe like this, in a little basin or sink!
 Though of course keeping wriggly boys covered in bubbles is quite another thing!
 Fresh and clean we quickly pop on a new nappy...
Well .. perhaps not so quickly!
Anders is dressed in some baby soft linen overalls and a selection of classic baby knits, there really is nothing better than babies
cosied up in little woollens!
Oh Anders!
All that playing and splashing in the bath
and he is quite tuckered out!
We sit a while and snuggle, and I hum castles in the sky softly
until his little head begins to nod and his little eyes start to blink
I lay him in his crib and pull up the blankets
Then quietly tiptoe back out of the room.
Sleep tight my love xx