Thursday, November 15, 2018

Journals ~ Eco Dyeing --- PHOTO HEAVY

Hello!  I have really been immersing myself in the journal making. It's SO much fun and I can be SO creative.
Of course, YouTube has helped me a LOT.

I previously showed some coffee dyed papers I made.  The coffee smelled very strong.  Some people on FB recommended using vanilla, or essential oils, but I don't think I'd like that smell either.  Someone else said to rinse the papers and that would possibly reduce the smell.  I might try that.

However, I decided to tea stain the next batch of papers. I love how they came out.  I can't say they look much different, but the process was SO stinkin easy - and speaking of stinkin, they don't smell either!  LOL  I just ran hot water in a quart Mason jar, dunked in about 12 teabags, let it steep for almost an hour, then took it all downstairs.  I had a plastic tub I dumped it into, in the utility sink, and spread all the papers out on 2 six foot tables, as well as a grooming table and card table shoved together, all with vinyl table cloths over them. Overnight, the papers were dry.  Stuff dries very quickly because the unfinished part of the basement is where the furnace is, and since we are currently having winter weather with sleet, ice and rain - gotta love Virginia - the papers dry SO fast! I thought I had photos, but alas, I do not. I will take some next time I tea dye - which will probably be later today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I decided to try Eco dyeing some paper.  I had some watercolor paper, which I saw on YT (that's where I learn everything!) is what to use.  Regular copy paper doesn't stand up to the hot water for 2 hours.  I have a large pot that I used to use for wool dyeing.  I had some hardware cloth to place in the bottom so the paper packets didn't sit directly on the bottom of the pot. I placed the paper packets on the hardware cloth, covered the papers with water well over the top of the paper, and weighed the stuff down with a small brick I wrapped in foil (because it was dirty).  Ya can't use anything too big - I saw someone on YT that used a huge rock - then when it was time to take the stuff out, the rock was too heavy to lift out safely without being splashed by hot water. No thanks. I have enough trouble staying out of harm's way!  Ha!

 Unfortunately the frost killed off everything I could use....the yard had some leaves that weren't totally destroyed, so I did get a few of those. Above, a huge oak leaf.  Lots of those in the yard.
 I don't know what these berries are.  There are red ones, and purple ones.  I was hoping the berries would make an imprint on the papers, even if they didn't add much color.  This did NOT happen though.  I won't bother with berries again.
 Above are a few flowers from the Azalea plant that strangely bloomed in October.  I don't think I've ever seen that.  The few blooms that remained semi-alive were underneath, away from the frost. They were wilted but they still made a small impression on the paper.
 Here is a  paper packet. I wrapped it in parchment paper because I didn't have anything else. I've seen people use steel plates, pieces of plastic, and other things.  All I could think of was the parchment paper.   This is used to keep the paper edges from ripping from the string you have to tie tightly around the packets in order to keep everything in place.
I failed to get photos of them wrapped. I will try to do better next time I do something!

I placed the pot on the stove with the cover on it, brought the water to a boil, then lowered the temp to a simmer.  Left it this way - not unattended of course - for 2 hours.  I removed the cover, poured out the hot water (very carefully) into the sink, and safely removed the foil covered brick.  I removed the paper packets and let them cool in the sink about 20 minutes, then carried them to the basement and unwrapped them, laying them out on the vinyl cloth covered tables.  They dried really nicely.



Now that I see the dried papers, I can certainly tell that a lot more happened than I initially thought.  The berries may, or may not, have added to some of the colors.  There were also some orange berries in there.  Also some small branches from a fir tree, which at first, I didn't think did anything, but if you look closely enough, you can see faint outlines on some of the pages.  I even used some fallen bark from an oak tree.  There were a couple of maple leaves, but I couldn't really find anything that were still in tact and not all dried up or had holes in them.  I also used 2 types of tall grass that are growing in the yard, and though I didn't think that came out either, there is faint telling of them as well. I'm pretty pleased.  I will do this again, next year, when there is fresh growth - probably summer and fall.  This paper is very heavy so I will probably use it as covers for the signatures, or inserts/sections I place inside the journals.

I hope you've enjoyed this little part of my journey.  I like to call my journals journey journals because I hope that people use them no matter what journey they are on in their lives.  :-)

More to come - next up - decorating 3 x 5 cards!  FUN!

Take care and thanks for looking in.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wow - Where Did October Go???

October really did fly by for me.  I don't know where it went!  It was an emotional month for many reasons, which I won't go into.

I don't know if I mentioned previously, but I got interested in Travelers Notebooks recently - just before leaving on our trip to Maine.  Then I realized TN's weren't really what I was looking for....close, but not quite.  I did buy a sketch book in ring form to take to Maine to use as a scrapbook/travelers journal to work on while we were traveling. I really enjoyed that a lot, but the book was pretty sterile with white pages.  I used it, I sketched a little - I'm no artist in that respect! - I used my little printer I purchased that prints out photos directly from my iPhone, without ink!  It's an HP Sprocket and it's really cool. 

 Above is the Sprocket, below, the little zip pouch I carry it in! 

I enjoyed the process.....but it was still missing something.  When we returned, I found YouTube videos of some artists that make journals - junk journals.  Some of them are too much for my taste - too many things inside  ~  like lace, or old photos, or bright papers.  However, some of the techniques used have been wonderful!  I've been binge watching 2 in particular - Nik the Booksmith here
and Cheryl at delygirl961 here
They both have personalities that make me want to be their friend!

I decided to try coffee dying some paper - which was easy enough. I chose to put them in pans and bake them.  We have a regular electric stove with 2 shelves, plus we have an Oster Toaster Oven, which is smaller but also has 2 shelves and it holds a full size cookie sheet on each!  The broiler pan I used for one of the shelves in the oven had ridges on the bottom, which made wonderful marks on my papers! 
I used tracing paper, copy paper, sketchbook paper, parchment paper (from a pad I had from years ago to try Calligraphy), ledger paper, notebook paper (the kind with blue lines) and anything else I could find.  I had all of these papers already on hand, from past crafts I'd tried but didn't stick with!   Oh! I also used some newly purchased tags I found in Tuesday Morning!
I brewed some super strong coffee, some that husband doesn't use anymore.  It was VERY strong.....too strong really.  It left a burnt coffee smell on the papers, and baking them probably made the smell stronger!  Not really good for a booklet, but I used them anyway. 



As you can see, I went to town! 

Since these papers were smelling strongly of coffee, I decided to try a different route.  The next batch I did, I decided to use tea.  I bought a box of cheap store brand teabags and used hot water from the faucet, in a quart Bell canning jar, and let them steep for an hour or so.  I drained them off, went to our basement where I have a utility sink, used an unused cat pan we had, placed it in the sink.  I had some vinyl covered table cloths I'd used at craft shows to cover tables, and they were perfect for covering 2 six foot long folding tables, and also a card table butted up against a dog grooming table!  Once I had everything safely covered, I started dipping my papers into the tea mixture in the plastic pan. Wow - that went really fast!  I laid all the papers out on the tables, and I was done.  The next morning all the papers were dry!  That was SO quick and painless, I did a second batch the next day.  LOL  This will be the way I do them from now on.

Some people iron the papers, but the tablecloths lay really flat, and honestly, I love the little bit of warping in the papers - it gives them some character.  They don't just look old, they actually look like they had tea spilled on the.  The winner of this method, though, is the lack of smell that the coffee stained papers have.  NO smell at all on the tea stained paper.  Fast, easy, and I got some exercise walking to the far ends of the tables all over the unfinished section of our basement where the sink is.  Ha!  I just came upstairs, and started on another project while the paper was drying.  Since we've had the heat running (it is November after all), the papers dry fast and they add a little humidity to the air - again - win/win!

There will be more coming - I've finished the first journal which will be my next post, and I have started the next! 
Thanks for checking in.
Take care,

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fall? Well, not in VA!

Just because it's September, does NOT mean it's Fall!  Sheesh - the last couple of weeks have been hot, but the last few days, hot, hazy, humid and hellish!  UGH.  I cannot wait for fall.  I actually bought some fall/winter clothing yesterday, despite the fact I was out in 96 degree temps with a heat index of 106.  Hey, I lost a lot of weight from last fall to this spring, so I have to stock up on fall/winter clothing when I see what I like.  :-)

However - since it IS still summer here despite the calendar, I decided to try a new desert....yeah, well, I have fallen off my diet and have started eating naughty but I'm going to slow that down to a crawl and as soon as it starts cooling off, I'm going to start walking.  Anyway, meanwhile, I'm being bad. 

I love strawberries - and I really love them when they are with other food - so I thought, hey, I have some good cookies (yeah yeah, I know) and I have some cream cheese and I pulled everything out, washed the strawberries, cut the stems off and cut them up.

Then I put about 3 spoonfuls (you know, the teaspoon size you eat with) of cream cheese into a bowl, and about 1 spoon of yogurt in with it and whipped it together with the spoon.  (double this if you're making more than one serving)

Then I took these cookies
which I bought at Costco the other day (they of course come in a box with 4 packages in them), and put them in a baggie and gently crushed them
For one serving, I take about 2-3 cookies and crush them - this is just one cookie here.
You can use anything really - shortbread cookies, graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies, ginger snaps - anything YOU like.

I put some of the cookie on the bottom of the bowl, then add the strawberries, cream cheese mix, and more cookies on top.

OH. YES!  SO good.

When I made butter the first time and I separated some out when it first became whipped cream.  When I made this little concoction yesterday, I used it then and didn't think to take a photo - mostly because my mouth was watering after making this! I was ready to dig in and hadn't even considered pulling out the camera.  Ha!  Time to make more whipped cream and butter!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is SO good.  Strawberry shortcake re-imagined!  YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!  Even better with whipped cream on top.  So as long as there are some strawberries that still taste good in the stores, I may be making this.  It's mostly healthy, right????