Dyeing Wool with Mulberries

October 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

I have a lot of 100% natural wool felt laying around. And this past week of spring there are suddenly mulberries everywhere.

I have always wanted to delve into natural dyes – lately I have been on a bit of a drive to get to some things on that always elusive to-do list. One Saturday night I decided it was time to dye with the mulberries themselves.

I did a quick google – no fancy chemicals here to use as mordants or fixatives. I’d have to go with the cupboard staples and hope for the best: salt and vinegar.

First I cooked the mulberries till I had some strong, dark, purple juice. I let it cool overnight. I also soaked the wool felt overnight to ensure it was absorbing liquid.

mulberry dyed felt mulberries

mulberry dyed felt in strainer

In the morning I cooked the felt in my special dyeing-only pan with some salt – a good handful of salt simmered in the water to dissolve, then add felt and simmer for 5 mins.

mulberry dyed felt plain in pot

In goes the mulberry juice and a good swig of vinegar. Simmer another 10 minutes, then rinse and hang to dry. The felt looked lovely and purple in the pot, but when rinsed it revealed a lovely soft grey color with a hint of purple.

mulberry dyed felt purple pot

Next time I will let the felt cool in the pot overnight again to see if I get more purple in the finished product. However grey is one of my favourite colours at the moment so I am please with the result.

mulberry dyed felt finished

Advertisements

Keep Writing.

February 4, 2016 § 2 Comments

I have journalled for most of my life. I can remember as a girl, writing dreams for my life that involved being a writer and having lots of children (!).

As a teenager I wrote copious amounts of emotional outpourings about friendships and lovers and family tensions.

As a twenty-something I took on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, purging my mind every morning, and then journalled the pregnancies and births of two children.

In my thirties…well, journalling became more intermittent; for crises or massive moments only. As my family grew and time demands intensified, journalling evolved into more of a luxury than a necessity.

I have written before about the body and the messages it can send to us through imbalance or illness. It is this exact scenario that led me to realise, just today, that I have not journalled for months, nor written this blog or indeed, much of anything. A niggling pain pointed me to the realisation that somewhere along the way in the last little while, I stopped expressing myself.

I intended to visit this blog today to let it be known that I was going through some deep stuff, too deep to share, too deep for me to be comfortable being visible in any way. I intended to publicly give myself permission not to write.

Instead I find myself re-committing to my writing practice, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. See, I do not feel myself unless I write. 

It is true that I am feeling much inner turbulence in recent months. I look at many aspects of this world and think to myself: this is insane. And I do not know how to exist within this insanity I see.

All I can do is write. And keep writing.

Reset

January 5, 2016 § 2 Comments

DSC_0303

DSC_0307

DSC_0306

DSC_0308

DSC_0316

DSC_0335

DSC_0323

DSC_0331

DSC_0326DSC_0342

Things have been extremely quiet on this blog, for a few months now. Moving home seemed to take most of the year and most of my energy. And then there was a new, exciting job.

With all my energy going into the home and then into my career, I really didn’t have much to say. I just felt fallow, for a while.

Now we are in a New Year and as I write this the rain is pouring down for second day. I love the sound of it at night when I lay in bed. I love staying at home and playing, reading, watching movies with my children. And I cherish the interior space it prompts me to inhabit.

I have spent these past few months just living; being present with my family and with the job I am called to do in supporting people training to become Steiner Education teachers. After many, many years as a stay at home mum or working in very part time roles close to home, I am relishing my new life travelling into the city to work, dressing up and embracing new responsibilities. Of course it is a big adjustment for our entire family and a new sense of balance is still emerging.

Despite not being much of a party goer on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I sat up well into the night, with that musical from the 80’s ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ on TV in the background, writing down some ideas for 2016. I like to follow Dr Demartini’s guidelines in focusing on the seven areas of life, as he outlines in this post. I’m getting better at making plans each year, and it seems each year I realise more and more deeply that whatever I want in my life is something I will have to create.

Writing and crafting are the big loves of my life at present, and I hope to bring more of my gifts in these areas into the world in 2016. Watch this space!

The landscape near our new home is very different to anywhere I have lived before. Today, in the rain, we walked. That New Year energy is still hanging around, and the cleansing, refreshing rain felt like more than just rain.

I’m ready, 2016.

 

Tea for Two

April 29, 2015 § 1 Comment

IMG_1415

My daughters are real little ladies, and one thing they love to do is to drink tea. A while back I threw Lily a High Tea for her birthday, and gradually tea drinking has evolved from a special event activity to more of an everyday thing that we do.

Recently I bought my daughters some new dainty cup and saucer sets. The ones we were using we a mismatched set of cups and saucers left over from my own days as a twenty something who loved all kinds of obscure herbal teas, to sets that the girls had been given but were broken.

I also found, at the grocery store, some awesome looking bedtime tea. Now getting to sleep is not always smooth sailing in our house. In fact, getting three children under eight to sleep at a decent hour is impossible sometimes, especially with hubby working until 11pm most nights.

So this is where sleepytime tea comes in. After dinner, after pyjamas have been put on, the girls come out for their ‘sleepytime tea’. I make them a small pot and they sit at the table with their dainty cups and saucers and sip until the pot is empty. Then they go to bed.

I don’t know if the sleepytime tea really helps them to get to sleep faster, but I do know that the act of coming together before bedtime to sit quietly and sip, brings my girls back into themselves, into their bodies, and they at least go to bed with less shenanigans along the way. I love it how these simple acts become sweet rhythms that anchor our days.

Back to childhood: coloring in.

April 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Suddenly, everywhere I look, the age old traditional childhood activity of coloring in is cool again.

From this article espousing its stress releasing benefits, to the news that a coloring book aimed at adults has hit the top of the Amazon best seller list, coloring in is everywhere.

In my little family, coloring in has always been a mainstay. As a child I loved this activity, and as an adult with children I rediscovered my love for it some 13 years ago when my eldest could first hold a pencil.

I remember a time, around 2001, when my husband and I had separated, but I had followed his move to QLD (a no-brainer that we would reunite, I know). I was in a caravan park with William, alone, and rather scared. I had moved away from my family on a whim, and it was a very different adventure when is ostensibly a single parent with a child to be responsible for.

One particular night I was feeling so lonely, and alone. I made dinner for William and I and then we sat and colored in. In those days I used to go to the massive bookstores in the city to find some cool coloring books, with lovely thick paper and clear lines. On that night it was a stress release: it was about the only thing I could manage to do that didn’t bring on a flood of tears, and that was fun for my son.

It’s funny how certain moments of our lives stand out, never to be forgotten. That night must have been a turning point of some kind to be counted as one of them: later that night I packed our car with all our belongings and drove the hour up the coast to where Sol was living. We moved into his share house and eventually we reconciled and moved into an amazing house on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where our second son was conceived.

But back to coloring in: whenever we go to a restaurant for dinner I bring the books and pencils. Whenever we go on a long car journey I pack a board for my daughters to lean on and they spend the trip coloring in. Nowadays we do not use textas, but lyras – thick, sturdy German made pencils with pure colours in all the shades of the rainbow. And nowadays there is a much larger range of awesome coloring in books to buy – including the one I received for Christmas – that one made for adults that topped the bestseller list recently.

IMG_0532

IMG_0576

IMG_0577

IMG_0578

Easter Traditions

April 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

As time goes by, and as my life experience accumulates, I find myself in an interesting space in regards to religion and spirituality. I have moved on from the religion to which my mother introduced me as a child, and find myself gradually moving still further from any expression of organised religion. However my spirituality runs deep, and is intertwined with nature, in which I increasingly find the purest expression of the divine, but despite this depth of feeling I do not yet feel fully immersed in any other category of spirituality, which sometimes leaves me feeling a little adrift.

These issues are on my  mind right now as it is Easter, and this Easter finds Sydney a somber, rainy, dark place to be (kind of fitting really, if you follow the religious meanings of this time).  Frankly I find Easter confusing: with the Christian version of Easter, the Pagan roots from which the Christian version supposedly arises, and the seasonal aspects which are woven into this holiday too.

It is not Spring where I live, it is Autumn, and the time of the Harvest. We don’t normally have pumpkins here at Halloween time in October as is traditional in the Northern Hemisphere; they are in abundance now as the weather takes its turn towards to the colder months. It feels strange to celebrate with eggs, a symbol of new life and new beginnings.

In previous years, I played along with Easter and all its stereotypical accompaniments, planning an Easter Egg hunt for Easter Sunday but adding a homemade, soulful touch with handmade bunnies for the children to keep, to become part of their daily playthings.

IMG_1315

In recent years my enthusiasm has waned in sync with the waning of my connection to religion. Our children learn about all religions both at home, at school, and from their extended family, but I was not keen to play a part in something that lacked meaning for me. For years now our family members have been asked not to give us chocolate eggs, and the holiday has passed with us camping, or staying close to home and treating it as some special family downtime.

Now that my daughters are getting older, they bring home an awareness of these festivals and the dilemma has arisen again for me. This year I plan to straddle both the fun of Easter (for fun’s sake!), whilst somehow acknowledging the themes of renewal that Easter carries, as well as the seasonal Harvest time we find ourselves in, and the imminent descent into winter.

To accomplish most of these ideas in one go, I use the Nature Table. In Steiner Education, the aptly named Nature Table is a point within the home that holds a connection to the seasons and happenings of nature outside. I recently made space for a rather large nature table, right in the middle of our living space, and as this weekend progresses it will display the bounty of nature at this time of the year, here, where we live in our place on this Earth.

IMG_1314

IMG_1325

 

We will acknowledge the season and its gifts with some eggplant lasagne and pumpkin soup. We may talk, as a family, about what new beginnings we are facing, as well as the gifts in our lives for which we are especially thankful. And the table will hold, on Easter Sunday morning, the bounty that magically occurs at Easter. No matter my own spiritual dilemmas, I am determined for this Easter to hold some energy of reverence, and depth, and just that little touch of magic.

 

Yonis and The Seven Sisters.

April 1, 2015 § 1 Comment

Six months of dreams and applications, and six weeks of intense preparations and discussions culminated on this weekend past with two Crafting the Sacred Yoni workshops held at the Seven Sisters Festival.

It was my first time attending this festival for women. Over 1500 women converged in a wild and somewhat remote location south of Melbourne. When my companion and co facilitator, Yia, and I arrived, we emerged from the car to a frigid and powerful wind that made setting up my little tent tricky, and had us both wondering how we would manage to craft successfully in such conditions.

The energy of this gathering gradually gathered us up in its movement and by the time of our first workshop the weather was all but forgotten. Forty women came, crafted and left with their own unique Yoni. I always suspected this workshop had the potential to be both powerful and healing, but I was deeply moved by the depth of creativity and journeying that each woman took in the ninety minutes we spent together.

I found it extremely interesting how the Yonis were influenced by both which life cycle stage a woman was in, as well as a more subtle influence of her monthly cycle point. By the time of our second workshop, the last time slot of the entire festival, the process felt deeper still as the participants seemed more deeply opened to themselves through other workshops and events they had attended.

Yia and I facilitated just over eighty women crafting their own Yonis this past weekend. It was exhilarating, exhausting, deep, tender, raw and so powerful. Not sure what is next for this little workshop idea but I am already so filled with wonder and gratitude for the journey so far.

And now, for some snapshots…..

DSC_0013

DSC_0023

DSC_0028

DSC_0031

DSC_0036

DSC_0048

DSC_0125

 

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Uncategorized category at kirrileeheartman.