the next phase

I am fully committed to my porch project, and making a lot of progress. Even though I have a lot more that I want to do, it’s now my favorite spot to hang out. I can eat out there, sit and knit, read, or even take a nap.

I finished two pillows and have a couple more pillow forms waiting for covers. I played with batik again, and again, it was a lot of fun. This time I went bright with pink and orange dye. I originally added the orange to the pink dye bath when I was finished with it, hoping for more of a coral color. Obviously, I should have added less orange for that to happen. I’m fine with the bright tangerine, though.

pillowsI just used a paint brush and beeswax on drop cloth fabric, like last time, but I think if I do this again, I’ll invest in this special tool to see if it gives me a little more control. I just keep calling this sort of imperfect outcome ‘organic,’ to legitimize all the gloppiness of it.

I love the texture of the drop cloth for these pillows, which will be outdoors much of the time. The cushion covers are simply two squares of the dyed fabric with an invisible zipper in the bottom seam, so they’ll be easy to remove and wash.

pink pillow

I know, I need to paint my rocking chair. It’s an old, cheap one from Wal-Mart that Mr. Heylucy surprised me with one day, years and years ago, so I can’t complain. Painting it is on the to-do list, but it’s at the bottom for now.

Completely unrelated to all this, I made a little rosemary wreath after work the other day, just for fun. I have two giant rosemary bushes in serious need of pruning, so I cut enough sprigs for this project. And you can’t even tell, the bushes are still spilling over the walkway. I could probably make a couple dozen wreaths from those monsters.

rosemary wreath

Here’s a quick how-to, in case you want to make one yourself (it’s super easy and fun!): cut lots and lots of rosemary sprigs. Strip the leaves from the bottom few inches, and bunch three or so together and wrap with floral wire (I have a paddle of very thin, green wire, so it’s easy to wrap). Don’t cut your wire. Gather together another bunch, again striping the leaves from the bottom, and overlap the first bunch, wrapping the two bunches together and continuing down the stems of the second bunch. Keep repeating with new bunches until you have a string of rosemary long enough to shape into a circle. Wrap the last bunch to the first bunch. If you have a lot of wire showing, you can just add more sprigs here and there with short bits of wire to cover it up. And that’s it! Hang up your wreath and admire your handiwork, and marvel that it just took a few minutes to make. If it’s a bit wonky, just call it ‘organic.’

And going back to the porch, here’s a gratuitous picture of Pulley, who likes hanging out there as well.

pulley on the porch

 

 

 

 

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I actually pinned something on Pinterest, and then made it, and it might not be quite as pretty as the original, but I really like it. Plus I learned something new and it was really fun.
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I love how this takes a traditional (and beautiful) technique and imagines it a little differently. Also, now I’m in awe of artists that do create traditional batiks.

After sketching out a design I used melted beeswax and a small paint brush to fill it in. I didn’t have much control over where exactly the wax went, but it ended up looking very organic. Since that was the whole idea behind the botanical garland, I think it worked out well

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It took awhile to paint the whole thing

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, but it was a nice, meditative process. And then it went into the dye bath. I didn’t get too crazy, and just used a box of Rit dye. I had hoped for it to come out a little darker, but in the end, I like the grey.

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I ironed the fabric between paper towels to remove the wax, although there’s still a little left in there. Since it’s just going to be hanging on the wall, it’s not a big deal.

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Then I just stitched up one side and inserted a piece of scrap wood and braided some cording that I had for hanging it.

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There’s a huge breaker box in my office, and it’s the perfect cover-up. I love that I made something with stuff that I already had, the only thing I bought was that box of dye. I’d like to learn more about dying fabric, though, and do some smaller pieces in bright colors to make into cushion covers for our living room. And there you go, a fun weekend craft project that came out just right!

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