Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Nature Table

     Here is our nature table updated for summer.  The Sycamore tree next to our property has been shedding it's bark, and so Anna has been collecting it and adding that to the table.  While cleaning out our shed, I found two snake skins.  Eek! I am glad the snakes weren't still in residence, and the skins make a great addition to our table.  We always have to have rocks, since Samuel lives for the love of rocks.  He collects them from around the yard, and hauls them around in his dump truck, and I am always finding them all over the house.  Maybe he will grow up to be a geologist.  The seashells are are there to evoke the feel of summer, but we haven't been to the beach this year.  I collected a bunch years ago, and most of the time they are the kids sand box toys.
I made some little peg people to inhabit our table just for fun.  Notice, there is a boy and a girl the same size, and a little bit bigger girl.  Guess who they are suppose to be?  Anna love things that match our family.  She would also like them to have faces, but I like them the way they are.  I will probably end up painting faces on them, though.  What is it about lack of faces that bother children?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Dye Experimenting: Trying to Make Green

     I decided to try and make my own natural dyes again, this time with the intent of making green.  The thing with gathering your own dye stuffs is that you never really know what you're going to get.  I knew that the bark from young walnut branches is suppose to make green, and that columbine leaves can make yellow; so since I have both of these on hand, I decided to start with that.
     I dumped it all in a pot with a little vinegar to help set it, and then let it simmer.  If dyeing with Cool-Aid was the yummiest smelling project I ever did, this had to be the wost.  Walnut has a very strong scent that by it's self isn't unpleasant, but mixed with vinegar, it nearly drove me from the kitchen!  I was glad when it was dark enough that I could put the silk in it, and set it out side.  I think usually you are suppose to strain out the dye stuff before putting in your material, but I didn't bother.  It seemed like an unnecessary step.  The dye water never looked green, but I kept hoping that it would some how magically look green on the silk.
     The end result was a yellowy olive, which looks very similar to the color that yellow onion skins give.  If I had known this, I probably would have just used onions, since it would have been much easier than peeling the bark off of walnut branches.  Although I wonder if I had just used the bark, and not any columbine, if it would have been greener; but I doubt it.  Even in spite of the smell, it was a fun experiment, and I am already looking around at different plants in my yard, and wondering what color they would make.  For instance, grass stains green, but would it make a green dye?