Sunday, August 17, 2014

Building a Lasagna Garden Bed

One of our new garden projects this summer was building a lasagna bed around the base of this Big-leaf Maple.

A house down the street put lots of flattened cardboard out for the taking.
It is the perfect 1st layer.

In the compost area there are piles of paper, coffee grounds, grass clippings, horse manure and leaves.
All of these were added in thin layers with a sprinkle of glacial rock dust every so often.

The pile was covered with cardboard and left to 'cook'. 
A compost thermometer monitors the temperature and a water reader monitors the moisture levels.
We were careful to not build up the bed against the tree trunk.
Project updates coming.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I have finished my Christmas stocking knitting. Christmas 2013, that is.
Son William's scarf is blocked.

It is made from a lovely cotton and silk yarn.
It is winter in New Zealand so I mailed it straight away.

This was my newly planted Garden Tower back on 10th June.

To date I have harvested over 2kgs of swiss chard, arugula, celery, cilantro and basil.
Tonight we made a delicious vegetable curry.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Wedding Shawls

The bride wanted to give her bridesmaids and brother's girlfriend shawls to wear in case things got a bit chilly standing on top of the mountain.
She asked me to make them. I was delighted.
First the sampling with white mohair.

Blocking the sample.

I knit a sample shawl on the bias using a Church Mouse pattern.
It was decided the pattern worked but the yarn was too woolly. 
So I had to go to the yarn store - oh dear.

We settled on a kid mohair/silk mix in colours matching the dresses.
Seven shawls, plus the sample one, were completed in good time. But I had to watch lots of movies on TV to get in the necessary number of knitting hours each week, to meet the deadline.

Here is Amber wearing her shawl.  Each time I saw her over the evening she was wearing it a different way. She made her dress too. She's such a clever girl.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Wedding

We had a wedding. On top of Kicking Horse mountain in British Columbia.

Our older daughter, Katherine, married Sebastian on July 5th.

Many guests travelled great distances to get to the top of the mountain.
Our first family meal together. 
At this time some guests were wrestling with car troubles, flight delays and diversions, and lost luggage. They were still to join us.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dirt Dyeing

While on a 'Girls' Weekend' at the ranch we did some Bengala dyeing.

Rose and Kerry tie stones into a tea towel.

Norma kneads a white t-shirt she is overdyeing.

Rose, Gail and Norma hard at work.

Rose taking out the stones.

The results

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

French Bucol Fabrics

A friend gave me 2 lengths of lame-type fabric. One had this label. A search of the name revealed Bucol has been a famous silk house in Lyon since 1920.

I needed to test the fabrics to find out if they were silk, or not. Out came the burn chart.
The silver one burned briefly then self extinguished. It melted giving off an odor of sweet chemicals and formed a hard black round bead.
It is polyester.

The gold one burned and melted. It was not self extinguishing. A hard black irregular bead formed. 
It is an Orlon or Acrilan acrylic.
I am a little disappointed they are not some vintage French silk from the 1920s but their melting properties will be something to take advantage of when working with them. And they are very pretty and shiny.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Projects' Progress

The Fairy Ring mushrooms, lichens and bark had been wrapped in a wool blanket for over month.
It was time to take the bundle down to the pond and unwrap it.

Looking good but rather smelly.
It needed a good wash.

Some interesting marks I could work with.

My Garden Tower after a week.
We will be eating the arugula and celery next week.

My garden partner planted his tower this week.
He opted to plant mostly seeds.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden Towers

Around our house the only place deer and rabbits can't reach is the balcony where we have taken off the stairs. 
We bought a Garden Tower,, each, to grow edibles in.

It is like a large strawberry planter with a wormery/compost maker down the centre.

After a pleasant  morning at the nursery we each bought home our favourite edibles.

Ingredients for the soil mix.

A mix of the compost we made during our Organic Master Gardener class, Gaia College,, and all the additives to make a rich growing medium.

It was getting dark by the time I had planted my tower.
Now to keep up the water and to enjoy watching it grow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Andy Goldsworthy

Here is a Tate Studio Visit video of Andy Goldsworthy.
I found it on Rachel's great blog. Andy Goldsworthy
Do visit her blog for lots of interesting posts about art, artists and music clips.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pattern Design Course Progress

One of the morning exercises was to analyse different patterns and to find examples of different types of patterns to put in our Pattern Dictionaries.

Elisha is working out how this pattern was made.

Elisha working with a new stamp she carved.
See below the resulting pattern.

Charlotte's new carved stamp produces a number of appealing repeating patterns.

Another pattern Charlotte produced with her new stamp.

Connie made several stamps using hot glue. They make a distinctive mark.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Garden is Blooming

Our garden is most showy in the spring when the rhododendrons are blooming.

A couple of years ago, when my mother was visiting, she pruned and wrenched this rhododendron.
In the fall I moved it to its new bed.

This spring it has produced huge blooms telling me it is happy in its new home.

Purple french lavender and a red rhododendron - quite a colour scheme but the bees are in heaven.
A problem with the present garden is there is not much for the insects to feed on over the summer months.
I'm working on it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy Weekend

Each day I have continued to repair the bead work on this dress.

The weekend started out warm and breezy - perfect conditions for laundering my collection of domestic linens, acquired over the winter.

Outside in the breeze until damp dry.

Then "polishing" with a steam iron.
This process took 2 days!