I’m totally exhausted today. The last few days have been soooo busy. It started on Saturday where we weeded and tidied most of the veggie garden. Then we went out to Mission (1 hour and 20 minutes, door-to-door) for my SIL’s 25 X 2 birthday. It was fun and we stayed longer than we had planned. Got home at 11pm which for us is more like 1 am. It was nice to see my brother’s side of the family because we don’t get a chance to get together very often. Unfortunately we just got there when my birth mom, my sister The Nurse and her grown sons were leaving so we missed having a good visit with them. Mother is very ill with cancer and she has been moved into my sister’s house for palliative care. This is a very difficult time for us all right now. And now I’m leaving for the better part of a month! Not on purpose. That’s just how it turned out. Mother told us to have a good time on our vacation and not worry about her. Yeah, right.
Meanwhile, back at the weekend, on Sunday I got to photograph Princess Pink in her Flower Girl Dress:
Aren’t they a handsome bunch? So while they went off to the wedding we got Stargazer for the whole day all to ourselves. We pushed him in our vintage stroller all the way to Granville Island where he got to play in the water park:
Stargazer pronounced this swingy bridge “tricky”. So cute! After pizza in the market and watching the birds and the boats we headed back uphill toward home. He fell asleep in the stroller and stayed that way almost all the way and only woke up in time to have an apricot at the little organic produce store a block from home. Perfect timing.
But that’s not all! We immediately turned around and went out again, this time in the car (with Stargazer’s borrowed car seat) to T’s younger brother’s house for dinner. Nana was there too to Stargazer’s delight. He loves his great-grandmother and she’s a great one for the little guys. She has 7 grandkids and 12 great-grandkids now! Whew. Though as she mentioned, her sister has 13 so beating her by one. I think Auntie cheated though since she started with twice as many kids in the first place: 6 (a girl and 5 boys) to Nana’s 3 boys. Just sayin’.
Yesterday (Monday) I designated a Dye Day #1 and picked a bunch of coreopsis and deadheaded the marigolds. I also had a small bucket of walnuts that had been stewing in the sunshine for a month and a half. It was very dark brown and, after skimming off a layer of mould, I pronounced it useable. I already had two skeins (100g total) of the never-ending alpaca lace yarn and two 100g skeins of Zephyr silk/wool (colour Vanilla) that had been previously mordanted in alum. So I put the alpaca in the walnut dye and used the microwave to heat it gently. I extracted the coreopsis (50g) and marigolds (150g) in boiling water and then strained out the flowers and added one of the Zephyr skeins. After simmering for an hour it turned an all too familiar shade of gold so I decided to use a wee bit (1.5ml) of iron to turn it green. It turned a lovely olive shade and there was lots of colour still in the pot. So I added the second skein of Zephyr and got a slightly lighter and bluer sage green. Meanwhile the alpaca came out of the walnut very dark but lost quite a bit of colour in the rinses (many!) and ended up medium brown. Too gentle heat? Perhaps I should have simmered it longer on the stove instead of using the microwave? Left it longer in the dye? Lesson learned. Nice colour anyway. Photos to come when they dry more. It rained last night so the skeins are still very damp from the higher humidity.
While I was hanging around in the dye studio waiting for pots to heat I also made a batch of the skin cream from my friend Sandra’s rather complex recipe. This was my first effort and I found it difficult to microwave the oils and waxes to the right temperature. Our old craft microwave is a bit flaky and heats unevenly. My thermometer was fluctuating up and down like an elevator: too hot, too cold. I figured close was good enough and it seemed to work ok. It made 8 2-ounce containers which gives me enough to give some as gifts. And enough supplies are left for at least one more batch before I have to start replacing some ingredients.
Today I’ve decided is Dye Day #2: Woad. I know I should be packing for the trip but I need to use stuff while it’s available which is now. The woad has zoomed back up to nearly as big as it was a few weeks ago and who knows if it will have blue in it by October. So I decided to try now. My skein of blue Zephyr from last time needs more overdyeing for a deeper blue anyway. So we’ll see what I can get. I’ll try to remember not to use so much thiox this time. Wish me luck! It’s definitely not science. Blue is totally magic.