Wednesday, July 23, 2008


For the visitor to Refuge Cove, my summer home, all that is evident as one floats into the cove is a smattering of houses built along the shoreline, a series of docks (with a fueling station) and a ramp leading up to some local businesses ( a well stocked general store, a coffee shop, a used book shed, a new "mystery" structure). What one doesn't see or get to experience are the lovely forest trails, the rustic residences, the community embellishments that the visitor can only imagine as they view the surrounding area form their boats. Being a land and housing cooperative, our property is private, so the only territory open to the visiting boater for exploration are the boardwalks and a small trail in the commercial area. This trail consists of about 50 feet of pathway and is aptly named the "PET PATH".
It seems as though dogs and boaters go hand in hand these days. Both power and sail boaters enjoy their summer holidays with their beloved pet or pets, well-dressed in doggy life jackets. I even saw a good sized pooch in a kayak last week. Now that's love!

With dogs comes dog poop, and being experienced in traveling with our dog, I know first hand that this can be a problem. We were lucky: a small dog that trained easily to "go" on a fake grass doormat. As we tossed her tiny pieces overboard, we'd see other boaters rowing their dogs to shore for relief.

So when dog-owning boaters come to Refuge Cove for fuel, groceries, or some goodies from the bake shop, they also make the pet path a popular destination. As you can imagine, this now was a major problem for us. We were finding little plastic bags everywhere, and ferns on the pet path were well fertilized. Locals would groan at the sight of another dog!

Solution??? Now we have the "dog waste compost station" which you can see posted at the entrance to the path. A wire cage, a shovel, and a bucket of sawdust makes up this sysytem which boaters have been terrific at embracing. (There are those stubborn ones who seem to love their baggies.)

So bring your dogs to our fine little berg! We welcome them and we welcome you! Just be a responsible pet owner and use our canine composting system to keep our community happy and clean.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I love making my own fabric and this method is one of my all time favorites because the results are so unique and unpredictable!
Last fall I was rummaging through my stash of dye tools and I came across a 10" long haircurler - much like the ones I used to roll my hair up in when I was a teenager, except longer. I remembered using it ages ago in some sort of dyeing trial, but didn't remember the details except that the results didn't impress me. My mind began to imagine a new way to use it. This is what I did:
I took a white fat quarter and folded it so it ended up being a folded strip about 6"-7" wide. Then I rolled this strip onto the curler, being sure that the fabric favored one end of it. To secure it, I wrapped rubber bands tightly all along the fabric.
Then I placed it in a cut off water bottle, one tall enough hold liquid to cover the fabric. I placed the cylinder inside with a funnel down the center of the curler. Now I started pouring my dye solutions, followed by soda ash. I allowed a time interval between each color, perhaps 15 minutes. When full of liquid, I waited an hour or so, then I rinsed each cylinder in water and cut the bands off to see what miracles would unroll. These were beautiful!
It is up to the dyer to decide when to add the ash. Perhaps you want to dip the entire cylinder into soda ash, prior to pouring in dyes. Or start with the fabric either wet or dry. There are many variables to play around with here, as is true with all dyeing projects.
Now I have a nice array of tools for my "one piece wonders". I have purchased a variety of plastic placemats from the dollar store that I use to wrap my fabric. Actual curlers work well too. I know that some dyers are using pvc pipe with holes drilled into it. Anything that filters the liquids through the fabric will work well.
Did I say filter? One day Tom was changing our water filter in Mexico. With further inspection, I discovered that my long roller is actually the inside of the water filter. I carefully cut away the old paper casing and I had a new tool! Now all my friends and neighbors are saving them for me!
(That is, until I show them this technique and they start saving them for themselves!)
So the photos you are seeing here are taken from a "one piece wonder" day I had last week. I had a bundle of BLAH! fabric that needed help in the form of overdyeing, so I wrapped the pieces onto my filters and curlers and plastic placemats and went at it! I happily unrolled a dozen plus unique and beautiful fat quarters to add to my hand-dyed stash.

Try it, you'll like it!

Friday, July 4, 2008


I have enjoyed the First Friday Artwalk in Mazatlan so much that I thought I'd continue it on my blog. Why not? - friends and neighbors and tourists stopping by to have a look at what's new in my studio, chatting, having a snack and drink, perhaps even purchasing a piece of my work or some fabric. At least that's the Mazatlan version. Here you can just read and enjoy!
Coincidentally it's also the 4th of July. I'm sure some of you out there wonder about why that matters to me. Even though I live in NORTH AMERICA (Mexico and Canada), by birth I am American, and some things, like the 4th of July just don't disappear from your being, even though you're living in another country. This has always been a special family get-together day in the U.S.. Today we are happy to have Tom's daughter and grandchildren with us, keeping the family thing going. Dinner with friends and family, picnic fare, a few sparklers on the cake. It's the 4th!
The 4th is also a special day for me as my dear dad passed away on this day 12 years ago. Art was a lover of life, had a hankering for travel, and grew beautiful flowers! He considered me his gypsy child and his everlasting message to me was "whatever you choose to do in life, I love you". Wow! I am so grateful for his words. And so, in memory of Art (we called him "Art the Fart" behind his back in our youth, snickering, feeling a bit guilty...) I want to display these two quilts that I made a few years ago for my grandchildren. (The first is shown at the top of this blog.) They remind me so much of him because of the bright plaids I incorporated with my hand-dyes. Yes, he was one of those men who wore bright plaid pants. (Tom calls them "David Lindley" pants, after the musician who always wore the polyester version.) Art wasn't a golfer, just a guy who wasn't afraid to be himself.Moving on, I want to display the finished product I featured in my blog entitled "Discharge Dyeing". I added a beaded fringe of paper beads and buttons, a set of tabs at the top, and hung it on a copper pipe in my living room. I am very pleased with this piece. One of my goals this summer has been to teach myself to paint on silk. I have a big stack of habatoi silk scarves and I am pumping out about 2 per week. With the steaming involved, my success rate isn't very good (maybe about 40%), but I'm plugging along and enjoying it very much. Here's one I have on the frame at the moment, a vision of what's going on in my garden....GROWTH, COLOR, LIFE! And last but not least, I had a busy day of dyeing up my "one piece wonders" using a stack of cotton pieces that really weren't too interesting or useful. I happily have about 20 new overdyes that definitely will be used in my work. Here is one of the many I produced. I hope you have enjoyed July's Webwalk! Come again next month and see what I've been up to! Happy 4th!