Thursday, June 28, 2012


In Mexico we filter our water four times from the time it comes into the house to the moment we drink it. There are two major filters at the door, bringing in water from the city, that sometimes look like a filthy, dirty coffee pot…the locals call the liquid that comes in “café”. Then it goes to our tap, from where we put it into our PUR water pitcher/filter. It looks great at the point of leaving the tap, and tastes okay too.

The two large filters at the door have a large paper filter inside. Tom changes them every few months. Inside is a long cylinder of holes, similar to curlers we would wear in our hair as teenagers, except longer. I wrap fabric around them and secure it all with rubber bands/elastics/ligas. I also bought some of the shorter hair rollers at the dollar store. I use the clamp that comes with them and rubber bands too.

On this day I wrapped 10”x14” pieces of white cotton in the manner described and the result was some amazing pieces. I used them in the piece above of the hummingbird. I think this fabric, put together into a hummer, is very effective against the dark blue background.

Here at Refuge Cove, we get our water from a creek,which is high in the winter and low in the summer. Some years have been very dry and we have had to monitor our use. Wanting more control over the water, we put in our own 3000 gallon tank. There is nothing worse then not being able to water the garden, or wash clothes. Here too, we have four filters.There is a filtering box at the creek, a filter from the creek line to the tank, another filter from tank line to the house, and another Pur pitcher/filter that fills our glasses. This water is delicious.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


My friend Pam from Mazatlan wrote me recently and asked if I had tried ice dyeing. I responded by telling here that I wanted to know about it: (please Google and let me know). She sent back this link and my imagination was off and running.

Why not try freezing dye and soda ash into ice cubes? In my next dyeing session, I filled small cups with these liquids and stuck them into my freezer for another day.

Another day arrived and I set about organizing three different scenarios: liquid dye with frozen soda ash, liquid soda ash with frozen dye, and frozen dye with frozen soda ash.

Of course there are other variables that could have been introduced: size of ice chunks (mine were large, about 2”x2”…I could have crushed the ice into small pieces), melt time (perhaps putting it in the fridge for a SLOW melt), and concentration of solution (mine was pretty strong). Regardless, I found my results to be similar to parfait dyeing, but with more white/light spaces. I think this is definitely worthy of more experiments.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I'm into BIRDS these days: colorful whimsical, identifiable or not, I am obsessesed with birds. Here at Refuge we are having a great bird year. We have our annual flood of hummingbirds who mob our feeders, the robins who are constantly hunting the worms in my garden (bugs too I hope), a resident sapsucker who flits from tree to tree, and his big pileated relative who rips and shreds the bark from the dead and dying. The towhees and their little friends are always rustling around in the brush. Inspiration is alive and flying in my Refuge Cove world.

(Raw-edge applique, all hand-dyed)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I just love taking something old and giving it a new life. Just like the new patches on my old jeans (my last blog).
Ben emailed last week and said he'd like me to make him a tablecloth. My soon to be 27-year old (he's a summer solstice baby) has had a home in Gustavus, Alaska since he was 15 (a father/son cabin project) and he is slowly and surely taking more domestic interest these days. He bought a table..."mom, can you send me a tablecloth?".
So I go through my linen drawer (I almost called it my stash!) and found two old tablecloths that we used when our family lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. I think he'll remember them.

I added cerulean blue to the yellow and white check. The blue and green blend so beautifully together. To the "sherbety" one I mixed and added a green dye, as I was hoping to "brown" it up. I should have used more dye; I would have liked deeper tones. Up close it looks as though it has been through many nights of spilled wine...without washings in between.
I love looking at the before and after in photos. What a lovely difference. What do you think?
Do you see that sweet dog Spike in the corner? She now is almost 13 now and stone deaf. We think the vision is going too. Life is getting slower and more difficult for her, just like for the rest of us.
Our family is not "gifty" at all. But this year I am assembling a box to send to Ben. In it will be his 2 new tablecloths and also the only toy of his that I saved. He had a fine collection of little military "micro machines". They are in a small plastic carrying case, probably a few hundred of them, and taped inside is the inventory he so carefully calculated... Freedom Forces-57, Infantry-42, etc. etc. It was another reminder of how our young men have been brainwashed at such a young age about military might. He also had an aircraft carrier with a hinged lid (holding all the micro-machines) that his dad gave him for Christmas when he was about 5.