I made a vat of indigo dye the other day, partly to practice for a class I am going to teach next month on natural dying, partly because I needed something creative and fun for the kids to do, and partly because I hated the dull gray linen napkins we use all the time. Those napkins looked like dirty dish water and I was getting to the point that I wanted to give them away. But, they are so useful, large, and we had LOTS of them. I gave two to each child and showed them what the possibilities were with the dye and rubber bands, and I let them go. They came up with some pretty great creations, which they were so very proud of – “here’s MY napkin”, “mom, put MY napkin in my lunchbox”. It was a lot of fun, and felt almost like magic to take the napkins out of the dye vat looking bright green and watch them turn dark blue as the pattern was revealed when the rubber bands were taken out. A pretty great afternoon activity – and that dye bucket is still going – hopefully for most of the summer. I’m thinking I’ll dye some stained clothes, fabric, more napkins, etc.
We’ve just ended cherry and shell pea season, but blueberries, raspberries, and black raspberries are starting up. And, mulberries, which seem to last nearly all summer, have just started up. All these berries (and stone fruit and peas) mean that the kids can go out in the yard and snack whenever they want. One of the favorite places to snack is at our large and flimsy-ish mulberry tree that leans over the rock wall where the blueberries are planted. This means the kids can stand on the rock wall and pick mulberries to eat. But, the more adventurous one(s) head up into the tree to snag the ripe berries and to shake branches so other ripe ones will fall on the ground for their siblings to eat. It is a treat, and since the berries ripen individually, over time, rarely do any berries make it into the house. They are all eaten “in the field”. And, a tell-tale sign of the snacking are the purple stained fingers and hands. They are such a treat – the berries and those precious hands!.
I sewed up these two rompers last week at the requests of our two daughters. I made one for Evva last year and she wore it often. This year, Anne wanted one and I realized Evva’s was getting very short, so I decided to make two. Anne knew exactly the fabric she wanted and I picked out the fabric for Evva’s. And, I had a bunch of chambray left from another project to make the yokes and cuffs. I found the pattern (from Figgy) fairly easy, but not terribly intuitive (and with a few extra, and superfluous (in my opinion) steps). I made modifications to make it go a little faster and got these done fairly quickly. I love these rompers and the girls are delighted. They have been wearing them often since they came off the sewing table, and that is gratifying as well.
Love these cute sisters!
The children found a turtle in the yard this weekend. A female Eastern box turtle (we think). We all admired her shell, her ability to completely withdraw, and her age. Hythe became particularly attached to her. He held her and gently played with her for hours. Then he found a box and set it up as a home for her. He took her to a party that night, named her Climber, and was quite devoted to her. She got over her shyness and came out of her shell for Hythe. We told him that he would have to put the turtle back in the woods that night, but when the time came, he cried furiously and said he wanted to keep her as a pet. We decided there was no use arguing with a tired child, so we kept Climber until the morning. I did a little on-line research (as you do when up against an issue you know next to nothing about) and found out that box turtles are hard keepers – they can live up to 100 years in the wild, but can die within 3 days in captivity, and that healthy captivity requires a lot of habitat manipulation and equipment that we don’t have. In the morning, Hythe came to me and I explained what I had learned about keeping turtles as pets. He said, “I’ll let her go this morning.” Which is what he did. He shed a few tears, too, as he watched her crawl away.