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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
It is no secret that I love colour and I love dye things pretty colours.
I kind-of-sort-of want a poodle~ a white one, just so I can dye it!

I am also blessed to have good friends who share this passion (and who also go out in public with multi-coloured hands on occasion...) that I regard as colleagues in the tribe of mom/artisans.
And I decided to ask them some questions about their dyeing, to get their perspective on our shared passion/compulsion for colour!

First, I asked Kristi of  Tickety Bu ~ hand dyed bamboo luxuries for home and family...
 What do you dye? Any plant based fabric. Seriously, I'll dye just about anything.
How long have you been dyeing? If I told you that I'd be giving away my age and a southern gal never gives away her age. Seriously though, I've been dyeing for 13 years, professionally for 5.
Do you wear gloves? If not what colour are your hands most often? I wear gloves all the time. I occasionally will see something I want to fix and start poking around in the dye with my bare hands, and it always seems to be the blue colorways that call to me that way. My shirts tend to be spotted with pink, apparently I get a little too crazy when stirring up the pink.
What is your favourite shade of green? Chartreuse. All the others pale in comparison to the fantasticness that is chartreuse.

Is there one colour that you really dislike working with? why? Honestly, I hate working with brown, which is a darn shame because I love it so. I keep at it though, mixing new browns in search of the perfect neutral shade. It's my white whale.
What keeps you inspired to dye again each time? I don't have to search far for inspiration. Being a visual person I automatically either see colorways in things or I see numbers in things. I'm always going back and forth between the two, math on one hand, color palettes on the other. Math, color. Math, color. It's a little crazy.
What was your worst dye spill (you must have had one?) I am too anal retentive to have bad spills and I keep a set of kitchen cloth around to catch the little ones, but I have poured a color for one bin into another that was already complete. A new colorway was certainly born that day!
What is your favourite colourway that you dye right now? Katie because it's so different in the dye bath than when it's all dried and done. I'm fickle though, I don't keep one favorite long.

Then, I asked Angela of Wild Coconut Wear (formerly Wild Child Woolies) ~ dyer of diapering wool, applique artist and embroiderer....
 What do you dye? Mostly wool interlock fabric, sometimes plant fibers like cotton or bamboo.
How long have you been dyeing? for business, about 5 years.
Do you wear gloves? If not what colour are your hands most often? Nope. If I'm LWI (low water immersion) dyeing I'm probably sticking my hands in there multiple times so probably a rainbow, but it ends up just looking muddy. Right now they're kind of blue/gray. The cuticles are always the last to hold color so that makes me look like I don't wash my hands or something, or maybe have been working on a greasy car.
What is your favourite shade of green? I like bright colors, so probably in the lime green family.
 Is there one colour that you really dislike working with? why? Hmm...probably red because it's hard not to end up with pink.
What keeps you inspired to dye again each time? The curiosity of wondering what mixing new colors will look like.
What was your worst dye spill (you must have had one?) Oh I spill lots of dye! I spilled yellow dye solution on the dog last summer. Recently I spilled about 1/2 a jar of blue dye in powder form all over my washer/dryer. I'm constantly getting dye on my clothes because I don't wear an apron, either. I never seem to learn my lesson about considering what I'm wearing first.

And finally, I thought I would answer the questions myself as a silk painter and dyer for Beneath the Rowan Tree...

What do you dye? Primarily silk, but I began as a cotton dyer and I also love to dye wool and bamboo.
How long have you been dyeing?  I have been dyeing professionally for 5 years with many years and many home and camp dyeing projects before that!
Do you wear gloves? If not what colour are your hands most often? Never. I have chronic eczema as a result, but I need to feel my fabric.  The blue seems to stay the longest~ I once had to meet a family about doing a funeral with one entirely blue hand. And when I have been needlefelting, the dye works its way into all of the little holes in my fingertips, creating an interesting pointillism tattoo effect!
What is your favourite shade of green? I love celery green~ a washy watered down chartreuse, I suppose!

Is there one colour you really dislike working with? why? Purple.  I have searched high and low, blended and mixed and I still can't get *quite* the shade of violet I am after.  And purple is very touchy on silk~ heat, amount of acid, tides and the alignment of the planets (not really...!) all seem to change how purple comes out of the dye pot on any given day.
What keeps you inspired to dye again each time? The choas and the beauty of the colours.  My method means no two pieces are ever the same, and while I know that colour theory always applies, it is still a wonder to unfold a finished silk and see the colour playing across the fabric in a new way every time!
What was your worst dye spill (you must have had one?) I am very careful when silk dyeing, because I do it in the kitchen.  But I did have a nasty spill when dyeing cotton~ a large container of deep brown dye was knocked off the basement table INTO a pile of clean laundry~ my good work clothes.  thankfully I was doing LWI and had not added the soda ash (which creates the binding reaction) and was able to wash most of it out right away!
What is your favourite colorway that you dye right now? I have favourites that I love because they are reliable, ones that I love because they are not.  But right now I am enamoured with a new colorway (to be named), pictured below.... orange and blue do wacky wonderful things together!
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the colour addled minds of three dyers! 
I would love to do more interviews about various artistic processes... any volunteers or suggestions?
Add them in the comments!♥♥
Monday, 27 February 2012
Really?
'Cause I am exhausted already!

I have a few blog posts in the works, and some guests and features coming up... but until then, you are stuck with *me*.
Here's the happs:
~working on orders AND getting some Sweet Somethings™ done up to list this week!
 
~ I am doing a play with the community theater in April (acting), so I am beginning to think and speak in character (a silly fun British farce).
~ We have decided to homeschool our daughter for what will likely be the remainder of the school year and we will see where that takes us and how we are doing (more on that to come)~ so I am working on that transition and all it entails (yikes!)
~ It is Lent and then comes Easter,always a crazy time in the church.
~ And on Friday last I fell in love (that is how Rowan puts it, my take is more that I was temporarily insane!) and brought home guinea pig #3. Lemon is a sweetie, but three pubescent boars is no easy feat when it comes to introductions, adjustments and the pecking order.  Right now, they are all having 'dates' in a common neutral space to learn to get along.... yes, my life includes guinea pig dating.
So blogging is on my mind, but between curriculum, piggies, felting, dyeing, memorizing (and did I mention the sinus infection?!) and oh, my job... it is tough to find the time to pull it together!

What are you up to? ♥♥
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Welcome to the Playdate (#37)
Everyone is welcome to link up to this post all week long with your
kid related posts ...
recipes, games, crafts, parenting, stories...
just think of it as our virtual play group!
Grandmother & Granddaughter skating on the lake at dusk ♥

Grab a button and join the fun!
Beneath the Rowan Tree
The Playdate Guidelines:
♥ Add your link and thumbnail below and please visit some of the other links and comment.
♥ Your posts can be old or new, we welcome your best! (no more than 3 per week, please)
♥ Consider adding the playdate button (above) to your post or sidebar, or even a text link back to this blog (http://beneaththerowantree.com) ~ you don't have to, but it sure would be sweet ♥!
♥ ANY kid/ baby/ family related posts and ideas welcome... but please no shop links, promos or giveaways.
♥ I will feature my favourites from the playdate in next week's Playdate post (choosing from those who have added our button or link to their shared post).
♥ Become a follower of this blog, if you wish!
♥ Hit the Facebook or Twitter buttons below and share with your friends!

Friday, 24 February 2012
CONGRATULATIONS to Rachel!
A little while ago, I came across a simply amazing website with an innovative, earth-friendly product line that I just have to share... and let you be inspired as well!  One lucky reader will win a $150 Gift Certificate towards your Drypod purchase! Details at the end of the post...


What is a Drypod?
Dryerpods are a green way to dry your clothing indoors, year round, cost free.
The circulating, warm air of your forced-air heat with in-floor registers takes out the moisture in your clothing and puts it back into the home. Dryerpods serve as a home and family friendly “humididryer” but most importantly, an eco-dryer.
 An essential to any household, Dryerpods allow your clothing to dry while you’re already heating your home. Your clothes can dry while your family sleeps or while you are out and about.
Without using any extra energy your cloth goods dry much faster than typical air-drying. Drypods also give you a custom location to conceal your drying with no one knowing your undies are blowing in the breeze.
Dryerpods look like a beautiful custom piece of wood furniture that could fit into just about any room in your home, made of environmentally hardwood and beautifully stained with colors of plant based transparent or opaque stains.
Each pod has two doors that open up to house all the cloth goods you are needing to dry.
They have different options but all Dryerpods have at least one wooden, rollout rack and one wooden rod for hanging goods to dry.  Each pod has a custom style so you can select the perfect piece to compliment your d├ęcor.  They are created to allow the wood to breath, the air to circulate and your cloth goods to dry concealed and conveniently.

Sizing
Dryerpods are for all ages and with our three distinct sizes.
Dryerpods Seedling, Dryerpods Sprout and Dryerpods Climber~ you’ll find the perfect fit customized to your needs, with the look you want, in a custom piece of furniture for your home.
They also offer the Dryerpods Shell as a fabulous, non-heat eco-wardrobe in two sizes!

The Seed is Planted
Chris & Ami, master woodworkers, designers and builders with an environmental sense, tell it this way:
We are: one man, one woman, three children, and one dog, nestled in a home in the mountains of Colorado. In 2010 we went in search of a dryer system that would dry our cloth goods, especially our little one’s cloth diapers. So we set out to invent and create. Our diapers needed to be air dried but this process took too long in the colder months and those cloth diapers didn’t look very attractive hanging on the side of the crib or over a shower rod in the bathroom. Washing cloth diapers every other day needed a better “line dry system”.
On top of being beautiful and functional, all Dryerpods are environmentally responsible:
All of our pods are made of only the finest species of alder, both solid wood and furniture-grade plywood that meets high green standards and comes from eco-managed forests.. For the sake of the environment and our health, we only use finishes that are zero-VOC.
Please take some time to visit Chris & Ami's website~ www.dryerpods.com OR www.greenlaundryshop.com which have comprehensive descriptions of their products and their uses, right down to how many diapers or items of clothing can be hung in each style and size of pod! 
 
Want to win a $150 Gift Certificate for Dryerpods? You can!
(Dryerpods only ships within the USA, but others could enter and surprise an American friend!)
The winner will be randomly selected from among the qualifying comments 
on Wednesday, March 1st at 10 PM EST
Here's how.... 6 ways to enter, use them all!
1) LEAVE A COMMENT with the style and colour of Drypod you would add to your home
2) LIKE Dryerpods on Facebook and leave a comment here WITH you FB user name.
3) FOLLOW Dryerpods on Twitter and leave a comment here indicating this WITH you Twitter ID name.
 4) SIGN UP for the mailing list at www.dryerpods.com and leave a comment here.
5) FOLLOW THIS BLOG (left hand column) and leave a comment with your user name.
6) LIKE BTRT on Facebook and leave your user name in the comments here.


(this feature is unsolicited~ these folks rock my world with this super cool idea...  and I wanted to share the love!♥)
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
 Rudolph Steiner, developer of the Waldorf educational philosophy, called rhythm the 'carrier of life' and assigned each day of the week with a colour.  The use of colour to mark the passing of days and weeks with young children is both effective and inspiring for their work and play.

The colour for Wednesday is YELLOW.
This Wednesday, we are featuring the warm yellow buzzzzz of the bees....


1. Bumble the Bee, by Mietjie.
2. Bumble Bee Bowling, by Muddy Feet.
3. Pin the Bees on the Beehive, by Stella and Livi.
4. Bumble Bee Sidewalk Chalk, by Sunshine and Sidewalks.
5. Honey Pot, by Urban Homsteaders.
6. Wildflower Honey Cold Process Soap, by Anita's LaLa Land.
7. Modelling Beeswax Set of 8, by Twinkle of My Eye.
8. Sweet Nectar Save the Bees Photograph, by Lauren Lemons.

Click and explore these wonder full shops!
And have a warm and yellow fuzzy sort of day!♥♥
Tuesday, 21 February 2012

 This guest post is by Nicola Baird, mum and expert UK-based writer on childcare, as well as enthusiastic blogger sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.   This post looks at top party bag ideas.   Welcome Nicola, and thank you for using the word 'wellies' which is so wonderfully British and makes me smile!

For more info about gifts – giving and receiving without damaging the planet – see Nicola’s book HomemadeKids or click on to http://www. nicolabaird.com .

It’s my youngest daughter Nell's 11th birthday today. 
Her party was a week ago, and as it’s too cold to picnic outside (remember that when you next plan a baby!) we settled on a trampoline lesson for 15 friends at the local sports centre. This cost about £7 (11 USD) per guest – so I wanted to be sure the party bags were cheap. Nell had a better idea: "Don't give them anything!" So we didn't - instead the party guests got to enjoy choosing the sweets they liked from a range of candy plus chocolate eggs and jelly snakes (which aren't such a good choice if you have vegetarian or Muslim party guests because of the gelatin).

There's a moral in this tale: trust your children's judgment. A two year old doesn't need to send friends home with party bags, and an 11 year old may also think there's no need to blast her friends with yet more stuff.

And if you do end up giving out a party bag,  ideally avoid plastic.  
Instead collect paper grocery bags and use them to store party bag goodies. 
Below are some ideas – plants, woody characters, peanut kebabs, wishes and name tags - that may thrill party guests and are good for families interested in keeping celebrations creative, eco-friendly and thrifty.

1 Plants are great. You can plant up hyacinth and daffodil bulbs in old pots, pretty pots or simply special pots  (I’ve used unwanted potties) for indoor or outdoor flowering.  Outgrown wellies are fun to plant up too.  But they need lots of weight at the bottom (try biggish rocks or a half brick) else they tip up. Also if your wellies don’t have drainage holes they will become waterlogged if left outside.  
Suitable for any age, 3 – 101!
 2 Use offcuts from the log basket
Slightly wonky shaped bits of wood sometimes look like something else - maybe a face, maybe a snail. Use a marker pen to make it clear what you're seeing (snails are fabulously easy,
see photo).   Ideal for pre-schoolers, or get your guests to have a go themselves.
3 Going home gift for the birds
For children aged from five upwards it is fun to make items they can take home.  Homemade bath bombs, little felt animals, a crazy twig sculpture might all work well.
 Or how about a nut kebab that local wildlife will enjoy? (check for nut allergies!)
  • Buy a packet of peanuts in their shells (you'll need at least eight peanuts per kebab)
    •  Use a metal skewer to make a central hole
  • Thread the peanut on to a string (hard) or a wooden skewer (easy but watch out so you don’t stab yourself)
  • Tell party guests that this can be hung up by the bird table, tree or anywhere that birds might like to feed (ie, safe from cat attack). Ideally have one hanging up so grown ups/guests understand what to do.
4 Dish out wishes
This is an ideal alternative party bag gift. It's especially good if you've run out of inspiration, or cash, or there are a lot of guests.
Best if the party guests know how to read and are still interested in magical concepts (so suitable for 7-9 years). What to do:
  • Cut out strips of paper you can write on (you could even use silver birch bark)
  • Using your easiest to read lettering write up a different promise for each guest. Make sure you have a few spare - parties always seem to have extra guests.
  • Ideas could include: "When you see a man in a hat make a wish". "When you see a red car make a wish". "When you see a person walking a dog make a wish." Choose wish-activators that will encourage your guests to leave the party, and will probably be usable on the journey home.
  • Once you've got the wishes ready pop them into a screw top jar ready to give out at going home time.
5 Give them a nameplate
Any age.  
Depending on your skills, and resourcefulness, plan the party schedule so you can paint each guest’s name on an object they can take home. I’ve done this on pebbles, drinking glasses, horseshoes and even short planks (to make a nameplate for a child’s bed). Just make sure you spell all the guests’ names correctly!

Thank you Nicola for your wonder full ideas! ♥♥
Thursday, 16 February 2012
In Waldorf pedagogy the days of the week each have an associated colour, and the colour for Thursday is orange.

I love looking at all of the amazing and adorable Waldorf dolls made by creative hands.  So today's orange collection features their sweet faces! (Click image to view larger)
 1. Fiery Fae, by Wooly Roo Dolls.
2. Clown Doll, by Kensa Wool.
3. Miss Marigold Flower Child, by Driaa.
4. Aspen, by Kristen LeClair
5. 16" Doll, by Berty and Masha.
6. Wool Dolly, by Bug, not Bear.
7. Jaka, by Sonja Jamnik.
8. Waldorf Doll, by Damsel in Distress.

Enjoy!♥♥
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Welcome to the Playdate (#36)
Everyone is welcome to link up to this post all week long with your
kid related posts ...
recipes, games, crafts, parenting, stories...
just think of it as our virtual play group!

  We had a great day of play at the local dog sled racing competitions... scroll down for more fun pictures.
Grab a button and join the fun!
Beneath the Rowan Tree
The Playdate Guidelines:
♥ Add your link and thumbnail below and please visit some of the other links and comment.
♥ Your posts can be old or new, we welcome your best! (no more than 3 per week, please)
♥ Consider adding the playdate button (above) to your post or sidebar, or even a text link back to this blog (http://beneaththerowantree.com) ~ you don't have to, but it sure would be sweet ♥!
♥ ANY kid/ baby/ family related posts and ideas welcome... but please no shop links, promos or giveaways.
♥ I will feature my favourites from the playdate in next week's Playdate post (choosing from those who have added our button or link to their shared post).
♥ Become a follower of this blog, if you wish!
♥ Hit the Facebook or Twitter buttons below and share with your friends!

Saturday, 11 February 2012
Today was one of those perfect February days we love here in the 'near north' part of Ontario!

Bitterly cold~ the kind of cold that makes men with mustaches sport their own icicles~ and brilliantly sunny.
The sun is growing warmer every day, but the cold clings to winter a while longer.
And Canadians put on their snow pants (young and old) and a wide array of fantastical and practical toques and hats and hit the great outdoors.


This weekend was dog sled racing weekend in a neighboring community, and as we have often in our 6 years here, we set out to enjoy it!

Being a long time fancier (and sometimes 'dog snob'), I love any canine sporting event, and my daughter is very much her mother's child.  There is something magical about watching these animals do what they were born to do.
Pull.
And run.
(Have you ever tried walking a husky on a leash? Pull. And run.)

You have to admire the grace and drive of these lean machines.
And their trainers who can handle teams of dogs flying as fast as 20 mph!

These dogs have been bred and cross-bred for speed, responsiveness, endurance and strength.

Unlike many other canine sports where you will see a purity of breed, sled dog racing creates an amazing array of dogs.

There were purists with all-husky teams.
We also saw an all-Border Collie team, a team of rangy feral looking Canadian Eskimo Dogs, lots of Lab and Pointer mixes, and heavily coated team of Chow crosses.
It was fascinating to see dogs of distinctly non-husky shape and colours turn and pierce you with husky blue eyes, telling a little of their heritage!


We even met a few 'Greysters' (above)~ a cross between German Shorthairs and Greyhounds.
Look at the power int hose boys!
They were competing in the two-dog skijoring... I thought skijoring looked like fun until I saw them blast off~ at which point I was pretty sure I'd rather be on a sled, than attached at the waist to all that power in motion!

"Muska"  (above) was more my speed.

We were able to catch the beginning and end of the one dog and two dog skijoring and the start of the 4-dog/ 4 mile sled races before the cold did us in.


The races were exciting, no question, but I think our favourite part of the day was visiting with a team of dogs who knew a good thing when they met it... a kid with an insatiable love of dogs willing to make sure that every one of eight got loved on equally!
While many sled dogs are not socialized as pets, these guys were more than happy to wrestle, have belly rubs and exchange hugs.

On the way home, Rowan asked me to call our friend Naomi and invite her to come over with her Beagle, Hunter.  She had figured out that 4.5 lb. Murray couldn't pull her, and that Archie the Sheltie wouldn't pull her, so she needed Hunter, her skis and a harness.

She and Hunter spent a fun hour falling down and running about on the lake, preparing, so I am told, to compete next year in the skijoring races!
♥♥
Thursday, 9 February 2012
The boy moms have been heard... I finally have some bright, fun, patchy clothing in stock for the little guys!

Having been schooled on the ways of little boys by moms in the know, I had to find something for them to wear that wouldn't be at the immediate mercy of friction (knees and elbows). 
I also wanted to keep the principles of our girls' clothing: comfort, quality, value, multi-sizing, wash and wear.
Plus our distinctive patchwork style.


The Little Poet's Vest is a cropped vest (will last through a growth spurt or two!)~ think Dicken's newsboy, not 80s prom tuxedo!  It is completely reversible and has no irritating and itchy tags!
Made with 100% cotton, designer fabrics, it has a quilted feel and is perfect for layering and keeping your little guy's core a little warmer, but light enough for all year wear.
In stock and custom available in sizes 6M to 6T.
 {{Yes, the girls can wear them, too!}}
We also have some fun and reversible bucket hats for the boys (and girls)..
The Happy Sunshine Hat
Visit our clothing section to find lots more...

♥♥
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
 In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain. Rudolph Steiner called rhythm the 'carrier of life'.

It is so much fun to feature handmade, natural items that would be wonderful to help mark the rhythm of the week at home with your little ones.
Tuesday is brilliant, bold and wonderful RED.
 1. Red Bird, by Sweet Bauer Knits.
2. Queen of Hearts Art Doll, by Driaa.
3. Crown of Hearts, by Muddy Feet.
4. Valentine Boat, by Tweet Toys.
5. Love Grows, by Painting Pixie.
6. Scottie Dog Sugar Cookies (all natural), by Sugar Me Desserterie.
7. Little Home No. 130, by Rodica.
8. Valentine Dolly/ Ornament, by Mama West Wind.

Enjoy!♥♥
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