September 24, 2014

Spring 2014

Yes spring has arrived! This week the temperature ranges from 20-26'C. I love this time of year when the sky is blue and temperature is in the 20s. Our apricot and plum trees are full of spring blossoms which is gorgeous. I can see them out my Tree-House studio's windows this year. I'm so loving it!

These last couple of weeks I did a little bit of stitching and more of dyeing. I'm loving my slow and small achievement. I surprised myself when I have a look at my photos on this post! I did do quite a few small things in the last few weeks.

I found these vintage farm Kasuri Monpe work pants in an old cotton yukata at Kazari/Ziguzagu a few months ago. It was in good condition except the edges of both legs are raged and torn. I had them sitting around to decide what to do with them. I decided to patch them with some vintage and indigo dyed fabric. 

Started stitching down the first patch of indigo moon. Very happy and motivated to carry on ever so slowly. I like how it looks! 

Finished the journal cover for my dye samples. I prepared the samples from the natural dye workshop I did with Ilka White a few weeks ago. Will get around to putting them in the journal in good time!

I did another small batch of jar dyeing last week. What I did was bundle one or two jars at the time and leave them on the window sill to soak in solar energy! When I have enough to fill the sauce pan I then steam them together. There are a couple of jars of coffee dyed in this batch too.

Spring brings out lots of yellow flowers including Oxalis.  I tried dyeing with Oxalis a few years ago and just loved the rich yellow colour from them.

Green is not easy to get from an ecoprint. I have used the same type of Eucalyptus leaves before, but didn't get the green I got from them this time. It must be something in the water!

This was the second times I dyed with coffee. To make coffee dye more effective I use the Shibori technique.  I used rusty nails left by the builder from my studio. I didn't expect to get the result I got from the rust and coffee. I used recycled ground coffee!

I visited Kazari/Ziguzagu last weekend to get more silk for dyeing. That place is amazing. I can spend all day there and still not see everything. 

I couldn't resist taking a few shots of the collections. I seem to see more interesting fabric from the photos than when I was actually there.

Below are some shots of the Tree-House studio. I will only add some captions on each photo:

I finished vanishing the railings of the

Both Ikea double wardrobes are now done

A bench to be put in the Tree-House studio.
There is a backrest for it too.

I posted about the rainbow beads necklace once before here. I love mine and feel proud every time I wear it. I love how it was created. Each bead was carefully hand crafted by a talented young couple Ellie and Sam of Deadwood Creative. I got the second one for a gift. I'm sure it will be well received!

I'm waiting for the blinds to get installed before I move into the Tree-House studio. I hope to start moving the fabric to the new wardrobes next weekend. I'm really excited to see what I have stashed away and hope that I will fit everything in! I have thought that when you are working full time you have time to shop, but don't have a lot of time to use what you buy. What do you think? In the end you end up with more supplies than you need :(  

Until next time

September 11, 2014

Tree-House Studio & Dyeing

Welcome to my Tree-House studio! Viola, it's finished (only half of the outside wall unpainted). I hope it will be finished by next weekend. While the painting is going on I will oil the railings and stairs with Sikens oil. Today the reverse cycle air-conditioning was installed. The vendor came and measured the windows and door for vertical blinds last weekend and they should be installed in 2 weeks time. The final piece of furniture is the desk and cabinet units to go in the corner and along the wall. I will have to start packing all my stuff ready to move in soon. I'm not looking forward to that part because I'm not sure where everything would go in the new studio or if I will have enough room for all my stuff. I really don't want to throw anything away if I can help it.  


I took this photo last weekend. The first day of spring and it was a perfect spring day. I could feel that famous Australian heat streaming down on us even at this time of year!

Mr Notjustnat enjoying a spring day painting the last wall of studio. It was Father's Day, but he didn't mind doing that. He likes painting he says! 

We finished putting the first Ikea double wardrobe together a couple of weeks ago. It comes with as many shelves as I need. I have chosen 5 shelves for the moment, but I can add more if I need to. 

I have chosen mirror sliding doors for the wardrobe. Mirrors make the room seem larger. We will have to do it all over again for the second wardrobe!

The Coptic binding journal I post here is now done and given away to a dear friend as a thank you gift for dyeing me some silk with coffee. 

Book bag I have been wanting to make for ages!
I made this from a french book cover.

Starting another journal cover/sleeve for the dye swatches. Apart from keeping the dye journal on this blog I don't actually keep swatches anywhere else. It's never too late to start! 

The wrong side of the journal cover. I used a wrapping cloth from a publishing company in India. The stamp says "Passed export (AIR) Chennai Customs. I love looking at the wrong side of stitching!

Jars stuffed and waiting for steaming process.

After steamed for an hour. 

Dyed silk from the jars.

Coffee Shibori dyed in jar
Close-up of coffee Shibori dyed tied
around rusty nails

I went to a natural dye workshop a couple of weekends ago that my weaving teacher Ilka White runs. It was an introduction to natural dye workshop and I know many of the methods and plants used in the workshop. I learned so much more and thoroughly enjoyed the day. 

Wool and silk dyed using Oxalis

Arashi Shibori: Left to right onion skin
and Eucalyptus Cenerea 

Arashi Shibori sitting out to dry

Dye swatches we got to take home

The natural dye workshop inspired me to do more dyeing. Jar dyeing gives me more varieties of colour using only a small amount of silk for each jar. Lately I experimented dyeing with coffee too. I was surprised how coffee gives such lovely brown. I used the recycled ground coffee not the instant coffee from the jar. I'm planning to dye more of that Shibori to make a wall hanging for the Tree-House studio. 

Until next time

August 31, 2014

Moving Forward

My birthday came and went in a bit of a blur. The day started with a welcome hugs from the lovely Ben and Jodie, my two sweet young colleagues working with me. Jodie who is a whiz in paper crafts made me a lovely bouquet of paper flowers. Other friends brought me pot plants and  cut flowers. 

In-spite of a pre arrangement that we would go out for morning tea/coffee, when the time came the team had their own plans. One of them sneaked out and got us all coffees and we shared them together. More gifts arrived. I feel so special and loved on my birthday!

Another group of friends past and present took me out to lunch at the famous Taste Baguette restaurant on the campus. Taste Baguette is famous for their smooth coffee by a number one barista! 

My desk on the day turned out like a florist shop with all the fresh and paper flowers I received that day. The many coffee cups weren't only mine. The team thought it would be fun to build a wall with empty coffee cups from Taste Baguette! 

I have been working on a commission piece for a go-away gift using my eco-print fabric. The recipient is a furniture designer. She is moving to New Zealand. I had a free run with the fabric and design. The fabrics speak for themselves. I only added stitchings. 

The photo didn't do it justice!.

I have given it to her and she loved it. The fabric was dyed using Eucalyptus bark, leaves and iron mordant in some places. The simplicity is in the prints and lines. I called it Bush Colour. Laura is taking a small piece of Australia with her wherever she goes! 

On my daily walk last week I noticed that the Eucalyptus iron-bark (Sideroxylon) were in full colour so I couldn't resist to photographed them. I use the leaves from these trees when I want an instant result. 

I unwrapped these bundles and jars a couple of weeks ago, but I missed blogging about them on the last post. Some of the jars had been sitting for about a month. 

Here are the Eucalyptus leaves, tea-leaves bush berries and copper pennies from the jars after the bundles have been removed. The goodness is still in the jars, so I preserved the dye to reuse again next time.

And here are the results from the jars and bundles above. So much nicer to put them together like this. Below is another piece from this batch too. I'm very happy with them!

BTW, if you are looking for that special handmade gift for a special person in your life, I'm taking orders for commission pieces using my eco-print fabric. The pieces can be handmade journals, wedding journal, bags, purses, wall hangings, wrapping cloth (Furoshiki or Pojagi), quilts or anything you may think of. 

I have also been thinking about opening an Etsy shop sometime in the future. You can guess by now that I have lots of dyed fabric. I need to make some room in my stash so that I have an excuse to dye some more!

Until next time

August 25, 2014

Birthday 2014

My birthday week has started! I can't seem to just celebrate it on the day. It usually takes a week to fit everyone and everything in! My actual birthday is on 28th Aug. Starting from last night (Sunday night) my lovely friend Mel took me into the city for dinner at Mamasita, a Mexican restaurant. We had a lovely night and managed to get home in one piece! The next event is on Thursday when 12 of my friends and colleagues come to have lunch with me here at the campus. Then on Thursday evening I will join Mr Notjustnat and my daughter Kitiya for dinner in the city. Speaking of the city, I don't know if you have heard that Melbourne has been voted the world's most liveable city in 2014. I'm so glad to be living in Melbourne! 

Now where was I? Have been a bit busy lately with the Tree-House Studio. Every evening we are working on assembling the double wardrobes we got from IKEA to use for storage space. There are some updated photos at the end of this post. In between all that I squeezed in some dyeing and stitching. 

I posted the photo of that eucalyptus branch on Instagram and Facebook a couple of weeks ago. If you love eucalyptus trees as much as I do, you would put all the nice pieces of them in your dye bundle! I didn't open it until the weekend and the result is very pleasing, don't you think?

These three bundles included the one above. I was asked if I soaked and mordant them with iron and how long I steamed them for. I only wet the fabric before wrapping it. The answer is. No soaking or mordant and steamed for 1 hour.   

A week after steaming I just let them sit (dried) in the steamer. The outside bundle was completely dried when I opened it, but the inner part of the bundle was still damp.  

Another shot after the leaves were removed! Fantastic effect of two types of eucalyptus leaves used. This one was wrapped around a copper pipe.

Another bundle was wrapped around a steel pipe and only used one type of leaves eucalyptus (Sideroxylon) in this bundle. 

Putting them next to each other makes a lovely palette of colours. I don't think I can separate them. They are made for each other!

I dabble with a little stitching in my spare time. I started another simplicity block way way back. I wanted to use a couching stitch over a string that I had used for a dyed bundle. I finally got round to doing it and quite like the effect!

Another little stitching is this journal cover using fabric dyed with coffee, rust, eucalyptus leaves on vintage Japanese fabric. 

Prep work on the cover ready for Coptic binding into a journal. I will show you again after I finished it. Below are some photos of the Tree-House studio close to completion. 

The railing has been installed. The steps and railing timber will need to be oiled to bring out the natural colour and grain of the timber.  

Inside painting and flooring is all completed. It's a lovely, light space. Exactly what I need. The first piece of furniture are the double wardrobes we got from IKEA.

This is one wardrobe made up of two modules. After two evenings we managed to assemble it. Both wardrobes are going on the far left corner of the room. 

One of the two sliding doors is in place. The mirrors on the doors will make the room look bigger. There is another door to assemble, and then we have to start  over again for the second wardrobe. Both wardrobes will be placed side by side along the same wall. It's looking good so far. 

Thanks for checking-in on my blog. I'm sorry if I haven't been to visit many blogs lately. From now on I hope to get back to doing more visiting again. Hope you are all keeping well. Spring is on the way here in Melbourne.

Until next time.