2017: Renew

2016 was a doozy for many of us in so many ways and already 2017 is looking like it’s going to be interesting to say the least.   At the beginning of each year I like to pick a word to focus on as I move through the new year and for 2017 that word is renew.  As I reflected on the year past, I realised that there were many things I let slide that I shouldn’t have.  Things like self-care, boundaries, my level of involvement in my community, professional progress, blogging, my spiritual practice,  dreams, crafty goals — you know … all those things which sustain us as an individual.

According to Merriam Webster, the word renew means to:

resume (an activity) after an interruption.

I love the synonyms, especially the highlighted ones:

 resume, return to, take up again, come back to, begin again, start again, restart, recommence

They remind me that as long as there is life, there is the opportunity to resume, restart, recommence a way of life that is beneficial to me and the world I live in on a larger scale.

My wish is that you too find what you need to renew the habits, activities, way of living that sustains you.  Now more than ever,  we need to live in a way that allows us to truly thrive.

Happy new year everyone!  ❤

Natural Color

When I dream, I see myself living on a little plot of land, in a cottage, with my herb/natural dye plant garden in the back.  It’s tough to have that in the city, but still … I dream.  If I can’t have that, then certainly a natural dye container garden is a possibility in my urban environment, right?  Receiving “Natural Color” by Sasha Duerr has made that dream a goal; I’ve already started collecting seeds for my 2017 dye garden.  I have to work out where to put it without breaking the rules from my building’s management company and the fire marshal but I’ll deal with that later.  😛

Off the bat, the photography in this book is STUNNING!  Even if you’re not a crafter, you’ll love just looking at the pictures.  As usual, whether it’s a book I receive free for review or one I buy, with these types of books, I always follow the same parameters:

  • How easy are the supplies to find?
  • How simple or complicated are the instructions?
  • Realistically, how many of these projects am I likely to make/do?

Because of the diversity of soil composition in this big ole US of A, some of the plants used by the author are not easily found or not found at all in my area.  There’s the added challenge that I don’t live in the farmland area of my state, so sourcing the supplies in my urban environment is a little more difficult if I want to do so locally.  Not impossible but some of them are not readily available.  This is not the fault of the author, just a matter of fact.  With e-commerce what it is I’m sure I can find online whatever I can’t access locally.

The instructions are well-written and laid out in a way that even a novice dyer gets a non-intimidating introduction to actual dye materials, the pros and cons of particular mordants, safety precautions, plus recipes to get him/her started. There’s great material there even for the experienced dyer — basically,  something for everyone. The recipes are designed for any dye-able material — fabric or yarn — which gives crafters of non-woolly persuasion opportunity to play as well!!!

The biggest plus for me despite not having access to all the material the author used is that I still have the opportunity to experiment.  She used plant, vegetables and fruit dye materials for her recipes.  Although my access to the plant life is limited, I most definitely can play with the recipes which use vegetables and fruit local to me.  The book is divided up into seasons which I absolutely love.  I’m embracing seasonal eating, so being able to use the foods I consume now without having to purchase different or additional dye material is an absolute bonus — pomegranate skins I’m looking at you friend! Although I’m not able to try all the dye recipes, there’s enough that I can try that make having the book worthwhile.

I’ve already played around with recipes in this book (I’ll post more later) but my absolute favourite is my take on the recipe for madder dyed fiber.  I cheated and used madder powder I had before.  I took liberties with the recipe and made my mixture as alkaline as I needed to in order to get the salmon shade I envisioned.  The result was beautiful and I can’t wait to do more.

Natural Color Experiment -- Madder

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in natural dyeing.  In addition to learning a new skill, the opportunities for experimenting are endless and quite frankly … just plain fun!

Author’s website: Sasha Duerr

Author’s Instagram: Sashaduerr

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.