Category Archives: flowers

doings family flowers

my porch full of geraniums

geraniums geraniums 2

My mom loves her begonias, my grandma loved her pansies, my granny loves her roses, and I love my geraniums, just like my Great Aunt Curt (who died at the age of 101). When my great aunt was alive she would fill her white concrete planter full of red geraniums every spring; the planter is mine now and I do the same. I have many more geraniums than pictured here, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to this beautiful plant!

“That’s all,”
lisa

flowers herbs lavender

Summer Solstice wreath

While harvesting peppermint yesterday, I came across a stem that was at least 4ft. tall growing within my fairy rose. I pulled it out and wound it into a circle to form the beginnings of a wreath.

summer solstice wreath 3

I added more peppermint, then lavender, and wanted the bright yellow yarrow to get my sunny punch of yellow. I think it makes the perfect Summer Solstice wreath!

summer solstice wreath 2   summer solstice wreath 1

“That’s all,”
Lisa

By the way, I’ve really been enjoying Instagram lately and have been posting frequently; I would LOVE to follow others, if you have an account please share in the comment section, if you want to follow me click here.

doings flowers nature

apple blossoms

Our apple orchard is full of blossoms this year! We did a little blossom harvesting to fill vases and make apple blossom jelly.

apple blossom 3   apple blossoms apple blossom 7 apple blossom 6 apple blossom 8 apple blossom 2 apple blossom 9 apple blossom 5

The jelly making starts tomorrow, can’t wait to taste it!

“That’s all,”
Lisa

activities craft dandelions flowers nature nature play tutorial

dandelion chick craft

What says spring more than a yard full of dandelions? And little yellow chicks?

:: For this activity all you need is:
:: craft glue
:: orange felt
:: dandelions (10-20 depending on the size of the flower head)
:: a pinecone from a red pine (they sit really well due to the flat bottoms)
:: clay or anything else like buttons, leaves or black felt for the eyes

 :: Sit the pinecone up and start gluing each flower into the pinecone (that isn’t a dandelion in the picture above, Fauna got this project done so quickly I didn’t get a chance to take a picture, this project would work with other yellow flowers too).
:: Add eyes and beak after gluing the flowers.

:: Remember that dandelions close up at night so the chick will not remain yellow for longer than a day.

“That’s all,”
Lisa

activities flowers herb lavender nature play

lavender/rosemary ink

On our Williamsburg trip, my granny (that’s great granny to the little ladies), bought the girls each a white feather quill pen. The timing was great because I have been wanting to make a lavender/rosemary scented ink. This was a wonderful herbal activity leaving the house smelling great!

What you need:
sprigs of lavender (dry or fresh)
sprigs of rosemary (dry or fresh)
water
enamel pot

Directions:
1. Use enough herbs to cover the bottom of your pan. Use your nose to help get just the scent you want.

lavenderrosemary

2. Add enough water to cover the tops of the herbs.
3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the water has reduced to a generous tablespoon.
4. Strain and you’re left with a pretty light brown ink. You could always add a drop or two of black ink to darken the color.

lavenderrosem. ink

The little ladies really enjoyed writing and drawing with wonderfully smelling ink and the gorgeous white feathers.

fauna and rain quill pins

Thanks for the feathers Granny!

lavenderrosemary ink 3

You could use any wonderful smelling herb for this activity. I think we will try a peppermint/lavender ink next time; it would be great for writing holiday cards. Who wouldn’t love a peppermint scented card for the holidays!?!?
Oooh, and a handmade gift of  scented ink, a calligraphy pen,  and homemade paper would be a lovely holiday gift idea! If you use the ink as a gift, you must add calligraphy ink to it or the herb solution will mold.

ink and handmade paper

craft felt flowers herb kitchen chemistry leaves periodic table seeds sewing Uncategorized

natural dyes- walnuts and goldenrod

Making natural dyes from backyard plants (or frontyard)  is an activity we enjoy to do in the Autumn, when we can heat up the kitchen and still have a window or two open. Yesterday we gathered goldenrod, walnuts and pokeberry to dye a thrifted wool blanket and some wool roving.

natural dyes

 What you need:

vinegar for plant dyes

salt for berry dyes

 water

stainless steel pots- VERY IMPOTANT or a chemical reaction can occur with the color

 cloth or fibers- light colored wool, cotton, silk or muslin works best for natural dyes

cheesecloth or coffee filter

strainer

plant material- flowers should be in full bloom, nuts mature, and berries ripe

wool wool blanket

Before dyeing the fibers you must soak them in a fixative in order for the dye to “stick”:

Berry dye fixative: 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups cold water

Plant dye fixative: 4 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar

Directions for fixative: Add the fabric to the fixative mixture and simmer for an hour; then rinse the fabric in cold water and ring out excess water.

natural dyes fixative

Making the dye bath: While the fabric is soaking in the fixative prepare the dye bath. Chop up the plant material and place in a pan. Add the water by doubling the amount of water to plant material. I used a lot of water for the walnuts because they make such a strong dark dye. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer for about a  half hour to an hour, depending on how potent you want the dye. 

walnut dye bath walnut dye bath 2

Dyeing the fabric: Strain plant material from the water. I found out the hard way that you should use cheesecloth or a coffee filter to catch little bits of plant material that go through the strainer. Add the fabric (while still wet from the fixative soak) to the dye bath. Simmer the fabric in the bath until the desired color is obtained. Keep in mind that the fabric will be lighter once it is rinsed and dry. After obtaining preferred color, rinse in cold water until water is clear. Hang to dry (don’t ya love the 1970′s brick fireplace with brass guard?).

drying the wool

The results are so pretty! The goldenrod (left) stained the wool a light creamy yellow color; the walnut stained the wool a beautiful brown with a chestnut tint. I’m planning on staining more wool with the walnut bath so I can make wool trees for the little ladies’ holiday gifts. Araina wants to make a leaf garland and Fauna wants to make a gathering bag with both colors of the stained wools. ****Note- all dyed fabric should be laundered separately in cold water.

dyed wool 2

You can do this natural dyeing  process with any plants you find in your yard. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different plants to get different colors. Plantain and grass would probably make a pretty green color. I was thinking about trying leaf litter too. Have fun experimenting and if you do this please let me know how it turned out!

Note on the pokeberries- last year we used pokeberries to dye some wool and it came out a beautiful pink color. This year I simmered the berries in a  NON-stainless steel pot (I used a large pot for canning) and the beautiful magenta berry color turned pale yellow, which is disappointing when you wanted pink! So I didn’t post that one. But learn from my mistakes and use stainless steel! Hopefully our now green pokeberries that are growing in the backyard will ripen before more nights of frost occur.

For you science lovers out there- learn about the chemical bonding of dyeing fabric here and to learn more about the different types of bonds go here. Enjoy!