A gift to myself

My husband and I are going to London tomorrow and get to catch up with both of our adult children. We will travel Scotland and Ireland together as a family and then we go on to Italy, so it’s countdown now.

I have been in touch with Monika from red2white blog who does amazing natural dyeing and lives in the Western highlands of Scotland. If we are in the area and she is available it would be great to connect.

I was tidying up my dyeing materials and found a bucket of Eucalyptus cinerea that had been soaking for about 3 months, it was a bit slimy and smelly! I also found a pot of Tupelo leaves soaking and another pot of Tanekaha that had been soaking for about the same time and other random collections of foliage.

So I have given myself a gift for when I return at the end of September and done about 12  bundles to leave soaking.

As all natural dyers know, time is your friend. The longer bundles are left the deeper the colour usually. So now they have an enforced 5 week soaking period and I won’t be here to be tempted to open them!


Some were wound on PVC pipe, some on iron pipe, one on a rusty can – see notjustnat blog of 8 August for her great results.


IMG_1122I also rolled a pre mordanted wool blanket (alum and cream of tartar) with eucalyptus cinerea and have it boiling in a brass preserving pan now. It will probably steam as it does not quite fit in.



I am taking 33  zip lock bags, 33 small oblongs of cloth, two wooden dowel rods and string. I plan to collect treasurers each day and do a bundle a day and microwave them when I have access to one. And no I won’t be taking leaves between countries!!


So that’s it from me for 5 weeks or so.  I’ll have some interesting reports when I return.


Autumn at the Park

I love my commute to the Sculpture Park on Thursdays. It’s just a 25 minute drive from my home and just 7 kms from SH26.

SH26 SignageI look forward to seeing the progress on the wood circle. It has grown just a little during the week.

Wood circleI enjoy seeing the produce at the roadside stalls and am spoilt for choice…

Feijoas and Apples

Chestnuts and Kumi Kumi
Persimmmons and Quinces

Apples Pears


The most intriguing is the variety at this one stall…

Pony Poo

Puppies for sale

Doves for saleAs usual the autumn colour had changed a lot, with the Rhus finished,

P1190517and the star of the pond last week the Tupelo had shed alot of leaves.

P1190569I was looking forward to opening last weeks bundles

Bundlesand was very excited to discover that the Raupo Reed

Raupo Reedthat I had used to roll a bundle gave a nice rusty color, together with oak leaves and scrap metal on Habotai silk.

P1190528Other results were not that startling so will over dye them.

P1190532John explained about an impressive plant in the Rock garden Furcrea foetida, that has flowers on a stem that is about 12 metres tall.


P1190543He gave me some Juglans husk butternut, that looked very much like a walnut in the husk but with a prickly shell.

P1190560I see on Wikipedia that they are Juglans cinerea, a white walnut, and as Eucalyptus cinerea gives us such a wonderful orangy colour, I am excited about boiling these up next week. I have left them soaking.

I explored the orchard area and found some stunning Red Maples so put a pot of them on.

Red Mapleand a pot of Persimmon leaves and fruit.

PersimmonsI have a pot of Eucalyptus cinerea soaking for next week and as usual I left several pots for visitors to investigate.











Yesterday at the park

The wood circle has grown a little and look at how tidy the stacks are behind it, twigs and all. Maybe the owner is an engineer or architect.

wood stack

I had company yesterday. My friend Jude, busy mother, artist and student spent most of the day with me to enjoy some time out in the park.

judeWe wandered the whole park and saw lots of different toadstools.

fungi 5

fungi 4

fungi 3This one was a stunning purpley grey colour and looked very toxic.

fungi 2

fungi 1There was a lot more autumn color including this stunning Tupelo. I see on Wikipedia another name for it is Black Gum so will try a brew of it sometime.


autumn colourWe noticed there were signs of Rhododenrons flowering, usually a spring flowering plant.

rhodoAlso crocuses

crocusand this stunner in the Rock Garden.

bright cactiThere are several resident shags in the ponds, this guy is drying off in the sun.

shagIt was a busy day with visitors to the park, being school holidays. These kids were fascinated by my pots and one boy was keen to put his tee shirt in the bark pot!

kidsI have fresh brews going of Tanekaha, Gum bark and Avocado stones, that have been cut and soaking for a few months, and have left several bundles on sticks in the pots for visitors to explore.