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Natural dyeing, first thoughts

I’m always looking for a new creative outlet, so when I read Gemma’s post on natural dyes I was intrigued and keen to delve straight in to something new.

fruits veggies and flowers for natural dyeing

Gemma’s post was a brilliant introduction showing the beautiful results possible, I did however want to explore the topic further and perhaps read maybe too many blog posts and articles which in all honesty just made a simple process more confusing than it needed to be.

The one thing I took away from the majority of articles on natural dyeing was that natural dyeing is considered to be an eco-friendly practice, and whilst I can see why, there were a few things that made me think otherwise.

natural dyed fabric

The amount of energy used to boil the water, simmer the dye solutions and whatnot adds up to burning a lot of fuel for an eco-friendly process, in some cases the combined time was 2 hours!  Whilst I understand the need to for this to extract/infuse as much colour as possible I just couldn’t justify using this much energy for what was essentially dyeing scraps of fabric.  This led me to leaving fabrics in the dye solutions over night and using a process called solar dyeing.  Whilst neither process would offer the same results as if I had used the stove top, I feel a bit better about my carbon footprint.

natural dyed fabric and solar dyeing

There is also the potential for a lot of waste from the steamed fruit, veggies and flowers once the dyes have been extracted, after much digging around on Google I determined that these are all compostable, it’s the lack of added ingredients, cooking oils and fats make them compostable.  Which is great for landfill and our gardens.

In a similar vein was the potential waste of the dye solutions themselves.  Again, the wasting of so much water just didn’t sit right for an eco-friendly activity. You could either freeze the dye solutions for future use or use it to water the garden rather than empty it down the drain.

Another thing I noticed in the articles was the perfection of the fruits, vegetables and plants used; this could just have been for the sake of pretty photos, but it’s worth noting that wilted flowers, bruised veggies and soften fruits work just as well as those in their prime.  Crispy Sunflower petals and deadheaded flowers worked just as well as fresh fruit and flowers.

naturally dyed fabrics

If you do decide to dabble in some natural dyeing, regardless of the method used, you’re guaranteed to get some interesting results!

These observations are nothing ground breaking and I hope I don’t come across as critical of others, these are just things I picked up on whilst dabbling with natural dyeing.

Making Memories – Their first skateboards

There are many things to enjoy about being a parent, but I think one of the best is when you get to share with them something which you were passionate about in younger years.  Not only do you get to pass on your knowledge and experience but you also get to relive it yourself, which can be all kinds of nostalgic fun.

This past week we’ve been taking the boys and their skateboards down to the promenade.

For their daddy who was an avid skateboarder, spending way too much time at Southbank skate park, this was a big deal.  A real father/sons bonding moment, with him giving pointers on getting started and providing encouragement when things didn’t go as planned.

my little skaters

It was great to see them doing something new which they enjoyed and seem to want to pursue.

They can’t do any tricks, they wobble and fall off more often than they stay on their boards but they had so much fun that neither cared that they weren’t technically skateboarding.  For now they have mastered sitting on their skateboards and rolling down a gentle slope whilst screaming really loud.  They both found it really difficult to turn on their boards, turns out the bushings on their boards were too stiff, with a little help from daddy both boys were able to switch out the bushings, hopefully this will get them rolling in no time.  Seeing Spencer show the boys how to correctly use a spanner to remove the bolts from the boards and switch out the bushing was a perfect moment in time, a real father/son bonding moment over their shared interest in something.

chaging bushing on a skateboard  chaging bushing on a skateboard

I have no idea how long their interest in skateboarding will continue, if they’re anything like their daddy we’ll be carting the boards around for years!

When reality hits

I find it incredibly hard to parent through the difficult topics. So many of the devastating events around the world seem so far out of our control that I can neither understand nor explain them. When Ethan asked why there were concrete bollards along the promenade by the beach I was stumped.

How do you explain to a 7 year old that event organisers were being cautious of a Nice style attack?

Obviously there are ways to explain it without instilling fear in them and creating nightmares, but as a mother I hate that I even have to pause, think and find the words to explain that there are some truly evil people in the world.

A few weeks ago I overheard my children talking about Minecraft or some such nonsense, ‘Can you imagine if there were explosions in real life!!!’, the incredulity in which these words were spoke hit me hard. Children younger than my boys live every day with explosions and worse right outside their front door, whilst my children live in a bubble of security that offers them a rose tinted view of the world.

Innocent youth

One day they will realise that life isn’t quite so idyllic; I’m not sure who will be hit hardest by this jolt from blissful naivety to harsh reality, them or me.

Late Summer flower faffing

It seems wildflower season is over for another year, in our garden at least anyway.

Whilst I dithered about and harvested their seed pods for another year of colour I took time out of the chaos that is parenting during the Summer break to faff about with some flowers for pressing.

summer flower faffing

Every year I swear our clematis is the last to flower, not that I nor the fat buzzy bees are complaining.


fire bush and clematis

I snipped some lavender to bring indoors to dry, then immediately apologised to the bee buzzing about gathering pollen. Anyone else ever feel guilty for picking flowers?


flower pressing

The Sweet Peas are my gardening success story this year, from little seedlings to decent sized climbers which are flowering every week. 

sweet peas

They’ve been the perfect bloom to pop in my latest woodturning make.

wood stick vase and sweet peas

Purple and orange, a weird but wonderful colour combo.

flower faffing

An impromptu beach day

Our Summer days lack any sort of structure, we go to bed when we’re tired, wake up when we want and plan adventures or lazy days depending on how we feel that day, it is in a word, perfect.

blue sky over eastbourne pier

We had plans to take the boys down to the beach to play on the giant inflatable bouncy castle doodah, once they had finished terrorising the two blokes supervising the children we headed down to the water to enjoy low tide.

Lack of swimwear or towels didn’t stop my boys from enjoying the waves, pants make great substitute swimwear!

Jumping in the waves

Not sure what it is about these two and jumping at waves, but every time a wave comes in, they jump!

Jumping in the waves

arms up

wave breaking

I’m already dreading the return to school in 4 weeks time, boo to routines and structure filled days.

blue skies and fluffy clouds

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