Eye Candy Wool

I have been having so much fun! These colors were created by immersing the washed and dried wool fleece pieces into hot water with vinegar and food coloring dye. Then I added more dye in different places straight from the dye droppers or powders and pressed the intense colors into the wet wool in separate areas of the pot of wool and hot vinegared water!  To make sure all the die was absorbed, I turned the heat on till it just almost simmered.  After a bit (10 min to a half hour or so) I checked the water. Once the water was clear when I checked it, I knew that dye was completely absorbed.

I’m not one for careful calculations or measuring so this fits my personality perfectly!

These gorgeously colored fleeces will be incorporated into my felted wall art, scarves, or spun into exciting colored and textured yarns!

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Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) compared to Heal All (Prunella vulgaris)

Red Dead Nettle

Red Dead Nettle

The plant on the bottom front of the pile in the photo below is from my yard and is called Red Dead Nettle, like the plant in the photo above.

The first time I saw this plant in my yard I became curious.  Was I seeing the little plant that is so great for healing called “Heal All”?  I looked up Heal all online and could see this little plant was obviously different . . . but still looked similar in my opinion.  Plants can be so difficult to identify without a name to use for looking it up!!  Finally I searched Heal All look alikes, and there was my little plant!

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Red Dead Nettle is my little plant’s name.  Yay!  I found out what the plant was!!!  –Unless you have tried to figure out what plants are when you or your friends don’t know, you have no idea how difficult it can be, so I was thrilled to have found out this plant’s name so easily–  Now I could look up more about the plant in my yard.  Is it edible?  Is it medicinal?  Turns out it is both.

Red Dead Nettle is not a true nettle and does not sting.  That is why it is called “Dead nettle.”  Red Dead Nettle is a member of the mint family.  Some of the other common names for Red Dead Nettle are Purple Dead Nettle, Lavender Dead Nettle, Purple Archangel, and Velikdenche  (according to Wikipedia).

Heal All

Below are two photos of Heal All.  Another common name for Heal All is Self Heal.  Heal All is also a member of the mint family.  Heal All is both edible and medicinal.

When we were camping a couple summers ago, one of our party got a nasty infection under her big toenail when she was injured.  Her toe was swelling and very painful.  We made a poultice of Plantain (a drawing herb which brings the infection to the surface of the skin) and Heal All (good for any healing).  She said the poultice stung like the dickens but she kept it on for awhile.  By morning, the infection had come to the surface and could be cleaned out.  One more application a couple days later, when her toe began swelling again, completed the cure!

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Thank goodness for these gorgeous plants that voluntarily appear for our benefit!  Plants are such a God given gift!

Glorious Dandelion!

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen as gorgeous a dandelion as this one right here. A volunteer in my small raised garden I’m grateful this enormous dandelion showed up. Hopefully the seeds of this huge plant will spread all over my garden, Providing me with lots of super nutritious greens.

There are many dandelion look-alikes. According to what I’ve read, there are no poisonous look-alikes, but it’s good to know when you have the real thing. Some of the look-alikes here in Oregon, called cats ears, are very bitter. 

Probably the best way to tell a true dandelion is to look at the flower and it’s stem. The stem will be hollow with white milky substance oozing out when it is broken. There will be only one flower to a single stem and the stem of a true dandelion does not branch as many look-alikes do.

Dandelion flowers are edible as well as the leaves and the roots. Some people roast the roots and make a hot drink out of the ground roasted roots.  I personally have only tried the flowers and the leaves. 

I find the flowers very pleasant to eat raw and I put the leaves in my smoothies. I have read that these are some of the most nutritious greens on the planet.

I simply love how I can walk into my yard and find wonderful things to eat without having to do any work at all!

Spring Greens

I wonder . . . when our ancestors spoke about spring greens, did they mean these?


No need to wait for your garden to come up when you have plantain, clover, dandelions, and heal all look alike: Purple Deadnettle – Lamium purpurem (also edible).  Also in this bunch are a few greens I kept covered with a sheet over the winter to keep them from dying: celery tops, parsley, beet greens, and thyme.

These will be thrown into my smoothie this morning, to which I will add wild blueberries from the freezer section of the grocery store, frozen strawberries, frozed sweet cherries, banana, water, and a can of coconut milk. Yummy!

This combination will probably fill my blender and produce four large glasses of smoothie which I will save in the refrigerator until I drink them, one at a time. Probably will last me a couple days at least.

And the greatest thing is the wild greens have much more nutrition than your average garden greens!  Most people don’t realize that dandelions are one of the most, if not the most nutritious green vegetable there is!!  The yellow flowers are edible too, as well as the root can be used for roasted root tea (haven’t tried that yet though).

Dying eggs and wool. 

After we finished dying Easter eggs, I decided to put my recently washed and dried Gotland/Marino wool fibers into the egg dying cups to see what would happen.



We had about seven or eight cups with colors, some pure, some mixed. Below are the first bunch of colors that came out of the dyes. 


Three of the cups still had dye in them so I added more wool. As you can see below, the blue die that is left in the cups is not anything like the color of the wool that came out already. The dye must have split and some colors absorbed faster than others.


I think this is a great way to dye lots of different colors in small amounts!

Fun with Spirals!

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   Close up of center.

Wiggly spiral of merino, silk, and linen felted on a background of merino/silk 50/50, embellished by glass pearls and sparkly glass beads.

I have always loved spirals so of course I must include them in felting!  This wall art is ready for framing as is, or can be stretched on a wood frame backing, which I will do if I put it in The Art Center in Corvallis.

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