December 17, 2015


November Green

The natural dye experiments continue at Chez Meyer. November was a bit of a crazy month, with several trips to LA, which zap the life out of me, except I get to see my daughter! Here's a glimpse of the experiments we were able to fit in between traffic jams. 

Ivy Dye

In Santa Barbara, since most things grow year round, ivy can be a menace. We have one side of our yard, where we are constantly battling the ivy hedge, trying to keep it trimmed so that it doesn't trail onto the ground and propogate into more, and more, and more, and MORE ivy. So, trimming ivy to chop and boil was a delight.

And doesn't it figure that this ivy that I care so little for, not only gave us a lovely yellowy-green dye, but that it surprised us with the most beautiful aroma while it was on the stove? Truly, I think I learned a little lesson that day...

We tried to add some iron to the mix by soaking our rusty red wagon with water then letting it sit. 

But the dog kept drinking it...

Both napkins were simmered in alum, but to continue to see whether the added tannins really do make a difference, one napkin had just the alum and ivy dye, and the other napkin was steeped in a triple concoction of alum, pomegranate tannins, and ivy dye. The pomegranate tannins definitely help to make a deeper color...

We didn't really get a green, but close!

Acorn Tannins

To make tannins from acorns. I simply collected acorns from the pavement in the parking lot where my son goes swimming, put them in a large mason jar, filled the jar with boiling water, then left them in a sunny spot for about ten days. I strained the liquid, and put it in the fridge for future dyeing...

(The acorns started to sprout in the water so we took them to my parent's house and planted about thirty seeds into the ground. All we need now is rain to encourage our new oak forest! My son is very hopeful that he'll get a treehouse out of the deal.)

Artichoke Dye

Napkin One: Pre-simmered in alum, then acorn tannins and artichoke dye

Napkin Two: Pre-simmered in alum, then artichoke dye.

Note: We didn't strain the artichokes cause we were both feeling lazy, so dumped the napkins in the pot with all the chopped leaves, etc. Please be smarter than we were...

Apparently, we are very good at making yellow dye!

On to orange, all through December!



Published: December 17, 2015 | Filed under: Home

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