Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Copper Penny Blue II

Remember the copper penny blue dye bath I started a few weeks ago?
Well, I dyed some merino wool roving before I left town for Christmas, and here are the results:
I steeped the pennies, ammonia and water for 5 days and then
dyed the wool roving for 24 hours.
The wool turned out a lot darker than I expected, but still a pretty color:

The distilled water dye bath produced a lighter hue than the tap water dye bath, so I am glad I did that experiment.
I am starting another experiment dying the roving for just a few hour increments. I'll post those results soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the life

A snapshot from the life of a sick lab technician. hurumph.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

cool blogs

I love finding fun blogs to read through.
It is so cool.
You can get craft ideas, recipes, catch up with old friends, and see new places and lifestyles.
Here are some of the blogs I consistently check:

Knitting Iris (knitting, homestead living, Montana)
Soule Mama (family, natural living, crafts)
Neulova Narttu (Finnish lady who knits A LOT and has great taste in patterns. It's all in Finnish, but she posts pattern and yarn info for all of her projects, and luckily, that is not too hard to decipher.)
Ysolda (knitting, Scotland)
Helene Magnusson (knitting, Iceland)
Gritty Pretty (Provo, homestead living, friends)
Made with love by Hannah (alpine kitsch craft ideas, mushroom print skirts!)
Resurrection Fern (crochet, nature and crafts)

I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fern Midwifery

I just realized I have never posted about my sister's midwifery practice.
My sister is a home birth midwife.
Her practice is called Fern Midwifery and she supports birthing moms in Salt Lake City, Utah and the surrounding valleys.
I love hearing stories of all the strong women she works with. It gives me confidence that I will have a successful pregnancy and birth when the time comes :)
Her website is: Fern Midwifery
Her blog is: midwifebriana

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Copper Penny Blue

I am officially beginning the winter dye party.
Today, I started brewing a copper penny dye bath. I'm going to let it steep for about a week before I use it.
It can be used to dye wool directly or in conjunction with dye mushrooms, such as the blue Trametes versicolor I found in New York.
The process is simple and I have heard of results varying based on minerals in local tap water, so I set up 3 versions of the dye bath.
I made the 3 dye baths in separate glass jars with plastic between the metal lids.

Jar one:
55 (pre-1982) pennies
0.5 c. clear ammonia
1.5 c. distilled water

Jar two:
55 (pre-1982) pennies
0.5 c. clear ammonia
1.5 c. Redmond Tap water

Jar three:
55 (pre-1982) pennies
1.5 c. white vinegar
0.5 c. distilled water

I really like the "old fashioned" green-blue I have seen this dye bath to produce. I'll update in a week or so with results :)
Check these great links for more ideas!
Knitting Iris
Griffin Dyeworks

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Palmyra, NY

While Adam and I were in New York for Thanksgiving we spent one of the days in Palmyra, NY visiting the Church History sites.

It was an interesting day and quite amazing to see the area and some specific sites where the everlasting gospel :) was restored and the LDS church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) was organized.
The first site you come to, driving from the south, is the Hill Cumorah.

This is the hill where Joseph Smith was instructed he would find engraved plates. He translated these plates and printed them as the Book of Mormon. Part of the hill now has grass to accommodate the Hill Cumorah Pagent, or theatrical re-enactment that takes place every summer.
Turning from the main road, you pass the Palmyra Temple that was built in 1999. Right across the street from the temple is the Smith Family farm. There is a visitor's center and the sister missionaries are happy to give tours of the replica of the log house Joseph Smith grew up in and of the restored house the family later built.
Here is a replica of the log house, where the Smith Family lived when they first moved from Vermont:

Both houses are furnished and decorated as they might have been with antique quilts, furniture and pottery from the era (1830's).
Mater Bedroom of log house:

upstairs of log house:

Birth room and pantry of larger house:

I thoroughly enjoyed walking through these houses and felt the reality of the events that happened there almost 200 years earlier. It is amazing to think that a young man asked for answers to religious questions through prayer and, with the support of his family, brought those answers to others.

The Smith Family's land was forested, like most of New York. What we call the Sacred Grove is really Joseph Smith's backyard, or a quiet, peaceful place near his house.

This is where Joseph Smith first prayed and received an answer from God in person. Although we revere this particular location, it reminds us that our own spiritual experiences will happen close to home as part of our daily life.
I was happy to find the Sacred Grove to be rich with fungi:

We then drove 2 or 3 miles into the town of Palmyra which used to be a bustling trade town because it was right on the Eerie Canal. Things have slowed considerably now that canal transport is out of fashion :)
Palmyra also used to be a bustling religious center. There is an intersection in town where each of the 4 corners has a different church. Members of the same family were often part of different churches. The area frequently hosted traveling preachers and the summer was filled with outdoor religious "revivals" from different faiths. This is why a young (14 year old) Joseph Smith wondered which church to follow. His family was religious and read from the Bible, so he knew the scripture from James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." He had faith that he could learn for himself which church to join. This faith helped him understand when he received the unexpected answer that non of the churches were correct and that he should not join any of them.
In Palmyra is E.B. Grandin's original book store and print shop where Joseph Smith had 1,000 copies of the Book of Mormon printed. The three story building has been restored and offers a great tour.
The top floor was for printing because it had the best lighting:

(here are some original ink splashes!)

The second floor was for book binding:

and the bottom floor was the storefront:

After seeing the sites/sights Adam's parents met us for a session at the Palmyra Temple. It was great day.
*side note*
On the way to Palmyra we ate Philly Cheese Steaks in Geneva, NY and then ate these giant Reuben sandwiches in Palmyra.


Thursday, December 3, 2009


Happy Birthday Thomas!
You are the best brother. I love being a part of your life. You are becoming such an incredible young man :)

I can't wait to hear about all the fantastic things your will do with your life.
Have a great birthday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beehive Bazaar!

The Beehive Bazaar is a fabulous craft fair in lovely Provo, Utah that happens twice a year: around Mother's Day and Christmastime.
Local crafters get together to show their wares, swap ideas, awesome Christmas gifts for everyone!
It's open to the public and it's happening this weekend (Dec 3rd, 4th, and 5th)!

I'm also happy to say that 4 Blackwelder girls are sharing a booth, come see our goods and stock up on Christmas gifts for friends and family.

I'll be selling these adorable peace boxes, reversible headbands, knit owl pins, and more!
(My sisters have made some tasty homemade vanilla and almond've got to try them!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We had a great trip to Ithaca for Thanksgiving :)
Here are some photo highlights:
(we got a little snow the day after Thanksgiving)

Adam's brother, Shay, and his beautiful family live south of Ithaca in Corning. They recently moved from China and bought a fabulous house on a hill above the town. We stayed with them for two nights.
Here's Elijah! He just turned one and is about to walk all over. I can see something of Adam in him...maybe the blues eyes?

Here is their new house:

and the two brothers :)

They have a great, wooded property with lots of grass and a large outdoor porch and screened porch. You really feel at home in nature at their house.

We drove north to Palmyra, NY to visit the Church History sites. It was my fist time seeing the Hill Cumorah, the Smith Family farm, the Sacred Grove, the town of Palmyra, and the site of the first printing of the Book of Mormon. It was a great day exploring with Adam. I had so many photos that they will be in another, future post.
Adam's sister Marissa and her family came from Chicago. It was great to get to know her and her husband better and their three smart girls.

The girls and I went on lots of mushroom hunting walks in Sapsucker woods (the woods Adam grew up in!). We didn't find fresh mushrooms, of course, since it was so cold, but there were many hardy, fibrous, shelf fungi to enjoy.

Fomes fomentarius:


I was very excited to see the blue form of Trametes's good for dying and doesn't grow on the West Coast.

And here is a mysterious fungus: (in the forest it looked good for dying, but I can't figure out what it is....I'll report dye results)

On Thanksgiving, we had a delicious Thanksgiving Feast!

And on our last Sunday, little Jude Alexander Barlow was blessed at church:

The girls :)

So many fun memories with family...

Thanks for a GREAT trip!