This time of year, in Central Alberta, fields of canola are everywhere. Horizons are filled with fields of bright yellow. A couple of days ago I was out shooting a portrait in a field and couldn’t help but take a couple of shots for fun. The bright yellow looks amazing in photographs, especially when paired with a blue sky.

canola field


If you are interested in portraits in a canola field, a sampling can be viewed at in the post titled “Yellow”.

Ecoprinting With Rose Leaves

rose bush This time of year the garden is growing. It is lovely to have the flowers and leaves to look at, but it is also great to have dyeing material almost literally on your doorstep. Rose leaves are great for eco-printing which is also called contact printing (and I am sure there are many other terms as well).

The  leaves I chose to work with come from my rose bush that grows in our front garden. It is a huge rose bush that easily grows over 6 feet high if I don’t keep up on my pruning. In June and July we are treated to lovely pink flowers with a wonderful smell, and in the fall we have huge rosehips dotting the bush.

materials ready for the project

I collected a handful of leaves from the rosebush and assembled the other items I needed: silk scarf, stick, leaves, and elastic bands.

scarf laid out

I laid the scarf out, dotted it with leaves, folded, rolled, and wrapped the bundle tight.


Then it was time for a little bit of steam, a little bit of time and a post mordant dip.

A wash, a dry, an iron, and the scarf was complete.rose leaf silk scarf 1 blogTo view another scarf using this same technique please visit and view the post “Rose Leaf Eco-print Scarf – #2”.

Centrefest 2013 – A Little Bit of Fun

This past weekend downtown Red Deer turned on the festival spirit with Centrefest 2013. Centrefest is in its eleventh year and is still super popular. The crowds were entertained by street performers, magicians, comedians, face painters and many other forms of entertainment. Streets in the downtown core were closed off to allow for the set up of tents housing sponsors, food vendors , and a market place.

We decided to go to the festival on Sunday with plans to spend a few hours there, unfortunately the weather had other ideas. We enjoyed the one performance we saw before the gale force winds and pouring rain roared in (and we also had to walk home in this weather too!). The performance was a little bit of fun, a little bit of magic and a whole lot of banter. Our oldest daughter thought it was the funniest thing ever. We look forward to attending Centrefest in the future……..hopefully on a sunny day.

Enjoy the pictures in the gallery below!

Testing Goldenrod

goldenrod dyeing 1

Goldenrod Dye Test – from left: silk fabric, silk embroidery thread (previously dyed in “something”) cotton, cotton cord, wool yarn

It has been a little while since I have posted anything related to fibre art or dyeing.

 I have a couple of projects currently on the go that are perhaps more time-consuming than I first planned (which pretty much means I let the beading get out of control!).

I have one quite small piece finished that needs to be mounted……..however……. with having had two major house issues in the last few months (sewer backup and electrical fire) I have no idea where the saw is at the moment to cut the wood backing. First the basement was completely ripped apart and now the ceilings upstairs; we keep shifting items from one part of the house to another part to allow the restoration company to do the work that needs to be done. Our kids say it is like moving house in our own house. Perhaps one day the saw will miraculously appear and I can finish the piece………………or my husband will use it as an excuse to buy another saw (let’s just say we have a history of that happening with drills).

I have been playing around a bit with the dye pot recently. Trying dyes on different threads and cords. A little bit of eco-printing (a post will be coming very soon). Yesterday I decided to try goldenrod.

I came across a good amount of the plant along a road a few nights ago and thought I would give it a try. Ditches are a fun and cheap place for dye plants, even if my children are scared of the spiders I bring home on the plants (they are especially afraid of the yellow spiders….who knows?!). I decided to go just with the flower heads, boil them up for a bit, pop in the items to be dyed for an hour, and call it good. The color emerged from the flowers very quickly. The items that seemed to take the dye the best were the wool yarn, the silk embroidery thread and the cotton fabric. I was especially thrilled with the result on the cotton, clearly scouring the fabric and then mordanting in alum made for a beautiful take up of the dye. The wool yarn also took on the color wonderfully. The silk embroidery thread is probably not showing the “true” color of goldenrod as it has been dyed previously in “something” resulting in an uninspiring shade of beige, so I figured “throw it into the pot and see what happens”. Well what happened is the color of thread I really need for a piece I am working on which is great (I just won’t ever be able to duplicate it again).

goldenrod dyeing 2


Just for fun I also threw these two rejects into the dye. They were originally eco-print failures of rose petals. The petal imprint came out very weak so I tried an iron dip which really didn’t improve things at all. As things couldn’t get any uglier I decided to pop them into the goldenrod dye. They are still ugly (no doubt!) but the fabric on the left that is silk has had the iron areas turn a purple color. I am thinking this may be worth exploring. The fabric on the right is cotton, and is still just ugly.

With the success of my goldenrod experiment my plans for the weekend are some country drives looking for goldenrod growing in the ditches. I may even try drying some flowers to use once winter hits.


(Just a reminder that portrait photography, art and paintings are being posted at )

Kerry Wood Nature Centre – Bluebells

bluebellsToday’s images are again from our walk along the paths in the sanctuary behind Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. During our walk the bluebells were everywhere, providing splashes of blue along the edges of the path. My “Alberta Wayside Wildflowers” book by Linda Kershaw is proving to be very valuable in identifying the wildflowers I have been photographing recently.


Kerry Wood Nature Centre – Ladyslipper

ladyslipperA few weeks ago we decided to go on a family outing to Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. Behind the main building lies a nature sanctuary that contains a small lake, a bird blind, a short 1 km trail and a longer 4 km trail. On this particular day we set out to do the longer trail, it was a nice day for a walk, plus I had a mission in mind to photograph as many flowers as possible. For a while I have been painting larger canvases based on macro images of flowers, or more accurately “garden variety flowers”…. literally. Delphinium, Daisies, Allium, Nasturtium………you get the picture. Feeling that it was time to switch things up a bit, and having no desire to paint marigolds, I decided that perhaps wild flowers and plants might be a nice direction to pursue as a subject matter. I had already dabbled in this direction with a painting I had done of yarrow based on an image I had taken on the west coast, so it seemed natural to try out the same theme with some local Alberta plants.

I will admit I took a lot of images on this walk, 100+ images per km, so I thought I would break down the outing into a few posts. I thought I would start with the Ladyslipper as they are quite rare to come across when walking, so it was a treat to find a few different patches of the flower. This is also the first flower to be tackled as a painting from the outing, the canvas is 10 inches by 10 inches and the painting is a third to a half-finished. I’ll share the painting on the blog once it is finished.


Alberta Skies

We spend a lot of time throughout the summer on the road. Driving to the cabin. Driving to the coast. We always seem to be on a longish drive to somewhere and longish drives mean we often see some amazing sunsets. These images were all taken in the same evening along Hwy 20 (Alberta, Canada). The road less travelled means it is always possible to stop for a photo when the opportunity presents itself. It is amazing how the sky can change as the sun sets.

alberta skyalberta skyalberta sky


butterflyWe’ve been spending a lot of time outside recently and one of the things we have noticed is there are butterflies everywhere. Little ones, big ones and huge ones. One so huge it was mistaken for a shuttlecock in a badminton game and my poor son accidentally hit it. He felt awful, the butterfly was stunned, but it all ended well when all was said and done. Here are a few pictures of butterflies we have seen in recent days.




Well I am back to blogging what I love and what I should be spending my time on. We spent this past Saturday and Sunday at the cabin. It was a mix of fantastic weather and an equally fantastic rain storm. On Sunday we decided to head to Chickakoo natural area for a walk. It is a great place for family walking with most routes ranging between 1-4 km in length. As we neared the end of the walk we had chosen, and the kids were moving a little bit slower, we spotted an area just buzzing with damselflies. Thanks to my husband, who spoiled me with a new macro lens, I was able to capture a few images of these interesting little creatures.