Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back to the Dye Pots!!

Well, after several weeks away and catching up on all my travel blogs, I finally got into the basement, picked up a bit and set myself up to dye some tshirts and more mandalas using ice of course.  I like the look you get with the ice so much better than just squirting dye onto the shirts like the old days. You get much crisper lines with ice dyeing and greater variation in value.    I did three t-shirts and of course the underlying "drop" cloths that I use.

I have done this fanfold technique before on tshirts and really like the effect of doing the fold on the diagonal rather than straight up and down.

For these tshirts, I placed some fabric underneath each one (don't want those stripes occurring from the cookie racks) and then took the soda ashed soaked, fan folded tshirts and made a spiral with each one.  They didn't even take up much room on the racks.  I covered them with ice (just enough so no fabric is peaking through) and then sprinkled generously all my different greens and then a little navy blue and mixing blue just for the heck of it.  I think I threw a little sun yellow in at the very end.  I should note that a couple of the greens are very light greens and obviously have a lot of yellow in them but I also used a very dark green as well.  I like a lot of value contrast!  I let them sit until the ice was all melted and then nuked them each about 4 minutes -- just enough to get them nice and warm.  They looked navy blue at this point.  I rinsed in cold and then warm water and threw them into the washing machine and ran them through twice.  I ran out of Synthrapol so used Dawn and it didn't suds too much and obviously got a lot of the color out!!  

I also did the fan fold on this one although did it right to left this time.  The biggest difference between this bunch and all the others is the size of the fan fold.  Before I folded them about every three inches either across or diagonally and really like that look as well.  Yesterday I decided to only do about an inch deep fold which makes for a lot more color in the shirts and little white space (none as a matter of a fact) while my others have a lot of white in them -- a look I also like.  Now if I could just figure a way to get those fan folds to be more even with a soggy large t-shirt!

 You can see how much color my "drop" cloths got as well!!  This fabric was a drapery weight pfd sateen that I got many years ago.  Before this, I had used it primarily for monoprinting as it has such a nice firm hand.  It is about 54 inches wide and each of these pieces is about 3/4 yard.  I think they will make some great looking tote bags!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Days 18, 19 and 20 - A Visit to Western Missouri and St. Louis

 We stopped at the Missouri Star Quilt Company on our way to visit Vicki's older brother.  This is essentially a series of quilt shops that basically take up all the buildings in this small town.  Each of the shops is dedicated to different kinds of fabrics and of course is complete with all the Missouri Star quilt patterns.

Vicki waited patiently as Joan and I wandered down the street and through all the shops.  We stopped for lunch here as well - there was literally almost no place to do this but Vicki had noticed a lot of people going in and out of this one restaurant (really the only restaurant).  It was of course filled with quilters!

From here, we stopped for a nice visit and dinner with Vicki's brother and his wife and caught up on family and trips.  I hadn't seen her brother in fifty years and it was fascinating and  really nice visit!!

The next morning we headed for St. Louis.  We hoped that we would get the visit to the famous Arch and a  boat ride in that afternoon.

This is my first view of the arch up close.  It was not easy to get to at all.  I can say that this was easily one of the most difficult tourist destinations to which I have been.  Even finding  it with the GPS was difficult and once we talked to a cop for directions, we had to walk quite a distance from the parking lot to the Arch.  I might add that the temp was 102 and there was no shade at all.  

We got our tickets for both the ride down the Mississippi and the elevator ride in the Arch first.

This was the boat that we took.  In order to get to it, however, you had to go down to sets of steps with no guard rails (amending that to say that there were wooden guard rails running at a ludicrous angle at the very ends of the steps -- nothing you would want to attempt).  Thank goodness I  had my cane with me.  The boat ride was nice but there is really not much to see along the river edge -- St. Louis has certainly not developed this area at all -- it has all the potential to be a really nice riverfront but certainly not there yet!

From there we headed back up those steps to get to the entrance to the Arch.  Remember that it is 102 with an effective temp of 108!  This was not pleasant!!

 The visit to the Arch itself was interesting.  To get to the top of the Arch (650 feet high), you ride in these small cars that kind of look like washing machines and the ride up,  you kind of go back and forth rocking.  This is the view looking to downtown St. Louis from the top.  There are basically very small windows to view out of.  I cleaned a couple off with tissues and got fairly decent pictures before we took the ride back down.

This was the view toward the Mississippi.  The real high point was the film about the building of the arch back in the 60s.  It was truly fascinating and quite an engineering fete which was well documented.

The walk back to the car was  beyond horrendous and by this time I had decided I would stay in the hotel room rather than ever go out in this heat and humidity again!!  We had planned a zoo visit for the next day but I had had it with the heat!

Well, I just love zoos so the next morning I decided that I could  brave the heat to see one of America's best zoos.  It had a tram as well so I wouldn't have to walk too much.  It is a free zoo but you pay for parking and for the tram so not quite so free!  It is really a beautiful zoo and really as nice as the San Diego Zoo or Bronx Zoo for layout although it doesn't have the variety or size of those two enormous zoos.  This is an Addax.  There were several species that I don't remember seeing before (but probably have!).  I should note that the temp was only 98 this day but there was lots of shade and even a little breeze occasionally.  One of the first things you see is a monument to Marlin Perkins -- remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom?

This is a Takin.

These are Chinese Gorals.

Took the picture of the camel just for my daughter who loves camels!
 This was one of two baby zebras.

 I really enjoyed watching the kangaroo jumping around but eventually it was too hot even for him.  The rest of the kangaroos were lazing along the sides in a ditch where it was obviously cooler.  Would love to see kangaroos in the wild but that is probably not going to happen!

 Mama lion is sitting in the shade.
The Gorillas and the Chimpanzees were inside enjoying the cooler air.

Probably my favorite exhibit was the penguins.  these are Rock Hopper Penguins.

 These two are Humboldt Penguins and were outside.  They can tolerate the warmth and probably were the penguins my daughter swam with in the Galapagoes.

 This is a Crested Puffin.
Just a regular Puffin.  I want to see these in the wild as well.  A visit to Acadia will be in my future!

 Last but certainly not least are the King Penguins!

This was about the nicest penguin habitat I have seen.

We spent our last night of touring in St. Louis.  The next day we were truly on our way home with only two more official stops -- Hancock's of Paducah (a great fabric store) and a visit with our high school friend Fran Mayo in Albertsville, Alabama.  We made two sleeping stops, one south of Nashville and one south of Atlanta.  It was 104 when we reached our first stop and luckily we didn't have to be outside except for a few minutes as it was difficult to breathe at that temp!  We reached Vicki's house in Florida on day 23!  

I was scheduled to leave a couple of days later and flying through Atlanta.  Unfortunately, weather interfered with my plans forcing an overnight stay in Atlanta which Delta Airlines nicely provided.  They also flew me first class on the remaining leg of my trip back to Rochester the following day!  I can't say enough good about this airline!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 17 - Omaha, Nebraska and a Visit to the Botanical Gardens

Our next major stop would be in Missouri but to get there from the Badlands, we worked in two nights, one in Mitchell South Dakota and one in Omaha, Nebraska.  Nebraska is one of three states I hadn't been in before.  So now I only have Wisconsin and North Dakota left!  Probably won't make those two but that is okay!

In Omaha, we decided to visit Lauritzen Gardens which is Omaha's botanical gardens and also the site of several of the Union Pacific iconic railroad cars.  Omaha was the headquarters for this railroad and the money to found this garden.  It was really a very nice garden with a guided tour in an open bus which was lovely.  The weather was a little iffey though we didn't get any rain.

Lovely water lily ponds to greet you.

View from the ride.

These twig elephants greeted you inside the visitor center which is attached to the large greenhouse.

 This is a Bat Flower which was new to me.  It was in the greenhouse as were all of these others.

Creeping Fig.

 Natal Lily.
There were lots of orchids which are among my   favorites!

Nothing can beat the orchid show in NYC in the spring of each year though.

After the tour through the gardens, we headed for our hotel which ended as  real test of endurance.  We couldn't blame it on the GPS this time.  We ended up going around in circles on and off a major many many lane expressway for a good half hour.  Finally Vicki basically said she was going to take the first road she saw which was into a small shopping center.  Well, the motel was indeed there but you had to go through the shopping center and by the Social Security Administration Bldg to get to it.  There was no other entrance -- we looked.  They had a map with a figure 8 on it in the motel to explain how to get back to the expressway!  Yes, you had to do a figure 8 to even get to this shopping center.  We were not happy campers!  The next day our agenda was to head to the Missouri Star Quilt Company and then visit with Vicki's brother who lives just outside Kansas City, Missouri.  We would stay in KC and then head on to St. Louis where we would be for two nights.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Day 16 - the Badlands of South Dakota

The Badlands are the last of the National Parks we will be visiting.  I had been there many years ago and it didn't disappoint.  It doesn't take long to visit as you basically just drive through if you are not an intrepid hiker!  It takes no longer than half a day to see everything.  
 There were two types of views basically in the Badlands -- those looking up at the stone monoliths and then looking out over the rocks.  The layers are pretty distinct and each layer signifies a different time in the prehistory of the area.  

 We found a nice picnic area (all covered to block out the hot sun) and this gave me a chance to look for some birds and flowers.

This is a Lark Sparrow which is a new bird for me.

This is Bindweed which is a type of morning glory.  

This is a Western Kingbird which is another first for me.  Evidently the small red crest on his head is very unusual to see.  It was not mentioned in either of my bird books but  a birder on the FB Bird ID site mentioned it.  I later found mention of it on the Cornel Ornithology site as well.  Evidently they hide it until they are going after hawks or kestrels.  I didn't find one picture of it on the net. The crest was what had fooled me as I just couldn't find it on any of the birds I was looking at.

My favorite part of the park is of course the Prairie Dog town.

This Prairie Dog has a backdrop of all those Bindweeds!