Hit the ground …

… running as soon as I got to NZ. Mark L showed me around downtown Christchurch which is still feeling the effects of the earthquake from several years ago. It really destroyed a lot of the area and much of it is still being cleared and rebuilt. Hard decisions about what historical pieces to keep or take down. Still a long way to go for full recovery. Reminds me of New Orleans …

Mark is a patient teacher and is schooling me in his methods of papermaking. Everything from cutting up cotton towels and sheets for their color and making flowers from the resulting pulp, to harvesting NZ flax properly including the prayer to the plant first, to breaking/cutting the flax leaves, to cooking flax in bathtubs, to hydropulping, rinsing and spinning pulp. We will be puling sheets soon, weather permitting.

The weather started out beautifully sunny (very chilly nights) and has morphed into cloudy and damp with rain predicted for the next week. More bothersome is the wind that typically comes with the rains as they will pick up any drying papers and toss them around.

Starting to put up some pics on my Flickr site, so you can see a bit of what we have been doing.

Took advantage …

… of the lovely day of weather that we had last week and pulped my banana chunks. They were finally thawed out and wonderfully retted. Probably against all advice, if I had gotten any, I skipped the cooking stage and went directly to beating.

Banana pieces, being so nicely ‘plumped up’ and curved, don’t like to go through flat and close beaters. So I persuaded them a bit by tearing them into smaller chunks. That helped a bit. A very little bit. More persuasion was needed.

Out came the bats! No, not the kind we found on the basement step, but the hard round kind in the form of thick dowels. After some serious pounding, during which those juicy banana pieces squirted all over the garage floor, the flattened banana fibers slipped right into the beater between the ‘teeth’ and in no time I had pulp. Image

The pulp still needs some beating time to finish it properly before pulling any sheets, but it is now in a manageable size freezing again (this time in the basement chest freezer) until I have time to work with it. And it has been saved from being dumped in the woods by my love had it remained in the kiddie pool when I head off to Australia.

All is good. Especially since I know he won’t be inclined to pull things out of the chest freezer for dinner.

Get ready…

… For a fabulous adventure! I will be heading down under early next month for three very full months of teaching, traveling and time with friends.

The piles are growing of things I need and want to take along. Making sure it all fits and comes in within the weight limit will be a trick!

My hope is to keep this blog updated regularly during my travels…. Time will tell!



All sorts of exciting stuff happening here!

– Spent the weekend with some fabulous gals from the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati at their annual fiber retreat in Oldenburg (Srs of St Francis convent Center – special place!) and wound up with some great rusted clothing!

– Hubby scored two of the last tickets to hear Carmon DeLeone and his New Studio Big Band this coming Thursday at The Carnegie in Covington!

– I have a stack of close to 60 sheets of really nice palm papers from last week’s efforts – with lots more palm pulp in the freezer – that I am confident will work well for stationery!

– Got accepted into the Boutique and Fashion Show that happens in Cleveland on Sunday, Oct. 20 this year!

– Completed my first reconstructed garment for this year’s sales from a knit shirt and two t-shirts – used all but one sleeve in the making of a dress with pockets! (Just hope there is a tall skinny woman out there who is looking for a cool, green dress!)

– And the most exciting thing is we were asked today if we would have oldest grandson, Sebastian, stay at our house for the 4th of July weekend as his parents attend a wedding out of state! This will be Seb’s first visit to his grandparents home, first time to visit with some of the cousins in this area, first extended stay away from mom and dad. There is an ulterior motive on their part: hoping to ease the ending of Seb’s dependence on his momma’s milk. He is almost 21 months old and has been drinking out of cups for a long time – just likes his mom a lot! With her going back to work – some nights – not nursing would be a big step for all of them. ITMT, we’ll need to do some childproofing before he comes. Can’t wait!!!!!


Finally took the time to get into the iPhoto program in my new Mac.  I’ve got some image deadlines looming and I know I have some usable images on hand – just had to figure out how to get them into someone else’s hand!  I think I’m sorted.  We’ll find out for sure when I do the actual upload….

Lots more to learn on the new machine….