There’s a WordPress Meetup in my future…how about yours?

Hi! How are you? I’m good. Busy doing exciting stuff! Like becoming a manager of a WordPress Meetup. Yup, I signed up to organize a local meetup and if you like WordPress and are local to Rochester, MN, you can join me. There are others throughout the world, though, if you aren’t.  The Rochester WordPress Meetup is brand-new, just plunked down the money today, and the rules aren’t pulled together any more than a meeting place, date or time. But that will happen.

This is part of some changes in how I spend my off-time. Busy, busy! Two big projects going on right now, one being getting ready for a summer of teaching dye classes as part of the historical reenactment group I belong to. I think there is going to be lots of blue in my future. I’ll post pictures.

The second is figuring out all the bits and pieces of a business plan…there are lots of people doing web design. What I can do better than the next guy, marketing to my strengths.  I’ll happily help anyone or any business with their website, tailored to their needs, but I have a special place in my heart for people who want a website that helps them stay connected to family, that becomes a place that is your own, holds your stories and your pictures and looks like you did the decorating. I know…FaceBook does all of that and more. It’s just that it’s a commercial site, and who knows what you are losing in privacy, or who you will run into there. A personal blog can be a safer place for families.

A business blog is a safer place for a business, too, and I’ll get into that in another post.

Other aspects of my new business are these: I’m also good at training people to use all the various bits that make up the internet and social media, and I excel at organizing fun stuff that make people happy; I’m developing a promotions angle in this business plan, too. More things like Giving Bunnies go AMOK  as well as Ag Tours similar to the Harvest Tours that Deb Brown of Debworks has organized, and other community promotions. Oh! And community gardens for Oronoco.

I used the community gardens as a project for the Adventure Learning class I just completed. It was fun AND gave me reason to pull all this research together into one place. Want to hear a funny story? I was sorta poking around with files this weekend and…deleted that blog. Oops! I got it restored, just need to replace the sidebar items and so mostly I just got a good story out of it. But I kinda panicked as I’m not sure I have a grade on the project yet.

The business is named HomeGrown Technologies, Inc. The paperwork is in for that as well, and I’ve started the website and all the other plans and lists are keeping me up nights.  Cause all that I listed above? I really want to do it all at once.

But I’m not doing this all at once! Sheesh. I would be tired, and confused. For tonight, it’s enough that I got done what I have done and that I invite you to become part of my meetup group. If you like and use WordPress, and want to hang out and share with others who use a great content management system, well…Yeah! See you online, over there on the meetup site! 

On the Woad Again!

Well, even though last night was a failure and even though tonight was supposed to be about the new blog setup and checking out how the weld works in the dye pot, I’m going back to the woad. I have all the proper chemicals for a non-urine-bath dye pot, I’m just doing something wrong. Tonight the powder from about a week ago’s success is going into the dye bath. There’s about an ounce of pigment and I’m only going to try to dye about that amount of fiber, maybe half that…

Last night’s linen sample was a very pretty green this morning (the sumac-mordant had turned it yellow) but as it dried, the blue influence faded until it was again a yellow. Maybe a bit more green but not much so. The wool fiber is disappointingly blotchy and pale blue.

So the bath is prepping over there. Resting, they say.

I also got the tomatoes roasting in olive oil, onions, garlic and spices for a bright yellow tomato soup. Now we need red cheese, lol, for sandwiches.

OK, more later. I’m going to work on that website now –

Scissors and Reality

I need the woad chopped up and I’m cutting up woad leaves with the kitchen scissors, thinking “omg now I have to buy new kitchen scissors” cause you are not supposed to mix dyeing equipment with stuff you use on food for the chance of poisoning people and I realized I use these scissors to cut fat off dead chickens. Clean them and then put them back into the drawer for next time.

Woad may make my poo blue but I don’t find any indication that it will kill me. Blue chicken would..well, chicken that makes my bodily excretions blue may lead to death.

Gah. Rules can drive a girl crazy, you know? I’m claiming reality in this case.


Dye Class at Novices, Neophytes and Knaves III

I’m getting excited for this class – I have the entire covered outside patio area to set up pots for dyeing stuff. I’m going to demonstrate both cold and hot dyeing; for example, how heat can turn madder root muddy and how a room temp dye bath is slow but still a good thing. Some things, like onion skins, only seem to take if hot.  Weld, on the other hand, does not and I have lots of weld.

I’m perfecting the woad extraction of dye stuff. I have precipitant! I heated back up the liquid from yesterday; the wet, soggy mass of cooked woad leaves were the only thing in the bucket for the compost pile. So I dragged them out, dumped them back into the liquid and put the whole mess back on the stove to boil for a few minutes. This website suggests boiling for a few minutes to break down the leaves, release the indigo. Cooled it down again, dug out the woad leaves, and set the mixer on it for ten minutes. Poured it back into the big glass jar and the indigo immediately started settling to the bottom. Yeah! It’s blue! It’s also probably got a lot of the washing soda in there but finally I’m getting blue stuff like I’m supposed to get.

And I ordered the Spectralite from Dharma Trading as well so I can prevent the air from getting into the dye pot. I don’t know how successful it would be to try to move a fermentation pot, so even though that is what Sorcha would have had I’m trying it this other way.

Very exciting stuff.


Extraction of Woad by Teresinha Roberts

Sacrificing the handmixer this evening. W00t.

To aerate the vat, whisk with an electric whisk or a manual one. Some people pour the liquid from one saucepan to another.

I usually whisk for 10 minutes with an electric whisk until the froth turns blue and then green again. Sometimes the froth remains blue however long you whisk but this does not usually affect the results. Once, in late September, I had almost no blue in the froth but, to my surprise, a large amount of woad pigment settled out.

via Extraction of Woad by Teresinha Roberts.