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tuesday's journey


Bower of Beauty - Pandorea Jasminoides
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-Dye-   -Fibre-
Bower of Beauty – Pandorea Jasminoides
Saturday 12 September 2009
Pruned the Bower of Beauty vine
Stripped the newer leaves to fill my boiler
Added 3 litres of water – too much, it boiled over!
Simmered 2 hours.
Switched off hotplate and left to sit.
Monday 14 September 2009
Strained leaves from liquid – 2 litres
Blended leaves with a little water – 2 litres of dark green mush, bucketed and
Shredded paper into Alum/Tartaric Acid Mordant to soak overnight.
Tuesday 15 September 2009
Drained the shredded paper
Batch 1:- 6 sheets
Blended liquid & shredded paper – the mix ‘foamed’ in the blender, could this be due to the tartaric acid I wonder?  
Made a soft green foam that dried to a soft yellow.
Batch 2:- 10 sheets
Green mush & liquid & shredded paper
Dried to a dark gold colour.

(sadly my photo doesn't show the true colours of these papers - it's really tones of yellow and golds)
Batch 3:- 6 sheets    

Mush & liquid & paper (used extra dye & paper, less mush)
Dried to a dark yellow
Batch 4:- 2 sheets
Leaf fibre mush only, to see what it looks like
At the end of Tuesday 15 September I poured the remaining vat contents into buckets.  I wanted to see if there are colour variations between paper soaked in DYE and blended, compared to paper soaked in MORDANT and blended with dye.
Wednesday 16 September 2009
Batch 1:-
paper soaked in dye overnight – when I blended this batch it was quite dark in colour, but dried lighter.
Batch 2:-
Paper soaked in mordant overnight – strained then blended with dye
MORDANTED paper accepted more of the dye and so is a stronger yellow colour.
I put gold glitter and black fibres into todays’ papers, just to differentiate from yesterdays’ papers.
(again these papers are yellow tones)

Pandorea Jasminoides  –  Bower of Beauty
Pink trumpet flowers are a striking feature of this hardy climbing native plant. It’s perfect for training along pergolas and around archways and has shiny dark green attractive leaves. This is a hardy plant in most areas and soils, accepting of mild frosts through to tropical zones. The Bower of beauty is a vigorous climber that likes part shade but accepts full sun as well. This popular and well known variety is native to NSW and Queensland but is often seen growing all over Australia. It can be easily trained over fences and trellises forming a dense screen.

Croton Leaves
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-along with the beetroot stalks and leaves, mum also gave me some cuttings from a dark green (nearly black) Croton.  In preparation for potting the cuttings, I stripped most of the leaves and kept for dye experiments – of course   ;-)
22 August 2009
1 ½ honey buckets of roughly chopped Croton leaves
3 litres of water
Simmered 2 hours
Strained – 1350mls of dark coloured liquid
Added 3 honey buckets of shredded paper
Put into 2 buckets and Lidded overnight after adding 1 tsp salt to one bucket – still testing for colour variation, which made no difference.
23 August 2009
Pulped in blender
Simmered 20 mins
Both buckets into freezer
5 September 2009
Bucket 1 – 7 plain sheets and 3 with Inclusions
Bucket 2 – 9 sheets with Inclusions

Inclusions used:-

                                          Dandelion fluff 
 Crofton Weed flowers                                                                  

       Agaratum flowers – blue and purple       


Scientific name: Cordiaeum Variegatum, Family: Euphorbiaceae
In actuality the crotons we are discussing is the genus Codiaeum which is different from the genus Croton in the same family. It may be confusing but they all seem to get lumped into the same group. They are native to the Old World Tropics and the most commonly grown variety Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum is native to the Pacific Islands and Malay Peninsula.
Crotons are a small shrub and can reach a height of 5-6 feet. The leaves are leathery and start out green and gradually change colour as it matures.
They come in many shapes and a rainbow of colours, reds, pinks, yellows, rust, orange, even some purples to name a few. Crotons are unique in that it is possible to root only the leaves.
Down Side
When a croton leaf is punctured, it will leak a white sap. This sap can stain clothes and irritate some people’s skin. This is not an uncommon characteristic with the croton family Euphorbiacae.


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Beetroot Leaves
Saturday 22 August 2009 -pulled sheets 5 September 2009
....and now for the beetroot leaves...
(same initial preparation day as the stalks)
½ boiler of roughly chopped beetroot leaves
3 litres of water, boiled 2 hours – as soon as the water started to boil, colour appeared.
Strained, getting 1 ½ litres of a brown coloured liquid.
Added 3 buckets of shredded paper, soaked overnight
The next day I split the blended mix between 3 x 1litre buckets –
Salted one – again trialing colour variations and again there wasn’t any difference between salted and unsalted)
From there, the buckets went into the freezer...
5 September 2009
Bucket 1- pulled 4 plain sheets and 3 with added coloured fibres
Bucket 2 – I added ASH from my fire for something different – 6 sheets
Bucket 3, this was the salted bucket –I added coloured fibres and Dandelion fluff.

In some sheets I laminated a few old leaves and then others used wattle leaves mum had given me.
* COOKING the paper pulp makes for a finer and softer paper.

*this is another dye experiment I'd like to re-do one day, but WITHOUT the boiling!  I've since learnt the boiling process destroys colour - especially pinks/reds.

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After a visit with my parents I came home with Beetroot leaves and stalk to trial for my paper and dyes.  By the time I was able to use it they were 2-3 days old.  Anyway, I chomped it up and froze the pulp/plant stuff, to make later.  *a word on that – when I went to use the first of the defrosted batches, I found the mixture had thawed into little ‘pellets’.  I used a hand whisk to break up the clumpage and all was good.
First, some botanical information on the beetroot...
Beta vulgaris

Brief Botanical History
It is thought that the beetroot evolved from wild sea beet (Beta vulgaris sub species maritima). Wild sea beet grows all over the coastlines of Europe and Western Asia and has rather small unappetising roots. The plant was sometimes used as a food but this would have mainly been the leaves and stems rather than the root. However references in around 300 BC claim the Greek cultivation of the plant where varieties of beet plants with edible roots were grown. It is difficult to accurately date the beetroot as unlike seeds and grains, roots and leaves rot away leaving no trace for archaeologists to study.
It does seem that the beetroot as we know it today is a relatively modern invention. Beetroots remained long and thin until medieval times and one of the earliest records of a swollen root was in the mid fifteen hundreds. Even then the red beetroot did not surface until the 17th Century.
Beetroot Colour
It is a popular misconception that the colour of beetroot is due to a pigment known as anthocyanin, the pigment in red cabbage. It is in fact due to the purple pigment betacyanin and a yellow one betaxanthin known collectively as betalins. There are other breeds of beetroot that are not the usual deep red, such as Burpee's Golden' with an orange red skin and yellow flesh and Albina Vereduna which is white. These have a greater or lesser distribution of the two betalin pigments.
The pigments are contained in cell vacuoles (holes). Beetroot cells are quite unstable and will ‘leak’ when cut, heated and when they come into contact with air or sunlight. This is why you will inevitably get a purple stain on your plate when eating beetroot. If the skin is left on when cooking however this will maintain the integrity of the cells and therefore minimise leakage.
The pigment stabilises in acid conditions, which is a good reason why beetroot is often pickled.
.....onwards and upwards – as they say in Narnia!
Beetroot Stalks
Saturday 22 August 2009 – pulled sheets 4 September 2009
½ a Honey bucket of roughly chopped beetroot stalks
Soaked in 1 litre of boiling water.  The water changed to a deep ‘beetroot pink’ almost immediately.  I allowed this to sit for 2 hours while I did other stuff, then re-boiled for a further ½ hour.  I forgot what I was doing and the stalks had almost cooked dry by the time I came back.  Oops!  Added approx.. 1 cup of boiling water and boiled for a further 10 mins.
*a note here – I have since learnt that BOILING destroys the colours from natural dyes, particularly REDS.  I would like to re-do this experiment one day and see if the end colour results are stronger.
Strained into a bucket with the original pink water – getting 700mls of liquid
(add this point in time, 2  years later, I have no idea where the ‘original pink water’ came from!  Unless I reserved some of the first ‘soak’ water)
Added 2 cups of shredded paper, lidded and soaked overnight.
Next day, blended and then simmered for 20mins
From this I split the mix in half.
Added 1 teaspoon of salt to one bucket – to see if it helped in colour absorption.  Froze until 4 September.
Pulled 6 sheets per bucket, with no colour differences.   

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Thursday 3 September 2009
The son dropped out unexpectedly for dinner last night!  I wasn’t planning on cooking dinner – hubby was at work and the daughter and boyfriend are big kiddies and can make their own toast and vegemite...
Anyway, the boy wanted something more than toast so thought he’d look in the freezer – I had to tell him he couldn’t eat anything in the 7 honey buckets as they were full of paper pulp NOT food!
I took out of the buckets today – the freezer is awfully empty without all the buckets filling it up.  Maybe, just maybe, we need some food!
This freezing idea is great for when I don’t have the time to finish the process, but I REALLY need the space for food.  There’s ALWAYS something, isn’t there!!!  lol

Corn Husks
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Corn Husks
August 2009.....sometime!
My notes on this are a bit bare of details and because I’m still catching up I can’t actually add much in the way of detail.
1 litre (Honey bucket) roughly chopped corn husks – approx. 2cm in length – from 3 large corn cobs plus silk
2 litres water
2 Honey buckets of shredded paper
1 litre extra water
½ cup roughly crushed dried Lemon Balm leaves
Boiled 2 hours
Cooled 3 hours then re-boiled ½ hour
Halved mixture – pulp is really fine and soft from cooking!
4 sheets made from 1st half
2nd half allowed to sit overnight to see if colour strengthens, but there was no difference

I liked this so much I froze some of the pulp and pulled sheets a couple of weeks later – added extra paper, which softened the effects very nicely!


Yellow Bells - Tecoma stans - flowers-
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Yellow Bells - Tecoma stans            - flowers-
Thursday 27 August 2009
Yesterday I shredded 100gms (20 foolscap sheets) and soaked it overnight in a Mordant bath – 10% Alum/5% Tartaric Acid of weight of materials
ie 10gm Alum/5gm Tartaric Acid/100gms paper.
Today, I discovered the yellow flowers from the Tecoma tree had fallen.  I picked them up, loosely filling a 1.5kg honey bucket.  Blended the flowers with approx. 1/3 of the soaked paper.
Made 5 sheets 
(it’s now 2 ½ years since I dried this flower in the microwave and stuck it into my paper journal – it STILL retains the colour!)
  Yellow Bells - Tecoma stans
Common ornamental. An increasing weed in north eastern NSW and south east Queensland. Tecoma stans is invasive in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.... more
Alternative Name(s): Tecoma, Yellow Tecoma
Family: Bignoniaceae.
Form: Shrub
Origin: Native of tropical America, possibly only southern USA and Mexico but now present through the Americas to south western Argentina.

Flowers/Seedhead: Joined sepals (calyx) at base of flower 0.5–0.7 cm long.
Flowers mainly spring and summer  
Description: Shrub or small tree to 5 m high. Cotyledons distinctly heart-shaped. Bark initially green and smooth but grooved and grey with age. Leaves hairless, 8–25 cm long (from base of first pair of leaflets to apex of terminal leaflet). Capsule linear, 10–30 cm long, about 0.9 cm wide. Seeds 6–9 mm long, 0.35–0.45 mm wide, with white papery wings, seed and wings about 22 mm long and about 7 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves with 3–13 leaflets, leaflets toothed, 2.5–10 cm long, 0.8–3 cm wide; joined petals (corolla) yellow with reddish lines in throat, tubular, 3.5–5 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed.
Notes: Common ornamental. An increasing weed in north eastern NSW and south east Queensland. Tecoma stans is invasive in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.

POISONOUS!!! DANGER!!!! DO NOT USE!!!! Duranta erecta
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Duranta erecta
Thursday 27 August 2009
I also collected a handful of the orange berries from the Durante Bush (Geisha Girl)  Blended them with another 1/3 of the mordant-soaked paper.  After only a few seconds blending, the mixture separated – clear coloured  water with a foaming paper/berry pulp floating on top!  I had to divide the mixture into halves to complete blending, as the pulp frothed up considerably.
Pulled 3 sheets of paper – a lovely buttery cream colour and I’m happy with that, though I didn’t expect to get cream from orange berries.
My concern with the berry mixture, I felt “whoozy” in the head for a couple of hours and my eyes felt as if they weren’t focusing properly.
I don’t know if I’ll repeat this or not.  If I do, it will have to be done outside with more ventilation...............****NEVER REPEAT AGAIN****
- thank goodness I was wearing gloves and I didn’t absorb any through my skin.
September 2009 – Today I’ve been sorting through the paper I’ve made, naturally handling it all with my bare hands.  I started having a few disturbing visual disturbances...fuzzy, to almost no peripheral vision on the right side.  Some SERIOUS ‘flashings’ around whatever I was trying to look at – except the fuzzy side of course.  Couldn’t even read my book, as I could only see half a word!!!
I have now burnt the ‘poisonous’ paper of the Durant erecta, wearing disposable gloves to touch it, and not getting in the smoke whilst it burnt.
I photocopied my notes with the paper sample – mainly so that I still have a copy of what I’ve done and why....thought it was important to rembember WHY I won’t use these berries again.  EVER.
Leaves, fruit and bark are poisonous.


     Duranta - Duranta erecta
Alternative Name(s): Geisha Girl, Sheena's Gold.
Family: Verbenaceae.
Form: Shrub
Origin: Native to the Americas from Florida and Texas to Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
Flowers/Seedhead: About 1.4 cm wide at the end of a tube 0.6–1 cm long. Inflorescence to 20 cm long. Flowers mostly late spring to autumn.

Description: Multistemmed shrub to 4 (rarely to 7) m high. Stems 4-angled when young. Leaves opposite or in whorls, 1–8 cm long, 0.5–3.5 cm wide, sparsely hairy to hairless, margins entire or coarsely toothed above the middle; leaf stalk 0.3–1 cm long. Fruit 5–10 mm wide, appears to be singleseeded but will break up into 4 (rarely 3) nutlets. Nutlets ellipsoid to ovoid, pale brown, 4–5 mm long.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by branches that often have scattered to common spines on opposite sides of the stem; flowers in terminal and axillary racemes; petals purple, blue or white, united in a tube, two-lipped, one lip with 2 lobes and the other with 3 lobes; fruit ripening orange-yellow, with thin fleshy layer over tightly packed nutlets.
Dispersal: Spread by bat-dispersed and water-dispersed seed.

Notes: Grown as an ornamental and often used for hedging. Naturalised in tropical and subtropical areas. Competes with other vegetation. Leaves, fruit and bark are poisonous. First recorded as naturalised in Queensland in 1931. This species is also a problem in South Africa and Hawaii.

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Tuesday 25 August 2009
I’ve decided I’d better find out what plants are poisonous before I do myself some serious harm, using them for my dyeing process!
Wednesday 26 August 2009
...there’s sooooo many!!!
HOW do we manage NOT to poison ourselves???
...most plants are only dangerous if we actually ingest them ie. eat them!
Though there are alarming amounts that MAY be worrisome when...
cut - poisonous sap
cooked - poisonous fumes that effect mucous membranes, ie. eyes/nose
dried - particles in paper would act as an irritant
     It’s slowly dawning on me that I’m going to have to be very careful!
Although there is information available, most of it is for American/European plants.  Australian natives add an entirely new field that, unfortunately, hasn’t really been listed comprehensively (where I can find it).  WA started to compile  a list several years ago, but the job was too big and so it was never completed –  even then that list isn’t particularly useful to me, WA is a completely different environment to the East Coast, where I live.

Rose of Sharon
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-dye- -fibre-
Rose of Sharon
Tuesday 11 August 2009 (I think it’s Tuesday!)
Some of my ‘experiments’ overlap one another, for example, I put paper in a bucket to soak for the last entry and left it to itself.  To fill in time I’ve been wandering around the gardens eyeing the plants with the view to using them for dyes or textures.  Anyway, this time around I’m using the old seed pods from the Rose of Sharon.  Hubby and Daughter helped me collect all that we could – they climbed ladders while I held the bucket!
I used a 2 litre bucket filled with seed pods and boiled it with 2 litres of water for an hour.  Left it in the pan for the next 4 days while I made the pink & blue & plain papers.  Yesterday I stirred the whole seed pod/seed/liquid mess and drained all the liquid out into two containers, split the remaining fibre in half adding each half to each container – effectively halving the original quantities.
Today I heated one half of the mix and added a Mordant of 1 tablespoon of Alum dissolved in 1 cup of hot water and then allowed the mix to cool a little.  I then added 2 x 1 litre buckets of shredded paper to EACH half mix.  I intend to make paper from each batch to see if the Alum makes a difference.  When I added the Alum it almost immediately caused all the fibres/organic matter to settle to the bottom of the pan.  (I guess that’s what Alum does when it’s added to swimming pools making it easier to clean the rubbish from the bottom of the pool.)
Personally, I really like the fibres in papers, but I can see there may be times when I may want coloured paper without the texture and this would be an alternative to straining.

                                                                                                                    Top – palest sheet – dye only.
  Middle – 50/50 paper & fibre.   
       Bottom – darkest – most textured, 1 part paper/3parts fibre.

28 August 2009
                            -continuing on....
I feel I left the fibres soaking far too long, right at the very beginning.  There was a rather unpleasant odour present throughout the entire process; even when the paper sheets were dry the odour still lingered.
Since then I have kept the sheets outside – laying them in the sun for the first week or so and since then, just in bundles in the open air.  Unfortunately, they still smell.  If it didn’t smell, I’d still use this paper, as the textures are magnificent.  As it is though, I’ll scrap this lot and retry at a later date, as I still have a bucket of seeds and pods.
* a MORDANT prepares material to be dyed by opening the fibres, allowing more colour to be absorbed and retained, which is why various mordants are used in the dyeing process.
  Rose of Sharon
Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus)
Species: syriacus (seer-ee-AK-us)
Synonym:Althaea syriacus
Generally speaking, rose of sharon bushes can get 8'-10' tall and have a spread of 4'-6'. Blooms on rose of sharon can be white, red, lavender or light blue; some have double blooms. Most rose of sharon bushes bear small, deeply-lobed, light-green leaves (may vary according to cultivar).
Rose of sharon blooms in the latter half of the summer.
                                                           dry seed pod


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