Delighted to introduce these dye plant cards, which come with gardening instructions and free seeds.
Now available here if you'd like one to send to a friend who'd enjoy natural dyeing.
A sharp East wind kept me out of the garden this week. Thanks to an equally sharp prod from my companion, Elinor Gotland, I have braced myself, got to grips with html coding and set up a Dye Plant Card Shop Page. As well as the gardeners' choices, there are three cards in a 'Live Fast, Dye Young' series; simple instructions are written on the back with a view to encouraging beginners to try natural dyeing.
Here's how the online card shop began ...
Rain poured off the greenhouse roof while inside I gently dripped water onto my dye plant seedlings. My companion,Elinor Gotland, sauntered along the workbench inspecting the trays.
"Looking good, Beaut. What are you going to do with all the extra seeds you saved last autumn? Seems a shame they'll never have their moment in the sun. Assuming we ever get any."
"I'm giving little seed packets away free with every dye plant greetings card I sell at Crafts by the Sea. Advice on sowing, growing and harvesting the plants is written on the back of the cards and people round here seem to be taking to the idea of dye plant gardening. Even so, I've got far more seeds than will ever get planted in local gardens."
"You should try selling those cards online. Send free seeds all over the country."
That idea pleased me very much. So I've set up the online card shop and will see what happens.
Meanwhile, back in Ogmore by Sea ...
A pan of onion skin dye has taken up residence in Crafts by the Sea's kitchen and so far, no eggs have been broken by the kids who come to try their hand at printing small leaves onto eggs. My companion was impressed with the instructions on the Egg Printing card.
"Fair play, you've cornered the market for Easter Cards with this one, Beaut."
"Actually, I think fluffy chicks are still the Craft Shop's best seller."
Elinor looked up from her reading.
"Do you think silver birch bark dye is really suitable for beginners?"
"Well, it does need a dedicated pot for dyeing, but no mordant is needed and I've found I can get away without any heavy duty scouring, just soaking my fibres before dyeing . Plus it makes a lovely looking card."
"True, but Cath's art looks even more gorgeous. Her Dye Garden painting has printed out like a jewel box."
"I went to the same printer as did the Dye Plant Calendar for me last year. FSC Accredited and Environmental Impact Certified and still achieving that lustrous, glowing, quality finish."
Elinor put down the card and moved on.
"What on earth persuaded you to make these two?"
"Oh. The poetry cards. Sentimental, I know. Those are the poems that come to mind whenever I walk in those woods by Merthyr Mawr or Dunraven Walled Garden."
Elinor looked at me askance.
"Surely I can't be the only one who likes a poetic kind of thing?"
"Mmm, well, you're going to find out the hard way."
My companion had reached the last card.
"Speckled Face Beulah sheep? When you could have had a glamorous Gotland in your photo?"
My blood ran cold, how to explain that away?
"Elinor, don't you see, you are of course the 'Missing Ewe'.