The Growing Within

I loved creating this piece. Its probably the most special and personal piece I have made so far. It has inspired me to make more meaningful art instead of just pushing paint around mindlessly, waiting for something to take shape.

I am also excited to finally be making and selling prints of my art! It is so fulfilling to make something beautiful that someone else also admires.

17- The Growth Within

Get a print of this art here


Black Bean Dye

What you’ll need:

Dry Black Beans ( about 3 cups)


Baking Soda

Cotton Cloth

Rubber bands

Rubber gloves

Dye pots (make sure this is a pot you use ONLY for dyes)

Begin by filling up the dye pot with black beans and water. Fill it up about two inches above the beans and add (i think) one tablespoon of baking soda as well. This is to help the beans soften. Let it sit for 24 hours.

During the 24 hours, also begin soaking the fabric in water and alum (around 1 tablespoon). The alum acts as a mordant so the dye form the black beans will stay on the fabric better. 

When the 24 hours are up, empty the liquid from the pot with the cloth. This is now when you should tie or bind your cloth. When you are done place the cloth back into the pot.

Now drain the bean water into the pot with the cloth, so now it is filled with a blackish looking liquid. If the cloth isn’t completely covered and a little water until it is. You are going to soak the cloth for 24 more hours!

As for the beans, cook them up and have them for dinner!  

After soaking for 48 hours, things may start to get a little stinky. With your gloves on, remove the cloth and unbind your cloth! This is the best part, seeing this creation that has been brewing, unfold before your eyes! Let the fabric dry and then rinse and wash.

The color from black beans will vary between blues and greens. Mine came out a greenish gray color.

This was my first time trying out a shibori method of folding fabric to dye. I folded it while it was still dry, so that is why mine came out with a lot more white then expected. Next time I will fold it after it has soaked. Art is always an experiment! 

Check out other dye inspiration here

Turmeric Dye

Being an artist is fun. There are so many ways to create and express yourself. I have recently decided to learn the art of plant based dyes. There are so many more plants you can dye with than I ever thought!  I want to try them all. 

My first experiment is with turmeric. A pretty common natural dye, so I thought it would be a great place to start. 

What you’ll need:




Large pot

Rubberbands or cotton string

Rubber gloves

100% cotton fabric or clothing of some sort

Begin by washing your fabric to ensure any startch is removed. Following that, fill the pot with vinegar and water (4 cups water to 1 cup vinegar). Fill enough to cover all your fabric, but don’t put the fabric in yet! Heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes and then insert the cloth and let it simmer for one more hour. 

After the hour has past, empty the pot into a sink or tub. Rinse the cloth until the scent of vinegar is gone. It shouldn’t take too much rinsing. Set the cloth aside, still damp.  

Now prepare your dye pot. Fill the pot again with water–I didn’t measure this, just filled enough to cover the cloth. Add about a half cup of turmeric. You can play around with how much you put in, depending on what shade you want. Let the dye simmer without the fabric for 10 minutes. While you wait you can use rubberbands or cotton string to tie off certain sections for that tie dye effect. 

Insert your fabric into the dye pot and summer for 15 more minutes, stiring frequently. After this time has past let it sit for as long as you want, dependong on what shade you want. I let it sit for a few hours. The fabric will appear a couple shades darker then you want when it comes out of the pot and will lighten up after rinsing and washing. 

When you pull your fabric out, rinse it REALLY well with cold water. And don’t forget to use your rubber gloves, unless you want yellow hands. Rinse it gently until the water is clear then place it in the dryer. The heat from the dryer helps set the color. After it is dry, you’ll want to wash it separately or with some towels. 

The turmeric filled my kitchen with a lovely spicy scent during this process. I dyed about a yard of cloth and and a thrifted shirt and the color came out beautifully with both. I enjoyed this dying process and can’t wait to try more! My next dye experiment willl be with black beans! 

I am planning to cover my hand bound books with the cloth that I dye. So keep an eye out for them in my shop

Follow my Pinterest board: natural dyes for more natural dye inspiration.  

The Story of Violet Ember

When I became pregnant, I felt excited to get to experience it all. I couldn’t wait to feel her move, and I quickly began reading about natural and un-medicated births, as well as hypno-birthing. Excitement ran through me as I thought of the labor that would bring me Violet. 

My excitement took a turn for the worst; at our 20 week visit with the midwife we discovered that I had complete placenta previa. This occurs when the placenta is covering the entire cervix. At the same time we discovered that I also had vasa previa. This is when the baby’s blood vessels run across the cervix. This meant that I would have to undergo a Cesarean Section, and I was heartbroken. It was hard for me to cope with the knowledge that I would undergo a Cesarean, and as I tried to grasp how her birth would unfold, I only became more worried. 

We spent our last night as a family of two eating out at my favorite Mexican restaurant, watching Supernatural, playing our favorite card games, and doing our best to remain calm. I was relaxed, which is unusual for me. I felt that everything was going to be okay, and I was able to accept the nature of my daughter’s journey here. We didn’t get much sleep the night before, as we shared a mix of excitement and nervousness that kept us restless. 

We arrived at the Hospital at 4:45 AM, where I was quickly hooked up to monitors and prepped for delivery. I understood that I was about to undergo major abdominal surgery, become a mother, and have to wait to see my Violet; yet, I had a strange sense of calmness where I would normally experience anxiety. I did get a bit excited as her arrival drew near. Jake, my husband, got dressed in scrubs while I was being wheeled to the delivery room. For some reason, Jake wasn’t allowed in the room while they gave me the epidural. I was worried that it may hurt, as everyone says it does, but I focused on my breath as my midwife held my hand and I felt no pain. I was laid down and the epidural began to take effect, which was a strange sensation. Numbness overtook my legs and back, and my anesthesiologist would poke me and ask if I could feel it. At this point Jake was allowed into the room; the doctor, midwife and other staff were ready.

My doctor was great. He told me what he was doing throughout the procedure, and he also made some fun remarks about the henna on my belly.  He told Jake he could peek over and take some film if he wanted. The anesthesiologist was also very good at letting me know what to expect. He warned me that I was about to feel some pressure and boy did I! Violet didn’t seem quite willing to come out. She must have been comfortable inside me, because they REALLY had to push on my stomach to nudge her out. 

She let out a subtle screech as she met the world. They gave me a super quick glance at her, and then she was taken away. I knew that there was a possibility that I couldn’t be with her immediately after birth, but Jake went to be with our new girl so that she would at least have her dad there. Shortly after Violet and Jake had left, they announced her weight and length, six pounds four ounces and 21 inches long! 

As I was being stitched up, my midwife came back in to let me know she was doing great and breathing on her own. She also explained that since my placenta was so low, they had to cut through it to get Violet out which caused her to lose some blood. Her heart rate was a bit high because of blood loss, so she was given an IV to increase her blood pressure. Other than that, nothing was wrong with my little girl. 

They brought me back to a room, and, thinking I was going to get to see my baby as soon as I was stitched back up, I asked when I would get to see Violet. They said, “as soon as you can move your legs and get into a wheel chair you can see her.” I immediately tried to wiggle my toes, but nothing moved. I sat alone in that room for a while until I asked a nurse to go find my mom and mother-in-law, who were waiting somewhere in the hospital.

It is at this point that my calmness began to crumble, and I’m still not sure what was going on inside my head during that time. The comfort I felt before the procedure vanished. On the outside I remained calm and put-together, but on the inside I was crumbling. I desperately wanted to hold my baby; I needed to hold my child, but I couldn’t. My heart crumbled, and I was filled with exquisite pain. My desire to have my baby had transformed itself into feelings of anxiety, and to this day I am haunted still.

For four hours I was kept away from her, and one by one I felt those precious bonding moments following her birth being robbed from me. Jake face timed me so I could at least see her, but that wasn’t near enough to fill the cavity within me. I had carried her all this time, and now, at the moment I could see her she was kept from me. The drugs from the surgery made me kind of sleepy, but I fought and stayed awake because I had to see my baby. A little later my mom and sisters took turns holding her before I could, and this only compounded my pain. Moment by moment the hours passed, and I became increasingly desirous to have that special moment with my daughter.

Excitement penetrated my core when the time finally came for me to hold her. Jake and a nurse helped me into a wheel chair and I was pushed to the NICU. I came inside to see that my mom was holding her. She was wrapped in a white blanket, still had wires connected to her, and was sound asleep. I didn’t feel that ‘connection’ that everyone talks about feeling when they first see their baby. I didn’t really feel anything, and I hated it. It seemed unreal and odd; I felt it backwards that this was how I was meeting my baby for the first time. Where I should have felt joy, where I should have felt love, and where I should have felt the thrill of holding my daughter for the first time, I felt desolate and empty. The mix of the separation and the Cesarean affected my feelings, and honestly, I think that if I had seen her sooner I would’ve better felt that connection. I think I could have seen her a lot earlier than they let me. She was doing great, I was doing great, and I wish I would have fought harder to see her.

Because she came early, Violet had to be in the NICU for 6 hours for observation. But once those 6 hours were up she was brought to our room with us. The next couple days were spent loving our little one and trying to figure out breastfeeding. It was a struggle. Since Violet was born early, my body just wasn’t ready to give her nourishment. I was producing nothing. Not to mention we couldn’t do skin to skin immediately, and it was frustrating because I was determined to breastfeed her exclusively for as long as I could. I was afraid that yet another experience with her would be taken away. But we worked hard. It wasn’t till about a week or so that I began to make something. And at about 6 weeks she was completely off formula!

I was recovering great–really great. I was moving well and all I took was ibuprofen, and even then it was just a couple of times. The nurses were all pretty surprised that I wasn’t asking for a stronger pain medication. I was definitely sore but I handled the pain well. 

The hospital wasn’t my favorite place to be. I was ready to leave. The doctor said we could leave by Saturday, but we made our way out on Friday. 

This special day may not have happened how I had hoped, and it still gives me anxiety today. But I am grateful the doctors were able to bring Violet to us safely, and that she was very healthy from the start. Though there were struggles, I am still filled with love and amazement for this little girl.