Crafts and Mexico Visit and the Garden in December

Okay, where to start. Maybe  Thanksgiving makes sense.

We went out of town for Thanksgiving, which was fun- but a definite high point was getting to go to Mexico for an afternoon with my husband and his brother and my sister in law. (brother and sister in law? Husband’s brother and wife? How to freaking write that out correctly… feel like there is a more succinct way to write that but it escapes me.)

Continue reading “Crafts and Mexico Visit and the Garden in December”

Ice Dying… How did it go?

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HOW DID IT GO? It Went Like This: *singing* “Some people you know they say they can’t believe, Jamaica we got a bobsled team!”

Ahem. Okay- so THE ICE DYING… how’d it all shake out? Y’all will remember since the summer I’ve been doing batch after batch of ice dying to have ready to sell at our neighborhood craft fair. I talked about it here and here and here and here and (my god I wrote a lot about this) here .

The craft fair was last weekend and it was, on the scarves, a ROUSING success.

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The scarves… 4 to 6 in each color batch

 

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I love that painting… it looks like I have a creativity thought bubble every time I brush my teeth. Here is what the pashminas look like on- this is the one I kept.

I ended up making just under $200 on the scarves, and they went like hotcakes, I think, in part because I priced them to move: $12ea or 2 for $20. I also modeled one all night long, but I’m less sure that contributed to the sales… I was in the pashmina above and shorts, after all. A look right out of the Vogue lookbook it ain’t. I actually have 4 more scarves on order to do another batch for Christmas gifts… because the ones I made for this event are ALL gone!

The girls also did a rousing sale in ornaments, and cleared $65 and $66 ea.

And it being a sip and shop (wine and craft fair) there was lots of tipsy trading at the end of the show amongst the adult vendors so we now have other ornaments and purses and hats… as well as a deer skull adorned with rhinestone brooches which is INSANITY but a small part of me loves. My folks took the toddler home, who was driving me to distraction trying to manage a show and a candied up toddler… and my husband was there to hang out. The older girls were good about managing the table and hanging out.

(For all of yall who came for just the discussion on ice dying… you can stop here)

I mention all of this because… well lets put it this way. You know when you drink too much at a party, but there is someone who drank more so you don’t feel so bad about yourself? Yeah… I didn’t have that other person this time. I drank too much. I was, I think, the most tipsy drunk person there. I am, thoroughly, not proud of myself. Y’all who know my family history know drinking is a sensitive subject for me. And my biggest fear is falling into the trap that has caught and strangled so many of my family… ALCOHOLISM is always capitalized in my personal mind-speak, because of the weight and fear attached to it.

And I mean Jesus Christ, right? It’s not like I set out to drink too much, not like I like being drunk- I in fact HATE it! Can’t be an alcoholic if you hate being drunk, right? RIGHT? (I’m honestly asking here though…) But there I was, because I forgot to eat anything before the show and then didn’t drink mindfully and take that into consideration. Wee! This is fun, we’re all selling stuff and drinking wine! I like all these people! Sure I’ll have another glass!

The show was 5-8 (which means I was there at 4:15 to set up) and wine without dinner… crap. It’s a trap that has caught me before. I’m not proud of that time either, honestly. And while it feels excuse-y, I actually do think I’m starting to metabolize wine differently these past couple of years. (Didn’t stop me from having a very small regular sized bottle of red wine all by myself when we had friends over the weekend before though… haha! It’s funny until the exact moment it isn’t!)

You’re an adult. Adults are allowed to cut loose. You didn’t drive. Your children were in no danger. Everyone makes mistakes… these are all things I’ve told myself… like on Saturday at 3 am when I awoke in a sweaty and slightly nauseous panic over the whole thing. On Sunday when the same thing happened. During the day randomly when I am working. But… well. Ashamed is the word that resonates more truly. I am ASHAMED of myself for not controlling me better. Why put it here then? Because if democracy dies in darkness, then hopefully shame dies in sunlight. All I know is my family’s history with alcoholism/drinking was a SECRET and never to be told, always to be hidden. And maybe, just maybe- if I don’t handle it the same way I won’t turn out the same way. One can hope. I can hope.

And lest I be painting too harsh of a picture and because I am so uncomfortable in putting this out here at all please indulge me for adding this- I didn’t get in fights or arguments. I didn’t puke in anyone’s flowerbed. (or anywhere) I didn’t fall down or drop anything. But I was probably too loud and too much. My uncle ribbed me for slurring my words. I was TOO effuse. Some of it… is a little foggy now. And some of it I straight up don’t remember.

But I do know I don’t want to be a drunk Mom.

I don’t want the neighbors to be talking about me.

I don’t want to be an embarrassment to my husband.

I don’t want… any of that. They weigh on me like actual physical weights.

And… I wish it had all happened differently. And so… I kinda ruined my own time, you know? And that sucks. Because I don’t really get out much… and I’d really, really been looking forward to that event. And I ruined it for myself.

But. Being hard on myself, while like, my total default setting, isn’t helping, it never has. I’m working on personal forgiveness over here. Trying to be gentle with myself and through the process learning that I am not intrinsically gentle in much in my life. So I have done some meditating. And research. And thought a lot about it all this week.

So like, Ice Dying- I can HIGHLY recommend. But Vice Dying or even Vice Crying… I recommend them way, way less. Gonna like, try to steer clear of all that in the future. Understatement of the fucking year right there…

 

 

Mice Flying and the Pardon

Just kidding, it’s another post about ice dying and the garden.

So… after the debacle of the last 2 scarves… THIRTY pashminas and scarves and then 20 handkerchiefs showed up… creating a bit of uneasiness on the order of WELL WHAT THE HELL AM I GONNA DO NOW?!

So… first step. Test every scarf with both dye types to see what takes. I chose, since they were open, the black dye for natural fabrics and the turquoise for synthetics. We know the turquoise dye takes like a denim-y blue, so both of those could work with just about anything I subsequently dye with. You see how well reasoned that was? Let’s see how that turned out.

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So of course the black dye took as red… because why wouldn’t it really?

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But also black… in spots. But red, also red!

But can we all agree the dye took WAY better this time! Like… I can work with that color depth. So I did two things different this time, I used a ton more salt, and also sprinkled soda ash as well. Now, soda ash is SUPPOSED to be mixed in water and the fabric dipped in it before dying… but since it has a warning that it might be FATAL if F-ing swallowed I went ahead and just sprinkled it on the wet scarves (I prewetted them), sprinkled dye over the top, then salted the whole thing, and then added the ice. I will then throw the fatal powder away or give it to the crafty neighbor without kids because that bottle makes me nervous. Please let this shit work out, because I’m already annoyed with the unpredictability of the dyes. Also, I left this trial run sitting overnight instead of just 2 hours. Which… we all knew that needed to happen too.

So now I have 4 scarves out for a second treatment, with brilliant blue (looks purple) olive green (looks pucey) and yellow (looks like brown mustard) so God help me as to what this will look like… they’ll be out there for 24 hours if I can keep my twitchy hands off them.

The garden is burning up in the Texas July… and the woodpeckers have found the big tomatoes. So… it looks like this:

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Bobcat I think is done, HM 1823 is close, and Sungold and Sweet 100 are still going strong

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Seriously this thing. It’s the Leaning Tower of Pizza-Toppings these days, at least 10′ and growing

The Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes seems to be out producing the Sungold right now, or it may be that the Sungold is easier for the toddler and birds to pick off. While the woodpecker eats the large tomatoes, the mockingbirds keep a pretty steady stream in and out of the sun gold for cherry tomatoes. It’s okay… there are enough to share.

 

Ice Dyed Scarves… aka Arts & Crap

We live in a sweet, sweet neighborhood. Old homes, old trees, and mostly old(er) retired residents. We’re like the adopted pets on our street: young (ish) parents and three young kids. On top of the fact that we have plenty of watchful eyes overlooking the girls as they play outside (in a benevolent way of course) or ride to school, they’re also all quite cool. There is the potter down the street, the retired female electrical engineer who sews and reworks antiques, the retired airplane trainers (couple) who sew and paint and cook, there are authors and gardeners… you name it. They’re also all really indulgent with the 9 year old for her flower selling business- I’m SURE you can picture how well that goes down around here! She has to alternate where she starts because she sells out before she can get to even four houses EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

And a couple of times a year we have neighborhood parties. A year ago at a party we all realized there are a lot of artists and crafts folks around, so we decided to have a craft show before Christmas, with a pre-sale invite only wine party the night before. I didn’t have anything, but helped the older girls with their wildflower seeds and acorn crafts. (pom poms glued in acorn caps and made into Christmas ornaments and garlands) They, of course, cleaned up.

We all had so much fun, and honestly it was a really successful show. We’re going to do it again this year… and I’m INTENT on participating this time.

But what to make? I was going to paint… but the second I do it for profit my talent shrivels up into a wadded up ball in the corner… so that’s out. So this year I’m trying scarves. I have a complete and total scarf addiction, so I figured if I did what I loved I couldn’t really go wrong. Sell a craft you’re a total novice at? Why the hell not! Now, I really am not a fan of tie dye, but the process of dying stuff intrigued me, so i tried ice dying.

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Shot of the finished product!

Or… kinda. So the ACTUAL technique for ice dying is you completely cover the fabric with ice or snow, sprinkle dry dye powder on top, and as it melts it pulls the dye into the fabric. The way I did it is a hybrid of ice dying and speckle dying. (dusting dye powder straight onto fabric.)

First I washed the two polyester/cotton blend scarves I bought on Amazon with dishsoap and rinsed them out well. I wrung them out so they were wet but not sopping.

Second I put them in an old dish rack placed on top of a large piece of cardboard on the grass at the back of the yard. I then sprinkled the scarves with dry powder. A little goes a LONG way.

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These are the dyes I used- note only the blue was actually for poly fabrics… this was a test

Then I sprinkled some rock salt (supposed to help fix the dye) and some sodium alginate in spots. The sodium alginate is food grade (makes those gel like balls of liquid) and I’d read it can make more concentrated colors when dying)

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Appetite Suppressant? What the hell

On top of all of it all I then dotted around some ice because we didn’t have a ton and the dye onto the wet scarf was kinda making a cool pattern without it.

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Super high tech, as you can see

I then resolved to let it sit out there all day… which means of course that I rinsed it out after 2 hours of waiting that almost killed me.

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I am super thrilled with the results! There will be no soccer for a while, methinks

So… how’d it work out? So the ONLY places the tan and black dye took on the scarves is where there was a concentration of salt- so that’s good to know. I’m not sure what percentage cotton to polyester the scarves are, but the black and tan dyes are not supposed to work at all on poly fabrics, so good to know I can hedge my bets there. And weirdly they are a really denim-y blue… even though the poly dye was supposed to be turquoise.

The sodium alginate gelling agent didn’t work AT ALL, and took some light scrubbing to wash off… but when I did get it off it took all the dye with it. I’ll try it again on a cotton or silk scarf, but I’m not holding my breathe on that one.

So, after my initial success I bought 30 scarves for $0.99 each on Thredup clearance with an extra 4th of July coupon… so $0.80 each and $5.95 shipping. And bought another $25 worth of poly dye. Since I’m buying so many scarves second hand I won’t know fiber content, so I’ll do like I did this time and go heavy on the salt and use both kinds of dye every time. And then I bough like 20 cotton bandanas on Ebay… lord help me to sell more than 1 of these things at the show…

I’ll need some more dish racks as well. I COULD just do it on the grass, but I don’t want them sitting in a puddle of dye, I want that more marblesque effect so the dye needs to drain off freely. I’ll hit up some thrift stores for those.

And I should really break down the cost here:

$57 on 12 packs of dye (natural and poly, various colors)

$16 on 2 poly blend scarves from Amazon

$20 20 cotton bandanas from Ebay

$30 for 30 scarves (similar to ones from Amazon and pashminas, about half and half)

Salt, had on hand

Dish drainer- given to me free from the neighbor at her garage sale- I would have paid the marked price of a quarter for it though…

$8 for worthless Sodium Alginate. Nothing ventured, nothing…

So… that’s $131 when i’m supposed to be saving money. Takes money to make money though… right? That’s the ticket.