9 August 2015 § Leave a comment
A couple years ago I clearance purchased a patterned silk tee from JCrew,
And even though I wore it quite a bit while it was new,
it would sit for months in my closet unworn
(pink is not a color I gravitate towards).
until I realized that overdyeing it black would up its chances of being worn.
Although I have dyed wool from a natural state,
overdyeing an already patterned item made me slightly more hesitant.
But since it wasn’t a favorite as it was,
the worst that would happen is a lesson learned,
and if it did work then all the better!
Before I began, I wanted to make sure that I did everything properly,
and looked up a few tutorials using RIT dyes.
However, very few talked about using actual silk, or it was for the shibori method
and I couldn’t find any about overdyeing a patterned item.
In the end, I threw caution to the wind (sort of),
bought a bottle of liquid RIT dye in True Black,
and did the following:
~ Mix a paste of baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide and pretreat any stains. This also removes underarm/deodorant residue.
~ After that has set for 30-60 minutes, handwash with regular laundry detergent. Rinse. Making sure the garment is nicely soaked. You want it to be wet when you set it in the dye.
~ Bring a LARGE pot of water in a stainless steel pan to a simmer over medium heat, add 2/3 or a whole bottle of liquid RIT dye to the pot, along with a cup of white vinegar.
~ Add your garment and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you stir frequently using stainless utensils or a wooden spoon that you don’t care about, and that the WHOLE piece of clothing gets exposed to the dye. I think a bit of my shirt was scrunched up part of the time and the upper back did not get saturated as well as I would have liked.
~ Rinse in warm water, gradually getting cooler, until the water runs clear.
~ Wash in a conditioning soap to restore the proteins back to the silk. Roll it up in an old towel pressing the water out as best as you can. Let air dry most of the way, and then iron on a silk setting.
Remember that if you don’t use stainless steel items, or if your sink isn’t stainless. The dye will stain Immediately. We don’t have any sinks or drains that are stainless, so I dumped my dye pot in the garden and used stainless mixing bowls for rinsing outdoors.
On very close examination, a faint bit of the pattern remains,
but all in all, it does not look like a diy,
which deems it a success.
19 April 2015 § Leave a comment
This weekend was the first in a long time that
we had no extra obligations.
The weather was beautiful,
and we spent the majority of it out walking.
Saturday’s walk in field and woods
quickly turned muddy,
the four of us squelched our way through a couple miles,
alternating between laughing about it and complaining.
We came home, rinsed off, grilled burgers
then had root beer floats and hot fudge** sundaes for dessert.
Sunday was relaxing with a quiet morning of
boys reading and building masterpieces with Lego bricks,
E and I slowly savoring our coffees.
The weather was still beautiful, so we walked again
refreshing our memories of all the birds we hadn’t seen for months.
After chatting about our town’s history,
we decided on an impromptu visit to the local museum where we
spent hours looking at the “our town” exhibits,
as well as the gallery of Dutch paintings from the
17th and 19th centuries.
A perfect weekend to remember.
*but have to remember my camera next time!
iphone photos just do not cut it.
**the hot fudge sauce was made using this recipe,
but swapped the corn syrup for honey (about 5T) and
half the chocolate for 6T cocoa powder + 1T extra butter.
Otherwise followed it as written.
8 April 2015 § Leave a comment
It has been a long while since anything handmade was added to my own wardrobe.
However, in the last week I finished three pieces,
and am feeling inspired to do more!
Made from Quince & Co’s wool/silk yarn Tern.
Knit on 3.25mm needles. Six skeins of yarn almost exactly.
The pattern lengths are a little bit different than what her photos show,
and although she states that the pattern isn’t what the sample is,
I wish she had given measurements for the length differences.
As a tallish person (5’7″/170cm) I always add a little bit of length to patterns.
This one had an extra inch and half knit in,
and then blocked a little more than that.
The raglan length is a little short, so if I were to knit it again,
I might add another half-inch in there as well.
Overall, I like it, and am hoping that with wear I will love it.
Also two tanks for layering, and staying cool –
if warm weather ever arrives!
I really debated which of the great tank patterns to use
Grainline’s or Wiksten’s.
Both have such great reviews, with minor alterations in silhouette.
I eventually decided on the Wiksten tank,
because of my shoulder shape and I liked the shirt-tail hem.
For the ‘wearable muslin’ I used some vintage poly/cotton fabric.
Usually in RTW I fit between a medium and a small,
so I took a leap and cut a straight medium,
after adding 1/4″ to the bottom of the pattern.
When I tried it on the shoulders and front/bust fit perfectly.
but the sides needed a little slimming.
For the Liberty tana lawn tank,
I cut a medium to the underarm, then a small for the sides, still adding the length to the bottom.
Using Grainline’s bias neckline tutorial is an absolute must.
Although the process is a bit fiddly,
doing the understitching gave every seam the best finish,
and actually made the topstitching go more smoothly.
I LOVE the end result for both tanks. No wonder it has become a hit pattern, such a great basic.
Although I am fairly certain I will make a couple more in solid colors,
I am tempted to also try the new Cali Faye Collection tank pattern,
because of the lovely scoop back,
but perhaps will try her dress pattern instead!
6 April 2015 § Leave a comment
One of the highlights of each spring is the trip to
our local botanical garden’s butterfly exhibit.
For eight weeks they release thousands of tropical butterflies
in the conservatory.
It is hot, humid, and busy,
but always astounding.
We only ever capture a few of the fifty species on camera,
but it is one of those outings where it is far better to live in the moment
than wait for the perfect photo opportunity.
27 February 2015 § Leave a comment
My birthday was yesterday,
and every year I kind of dread it;
thinking of growing older,
birthdays of years past overshadowed
by other things in life.
Yet, I am always pleasantly surprised
by all the love and care my family puts into
making it a special day.
I played with my favorite two year old,
enjoyed a long leisurely coffee date
with some favorite mamas of mine.
Meandered around the fabric store
for a long time,
looking over cottons, linens, and laces.
Despite the feet of snow and frigid temperatures,
I pretended it was spring.
Wearing a new bright blue Breton,
enjoying a dinner with my little family ~
chinook salmon with fresh dill, asparagus, new potatoes,
and a baby lettuces salad,
with (an old family recipe) sponge cake
little strawberries and whipped cream
All my favorite things wrapped up in a day.
23 February 2015 § 1 Comment
Not long after the new year,
Kyrie of The Little Snail and I were chatting
about how worn out our household essentials were
becoming after a decade or so of marriage.
And how, when you are young and setting up house
you don’t think of the longevity of the basics,
but after using the ugliest plastic things for a long time
you realize that William Morris was right,
that you should
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.”
We decided that a goal for 2015 would be to
replace our worn out items, or those we no longer use,
with things we find to be more beautiful.
As we bring lovelier goods into our home,
those old things had to be removed.
Not an exercise in mindless buying,
a mindful exercise to decide what we want in our homes long term.
This weekend I picked up an Italian wooden broom at TJMaxx,
to replace the old nasty plastic one that I never liked.
Also, thanks to the generosity of a perfect stranger,
I have two new canvas bags for groceries,
replacing those strange but ubiquitous polypropelene ones.
Won’t you join Kyrie and I in this little endeavor?
We’ll be using #beautymeetsutility to chronicle our journey.
1 January 2015 § Leave a comment
A post from this summer that was never published. Oddly enough, I have been thinking about house decorating again, so it seems appropriate to publish today.
I love to see the corners of other people’s homes,
the way the set up vignettes,
the furniture they choose,
the calm or busyness of their decorating habits.
Here are some of my favorite spots around our house.
All of our wall hangings are personal to us –
photos I’ve taken on our vacations,
paintings loved ones have done,
a Celtic knot from a long ago trip to Wales.
Recently I picked up a medium gold frame at the thrift store,
and am hunting for the perfect thing to put in it.
So many beautiful pieces of art out there,
I wish there was unlimited budget for it!
Right now some photos that were already on the wall are
centered inside it,
reminding me of Picture, Picture,
soon I hope to find something that speaks to me.
A recently rearranged living room,
and new drapes have breathed new life into our living space.
Everything feels more open and properly placed.
Favorite bits of our place. Share yours!
I love to see them.