Simply Beautiful.

Every day we are faced with the choice- how can I make life better today? What can I say, do, make, give or be to make my life and the lives of others better. Here I want to focus on the positives of life in each day, in each moment. By choosing how we answer those questions in a positive way, we make the world a better place for every single one.

I am trying a new format starting today. I will be posting Studio project and shop updates on Mondays. Each Wednesday I will post a "World Wednesday" update with things found in nature, or other nature related topics. On Fridays I will post a tip or project I suggest. Hopefully it will be a fun and exciting change!

All images and texts are copyrighted, please contact me for permission to use anything you see here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To Dye For

I decided to try an experiment in dyeing today.  Not dying, before anyone gets concerned.  I have used many random things to dye or at least mark up fabric in the past.  Okay yes, some of them were accidents, but some were really cool accidents!!  Once, long ago, I dyed a pattern with mustard which I then heat set in the microwave.  last summer my daughter and I painted a yard sale shower curtain with baby blue food coloring.  It was a lovely Ralph Lauren fabric, floral splattered curtain.  On its own, it was just a little too shocking. Plus, I have always loved the combination of strawberry red and baby blue.  I wish I had taken more pictures of that project- it was lots of fun!  Back to the present- I bought a pair of Capri pant at Old Navy last year, when their branch in my town was closing.  I paid a quarter for these pants- yep- a quarter. Now if you don't know me very well the deal of these pants made them well worth buying in my eyes.  Never mind that they were a ridiculous color (if you can imagine Pepto Bismol pink after surviving a nuclear reaction you would come close to the glowing might of this pink), or that capri pants aren't usually my favorite cut, I bought them.  Everything can be fixed with a little putty and paint.  Or in this case a dye job and some sort of mega hem/ contrasting fabric legnthener thingy still to be determined.  So I decided to attempt the food color dye again.  I figured this would be the most kid-friendly dye I could use.  While we were at it we also tried a few other fabric swatched in the mix. My daughter invented her own round of experiments. 

What we learned follows:

Food coloring is unbelievably fun to mess with.  Watching it swirl in the bowl is Zen-like.  The first picture on this blog is a result of my daughter just swirling and "inventing" new colors in glasses.  Seriously- are there any other art/craft projects this cheap or easy to clean up after? 

Food color dye works better on some fabrics than others.  None of these fabrics took any color at all until we put them in the microwave and cooked them for a minute in the dye.  Even after that the heavier upholstery weight fabrics barely held the dye.  The jersey fabric held better.  I also threw the fabrics in the dryer to try to heat set them even more.

No matter how cheap something is, it may not always be worth your time.  In another bargain craze I bought yards of the striped fabric you can see in the upper right.  It was only 50 cents a yard!!!  Come on!!! While I still will use it for lining stuff, it does seem to have the power to induce seizures, severe vomiting and other strong reactions (please consult your doctor before viewing this fabric if you are pregnant or have a heart condition) if you dare to view it while it or you are moving.  I assumed dyeing it would lessen the contrast & help it.  It refused to dye!!  Ah well, on to plan B.  Permanent markers?  Tea?  Random food stains?

As for the pants who started this whole mess, that will remain for another post!