Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shibori DIY

Happy Sunday!  I can't believe it's already Sunday night...man the weekends are flying by!  I've been complaining a lot about working a lot of hours and being overwhelmed so I know that's a not a new topic here.  I'm really hoping I can figure out how to de-stress and get some balance back to my life.  

Starting with a little DIY project (and when I say little I mean a ridiculously messy labor-intensive project ;) ) 

Shibori...have you heard of it?  It's become reallllly popular in the design world and I decided I wanted to recreate my own pieces on my very own re-decorated deck...



There are lots of DIYs out there for this project - you can find a bunch on Pinterest -  you can follow the steps that come with the kits or I've listed a few below.  This is the one I used if you want to get the same kit:  Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit (Mini)

Warning:  Do this outside - 1) It's a hot mess and 2) It smells like the world is going to end


Dyes more than 15 shirts! Um...I think this stuff could dye a duvet cover if you had 5 months to rubber band the crap out of it...


Here are the tools I used and then I'll give a few tips from what I learned yesterday when I was elbow deep in this stuff:


Rubber bands come in the kit but you might want to have more on hand, you'll need a bunch.  I bought the binder clips so I could hang up the napkins to dry.  I ended up putting most of the stuff in the dryer to try to 'set the dye.'


Rubber gloves, you need these.  They give you wrist-length thin gloves in the kit, I used those for rinsing my stuff but for the actual dye I used these longer ones because they want you to actually get below the surface.  


These are expensive in my opinion but you want canvas versus a plastic drop cloth because the dye will just run off.  


A 5 gallon bucket...make sure the lid actually fits.  I bought the lid right above the bucket and put it on top to check that it was the same size and it still.did.not.fit.  

Here are some of the things I purchased and had on hand to dye:


Canvas tote bag (I found mine on Amazon)


12-pack of cotton napkins, also found on Amazon


Found these pillow shams on Target.com...wouldn't recommend unless you like a really really faint light blue look.  


Old yellowed Jcrew tshirts.  I also dyed an old Banana Republic white cardigan, and a white cotton apron (found on Amazon).


A helpful warning on the side of the bucket...what the?

Okay, so you can definitely follow the instructions included with the kit but here's my quick and easy method (along with my notes about what you can learn from my 'mistakes')

First, fill the 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm water. 


You'll see I used a long cardboard tube (from my outdoor rug) for stirring.  Don't do this. It's a bad idea...the cardboard starts falling apart.  They say to use a yard stick but you know I feel about my yard sticks...

They tell you can then bind your fabric while you wait for the 'vat' to be ready but I found it took me a really long time to rubber band everything and I felt like I was rushing.  So bind your stuff first then start mixing.  

Empty in the indigo dye...





Pause to take a bunch of photos of the dye coloring the water abstractly...




Then, the two packets of white powder 



Then, you're supposed to wait about 30 minutes or so while you bind your fabric, here's my pile of rubber banded cotton waiting to be dyed:



They give you two small wood squares and I also added some scrap wood I had along with the two popsicle sticks they give you as stir sticks.  Nothing against the people who developed this kit but who is going to stir a 5 gallon bucket with a popsicle stick??


I used the end of the cardboard tube to scrunch up some fabric and tie it to the tube.  It came out really pretty like waves.  


You'll want to wait until the 'bloom' occurs on the top of the dye, it looks frothy - they say you can remove it and put it back later but that sounded like a big mistake to me so I pushed it to the side.



Now the instructions say to submerge for a minute or two.  I did this for all of the pieces and then repeated and dipped them all again.  I now know that wasn't even close to enough time...I found another tutorial that said to soak the pieces for 10 minutes!  
Which is interesting because the instructions said not to let the pieces touch the bottom of the bucket...so if they think I'm going to hold my hands submerged in this smelly bucket for 10 minutes they're crazy...






Anyway, I digress...here are a few shots of the napkins I dyed.  I tried to do a different technique for each one so they'd all be unique.  They looked amazing when they were still wet but lightened up quite a bit once they were dry.  I'll try to snap a photo or two once it's daylight again of how they look now.  Still pretty just not what I was expecting when I untied them all. I wanted that deep brilliant indigo color...














I might try again, we'll see :)

Now for clean up...they say to dump the bucket's contents down the drain when you're done with the dye (you can actually cover it and use it again for about a week or so...I thought about this but didn't want it in the house...and didn't want to keep it on the deck in case some annoying squirrel decided to knock it over and then I have an indigo deck..which might not be half bad...but I love my Joss&Main rug just the way it is...)

Anyway, I dumped it down the drain and the 5 gallons started going too fast and ended up splashing blue dye...everrrrrywhere.  I'm talking my Vitamix blender...my cabinets...on the floor.  Good times...

I read a bunch of tutorials about washing in white vinegar, washing in salt, washing with mild detergent.  I tried them all and the color still faded.  So I think I might actually let the dye dry on the fabric for a few hours and then try rinsing it next time.  

Hope you have a great week!
-Alisa


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Operation Take Back My Yard, Volume 1

Well, if you're in the Northeast like I am you most likely had absolutely a-mazing weather this weekend. I think everyone was sighing in relief that Spring might actually be here.  

I worked extensively this weekend on my deck (and my front porch) and I have the sunburn to prove it.  Here's a tip - wear sunscreen...ugh I put it on wayyyy too late.  

Anyway, I literally spent hours outside this weekend enjoying my 'new' deck and felt so at peace.

Here's the brief story of the title of this blog post - my neighbors...are/were horrendous - just absolutely awful.  Well, they lost their house (I know I shouldn't celebrate that but you really don't know what these people were like).  Anyway, now that they're gone and I'm just dealing with the 'flippers' coming by I wanted to take back my deck.

Now...before you get all judgey and look at these photos and go "Holy green deck..."  yes I know the actual deck needs work.  The wood is pretty green at this point (it's going to get pressure washed, no worries) and the actual structure is a hot mess.  Trust me I didn't build it...not that I know how to build a deck but you know what I mean...

That was the longest intro ever but here's how the deck looks now.  I'm super proud of how it turned out.  I already had the deck furniture but paid a bajillion dollars (in my mind anyway) to replace the cushions with these special ones that have mesh/drains built in so rain water doesn't soak in and turn all moldy like my last ones.  I obsessed over which cushions to buy because my existing furniture didn't match any of the replacement cushion dimensions - I ended up going with ottoman cushions for the seats and 20" throw pillows for the backs.  





I plan to spray the frames with outdoor spray paint to cut down on rust etc. But I was impatient and wanted to sit on my pretty deck in the beautiful weather...







I know you probably recognize these planters from the ones I was obsessing over in a previous post:  Fresh Finds - Summer Edition  But they're actually smaller ones I found at Terrain






I also planted hydrangeas in my urns on my front porch (yes I need to work on the concrete because it's chipping again...there's always something on the to-do list :) )



Snapdragons that I bought at Lowes this morning.  I love their pink color. Sure hope I can keep all of these plants alive, especially while I'm gone in Hawaii for a week and and a half :/


These were an Easter present from my Mom along with the flowers on my deck coffee table.  Love their color <3





Resources:
Large gray planters:  Terrain
Azure blue replacement cushions (Fast Dry):  Ballard Designs
Black and white toss pillows:  Target from a few years ago (already had them)
Glazed blue planter on the table:  HomeGoods
Plants:  Lowes
Rug:  Joss&Main
Blue pillows on porch swing:  HomeGoods



Happy Spring!
-Alisa