Sunday, September 30, 2012

all the way through The Things We Do

I've posted many a peep here and there of my parenting doodle book The Things We Do, but not yet in sequence or context. There is a semi-linear flow to it (particularly at the beginning and the end), so the task of photographing all 34 pages and putting them in order here has been nibbling at me for the past few months. Finally! My camera is fading away, so the pictures are not the best, but at least it tells my story from start to finish. For anyone who has the patience and energy to endure, grab a cup of coffee or something stronger and read on...

blog-ttwd-blue-cover

atwt-page-2

atwt-page-3

atwt-page-4

atwt-page-5

atwt-page-6

atwt-page-7

atwt-page-8

atwt-page-9

atwt-page-10

atwt-page-11

atwt-page-12

atwt-page-13

atwt-page-14

atwt-page-15

atwt-page-16

atwt-page-17

atwt-page-18

atwt-page-19

atwt-page-20

atwt-page-21

atwt-page-22

atwt-page-23

atwt-page-24

atwt-page-25b

atwt-page-26

atwt-page-27

atwt-page-28

atwt-page-29

atwt-page-30

atwt-page-31

atwt-page-32

atwt-page-33

atwt-page-34

If you made it through, congrats :) And thanks to all who picked up copies in print when I first 'published' it -- much appreciated!

See you all for List it Tuesday!

Friday, September 28, 2012

just bleachy

When I was in Minnesota last weekend, I went bonkers over Rachel's pants. She had drawn the prettiest pictures and poetry all over them -- with a bleach pen! She in turn had been inspired by Jen, who once fiddled around with them on dishtowels, and I thought it a marvelous idea. I came home and became a bleaching fool.

bleachy-final-fold

These cloth napkins are from Tuesday Morning -- they came in sets of 12 for $19.99 each. I'm sure there are more inexpensive options available, but I loved the jewel colors and thought they were worth the splurge. Plus the tag said DO NOT BLEACH so I was certain these were winners.

bleachy-supplies

Outside I went with my Do Not Bleach cloths and a protective placemat (to spare the bricks from what I don't know). I started out with the dual-tip bleach pen, which is $3 for 2 ounces, and it worked beautifully. The narrow tip and thick gel gave me plenty of control over how and where I placed my lines. However, I blew through 2 of them almost immediately -- it was only enough to cover 5 cloth napkins. Since I had bought the last two at our grocery store, I ran over to CVS to get a few more, but ours doesn't carry it -- so I picked up a 24 oz bottle of bleach gel for laundry for the same price and gave it a try instead.

bleach-in-progress

The bottle of bleach gel is runnier -- and messier -- than the pen, so I had to work quickly. But in the end, I preferred the effects of the bottle. The lines are wider, covers more territory, and stuff just drips where it will. I think the results are much more natural looking -- not to mention that it is much more cost effective than the pen. You can see it working almost immediately here. Do not bleach, indeed.

bleachy-vines

After bleaching, I let each one sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinsed very very very very very completely and extremely well with cold water. As the gel rinsed off, it created a really nifty batik/marble type of effect across the cloth, while still retaining the pattern that I so randomly bestowed upon it.

bleachy-in-the-wind

After that, I let them flap in the wind. As Amy remarked when she saw these pictures on Instagram, "there goes the neighborhood."

bleachy-outdoor-drying-rack

When all 24 were dry, I tossed them into the washer with a smidge of detergent, put them through the hand wash cycle, dried them on low, and then ironed them. It is not in my DNA to do any of those things but sometimes we must suffer for crafting.

bleachy-folded-2

It was worth the effort, especially the final push with the iron (that I hadn't picked up for five years).

bleachy-hearts

bleach-bird-sun

bleachy-pink-periwinkle

bleachy-detail

bleachy-layers-2

bleachy-layers-3

bleachy-layers

bleachy-cloth-napkins

Now I have two dozen smooth, crispy-edged, totally fake-batiked napkins -- and now my family knows what they're getting for the holidays! If you've made these before and have any tips you'd like to leave in the comments, I'd love to hear and/or see what you've made!

{Update: my favorite fiber mavens Candy and Traci recommend one final step in the process -- neutralizing the bleach in the cloth during the rinse cycle with hydrogen peroxide or anti-chlor, since it's hard to get out completely and can wear down the fibers over time. Check out Candy's links in the comment section for more info. Thanks Candy and Traci!}

{linking to Paint Party Friday.}

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

soul stew part two

minnesota-cabin-with-a-view

aebleskivers-pan

minnesota-tattoos-and-bracelets

minnesota-view-outside

minnesota-sunset

minnesota-cabin-2

minnesota-sunrise

minnesota-sit-look-talk

minnesota-apples

minnesota-bangle-painting

minnesota-scandinavian-shop

minnesota-pick-a-color

minnesota-painting-stones

minnesota-painted-rock

minnesota-on-the-rocks

minnesota-moon

minnesota-mail

minnesota-lori-bracelets

minnesota-leaf-path

minnesota-cabin

minnesota-liv-drawing

minnesota-lake-superior

minnesota-delivery

minnesota-deep-down-mess

minnesota-colorful-words

minnesota-carissa-rock

minnesota-carissa-draws

minnesota-adios

Oh, what can I say that these pictures can't? After what seemed like an untoppable art retreat two autumns ago, Rachel graciously invited us all back last weekend to her cabin in northern Minnesota. We were a cozy group of six -- a bit quieter this time, but still quite enough to cause a substantial creative ruckus.

We woke each morning to a stunning sunrise over Lake Superior; collected stones from the beach and adorned them; devoured the prototype of Rachel's book (coming out in November!); painted wooden bangles and spoons; made aebleskivers (puffy Danish doughnuts); walked, talked, ate, used colorful words, doodled tattoos, begged Lori to sell the bracelets she painted...

I also bought my very own aebleskiver pan and was rather impressed with myself for getting that cast iron sucker through security. I might even use it once! Also scored a parenting fail with the Ole and Lena fortune cookies I took back for my kids, which we found had horribly inappropriate jokes on the inside ;)

Eventually there will be a stew book for this retreat just like I did for the last one -- I just hope it doesn't take me ten months to cook it this time!

Don't mind saying that I'm a little bit yearny looking over all of these pictures. Thank you Rachel and the rest of the stew girls Lori, Jen, Carissa and Liv for a wonderful, unforgettable weekend!