Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tie-Dye Extravaganza!

Oh hey.... look! I did something crafty! I was thrilled to get my hands on this Tie-Dye Kit from Tulip, as part of their Tie-Dye e-Book promotion with FaveCrafts (I received the kit for free in exchange for my review; my opinions are my own).

I flipped through the e-book before getting started, to help me figure out just what I wanted to do.

Here's what's in the kit: 5 bottles with powdered dye already in them (just add water!), a whole stack of gloves, some rubber bands, refill packs of dye, and an instruction sheet.

 I've had 3 yards of white quilting cotton (pre-washed) just hanging out in my stash for um, awhile. So, I ripped it in half, and got busy with the tying portion of the program.  Thing one that I love about the Tulip kit: there is no pre-soak step like in a lot of tie-dye kits. I just had to get the fabric wet and then wring it out. You could actually use it straight from your washing machine if you wanted to.


Action shot!


not brains.

Now on to the good stuff. I filled up the bottles with water and shook them well:

This may or may not be on the back of my toilet. I'll never tell.

and then things got a little messy. In the best possible way...

Rorschach says, "go back to bed"

I wrangled the finished bundles into a couple of gallon-sized zip bags, and let them sit for about 9 hours. The instructions say 6-8 hours, but I was headed into work, and you know how *that* goes! Following the rest of the directions, I rinsed the bundles, and then undid all the rubber bands, unfurled them, and threw them in the washer.

Here's how they looked after drying! So great! My daughter practically squealed! The swirly fabric is destined to be a dance bag for her ballet & tap shoes.

I cut the crumpled one into strips and started on a baby blanket:

I'll be sure to post the finished photos soon!

Things I loved about the Tulip Tie-Dye kit:
  • Everything I needed came in the package (except the fabric, obviously)

  • No pre-soak in sodium bicarbonate needed. Time & effort saver! 

  • There was LOTS of dye. This project took less than half of each bottle, and I still have the refill packs.

  • Clean-up was a snap. Even the dye that seeped under my ill-fated plastic wrap job came right off of my melamine craft table with paper towels and a couple of baby wipes. 

  • The colors stayed vibrant. I was really pleased with how true they remained after washing.

Things I didn't like:
  • Well, honestly, not much to say here. I was very pleased with the kit, and will not only use the rest of my refill packs on something fun, but would happily buy another kit for more craftiness!
Head on over to FaveCrafts and check out the free e-book! And ilovetocreate (parent company of Tulip) has tons of great ideas and instructions on their site.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yes, I know.

I haven't been stamping. I've been too busy sciencing at work, and training for a triathlon. Here's a narrative about the triathlon, that I'm putting here because I already put it on my facebook page, but my darling husband won't join facebook and wants to read it:

So everyone wants a full report of my triathlon. Here's what I haven't blocked-out:

On Saturday there was a first-timers meeting... as I was without question a rookie, I went. Unfortunately, I had to take my kids because my husband has poor time management skills. Whatever. I have no idea what was discussed because my kids acted like I never take them anywhere (this is true) and behaved like monkeys. But I did meet a really nice volunteer; she answered my newbie questions and gave me my race packet. I also took the time to drive the bike course, just to be familiar with it. The route went past a cemetery. I hoped that wouldn't prove to be prophetic.

The triathlon was held on Sunday at Lums Pond; the transition area opened at 6 AM, race started @ 7:45. I thought by showing up at 6:30 I wouldn't appear too eager, but would still have plenty of time to get my crap together. By 6:30, they were already parking people on the grass, and just after I parked, they started turning people away, making them park in another area. It was a mad house.

I got my bike out of The Volvo, put the front wheel on, and headed to the transition area. I had to go back and get my all-access red wrist band, because the red wrist band is almighty, and the most important piece of equipment to have. I carefully studied what everyone else was doing with their bike, racked it up appropriately, and went back for my milk crate full of gear. I read online that I should use a milk crate so that I could use it later to sit on when I needed to put my bike shoes on. I was already tired from all this walking.

I got all set up, then got my timing chip and put it on my ankle, hoping that the neoprene wouldn't cause a problem (I'm allergic to neoprene). Lest you think this is foreshadowing, it's not. The neoprene was fine. Then I went to body marking and let the nice people write all my stats on my person with a Sharpie. They had kinda crappy Sharpies. I should have brought some from my collection.

Okay, things started moving faster after that... pre-race meeting, National Anthem, last-minute shuffling of my stuff. The line for the bathroom was ridiculous, and trust that I needed to go. Luckily, Curt & the kids showed up just then to distract me.

The duathlon (run, bike, run) started, and about 1/3 of the people headed out for their first run. I wondered why I hadn't just done the duathlon. Bygones. I finally got to the bathroom, took care of business, and headed out to the beach. By that time, the first wave had taken off already. I was in the third wave [Clydesdales & Athenas (aka "People who are not afraid to eat")], so I still had ten minutes to freak out. I chatted with some of the other people in my wave, and before I knew it, I was in the water, counting down. I had read on the internet that I should put my goggles on before my swimcap, so they wouldn't get knocked off in the melee. People who put their goggles on top of their swim cap were obvious newbies. Goggles stayed on just fine. Thanks, internet!

Lums Pond was 80 degrees, so that was a relief. I was worried that it was going to be cold, and it wasn't (for those in the know, it was not wetsuit legal, which was fine with me, since I don't have a wet suit (see above re:neoprene allergy)). It was, however, green. Very green. No time to worry about that. 10 seconds, 5 seconds, GO!

And so I did. I went. After about 25 yards of the very practiced freestyle I'd spent months learning, I decided that breast stroke was the way to go. I had read on the internet that triathletes hate the a-holes in the water doing the breast stroke. I didn't care. I was under the assumption that there would be buoys lining the course, so if I got into trouble I could hang on and rest. This was not the case. So, I swam. I was slow, and people in the next two waves caught up and passed me. I stayed out of their way. I passed a guy that had been in the wave ahead of me and felt a little better about life. He might have been walking. I kept going. I never took a break, never called for one of the surfboard-riding life guards, just kept swimming. I learned later that it took me 41 minutes to swim half a mile (although there was some argument later about how it was actually longer than 1/2 a mile). I had never swum for 41 minutes in my life.

I was almost to the shore when I heard a crazy amount of splashing next to me... there was a lady running past me. The water was only knee deep, but was still so green that I couldn't see how deep it wasn't. So, I lumbered onto my feet and almost quit right there. Jelly legs. But then I saw my kids cheering, so I ran. Ish. Some kid handed me a cup of water, and I remember thinking, "what the hell am I supposed to do with this? I just swallowed half the pond."  I poured it into the little container I had in my transition area to wash my feet off.

I grabbed my bike shoes and socks, but forgot about the milk crate, and sat on the ground. As I stretched toward my feet I got a huge cramp in my diaphragm,and realized that THAT was why you sit on the milk crate... too late. I struggled to get my shoes on, helmet, gloves, and sunglasses on. I grabbed my bike and headed out. There were already people coming back in from the bike portion of the race. I did not let this bother me. Much.

I locked my first shoe in, swung my leg over, and locked my other shoe in, and started pedaling like I knew what I was doing. I wondered how far I had to go to make it look like I had made a valiant effort. I looked for places to hide out. Just then I heard my sister yell, "You got this!" and I nearly wrecked my bike turning around to see what fool was yelling at me. As I now had a witness, I decided to keep going. And eventually, it was pretty good. 19.5 miles went reasonably quickly... I passed some people, some people passed me, I saw a few with blown tires, and only almost fell off once, when I was trying to put my water bottle back in its holder. I never even needed to unlock my shoes from the pedals, which was a relief, because I know I would have effed that up. Turns out that the hardest part of the bike is not where the rubber meets the road, but where the bike seat meets my girl parts. Those seats are not designed for comfort, even with $90 padded bike shorts.

I got back to the transition area, and very nearly fell over as I swung my leg over to get off. I was rescued by a nice passerby, who I'm pretty sure was already done with the race. As I put my running shoes on, I heard the announcement that they were going to start the award ceremony. Clearly, I was not going to be getting an award, major or otherwise.

I started running. Well, that's a lie. I started walking and eating some candy. I half-walked, half-jogged for about two miles. I ran the last mile. Ran it. And when I saw the finish line, and heard people I didn't know cheering for me and tell me I was almost there, I kicked it up a notch, and just for a second, I was the blue-chip runner on my track team again, just like I was when I was 12.

And just like that, I was done. My daughter gave me a jelly bean. My son gave me a tackle hug, and then promptly knocked over a (nearly empty) watercooler. My sister gave me a necklace that she made for me. It has five stones, three for the tri part, two because she liked them. Or five for the 5 Ks I ran. Whatever. It's lovely. My husband held my hand and told me he was proud of me.

I was woefully undertrained. I literally did not train, at all, for the biking portion. I learned how to snap my shoes in and out of the pedals in my living room the night before the race. I had only run about a mile without stopping before the race, and only a few times. I focused on the swimming because I didn't want to drown.

When I was a kid I was allergic to chlorine, so I couldn't really learn to swim. If I put my head in the water, my face would swell up, and my eyes would swell shut. I was reasonably comfortable in a pool, and a pro at treading water. At some point in high school I determined that I was no longer allergic/sensitive to chlorine, but I still never bothered to learn how to swim. That's right... I committed to doing this triathlon before I knew how to swim, and for that, I should probably be committed.

I didn't finish last, but even if I had I would have considered this exercise a success. I'm not a triathlete yet, but I think I will be. Swimming may be my new hobby. Don't worry, bacon is still a close second, then all the other stuff I like to do, then biking, and then running, somewhere after Phil Collins, whom I hate.

And so, my "Go big or go home" motto was proven out once again. Do I recommend doing a triathlon without enough training? Absolutely not. But if I can do it, anyone can. Really. And I'll be better trained for the next one, for sure!

Monday, January 4, 2010


You didn't think I'd be back two days in a row, but here I am! Here's my list of resolutions for 2010:

  • Craft more. My work-life balance has been totally out of whack since starting my new job, but things are starting to settle down a little.
  • Write more.
  • Exercise even a little bit.
  • Eat better.
  • Lose 50 pounds. 10 at a time.
  • Spend more time being WITH my kids, not hiding from them or being annoyed by them. They're awesome, and sometimes I miss out on that.
  • Reconnect with my siblings. We used to do a family dinner once a week... I'd be happy with twice a month at this point. Even once a month would be better than what we're doing now, which is Christmas and Easter.
  • All of that stuff that I didn't do last year.
There... what's on YOUR list?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010... ready, set, GO!

so, yeah. how are ya? long time, no write. I know.

Welcome to 2010, where it's really, really cold on the east coast, and this blog's writer (uh, me) gets a free pass for not writing hardly at all last year. With a promise to do better...

Hey, here's a fun idea... last year I posted a list of resolutions... wanna see how I did? Here goes:

Resolutions made in 2009 (comments in italics below)
  • Spend my money locally, in independent shops, whenever possible.
I tried to do this, I really did. Unfortunately, my local stamping shop's owner and her husband moved to Idaho (White Swan Rubber Stamps). And the big box stores have been running great sales on yarn. Clearance yarn is a Siren's song that I can't resist. But I'm going to try again this year, and encourage you to do the same. All 3 of you who still read this.
  • When it is not possible, support independent web merchants and Etsy shops.
Aha! This I DID do... shops like Ellen Hutson, eclectic Paperie, and All That Scraps got my business this year, as did You Can Make This, a place to buy and download all sorts of patterns from independent pattern designers.

This year I'm looking forward to Lauren Meader's new endeavor: My Time Made Easy and here's a little shout out to my friend Jen's little internet scrapbooking shop: Celestial Creations & Scrapbooking Supplies. Jen is awesome, an old friend from high school, and a fellow geologist. And, she's local to me, so that's like two birds, one stone. Or something less violent. Whatever.
  • Farmer's Market, Farmer's Market, Farmer's Market.
I determined that the local "Farmer's Market" is less farmers and more crap for sale. BUT, I did find a one that I like: Newark Natural Foods Cooperative and will frequent them again this year.
  • Play outside with the kids & dog more often. Even when it's cold. Even when I don't feel like it.
I got a new job in August, and while it's awesome, it's also in Philadelphia, requiring a long commute on a slow train. So I'm not home during daylight hours in the winter except on weekends. And even then, I've been lackluster at best. I'll add this to the top of this year's list.
  • Wii Fit. Everyday. Even just a few minutes is better than nothing.
HA! HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, not so much. But, I did BUY the Wii Fit Active game at Costco. Not that I opened it. But I might. Soon.
  • Read more books. And not just popular chick-lit either. I have a house full of classics that need some attention.
I did this... mostly because of the long commute. I can highly recommend anything written by Malcolm Gladwell.
  • Spend less time on the computer. My laptop with wireless internet connection has become WAY too familiar with my lap. I don't need to be constantly connected.
Uh, didn't do so well with this one. I spent a lot of time editing over at Craft Critique, and oy, Facebook... what an enjoyable time sink THAT is.
  • Write more. I'm working on a book. There. I said it out loud.
Yeah. Right. I'll get right on that.
  • Cull the clothes and other usable stuff that we don't use, and give it to those who WILL use it. Really. The house is pushing maximum density, and it makes everyone miserable.
This sort of happened... I got rid of a bunch of baby stuff, but there's A LOT more stuff that needs to go. Goodwill is not going to know what hit them.
  • Keep the house company-ready to the point where I wouldn't be embarrassed if a friend stopped by and asked to use my bathroom.
Um. Ish? Maybe call ahead by 15 minutes or so if you really need to pee.

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me... check back tomorrow for my list for 2010... probably.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Copic markers are that damn good... good that they can get me to come back from a blogging hiatus the likes the blogosphere has heretofore never seen. Or something. Anyway, Copic graciously provided me with some of their Ciao markers, and I had a fist-full already, and then I bought some more, and then I wrote this article for Craft Critique.

And in that article, (which you would know if you went there and read it) I said I would post the individual photos I took while doing the coloring for the card I made for my kid, Max.

Here's where I started. Well, not really. But the first couple of photos turned out like crap. Bear with me.

The pictures speak a thousand words, which is good, because I'm tired from all this blogging already ;-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Stamping Scientist requires an intervention...

The sewing bug bit me hard. Worse (better?) it's a clothing altering bug, so I'm a frequent flyer at Goodwill, looking for stuff to turn into other stuff. Seriously. I'm a VIP member at Goodwill. They send me coupons and everything. Coupons at Goodwill. Bygones... I'm not too proud for 20% off!

Here's a shirt I got at Goodwill for $3.50 (minus 20%, so $2.80, no sales tax in Delaware):

Here's what I turned it into:

and the back:

also, how cute is my kid? I know... I'm stunned on a daily basis.

In other sewing news, I found an awesome pattern at that FINALLY allows me to use the trash bags full of decorator samples I got ($5 per BAG) when my local Interior Alternative moved to a new location. I actually bought three of her patterns, and love them all. I also love supporting independent pattern designers like Mary of Sweet Pea Totes.

Anyway, here's the front:

the back:

interior zip pocket:

(by the way, the pattern doesn't include the interior zip pocket, but I added one because I like practicing my zippers)

interior patch divided pocket

interior with Martha Stewart Living mag for scale. It's a roomy tote:

I haven't decided on the handles yet. Well, that's not entirely true. I did one set of handles and then LOST one of them SOMEWHERE in my craft room (actually, I think one of my gremlins snuck over from the playroom and made off with it), which was fine, because I didn't like them all that much anyway. But I'll figure it out.

This one is mine, but I'm planning on making more for my etsy shop. Every time I look at it I get happier!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oh hey...

I won a yard of free fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew, the awesomest little fabric shop and blog in the whole wide internet. They have fabulous tutorials and a little forum for chatting and fab info too. And every week they give away fabric and other goodies.

Anyway, I won last week, and decided to place an order (I barely need an excuse at all anymore). It arrived today (totally fast!), and I'm just thrilled with it! Much love to Sew, Mama, Sew!