Radiant Orchid Dress? No problem…

This weekend, I am attending a crafting event hosted by Kim Wardell, a fellow blogger who runs Design + Life + Kids. This event is called “A Radiant Orchid Summer” and is celebrating summer and the Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid. The weather is going to be beautiful, she’s gathered some fabulous sponsors, including one of my favorites – Whipped Bakeshop in Philadelphia!

Kim has asked guests to wear “your favorite Radiant Orchid inspired outfit.” When I tell you I’ve been scouring for over a month and a half trying to find the right outfit, I am not exaggerating. I think I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted and nothing really fit the bill. Not wanting to disappoint, and running out of time, I had a revelation. Why not just find a white dress I like and dye it?! Did you know that Rit Dye gives formulas for different colors on their website – included formulas for Pantone colors? So, off to Old Navy I went and found a cute, cotton white dress. Then I went to Michaels and purchased the dye.


Truth be told, I’ve never really dyed anything before. So, I was a little nervous and of course googled it. Here’s what I learned –

1. Think through your process before getting started.

2. Get all your supplies out and ready before you do anything.

3. Wash your garment to remove any sizing.

4. Expect the unexpected. It may not turn out exactly as you envisioned. You need to be ok with this.

Since I was using the powdered dye, I had to follow a conversion guide from liquid to powder. I found this a little confusing and am pretty sure I didn’t do it right. The formula for Radiant Orchid is 4 tsp Petal Pink and 1/2 tsp Purple liquid dye. I reversed the measurements. I know, I’m a genius. Anyway, you’ll need the following supplies:

1. Rubber gloves

2. Large bucket with room for garment and dye (I used a Home Depot bucket)

3. Something to stir with. (I used long stainless steel tongs)

4. Lots of paper towels to clean up messes.

5. Old towels to put under bucket and mixing utensils.

6. Apron or old clothes

7. Somewhere to dump dye and rinse garment. A stainless steel sink is optimum. (I have a porcelain sink in my kitchen, so I ended up draining in the washing machine, not optimum)

I was lucky to have my handy helper, Izzie on hand. Together, we diluted each dye packet, then mixed the ratios in a third large measuring cup, (because I reversed the ratios, it looked too purple, so we added a lot more pink.) and added it to 3 gallons of hot water in the bucket. Pre-wet your garment in hot water, and lower it into the water, as evenly as possible (not bunched up).


Using your stirring implement, keep the garment moving until it has reached a little darker than your desired color.


This is what it looked like after 10 minutes:


(please ignore the dirty dishes in the background – dyeing was my priority… :-))

Next, I rinsed it out really well, wringing it out under the water as it filled the washer. Then I drained the washer and washed the dress, by itself, in cold water once. Then I washed it again, with a load of dark clothes (I would not recommend this, dye was still leaching out). It took a good three rounds of washing to get all the dye out of the washer… Once it was thoroughly washed and dried, I was really happy with the result (even though it was nothing like I expected…)


You can see that the stitching and tassels didn’t absorb the dye – my thought is because they are synthetic. I kinda like it. I’m also pretty sure this is nowhere near the color of ‘Radiant Orchid’. I will place it in the Radiant Orchid ‘inspired’ category…

Now I’m really looking forward to this event!! I’ll be sure to share the projects, goodies and fun soon! Have a great weekend, everyone. 


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Cocktails and Crafting with Sweet Paul

On a lovely spring Sunday afternoon, my friend and I joined Sweet Paul for an event called “Cocktails and Crafting with Sweet Paul.” The event was held at one of the most beautiful and inspiring spaces in our area, Terrain. If I ever have unlimited funds, I may just move in. 


Sweet Paul, also known as Paul Lowe, is a lovely, kind, incredibly talented man who started a blog not long ago which quickly turned into an online magazine, then into a printed magazine and now he has his first cookbook out – called “Eat & Make.”  This book is beautifully crafted. It features recipes, crafts, along with a number of stories and quotes from Paul making it a truly personal piece of work. 


So, when I saw on his Facebook page that he would be coming to Terrain, I jumped right on board. (BTW, you should totally be following him on Facebook! – go ahead, click on the link. Just come back when you’re done!!) He chose a craft and a variation of a cocktail from his new book – Felted Vases (p. 99) and Roasted Apricot Bellinis (p. 160, Roasted Plum Bellinis).


Before we got down to crafting, Paul made us our cocktails…


I am in love with his shorts. Now for crafting… After a demonstration, we picked our vases and some wool and got to it.


Here’s what mine looked like, after I finished layering on the wool, in differing directions (and a little color):


For the next few steps of this project, we went outside – things were about to get a little messy… Unfortunately, I couldn’t get many pictures of that process, because I was covered in dish soap and water. For the sake of my fancy camera and book sales, I chose to stay on task. Basically, we sprinkled some dish soap all around the wool, and doused it with hot water and patted the wool until the wool was saturated and starting to take shape. Then we doused it in cold water and repeated the patting. The idea was to shock the wool into shrinking around the bottle. We alternated hot and cold water for a few rounds, then switched to rubbing the wool. This further fixed the wool in place. Once the fibers found their way tightly around the bottle, we gave them a good rinse and set them out to dry. With peonies and lilacs, of course.


Mine’s the one all the way to the right, with the blue stripes. I was pretty pleased with how it came out!! If you want to try this project out yourself, please turn to his book – there are much better instructions there. Plus, it’s just lovely. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon. If you ever have the chance to meet Sweet Paul in person, definitely do. Tell him I said ‘hi!’ In the meantime, go get his book, Eat & Make you will just love getting lost and inspired. Enjoy!

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A fun afternoon

A few weekends ago, I took Izzie and my niece, Brooke, into Philadelphia to help paint a mural that will be going up along the Schuylkill River. Many of you probably already know that Philadelphia is widely recognized as an epicenter for mural arts, mainly because of the efforts of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Anywhere you go in the city, you can find one of these fantastic installations. They tell a history of Philadelphia that is not represented in  museums or monuments. They highlight important figures, struggles, triumphs, while encouraging expression through art and community. The mural that we worked on is called the Philly Rowing Mural and it tells the story of rowing in Philadelphia. There will be two murals, one on each side of the river, under the Girard Bridge.

When we arrived, we saw different sections of the mural on a thick canvas, laid out on tables. Each section had a pencil sketch of the scene, with numbers in the different areas (Paint by numbers! I can do this!).


Once we knew where we were going to paint, we headed over to the paint station where we picked up little cups of paint with the corresponding numbers and our brushes.


Then we went to work.


While we were painting, we tried to figure out what part of the mural we were working on. We were all sure it was the water. We were wrong – we actually were working on mostly the boat, the rower, and just some of the water:


See the second panel from the bottom (with all the white patches)? That’s what we worked on (with a group of other people)…


The girls were so excited to be a part of this. Especially because Brooke’s sister, my niece, Julia, rows crew for her high school and will pass by these murals every time she rows. I was thrilled that Philly Mural Arts made this opportunity available to the community. I love that we had a little part in this.

Don’t they look excited?


If you are ever looking for something to do in Philly, the Mural Arts Program offers all sorts of tours of the murals, including walking, trolley, bus, and self-guided. They also offer numerous other community activities. And if you find yourself along the Schuylkill River, look for our mural and think of us. I think we did an awesome job. I may have to quit being a blogger to become a full-time artist.

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Strawberry season is upon us!

Ahh, how I love strawberry season! When I was a little girl, I used to go strawberry picking with my beloved grandmother. I looked forward to it every year. We would have so much fun. Grammy’s not doing much strawberry picking these days, but it’s something I now share with my kids and they are already looking forward to getting out there.


Once we have finished picking our strawberries, we stop by the farm’s market and buy enough to actually make something… I’ll post soon about our annual jam-making session – the whole family is involved, we usually make close to 75 jars of strawberry jam.

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