Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Valentine's Day Gift

It has become somewhat of a tradition for my husband to hand-draw a card for me on special occasions (exampleexampleexample).  Here is this year's Valentine's Day card...

(front)                             (inside)

I love the caricature of Keith Urban, it completely cracked me up.  Even though my husband doesn't think of himself as the "perfect man," he's perfect for me and he did manage to come up with the perfect card so kudos to him.  He also gave me some heart shaped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups which went well with the Jumbo Size Reesce's Peanut Butter Cups I got for him.  We're planning on checking out our local grocery store for some reduced price Valentine's Day goodies tonight.  Happy Day After Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Fun With Tea Towels

Okay, so I know you were all wondering what was to become of the hand dyed tea towels from last week.  Well, believe it or not, I had a plan all along.  Here's how they turned out.

I used a self-adhesive, tear-away stabilizer to do the decorative machine stitching.  I attempted this same project a few months ago without the stabilizer and it was a big pain in the you-know-what.  The end results last time were okay but not great.  This time everything went way better.  Here's a close-up of the stitching.

 I paired the towels with some hand knit dishcloths and gave them as a wedding gift to a friend whose kitchen is brown and tan themed.  To be honest, I wasn't completely thrilled with how all these shades of brown came together but it was too late to turn back by the time I realized I was pushing the limits of this color palette.  I do find comfort in the fact that when you separate the towels from the dishcloths, everything looks fine.

These towels were a very fun and simple project.  I would like to make more of them in the future.  My current sewing machine has over forty decorative stitches so there will be lots of room for experimentation.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tea Towels (Made With Real Tea!)


...plus this...

...equals this...

Here's the before and after...

I'm pretty satisfied with the results- especially for how simple the process is. I basically just made a big pot of tea (twenty tea bags in about 10 cups of hot water), then added the towels (four of them)  and let them simmer for about an hour.  The one thing I will do differently next time is not fold the towels in half when I hang them to dry.  They all ended up with a Shroud of Turin kind of look down the middle because the tea didn't dry evenly.  The instructions I found here include a step for rinsing the fabric in water before drying it in the dryer.  I skipped this step because I wanted the towels to hold as much of the tea coloring as possible.  Instead, I let the towels air dry overnight and then popped them in the dryer as soon as I knew they weren't going to turn the inside of the dryer brown.  As soon as I pulled them out of the dryer I pressed them all with a hot hot iron to make sure the color was good and set.  The dyed towels in the before/after picture above have been washed/dried once and seem to have maintained an adequate amount of tea stain.  This was pretty much just an attempt to create an alternative to the stark whiteness of the original towels so in that regard, I think I succeeded.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's Cooking in My Fiendish Brain?

Here's a preview...

Tune in next week to see what madness is simmering in this pot.