Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The simple things in life are so good

This morning I peeked at my lavender bushes and realised it was DEFINITELY time for my first crop. I spent about an hour carefully cutting and trimming and I ended up with quite a few bundles and lots left over for some lavender water, so that's what the kids and I have been working on this rainy afternoon.

I often forget how good the simple things feel.. how important they are. I grew up on a farm, not a working farm, a family farm I guess you could say. My dad grew Christmas trees and we had 2 barns and almost 5 acres of fun to explore, grow on, learn on. We had chickens, cows, goats, dogs, a barn cat.. we had owls and bats and bees and everything a kid needs to learn and explore and appreciate what life and nature really are about. My mom always had the most gorgeous gardens.. so beautiful people would stop in front of our house to tell her. Lavender was my favorite thing she grew.. I would sit in my tree fort and make "potions" with her roses and lavender, and the sweet old lady down the street would always so sweetly thank me and try them on. What a brave woman!

I love the simplicity and magic of going out and cutting leaves and buds off a plant I grew myself, bringing it in and carefully sorting and bundling, hanging it up to dry and boiling and distilling the rest of the leaves and buds to make a refreshing lavender spray. I love knowing that in a few short days I will have dried lavender buds to make soap and laundry satchels and drawer inserts and I can smell this wonderful spring smell for months to come. I love the joy my kids get on their face that this is a project they can help with and they love the finished product.

I need to buy some fine mist sprayers, I'm really looking forward to keeping a few bottles of the lavender water in the fridge so I can spray myself down when it gets really hot this summer. Some of it I will use in my lavender soap, some I might put up for sale.. if I am not too greedy about it, lol. I think this summer I am going to fill my yard with lavender. I have roses that are gorgeous but I don't get as much joy from growing much else... I tried a myriad of things but I am just not used to growing in the climate here and I don't get satisfaction out of it the way I do with Lavender. This year, I am going to go for the gold and grow only what makes me so happy. Next springs first harvest will be big, that's for sure!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Freezer paper "screen printing" Tutorial- ROBOTS!

So I have been known to spill bleach/cold process soap/paint/food on my shirts. Every single time I swear I wont do it again, I'll be more careful... but alas, I have a drawer full of "bleach shirts". What to do with them? Now I have a solution.

Check out my new robot T shirt!!!

Every time I look at it I start laughing.. I just love his lack of expression and broken heart.. and the fact that I made him pink is just utterly superb in my world. So how did I do this? SUPER simple!

A few months ago I found a tutorial for using freezer paper to "screen print" clothes.. I dont have that original link.. but here are the simple simple steps in my own words.

#1. Prepare your image to "copy" onto the freezer paper. As you can see here I was inspired by old school robots like this fellow:
mini Q&A...*what is freezer paper?* Essentially its wax paper, but its only "waxy" on ONE side, making it simple to iron down the wax side to create your seal for leak free painting. I don't think you can find it everywhere, but I know they have it at Walmart and it comes in a GIANT roll that's very affordable.. which means LOTS of Tshirts! Buy the white, versus the brown, for easier tracing.

Using I made a simple boxy robot image, printed it out on a piece of printer paper, and traced it onto the freezer paper.

Now- remember that what you want "painted" you need to cut out, and what you want "tshirt" you leave on.. basically the opposite of your image you are tracing... so for my robot, all of his black body was "cut out", the "outline" ironed on, and the detail pieces like his eyes, mouth, and "heart panel" cut out as well, and placed/ironed last.

#2. Place your freezer paper SHINY SIDE DOWN onto your Tshirt (or whatever you are printing on), iron it down piece by piece, placing your detail pieces last. When you have it ironed down really well, you are ready to paint.

mini Q&A: what kind of paint do I use? You have options here... acrylic craft paint will work but may need MANY coats and may flake off in the washer. Fabric paint is best. I used acrylic because its all I had on hand tonight, and it dries quickly.. but I may use fabric paint in the future because its denser and doesn't soak in as much. NOW! STOP before you paint, and make sure you put something inside your shirt.. a piece of cardboard, another piece of freezer paper.. just SOMETHING to keep the paint from leaking through to the other side of your shirt.. because that would be a bummer.

Back to the paint.. You want to "dot" it on, as if you are doing a stencil on the wall, until you have a decent base coat.. then you can finish with a larger brush to get a smooth finish. Peel the paper off while the paint is still tacky but not wet enough to run.

Let it sit and dry for at least 2-4 hours before hanging it up and admiring. Isn't it FAB!? I love it! I am quite addicted to the process already, and my husband asked for a robot shirt of his own.. though, not in pink. What I love most is it would be so easy to add more detail.. like more hearts around him, by just adding on more layers of freezer paper.. or even doing multiple colors! So many options...

Happy crafting!