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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 30 July 2007
What a pleasure to be featured in Kellybot's blog! She is a fellow Etsian who makes funky jewelry with vivid images, check it out!
Ok, if you don't do Etsy, this probably is no big deal, maybe even if you do! But I was so glad someone convo'd me this morning to tell me my Treasury I picked yesterday was on the front page. I would have missed it!
Here it is... bees and honey, a total whim based on seeing and being impressed by the little paper bee on the right side:

Sunday, 29 July 2007
Two months at Etsy as of today. It has been a blessedly busy two months and I am sort of easing off for my upcoming holidays (stocking/ posting less).
But also because I have a new project in the works!
I am so jazzed about this~ think of all those big heist movies.... I always said I'd make a good art thief, planning the strategy, pulling it off... ok, that is *not* what is planned. I swear it!
But I feel like the kingpin pulling together his master criminals to do the job.
After considering and deciding that I would like to sell at Hyena Cart I felt that I would prefer building my own team to work in a congo (conglomeration shop) than join an existing one. Largely because I had a particular heist, er, vision in mind.
I don't want to say too much about it yet, but I have pulled together a crack team of master crafters who share my vision and are ready to work the job.
'Take Off Your Shoes' will be launching on Hyena Cart in mid-September.
No criminal activity will be involved (to my knowledge).
Rowan is such a delight right now. Her imagination is kicking into overdrive and everything is full of wonderful possibility.
Her new phrase this week, to capture this stage is "Maybe it's...".
As in ~ pushing her toy tractor along "Maybe it's dump truck! Maybe it's digger! Maybe it's water?" and she then pours me a handful of water and tells me to wash. The kitty that was driving the tractor becomes the soap dispenser. Then "Maybe it's sparkles!" and the kitty becomes a shaker of sparkles....
I went in to get her after her nap one day and she was looking at her hands and turning them back and forth.
"what are you doing?"
"Reading books!"
Before that, she had spread out her blanket one afternoon, in her crib, placed her stuffies around it and announced "Swimming Pool!". Another day it was 'boat ride!'.
And yesterday? She showed me her lovey Puppy's nose and said something I couldn't understand. She repeated it and held out a finger.
She meant... booger! LOL
She was picking puppy's nose and handing me imaginary boogers. I have no explanation for that one!
It is so fascinating to see the mind and spirit blossom, and to know that right now the whole world is good and right and full of wonder for my little girl.
Maybe it's.... the way it should be for all of us.
Saturday, 28 July 2007
Time to work on my goals for August ~ I promised myself I would blog them to keep myself accountable. If you want to read them, go for it! It is just me thinking out loud.

First, checking in on my July goals...
Goals for July ~ BTRT:
  • 10 online sales ~ Yep, was at 27, now at 44 = 17 online sales for July (as of 28th) + 11 locally
  • 30 hearts~ Yep, was at 100 June 29th, at 173 July 29th
  • Complete waiting orders~ Done
  • Find suitable freebies for mailings~ Done, cool button magnets from KittyCrossbones
  • Stock fall items~ some halloween, need to do more!
  • Start Christmas items~ um, no, but did list dog collars for holidays
  • 2-3 Saturdays at the Farmer's Market~ yes, and not likely many more, deadsville!
  • Find out about local Christmas bazaars and sales~ not yet!
  • 10 online sales~ holidays and prepping for fall will reduce my listing/promo time
  • 30 hearts~ as above
  • Stock fall items
  • Start Christmas items and planning
  • Info about local bazaars and sales for holidays
  • Sign up to sell at 2 fall fairs in September/ October to move sample stock
  • Take 'PIT' shirt orders, order supplies
  • Launch Andy's new line of shirts
  • Get new Hyena Cart Congo ready to stock for September 1st and all that entails (more details later!)
Holy cow, good thing I am on holidays from my real job! If we get our 'baby call' this month I am in trouble! LOL
Friday, 27 July 2007
...... the winner of the Spring Earth Playsilk is the very hip, girl after my own heart, glad to 'meet' her through this contest 'Tater & Tot'!
The winner was picked at random by our church caretaker. Seriously. He walked in and I told him to pick a number!

There were so many wonderful comments, I wish I had silkies for everyone (but that would not be very business savvy, would it?) because they are such amazing toys, every child should have one (or many!). If you didn't win, and you are interested, you can always visit me at Beneath the Rowan Tree.

All summer long there is FREE SHIPPING on all my silkies (ready made and custom) and if you enter the code "Silkies Rock" I'll also take 10% off your silkie purchase (and I have discounts for 4+, too) just for playing the Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway! Think Christmas :)

For those who left comments on my shop, I will go through them all as soon as I can, and send you the coupon I promised!

Thanks to Shannon for this awesome idea ~ who knew it would be so huge and so much fun! I enjoyed reading so many mommy blogs!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007
I spoke about my friend Val and her custom order back in June. Well, everything arrived safely and her family got away on vacation AND *back* ~ all of them, count them (and yes, they started with 5!). Clearly these are very powerful shirts. My tie dye mojo works. Just in case you doubted me!
Monday, 23 July 2007
OK, not really, but we were all about Etsy at a family wedding this weekend.

I passed out cool button magnets with my daughter's picture from Kitty Crossbones

I wore my lovely new pendant!
Keely made this necklace for me as a custom from drawings and discussions. She was so easy to work with, fast, friendly and I love the results. A lovely hand drawn rowan branch in a hand made pendant. You must check out her shop!

Rowan's korker bow to match her dress was a custom from Sweet Southern Designs on Etsy.

And Rowan had a ball showing everyone her adorable felted duckie/ playsilk toy from Cara (Green Bean Boutique)

My earrings were lovely moonstone and sterling with hand hammered hooks by Lilikoidesign

And Rowan wore her two piece rainbow tie-dyed capris and tank top combo by me for the pre-wedding event :)

Etsy is so cool!
Contest Closed! Congrats to tater & Tot!
This morning I wanted to post my cool "Dog Days of Summer" Bloggy Giveaway! Woohoo! FREE STUFF!
This freebie carnival is being hosted by Shannon, the brilliant mind behind Rocks in the Dryer ~ be sure to follow the link and see all the great freebies available.

All you have to do to win is comment on this post and be sure you have an active e-mail address for me to reach you. I will draw randomly from all the comment posters on Friday, June 27th around 8 am(EST). I will post the winner on my blog AND let you know if you won (and I will pay the shipping to you, too!).

AND~ if you check out my Etsy shop and leave a comment with your entry here in my blog about something you see there, I will send you a 10% off coupon when the contest is over, whether you win or not!

Here is the prize:
A gorgeous 35 x 35" hand dyed playsilk. It is 100% silk, with hand rolled hems and dyed with non-toxic, food grade dyes. For more info about silkies go here.
This silkie is dyed in rich, natural shades of brown and green and would make a perfect backdrop for a seasonal nature table, as well as a great addition to any type of imaginary play.

Be sure to drop by Beneath the Rowan Tree and check out other bright and funky stuff for kids! All of my playsilks are free shipping ALL summer long :)

This contest is open to everyone, international and all :)
Friday, 20 July 2007
Rowan has been playing quite happily for almost an hour~ BY HERSELF (woohoo!). I am afraid to break the spell, even though I have other stuff to do, I have been sitting here browsing through etsy and flickr, instead.
She is so used to our sitter and her daddy playing with her one on one all the time that it is tough for mommy to get anything done when we are alone.
We spent all morning outside, running errands around town with our wagon and stopping twice to play at the park. And after nap we did our toe nails for a wedding tomorrow, so I am not a neglectful mom, right? right? LOL
She is finally reaching the age where she can keep herself happy and just chatters and plays (which is music to my ears!).
We have to go away for a family wedding tomorrow, so I should be packing but this downtime is a gift I am not going to turn down!
AND here she is ~ passing me a blowfish and a cutting board. Fugu anyone?
Gotta run.
Thursday, 19 July 2007

Seeing a child happy and comfortable in something you have created just for them is a wonderful feeling!
When you spend so much time planning and creating your work, you feel like you are sending your baby out in a brown envelope into the world. Ok, maybe not quite. But something like it. Sometimes. I know you Etsians know what I mean!
This piece was a special one. I was so happy to listen to my friend Kris tell me about her daughter and her daughter's likes and dislikes (very definite for this little girl!) and come up with something just for her. Kris chose the colour and it is *perfect* for Zoe!
Kris reported that when the romper arrived Zoe (going on 2) carried it around like a blankee and then finally put it on and didn't want to take it off.
That is what we love to hear and this is why I really enjoy doing customs!
I'm grateful to Kris for the opportunity and the pictures!
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
It's Works for me Wednesday again!
Maybe this isn't new to folks, but it is my very favourite vinegar trick!
I hate cleaning a gunky microwave.
Just pour some vinegar in a bowl or mug.
Heat for 2-3 minutes and let it sit in the microwave for a while afterwards.
Open, remove vinegar and wipe clean.
CAUTION: the vinegar fumes are strong!!
You can also use water with lemon, but we usually need the vinegar!
Ah, the small town life.
This week our town was graced by the judges from Communities in Bloom, a national beautification program which has had our town in a buzz for the past two summers.
Basically, participating towns get judged on: tidiness, community involvement, environmental awareness, heritage conservation, urban forest management, landscaped areas, floral displays and turf & groundcover.
It all sounds quite genteel.
Well you haven't met our horticultural society!

Now to be fair, they are a lovely group of ladies who create fabulous gardens and take care of our community spaces. And to be fair, one of the women *did* threaten us with a Phone Call that would follow should our grass not get cut! I thought she was joking until she recited the list of other calls she had made or was going to make.

But this whole Communities in Bloom thing had us imagining the screenplay we would write about the tiny town trying to make its mark on the map before it disappears off the highway when the new four lane superhighway goes through (which is *true*) ~ and the wackiness ensues! Now if I had a time machine to go back about 30 years, my movie would be a hit!

Picture it:
Small town, with all the local characters, anxiously gathered at the community park, while the local band plays and a cute kid (mine, of course) dances "like a kitty cat" around the flag pole. Everyone is waiting for THE JUDGES to come across the lake in the super duper cool environmentally hip boat from the girl's camp across the lake.
In our minds the rest goes like this:
Councillors frantically try to keep the drunken mayor afloat.
Old Lady in the Hat, Chair of the Society looks down her nose and prepares to greet the judges.
The girl's camp girls are giggling and get ready for girl's camp hijinks that threaten to foil the whole event.
The two ladies with the town's best gardens are no where to be found, having allowed their rivalry to escalate to such a degree that they are now bedraggled, wet and muddy and the pug of the one is chasing the Persian cat of the other through their flooded gardens.
Naughty boys are setting firecrackers.
Oh! the wackiness! Oh! the hilarity....

In truth, the visit went smoothly, the boat ride was cancelled due to the wind on the lake, the town looks lovely and we will have to wait a while to find out if we have managed to earn ourselves that one last bloom to put us on the top of the heap for towns our size.

And even better, the threat of a Phone Call put the fear of doG into Andy and he took down the Christmas lights, trimmed the edges and mowed the lawn. Yay!
Monday, 16 July 2007

I have been very busy with the orange dye this weekend~ witness the orangey results!
One tiger tee is for Addilayne Designs and the other is for a sweet Diaperswappers mama to match her little guy's black and orange wool longies. I was very pleased with this batch (and I have some orange Halloween items to be painted tonight) since my last batch of orange came out a lovely shade of .... pink LOL.
The second group of tees are for Abi, a friend from a forum darkside, affectionately known as the 'Pit' and its denizens as 'Pitches'. Abi won a tee in our raffle which was held to raise money for pitches in need (there has been a spate of serious medical crises for our members and particularly their children). I was thrilled that one little tshirt garnered over $175 which went to a mom to help pay for pain meds for her infant's cranial surgery (can you imagine?!). My husband designed the transfer and I did the dyeing. This project made us decide we *needed* a high quality image printer, so now we can do professional quality transfers and photos and we have a few plans in the works incorporating Andy's photography and kid's tees.
Sunday, 15 July 2007
This is the title of my latest treasury.
I started with my own 'Aa is for apple' dress to gather the colours and items and then removed my own to make room for some of the other awesome Etsy artisans and artists.
I am always so amazed at the creativity of folks out there and this collection is no exception!
The second row down features items by Cara (Green Bean Boutique) and KeelyB ~two of my faves and the bottom picture on the right is from Vintage Poppy, another favourite of mine.
Friday, 13 July 2007

Whatever you call them, Rowan calls it 'unnerwear' and we bought her her first und**pants today!

Another milestone crossed. Who knew this one would feel like such a 'big girl' moment?
She isn't really ready for them ~ she is interested in the p*tty, but mainly I need something to keep her from taking OFF her diaper at inopportune times while wearing sundresses etc.

She was SO excited. All the way to town she kept saying "City. Go city. Buy unnerwear!".
It didn't help that daddy told her to look for the un**rwear trees when we reached the edge of the city.

She chose Curious George (unfortunately we hit the licensed theme underwear before finding the cheap generic ones and there was no way I was gonna pry the MONKEY UNNERWEAR out of her little talons and trade them for stripes and flowers. No WAY!). 3 pairs for the same price as 8 of the generics. Oh well, a girl only gets her first unde**ear once, right?

She proudly handed them to the cashier and carried them from the store. Daddy was appalled. He said they look like 'women's p*nties' (I hate the word p*nties) when he thought they'd be, oh, maybe, boxers? Geez, you'd think I bought her leather thongs!

Rowan proudly wore her underw**r until bedtime, without an accident, so who knows, maybe these will be a motivation for p*tty learning. All I know is I felt a little teary watching my baby run around in her first big girl unde*pants. I'll be a wreck when she needs a bra!
Thursday, 12 July 2007
These two items (dress and romper) are for two of Rowan's little playgroup pals: Alice and Ivy. Their mom saw Rowan's tattoo dress and wanted some for her girls. The outfits are sweet with just a little bit of edge which makes them fun (especially to wear around uptight mother-in-laws!). Rowan is my best advertisement, I tell you! It is not that I intentionally dress her to sell, but that she has so many things I have made it is hard to avoid! LOL
I have made a listing for a custom order of the playdress as I have a couple more of these blanks, though I can easily translate this design onto any of my blanks.
Getting these done means I have only a couple more customs to finish and I am caught up! Time to make some fall and winter stuff!
I was kind of sad when Andy told me last night about his experience with Rowan yesterday morning.
She killed a fly.
She wanted it to sit on her finger and poked and poked at it as it buzzed against the window.
Andy cautioned her that a fly would not want to stop and sit.
Finally, she nailed it and it dropped to the sill, dead.
"Seeping?" she asked.
"No, not sleeping" not sure of its condition, he told it was hurt.
"Kiss it."
He told her he couldn't fix this (how difficult for a father to tell his child for the first time).
She seemed to catch on a bit.
"Broken. Daddy fix."
She puzzled about this, asked him again and then moved on. Wiser than she had been, though it will be many years before the truth of this moment comes into her consciousness and her heart in a tangible way ~ a dog? a family member? a squirrel in the yard?
But for us as parents it is a bittersweet milestone ~ the awareness, even so minimally, of death has entered our little girl's world. And worse, the seed of the knowledge that we have within us the power to hurt and harm, even when we mean to just catch a fly on our fingertip for a morning chat.
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Shipping Bag ~ when I need to ship items from my shop I need so many things! So I am using a reusable green grocery bag (handles, two inner pockets) to haul all my packaging and shipping needs.
My routine is to take pictures of new items on my way to work, upload them there, package items and go to the P.O. at lunch. So I put it all in one bag.
  • scissors
  • envelopes
  • customs forms
  • ribbon
  • packing bags
  • thank you cards
  • freebies
  • camera
  • usb cable
  • tape
  • business cards
  • return address labels
And it works so well ~ prepping, packing and shipping and all in one portable station for the Etsian on the go ~ I love feeling organized in this one teeny part of my life! LOL
Here are my goals for July (BTRT):
10 online sales
30 hearts
Complete waiting orders
Find suitable freebies for mailings
Stock fall items
Start Christmas items
2-3 Saturdays at the Farmer's Market
Find out about local Christmas bazaars and sales

Here is my status as of July 11 (keeping myself in line here):
8 online sales (2 to go!)
32 new hearts
Waiting orders from June completed
Freebies in the mail (button magnets from
Fall items ~ first one up, some Halloween to be painted, need more fall/winter planning
Start Christmas Items ~ not yet!
Farmer's Market ~ did 3, total bust, NO traffic, bad location, may do long weekends
Christmas Bazaars and Sales ~ still to do

Need to add goals for Gone to Pieces next month as I am neglecting it and it is intended to help me destash. I think a sale is in order there!
I have a very independent, busy almost-2 year old. She can make me crazy sometimes. And other times I cry with joy at her very being. Today she made me a very tacky pencil holder (with 'yots and yots of goo!') and put M O M stickers on it. She proudly gave it to me at lunch and the proceeded to point out each letter! She spelled her first word (ok, give me this one, I know, I know it wasn't REAL spelling) and it was MOM!
For her nap, I rocked her down and she began to turn away from me ~ usually this show of independence leads to not napping and a big struggle, but today she simply rolled away and then fell asleep facing out into the room. Her own person, but still leaning on her momma. It felt like those heart surgeries where someone's heart is outside of their living body ~ I know the expression is "to be a mother is to have your heart walking around outside your body" or something like it. Today I felt my own heart lying on my chest softly beating as her little eyes fluttered closed and she sighed into sleep.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007

About this new custom pendant made just for me by Keely at! You have to check out her shop and her wonderful art pendants. I feel in love with the turquoise tree in her avatar and was so thrilled when she was able to do a custom for me of a rowan tree branch. We decided on red as that is the meaning of 'rowan' and the berries are red (plus, conveniently, I wear lots of red LOL).
She has some really cool pendants made with tree photos on her blog: Did I say I am in love with this pendant? I'm so glad I connected with keely in my 'Look at my blog and I'll look at yours' thread on Etsy.
As an addendum to my previous posting
(and because blogspot is giving me a headache today, so if the spacing and things are wonky, blame blogspot!)
about BTRT Silkies,
I wanted to add some more links and information:
You can find softer toned playsilks on Etsy at Green Bean Boutique from Cara,
who also makes amazing felted wool toys, dolls and balls.
Also check out Georganne for attachment parenting items and Haddy2Dogs and Crazy Momma Productions for more natural toys and dolls.
Follow these links to a pair of wonderful articles about natural toys and playsilks, written by Cara of Green Bean Boutique:
Natural Toys
I wanted to share a little more about playsilks ~ be prepared to feel the silkie love!
When I discovered playsilks I immediately loved the idea of an open ended, child led toy that was tactile, bright and natural (100% silk). Experiments with dyes and dyeing lead to my own line of vivid playsilks (tie dyed and solids) ~ as pictured.

We call ours 'silkies' and they are a favourite, daily play choice for Rowan. Last week she used the fireplace grate (?!) as a soap dispenser and stood on her blue silkie for a 'shower'. The blue silkie is also a swimming pool, lake and duck pond. The sheep graze on the green one and the orange is a favourite for fairy wings on a windy day. We hang them from the trees when we have a picnic and hide under them for hide and seek and peekaboo. They sling dollies and double as hats and dresses for tea parties (one must always wear a proper tea party hat, you know!). When Rowan needs *something* to make her play happen she seeks out her silkie basket and improvises. We twirl and dance with them. At church one Sunday our fire coluored silkies helped tell the story of Pentecost. Last night my mother borrowed one to wear as a belt with a summer skirt! Can you say this much about ANY other toy?

I have several in stock silkies in my Etsy shop: Beneath the Rowan Tree and I also keep a custom listing running so you can choose your own silkies! Discounts for multiple purchases, details in my shop :)

Are you feeling the silkie love yet?
Monday, 9 July 2007
Holy Rainbows Batgirl!
I finished up a few more customs this weekend. This set of five rainbow pieces (3 long sleeve shirts for the boys in 2T, 4T, 6T and two 2T dresses for the girls) is for Christmas for a friend's children and relatives. They are all stamped (3 goldfish, 2 butterflies) as the buyer requested, but I am honestly not loving the stamps as a tool ~ the effect works on the rainbow as it allows the colour to shine through, and the black is effective but I find the stamps very inconsistent in laying down the paint. I need to work on that!
(Please pardon the skewering of some of the text, this post was getting too many hits from people doing google searches about the content, if you know what I mean)
Yesterday afternoon Rowan and I set out through our neighbour's yards to enjoy our town's garden tour (our neighbour's have lovely yards, ours is a disgrace in comparison, but then we are new to the home and they are all 20+ years!) but we were quickly sidetracked by one neighbour's 4 y.o. grandson who wanted Rowan to swim with him.
Rowan LOVES to swim and that was the end of the garden tour.
The neighbours have a lovely beach, so we were happy to go there and the kids really enjoyed each other's company ~ Rowan is still young enough, but understands enough, for a 4 y.o. to boss her around and she is happy to tag along.
Butit was the end of our swim time that still has me giggling and slightly mortified.
When we were done, I stripped Rowan to put on her cover up, figuring she could run home without anything under her little dress. We didn't count on Liam wanting to be 'free and easy', too!
So both 'natural' kids jumped in the lake to wash off their sandy bits. It was at this point that Liam looked puzzled... "Why hasn't Rowan got a p%nis yet?"
It was the *yet* that did me in! LOL
I said that she was a girl and wouldn't have one. Then he asked "well how does she pee?" at which point I looked helplessly at his mother for help!
Rowan then announced 'Nakey Baby Dance' and began to do her signature moves and both nak$d kids tore off up the yard ~ right towards the ladies touring the gardens!
I caught Rowan, but Liam flashed them all.
I don't think they were going to buy the story that the kids were portraying n@ked imps frolicking in the garden. Not when the bigger imp plowed through the flower bed, bent over, little b^m wagging above the blooms, and then jumped up triumphantly holding his soccer ball!
Saturday, 7 July 2007
Ok, admit it! If you are married you had a corny wedding song, right? Right? Well, we did. And that was it (see title).
But I was thinking about my inspiration for my work at Beneath the Rowan Tree, really thinking about it so that I can keep on track and continue to develop pieces that are in line with my vision. It is so easy to be side-tracked with so many creative ideas and a shifting market for kid's stuff.
I think my obvious first inspiration is my daughter Rowan. She has cemented for me the many principles that I have held in my years of doing ministry with children ~ their value and the importance of them BEING children. Childhood is not something to survive and get the hell out of ~ it is a crucial time for becoming, for wonder and exploration. Our task as Rowan's parents is to create a safe space where she can roam physically, spiritually and mentally to become a responsible, sensitive, respectful person. And that is never easy. We all know that. You just begin to feel it resonate in your BONES when you become a parent.
With these things in mind we have always chosen clothing that is comfortable, as natural (natural fibers) as possible, and that don't restrict little girls into rigid expectations of gender and femininity. I resolutely refuse to buy or use licensed clothing ~ and believe me, trying to find a pair of girls sandals for less than $25 that do not have princesses, Dora, high heels or flashing lights proved impossible! We bought neutral boy sandals.
As we are a non-tv house (ok, that's not true, Andy and I watch too much, but Rowan is on a very limited tv allowance, maybe 15 minutes twice a week) we are spared (so far) the cries of 'Dora! Winnie the Pooh!' when we do shop. I was so tickled when Rowan saw Mickey Mouse on a shirt and simply pointed out that he was 'a mouse' rather than The Mouse.
All of these choices feed into my designing clothing for babies and toddlers at BTRT ~ I want parents to have options that are fun, bright, affordable and good quality but that can also allow the children a little more time before they are indundated as little consumers in a cut-throat market vying for their attention and dollars.
So I use images that children like: Hippos and butterflies. Puppies and mice. These images, accompanied by bright and complementary colours encourage imagination ~ they are an invitation to learn and tell stories (the muddy puppy posted earlier this week just begs for a story about what he has been up to!). They are pictures of the creatures and ideas that populate their little worlds and make them feel a part of it.
I am scouting out organic fabric opportunities and right now I endeavor to use fair trade products whenever I can do so.
Thanks for reading these ramblings, putting them down helps me to continue to eke out my vision for Beneath the Rowan Tree and keep the ideas of wonder, whimsy and imagination at the forefront, which are, in fact, the feelings that come to mind whenever I picture the little rowan tree in our yard and our times beneath it!
I thought I'd put down a few things about the actual tie dyeing process, some links and thoughts. I am a mere dabbler, but I enjoy the challenge of tie dyeing ~putting colours together, visualizing a pattern and bringing it to life, the surprise of*untying* to see what resulted!
Over the years I have tried tie dyeing many times, never with much success.
I will tell you~ throw away your RIT and Tintex and get yourself some Procion MX fiber reactive dye. It makes a world of difference.

When the fabric is properly cleaned and pretreated (soda ash to 'rough up' the fibers) these dyes bond chemically with the cotton (or other plant fibers) making them permanent. There are various chemicals that you can then use to aid or change your results (thickeners, urea for brilliance etc.). I have not yet experimented with the thickeners, though I would like to do so ~ but having to order all my chemicals and have them shipped from the US (+customs) is VERY expensive, so I am trying to keep it simple. Batching items for 12-24 hours yields brighter results, A proper post wash routine, including a dye suspension chemical (like synthrapol) helps rinse away non-reacted dye and set the final product.
You can learn so much more about it at these sites (for starters):
I regularly read a little to get new ideas (many of my experiments don't get listed as I use whatever I can lay my hands on and save the good blanks for sales!).

Here are a few tips I can share:
  • wear gloves! (and eye protection and a NIOSH mask when mixing dyes in powder form, they are dangerous if inhaled) and respect the chemicals.
  • keep a clean work space. One small crystal of procion dye yields a LOT of colour if it escapes and gets wet! Nothing worse than a marred piece from an errant drop of dye. Wipe up constantly and keep lots of paper towel or shop towels handy.
  • plan ahead. Know what you are going to dye and have the items prepped, and have a general idea of how and mix the appropriate dyes (plan several projects in the same colours to make the most of your dye)~ you will probably be happier with your results!
  • Be prepared for surprises! Sometimes amazing results happen and other times, crazy mistakes, so be willing to accept what comes and learn from it. I love that in dyeing, as in life, you can be creative, and work hard and better your mistakes, often making something even more beautiful in the end~!
  • Be prepared to say "No, that finger is not gangrenous!" "No, I didn't burn my arm, its fuchsia dye!" "No, my circulation is fine, and yes, I know my fingertips are blue!" your life will get a whole lot more colourful (or at least your skin!).
For me, dyeing, batching and painting an item for an order or for friends and family is a minimum four day process with all the reacting and curing that it takes. Working full time and chasing after a two year old can make that take a little longer, so I encourage my buyers to be patient if you place a custom order!

Tie dyeing is a lot of fun, but honestly I would save the procion dyes for grown-up dyeing and let the kids play with the safer stuff. Dylon is your best bet for safe but bright and long lasting colours for kids. And consider bleach pens to draw with after dyeing fir a neat effect.

I just listed some new stuff ~ bandanas and toddler hats (100% cotton)~ They are fun to dye and fun to wear, I may end up keeping this hat (pictured) for Rowan.
The scarves work great for Andy's big noggin and Rowan's wee one, and the dog, too!

I managed to sort all my blanks tonight, finish my 'Ugly Fishies' dress to list tomorrow, finish up a family set of 5 items (dyed and painted) and I hope to do up another batch of dye tomorrow night as this last bunch were all for customs and I didn't get to make any new clothes for fun. Market in the morning, too. If there is no traffic this week, I think I'll skip a few, it is too much time wasted (even though I get uninterrupted painting time!).
I made sale #30 today. yay!
Friday, 6 July 2007
We live in a tourist/ cottage country area. And summer is in full swing. We have only lived here since February 2006 but I am feeling amazingly territorial as the out-of-towners invade!
Our quiet town, with familiar faces and plenty of parking spots is now a thriving little hive of new faces, drivers who don't know where they are going (and go WAY too fast on the highway through town) and drunks on the street carousing all night (the ONE bar is a block away LOL).

It is a mixed blessing (or a mixed curse!) ~ the town needs the business and waits expectantly for it each spring, after a hard winter, especially this last with so little snow = so few snowmobilers. And there are many wonderful long term 'summer people' that you look forward to seeing again.

But just when we want to fling open our windows and look out our bedroom into the night sky and the moon over the lake, we have to pull the shades so that the little cottage resort next door doesn't get a view of OUR moon over the lake, if you know what I mean! And I won't even get into the huge lines at the grocery store or the empty meat case and empty bread aisle.

It is weird being the 'townies' to the tourists.
But soon enough it will be cold again and we will have our little town back and enjoy the long, quiet winter and waking up to the sun rising over the lake and the mist rising at dawn and we'll be so glad that we are townies who get to stay here all year round!
Wednesday, 4 July 2007
I made this little muddy puppy as a custom for a friend and had a very sad little girl at my house when I explained it was not for *her*! He is hand painted on a hand dyed romper. The mud part was a blast, I really slopped it on!
Now that it is done and my blanks and dyes have arrived, I am on to my next customs tonight with hopes of starting in on some new items for fall and winter early next week.
I am also working on some tees and tanks for Juror2 ( which should be fun as she has given me a freehand to play and experiment with them :0

Just a little bit about our adoption plans, since that is the motivation for my Etsy shops!
While struggling with infertility, prior to conceiving Rowan, we drew our line in the sand in terms of treatments and costs, believing it better to invest the energy and hopes and money into a route that would produce a child ~ so we had decided on adoption if our limited treatments didn't work out.
They did and we were blessed with Rowan in our lives.
However pregnancy was a nightmare for me and a future one would be a risk, not to mention the whole infertility thing and the fact that we live hours away from treatment.
So our next step to build our family was relatively easy.
Back to our adoption plans!
After soul searching and internet searches we found our way to an agency in Georgia (USA) ~ An Open Door. Once our home study was completed, we did our (mountain of) paperwork and registered with this agency.
Now we are waiting for a match!
We may be chosen by a potential birthmom or by the agency if the pbm chooses not to make a choice. This part makes me saddest, that both mom and baby have to know such loss in a time of joy for our family.
As we are in Ontario, there will be immigration and other details to manage but our hope is to have our baby home by about 3-4 weeks of age.
We are ready, our arms are waiting to hold our little one that we know will come to us when the time is right.
Patience is difficult ~ it is like a never ending pregnancy! All the expectation without a due date!
In the meantime, we treasure our little Rowan, we work, we raise some money and we wait and dream about our baby.
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

...the kind I swore my daughter would never wear!
But she looks so sweet, and girly!
We love our new korker bow from Sweet Southern Design (
We ordered it as a custom to match Rowan's dress for a family wedding later this month. No pictures were exchanged but the colours match perfectly! She was easy to communicate with, friendly and professional and our bow arrived quickly. So I just wanted to send her a shout out and a thanks!
Sunday, 1 July 2007
We don't get many lazy days these days (and haven't for, oh, almost two years?), but I am thoroughly enjoying this one.
Went to church, did my 'thing'.
Haven't cleaned anything.
We have just accepted having no clean socks and stepping over toys for today.
I actually sat and read a magazine for an hour while my daughter played by herself (miracle of miracles!) in the same room with her Little People, a tractor and a blue playsilk!
The house is really a mess.
We are getting take out for dinner (grown ups after kiddo bedtime~ Rowan is having chili).
After kid supper we are going for a walk, all bundled up as it is REALLY cold!
And you know what, it is a good day and the world didn't stop spinning because the dishes are sitting on the counter ~ despite what my mother raised me to believe!
I am looking forward to a few more of these as summer rolls in...
The pictures with this post are from last week ~ a trip to the local petting farm.
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