Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What no one ever tells you about new home renovation...

by Kathleen

Is that lots of what you do is small, simple and boring. And no one will ever notice. Like thinning out overgrown hedge bushes (that still look overgrown when you're done). And changing out toilet seats (though you'd think they'd notice the padded butterfly embroidered seat gone missing). Or like switching out light switch plates.
From old heavy bronze ornate or cutesy...

To simple, clean and white...

These are some that matched the few plain original plates that we found at a thrift store. They were a little dirty and beige, but some soap and water, and a spritz of white enamel spray paint, and they're good as new! Or rather, good as old since the new ones were the ugly ornate ones.
Interestingly (to us, of course) we have decided to keep all the plates, switch and outlet, white regardless of what color the wall goes. So as you'll see in a later post, whether we painted the wall dark grey, light green or even white the plate stayed white. Personally, I like the stark contrast on the colorful walls.
But that post is for another day... after we finish the wall paper stripping (ugh).

PS...  One thing we haven't done is scraped the gold paint off the actual switches (yes, they painted the switches to go with the gold-bronze plates). They look dirty, but they're not. I just haven't yet figured out how to get into those tiny little shapes with a scraper.

PPS... I can't leave without showing you the toilet seat. The old one that is...
I admit it... I hated it from the moment I saw it. But really? Replacing a toilet seat is low on the priority scale. As long as it works... But when the bolts finally give way and the whole thing slides off sideways...? Yes! Goodbye old monstrosity and hello very plain, simple, unadorned, so boring I didn't even take a photo of it seat.
Now all that's left is to get rid of the (identical) one in the master half bath.  Hmmm, now where did I put that hammer...?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Short Disucssion on Shorts Dyeing

by Kathleen

You know what would be fun? A new post!! And how about one with lots of pretty (maybe) pictures? Yesss!!!

These past few years one of my recurring design responsibilities has been to do the costumes for two to three of the pieces in our spring dance concert. I started out as a dancer when I went to college, and I still love dance. All kinds and forms of dance interest me, but here our main (pretty much entire) focus is modern dance.
I have certain strengths in my design work, and one of them is character and humor. Two strengths... my two strengths are character and humor. And use of color. Three! My three strengths are... oh wait... sorry. I got lost in Monty Python (Nobody expects the Costume Designer!).
Anyway, despite the above I am good at funny and and at bold characterizations. And so I tend to get those kinds of pieces. But this year... I not only got a character driven piece, but I also got a pretty one too. Oh such fun!
The choreographer wanted dresses with full skirts and each of the five dancers should be different. There was a lot of twirling and floor work, so one of the elements that the choreographer and I talked about was that the full skirts meant something else had to offer modesty protection. And since we wanted to keep a flow to the silhouette I suggested full legged culottes... so there would be a double skirt effect (she didn't want it to look like pants), but plenty of modest coverage as well. (This was an idea another of our designers had used a couple years before). And as we got further into color discussions the idea of differentiating each girl in dress color but unifying in culotte color gelled.
To achieve the different colors while maintaining the strong connection between the five dancers I bought an undyed yardage of rayon knit for the all the dresses and stretch silk charmeuse for the all the culottes. And first built, and then dyed them.
The dressed were ombre dyed a solid color each, but the culottes... ooooo, I did something new to me! I threw dye on them! Fun messy splashy wheeeee dyeing!
I used Dharma Trading's acid dyes, and I pretty much followed the directions given on their site. I soaked the shorts in a vinegar and water mix first, getting them well saturated.

Then I mixed up the desired colors in small batches in glass jars, filled the washing machine with cold water for the rinse, and prepped the aluminum pan.

I did one pair of shorts each time. I laid them out as flat as I could length and width wise.

And then I poured the dye over them, overlapping and splashing as I went, judging it by eye. I did the up side and then flipped it quickly to do the back.

I did a quick microwave... VERY quick, about 30 seconds, pause, 30 seconds. I had read somewhere that this would help set the colors. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't... but I figure it didn't hurt anything.

Then I rinsed until the water was mostly clear and tossed it in the washer.
When all the shorts were done I turned on the washer and rinsed them well. This is their color wet.

This is their color dry.

Back view.
I also dyed scraps with the intention of finishing off necklines and sleeves and wherever it looked right on the dresses.

Here is one of the dresses. You can see how beautifully the rayon knit draped (and it felt like a cloud of soft melty textile fabulousness. Really).

Back view. I wish the dancer had turned her back to the audience more... she had a great back and this looked great on her!

And when she spun...

Here you can see the colors all together, the dresses in motion, and the way the culottes peeked out here and there adding coverage and color. The choreographer was happy, the dancers were happy, and I was happy.
It's always such a joy when things comes together so well...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

by Kathleen

If so much can happen in one day, how much can happen in two years? LOTS!
Caroline and I started this blog beacause we wanted a place to share our mutual interest in knitting... which was hard to do over 600 miles apart. We're still over 600 miles apart, but we're not so good at the sharing recently. We're also not so good at the knitting, I think.
My sister lives close to the rest of the family, and two sets of twins (to our nephew and then our niece) has consumed her days with babysitting and spoiling (the babies that is). I don't know how much time she has to knit or spin anymore, but I know she has even less time to blog.
I've just been busy, as is usual, but have expanded involvements in local fiber guilds and class teaching. Which ironically has cut way into my knitting time! And I added a huge new responsibility to my life... J and I bought a house. I kept thinking of great topics to blog about, but always ran out of steam to actually write.
But we started this blog to share, our fiber interests at first, and now I want to share more than that... I intend to add home renovation/decoration too.
We'll just have to see how it goes.
Which is pretty much our motto for the home reno/deco too.

And here's a picture or two to prove it...
We decided to paint the living room walls a very brave color.

We were inspired by the back of a large mirror that we left leaning against the wall for days and days. Both of us were struck by how great the dark gray looked, but neither of us said anything because... really... dark grey? How crazy!
But I guess we're crazy!
So crazy that this is what we painted the corner wall...

Hey there Sassy Lilac!

And the horrible kitchen wallpaper?

Yeah! Who's rocking the color? We're rocking the color! Oooh yeah.