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A Story I’m “Dyeing” to Tell.

9 Jul

Six years ago I bravely entered the world of Tye Dyeing, not knowing what I was getting into, but figuring, “How hard can it be?” I learned that it’s not hard, exactly, but it is…what shall I say… time-consuming, trickier than expected (if you want to get it perfect), and, to be honest, far more full of finesse than I ever would have guessed.

We enjoyed the results of our labor that day, and love seeing the photo we took of our wee baby in her “Hippie Duds”.

Our first tye dyeing event - 6 years ago!

Our first tye dyeing event – 6 years ago!

The biggest thing I retained from that original experience was remembering how much my fingers hurt from removing the rubberbands one at a time. (This year I got wise and CUT them off…good grief, why didn’t I think of that before?!) My kids tell me that we tye dyed one other time, but I have, apparently, blocked that moment from my life.

All geared up and ready.

All geared up and ready.

Well, this year I thought I could face the process again. So, when we finally got a warm and dry day here in SW Minnesota last week, we pulled out the tye dye kit we’d bought, found all the white clothes we could get our hands on, and set to work, plastic gloves firmly in place – alongside huge amounts of optimism.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

You may be wondering how a person can go wrong when tye dyeing? Well, in a way, you can’t. But if you want your t-shirt to turn out like something bought at Woodstock in the 60’s, there are tricks and cautions and rules that you need to obey – the “rulelessness” of Woodstock notwithstanding.
Waiting...for 6 hours.

Waiting…for 6 hours.

Rule One: Yellow + Blue = Green; Pink + Blue = Purple; but Pink + Yellow = Mud.

Rule Two: To make a “Vibrant Sunburst” you must twist excessively and tie tightly and, to make it really stand out, leave the area around it WHITE. White is your friend in tye dyeing. I forgot this rule.

Rule Three: There are no experiments in tye dyeing. What goes on the fabric stays on the fabric. Perhaps you’d be wise to buy two kits and use lots of flour sacking towels to experiment on. I’m totally doing that next summer.

Rule Four: When they say that you have to “rinse the garment until it rinses clear” they are optimistic beyond belief and if you try to do this you will lose your mind. Know this in advance and know that the washing machine setting of “rinse and spin only” is your friend.

Fashion show.

Stained with blackberry juice? Nope. Tye Dye.

I’m afraid that I depleted our well in our tye dyeing extravaganza. I’m afraid that I turned my daughter’s arm permanently pink to the point where she looks like a burn victim. Or as if she’s been mashing blackberries with her bare hands. I’m also afraid that my husband will never wear the shirt we so carefully dyed for him…at lest in public.
Fashion show!

Fashion show!

But, all in all, I’m afraid that I love tye dyeing. My husband is right: I’m a hippie at heart. Albeit a non-druggie one who never listens to Jimi Hendrix. I do eat nuts and berries, though. That’s about as wild as I get. But watch out, world, if I start eating nuts and berries while wearing my tye dye. Who knows what crazy things might happen then?
He Wore It!

He Wore It!


Not Easter Lillies…but Rather some Gorgeous Amaryllis for this Easter Sunday!

8 Apr

So these may not be Easter lillies, but they’re fabulous and beautiful and I love them.

This is what you’ve all been waiting for, yes? I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but I can report that the older bulb, the one that took far longer to begin to grow, produced one single stalk that was about one inch taller than the other one…and it caught up with that one in like 3 days of growth as compared to over a week it took the other one to grow that much. That bulb had four huge blosoms. The one-year old bulb had two stalks, each with three smaller flowers than the other bulb. Interesting, yes?

Happy Easter everyone! My favorite holiday of the year!


The Great Amaryllis Experiment…part 3

29 Mar

So…I’ve fallen down a bit on my reporting, but here’s the up-to-the-minute story!

I won't put in the pictures from every day...but here's proof that the slow bulb is finally catching up! (Not that you can see the tall one...but Lucy was having fun!)


So the oldest bulb is growing the fastest and has two stems...the newest just has one stem...but at least it's finally growing!

Shorty...coming in at 4 inches!

5.5! One and a half inches on that day!

10 inches.

Eleven inches...

More than 1.5 inches in one day.

Okay, seriously! About 4 inches in one day! Shorty is finally catching up for real. This bulb, with only one stem, looks like it will be a larger flower - the other two buds on the other bulb are smaller.

Almost to its full height...

This one will have leaves! The faster-growing one doesn't have any yet.


So, shorty has almost caught up and might even surpass the other one!!

Almost there!!!

This is how they look as of Wednesday. So fun!

The Great Amaryllis Experiment, Days 6-10

15 Mar

So my youngest daughter and I have been measuring our two Amaryllis plants every day…not always at the exact same time each day…but pretty close! One of our plants – the one that’s two years old and had an excellent root base – is doing fantastically.

The other one, which is one year old and had zero roots when I dug it up last fall, has a long way yet to go. Two days ago, however, it seemed to green up, and yesterday it began to show a little growth. Horray! Today it is taking off. Trying to make up for lost time, apparently!

Sunday. Didn't even bother to photograph the other one that day.


The struggling one...on Monday.


One of the added benefits of working with kids...sometimes the ruler gets held upside down!

Ruler right side up! Wednesday.

Shorty! Showing growth yesterday!

Whoo hoo!!!! Today!

Shorty - today!

The Great Amaryllis Experiment…Days 1-5

10 Mar

Every year when I was growing up, Dad would buy Mom a new Amaryllis bulb for Christmas. Red was her favorite.

When I moved here to SW Minnesota, I discovered that my husband’s grandmother not only got new Amaryllis bulbs from time to time, but she KEPT hers from year to year, planting them outside for the summer and then bringing them in in the winter, leaving them in a dry, dark place, and then pulled them out come winter to enjoy their beauty around about Easter time.

I had to try this for myself. So, two years ago, I finally got myself together enough to buy a bulb, plant it outside, dig it up, plant it inside after a rest, and then was blessed with blooms early last spring. Horray!

The blooms from two years ago. Lovely!

This year I’m on my second one. I would have a third one from this past Christmas, but we were away for the holidays so I couldn’t purchase a bulb just to let it die while we were gone.

SO…the upshot is…I have two bulbs – one two years old, and one just one year old, which my youngest daughter and I planted on Tuesday. For 3 days there was no change. Then, yesterday, voila! Growth!

Today, we measured it for the first time. Two inches and counting!

We shall share our adventure with you, our daily measurments of its growth…just you wait! It gets very exciting after about two weeks!

Just to clarify: the Pink Pot is the one year old bulb. It hasn’t shown much growth yet. The Orange Pot is the two year old bulb, and it has taken off! (Interestingly enough, the older bulb had a LOT of roots…but the one-year old one had zero roots…only time will prove if that makes a difference. Though so far…it has!)

Day One - Tuesday the 6th of March.

Day 4, Friday the 9th. Something is beginning to happen!

Day 5 - begining to measure! Two inches exactly.

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