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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Don't call it a comeback ... or do.

Well, well, well... What do we have here?  A mighty neglected blog, I would say.  You've been weighing on my heart recently, blogfans, and I am here to officially announce that I'm back in action.  It has been over a year since my last post, and I just can't believe it.  I've got some big announcements coming up and plenty of blog ideas / projects that I've piled up while I didn't have time to actually sit and write the posts.

Disclaimer:  This next chunk of yada yada yada is going to be aaaaaall about my life for the last year.  For the shoe tutorial, scroll down a little bit.

Last winter, things got a little overwhelming trying to balance work, blogging, and being a full-time biology major.  There was no time for blogging at the end of Spring term, because it was off to camp I went.  I spent my 20th summer at camp as an admin at a super amazing Girl Scouts camp, and I'm going to another one this summer!  Yay! After camp last summer, I moved to southern Oregon with the fella (we'll call him "Mainah", since he is indeed from Maine and sometimes gets a really cute New England accent... especially when he says "wicked" instead of "really"). We live in the smallest apartment outside of Manhattan.  Okay, it's not that small, but it requires imaginative, functional decorating.  People say to us all the time, "There are only two of you!  How much room do you really need?"  That question does not earn a response from me.  I have a craft closet of sorts that is overrun with camping equipment.  I finally found my desk/worktable surface under the avalanche of who-knows-what that was piled on it for far too long.  We are fairly settled right now, and since I'm headed back to camp in 3 months, there's no better time to get this show on the road.  I have missed blogging almost every single day since my last post.  I am not going to promise daily posts, but I will make some commitments to myself and my blog:

  1. I will post at LEAST once a week, by Saturday night.  Rain or shine, there's going to be some magic.
  2. I will practice my "blogtography" skills. I am by no means a photog and it shows... I'll try to make my pics as pain-free to look at as possible.  
  3. I will remember that this blog is a creative outlet and journal of sorts.  Not pressure, no stress, just fun.
On to the good stuff...  I would love to share with you some of my favorite projects from the past year! 

Dip-dyed Shoes
I should start by telling you that as a "camp person"  I have worn an unreasonable amount of tie-dye in my life.  Do you remember that weird period in the late 90's when tie-dye wasn't cool and it made you look like a throwback 70's weirdo?  Yeah... I was that kid.  Flash forward to the 2000's and it came back!  It's starting to fade a bit in popularity again (to my dismay), but there is a sweet newish trend --Ombre-- that everyone is loving right now.  I think these shoes make a great transition for people who love the hand-crafted effect, but have less of a HEY-LOOK-AT-ME-I-JUST-CAME-HOME-FROM-SUMMER-CAMP look.

I will say that the Ombre effect of the black pair is somewhat lost in this photo, but that's what I get for using my old cell phone.  Since these pics are about a year old, I can't exactly re-take the photos, but trust me when I say this was a fun and easy craft, and possibly the most useful thing I've ever crafted.  I flat wore these out!

To start, all you need is a couple of pairs of canvas sneakers (I picked mine up at Goodwill for $1/pair), some dye (I like the liquid Rit dye because it's so easy to manipulate the "strength" of the color, and because it comes in real colors people wear, not just lime green and hot pink).  You may also choose to use a "dipping container" rather than just filling a sink or bucket.  It allows you to waste a LOT less of the dye.  I used empty bottles out of the recycle bin.

 Step 1:  Remove laces and anything else you don't want colored.  I left the insoles in, but you could snatch those out if you don't want them to have the ombre effect.  I will say that I wore dark socks for about the first week I wore them just in case, but I never noticed any dye bleeding.
Step 2: Fill your dip stations.  I kept a little of the undiluted purple aside to do my laces dark.  It was just the look I was going for.  I left the other pair white.  Since the rubber and eyelets don't change from white, you may want to leave the laces white.  It's up to you!

Step 3: Dip!  There are many different techniques, and since my hands were full, I don't have pictures.  Don't freak out about dye getting in the wrong places because either it won't show, like on the insides/bottoms of the shoe, or it won't matter, like on the rubber and eyelets, where it won't stick. There is a lot of individual style and technique involved (just like in tie-dye), but I'll share some of my faves:
  • Ombre: submerge your shoe completely under the dye and sing your favorite nursery rhyme, then pull it out a couple of inches and repeat the process until your entire shoe is dyed.  Depending on the strength of your dye and the material of your shoe, you may want to time about two minutes between raises.  Go shorter times rather than longer, because if you pull a shoe out and it's not the desired shade/darkness, you can just dip it in and repeat the process.  It will get a bit darker each time.
  • Alternative: Try doing this technique but start with it only dipped half-way up the shoe.  Flip the shoe over an repeat for the same amount of time.  Your outcome would be a dark-light-dark effect... very cool!
  • Dip-dye: I did the "ombre technique: with purple dye, then briefly dipped the toe and heel in the black for a multi-color look.  
  • Alternative: For a brighter, more colorful look, you could dip one end 2/3 down with yellow and from the other end, 2/3 with blue and you would get a yellow-green-blue shoe!
Step 4: Let it dry overnight.  I put mine out in the garage, but at the time I was living in Eugene, OR, where it's rainy and cool and things DO NOT dry overnight.  If you live somewhere balmy, throw them out back on a sunny afternoon.  Once they're dry (or have been wet for at least 12 hours)  toss 'em in your washing machine and follow the directions on your dye packet for rinsing/washing.  That's it!

This (and the pic at the top) is as close as I have to a good "after" shot.  I promise I will get better at taking pics, and I can't apologize enough for the quality.  Please give it a shot because these pics don't do it justice. I would love to see some of your creations (and photography skills)!

Thanks for sticking with me through this post, I'm a little rusty, but it's great to be back.  I would love to hear what you think.  I'm going to be posting crafty, foodie, and who-knows-what-else in the near future, so stop back by.  Feel free to "follow" so you can keep up with all my adventures.  If you enjoyed the tutorial, please share!

[Linked up to:  Make It Wear It Thursday Transformation Thursday Under $100 Linky Party

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  1. I love them! Where do you buy the plain white shoes for a decent price?

    1. I bought mine at Goodwill (where I'm always trolling the waters for something I can up-craft), but I think they run under $15 at most big-box retail stores. I much prefer non-profit or local thrift shops. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. how fun! I have always loved tye dyed stuff!