Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...
While I photographed all of the kiddos' tie-dyed shirts, I get a case of blogger's block when I think of formatting & posting all of those photos like I did with Mack's & Addie's! I'll make it easy, though, and embed the Instagram posts here... and it just so happens that I have three posts to share!
No. 1 - Malina's (with a little help from her sibs & Nona):
No. 2 - Ginny's:
No. 3 - Junah's:
They did so great and had so much fun!!
Apparently, tie-dyeing 40+ shirts in a two-week timeframe with kids ranging from 3 to 16 kind of knocks me off my game! Lordy, it's been a busy month and a half -- even without all that!
The tie-dye parade continues with Mack's creations!
The two above are for his dad. The top one was kind of scrunched/gathered on the diagonal and sectioned off for dye application. The bottom one was swirled, of course. The yellow seems especially vibrant this year!
I should mention that we used Dharma Trading Co.'s Fiber Reactive Dyes, as always. I purchased Dharma's Little Group Kit a few years ago and we're still working with that, plus some extras. In the past, I've ordered some of their dyeable clothing, too, and also indigo. I have been extremely pleased with it all! This year, I purchased & pre-washed a variety of t-shirts -- all were 100% cotton, but there were a few different brands and I think there are subtle differences in how they took the dye.
Our colors were: Fuchsia, Lemon Yellow, Turquoise, Deep Purple, and Cobalt Blue.
This kind of "minimal swirl" is for his mom. I didn't turn it over, but I think it might be a bit more saturated with dye on the back!
These two are Mack's size. The one on top is his attempt at "crystal wash," and the bottom one was a pleated from the bottom to about the armpits and then rolled.
He used a lot more dye for his "crystal wash" shirt than Addie did, and also used more of the dark colors. I just love all the variations & differences!
The top shirt, above, with the patriotic feel is for Junah, and the lower one with the swirl was also intended for him... but more likely Ginny's size!
This is Ginny's tie-dye tank a la Mack...
...and this is Malina's. Malina ended up with two very vibrant, saturated shirts... they were so tiny, it was difficult to go "light"!
Similar to how Addie's shirt for Malina reminded me of the northern lights, Mack's "crystal wash" shirt gives me a very "nebula" feeling.
I feel like I could get lost in there!
There's another whole batch of shirts for Junah, Ginny & Malina to make for their mom & dad, Mack & Addie, and for themselves! I'm not sure I'd have been able to keep up if they'd all done it together. (My hair sort of stands on end just thinking about that!) I'm not sure it'll work out, but I think it would be super fun for the boys to be "camp counselors" at Nona Camp... if not this year, then definitely next!
I've already had a request for socks & other types of clothing/items for next year! You might have noticed that there wasn't anything for Davey in the boys' piles... lordy, can you imagine the number of tie-dye hand-me-downs that boy will already be subjected to??!!!
It's a little different this year -- they're all here earlier than usual and still working/in school, for the most part, plus passport renewals, vaccinations & haircuts, and Mack is doing his behind-the-wheel both with an instructor & with his dad -- but we're doing what we can, and squeezed in some tie-dyeing over the weekend!
We're happy as clams with whatever we get since we didn't even have a chance last summer!
We tried a new technique using the measuring cups/bucket, but mostly swirls and pleats and sections... and a lot of shirts!
I might have left them set longer if we hadn't had a lunch date yesterday along with rain in the afternoon forecast, but at least I remembered to correctly mix the dye and to soak everything in soda ash solution.
One of our biggest challenges over the years is remembering who tied & dyed what, so this year, for better or worse, I devised a system... putting a staple in the hem of each of Mack's shirts. I'm sure there's a better way (and I'd love to hear about it), but at least we were able to keep track of which shirts were Addie's & which were Mack's.
It was all official when Addie rubbed his ear...
...since the first Auntie Camp (indigo), it isn't official until someone (usually Addie) turns BLUE! Haha. (For the record, I have a very pink thumbnail!)
I photographed every shirt they made this year, so let's get started with Addie on parade!
Two shirts for his dad. The first is gray and was done using the "crystal wash" method in the bucket. Basically, it's soaked in soda ash, scrunched up and stuffed into a container, and squirted with dye. The other one looks like a combo swirl/scrunch.
A shirt for his mom, above (I think I bought a size too small, but it'll "work") that was scrunched & sectioned.
These are both his size. The first one was swirled from the bottom/side instead of the usual chest area, and it turned out pretty great (I'm sure that will be done again in the future!). The second was also done using the "crystal wash" method in a 4-cup measure... the dye is sparse but interesting.
These two were done with Junah in mind, though I think the bottom one will be a bit small, so Ginny's!
This one is definitely Ginny's.
And, finally, Malina's. Parts of this remind me of the northern lights!
I love tie dye because there's always a little bit of surprise and it's really hard to make a dud!
Stay tuned for Mack's parade, coming up tomorrow. ;)
I will continue to do Auntie Camp for as long as they're interested, and it will likely morph into Nona Camp at some point. I've hinted to Mack & Addie that they could be participatory camp counselors!
With the boys' departure on Friday, I still had the whole weekend ahead of me... and that was so nice! There was so much going on and things to keep track of that I'd actually written an itinerary and designated Saturday as a "Day of Rest." More accurately, I'd say that Saturday was a Day of Recovery in preparation for Sunday being a Day of Rest. Ha. Those couple of days to myself, more or less, were magnificent.
I sewed a pillowcase! I hadn't actually made one, myself, so got that out of the way right away on Saturday morning. There's still another one or two in my sights. And Ginny's "unicorn" project.
I took a nap! I cooked! I knit! I did laundry!
On Sunday, we attended Brunch down the hill at 313 Dodge, which was in collaboration with Kaukauna Coffee & Tea. Janel, Ali, and Kristin did an amazing job of it and I'm looking forward to the next one, likely in October (and, hopefully, not when I'm gone)!
It was all presented so beautifully! And what a great way to spend a couple of hours on a "recovery" Sunday.
There were even lavender sugar cookies packaged up for each of us to take home. (Yum.)
Since I really can't be completely idle, even in recovery/rest mode -- and, arguably, making & doing is actually a restorative practice for me -- I'd been gathering the last few necessary materials to finally tackle something that's been on my to-do list for a couple of years now.
Stencil cutting! I've had a stencil cutting tool kit for years and opened the package on Sunday for the first time. I'd ordered some stencil designs from The School of Making at Alabama Chanin, and had them printed. And, finally, a big roll of 10 mil mylar was delivered last week... ready, set, go!
I forgot that I'd actually intended to do the very straightforward Variegated Stripe Stencil for my first attempt at cutting, and instead randomly chose Paisley! Look at all those curves! Trial by fire, I guess... I certainly didn't think I'd get it cut in one session, but what did I know! It was fun & so rewarding! And I only singed myself a couple of times. :/ It's far from perfect, but it looks pretty darn good in the photo and I'm certain that once the fabric is painted, stitched, cut, and assembled into a garment, the flaws will disappear.
Speaking of Alabama Chanin... while my Car Coat project has not seen much action lately, I'm planning to continue working on it, and have cajoled Annie into having some virtual sewing sessions together! She still has a Swing Skirt project to finish. I'm also planning some other projects... another pair of Palazzo Pants, another skirt, and possibly another skirt. It hasn't all completely gelled yet... some of these will be big in physical size, but perhaps not so big/intense in the actual making.
On the last day of Auntie Camp, we SEWED! I'd pre-washed all the fabric and, during less active times, I'd go into my workroom and cut it all to size for our PILLOWCASE projects! I'd watched a wonderful Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on YouTube and just needed to jot a few notes for myself... measurements and the order of things.
Each pillowcase requires up to three fabrics -- main, cuff, and a little trim piece. I'd had each of the kids choose only two fabrics at the store on Wednesday, and chose the third/trim piece for each at my discretion... and in order to preserve my sanity!
Junah didn't really want anything to do with sewing, so was happy to get a little TV time while Mack & Addie & I started to pin and sew.
The boys did GREAT!! My new sewing machine is a Baby Lock Jubilant and one of the great features is speed control!
Luckily, Ann popped by and she took over the sewing while I started to rinse tie-dyed t-shirts on the driveway. They had to leave by early afternoon, and I was a bit rushed so I'm not thrilled with how they turned out (I'd have rinsed a bit more, washed at least one more time), but I have very little photographic evidence of the boys' shirts, anyway.
Those are some of Ginny's & Junah's, above (and more below), which I finished up in the afternoon.
You can tell what's seasonal at the fabric store by most of the kids' choices for their pillowcases:
Addie's is a less seasonal with the big checks. Ginny's is pink with llamas & cacti -- adorable! (She also chose some unicorn fabric...) Mack's is dogs in costume! And Junah's is just straight-up Halloween. The pillowcases were all finished with French seams, and they turned out so great! The boys loved sewing and I can't wait to scout some more projects for next year.
And then it was time for them to go... but, first, a pic!
Junah was photo-uncooperative again, but I snapped this one of all five kids as he made his exit (action shot)!
And, yes, Mack was just as smitten with Malina this year as last. So sweet.
It's a bit more of a challenge the past couple of years with the addition of Junah last year and Ginny this year, and the age difference between them and the boys. We make it work, but my documentary skills have fallen off a bit.
I threw t-shirts in the wash on Wednesday night, so we were ready to tie-dye right away on Thursday morning!
Oh my... this girl is growing up!!
Junah gets a little self-conscious sometimes and wanted to be away from the main action while he worked. He was very intent!
I had a panel set on some sawhorses for staging, a folding metal table that Mack & Addie used as their worktable, and had two perfectly sized small tables in the playhouse that I brought up for Junah & Ginny to use.
The boys had 10 shirts between them and the kiddos each had four... so 18 shirts we dyed! I'm still using many of the main supplies from the Dharma Trading Tie-Dye Little Group Kit that I bought a few years ago.
After cleaning up and lunch, Kate joined us and we met up with Ali & Malina to head up to Green Bay.
Junah's not much of a daredevil, but that worked out just fine! Ginny loved the Tilt-a-Whirl with Ali, Kate & Addie; Addie, Kate & Ali rode the Zippin' Pippin' roller coaster; some of us jumped on the carousel, and also on the longer of the train rides. Admission is free and ride tickets at this city-run amusement park are $.25 each, with most rides needing 1-2 tickets... the roller coaster requires all of 4 (so, $1/ride)! Seriously, it's the best deal in all the land. This year, someone handed us a fistful of tickets when we arrived, so I think I spent $5 (plus some concessions).
After Bay Beach, we headed over to Titletown, a park & development near Lambeau Field.
There are events & activities everyday, all year long, and on Thursday evenings in the summer it's a Night Market. Ali's been a few times and really enjoyed it, so we've had it on our list all summer. By the time we arrived, 1.5 hours after opening, her favorite food vendor was already sold out! We had to make do...
Hinterland accommodated us nicely... and refreshingly!
Then we headed over to the park for a bit...
The play area is AMAZING. There's equipment for all ages and abilities. And beyond that fence is a full-size football field open to all.
Ali took Ginny from there, so it was just the boys overnight at my house! We stopped at the store on the way home to get some Color Catchers in readiness for the reveal/conclusion of tie-dyeing on Day 3! We attempted to watch a Spiderman movie, but didn't get too far when Junah got a little scared... and then landed in our bed in the wee hours because of it! Holy cow, that boy is a flip-flopper and all arms & legs! Haha!
Priming for Wednesday's start, Mack & Addie slept over on Tuesday night. After breakfast, I gave them a knitting refresher. I had an engagement to talk to a bunch of kids about knitting at the coffee shop later in the morning and thought that perhaps the boys might assist (but zero expectation/pressure to do so).
I thought they were middle school kids, but turns out they were high schoolers -- about 15-16 of them, only one of whom already knew how to knit. It was the last outing/activity of their summertime class, and they were there for lunch, knitting, and journaling.
Mack & Addie laid low inside. Annie snapped a photo of me "teaching," but I look like I'm picking my nose, so you get a relaxed, knitting Mack instead.
I'd gathered needles over the past few months, wound yarn, made & printed a resources handout, and assembled a little bag of supplies for each person there... and cast on for each of them, too. I told them that knitting can be very relaxing, as was mentioned when I was introduced, but that learning to knit can be extremely frustrating (hence the casting on for them... we only had an hour and I didn't want to spend all my time on that). I did a little project show & tell so they could see possibilities other than sweaters, hats, slippers & mittens. I brought one of the Knitted Polar Bears I made for the kids, my Parcheesi afghan, my Bijouterie, and the recently completed Pineroot Wall Hanging, which was recently attached to a great stick that Rusty brought back from CA. Anyway, it went amazingly well with some successes, relatively few frustrations, and one "deserter" who said he'd rather crochet (something he used to do with his grandma) (ta-da, I had a hook for him). The coordinators sent feedback to Ali later in the afternoon and more than half the kids said it was their favorite event of the summer. Maybe there's a new knitter or two to emerge!
Right after knitting, we had an appointment with a photographer for family photos!
It was overcast but bright and the photographer had the kids close their eyes and then OPEN... except Ginny didn't get the memo. :)
Oh boy. Junah insisted on wearing his hat, and was generally uncooperative most of the time... which then rubbed off on Ginny, more or less. It was an adventure! I haven't seen any official photos yet, but here are some that Annie took...
And shutterbug Addie:
After photos, I took the kids and we went fabric shopping! Yes, I was the one at Hobby Lobby* with 3-, 5-, 12- and 14-year-olds! They chose fabrics for a sewing project I'd planned for a later camp activity, and we escaped with relatively little else (a couple of bandanas, some slime, a couple of stress balls). Junah was enthralled by the fabric cutting, and very complimentary of the cutter and her talents/experience! (It was adorable.)
We headed home, I tossed all the fabric in the wash, we got dinner going, and then it was a sleepover plus 2! Ginny ended up in our bed for a bit in the morning, but otherwise went off without a hitch.
*I would have preferred going to Joann's but I'd been there a day or two earlier and could not wait to get out -- the awful, awful scents for candles (or something) permeated the entire store and were so strong that they drove me out. I can't imagine working there. Addie is even more sensitive to that kind of thing than I am, and he'd have surely emerged with a killer headache (not to mention nausea).
Ali & I took the kids up to Bay Beach (not really a "beach") on Saturday and I learned that not only is there one overflow parking lot, there are TWO... it was SO BUSY! Perhaps it was because Bay Beach was recently ranked the 17th best amusement park in all of America by TripAdvisor! That is no small feat for such a tiny little park.
We started the day with beignets for breakfast! Ann & Brian spent a few days in NOLA while Mack & Addie were at YMCA camp, and brought us a box of Beignet Mix from Café Du Monde. Obviously, they met with approval!
After beignets, we had a change of clothes and a quick little photo shoot with the kids.
I still need to process the photos I took from this session -- the kids were cooperative and adorable -- but here's a screen shot that I nabbed from Kate's IG. That's me on the left, Ann on the right, and obviously Kate training a third lens on the situation. We'd been trying to do this since Ann arrived last month with those adorable coordinating outfits for Junah, Ginny, and Malina! (I still need to get the Mickey Mouse trio on "film," too!)
The running commentary on almost every photo that I posted of the kids during this visit was about Mack & Malina... was he ever gonna let her go?? My heart wants to burst every time I think of it... how sweet he is with her, and how they all get along so wonderfully.
At the park:
The train is always #1! This is actually a "new," second train -- a bit smaller in scale and on the north end of the park. It goes right under the Zippin' Pippin! Before we left the park, Mack & Addie took a ride on that rollercoaster -- after a bit of a delay when someone's seat belt was unbuckled as the ride began.
Junah and I took a ride on the carousel, and he was thrilled to get the red chicken! He's pretty fascinated by the mechanics of things -- looking up at the gears on the carousel, and very intrigued by the wheels & track beneath the Tilt-A-Whirl (above).
We had pizza for lunch and ice cream treats for dessert... nicely sharing an extra malt cup that I bought by accident.
In addition to the ticketed rides, there is a nice playground/picnic/pavilion area, as well, and there were a ton of people there for reunions, company functions, or just hangin' for the day.
We had a nice belated birthday celebration for Addie's 11th when we got home.
And they took off for Madison on Sunday morning... to Chicago on Tuesday and finally back to Valencia on Wednesday! It's about four months until Christmas, when we'll see them all again!
Thanks for sharing in our adventures!! Here's a little Eye Candy Friday bonus if you've reached this far:
The plan was to go to the swimming pool (for the first time all season!) on Friday night. We were a little bummed when it started to rain in the afternoon just as we finished wrapping up all the tie-dyed items for curing.
Well, okay, not everyone was bummed! Addie & Junah had a blast in the rain!!
"A raindrop got in my eye!"
It was a couple of hours before we intended to go, so we just hoped that it would blow over by then.
In the meantime, MACRAMÉ got underway!!
The boys didn't make a ton of progress in this endeavour -- distractions!!!
But I'll hold onto it all and maybe we can continue at Christmas time. Kate joined us for that activity and finished a plant hanger... and since then she's finished another, and another, and is currently dreaming up all sorts of ideas for future projects (not limited to plant hangers)!
Lo & behold, the rain did blow over and we met Ali & the girls down at the pool (while Ann & Brian made supper)!
Mack & Addie went down the big slide a few times, and convinced Junah to try it, too! It's the first year that he can do it alone. He said that it made his tummy feel funny, so once was enough!
We took an opportunity to wrangle the kids together at the side of the pool and I handed Ali my camera for some of my favorite photos of the weekend!
This is the first year in four that we didn't break out the indigo but don't worry, there was plenty of dye sloshing around!
The first step was to set up the garage. Thank goodness the weather improved a bit with slightly cooler temperatures and a lot less humidity. I cut open some large trash bags, taped them to the work surfaces, and made sure we had plenty of paper towels!
Next, we had to prep all the items that we wanted to die. We used rubber bands, string, marbles, and even a bamboo tiki torch to wrap a shirt around (because I couldn't find anything else pipe-like in a pinch) to twist, fold, and bunch up the fabric as desired/hoped.
Junah joined us this year...
When I put aprons on the boys, one of them remarked that they looked like doctors. When I gloved them up, Addie said, "Yeah, we're doctors of art!"
Jün wasn't really all that into the process, but he was more than content to be hanging around... riding his bike, and coming in to check on Mack & Addie from time to time. I rather left the big boys to their own devices because a) they've done this before, b) we dyed a lot more than last year, and c) I was mostly busy just wrapping things up to cure!
There were six adult shirts, seven for Gin/Jun, three onesies in a couple of sizes, and six for Mack & Addie!
Once wrapped, it was all left to cure for approx. 24 hours.
It's a blast to unwrap everything. I hosed off as much excess dye as I could, first just as it's unwrapped and then when unbound... and, man, there is a LOT of excess dye! Then everything is tossed into the washer...
...I ran four cycles in hot water and with Color Catchers (lots and lots of color catchers... thankfully, Kate was running errands and brought more)! I laid it all out on my bed yesterday morning so the boys could paw through and admire their work.
Here are a couple of faves (I think I did these):
A onesie, a swirl shirt Gin/Jün size, front & back of another Gin/Jün size. It's almost impossible to keep track of who did what...
Then we had some modeling and photos yesterday morning before Ann & family headed to Madison for the boys' Nana's 96th birthday party!
They're packing up and getting things done today, heading to Chicago on Tuesday to board their flight to Spain, where they'll arrive on Wednesday! We won't see them state-side again until Christmas... and I miss them already. It was a fun visit!
Ali came over later with the kiddos and they modeled, too!
Maybe you can see Ginny where already made her own mark on the one she's wearing... after finding a spray bottle of bleach/water that I had under the sink! (Uh-oh, Grandma's obviously slacking in the childproof department.)
We did a lot more than this at Auntie Camp... another post or two or three is in the works!
3rd Annual Auntie Camp commenced early Wednesday morning when Mack & Addie arrived at my back door!
It was a dreary and rainy start, so we decided to go to a movie -- something that was on our unofficial List of Possibilities, anyway. I don't think I've ever been to a 10:30 a.m. showing before!
We saw Despicable Me 3, and I didn't even fall asleep (as I am wont to do; close, but no Zs).
Later, after lunch and some errands, we tried our hand dyeing some silk scarves using The 5-Minute Silk Scarf method from Dharma Trading Co. I'd run across this tutorial when I was shopping for tie-dye supplies, and already had everything needed for the project except the silk scarves, so added a few to my order.
It was so easy, and really fun. Because we were using dry/powdered acid dye for this project, we needed to wear face masks -- so it felt a little science-y, too! The boys LOVED how their projects turned out.
Jun & Gin came over for a while! Jun was wearing one of the old boys' old Brasil soccer shirts, and Gin sported my first attempt at a romper from a t-shirt! I made that two years ago (OMG, wee Jun!), using a shirt with Addie's art (still one of my favorites)!
On Thursday, we got together with Ali & the kids and headed up to Bay Beach Amusement Park -- the best little park around!
The first thing on the list was a train ride! Junah was in HEAVEN... and didn't want to get off when it was over. Poor guy. He loves trains so much!!
While the little kids played on the playground, Mack & Addie & I took a ride on "Elvis' favorite" rollercoaster, the Zippin Pippin!
It's been quite a while since I rode a rollercoaster. Yikes! It sure is a nice view from up there, though. We also went on the Scrambler, one of my favorites from childhood (along with the Tilt-a-Whirl and Spider/Octopus). Mack & Ali & Junah went down the Giant Slide, and everyone but me took a ride on the Merry-Go-Round.
There were burgers & cheese fries, slushies & ice cream... everything you could want from a visit to an amusement park!!
On Friday, Maddy took the boys to Stevens Point for some kayaking.
I ran a few errands while they were gone, including delivery of the Mini-Me Hat & Beard and a stop at my LYS, Iris Fine Yarns, to get yarn for a new project. I also did a few things around the house, such as replacing the toilet seat!
We went to the opening of Settling the Ghost, an art exhibition curated by Kate (Young Space) at Standard Projects. There was great attendance, and I think the boys enjoyed it... though their favorite "exhibit" was on the snack table!
Rounding off a pretty busy day, Maddy built a fire when we got home, and we made s'mores!
Saturday was Tie-Dye Day! We'd been prepping shirts here & there over the previous couple of days, so we were ready to DO IT!
I guess I didn't take any photos of the process.
They tried swirls and sunbursts, and it was all about the application of the color. I'd purchased a Tie-Dye Kit from Dharma, along with a couple of extra colors and some of their ready-to-dye shirts (and a couple of onesies), plus some other shirts (both white & colors) that I had.
After applying the dye, the shirts were wrapped in plastic wrap to sit/set.
They'd held a few projects back to dye with indigo -- because it just isn't Auntie Camp unless someone turns blue! Haha. I was a bit more stern about that this time, though, because their big brother is getting married on Saturday. The dye comes off of skin fairly easily, but takes quite a bit longer if fingernails are involved.
The "magic" of indigo is more immediate than the tie-dye, and so fun!
I made the t-shirt for Junah, Mack dyed the tank for me. I love it, and wore it yesterday! There are more photos on Instagram.
Ali picked us up and we went to the pool to cool off. We ordered pizza for supper, and then Maddy walked with the boys to get some ice cream.
On Sunday morning, we were excited about the big reveal of the tie-dye projects!
There's a whole lotta water involved in that process. Wow. I unwrapped, rinsed with the hose on the driveway; the boys removed rubber bands, I rinsed with the hose again; rinsed again with warm water in the kitchen; did a rinse & spin cycle in the washer; hot/cold wash in the washer; and again. I put color catchers in with all of the machine cycles... and they caught a lot of color!
From left to right: Swirl shirt for Junah (I don't remember who applied the color); Addy's orange shirt with a shibori technique (kind of a dud); Mack's pleated shirt; Addy's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his dad; and Addy's tri-section shirt for his dad. The color in Mack's pleated shirt is a lot less vibrant and I finally figured out that we'd forgotten to soak it in the soda ash solution prior to dyeing!
The only major things left on our List of Possibilities was making bookmarks (collage/lamination) and knitting, and the boys chose knitting!
The boys are very different in their styles/technique -- learning/doing -- and Addie needs lots of breaks (bathroom, snack, drink, fiddling -- that gadget he has isn't even charged). And we moved a bit, from the pergola to the porch and, eventually, to the couch.
Ann & Brian were originally due on Sunday afternoon, but were delayed by weather so the boys stayed overnight on Sunday, too. They both worked on their knitting for a while before we turned on a movie (Sky High -- kinda cute), and it was so fun listening to them talk about how knitting is "magical" and "calming." Mack's talking about making a blanket, and Brian said that Mack made sure he had his knitting when they left my house yesterday -- he forgot his hat & sunglasses, but he had his knitting!!
That's a wrap for Auntie Camp v.3! Already gathering ideas for v.4. ;)
I am feeling much better, thank you! I was told yesterday that I sounded like Stevie Nicks... "sing something!" Haha. A bit less so today, and far less sniffly, too.
My sister leaves for Spain a week from tomorrow, and the boys a few days later. "Crazy" doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on: cleaning out, donating, selling, storing, deciding. Does it get packed? Does it stay? Does it go?
Add in the simultaneous family farewells and at least one trip to the consulate in Chicago! Cray-cray!
Meanwhile, Addy had a birthday last Monday! He was worried that it would be forgotten. No flippin' way! They happened to be on their way home from Madison that day, so we made plans for dinner. I set up a taco bar, which the kids loved. And baked a cake. Addy requested chocolate, so chocolate it was... one of the chocolate-iest cakes I've ever made. Seriously, the frosting looked like tar! It was so awesome. (Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is the secret ingredient -- recipe on the container. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it about :10 longer than specified. It was perfect.)
This is 9 years + 1 hour. I'm not sure what the broom was about... something to do with Jün, though, I'm sure.
We'd had another Aunty Camp scheduled for later in August, and the boys were both very concerned that it wouldn't happen at all. I was able to arrange my schedule a little bit, though, so they stayed overnight on Monday and we had "camp" on Tuesday morning!
We did "tie-dye" with Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol.
From the top: Mack's, Addy's, and a onesie that I made for Gin.
I wasn't intending for indigo dyeing to be part of this camp session, but the boys really wanted to do it. I had just enough time to mix up a quick 5-gallon vat while the t-shirts spun around in a hot dryer to set the ink.
And then threw them into the washer on "quick cycle." They are wet, above, and the color a bit intense because of it.
In a perfect world, I'd have let that ink set a bit longer -- or maybe set it with an iron -- because it did fade some in the washer. It's still pretty cool, though! And the boys were so happy.
Detail of Addy's marker designs. He wasn't happy with how his name was working with the marker, but it turned out to be a wonderful element of the design!!
They also tie-dyed a shirt for Jün!
I had previously done an experimental project on my own to get a feel for the Sharpie thing... and it turned out pretty hideous!
Thankfully, indigo to the rescue!!
There's already been some discussion about the next Aunty Camp! Who knows, maybe it'll be in Valencia! Based on discussion, it appears that indigo is an integral part of Aunty Camp, so I reassured the boys that we could do that anywhere! And they also request the return of knitting. LOVE!
My nephews arrived last Tuesday after soccer practice, and I delivered them back to their dad on Thursday at soccer practice. In between, we dyed in indigo, I taught them how to knit, we went to the local children's museum & out to lunch with Ali & Junah, they had an art lesson with Uncle Rusty, they did a little coloring, played games on their iPads ('til batteries ran out and we didn't have a means to recharge), they had soccer practice on Wednesday, we watched a couple of movies, and we explored in & around the house (like, where's the door to get outside from the basement?).
So intent! We used string, rubber bands, and binder clips (oopsie, some of them leave rust marks!). They each made a shirt for themselves and for their mom & dad. There was an extra shirt in their size, so I did that one, and I had a bunch of onesies that I folded and tied, plus we threw in that other pair of Rusty's shorts to "refresh."
I did buy longer gloves for this session! I figured that one hand out of four isn't too bad when we're talking 8- and 10-year-olds... that was one filled up glove!
After! So much fun.
At the museum... Junie is always moving!!
Some work on perspective (including amazing floating chair) and space (asteroid, comet, sun, earth).
They wanted to know about drawing faces, too, and Rusty gave them a great little lesson. Mack's a quick study!
The boys were also interested in an old typewriter that Rusty had in his studio. They finally convinced him to put some paper in it, and this is what they came up with. That sums it all up quite nicely and we're all looking forward to doing it again!
These were among the photos I posted on Wednesday morning when the boys and I made it out to the garage to start dipping our tied and bound garments into the indigo vat.
About an hour later, their big brother Sam posted a comment that included a link to a Guide to Child Labor Laws in Wisconsin! Haha.
I don't know why I chose those photos... that last one cracks me up even more after Sam's comment! In truth, they did do most of the "work," but only because they wanted to... and that allowed me to take photos!
The reality was more like this:
(Yes, they did wear pristine, white aprons...)
Boy, did we have fun!
It was our first-ever "Aunt Camp," and they want to come back... and stay longer! And my sister messaged me last night to say that they can't stop talking about it.
That makes me so happy. More to come... we were busy!!