Boyten's blog

Make do and mend with Oh Sew Kitty

Creativity begins at home

With all the rain that we’ve had lately I’ve got to thinking about making the most of staying indoors and being creative at home.  Wherever I’ve lived –  from tiny bed sit to flat to house – I’ve always made it a priority to dedicate even the smallest area to something creative, whether it be a simple collage of my favourite postcards, colour coordinating my toiletries (it’s a girl thing!) to shelves dedicated to my craft supplies and/or works in progress.  I have recently discovered the joys of fridge magnets and the many creative variations now available.  I’m loving the fact that the family blooper photos are steadily taking over the side of the fridge not dedicated to sensible notes and reminders and I can see the potential for a bumper blooper collage! 😉

Looking around my kitchen – and putting aside any distracting housewife thoughts of oh-I-must-do-that – I can see three items that have the potential to enable my creativity.  It’s quite interesting and refreshing to think of the cooker, the washing machine and the dishwasher as creative tools.  I’m keen to try hand-dying techniques using vegetables which have passed their sell-by date and I’m naturally drawn to the idea of using beetroot to produce various hues of this vibrant colour.  Thank you cooker – you’re not just there to refuel my family!

My washing machine has come up trumps with some home-dyeing experiments and I’m now the proud owner of  a very nice selection of brightly coloured cushion covers, rug, new-lease of life jeans and a lovely selection of colour coordinated fabric swatches.  Your washing machine experience need never be the same again! 😉 Feeling slightly uncomfortable though about the environmental impact of the dyes having looked at the back of the pack so will need to either make my views known to the manufacturer or concentrate on the more natural dying process.

Close-up of home-dyed Indian cushion - originally a boring peach colour. Love the way the dye has picked up the cotton background fully and the contrast of the more subtle effect it has had on the wool embroidery.

Close-up of home-dyed Indian cushion – originally a boring peach colour.
Love the way the dye has picked up the cotton background fully and the contrast of the more subtle effect it has had on the wool embroidery.

Scrap fabrics given a new lease of life having gone through the washing machine with a compatible fabric dye.  I wonder what I'll make with these lovely shades?

Scrap fabrics given a new lease of life having gone through the washing machine with a compatible fabric dye. I wonder what I’ll make with these lovely shades?

 

 

Love how the original colour comes through the new shades of dye.  Can't wait to get started on this lovely lot!

Love how the original colour comes through the new shades of dye. Can’t wait to get started on this lovely lot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The washing machine has also produced some great results when set to its highest temperature.  I deliberately shrunk a woollen charity shop bargain, chopped off the sleeves and converted them into leg warmers.  I just rolled the top section over to even them up and make them look presentable and found that I didn’t even need to sew any frayed bits in place.  If you’re going to try this yourself you may find that a touch of fabric glue does the trick too.  I really appreciated the warmth of the leg warmers a few weeks back when it was a bit chilly and compared to the shop-bought ones they were actually better in terms of practicality – the clue’s in the name after all – leg WARMERS! lol.  They’re perfect for dog walks or other walking pursuits where no one basically cares what you look like!

 

Felted sleeve cut from sweater

      Felted sleeve cut from sweater

Eh voila!  A sleeve is now a lovely warm leg warmer.

Eh voila! A sleeve is now a lovely warm leg warmer.

 

There’s a surprising amount of info out there on the web about the alternative uses for a dishwasher.  I haven’t quite embraced the concept yet as I have to dispel my (probably unfounded) worries about breaking the machine.  I am nevertheless intrigued about the potential for using, what is essentially just an enclosed space for hot water to collect and be used for projects such as felting or steaming.  Funny how worries can dissipate if you are able to think about things in a different way…  Come to think of it, I did originally have reservations about putting dye in the washing machine and boy am I glad I got over that one!  Anyway, watch this space is all I can say at the moment!

It really is time for me to do some regular housework as I’m really starting to notice the pile of dishes and dirty clothes in the corner of the kitchen so I will draw my ruminations to a close.  Quite nice though to see the kitchen in a different light.  Best be off though and get my ball and chain back on…;)

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2014 by and tagged , .
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