diy:. dip-dyed scarves.

I love dyeing things.  I just need to get that out there.  It's just such a fun, and generally quick, way to give new life to fabric materials and there are so many different techniques that you can use to create different results.  My favourite is ombre dyeing, where the colour softly fades from a deep, saturated shade to something much lighter.  I like soft things.  While flipping through Martha Stewart's lovely website I saw instructions on how to dip-dye scarves and I decided it was time to break out the fabric dye and salt baths again.

Dip-dyeing is the process of folding your material and then just dipping a portion of the end into the dye, so that when it is unfolded there is a pattern of dyed and un-dyed fabric.  It's super simple.  And of course you can incorporate ombre dyeing into this so that the transition from dyed to un-dyed fabric is much softer.  These scarves were super simple to dye and I absolutely love how they turned out.  You can never have too many scarves.  Especially in the freezing cold prairies.
you need:
_fabric dye that is appropriate for the fabric you choose.  i used RIT in royal blue and pearl grey.
_scarf. i used rayon ones ordered from Dharma Trading Co.  i ordered three of the 11" x 60" scarves and sewed two together to make the longer grey scarf.  they also offer cotton, silk and bamboo scarves for a super reasonable price.
_a plastic container large enough to fit the width of your folded scarf.  you won't be using a large amount of dye so the smaller the container the easier it will be to dye the depth of your scarf.
_pants hanger.  you can also use clothes pins.
steps based on martha's diy here.
1_accordion fold your scarf, pressing it flat with an iron.  larger folds equal more space between dye, smaller folds equal less white space. i found it easier to clip the scarf to the hanger after i had dyed it.
2_set up your dye station.  this is best to do outside, but isn't really that messy as long as you cover whatever surface you are working on.  prepare dye according to manufacturer's directions.  mine required 2 cups of really hot water for one packet of dye and suggested adding 1 cup of salt since i was dyeing rayon.  wet your fabric.  this helps the dye spread more evenly.
3_ dye your scarf.  you can either dip your scarf in until desired depth and leave for 10-20 minutes to get the deepest, solid colour, or if you want an ombre effect dip fabric in to desired depth for two minutes, then pull out of dye 1/4 of the way and leave for 5 minutes, pull out another 1/4 and leave for 10 minutes and leave the final 1/4 in for 15 minutes. ****important note, your scarf loses a ton of dye during the multiple rinsing processes, so even when you think your desired shade is reached, leave it in for longer, otherwise you will end up with a very pale scarf.  I rinsed my grey scarf again after I took these photos and it faded quite a bit more.  lesson learned.  but if that does happen, don't panic, you can always re-dye it!
4_rinse your scarves under cold water until water runs clear.  let folded scarf hang dry, either by pinning to a clothesline or on a hanger.  the manufacturer suggests letting it dry out of direct sunlight.  i unfolded my scarves after a few hours and let them dry full length and it went much faster. 
5_after scarves are dry wash with mild soap in warm water and rinse in cold water.  let dry, possibly iron out the wrinkles and wear!

The blue scarf is a little short to wear as a scarf so I plan on tying it into a headband most of the time.  I love all the ways you can wear scarves as headbands!
check out this post at a beautiful mess for more ways to wear your scarf as a headband.
Have a lovely week.  xo, T.

three tips for restyling a thrifted dress.

So one of my most favourite places to wander around is the Goodwill store a few blocks down from where I work.  In my opinion it's the best one in the city, the secret's out guys, try not steal all the good stuff now.  Generally/every time I end up coming home with something from the kitchen section.  How could I pass up a vintage pyrex juice pitcher for 40 cents or an awesome floral fire king bowl for 35 cents? So impossible.

I occasionally will browse through the clothing, but generally it tends to be ugly things from the 90's.  I was born in the 90's.  I'm quite done with 90's clothing.  HOWEVER there is occasionally something interesting amidst all the velvet dresses and awkward two piece dresses.  And it is usually in the plus size section, so I have learned.  Most of my favourite thrifted dresses are some giant size, like the one in this post, it's like a size 14.  This dress is a size 22. Yeah.  But there are ways to make these awkward dresses into something really awesome!
There are generally three tips that I follow when restyling an old dress:
1_cut it. 
 So many of those dresses have great potential but are really weird lengths.  An instant way to make it a little more modern and wearable is to cut it to the same length as one of the dresses you normally wear and hem it.
2_add a belt.
Rarely are thrifted dresses the right size, especially if you're like me and find that all the things you like are 8 sizes too big.  Adding a belt defines your waist and changes the silhouette of the dress.  This works best with dresses that don't already have a defined waist, like sheath dresses.
3_do something interesting.
Sometimes after cutting and hemming your dress it still isn't quite right, it needs something a little extra to make it perfect.  This could be adding a ruffle along the hemline, cutting off the sleeves and finishing the edges, or changing the neckline.  A little extra sewing can make a big difference in whether you actually end up wearing that dress you thought was so awesome for 30 cents.
This is what the above dress looked like when I first bought it for 50 cents.  The fabric and the "made in canada" label intrigued me.  And I liked the buttons.

I think my face says it all.  It has a definite dessert travelin', biblical times, sheep herder feel.
Or at least it did.  Until I cut it into a mini dress.
This is how I made it so much sweeter, using the above three guidelines.
1_using a rotary cutter and a ruler (and a cutting mat!) cut your new dress to your desired length, add an inch for hemming.  you can always cut it shorter, it's a lot harder to make it longer.  follow an existing dress if you're unsure of how long to cut it.  i cut mine pretty short, i don't really ever plan on wearing it without tights.
2_take in the sides.  i am all for flowy things. however, there was just a little too much fabric so I took in the sides, sewing about an inch away from the existing seam and then trimming the edges to 1/4" from the new seam to get rid of the bulk.  again, start small and try it on before taking it in some more.
3_you could either hem your dress at this point and be done with it, but i decided to add a ruffle to the bottom. start by cutting a strip of fabric to 3 - 4 times the width of your existing hem line and to whatever desired width, keeping in mind hemming will take up about an inch.  i didn't have any fabric that was long enough so i cut two strips that were four inches wide and sewed them together along one of the short edges.
4_hem the long edge.  i find it the easiest to sew 1/4 " away from one edge and then use the stitch line as a guide to fold the hem along that line so that the raw edge is pointing upwards. press.  fold over again so that the raw edge is now tucked in and not visible.  stitch about 1/8" away from the top fold.
5_sew the two short edges together and press seam open.
6_using a long stitch and without back stitching at either end, stitch around the top of the fabric.  then, gently pulling on top strings of either end gather the loop of fabric until it matches the diameter of your dress.  make sure the gathers are evenly distributed.
7_with right sides together, pin your ruffle to the hem of your dress and stitch using a regular length stitch.
8_trim threads, press ruffled edge down and you're done!  I decided to use an existing scarf as a belt but you could sew your own by cutting a strip of fabric to the desired length and then hemming all edges!
This little project took only a few hours and turned out to be something I would totally wear on a normal day!  I can't wait to see what I discover next time at the thrift store.  Have an awesome week, xo, T.

eat me:. mini chocolate pumpkin whoopie pies {& happy thanksgiving!}

Happy thanksgiving everyone, I hope y'all had a wonderful day.  I've had a lovely weekend getting to spend time with family, playing a million rounds of Dutch Blitz and getting to drink tea and watch movies while outside is a little cloudy and grey.

As mentioned last post, one of my most favourite parts of fall is getting to pick pumpkins, roast them and then make as many pumpkin flavoured things as possible.  Last year I made this cake which turned out amazing.  I was tempted to make again for this thanksgiving, but I decided to mix it up and try something a little bit different.  Namely, whoopie pies.  Whoopie pies have intrigued me for a while now, kind of like a bite-sized cake in the form of a sandwich cookie and absolutely nothing like pie, they seemed like the perfect treat for when you want something sweet and small.  And they are.  I was a little unsure about pumpkin frosting, but it is DELICIOUS and I would make it again in a heartbeat to frost any number of fall-flavoured cakes.
mini chocolate pumpkin whoopie pies. recipe adapted from martha stewart.

chocolate cookies.
1 3/4 C. flour.
3/4 C. cocoa powder.
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda.
1 tbsp. butter.
1/4 C. vegetable shortening.
1/4 C. sugar.
1/2 C. brown sugar.
1 egg.
1 C. milk.
1 tsp. vanilla.

in a mixer cream butter, shortening and sugars until pale and fluffy. add egg and beat for another few minutes.  sift together cocoa powder, flour, and baking soda.  mix together milk and vanilla.  starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding dry and wet ingredients to the sugar mixture.  mixing until just incorporated.  spoon two teaspoons at a time onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about two inches apart. bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until bottoms are darker brown but not burnt and tops spring back when touched.  let cool on a cooling rack before frosting.  makes about 40 cookies, enough for 20 finished whoopie pies.

pumpkin frosting.
1/2 C. cream cheese.
1/2 C. butter.
1/2 C. powdered sugar.
1/2 C. flour.
1/4 C. pumpkin puree.
a pinch of nutmeg.
a pinch of cinnamon.

in a mixer cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy, about five minutes.  add powdered sugar, flour and spices, mix. add pumpkin.  using an offset spatula or a piping bag spread the flat side of one cookie with frosting and place second cookie, flat side facing in, on top.

I hope you have a wonderful week full of things that bring you happiness. xo, T.


fall adventures:. pumpkin picking.

Every fall for as long as I can remember my family has driven out to Lockport on the thanksgiving weekend to eat at the Half Moon and pick out a few pumpkins from one of the family-run roadside stands along the way.  This year I requested that we go a week early so that I would have time to roast my sugar pumpkins and bake them into something delicious for thanksgiving!  Especially since this is the first thanksgiving in four years that I haven't had to spend at studio.  whoa.
This year we also stopped at Captain Kennedy's Tea House along the way, I have been literally going there since I was a baby.  That probably explains a lot.
It was the perfect Sunday fall afternoon, warm, sunny and full of beautifully coloured leaves.
I am very excited for this upcoming three day weekend, even though it did start snowing today. gross.  Fingers crossed for a sunny weekend though!  xo, T.

ps.  this is also my 80th blog post, somehow we're getting up there guys!  Thanks to everyone whose taken a peek at all of my little adventures!