Bleach-Resist Dyeing, or Custom-Printed Fabric for Cheap

You will need, in addition to fabric:

Bleach (duh)
Vinegar (quite a lot)
Freezer paper
An iron
A spray bottle

The process works best on a solid-colored cotton or cotton-blend fabric. Black is the most dramatic but can be unpredictable: some blacks bleach to gray, some to brown, some to red.

Your end result will be a silhouette printed against a background of mottled and marbled bleach-splatter. Fine detail doesn’t always make it, so anything you can reproduce by sketching with a Sharpie or other blunt felt-tip is best.

Draw your design out on the DULL SIDE of the freezer paper. If you’re adapting a design, you can trace it with the Sharpie. (Note I say “adapt,” not copy. Copyright laws exist, so stick to the Fair Use guidelines.) Cut it out (embroidery snips are useful for narrow parts and interior cuts) and iron it onto your fabric, GLOSSY SIDE DOWN. (T-shirts are an inexpensive practice material and will give you unique leisure wear.)

Check the placement--you can lift and reposition it once or twice without harm.

Now place the fabric on a waterproof surface (especially important for a shirt--insert plastic between the front and back) and spray it liberally with a mixture of one-third bleach and two-thirds water, freshly mixed. Interesting effects can result from adjusting the coarseness of the spray, but if you use a FINE spray, be sure to cover your mouth and nose. Breathing bleach is neither fun nor healthy.

You will be able to watch the color fade in a matter of seconds. Touch up any missed areas and watch them develop, then take the entire thing to the sink or shower and rinse off the freezer paper. Once the paper is off, plunge the fabric into a bucket of half vinegar, half water.

Wring out and wash as usual.

Thus far I have made his-and-hers Raven shirts for us, as well as a "cascading guitars" print for him and an equine silhouette for me. T-shirts are cheap, bleach and vinegar fairly so, and one roll of freezer paper will last you for dozens if not hundreds of designs.

Fair warning.

Anyone who made the peach recipe here ( ), be warned. The peach "honey" has crystallized.

No, not like real true honey, in tiny crystals you can stir and spread anyway. In huge honkin' chunks of peach-flavored rock candy surrounded by peach syrup.

Seriously, one was the size of a walnut.

While tasty, it is not at ALL what I canned last year and difficult to spread on toast. (Bet the syrup part will knock yr socks off over French toast or armeritter, though.)
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Harley Owners Need Dependable Alternatives

Well, we're trying again. And THIS time it's no mechanic's special.

Meet the Black Shadow, another Honda:

We saved enough money this time to buy a rideable, workable bike that doesn't need sixteen fixes before it's roadworthy.

The minor issues that do need addressing (because we didn't save up a TON of money)

Bars. The factory buckhorn bars are angled wrong, though they're close enough for now.
Forks/seals/springs/pressure. It has a tendency to dive, which issue is the cause remains to be seen.
Tires. They're old, need replaced.
And the turn signals seem to be stuck on with silicone caulking, FFS. (What are these people THINKING?)

Regarding that last one (WTF are they thinking??), we had to peel a lot of stickers and chrome-mylar tape off the damned thing. What grade are you in, for petesake? Stickers! One dragon sticker, one dolphin sticker, and a Harley emblem glued onto a plastic cover. (Haven't figured out how to loosen the Harley bling, but again, who do you think you're kidding, anyway? It's a HONDA...)

By the way, the title of the post? It's an acronym, for those who haven't realized. ;-D
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    jubilant jubilant


Sunday I was struck down by a migraine , but still managed to teach my class on Travel Foods of the Fur Trade Era (1800-1840). I had seven students plus two kibitzers who hadn’t signed up but came along anyway. The pemmican and dried beef were tasted and pronounced “interesting”, which is par for the course. (Not jerky, dried beef: innocent of any seasoning, even salt. The modern palate isn‘t used to it.) I also showed a sample of "portable soup" and demonstrated that the hardtack we made was done by banging it hard on the counter, raising a laugh at the resulting woodlike “knock, knock.” (The ‘tack doesn’t break when you do this either.)

I didn’t take any classes after that, instead choosing to lie down quietly in my tent to try to sleep off the migraine. (Partial success, it eased up some but didn’t totally go away.) I got up again in time for the raffle drawing (for a brazier and a collector’s doll) and awards ceremony.

It turns out that I took third place in the Seneca run and second AND third place in the canning contest! I won a bar of homemade herbal soap, an enamel percolator coffeepot, and a lovely beaded-leather neck pouch as a consequence. For my door prize I seized on a soapmaking kit with a book on the process, various ingredients (including some quite expensive essential oils) and a bar of the soap we made Saturday.

Breaking camp during a migraine attack was interesting in an emesis-laced sort of way. (Bending over for tent stakes is NOT a good thing.) I had little to pack up, though, and got all those yards of wet canvas stuffed into the car with everything else, including the unexpected and generous gift of a wooden chair.

The canvas is draped over most of the front porch right now, drying.

It's fun even in the rain, but I'm glad it's only once a year. I missed my Grey.
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    cold cold


The next day I got up around OMG-IT’S-EARLY, or 6 am. (Considering Grey works the swing shift and we usually go to bed around three AM, this is a major shift.) I lit a fire by cheating and using matches because it kept @#$% raining and everything was damp. After coffee and an egg, I felt more human and went to register for classes. I chose to take a class on soapmaking, taught by a good friend of mine, and a seminar on the colonial custom of the quilted petticoat and its construction. There was a breakfast buffet as well, featuring fruit, bread, biscuits, a couple coffeecakes and some storebought doughnuts, so I supplemented my egg with some fruit and biscuits.

Saturday the class offerings included a rifle class for new shooters, but I didn’t feel the need since I am already competing with Dead Center. The evening buffet was just as sumptuous as the previous day, with the notable additions of some Scotch eggs, herbed cheese curds, a nameless but tasty casserole of chicken and potatoes, peanut butter fudge, and a chocolate cake covered in white and dark chocolate shavings. There was no Dutch Oven contest this year, instead a Canning competition was instituted. I entered a jar of raspberry jam and a jar of peach chutney.

The usual council fire was somewhat inhibited by the constant showers, so most people socialized at one another’s tents, gravitating to the ones with awnings. (Mine doesn’t.) I set my own soaked mocs aside and borrowed a pair from the common pool known as Grandma’s Closet, but those quickly soaked through as well.

I entered the Seneca Run again this year, which had a boobytrap in it: everyone had to FIRST don a pair of oversized pants, then finish the run while still clad in them. The rest was fairly standard: shoot one arrow at target, pack a blanket into gunnysack, shoot rifle at target, stack wood, throw ‘hawk at target (this part was out in the rain, the rest was under the roof of the firing line), run back to starting line and shuck pants off. Time. I garnered some admiration by choosing to do so barefoot (my soaked moccasins were more of a hindrance than a help) even at a run over gravel.

The evening went much the same way, due to unrelenting precipitation.
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    busy busy

Women's Primitive Skills Weekend 2013: Friday

Well, here's the tale, divided up by day.

I absolutely hate dealing with wet canvas. Let’s get that out of the way right now. It’s heavy, the smell gets old after a few hours or DAYS of constant wet-canvas-smell, and let’s not talk about the mildew issues. D-:<


Much fun was had by all.

The first day I arrived at ten-thirty, just in time for registration. I signed up for a class on making quill pens and then had a couple hours’ break, during which I ate some lunch, got dressed (1837-Plains-type tradecloth dress & accessories) and set up my camp. (Wedge tent, iron firepit, folding table, wood & canvas folding cot, and a Rubbermaid tub of clothing which I carefully covered with a blanket so as to remain Primitive.) I then got “drafted” into a class on butter churning that was under-registered (only one student, so I sat in on it anyway).

Later in the afternoon I had a class on weaving (a variation on fingerweaving) before it was time to prep for the nightly potluck. I brought Bourbon-Glazed Apples En Brochette, a recipe of my own invention that involves simmering quartered apples in a syrup of brown sugar, butter and bourbon until they’re almost done, then threading them onto skewers to glaze them over an open fire.

Other offerings included potato salad, fruit, pasta salad, broccoli salad, chili, cornbread, barbecued pork ribs, barbecued beef ribs, meatballs in tomato sauce, chicken ala king, corn and quinoa casserole, sourdough French bread, biscuits, fettucini with Italian sausage, stewed chicken, chorizo stirfry with peppers and onions, a plate of pickles including pickled okra (one of my favorites), brownies, cheesecake, dump cake, apple cake, chocolate bread pudding, German chocolate cake, lemon cake, carrot-and-zucchini cake, oatmeal cookies, and a very boozy trifle made with strawberries and pineapple marinated in brandy.

I went visiting some before bed, being careful to bring extra candles in my possible bag so as not to have to fumble around in the dark back at my own camp. I brought the Ginormous Bedroll of Doom on the premise that it's better to have it and not need it, etc., and used one wool blanket and one quilt underneath with four quilts and one wool blanket on top. I was perfectly warm and comfy, though a cot has its drawbacks.
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    content content

The Wheel of Time grinds to a halt, fourteen books later.

Brandon Sanderson did okay finishing the series, but not great. The two authors do have different styles, although it's hard to point definitively at some passage or turn of phrase and say with certainty, "This was written by Jordan, and this by Sanderson."

The last volume reads as though it were rushed into publication. There are errors in continuity that should have been caught in the second, third, or final draft.

Example, in chapter 17:

A character (no spoilers!) is brought before a ruler, hands bound. After a couple pages of dialogue, he "extends a hand" with no mention of bonds removed.

Another case has a character kneeling before a ruler, then a couple paragraphs later the text describes the act of kneeling again. No mention of the character rising.

Minor things, but annoying when repeated. The all-caps formatting toward the end of the book got to be annoying also.

The deepest difference I found was in the battle scenes. They seemed...awkward, flat somehow. Descriptors were changed from previous books, sometimes jarringly. Some endings seemed facile.

I can see what Jordan envisioned, but it's like a half-finished painting from the Old Masters: one where I presumed, myself, to take brush in hand and attempt to complete it. The seams are visible and the flow just isn't there.

Why The Martha Irritates Me, part nineteen or thereabouts

I was sick today and dozed off on the couch, and when I woke up The Martha was doing her trademark song and dance about...white sauce.

Of course, she couldn't just CALL it white sauce, that would be too common. She couldn't namedrop then, as she did while chuntering on about how Chef Soandso taught her to use a "bechamel" to make macaroni and cheese. And this was all in that sanctimonious, smug, know-it-all tone of voice.

Bitch, please.

Betty Crocker has been telling us to make a WHITE SAUCE for macaroni and cheese since before The Martha was damned well born.
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    irritated irritated

I know, I know, I shouldn't watch these things. It just makes my blood pressure spike.

After all, Sandra Lee pretty much made the ultimate deadpan joke about her show a few years back.

But sometimes, I trip over the show while surfing or after I've been doing something else and it comes on the Food Channel.

Today, she advised us that making your own raspberry preserves takes a terribly long time (come ON, it's as simple as making jello, and doesn't Jell-O corporation advertise Even the children can make it?)

But we'll pass over her delusions about raspberry jam being 1. worth buying (it's not) and 2. a lot of work (see above) in favor of criticizing her practice of poisoning one's guests.

Apparently today's menu was "light". Reduced-fat soup, fine. But for the dessert the viewer was instructed to layer sugar-free Jello pudding (hello?) with storebought cookies, and Ms. Lee then chirped, "Nobody will know it's light!"

Newsflash: everyone with aspartame sensitivities will as soon as the migraine hits. You bitch.

It's not nice to hide shit in your food and not tell people. I warn others (as with my famous Moosehead Gingerbread, since most people don't expect pork in their gingerbread--I do use lard to bake with from time to time) because people have allergies and dietary restrictions and so forth.