August 27, 2013 | by stephanie
by Stephanie Gerber
Remember Cyd’s indigo love not long ago? Well, she’s not the only one crushing on the dark moody blue. Recently I played around with indigo dye, trying out several traditional Shibori techniques on pillow cases, sheets and hand towels. This is definitely a project you can’t mess up – the results look cool no matter how it turns out! Just remember to wear big rubber gloves. Because blue Smurf-like hands are not so cool.
- Indigo Tie Dye Kit
- Something to dye like pillow cases, sheets, hand towels – pretty much anything works!
- Rubber gloves. (Use big dishwashing gloves instead of the ones that come in the kit. Trust me. The blue takes forever to come off your nails.)
- Rubber bands
- Popsicle sticks
- Beads or rocks
First set up your indigo vat. Follow the package instructions to get the dye ready, and while it is settling (takes about 1/2 an hour) you can prepare the material. This is the fun part! You can fold, tie or bind the material in lots of different ways.
To make circles, pull the fabric into a point and put a rubber band around it. I used a few different sized wooden beads to vary the circles. You can also use rocks or beans or put more than one rubber band around the fabric.
I also tried the accordion method, which is a simple back and forth fold of the fabric. After folding, place wooden blocks or popsicle sticks on the outside and clamp in place with rubber bands. Again there are a ton of ways to vary the folding and clamping, and each one produces a different result.
The instruction kit has great pattern ideas to get you started, and you can also use basic tie dye methods. Just roll the fabric and use rubber bands to resist the dye.
Now you’re ready to dye! Note that this is best done outside as it can be a bit messy. Wet the fabric first and then, with your gloves on, submerge it into the dye bath. Keep it in the dye 1-2 minutes, moving it around gently. Take out the fabric and watch as it goes from green to blue as oxygen hits it. So cool! Let it oxidize for about 20 minutes and then rinse, untie and wash.
Two things to remember. First, if you want darker shades of blue you can dye the fabric more than once. Also, the indigo vat keeps for several days. I went back about a week later and dyed a pair of old white jeans – and they came out a gorgeous shade of blue.
So keep the dye around a few days because the more you look, the more things you’ll find that just might look better a moody blue. No old sheet is safe!
[Photos by Henry Happened for The Sweetest Occasion.]
The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo
Hooray! Today I’m excited to announce that the exclusive DIY bracelet kits I collaborated on with Darby Smart and Jewelmint are here! Have you guys checked out Darby Smart yet? They offer the coolest DIY kits, with all the supplies you need for every project, designed by some of the best bloggers and trendsetters going. Which kind of explains why I was thrilled to create two kits for them, each featuring a different Jewelmint bracelet jazzed up with simple supplies like paint, ModPodge and glitter to create really gorgeous and unique pieces you’ll love wearing. Each kit sells for $34, which includes the bracelet itself and everything you need to make it a show stopping statement piece.
The Rose Glitz Cuff is a gorgeous faceted, geode-inspired cuff all decked out in shimmery rose gold. I’m kind of crazy about it and plan to sport mine on the regular. You can buy the kit here to have your very own!
The Covet Cuff plays on one of my favorite design trends of late – black and gold! I love the chunky links of the bracelet and the hit of black just makes it extra cool. I can already see this bracelet as my go-to piece for dressing up jeans with a graphic tee. You can buy the kit here!
Beyond including all the supplies you need in one convenient kit, I love how simple each of these projects are. You’ll be looking and feeling like a rockstar in no time. Pop on over, check out the kits (here and here) and let me know if you pick one up. I’d love to see how your bracelets turn out! (Oh and the kits are available for a limited time only so don’t miss it!)
[Top photo by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. All others by Darby Smart.]
This post is in collaboration with Darby Smart. Thank you for supporting the collaborations that help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on! Read more about our editorial policies.
Last week I made homemade carrot cake for the very first time. I’ve long made all my cakes from scratch, amassing a catalog of dusty flour-covered recipe cards in a tin box. But for whatever reason, carrot cake had never made it into my repertoire. However, it was B’s birthday last week and his special request was carrot cake and because I’m in the habit of fulfilling the confectionary requests of birthday boys, I was all over this one. In fact, just recently I had bookmarked two carrot cake recipes by Hannah over at Honey & Jam and Kristina of Lovely Morning, so when it got to be carrot cake baking time I took inspiration from both of their recipes, mixing and matching the parts I liked best from each. And now I’m dubbing this The Perfect Carrot Cake. It was that good. B has declared that I will be making it all time. I think you should make it, too!
I skipped the walnuts and dried fruit typical of carrot cake, namely because B is allergic to walnuts and not a massive fan of raisins. So for this first go I decided to just stick with a simple, delicious cake loaded with that rich spiced flavor that makes carrot cake so darn good. At the last minute I decided to add a little extra something-something to the cream cheese frosting by adding a dash of Baileys Hint of Caramel so feel free to play with the flavor profiles a bit and see what strikes your fancy. I doubt I’ll make it exactly the same way twice!
For the Cake | Makes (1) two-layer cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 T baking powder
- 1-1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 2 T cinnamon
- 2 t ground nutmeg
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 T vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups grated carrot (6 – 8 large carrots)
For the Frosting | Makes enough for (1) two-layer cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- (2) 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 T vanilla
- 1-1/2 oz. Baileys Hint of Caramel (optional)
- 1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Line (2) 9″ cake pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour each liberally.
In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Set aside. In a stand mixer or larger mixing bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar until well blended. Then add vegetable oil and vanilla, combining well. Add dry ingredients and mix well, then add carrot and mix to combine. Split the batter, pouring half into each of your cake pans. Bake for 30 – 38 minutes, baking just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes, then turn out of the pans onto a baking rack and allow the cakes to finish cooling.
While the cakes are cooling, whip together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whipping to combine well. When your frosting is made and the cakes are completely cooled to room temperature, frost your cake and enjoy, being sure to add a generous helping of frosting in between the layers. Bon appetite!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Hi, guys! I’m sorry it’s been so quiet around here this week. We’ve been gearing up for our huge annual camping trip. I’m talking no fewer than roughly 18 kids, near twice as many adults, on an island accessible only by boat. Where we spend the days literally doing little else but kayaking, fishing, reading books, chit chatting around the fire and cooking up massive feasts fit for an army. This morning the car is packed up (with barely enough room to fit ourselves, mind you) and we’re off! By 8am we should be pushing away from the dock and headed out for three days of internet-free bliss. Because, let’s face it – sometimes you just need some internet-free bliss in your life. We’ve been looking forward to and talking about this weekend all summer!
[Photo by Sincerely, Kinsey.]
Before I sneak off, I just want to thank you so much for your unending support. Thank you for being here each week reading along with my ramblings. If you need an extra dose of inspiration this weekend, check out a few of my recent posts over at Babble. And have a beautiful weekend! Because you deserve it. Much love – see you on Monday! xoxo
I can’t believe the summer is winding down, but there’s no denying that fall is just around the corner. Here in our neck of the woods, school starts up in a couple weeks so for most people with kids it’s a flurry of back to school shopping, sorting through school supplies list and generally just preparing for the upcoming school year at the moment. An oldie but a goodie from the archives, I love these back to school printables that Jenny of Hank + Hunt designed. They’re perfect for celebrating the first day of school in particular, featuring everything from a sweet little banner to notes of encouragement to tuck in your little one’s lunch box. And don’t forget the cupcake toppers! You know how I love a good cupcake topper. Pop on over to download them for free and kick off the school year with a bit of party! (Because I love any excuse for a party.)
[Photos by Hank + Hunt for The Sweetest Occasion.]