11/12/2014

Thanksgiving Napkin Invitations // Sam I Am I Do

Every year since moving to New York, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving.  One of my favorite parts is making the invitations.  This year I decided to make napkins and send them to all my guests.  I like thinking of my friends bringing the napkins to Thanksgiving and then keeping them so they can have a physical memory of the day.  To be honest, these napkins are semi-homemade, but still take a little time to make.How To Dye Napkins // Sam I Am I Do

First I went to Ikea and bought some cheap dish towels.  I love the simple patterns and thought they would look great over-dyed.  Then I did some research and found a product called iDye.  iDye allows for easy dyeing at home, and it is even better if you have a washer and dryer in your house.  I unfortunately do not, unless you count the washers and dryers in the creepy basement of my apartment building.  So I bought a large stock pot to use for the stovetop dyeing method.  It is important I emphasize that all materials used should only be for dyeing and never used for cooking EVER.  I think iDye could do a better job of stating this.  It is also really important to work as cleanly as possible and avoid spilling dye.

The process was pretty simple.  I chose Emerald Green and Gold Ocher.  First, fill a pot with hot water and drop the dye packet in.  Then add the wet fabric, bring to a boil, add salt, and stir for 30 minutes.  Then I popped them in the wash with Synthrapol (a powerful soap that helps remove all dye) and dried them in the dryer.  They came out really bright – too bright. YIKES! Toning Down With Black Tea // Sam I Am I Do

So I decided to try to try to use black tea to tone them down, all 100 bags.  I basically did the same dyeing process as with the dye packets, except with the tea.Dyeing with Tea // Sam I Am I Do

That definitely helped with the Emerald Green, but I still wasn’t happy with the Gold Ochre.  So I ordered Turquoise, and did the process all over AGAIN to make it a little greener.  In the end, I was satisfied with the results.Invitation Assembling // Sam I Am I Do

I ended up sewing a satin stitch in bright pink for a little pop of color. Pop of Color // Sam I Am I Do Close Up of Satin Stitch // Sam I Am I Do

I then assembled the acorn and squirrel invitations and placed them in a large envelope with lots of stamps and a little pop of pink to bring it all together.Invitation Envelope // Sam I Am I Do

I ended up ordering all my dyeing supplies for Dharma Trading Co..  They have a lot of great supplies for anyone interested in textiles.  I would definitely recommend!

10/06/2014

Trick To Trimming Candlesticks // Sam I Am I Do.My best friend always lights candles before dinner, even during the most casual of occasions.  I didn’t realize how instantly dreamy dinner can become over candle light.  Definitely a “duh” moment for me.

So I recently purchased some vintage candlestick holders and found some beeswax candles at the Greenmarket.  Of course the candles and candlestick holders were not a perfect fit.  After a little research, I found that a vegetable peeler is a great way to accurately trim the base of a candle stick.  Simply shave the candlestick base by rotating the candle in your hand.  Be sure to check as you go!

A few other tips:

-If the candlestick is trimmed too much, warm the wax shavings in your hand and adhere back to the candlestick base.

-If the candle is too small to begin with, tape wrapped around the base of the candle can help.

-If the candle is too tall, cut the candlestick base with some plant shears.  This works better than a kitchen knife, because the shears use even pressure in two directions, rather than one.

p.s.  I’ve always liked these candlestick holders:

CandlestickHolder1

And I really want to order some of these beeswax candlesticks from Kansas City!

05/05/2014

What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid? // Sam I Am I Do

I’ve been reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, and she asks, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”  I keep thinking about it, mulling it over in my head on the subway.  It gives me anxiety; it gives me joy.  It kind of feels like falling in love.  What a liberating thought to take away the fear of financial constraint,, parents’ opinions, society’s conventions, and mostly for me – self-doubt.  As I keep thinking of the question,, the night sky comes to mind.  Many children have a fear of darkness,  Bedtime can be a struggle for some kids.  I’m sure it’s how velvety black the sky can get, and all the unknown possibilities.  I was never afraid of the dark.  I liked sleeping.  Sleep brought me vivid, surreal dreams, and it still does.  But now, maybe I’ve become afraid of the dark?  Afraid of the unknown?  I can’t tell when my core shifted, but it makes me sad and anxious.  I want to live my dreams, not just dream them.