"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dye Week:: Pysanky and Silks

This week has been declared "Dye Week" as Easter is upon us and I just can't wait any longer to get our hands on our Pysanky egg and silk dyes! It's been a long time coming. Between researching the best (and most economical ) way to dye our silks as well as mustering up the courage (and patience) to attempt true Pasanky egg decorating with all the children (minus KiKi our 2 year old; she will experience egg dying another way!), our hands are stained but our home is so colorful. Our branches on our Seasonal Table have now become our Easter Tree and our living room/play room/ wall is now adorned with 12 colorfully dyed play silks (we're just waiting for Mama West Wind's Gnome Clothespins to officially tie our display together)! She does give a tutorial on how to make these, so I could have easily made them myself, but I just love supporting other artist's and crafting Mama's to add color and beauty to our home.

Pysanky egg dying is amazing. It takes a LOT of patience and more patience and time. It certainly isn't for someone looking for instant gratification. There are heart breaks with each egg that is cracked mid decorating and it's really a tense moment when you blow them out (we wait until after we're finished decorating to blow out our eggs to give them a bit more heft during decorating). All in all, the children loved to heat their own kistka and watch the beeswax melt into the cup and then apply the wax any way they choose. Each dye bath gives a new color and surprise to the finished egg. I loved hearing Charlotte "ooo" and "ahhh" each time her egg came out of the dye! And then to see them hanging from our tree! So pretty! We're feeling so blessed with the beauty of this time of year!

Here is Casen trying his hand at Pysanky

I love this shot of my son, Casen. I very rarely get him in photos and he turned just
as I took the picture. I love his eyes xoxo

Today it's awfully chilly and rainy outside, so I imagined our home warm with steam from dying our silks. As I stirred our pot with a wooden spoon, mixing our silks with the dye, I felt like the women of yore who used to wash their laundry using pots and wooden spoons. It brought on a nostalgia I'm not familiar with but long to understand. Anyway, I know there are many tutorials on how to dye play silks out there online, I read a bunch of them. Each one gave me more inspiration and courage to go ahead and take the plunge. Dying silks isn't exactly a difficult task, it just takes some time and a "no fear" attitude when mixing your colors. It was amazing to me how beautiful our silks came out and how vibrant the colors. I even adore the little specks of white or a paler version of the main color that shows on some of the silks. It gives them that hand-dyed feel. They aren't perfect, but their ours.

We used Kool-Aid (of all things) to dye our silks. At .20 cents a pack I couldn't resist. I did, sadly, have to go to the Wal-mart to find the color selection I was looking for. Our local grocery only carried certain ones,and only 3-4 single packets at that! It felt strange to be purchasing all that Kool-Aid, even though I knew we weren't going to drink it, I was still walking out of the store with 30 packets! I found it kinda funny!!! The colors I purchased were cherry, strawberry, and black cherry (red), mixed berry (blue), lemon lime (green), lemonade (yellow), pink lemonade (pink), grape (purple), orange (orange).

I purchased our silks at Dharma Trading. This link will take you to the Habotai scarf page (we purchased 12 - 35x35 silks). This link will take you to the Habotai veil page. We purchased 3 - 55x108 veils for tent making. I'll be getting a few more to try water coloring for our dining table and to make curtains out of. I also purchased silk handkerchiefs to dye for our littlest bundle when she arrives. Peek a boo silks are so much fun and even though she won't be able to actually play with them at first, she'll have something soft and smooth to hang on to and chew on!
You will need::
* 35x35 is the standard play silk size or larger for tent making or smaller for peek a boo silks*
Kool-Aid packets
* you will need at least 2 per silk consider what colors you want to make
and make a list so you'll know what you need*
A pot and wooden spoon
White distilled vinegar
4 cups of hot water per dye bath
Something to dry your silks on
* outside would be ideal, on a laundry line if you have one, we have a wooden
rack for indoors but the backs of chairs work fine*
A towel to keep under your silks as they dry, if you're drying in your home

I made a few mistakes as I went along as I didn't follow the advice of any one person. It was definitely a trial and error process. I did my best to include answers to the questions I had while dying that weren't included in the tutorials I had read! If you have other questions, please post them in the comments or on our Facebook page and I will answer them as best I can!

First you will need to soak your silks in hot water with about 1/2 cup of vinegar. This will remove any residue that exists from the making of the silk. I soaked my in my washing machine and then used the spin cycle to wring them out!

To begin, fill a pot with 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of vinegar,
and 2  packets of your chosen color of Kool-Aid. Warm up the water and Kool-Aid on your
stove top to just below boiling. Put the silk in and stir, lift and move around the water to
evenly (as best as you can) distribute the color.
* I've included a list of what colors I used and how many packets below.
This recipe is for 1-35x35 scarf and 1 hankie mixed together.
This was where I made my first mistake! At first I only added 2 cups of water for one
35x35 scarf. As you can see it wasn't enough!
This is how it looked when I added the other 2 cups of water! Just right!
Once you've mixed your scarfs around the colored water you'll notice that the water will
begin to turn clear. This is when you can take your scarf out and run it under cold
water until the water runs clear from the scarf.

 And believe it or not.......that's it! So simple! Once your rinse your scarf, wring it out and hang it up to dry. I tossed ours in the dryer on the delicate cycle once they were just about dry. I did a few multi colored scarfs, too. The instructions change a bit in that I only add 1 packet of Kool-Aid to 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I boil the water in a kettle and then used 3 mason jars to mix the silks in! I was able to use the mixture for two scarves at once and I did sneak in one hankie in each jar, too!

For a multi colored veil (55x108) I used the same jar method, one packet of dye, 2 1/2 cups of water, and 4 tablespoons of vinegar.

This was "supposed" to be more rainbow like, however I only had one packet of
lemonade (yellow) left so it came out pretty faint and I realize now that I
should have used a full quart of water. Remember to be mindful of how and
where your colors mingle, for example in between blue and red
will be purple if you mix them together a bit.
 I plan to re-dye the yellow part to give it a little more punch.

My Kool-Aid color chart::
(based on our color experience)
The amount of packets is for one scarf and hankie. Veils will be 3 of each
Red:: 2 packets of either cherry, fruit punch, black cherry or strawberry
Orange:: 2 packets of orange
Yellow:: 3 packets of lemonade
Green:: 2 packets of lemon lime
Blue:: 2 packets of mixed berry and 1 packet of grape (same for veil)
Pink:: 2 packets of pink lemonade
If you try your hand at this please let me know how it goes. Post your pics on our Facebook page for our "Share Inspiration" album! These would make a lovely gift for your wee ones for their Easter basket or just because! Their color and the feel of these silks are so wonderful. Enjoy! I know we are!


  1. oooh, I love the multi colored one! I'll have to make some peek a boo silks for play and our nature table next. I'll be sending those little gnomes along soon. Sounds like they'll have a big job to do with all of those silks to hang.

    Thanks for linking up to me! Oh and I so appreciate your small business support! :)


    1. Thank you, Becca! They were so much fun and we did, in fact, have more than one multi colored ones. There are a few where the colors married so nicely.......I love them. We all do, really! We love our gnomies very much. And the pins are amazing!!!! Thanks a ton xoxo

  2. I can't wait to try to dye my own silks! It looks like so much fun, I'll have to try it with the kids this summer :)

    1. Ooooo, I can't wait for you to, also! It's so much fun and has brought so much joy to all of our children. They use them for one reason or another and I love seeing how versatile they are! Please let us know how it goes when you try it! xoxo

  3. They look beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this with our spring carnival. :)

  4. Its looks good.I like colorful items and It is very colorful and bright. Thanks admin for sharing with us.
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