Wordless Wednesday, community garden clean-up edition

The soil is dreadful, and the area's infested with quack-grass, but it has some sun.

The same plot, a couple of hours later. That’s work.

Cleaning up the strawberry bed at the "Little House"

Happy chicken works on the compost.


College Visit 1, Bryn Mawr

So, here we go.

First college visit was to Bryn Mawr, a small liberal arts college on the Main Line outside Philadelphia. Bryn Mawr is a woman’s college, one of the original Seven Sisters, and the closest one to us. It remains a Women’s college, is noted for its academic rigor and supportive alumnae network, and, importantly for us, had tours and info sessions available on Friday, Tegan’s only day without college classes.

Steve took the day off from work to manage the homeschooling while Tegan and I had our field-trip. 🙂

I got SLIGHTLY lost, which meant we weren’t the requested 10 minutes early, but the tour, with our guide Leah, departed on time. There were 2 Juniors with Mom, one probably Junior with Mom, and one transfer student with buddy on our tour.

Leah, somewhat unseasonably dressed, was preparing for a research presentation later in the day. She set the tone for students we met at Bryn Mawr. They all seemed extremely capable, centered, and a bit type A. It was a very through tour, with explanations of the system whereby they share academic resources with other area colleges, a look at classrooms, dormitory rooms (lovely), science labs, the career counseling center (which happened to have a display up of individual research projects, very impressive), the fitness center, and theme dorms and traditional buildings. We learned a lot about Bryn Mawr’s heritage and traditions, as well as their current opportunities.

On our way to the dorm

Too cute, I thought. 🙂

In the great hall. We snuck back, later.

We followed our tour by a small group talk by Peaches, from Admissions, ably assisted by Liriana, a chemistry major with an interest in dance. It also was very informative, I recommend it.

When this had concluded, we were still a little early for our “Lunch With a Current Student,” but they sent two students who worked in admissions to lunch early. By this time we were down to the two Juniors with Mom. Awkwardly enough, they did NOT have a plan to feed moms. This would have been a crisis for me under usual circumstances, but I happened to have a little cash left over from the Florida trip, so was able to unpocket $10.25 and be fed.

I’m a terrible food snob, but it was excellent, even by my exacting standards – including plenty of vegetarian and vegan food.

However, the great aspect of the lunch was the presence of our new student hostesses, Liz and Mia. These personable young women answered snoopy questions, discussed their research, and laughed over their memories with great aplomb. They added to our rapidly expanding list of impressive representatives of Bryn Mawr.

I took no pictures of peoples’ personal space or students, other than our tour group. It was a lovely day.

Seeing the cloister area.

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. First of….?

College-visiting gal gets home. 🙂

A new way to louse up shirts

I got a link in twitter about using Sharpies for tie-dye.

Now, you have to understand, in my neighborhood, I’m the patron saint of tie-dye.

batik & dip dying

I go on and on about “fiber artist”, but when the rubber hits the road, I am most in demand (especially with our community summer camp) as someone with the largest repertoire of ways to louse up a t-shirt. So a new way to do it (particularly one that didn’t involve turning all my wooden spoons odd & toxic colors) was just the thing.

Tie dye & batik at camp

I rushed out before Hurricane Irene, and, while other people were clearing the shelves of bottled water, I was collecting art supplies for 5 kids (and 2 adults) who might be entertaining ourselves for a week without power.

See how provident I am?

Unfortunately for art, my kids can already entertain themselves thankyouverymuch, so I didn’t get to do it until this week, when I more or less stomped my little feet about it.

Here’s the procedure.

  1. Get shirt, sharpie, rubbing alcohol. (alcohol being alcohol, you could probably use gin, if you wanted to, but rubbing alcohol is cheaper. Don’t drink it, though.) *pro tip
  2. It would be wise to have something to stretch the shirt over, and rubber bands to hold it there. All the directions I read said, “plastic cup”, and we used that, but for larger designs used disposable tupperware type containers, bungied with rubber bands.
  3. We added “stencils” for some of the perfectionists in the house. These were mostly paper cutouts to use as a template for heart shapes.
  4. Small stable bowls for the alcohol, Q-tips. The Q-tips were kinda fail, in some respects, (slow) and I understand why Girl Scout troops use squirt bottles, but no way I was handing around squirt bottles of ANYTHING. Mama HATES going to the ER.
  5. Select a spot. Put your cup under it, and hold on with rubber band. (Cup in the MIDDLE of the t-shirt. 2 layers was too much to ask.)
  6. Make a small circle of dots, about as big around as a nickel. Like 6 dots. It looks more “tie-dyee” with an accent dot or two in a coordinating color.
  7. Using your Q-tip, put little drops of alcohol in the open center of the Sharpie dots. This is, as I said, slow. But the ink spreads away from the dots, so if you try dabbing it directly on, dropping it randomly, or otherwise deviating, it doesn’t do what you’re expecting, in spread. Now, THAT’S OKAY. Because ART HAS A RANDOM ELEMENT. But we all know some folks, any age, will be made miserable by that, so that’s why I warn you.
  8. That’s it. Our experience is that one big cup diameter is about how far the circles really WANT to spread, and you want to let them dry a bit before moving the cup, but it’s alcohol, evaporates fast.
Here are some of ours.

Sharpie tie-dye

You’ll notice, right off, that, while I love creating directions (and I’m pretty good at that) I can’t follow them, at ALL. Too ornery. We had big fun. 🙂

Sharpie tie-dye midriff shirt

So, all you gals with the Klout perks Sharpies, and all you resolutely crafty types, and all you homeschoolers, get busy. Leave a link if you try it.
Oh, P.S. Some sites claim this as a science project in chromatography. It is to laugh. While this might not be the worst chromatography experiment ever, it’s still pretty weak for that. Far better to do the “reverse & resist” Tie-dye. I’ll explain that soon, if you like.