Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rit dye your favorite jeans


Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?
I do.
I wear jeans nearly every day as part of my "uniform".  
My favorite jeans are Hudson jeans.
I picked some up three years ago with a gift card at Nordstrom rack for $69.
The most I have EVER spent on jeans before.
But they fit perfectly, and I wore them nearly every day.
And you could tell.
The knees started wearing out and they started looking pretty ragged.
So I started my hunt (18 months ago) for new Hudson jeans.
I tried The Rack again, but the Hudson jeans were $99.
Too much for me.
I looked on-line but Nordstrom sells them for $209.
YIKES!

 
My husband recently made his first ebay purchase (he bought a new guitar).
Since he was now officially an expert, I thought I would see what else we could pick up on ebay.
My husband isn't a fan of all of my money saving schemes.  
He likes it when I get a good deal, but he doesn't want any part of it.
He must have been feeling a little guilty over his HUGE purchase, so when I approached him through e-mail to see if he would be willing to buy me some Hudson jeans on ebay, he agreed.
Before he changed his mind, I quickly scoured the listings to find a pair of jeans in my size that I liked.
I sent him several, and not wanting to waste any time (ie, wanting to get this over with) he bid on the listing that was ending the soonest. 

I obviously didn't look as closely at the listing as I should have, because when I got the jeans, they were this 80's mom jeans color.  They don't look so bad in this picture, but they were pretty bad.


Here is a side by side comparison of my jeans.
My favorite well loved pair is on the right.



You can see the difference in the color.


I liked how these jeans fit, and I couldn't return them, so I decided I would try to dye them.
Heck, I'm crafty.
Why wouldn't it work?
I bought navy blue and black rit dye and set to work one sunny afternoon.


There are directions and several websites that will tell you that you can do the dye process in your washing machine.  Not wanting to dye the inside of my new front loading washing machine, I decided to do it the old fashioned way. 

I boiled 8 cups of water


Then I took the pot of boiling water outside.  
I dipped my jeans in the water to saturate them and wrung them out as best as I could.
Man, that water was hot!
And just so you don't think I have superhuman hands, I was wearing gloves.


I put a bucket on the glass and mixed together the dye.
I looked on the Rit website and they recommend a navy blue and black combo, so I used the whole bottle of navy blue, and about a quarter bottle of the black.


I used a paint stirrer to do the dirty work.
I pushed the jeans into the dye and mixed it around agitating it as much as possible for a few minutes.
Then I let it sit for 10 minutes.
I repeated this process three times, for a total of 30 minutes.


When the thirty minutes was up, I rinsed the jeans out with a hose until the water ran clear.
It took me about ten minutes of washing and wringing until the water ran clear.
Be patient!


Once the water ran clear, I put the jeans into the washing machine with a towel to see if the dye was out of the jeans.
The towel on the right started out yellow...so after one round in the machine, it was still losing dye.


 I washed it again with another white washcloth.


I even put it on heavy soil and extra high spin


Still had dye in it.
Notice the blue towels keep multiplying!
I repeated this process about 5 times and pretty much came to the conclusion that I will not wash these jeans with anything else in the load.  


So how did they turn out?
The new dyed jeans are on the left.
My old jeans are on the right.


How much did I save?
Hudson jeans on ebay $25
dye $8
total: $33
Savings at Nordstrom: $176
Savings at The Rack: $66



Having a new pair of favorite jeans: priceless

Monday, May 28, 2012

In case you missed it...Guest post for C.R.A.F.T. Creating Really Awesome Free Trips tour of Tacoma

Just in case you missed my guest post at C.R.A.F.T. 
I thought I would share with you some of my really awesome fun family things to do around my hometown of Tacoma, WA.  It was a fun list to create and makes me look forward to those warm summer days with my kids.  In true Pacific Northwest fashion, grab a coffee, sit back and read along.



Tacoma is a port city about a half an hour south west of Seattle located on the Puget Sound.

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We have lived in the Tacoma area for the past 12 years and these are a few of our favorite things to do.

1. Dash Point State Park Beach
One of our favorite beaches is Dash Point State Park.  Dash Point is a sandy beach with lots of room to explore.  When the tide is out, the beach goes on forever.  It's the perfect beach for skimboarding and exploring sea life. In the past, access to the beach has been free, however, this year, the state is charging $10 for a one day pass or $30 for an annual Discover Pass.

People playing on beach with water splashing.

2. Dash Point State Park Trails
Dash Point also offers over 11 miles of hiking and bike trails.  I've gotten lost more than once in the trails, but it's always an adventure!  Several local bike groups tend the trails making jumps, creating paths, and forming obstacles that are perfect for the beginner rider to the expert rider.  Access to these trails are free.

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3. Tacoma Glass Museum
One of Tacoma's newer museums, The Glass Museum features many current temporary and permanent exhibitions of art created from glass, but the best part of this museum is the Hot Shop.  The Hot Shop is located in a 90 ft. tall stainless steel cone fully staffed with glassblowing artists and stadium seating so you can sit back and watch the whole process of making art from molten glass.  Free admission on the third Thursday of each month from 5-8 pm or anytime with a Pierce County library glass pass.

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4. Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Internationally renowned local artist Dale Chihuly collaborated with the city of Tacoma to make this 500 foot long pedestrian overpass that links The Museum of Glass with downtown Tacoma. 
Walking the bridge is always free and if you have little explorers, it's a safe way for you to introduce your young kids to art without the worry that they will destroy a more expensive gallery piece.

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5. Tacoma Art Museum

Just down the street from the Glass Museum you will find the Tacoma Art Museum.
While there are always popular exhibitions with big name artists (my favorite was the Eric Carle exhibition), our favorite thing to do at The Tacoma Art Museum is to go into the open art studio and make our own art.
The open art studio features stations with tool kits focused on artworks currently on display in the museum galleries.  Free admission to the museum is part of the third Thursday art walk or anytime with the library art access pass.

Tacoma Art Museum
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6. Washington State History Museum

As a transplant from the Midwest, it's interesting for me to find out facts about our state in a fun and  interactive way.  I could tell you the state flower of Indiana (peony), but I know very little about Washington.  There is a history lab, model railroads, and a great hall of Washington history always on display.  The History Museum is located downtown Tacoma situated between the Art Museum and the Glass Museum.  The History Museum participates in the free third Thursday of the month art walk and also provides free admission on your birthday.  You can also get free admission with a library history pass.

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7. Ruston Way Waterfront

Ruston Way offers two miles of paved walkways perfect for a family bike ride or run.  Located on the waterfront, Ruston Way offers panoramic views of Commencement Bay, Vashon Island, and The Olympic Mountains.  If you fish, you can drop your line at Les Davis Pier.  There are several grassy play areas perfect for a picnic and kids can also explore the Fireboat dry docked along the path.  You can find beach access along the walkway and scuba divers are often spotted going in and coming out of the water.  Several restaurants and pubs can be found along Ruston Way so you can take a stroll before or after dinner. Free

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8. Tacoma Light Rail

I don't know of too many kids who don't like trains or trolleys.  As part of Sound Transit, the light rail provides free service to downtown Tacoma.  We often park at the Tacoma Dome Station (it's free), and take the light rail to various stops in Downtown Tacoma.  The light rail stops in front of the History Museum and provides a short walk after a stop by the Art Museum.  The last stop is the theater district which is just a short walk to the Farmer's Market on Thursdays on 9th street.  When the kids were little, we would sometimes just ride it back and forth through the city.  

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9. Pt. Defiance Park

Pt. Defiance is located on the tip of Tacoma jutting out into the Puget Sound.  Inside the park you will find Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (there is an admission fee), as well as Pt. Defiance park (free), Owen Beach (free), five mile drive and hiking trails (free), Ft. Nisqually (admission), and the Japanese Gardens (free).  I will highlight them all separately as my numbers 9-15.  

Pt. Defiance zoo (10) isn't a large zoo, but it's perfect for a visit with young kids.  When my kids were smaller it was nice to fit a visit to the zoo in before naptime.  During the summer, the zoo has a splash park in the play area (open year round), as well as several live performances that are worth sticking around for.  During the colder rainier months, the aquarium is a great place to stay dry and warm up.  We would often times eat our snack while watching the sharks in the tank looked enviously on.

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Pt. Defiance park (11) has several ponds, and lots of open green space.  You can also explore the rose and dahlia gardens during the summer.

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Ft. Nisqually (12) is a living history museum.  When you step through the trading post, you step back into history.   Several special events happen throughout the year including 19th century family fun night and Halloween ghost stories around the camp fire.

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Just inside the park you will find the Japanese gardens and Pagoda (13).  The Pagoda was built in 1914 but recently caught fire and is closed for repairs.  However, you can find feature pools, waterfalls, bridges and landscaped trees and plants.


Looping around the outer rim of the park you will find the five mile drive (14).  Every Saturday and Sunday five mile drive is closed to motor vehicles until 1 pm.  This makes it the perfect paved trail to go on a bike ride or run through old growth forests and through breathtaking scenery.  Along the loop you will find several entrances to trails.  No bikes are allowed through the trails.  


Owen beach (15) is located inside Pt. Defiance park.  You can walk along the boardwalk, hike along the beach, play in the sand or rent a kayak.

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As you can see, there is lots to do in Tacoma. 
So grab your sand pail and some walking shoes and stay for awhile!

So what are some of your favorite things to do in your city?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garage Sale Finds Friday


Welcome back to another Garage Sale Finds Friday.  Where I share with you my garage sale finds.
I know I have shared with you that it's been a slow start to garage sale season.
Fingers crossed it starts picking up!

Last weekend one of the largest communities in the area had a neighborhood sale.
It's a fun sale to go to.  
Mostly because it turns into lots of time with my girlfriends while we hunt for deals.
We start our morning at Starbucks and everyone packs snacks and food for the day.
Over coffee, each of us goes over our list of things we are looking for.  
It doesn't hurt to have an extra set of eyes working for you.

The problem with neighborhood sales is that they draw huge crowds which makes it harder to find good deals.   The best deals get snatched up within the first hour of the sale.  You can't be first at every sale.

The best thing to shop for during a big neighborhood sale is clothing.  Most people don't want to waste their time digging through piles.  It's a gold mine for pregnant moms and parents with small kids.   

95% of our families wardrobe comes from garage sales.  I know the brands I like, and the sizes we need (or will need), and am able to make quick decisions.  Sometimes I score, sometimes I don't.  I won't bore you with our clothing finds though.  So, you wanna see what else I got?

I picked up this Sunburst mirror for $6.  
It doesn't have a permanent home yet, but I thought it was a really cool accessory that is very on trend right now.


I also picked up this metal sign for $1.
It's not old, just looks old and it fits into the "junky" feel I'm going for in our bonus room.


I love old globes.
I have fond memories as a kid of spinning the globe and putting my finger down and seeing where I would live when I grew up.  Unfortunately, I haven't ended up living on a small island in the Pacific yet.  Maybe one day.  The globe cost me 50 cents.


I don't know what it was about this old lunch box and small tin box that I liked, but I snatched them up.
The lunch box was $1 and the small box was 50 cents.


If you have been reading along at Holy Craft for any length of time, you will know how much I love old books.  The pages in old books make for the best crafts.  Know what else makes good crafts?  Old sheet music.  I picked up a whole stack for $1.  


So that's what I found while I was out.
What did you pick up this weekend?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our trip to Disneyland and a recap of fun Disney things to make


We just got back from spending four days at the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim, CA.
We had such a wonderful time!



As you know, I have been prepping for our trip for months now.




and finally, the retro space mountain t-shirt


I had a theory that was busted this past trip.

We have been to Disney before over Mother's Day weekend.  
And another time, we went to Knotts Berry Farm on Mother's Day (we were in town for a family wedding)
Both of those visits to theme parks on Mother's Day were dead.
Like less than 5 minute wait for all the rides dead.
I had high hopes that this vacation we had planned over Mother's Day weekend would be a repeat of our past experiences.

You see, I hate crowds.
I hate lines, I hate waiting, I hate pushing through people.


My parents and my "little" brother drove over from Arizona to meet us at the park.
It actually costs less for us to fly to California from our home AND go to Disneyland for 5 days than it does to just fly our whole family to their home South of Tucson.
It's sort of crazy.
So, we have sort of started meeting my parents for vacations rather than fly to their house, since it's so expensive.
Thankfully, they understand, and are happy to go along with us on our trips.


O.k. so back to my theory about Mother's Day being less crowded.
Like, really, who wants to go take their mom to Disneyland on Mother's Day?
Apparently, everyone did!

Thankfully, it wasn't as bad as going at spring break time, but it was more crowded than I would have liked.
The longest line we waited in was around a half an hour, but for me, that's a half an hour longer than I would have liked.

I will also take this time to debunk the myth that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is less crowded.  On our second trip, we went to Disneyland on the first week in December and it wasn't any less crowded than it was this trip.  


Moral of the story: Expect lines.  
Disney does a good job of trying to keep you informed of wait times for the rides, and all in all they are freakishly accurate.  There really is no getting around it though, you will be standing in a line at some point.

I don't have a smartphone but my brother does, so I had him download the wait time app for Disneyland and California Adventure.
It was really helpful, but I must say, it was less than accurate most of the time.



Disney has a fastpass system, that is slowly changing and seems to be becoming more complicated, but if you can figure out, you can decrease your wait times on the most popular rides.

Before our trip, I did read that Disney was cracking down on taking expired fastpasses on their rides, however, we didn't find that to be true.
All of the fastpasses we had out (even the one from the previous day for Space Mountain) were taken, even after their expiration time.  So keep your fast passes, and use them anytime of the day.


We were close, but all three of my kids were tall enough to ride every.single.ride at Disney.
And we did.
The night before we left for our trip, my husband and I watched the latest Modern Family episode.
In that particular episode, the whole gang went to Disneyland.
I'm so glad we watched it because it reminded me that I needed to not only pack sensible shoes (tee hee), but that I needed to go get some Dramamine before we hit the park.


My husband walked around the park quoting Jay Pritchett the whole time like he was Dr. Oz or something.
"As we grow older, the lining in the inner ear builds up and makes you more prone to motion sickness."
Seems like a good theory.
I'm going with it.


From my past experiences at Disney, I thought that on this particular trip it was harder to find characters in the park.
My kids weren't necessarily interested in meeting any of them, so they really weren't on my radar, but the few times I looked around to get a token Mickey picture, there wasn't a character to be found.
The characters we did see, had a line that was at least a half an hour long just to get a picture with them.
I don't know if this is Disney's way of encouraging you to go to the character restaurants for dinner/lunch,  but if your kids are into meeting all of the princesses, that would be my recommendation.

Book your lunch (I recommend Arials Grotto) or dinner (Goofy's Kitchen is a good choice) at least 6 weeks in advance and do it on your first day.  That way, you don't spend your time at the park hunting down characters for your kids to get pictures with.

**As a side note, I did happen to see some pictures from a friends recent trip to Disney with her three young princess obsessed girls.  They seemed to find the princesses without any problems.  I might add, their trip looked quite different than ours did!


We did not stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel. 
We crunched the numbers and did the math and for almost $1000 more, and for less beds/space, we could have stayed at a Resort hotel.

We actually stayed off property at The Desert Palms Hotel and had a family suite.
Each kid had their own bed and the room accommodated our family of five (a rare thing these days!), and our hotel even provided breakfast (saving us even more money).
We were about a 10 minute walk away, which did enable us to walk back for a nap one day, and a swim mid day another day, and also provided a great view of the fireworks at Disneyland from our hotel balcony.
It was worth it for us to save that money since we knew we wouldn't be spending a lot of time at the hotel anyway.

Because we were off property, it also opened up some less expensive dining options for us.
There was a Subway across the street from our hotel, and just a short walk down the same road our hotel was on, there was a Califonia Pizza Kitchen, a Bubba Gump Shrimp and a Cheesecake Factory.
When you are on the Disney property, you sort of get sucked into staying right where you are and forgetting there is a whole 'nother world out there.


A little known fact is that you can bring food into the park.
We packed lots of high protein snacks to help keep everyone in good spirits, and ate lunch after 1 and dinner usually after 8 so that we could beat the crowds.
We also packed our camelback water bottle, and were able to fill it up often with ice water at various restaurants around the park.  
For Free!
My favorite thing.


Another thing I noticed this trip was that the park seemed to have more ride shut downs due to mechanical error than I ever noticed in the past.
Space Mountain was closed for hours at a time, Buzz Lightyear was "recharging", we waited in line in toon town only to get to the front of the line and have the ride freeze up.
Several of the rides with moving walk ways would pause mid ride and each ride would make an announcement to stay seated.
It took us several days, but we finally figured out that the rides were loading up passengers that were either in wheel chairs or in the mobility carts that people ride around the park.
Phew...I thought every ride at Disney was suddenly malfunctioning!

**as a side note, I noticed many wheelchairs and people in these motorized carts that didn't look like they really needed them.  Prior to our trip, I even read on a blog that said you can get a wheelchair no questions asked at Disney and skip the lines.  If you are thinking of doing this, I'm pretty sure it's bad karma.


Our kids favorite park was California Adventure.
There are far more thrill rides at this park than at Disneyland.
Unfortunately for us, we came during some major construction (which is coming to an end mid June), which made for some crazy rerouting and less than desirable views around the park.


However, it seems like there is lots to look forward to with the new Cars Land.
Cars Land will be 12 acres of rides (four new ones to be exact), shops and restaurants.
Sounds like an amazing addition to the park that will be enjoyed by everyone.
Disney has the theme park market figured out.
The cast members that work at the park are always friendly and helpful.
They rarely seem to get flustered or ruffled.
On our way walking into the park one morning my husband and I were talking about an issue we thought we might run into with our tickets 
(my husband park hopped one morning to get World Of Color passes just as the electronic machine for entry went down, forcing him to have to get a stamp on his ticket, making his four day parkhopper, a three day parkhopper)
before we knew it, an employee that wasn't even on duty stopped us to ask if she could help.
Telling us that she worked at the park and wanted to see what she could do to help us with our situation.
The staff goes above and beyond what they are expected to do.
The Disney staff does a wonderful job of making your stay enjoyable and fun down to the littlest details.
We found ourselves heading into the park as soon as the gates opened and were always welcomed with the staff lining the streets giving high fours (with their Mickey hands)!
We saw one employee come along side a very scared lost child and hold his hand immediately reassuring him and jumping into action to get his parents found again.
Birthday boys and girls were showered with best wishes and congratulations were bestowed on anyone wearing a Disney button.  It's the details that make your stay special, and the staff at Disney recognizes that.
We were so thankful to get to share the magic of Disney with our kids on this trip and hope that one day too, you can experience the magic yourselves!
** Disclaimer: Disney was very generous and provided me with a 3 day park hopper press pass, that my brother used to get into the park with us.  All opinions are 100% mine.