In 1848, thousands of men migrated to Placerville, CA in search of gold after hearing news of it’s discovery. A few weeks ago Lauren and I visited the birthplace of The Gold Rush via historic Highway 49, and found ourselves on our own search of treasures and antiques . . .
Last summer, we were obsessed with shibori indigo tie dying. No, really . . . we just about dyed anything white in sight. So when Free People asked us to include a DIY in our guest blogger series, we knew a new tie dye project was absolutely in order. Reverse tie dye or extracting color using bleach has intrigued us for some time now and as the weather is warming up, what better time than now than to start experimenting with tie dye again!
To make a reverse tie dyed shirt, we used a black Free People shirt (bleach works best on natural materials, especially cotton), a few cups of bleach, a bucket, a pair of gloves, a few rubber bands and 2 flat shaped objects.
To make a grid-like pattern, fold the shirt like an accordion and bind it between two pieces of wood or any flat shaped object. Hold the shirt in place by wrapping a series of rubber bands around the bind. Anything used to bind the clothing will prevent the bleach from penetrating, so remember, any fabric exposed will bleach and turn color. Click here for more binding methods.
Before you start the process, make sure you are wearing gloves and bleaching outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Dilute approximately 4 cups of bleach with 1 cup of water. Submerge the shirt into the bleach for only a couple of seconds. Watch it very carefully because depending on the thread count of the clothing, the color can turn very quickly and the bleach may start eroding the fabric. As soon the black fabric transforms into a rusty brown color, immediately remove it from the bleach. Unbind it, rinse it with water and let it hang dry.
You’ll notice that the brown color will slowly fade into an even lighter shade over time. Once its dry, run the shirt through the washing machine.
Your reverse bleach tie dye shirt is ready to wear!
i went over and checked my mail today and was surprised to find a package waiting, from an unknown address and marked “do not bend.” i carefully opened it and out slid two pieces of cardboard taped together, inside of which were two pieces of art and a card.
“dear julia…here is a little fan art i created for free people. i am an artist and budding textile designer from queens, new york. i have been wearing free people for years now and i am a faithful follower of the building 25 blog. i love the free people aesthetic. it’s refreshing how interactive the company is with their customer base. free people is more like a community than just a brand. thank you for all the cool clothes and inspiration. love, melissa.”
this means so much, melissa! thank you!
as if that wasn’t enough, i was also sent this amazing bouquet of flowers from sullivan owen.
i am very excited to welcome our guest bloggers for the month of march, erica and lauren of the amazing blog honestly…wtf! these ladies are a constant source of inspiration for DIY projects, art, fashion and more, and i’m thrilled they will be sharing some of their projects and inspiration, as well as an exclusive DIY for free people this month – and keep an eye out on our website for some items from erica’s awesome line the 2 bandits!
Lauren and I, a fashion stylist and designer respectively, started Honestly…WTF several months ago as a way for us to document a shared love of art, DIYs, travel, and most importantly, fashion. We were beyond thrilled when Free People asked us to contribute to their guest blogger series with a few things that inspire us. Honestly, we can trace our love of Free People as far back as we can remember (circa 1990s)! And so in true FP spirit, we are sharing a handful of images from a DIY Tepee Sewing Workshop we hosted on my family’s ranch in California last Fall. After 3 days of handling 400 yards of heavy canvas, sewing 160 button holes, carving 40 willow pins, attaching 36 stress patches and ripping through 20 spools of thread, we successfully made a beautiful 20 foot tepee. Stay tuned this Spring when we paint the outside of the canvas and decorate the inside!
if you haven’t already, check out erica and lauren’s blog here.
earlier this week i had the wonderful opportunity to visit the studio of floral and event designer sullivan owen, which just opened in queens village in philadelphia. i love talking to people who are passionate about what they do…their love for their craft is infectious. i could have spent an entire day in her beautiful studio listening to her talk about the artistry behind floral arrangements and watching her work.
when designing her studio space, sullivan wanted to use a soothing palette with shades of soft gray and white so that when entering the space, your attention goes straight to the flowers. indeed- when i walked in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the pops of color peppering the studio.
when she was younger, sullivan worked at one of the first urban outfitters stores. she recalls the president of the company visiting often to chat with employees and see how the store was doing, and it was a huge inspiration for her to see someone with a dream who was able to make such a successful career out of it. her dream was to tie together her fine arts background with her love of flowers, which is exactly what she is doing today.
in addition to floral arrangements, sullivan owen offers complete event design – from mood boards and color palettes to textiles like bouquet wraps and table linens. to her it is about creating an entire atmosphere- an idea that reminded me very much of our free people stores.
bits of inspiration from around the studio: vintage knick knacks, beaded belts, books and handmade table linens from her own wedding.
a beautiful wall of vases and jars that can be rented for events – with the exception of the shelf of vintage glass bottles, which are her private collection inherited from her grandfather and serve as inspiration.
when i arrived, sullivan was in the back finishing up an arrangement, and i sat and watched while she talked excitedly about how the floral industry is starting to attract a younger audience of people who appreciate the fine arts. with her own background in the arts, her approach to putting together an arrangement is very much like an artist painting a picture – paying special attention to color and texture, and layering in a way that is also almost like fashion.
a mood board hangs over her work table and incorporates fashion, color and landscape – all things she thinks about when putting together a bouquet.
the flowers sullivan works with are all very special – for example at top left, a ranunculus that comes from japan where these delicate flowers are designed to be perfect. the one at bottom right is a dutch variety of the ranunculus, with a really unique color gradation. at top right is the anemone, a beautiful black and white flower with hints of purple that is one of her favorites to work with.
above and below are what she calls the “spare parts vase” – where the flowers go if they’re cut the wrong length, the stems break or they just don’t make it into a final design. she doesn’t like to throw them away, plus they’re quite beautiful!
she gave me a quick little lesson in putting together the above bouquet, and then i tried my own:
i think i could use some help… luckily sullivan is going to be holding classes at her studio so you can go learn all about how to put together the perfect bouquet, and then take it home with you :) i will definitely be attending! you can find more info on the classes here.
the studio is open by appointment only – i definitely recommend checking it out. go see the website for more info and to see more photos of her incredible work: sullivanowen.com.
with our latest catalog being shot in california, i wanted to get some insider scoop on what its like to live there – i’ve been to LA several times but could never see myself settling there…san francisco was much more my speed. so who better to ask about life in so cal than two fashionable bloggers that were born and raised there – natalie and dylana suarez!
where in LA do you live?
in the valley area of los angeles.
what is your favorite thing about living on the west coast?
natalie: i love the beautiful weather and constant sunshine. i’m not much of a gloomy weather type of person!
dylana: my favorite thing definitely has to be the beautiful weather we always have year round, all the amazing beaches we can go to on a sunny day, and the amazing thrift / vintage shops.
what are some essential pieces every girl in LA must own?
natalie: a great pair of skinny jeans and comfortable boots! also, a big bag is great for toting around everything you need on hand.
dylana: every LA girl must own a good pair of denim shorts, maxi or ankle length skirts, a good pair of leather ankle boots, silk blouses, and a lightweight blazer.
where are your favorite places to shop/eat/go out?
natalie: we were born and raised in santa monica so that is definitely my favorite part of the city. i love main street and montana avenue for the cute, little restaurants. i love 3rd street for the shopping. from there, i usually walk to the boardwalk and beach.
dylana: i love to shop on the santa monica promenade or the americana in glendale. my favorite place to eat is also santa monica because you can get just about anything there and there are a lot of cute little restaurants to eat at. i also really love main street in santa monica.
3rd street promenade, santa monica
is there a certain spot/place you like to go to get away from it all?
natalie: i love hiking up will rogers park on the westside. you get beautiful views of all of los angeles and it is super relaxing.
inspiration point, will rogers park
dylana: if i want to get away from the city, i can just stay right at home in the valley, where things are of a much slower pace. i also like to go up to ventura and to relax on the beach or do some thrift shopping on main street over there.
what’s your ideal way to spend a day off in LA?
natalie: my ideal day off would be biking along the beach from santa monica down to venice. in venice, i usually grab abbot pizza and gelato at nice cream!
dylana: i like to meet up with friends at a new restaurant that i haven’t tried yet to just hang out and laugh. i also love to spend a few hours at the bookstore reading magazines or i head to the movies. another thing i love to do on my days off is take a nice long bike ride or hike around my neighborhood. it totally clears the mind!
and here are their picks from our february catalog – i could see them wearing any of these pieces and looking lovely in them!