Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Favorite Fourth Tradition -- Tie-Dying T-Shirts

My sweet sister reminded me this morning of last year's tie-dye craze that hit our tribe. We tie-dyed twice, but when you have seven kids taking part, and you're making gifts for nephews and pals, and Mom needs a new bag for library books ... well, it turns into a serious amount of tie-dying.

After my sister's call I was immediately on the phone to my friend asking if she wanted to recreate the fantastic madness before Fourth of July this year.

Want to join us this year in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite summer traditions?

Growing up, tie-dying meant the old-school bucket route complete with soda ash. My fellow Brownies and I would take a break from making macrame bracelets and writing letters home detailing our mosquito bites in order to dunk our camp shirt in Rit Dye. Camp was seriously the greatest. We lived for 12 days in little A-frame wooden huts, and cooked our dinners over a fire. Those T-shirts (later signed by our bunkmates) brought back memories for years, which is probably why they gave gangly 9-year-olds extra larges.

Back then, your tie-dye choices were a bullseye or a spiral. If you got fancy, you could off-set your spiral, but that was pretty much it. A little googling will find you lots more options, plus color charts.

At the risk of sounding old and cranky, we were not given color charts. We weren't even given full-strength Kool-Aid.

My mom approach to tie-dying is to keep it simple with a kit. The kids get just as much enjoyment out of it, and I don't lose my mind cooking beets for three hours. I save that for egg dying.

It would be terrible if I didn't tell you about the absolute greatest part of making tie-dye T-shirts for July 4th -- you can use them for your Frozen T-shirt Contest: Wet down the shirt and fold it carefully, then place it inside a freezer. On July 4th, when it is too hot to breathe and everyone is having visions, pull out the t-shirts and have a contest to see who can get theirs unfolded and put on first.

(Everyone is a winner when no one gets heatstroke!)

Those Brownie leaders had it right in a lot of ways. Extra big T-shirts are good, when they are made of memories. Sam the Lavatory Man holds up. And summers are meant for bug bites and s'mores.

I need to start camping to-do list.

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