"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

18 October 2011

Old Fabric & Trim Lovelies- Musty to Fresh & Clean

A dear friend gave me some incredible old treasures: an old slip with a lovely flounce; an ancient dress and blouse remnants with amazing pieces of trim left; loads of fancy ribbons; antique cotton and handmade lace pillow covers in white; scraps & pieces of fabric in cotton, linen, and upholstery; and some cotton convas plain totes.

Stains on some things and lots of musty old odor permeating everything deeply. In addition, some pieces are so fragile from age that only a soak and gentle washing by hand was appropriate. The challenge? How to get all the pretties happy, clean and fresh-smelling.

Wet fabric, linens, lace and trim drying on my porch.

As the smell made much of this lovely stuff unusable if the odor remained, I wasn't too worried about being a little rough and damaging it. But I wanted to preserve as much as possible. Here are the steps I took:

1) Pre-soak: I filled a tub with luke warm water about 6 inches deep, adding a gentle dish liquid and agitating the water to make suds. I then unfolded and shook out all pieces and added them to the water. A gentle swish to get everything submerged, and I left to soak for approximately 2 hours. After the soak, I rinsed in warm running water and squeezed gingerly to remove excess.

Results? I was amazed at the dirt these pieces had collected over time! The water was like a dark tea when I returned, and the rinsing water was brown and grey. There was debris and dirt left behind in the water. So, everything was cleaner, BUT the mildewy-musty-old smell was very strong still.

2) Vinegar Bath: I moved this step to the basement (where my washing machine lives) to avoid stinking up my apartment with vinegar fumes! I took the wet pieces to the washing machine, where I had filled the washer for a small load using warm water and added 1 cup of vinegar. I submerged everything. taking care to open up folded pieces, and used my hand to agitate the water. I left to soak overnight. The next day, I removed the bundle to the laundry sink for a rinse in warm running water and a squeeze.

Results? I was super surprised at how just 1 cup of white vinegar seemingly removed the mildew and must odors! I didn't get excited yet, though, as one soak remained to ensure the things were smell-free for good! A tiny bit of some odor remained, but a just plain "old" smell rather than mildew.

3) Final Soak: I refilled the washer for a small load, adding warm water again along with a cap full of natural liquid laundry soap. I made suds with my hands, and added the linens and lace and fabric, swishing and submerging. I left to soak for 3 hours. I then rinsed well, squeezed out excess wettage, and set aside.

I decided to chance tossing the fabrics in the dryer on permanent press for 20-30 minutes, as it all seemed pretty sturdy. The rest of the pieces I hung to air dry on my back porch railing.

The results? DAISIES! Seriously, in most pieces not a lick of musty odor remains, and some have a tiny tinge of "old" smell, although nothing unpleasant. Some stuff even smells like detergent (I use very a mild-scented one). SUCCESS! No pieces lost or destroyed. Lots of beautiful lovelies to inspire and be made into crafty accessories!

01 October 2011

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

Saturday, October 1st is World Vegetarian Day! A perfect celebration to follow yesterday's "Hug a Vegetarian Day" (hugs to our veggie pals everywhere). :) Sponsored by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), World Veg Day was "established as an annual celebration to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism. " There are many great ways to honor World Veg Day, which extends Vegetarian Awareness Month throughout October.

If you are non-vegetarian and currently just thinking about trying meat-free eating or about transitioning fully to a veg lifestyle:
Find other friends who are, too, and explore new dishes at a dinner party or potluck.
Seek out a friend, family member or co-worker who is already vegan or vegetarian to ask for support in your own transition. Explore veg websites like NAVS for information on why and how to go veg. Read about the benefits of living a veg lifestyle. Check out veg recipe and info books from your local library. Try delicious veggie foods (see veggie links on my blog sidebar for some great recipe resources and search my blog for some of my favorite recipes) with both vegetarian and non-veg friends and family. Take the Vegetarian Pledge (and get a chance to win $1000!) to avoid all meat, fish and fowl throughout the month!

If you are vegan or vegetarian:
Host veg dinner parties, picnics, and potlucks for veg and on-veg pals.
Lend extra support to someone in your life who has expressed interest in or is attempting to go veg. Wear tees, buttons, and bags with a vegetarian message. Set up displays of vegetarian info at local grocery stores, libraries, community centers, etc. Hand out pamphlets about how to go vegetarian and why. Encourage your non-vegetarian friends, co-workers and family members to go meat-free by taking the Vegetarian Pledge (and getting a chance to win $1000!) to avoid all meat, fish and fowl throughout the month! And most of all, be a living, loving, compassionate example!

Go Veg!