Then I got an idea for a project. And a glimmer of hope and transformation shone in the distance, somewhere beside the blinding, blazing hot sun.
Two of my friends were pregnant at the time. Which makes me look pretty lame for bitching about the heat, but hey, it was bad for everyone (though no doubt the worst for them… To be fair, we did extend an open invite to the pool to the Austin Mama… And she sure cashed in, believe you me). One of these pregnant friends was back in New York, too, and she actually inspired my project. I wanted to send her a gift, something that somewhat approximated the in-person girl-date we’d have otherwise had were I not landlocked on the hottest spot on the planet, and wherein I'd take her out for lunch, manicures and the mom-to-be business of good friends. I wanted to make her something that would simultaneously build upon her excitement, welcome her little one, and communicate my love for her whole fam (which would soon expand to three).
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The baby T’s, dye, soda ash (a fixer) and Syntrapol detergent (for the post-project wash-- it makes the dye hold in the fabric) for the project came from Dharma Trading Company, and I picked up some big buckets, and what I thought were fume-filtering face masks (read on) at Target. I think I spent over $100 on all of these items, so this wasn’t exactly an inexpensive project (just FYI). Another down-side was that the dye packages now featured a warning label (“for California residents”… evidently legislation in that state alone requires that this information is shared with the public) stating that the dye in its powder form is a known carcinogen, and should not be inhaled.
I had my little masks, and appreciated that at least one progressive state feels it necessary to note carcinogens on products' packaging, but was still somewhat unnerved by this announcement… All the more so when Aaron took a look at my protective wear (post-project) and informed me that the masks I'd purchased didn’t filter fumes at all (they were, like, SARS masks, at best). I’d tried not to breathe while mixing the dye powder with water, but what can I say-- the stuff wafts. I probably did inhale some of it. Thus is life. I also felt pretty guilty when pouring the used dye-water down my bathtub’s drain… It’s not like it was a biohazard, but, I dunno… chemicals suck. And everything we wear that’s colored, unless you dyed it using vinegar and teabags (which can be done), was probably made that way, with toxic dye. I did some research, and that's the way it goes with colored textiles, whether your actual fabrics are organic or not. The good news is that once you wash your fabric-wares, you’re good to go; the color’s set and the dye substance itself is gone.
And the baby items: swooooon. They turned out exactly as I’d hoped. I combined them with some other choice gifts and packaged them up for the mommies. Both were delighted upon opening. Baby E's mama wrote: "I love all this stuff! Thank you for bringing vibrant gorgeous colors into a world that is far too pastel. I'm dreaming of rainbow tights and red shoes now. :)"
Both mama's gave birth soon after. And here are the baby girls now, rockin’ their endless-summer style: