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Category: Southern Newlywed

Some of my favorite pieces in my home, as simple as they may be, are the ones I had a hand in creating — like the cork board frame I painted sky blue and switch out every new year with our favorite Instagram prints from the past twelve months. My DIY skills are limited at best, so projects that make a big impact without requiring a big investment are what I’m looking for!

If I’m describing you, too, you will love Janet Crowther’s new book, A Well-Crafted Home! Janet holds a special place in our hearts because we featured her wedding to Collin a few years ago (which, unsurprisingly, was full of simple and chic DIY projects!). Janet and her wedding photographer, Julia Wade, have teamed up again for her second book, and the collaboration is a treat.

Janet is sharing her book’s easy tutorial for ice-dyeing today – enjoy!

From Janet: Ice-dyeing is seriously one of my favorite things to do and I hope you all will love it just as much! Once you have your completed fabric, you can use it to create several other projects in the book, like the blanket and ottoman pictured here.

Ice-dyeing is an easy technique using fiber-reactive dyes to make a colorful, almost crystalized pattern. As the ice melts over the fabric, it slowly disperses the dye and creates depth of color and multiple tones. Each dye session will yield stunning, one-of-a-kind results.

Supplies:
Gentle laundry detergent
1 pound dry, natural-fiber fabric like linen, silk, or cotton
3 gallons warm water
3 cups soda ash
5-pound bag of ice
1 tablespoon per color of fiber-reactive powder dye (see tip)

Tools:
Protective gear (gloves, eye protection, and face mask)
5-gallon bucket
Measuring spoons
Plastic sheeting, or drop cloth to protect work surface
Wide, plastic storage bin
Large, wire cooling rack (big enough to span the top of the bin, or you can overlap two or more on top of the bin)

Tip: Use as many colors as you want. I’ve made beautiful fabric using 5 colors, but even 1 color will produce outstanding results. For the blanket I used the following colors; rose red, jade green, rust brown, clear sky blue, and orange sherbet.

Steps:
1. Prewash your fabric with detergent to remove any grease or conditioners. Put on your protective gear.
2. Add the fabric and water to the bucket. Stir in the soda ash until it dissolves, then let the fabric soak for at least 15 minutes. Pull out the fabric and squeeze out the excess liquid.
3. On a flat surface, place the plastic sheeting under the storage bin to protect the surface. Set the wire cooling rack on top of the bin.
4. Scrunch up and twist the fabric loosely while placing it on top of the cooling rack. Make sure all of the fabric is within the edges of the plastic bin to keep any mess inside the bucket. Place a mound of ice on top of the fabric, covering as much of the fabric surface as possible.
5. Using a spoon, sprinkle the dye on top of the ice, one color at a time. Try not to overlap colors too much or the finished color will look muddled. Allow the ice to melt completely and leave the fabric untouched for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours.
6. Carefully remove the fabric from the rack. Rinse the fabric under cold water until the water runs clear. To help set the fabric, let it dry in the sun or place it in the dryer on the appropriate setting for the fabric. Before using, wash the fabric in the washing machine, by itself with detergent, then place it in the dryer on the appropriate setting.

Notes on safety: Whenever you are working with chemicals, always take the necessary precautions. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses to minimize contact with your skin. Always work outside or in a well-ventilated area. Utensils used for dyeing should never be used for food preparation.

Equal parts inspiration and DIY guide, A Well-Crafted Home is an irresistible resource for both aspiring makers and seasoned crafters. It’s currently available on Amazon and many other booksellers!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Kazie Fleming reply

    Janet Crowther’s new book, i’m loving it!

  2. avatar Jackie reply

    What an awesome DIY idea! I definitely want to try this out.

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Juicy peaches, ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sun-warmed berries, abundant zucchini — whether you cultivate a backyard patch or head to the farmers market each weekend, there’s no month like August for fresh produce. Instead of simply trying to gobble up as much as you can in the summer months (though absolutely NO judgment if that’s the route you take!), why not prolong the season by preserving your favorites through pickling, jams, and jellies?

Photo by Eric Kelley from Southern Weddings Volume 5

One of our most popular posts from the last ten years (!) is this simple jam recipe and accompanying printable mason jar labels from Homespun ATL that we originally featured in 2012. Whether you’re looking for a sweet wedding favor or just a fun newlywed weekend activity, we’ve got you covered!

P.S. This jam is meant to be stored in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of actual canning. (But feel free to use pretty jars, regardless!)

What you’ll need:
2 pints ripe strawberries (or about 5 cups), hulled and chopped
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
The juice of a whole lemon

What to do:

Bring all of these ingredients to a simmer in a dutch oven. Mascerate the strawberries until you have a bright, sticky, slightly chunky jam. Transfer to sterilized glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, if you can make it last that long! Those biscuits are calling!

If you are feeling really adventurous, add a drizzle of balsamic and a few cracks of pepper to the jam while it’s cooking.

For the labels:

Download our PDF template here, and print onto regular paper or sticker paper. Cut along the black outline with scissors. If you’re using regular paper or cardstock, place the label on top of a mason jar lid, then screw the metal ring on top of it. Or, punch a hole through the top and hang it around your jar with a bit of twine or ribbon.

If you’re using sticker paper, cut out and place that pretty little label anywhere your heart desires.

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    This is such a great newlywed idea! Dillon loves fruit, so this would be such a fun way to spend time in our kitchen together and bless him with a treat afterward! :)

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Unless you have Chip and Joanna or Ben and Erin at your side, completely renovating an old home requires a little more patience than TV magic. Put our friend Whitney Neal into the equation, though, with the same sort of passion she pours into her heartfelt photography, and you’ve got a new brand of magic. What’s even more beautiful than the finished product? The way Whitney and Michael’s marriage was strengthened over their two-year home renovation. We’re sharing the “afters” and a little bit about that journey today!

Thanks to Whitney for snapping for these beautiful photos, and Lynnesy Catron for the beautiful portraits!

The couple: Whitney and Michael Neal
Years married: Seven
Where they live: Louisville, Kentucky

Tell us about the process of fixing up a house. When visiting our house for the first time, we knew we had stumbled upon something good. It had lots of character, beautiful natural light, a great layout, and it was in a neighborhood we love. A lot of work was needed, but we shared the same vision for how we could bring everything up-to-date, and the same excitement for turning the house into a home—a place we could call ours. So, we snatched it up before anyone else could, and the moment we got the keys, we started the LONG process of fixing it up. After six months passed and it came time for us to move in, we weren’t exactly where we had hoped we would be, but it was “livable,” so we moved into the construction zone.

Some would call us weekend warriors, but as a photographer who works most weekends and a cop who works nights and all different days of the week, we often end up waging the war with our home on just about any day/hour that we can (without neglecting the other things we need in life: being with our family and friends and adventuring outdoors with each other and our German shorthaired pointer puppy). The only thing we knew for certain about our renovation process was that we were doing it together, and every project was going to take SO much longer than we had expected. An afternoon project turns into a weekend project, a weekend project turns into a month-long project, and a six-month renovation process ends up taking two years!

Which projects did you do yourselves, and which did you leave to professionals? We took on every project that we didn’t think would put our lives or the quality of the project at-hand at risk. Michael uncovered and refinished all of the hardwood floors, we sanded and painted every wall, gutted the kitchen and a bathroom, updated plumbing, laid tile, and more. None of it would have been possible without the help of our friends and family–my uncle who is a contractor, our friend who is a plumber, and our fathers, who are some of the most knowledgeable men that we know. Professionals were hired to refinish the pedestal tub that was original to the home, to add electrical throughout the house, and to install the range hood, tile, and shelving in our kitchen.

Did you run into any unexpected challenges? Over, and over, and over again. Every project had its own set of challenges that required problem solving, a new skill, or a different tool. In the beginning, we would easily get discouraged when a problem came along, or a project would begin to run behind, but we quickly learned to be patient and laugh at ourselves…especially when we had to make the third or fourth trip to the hardware store in a day.

Which room in your home is your favorite and why? Michael has two favorites: the dining room and living room, where there is the most natural light. My favorite is the kitchen. After so many months of takeout and frozen meals, I will never take a home-cooked meal on a real plate for granted!

While fixing up our house, we dreamed together, practiced teamwork, and got silly while pulling all-nighters over our favorite pizza and beer. We had so much fun! But… things got hard at times. We over-extended ourselves, cursed and cried, and fought with one another. We saw each other at our best, but we also saw each other at our worst during these days. The most rewarding part of it all is not being able to enjoy the fruits of our labor, but knowing one another so much more intimately, and loving one another so much more deeply than we could have ever imagined.

What most makes your house feel like home? That our hands have touched almost every part of it. We came together and made a decision about every color, every light switch cover, every handle and knob. It feels like ours.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We like to splurge on things that will stand out and make a statement, like a marble lamp, an accent wall of tile, or a colorful Turkish rug. Or, we like to splurge on things that we will get good use out of, like a heavenly linen duvet cover or a gas range. We’re not known to splurge on much, though, and are BIG fans of finding a steal. Our John Boos Block kitchen island is from Craigslist, our bedroom dresser is from an outlet store, and most of our other furniture is from antique stores.

What are some of your dreams and plans for your home over the next five years? Next up on our to do list is a privacy fence, a new concrete patio for an outdoor lounge area, and a big fire pit. We spent the first two years on the inside of the house, and now we’re dreaming up a place for our life to spill out onto, especially as our family begins to grow beyond the two of us.


Whitney Neal is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar Abby reply

    Stunning!! I love the neutral colors and rich wood details! This is a timeless house! Congrats! All the hard work paid off!

  2. avatar Whitney reply

    Thanks for sharing, friends! It never gets old to reflect on all our hard work!

  3. avatar Anna reply

    Love this gorgeous home! Amazing job, Michael & Whitney!

  4. avatar Lindsay reply

    HOUSE ENVY! What a beautiful home…so specifically curated, and it SHOWS! You can tell you both poured your heart and soul into it, and I am so tickled for you both that you get to spend your lives, growing old there. Be well!

  5. avatar Wedding Pixie reply

    What an amazing job they did on the decor, simple yet stunning. Love it.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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