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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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When Astleigh wrote to me about sharing her home on Southern Newlywed, she mentioned that one of the things she was most looking forward to about marriage was making a home — “curating a space and filling it with love and happiness.” I really resonated with that, as I’m sure many of you do, too! What a privilege to get to set the tone for our families, and to create a place of welcome and comfort for the ones we love most.

Though Astleigh and I first chatted back in August, we agreed to wait for a Christmas tour. It’s her favorite season, and one she does up right in her Virginia home. I know you’ll enjoy her cozy style, as well as these sweet photos from Rachel Wells!

P.S. Recognize this lovely lady and her beau? They were the models for our latest issue’s Greenbrier Getaway editorial!

The couple: Astleigh and Pete Hill, both 26
Years married: 3 years and 2 months
Where you live: A small town in the mountains of southwest Virginia
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We are college sweethearts who settled into married life in our college town a year after our respective graduations. Both small-town raised, we love calling the mountains home. Pete is a graduate student in mechanical engineering while working full-time as a research associate. I’m a writer and designer turned stay-at-home-mama who authors a lifestyle blog and recently became a small business owner. Last December, we welcomed our daughter, Greer. Together, we love working on our new home, spending time with our people, traveling when we can, and partnering in parenthood, our greatest adventure yet.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We bought our first home, a ranch built in 1958, at the end of August this year. The home has only had three owners (we’re the third). It has great bones and so much potential, which is what immediately drew us to it. After two years of looking for a home, this one took the cake! Owning a home has truly been a dream come true for both of us. Having rented the first several years of marriage, we knew how badly we wanted to own a home that we could make our own. As lovers of DIY projects and woodworking, we couldn’t wait to leave our mark on our new space, and from the moment we closed we’ve been hard at work transforming our ranch house! From the paint colors and refinished floors, to the newly placed and painted shiplap in the foyer, each detail we’re adding is a little bit of us.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Moving in together was really easy for us. When it came to blending our styles and decorating, Pete let me take the lead. I always try to be conscious of the fact that he’s a man living in our house, too! Even though he’s not the one doing the decorating, he still very much feels a part of it. And since it’s our home, that’s really important to me, and I know he appreciates it.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? Just how comfortable you become with your husband! I never imagined being able to let down all of my guards and bare my heart and deepest feelings with someone. Then I got married, and that all changed!

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Decorating my home makes me incredibly happy! I try to balance the splurges with the savings, and I’ve learned from trial and error over the years. Accent pieces are items I try to save on because my style is always evolving and I’m rotating pieces in and out all the time. Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Target are my go-to places for finding accent pieces on a budget. I’ve found that bigger design pieces like picture frames, curtains, lamps, and quality furniture are worth the splurge when you’ve saved up for it. Big pieces that are more permanent deserve a little more investment and you’ll be happier with them in the long run.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Our first dance — it was the first time we really let it settle over us that we were husband and wife. Leading up to our wedding day, we would practice dancing (more like swirling around the room for fun) to our first song, “At Last.” Finally getting to swirl around the dance floor as a married couple was really special!

What is your favorite part of being married? Coming home to my person. Marriage creates a whole new level of closeness and understanding without making you feel vulnerable. Pete gets me and knows my strengths and weaknesses, my quirks, and my favorites. There is so much comfort and joy in being able to share the ups and downs of life with my best friend.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? The family room, because that’s where we do us. It’s the place in our home that we spend the most time together. The fireplace and built-ins give the space a cozy feel, adding to the charm of the house, and the large windows let in such beautiful, natural light.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our Crate & Barrel dishes, glasses, and utensils are used daily. When deciding on them, we went with classic off-white pieces for the dishes, a sleek shape for the glasses, and simple silver utensils that we knew we would love for a long while and would give the versatility of mixing and matching with other more bold/patterned serving pieces.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have definitely include more serving dishes (trays and platters) and accent pieces (vases, baskets, and the like) for our home. I have a passion for sharing my home and hosting, and you can never have too many serving pieces. Truly, there’s nothing quite like having your people in your home to share the cozy, the love, and some scrumptious home-cooked food!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? One tip is to set aside a specific time in the evening for one-on-one connection (even if it’s just 20 minutes, and even on the busiest days) to make sure you’re stopping in the midst of all the things for what really matters — each other.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We have always loved going on coffee dates with one another in the middle of the day. Before Greer arrived it was a favorite way to slip away with one another. These days, she tags along, and we make it a family date.

Who cooks dinner? It’s pretty much split right down the middle. We both love being in the kitchen together, so while one of us is working on the main part of the meal, the other is working on the sides. It gives us time to chat about our day and connect.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We try to mix up our weeknight meals, and we keep them simple. The weekend is where we really love to get creative, but Sunday might be my favorite: we try to fix a hearty crock-pot meal that can simmer throughout the day, filling the house with a great aroma, while we enjoy each other and relax before jumping back into the week.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? One way we love each other well is by knowing each other’s love languages. For instance, Pete will occasionally surprise me with fresh flowers, a favorite treat of mine.

Tell us about your baby girl! Our sweet Greer girl joined our family almost a year ago. She has been everything and more than we ever imagined. She is an answer to prayer and a daily reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness and sovereignty. Our hope is for a big family with littles running all around, making our home all the sweeter and all the messier :)

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? We love celebrating the holidays, decking the halls, carrying out family traditions, and creating new ones. From the twinkle lights and scent of fresh pine to the Christmas carols and hope of fresh snow, this time of year is our absolute favorite.

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Astleigh and Pete!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email! I’ve had so many wonderful emails lately, so keep ’em coming! :)

emily Written with love by Emily
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    When my boyfriend moved to a different state last year for his job, I insisted on buying him a guest book for his new apartment. He indulged me, and now there are pages full of notes from friends and family members (and me, of course!) recounting the memories made in his new city! When I mentioned that on a whim in a team meeting a few months ago, the team started sharing stories about guest books, and our newest product evolved from there.

    You see, we don’t create products for the sake of creating products. In everything that we do–the content we create, the products we design, the conversations we have with our readers–our hope is to provide couples with purposeful information and inspiration to celebrate their story through dating, engagement, wedding, and their marriage!

    With that, and from my own story, I’m tickled pink to introduce our Welcome Home Guest Book!

    The Welcome Home Guestbooks come in coral, blue, and natural linen, and each is foil-stamped with hand lettering from Hand Lettered Designs. There are 100 lined pages to fill with guest names, dates, and happy memories! The biggest question now? Which color to choose!

    Our guestbook is the perfect vessel to hold all of your memories with the loved ones who will fill your home over the coming years. Like Nicole, my favorite part of this guestbook is that it’s something you can start together, whether you’re dating or have been married for years. It also makes the perfect gift for your loved ones!

    We can’t wait to see how you fill each line! Grab your Welcome Home Guest Book to start recording the memories of the days and years to come today!!

    P.S. Head to the Southern Weddings Shop to grab the Welcome Home Guest Book in Linen as part of the Ultimate Southern Bride Bundle during our Holiday Sale for only $99!

    Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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