Tag Archives: work


Summer is a hard time to be creative. The world is so rich and warm and full, it doesn’t seem to need any contributions from me. I love being outside in the summer. I love the lush greens and I love the colorful flowers and I love the sound of bees buzzing in clover. It all makes me happy but it doesn’t make me want to write a song or make a painting. It seems to beg me to just breathe and be thankful.

The bees like the birdbath.

The bees like the birdbath.

This annoys my inner critic, of course, who keeps telling me I need to be accomplishing things. I’ve been trying to keep that critic quiet by catching up with my tie-dye chores and my housecleaning, but my higher self must have seriously wanted me to take a little break. I was reaching for a basket of blanks to put in the washer the other day, just doing my normal job in my normal way, and my lower back said, “Oh, no you don’t!” and hit me with one very sharp pain, followed by lots more pain if I tried to keep doing my job.

I looked up “back strain” on the internet and it told me I should do pretty much nothing for a couple of days and then gradually get back to my normal activities. It was right there, in black and white. My inner critic had to shut up and let me rest. I couldn’t paint. I couldn’t wash blanks. I couldn’t put things into pre-soak. I couldn’t do any of the things a hard-working tie-dye artist and/or housewife was supposed to be doing. All I could do was be still and read or carefully play video games on a borrowed 3DS (thank you, daughters, for helping me cope with my forced idleness).

I have to say that once I got some arnica on me and some ibuprofen in me, I enjoyed those two days. I know it’s almost un-American to say so, but nothing is really a lovely thing to do on a sunny day in June, if you have an ironclad excuse and you know it’s only temporary. My inner critic was silenced and I got a good rest. I am gradually getting back to my chores now, with the addition of a back brace to help me avoid re-injuring myself.

I guess I need to learn to listen to my higher self when it tells me I need to rest. The grass tried to tell me. The bees tried to tell me. I just kept pushing, because that is what a responsible person is supposed to do. My higher self (or the Universe or Good Orderly Direction or whatever you want to call it) had to bring out the big guns, just to get me to stop for a couple of days and do nothing.

Sometimes nothing is the best thing anyone can do.

Rainbow Rant

I am buried under a mountain of tie-dye. Rainbows, Midnights, Purples, Blues, Oceans…those are the color palettes that are dyed. I have started the Greens. My daughter (my partner in the tie-dye business) reads my blog and I want her to know that I have started the Greens. I dyed that one Extra-large T-shirt with the light beer on it, so the Greens are definitely started.

The Forests, Goldens, and Fruities are still to come. My daughter has tied the Forests. She still needs to tie the Goldens and the Fruities. She would have finished the tying by now, but she has been helping me with the dyeing. Our normal division of labor is that she ties and I dye. The dyeing takes longer than the tying, though, and this year we got a late start on the big tie-dye push for the Florida Folk Festival. It’s amazing how much more we can get done when my daughter helps with the dyeing.

When she’s here helping, I can get up and mix more dye without thinking that nothing is getting done. I know the mixing is part of the job, but it feels like just an annoying thing I have to do before I can get back to doing the job. It isn’t quite so annoying when someone is still dyeing while I’m mixing. In a more perfect world, we might have a minimum-wage minion doing the mixing, but in our world, that minion would be making more money than we are.

We are our own minions. We do the planning. We do the designing. We order the blanks and the dyes and the chemicals. We pre-wash, dry and fold every cotton blank that comes in and we store them all until we need them. Before a big event, we make lists of all the things we need to dye. We pre-soak them and tie them and dye them. We wrap them up and leave them alone for at least twenty-four hours and then we rinse them and wash them and dry them.

Sometimes people say to me, “Oh, you make tie-dye for a living. That must be so much fun!”

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but making tie-dye is a lot of work. I like it a lot better than office work, but it’s still work. It’s not just making rainbows. An awful lot of it is just laundry. Load after load after load of very colorful laundry.

Sigh…my weekly blog post seems to have turned into a rant. It’s late. I’m tired. I am buried under a mountain of tie-dye.