{How To} Dyeing to make your silk hankies look kool?


{How to} Kool Aid Dye

First things first,  I do not apologise unreservedly for the dreadful puns in the title of this post.

Secondly, I tried to take beautiful photos of each stage of this process I really did but imagine a wet, soft, slightly lumpy mass of silk hankies soaking in a shallow bath of deep red liquid….it’s straight from a horror film! The finished hankies are very pretty though so more photos of them instead.

Now on to the scentsational new dye I found when I should have been food shopping….

I will not be the first person to tell you that Kool Aid stains everything it touches. But this can be a good thing. Just ask pinterest.

Kool aid and hankies

You will need:

  • 1 ounce / 30 grams silk hankies
  • 2 x packets ‘red’ Kool Aid (pretty sure I used one cherry and one tropical punch)
  • 1 x packet Grape Kool aid
  • dye bath (I used a Pyrex oven dish)
  • white vinegar

A word to the wise, silk hankies stick to EVERYTHING. No matter how smooth and soft you think your hands are, silk hankies are here to tell you that you are very much mistaken. Moisturise your hands before you start!

1.) The hankies need to be completely saturated so that they can soak up all the dye. Fill a large deep tray with enough water to completely cover the hankies and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. The vinegar isn’t essential as there is plenty of citric acid in the Kool aid already but it can’t hurt. The edges of the hankies can take quite a while to get completely soaked through, you know the fibres are saturated when they darken and stop looking ‘white’. You might need to weight the fabric down to hold it under the water. I used yoghurt pots full of water because that was what I had but anything smooth, heavy and waterproof you have to hand will be fine!

Preheat your oven to 175F, 80C.

2.) Pour out a little of the water. Pour one packet of grape Kool Aid at one end of the tray, two packets of ‘red’ Kool aid at the other end and allow the dye to fully diffuse through the hankies, you can press on the hankies with your hands to help the dye spread if you need to.

3.) Once you are happy with the colours put the dye bath and hankies into the oven and check it every 20 minutes. The dyeing process is complete when the dye bath is clear, or the fibres can’t absorb any more of the dye. I left my hankies in the oven for an hour in total as the red colouring never really disappeared. Maybe I gave up too easily but the purple had completely gone from the dye bath and the red tint to the dye bath wasn’t changing so I figured enough was enough!

Kool aid dye drying hankies

4.) Let the bath cool then gently lift out your hankies, lay them in a colander and rinse them VERY gently in cold running water. When I rinsed my hankies the water ran red for quite a while. This might be because they needed more heat to help fix the colour, or it might just be that the red colourings in the Kool aid are not very colourfast. *Note to self – I need a crafting microwave!* Use a tiny squirt of whatever dish soap you have on your sink for one final rinse of your hankies and then you can lay them out to dry on a rack or peg them out to dry.

Originally I bought the silk hankies to add extra colour and texture to my wet felting and I thought they might look cool on the outside of some lanterns. With the red colour still running out of the hankies I think wet felting with them is probably out of the question. So instead I have decided to try and spin them on my drop spindle. Sounds good huh? The only thing is I have never used my drop spindle before and I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the easiest way to learn. I’ll let you know how I get on!


{How to} make Snowball Decorations


This the second of 3 tutorials I’ve filmed for christmas this year. I’ll upload the final one before Christmas, watch this space!

{How to} Beaded pipe cleaner baubles


I’ve wanted to make video tutorials for such a long time and now I’ve finally done it!

It’s not easy this video business (especially when you live in a basement and even getting enough light is an uphill struggle!) but I am working on it. Baby steps people, baby steps!

But that’s not all that’s new in the pickleverse. You might already have noticed. You are no longer reading Pickled, pinned and stuffed, you are now reading A Peck of Pickles. There’s no real reason behind the name change other than it’s shorter and I like it better!

So as well as following me here, now you can find A Peck of Pickles on

Instagram : https://goo.gl/mzRaKb

Pinterest : https://goo.gl/orYAqR

YouTube : https://goo.gl/RLSedY




{How to} Rag Rug Wreath

wreath featured image TEXT

We need to thank the early 1900s for this nifty, thrifty craft! The best fabrics to use are woollen or jersey weight fabrics but you can use whatever you like, just keep in mind that the thicker your fabric the tuftier your rug.

A quick note about fancy pants crafting gadgets that you dont really need. You dont need a rugging tool, also (and brilliantly) known as a bodger, to make a rag rug. You can use a crochet hook, and if you don’t have one of those you could use a chopstick to push the strip through the hessian. What? Not even a chopstick? Try the end of a thinnish pencil. You dont need a rotary cutter and metal ruler to cut your strips of cloth, scissors work just fine, but gadgets make these jobs much quicker. If you like the look of rugging and think you might like to do more then you can invest in a bodger if you wish. Ok, enough with the gadgets, moving on…

red wreath strips

You will need:

  • Two identical cardboard rings (the size you want your wreath to be)
  • Pen
  • Fabric scraps, plus an extra piece to cover the back of your wreath
  • Hessian
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Crochect hook/ rugging tool
  • glue
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Step one. Cut strips of fabric 1 inch wide and 4 inches long from your fabric.

Step two. Draw around your cardboard rings onto you hessian but don’t cut them out yet!

draw around template

Step three. You can start anywhere you like inside the rings you have drawn on your hessian. Crochet hook users – Push your crochet hook into a space in the weave, fold a strip of fabric in half, grab the middle of the loop with your hook and draw it back through the fabric, then pull HALF of the strip through so it looks like the red tufts in the photo below. Bodger botherers – The same technique really but you dont need to fold your strip you can just grab the end with your bodger and pull the strip through instead.Tuft one done! Skip 3 of 4 threads, push your hook through and repeat. Keep going until your wreath has reached your ideal festively fluffy fullness.

Step four. Leaving a wide margin of at least an inch, more if the size of your cardboard backing will allow, cut around the outer circle of the ring you drew on your hessian. Cut tabs around the outside edge. For the hole in the middle of the wreath, cut tabs (like the segments of a chocolate orange) from the middle of the hole back to the inner edge of the wreath.

tabs red wreath

Step five. Apply fabric glue to the back of the hessian and one of the cardboard rings and allow it to become tacky before carfeully sticking your newly tufted wreath to the cardboard backing making sure that you’ve lined up the edges as best you can. Fold the tabs to the back of the cardboard ring.

hanging loop

Step six. Cut a piece of fabric at least an inch wider than your remaining cardboard ring. Cut tabs into this piece of fabric in the same way you did to your hessain. Glue the fabric to the second ring, folding the tabs over to the back to create a clean edge.

Once both halves have dried, glue a loop of ribbon to one of the rings so that you can hang your finished wreath. I also added a string of red sequins to my green wreath at this stage to add a splash of colour and sparkle.

Finally stick the two rings together, hang you wreath up, stand back and admire your handy work!

These wreaths are so easy to make and have a neat, professional looking finish, and because they are so easy to personalise they make fantastic gifts too.

{How to} Make your own dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is your new best friend. Want to find out why? Read on…

What is it?

Put simply dry shampoo is a powder that you apply to the roots of your hair to soak up any excess oil. The powder can then be brushed out, taking the oils away with it, leaving hair not just looking cleaner but feeling fresher, with more body and letting you go longer between washes. Sounds good right? There’s more…

This magical wonder dust isn’t just a quick fix for when you haven’t got the time or energy for a shower in the morning, or any other time that washing your hair just isn’t practical! We all know that over washing with shampoo can strip your hair of natural oils, which in turn can mean that our scalp over compensates and makes even more oils to try to catch up. The result? We end up washing our hair more often, stripping yet more natural goodness from our hair and so the cycle continues. I have long, totally straight hair which I used to wash every single day, the roots would get greasy quickly but washing every day made the tips uber dry. Using dry shampoo has meant that I can now go three days between washes and my hair is definitely happier and more naturally shiny for it!

Of course you could go and buy a bottle of dry shampoo from the shops, and that stuff that comes in a aerosol can is great for when you want to style your hair BUT do you really want to be spraying all those chemicals onto your hair and into the atmosphere when there is such a cheap alternative that’s so simple to make?

Brush and bowl

So what’s in it?

Cornflour. Tutorial over, see you next week.

No wait come back!

It’s true that just plain ole cornflour would do the trick. But we aren’t plain ole people you and I are we? You only have to look online to see that there are as many different recipes for dry shampoo as there are people with different hair types. Like I say, my locks can get very dry at the tips so I steer clear of using ingredients like baking soda or clay in my mix but they might be just what you need. Start with the bare essentials, see how it suits you and then you can get creative.

So here are my two favourite dry shampoo recipes –

Scented cornflour recipe.

  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 tbsp lavender buds or 3-5 drops of essential oil

Dry shampoo for dark hair.

  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 1tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

You can tweak this ratio depending on how dark your hair is, just keep adding cocoa powder until you have the right shade to blend beautifully with those luscious brunette locks.

Dry shampoo for brunettes

It really is as simple as that.

I added lavender to my most recent batch of dry shampoo but you could add any skin safe scent you like. Rose petals work really well if you like that kind of thing, or you could use an essential oil that smells great and has anti-bacterial properties like thyme, nutmeg or cinnamon.

Stir it all together, put it in a shaker, or if you are keeping it in the bathroom then it’s a good idea to store it in an airtight jar, and the newest part of your grooming routine is ready.

How to apply it?

Lift the your hair in sections and sprinkle the powder onto the roots of your hair. (Less is more, and definitely don’t sprinkle the powder on top of your hair.) Work the powder well into your hair with your fingers and then let it sit for at least 2 mins so that it has a chance to work. Brush the dry shampoo out of your hair with a soft bristle brush and you are done.

I have tried sprinkling the mixture on with my fingers, shaking it into my roots from a shaker and brushing the dry shampoo on with a make-up brush. They all work!  The shaker lets you get a good amount into your roots for the first application. The make-up brush technique is perfect for touching up any spots that need some extra attention.

Brush ends

But Laura, why have you got two recipes?

It’s all down to the cocoa powder, because who doesn’t want their hair to smell like chocolate right? Well, actually…me! At first I hated it.  The first formula I tried was much heavier on the cocoa powder and the dark chocolately smell made me feel like my hair was more dirty. By mixing the cocoa powder 50/50 with the cornflour the smell is much less over powering and now I’m more used to it, it is great for dabbing on to more visible spots.

But that’s not really cleared to two recipe question up has it?! I use the scented cornflour shampoo over night. That’s why I chose lavender. I sprinkle in plenty of the dry shampoo before I get into bed, put my hair up and in the morning any whiteness left in my hair is much easier to brush away, leaving me looking much less like I am sporting a powdered wig.

Any hints and tips?

  • Don’t wait until your hair is overly greasy before applying your dry shampoo. Try and use it to stop the oils building up too much in the first place.
  • Don’t moisturise your hands before you do you hair in the morning! Wash and completely dry your hands so you don’t add extra unwanted oils to your hair.
  • Once you have styled your hair leave it alone! The more you touch it the more oils you are potentially adding.
  • One final anti-oil tactic – make sure your comb is clean too!

Let me know how you get on!

{How to} make a fabric bowl

Because all of your beautiful things need pretty places to live. No more tangled necklaces or frantic searches for house keys as you are rushing out the door, these bowls are a great way to use up all scraps of fabric and add some style to your storage solutions at the same time.

You will need:

  • {How to} Make a fabric bowl: you will needfabric
  • rotary cutter and cutting board and scissors
  • craft glue, water and water-based varnish mixture (recipe below!)
  • bias binding
  • glue brush / foam applicator
  • bowl to use as a mould
  • plastic wrap
  1. Cut your fabric into stripsCut the fabric into strips that are roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and long enough to overhang the edges of your mould. The fabric you use is up to you. Cotton-y fabric works best as it soaks up the gluey slop nicely and is thick enough to hold its shape and whatever you want to put in your dish once it is dry. I’ve tried this with just about every scrap of fabric I could find, you can layer up nets and chiffon and other spangly fabrics to make things a bit more textured or glitzy as long as you keep in mind that you need a reasonable glue-to-absorbent fabric ratio for you creation to hold its shape once it is dry.
  2. The slop. To make your magical wonder glue you will need equal parts of craft glue, water-based varnish and water. I mix the glue and the varnish together first, then thin it with the water to help get the right consistency, you are aiming for that international standard of ‘a pudding-like consistency’. You want your mixture to be thin enough to soak into the fabric but thick enough to stay in the fabric and set the shape of your creation rock solid. Lay your strips onto the mould
  3. Cover your mould in the plastic wrap as smoothly as possible to stop your fabric strips sticking to your mould. Soak your strips in the slop and then lay them onto your bowl crossing them over the centre and filling in the gaps as you go. (I put mine on the inside of the bowl but you can use the outside instead, it just depends what you want the final shape to look like.) The first bowl I made got quite bulky on the base where all of the strips overlapped in the center of the bowl and it wouldn’t sit still. To stop this from happening lay the first four strips in a star shape and then cut your remaining strips in half and use these to fill in the gaps. Build up two layers.
  4.  The easy step. Let it dry. Completely.
  5. Lift your bowl out of the mould, peel off the plastic wrap and trim off the excess fabric at the top.Trim off any excess
  6. Cut your bias binding to length. Apply some glue mixture to the inside of the bias binding and glue it over the edge of the bowl. A fiddly business at the best of times, but made slightly easier by gluing the tape and the edge of the bowl at the same time and allowing them to go tacky before pressing them together. Once the binding was finally all glued in place I covered just the bias binding in a layer of the glue mix so that it would have the same finish as the rest of the bowl.
  7. You can always add a layer of varnish to your finished bowl if you want it to be super sealed and sturdy. (I decoupaged a trunk when I was a teenager which I sealed with a couple of layers of varnish and my son uses it as a toy chest now. The colours have faded a little but the magazine pages are all still perfectly intact!) I don’t think I’ll bother with varnishing mine, I’m happy with how solid and sealed they seem, once yours are dry it’s up to you!

and you are finished! There is something really pleasing about making these bowls, it’s one of those cutting-sticking-paper-mache-being-a-kid-was-the-best happy places that finishes up with a grown up bowl that you can personalise to your heart’s content and show off to all your friends.

For more bowl based inspiration see my {Gallery} here.