Fun and Easy Tie Dye T-Shirt Tutorial

Summer is in full swing and we had a great time yesterday getting creative and making a couple of tie dye t-shirts. I had flashbacks to my childhood in the 80s when we would tie dye shirts and then use a plastic hair clip to scrunch them around our shorts. 🙂

I hope you will try this fun and easy project with your kids. The best part is cutting the rubberbands and opening the shirts unveiling their amazing creations.

You will need:

First fold the t-shirt up from the bottom accordian-style.

Next place rubberbands around the length of the folded t-shirt every 3 inches or so. It helps to have one person hold it and the other pull the rubberbands on.

This is what the kids’ t-shirts looked like at this point when they were folded and banded.

Next fill the bottle containing the dye with water, screw the top on tightly, and shake vigorously. We passed it around and all took a turn shaking the bottle.

Next put your drop cloth down and squirt the dye all around the t-shirt rotating until it is covered as much as you like. You can do as much or as little dye on the shirt as you desire.

Next, put the shirts in a Ziplock bag, close the top, and let sit for 6-8 hours.

Then use your sissors to cut the rubberbands and open your t-shirt to see your beautiful design.

After this, I rinsed the shirts in the sink with cold water until the water was running clear. I then laundered them separately twice with hot water.

They dried on a rack overnight and the kids were excited to wear them the next day.

The Finished Shirts

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have you done any fun and easy projects this summer with your kids? If so, please tell me about them below in the comments area. Thanks for stopping by!


Nature Study: Metamorphosis

Bud recently had a birthday and received a butterfly kit as a gift. I remember growing caterpillars into butterflies as a child so I was very excited to do this with the kids. We ordered our caterpillars and they arrived several days later in the mail.

When they arrived they were small, black caterpillars. We received 5 and Bud immediately felt like a proud foster father.

As they continued to grow each day, Bud drew what he saw in his observation chart. You can download a PDF of the chart I created for this project here.

After about two weeks we came down to breakfast one morning to find one of our caterpillars in his chrysalis. The following day the other 4 followed suit. Peanut came running upstairs each morning to give me the update on what she saw in the butterfly habitat. We moved the lid of the caterpillar cup inside the basket. They would stay here and rest quietly as they began their amazing metamorphosis.

After another week we woke to find that one butterfly had emerged. It was so exciting to see a butterfly hanging and witness the amazing change that had occurred.

Peanut watched the habitat all day in the hopes of getting to see one emerge before her eyes. I was emptying the dishwasher when she called out for me to come and see. Bud rushed upstairs and the three of us got to witness one of the butterflies emerging. It was so amazing. It only took about 30 seconds for him to come out. He had crumpled wings and he seemed very weak.

The butterflies all emerged over the next few days and we enjoyed watching them flutter around their habitat and drink nectar.

Later that week we decided to let our butterflies go in a community garden in a nearby town. We thought they could help pollinate some of the fruits and vegetables that were starting to grow there.

I had painted the kids faces to practice for Peanut’s birthday party the next day. They had cute butterfly and dragon faces for our exciting afternoon giving our butterflies freedom.

Dad got out the habitat and we all waited anxiously after unzipping it to see what the butterflies would do.

The first butterfly flew out and over the fence around the gardens and straight off into the sky. He was so excited to be free and it was awesome to see him fly off into the sunset. The other four slowly fluttered out and rested on the ground.

We had such a wonderful time doing this project. It was so neat to see and observe God’s amazing design right before our eyes. We felt sad to let our friends free, but knew they would enjoy their new home.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Baby Proofing the Lego Corner

Baby Proof Lego Gate When our youngest began to crawl and was putting everything in his mouth, our oldest was deeply interested in building with Legos. My husband and I put our heads together to come up with a way to keep the Legos out of the playroom, but still allow our 6-year-old easy access to his favorite toys.

Our solution was to buy a long baby gate, zip-tie it to a Little Tykes castle slide (with the ladder removed), and cover the gate with soft fabric. The fabric keeps all the little pieces from going through the holes in the gate.

Baby Proof Lego Gate

Here are the materials I used for this project:

I sewed the 3 yards of fabric end to end and then added the trim to the top. Then my husband bolted one end of the gate to the wall and zip-tied the other end to the castle slide. I placed the fabric over the gate and used safety pins to secure it to the other side.

Baby Proof Lego Gate

Baby Proof Lego GateThe baby isn’t able to get over the slide yet. By the time he can, he will be old enough to know not to put little toys in his mouth. He is 18 months now and very rarely puts toys in his mouth, but every now and then I catch him. It is nice to know he is safe!

Baby Proof Lego GateBud loves playing in his “workshop” and I kinda like have all the pieces in one part of the room instead of all over the house!


Baby Proof Lego GateThe K-Nex have found their way into Bud’s “Workshop” too…

Baby Proof Lego GateWe have had this installed for over a year and it has done a great job in keeping the Legos sequestered to one side of the room. Big success!


February 2015: Month-At-A-Glance

This was the snowiest February in 100 years in Colorado. Our little foothills town looked more like a high country ski town with drifts piled high. We enjoyed plenty of time sledding, building snow angels, shoveling, making ice slides, and just walking and enjoying the winter beauty.

We had a fun Valentine’s Day celebration. We started the day by opening cards and letters from loved ones and enjoying some sweets. At the end of the day we had delicious homemade minestrone, bread and cherry pie.

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Opening Valentines


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Picture 121The kids seemed drawn to the table this month to color and do various handicrafts. I got out all the workbooks, coloring and activity books that I have collected over the years from thrift stores and Bud and Peanut eagerly worked through them. They also found ways to occupy themselves inside digging through the recycle bin and making crafts and homemade games.

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Homeschool: Reading and Literature

We are reading Little House on the Prairie in the evenings before bed and the kids love snuggling up and hearing about Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, and Carrie. We are also reading through Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White with Bud. This has been a wonderful book incorporating great lessons about family and integrity. Bud has also learned a great deal about trumpeter swans and water fowl by reading this book.

In his spare time, Bud is reading through the first 16 original books in the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. He also loves The Childhood of Famous Americans series.

Each day during our Morning Basket time, Bud reads from Busy Times – one of the Pathway Readers. We work on pronunciation and having a loud, clear voice while reading aloud.


Our history read aloud this month was Pocahontas by Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire. This has been a wonderful introduction to Native Americans, Jamestown, and the early Colonial times. Bud has really improved his narrations. It helps him to look at the detailed illustrations in the book while he narrates. To go along with this study, we are reading Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla. It tells the same story in much deeper detail and with more character development.

Each week we copy a picture from the book, Bud colors it, and narrates while I write in his history notebook. This has been a wonderful companion to our verbal narrations and I think it will be nice for him to have something to go back and look at to help him remember the story. It will also help him to see how his narrations have improved over time.

Bud also made a teepee from a craft book that he found. I loved the animal drawings he drew on the outside of his teepee.

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We started RightStart Level B this month. I am still keeping our lessons short (10 minutes or less) which, for Bud, amounts to about 1 page in the book. We also took several days off to play the RightStart card games or we made up our own games.

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Science / Nature Study

We finished reading Fatty Coon by Arthur Scott Bailey and began Tommy Fox this month. We all really enjoyed this story and I loved hearing about the fox’s close relationship with his mother. She was very patient in teaching him to hunt and protect himself.

Picture 124We remained committed to our Friday Nature Study walks this month even with the record setting snow amounts. I wrote more in detail about this in a other posts: Nature Study: Freshwater Algae and Nature Study: Snow and Ice. We also participated in our local nature center’s program about “Winter Homes for Animals”.

Sunrise on snow

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Family Studies / Bible

We are reading through the gospel of Matthew during the Lenten season and are really enjoying hearing about the life of Jesus. We usually read about 5-10 verses at a time and I have each child narrate to me “what they heard”. Peanut loves to tell details she remembers. Bud’s narrations have improved so much! He usually starts with a few details about who and where the passage is taking place and then gives details throughout the story. He adds on to what Peanut has said. Often DH or myself, will add additional details. By the end of that progression we have discussed the whole passage. It’s really a neat process.

Along with our normal scripture memory that we do each day, Bud is memorizing Psalm 23. He has been working on speaking loudly and clearly. Peanut and I always applaud him when he is finished. 🙂

We continued our composer study of Chopin this month. The nocturnes are now familiar and I find the kids humming along with the music like a friend.

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DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

We share our backyard with many animal species but perhaps one of the most common is the elk. Herds of 50+ elk pass through on a weekly basis. We love the wildlife, but it is not conducive for planting a conventional garden.

This year, we decided to combat this problem by planting a self-watering garden up on our 2nd story deck. We can fill the bottom of the container and the plants will not need to be watered again for two weeks! How cool is that?!

Build a Container

We built a cedar bin 10 years ago and have used it to store outdoor garden supplies. It was the perfect size for what we need and it is built out of pressure treated lumber and cedar so it will withstand the tough Colorado weather. You can find construction plans to build a similar one here.

DIY Self-Watering Container GardenWe added some nice trim and flipped the cedar siding boards around on ours to give it a facelift.

Create a Self-Watering Container

DIY Self-Watering Container GardenMaterials Needed:

  • Weed Barrier 4 x 8
  • Plastic Sheeting – nice thick mil plastic dropcloth (or you could use pond liner, but it is expensive)
  • Perforated drain pipe – about 20ft.
  • Drain sleeve
  • Potting Soil (We used 4 big bags)
  • 2″ PVC – 4 inches taller than your container
  • Plastic Tubing – about 3-4′
  • Zip ties
  • Water Storing Crystals

Tools Needed:

  • Hammer
  • Staple Gun
  • 3-4 Electrical brads
  • Utility Knife
  • Drill with 2″ bit
  • Turkey Baster


1. Layout your plastic sheeting so it will fill the container and be doubled up. Cut off the excess  (save and use for another project).

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

2. Line your container with the doubled-up plastic sheeting. Fold the corners into triangles and staple all around the outside edge and corners. Do not staple inside your box. You want to keep the inside as water tight as possible. If you create holes in your sheeting, water might get behind the barrier and rot the wood.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

3. Use a utility knife to cut around the outside of the plastic sheeting, removing the excess.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden4. Measure the perforated drain pipe and cut so you have 3 pipes in the bottom flush with the long edges.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden


DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

5, Drill a hole to snugly fit your PVC pipe on one end of one of your drain pipes. Slide the drain sleeve on your pipes and secure the ends with zip ties. Put the drain pipes into the bottom of the container and slide the PVC pipe in the pre-drilled hole.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

6. Create a water level indicator so you will know how much water to add. Allow 6″ of tubing to lay at the bottom of the container. Then bring the rest up. Bend it down the back of the container and back up to the top and fix it to the back with electrical brads and a hammer.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

7. Fill the bottom of the container with potting mix. Fill to cover the pipes and the pat the soil down around the outside of the drain pipes.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden8. Add the weed barrier much like you did the plastic sheeting. Create triangles in the corners and staple the top edges. Again, do not staple down inside your container.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

9. Fill the rest of the container up with potting mix. We chose to add some water-storing crystals to maximize the container’s ability to hold moisture.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden10. Use a turkey baster or, in our case a pancake pen, to fill the plastic tube until the water reaches the top of the container.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

11. Using a hose, fill the container through the PVC pipe until water runs into the plastic tube in the back. After filling the container with water, we added some trim along the top to cover the plastic and weed barrier.

DIY Self-Watering Container Garden

And voila! Now you have a beautiful container that will keep your plants watered for up to two weeks! No more worrying about keeping the container watered while you take those fun summer vacations.

Please do note: Our deck is built to hold a hot tub (i.e. very sturdy), so make sure your container does not exceed the weight limits of your deck if you attempt to build a similar one.

DIY: Egg Carton Seed Starter

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This month we are learning about growing seeds in our homeschool so naturally we decided to try our hand at planting from seed. I have been saving cardboard egg cartons since the beginning of the year. I wanted to use the whole height of the carton to allow the young seedlings to grow their roots.

We started by poking 5 holes in the bottom of each egg carton section with a nail. Peanut was my helper for this project.

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Then I cut around the top of the carton on 3 sides to create a flap. I taped the container shut all around the regular carton opening.

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Peanut helped me fill each carton with organic potting soil.

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I placed all 7 cartons into a plastic under-the-bed bin I had in the basement. This will allow me to move the little seedlings outside when we have a warm, sunny day.

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After the seed leaves began emerging from the potting soil, I cut back the top lids of the cartons to give the plants more oxygen and sunlight. I found a sunny window in our laundry room to store the plants in and I would take them out on the deck for 4-6 hours a day to receive extra sunshine. The kids loved running in and peeking on top of the washing machine each morning to see how each plant had grown.

Wonderful Results

It is the fifth week in May and we are ready to transplant our seedlings from the egg carton seed starter. They have done really well and hopefully, by using the entire height of the carton, the roots have been given a little more room to grow and strengthen before we set them loose in the larger self-watering planter we created.

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April 2014: Month-At-A-Glance

Picture 201 April was a fun month for our family. We spent four days in a cabin outside Breckenridge, Colorado and enjoyed sledding and snowshoeing. It snowed hard while we were up there but we enjoyed being snug and warm in our cabin.

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Easter had many highlights. We had an Egg Hunt at our neighbor’s house.

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Aunt Ellen did a Resurrection Egg activity with the kids to teach them about the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.Picture 212We dyed eggs together and learned how to mix colors.Picture 206
Picture 207Picture 208Bud also turned 5 and we went to the Denver Zoo to celebrate.Picture 211Picture 210

The days are getting warm and longer so we are also spending more and more time outside enjoying nature. Hooray for Spring!


Picture 216Bud finished the “My First School Book” in Handwriting Without Tears. He enjoyed it so much he wanted me to go ahead and order the next book “Letters and Numbers for Me”.

Picture 217He loves forming the letters with the wooden pieces. We keep it very short and practice for about 10 minutes 3 times a week.


Bud learned about 100s this month during our math lessons. I am happy with his progress on grasping amounts with 3 digits. We use place value cards and 3D hundred pieces to demonstrate counting by hundreds. I am still very pleased with RightStart Math.

Family Studies


We focused on the Psalms this month and the Easter story. It was wonderful reading the passages about Easter week aloud to the kids and discussing what the cross means for our freedom from sin.

On Thursday of Holy Week, we acted out the passage in John when Jesus washed his disciples feet. I put more about this in a separate post.

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Science and Nature Study

Our science focus this month was on seedlings and watching plants grow. We found some great books to read about the topic and, of course, planted our own seeds. They are really starting to come up now and I hope we will have a harvest of cucumbers this summer to enjoy. I plan to put a full post about our egg carton seed starter and self-watering container later this month.

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Here is cutie #3 playing with his toys. He is getting so big!