Camp Sweatshop is quickly coming to an end and it's probably a good thing because I am fastly running out of ideas to entertain my children.

"Hey, kids! Let's unload the dishwasher! Yay!!!"

"I will do it lady, but let it be known that I am no longer amused by your sham ideas of children's entertainment. Do not think I'm not giving child labor a call once I figure out how to dial the phone... and talk in complete sentences."

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a brand new t-shirt from that fancy french store, Targès, and then approximately six and one half minutes after I put the shirt on for the first time, I managed to get a spot of bleach on it right over my left tympani, hooter, bozanga, golden globe, murphy, pontoon, unmentionable body part. (For more fun euphemisms for the word "breast," please see this website.)

So to at least be able to go out wearing the shirt in public without holding my hand over one of my Satan's love pillows, I decided to use the bleach to my advantage. This is how it turned out.

Please to ignore the use of a flash in the mirror... and the fingerprints and other undefined things on said mirror... and especially those ridiculous wings underneath where my arms should be. OK, just ignore the whole picture. I seriously have to hit the gym. Anyway, the shirt came out kinda sorta cool, if you're a Deadhead, I guess. If nothing else, I can wear it to this movie. Either way, I don't have a big bleach spot highlighting my treasure chest when I go out to get the mail anymore. So that's a positive.

The other positive is that when I was stumped for what to do with The Dormouse the other day, she figured it out for me and said, "I want to make a shirt like Mommy's!" It sounded easy and didn't use cornstarch, so I was all, "Sounds good to me. You need to learn about the 1970s anyway and this will allow you to do it without the weed." (Actually, I think I might prefer the weed to this.) So she chose a t-shirt from her closet and we began the process of tie-dying but without any dye because Momma wants you to do a project, but she doesn't want to have to go out of the house and buy supplies.

Here's our process, in case someone out there reading was born in the current decade and has missed this particular rite of passage.

Fill the sink with water and then add some bleach.

There's probably some formula to determine how much bleach to use so as to create the effect but not eat holes through the fabric. The one I used was, "Say when, Dormouse!"


"Okay that looks good."

Now, spend twenty minutes rounding up every rubber band in the house, because you haven't paid money for a rubber band since 1993 and they are just scattered all over the place, having come off various bunches of broccoli, newspapers, work that you brought home and never returned, etc. This actually works well because they are all different sizes and will add more variance to your final pattern.

Show The Dormouse how to twist and rubber band all the areas of the shirt. Then do it all yourself because her little fingers aren't that strong and cannot twist the rubber tightly enough to achieve the result. But she will be only too happy to sit there and hold the end of the shirt and tell you you're doing it wrong so she does get to participate.

Now slip the whole creation into the bleach water in the sink.

Stir it around a bit. If you get bored ask your assistant to help.

Now here's where you have to watch. When I did my shirt, the dye was such that it took maybe three minutes of soaking in the bleach water to achieve a good result. The original shirt was a dark hunter green and you can see how the color changed above. I sat there and watched the dye leech out of the shirt and into the water, swished it around a bit and then took it out.

The Dormouse's shirt must have had a different dye or something because they were both made of cotton, but we had to let her shirt sit....

and sit...

and sit...

and sit...

for something like six or seven hours. We did other things, ate lunch, watched a movie and had a nap before it was even obvious that the shirt had done anything more than lightened slightly. But it finally did and then we were able to empty out the bleach water and give it a rinse.

With our faithful assistant standing by at the ready...

despite a rather bad hair day.

Give it a quick wash in the washing machine with no detergent (unless, of course you enjoy smelling like a hospital all day) and voilà tout. Finished non-dyed tie-dyed shirt.

Note to self: buy some shirts that fit this child before school starts next week.

Now have her model it.

Please also to ignore the child in the background who is trying to drink the rest of the bleach. It is definitely a good thing that the public school system is about to take back responsibility for making sure my children remain alive a few hours each day.