This post was written in collaboration with the Tulip Tie Dye Your Summer campaign.
A few months ago my friend Elizabeth let me in on a little secret. She and her husband, John, increased their date nights exponentially each week by having a date night at home, out by the pool. As simple as that sounds, it was almost revolutionary to me. A simple, beautiful dinner on the patio, after Vivi is in bed. A cocktail or glass of wine, no devices or tv, and my man. Thats pretty much all I need for a date night these days, so her back porch dating idea seemed perfect.
There’s just something so romantic about an al fresco table set for two. Anytime we eat outside, just the two of us, I’m instantly taken back to the last night of our honeymoon, when Francois arranged for us to eat at the edge of the property we stayed at in St. Lucia, away from the open air restaurant just enough to feel alone. It was a really dark night and we sat under bougainvillea blossoms overlooking the ocean and Piton mountains and got lost in dinner, conversation and each other.
I might not have an ocean, glittering with sail boats and cruise ships to stare at, but reconnecting over a quiet, private and outside, dinner with my love is a perfect mid week refresher and setting a beautiful table makes it even more special. I’m totally smitten with ombre right now and Sarah and I had a tie-dye date the other afternoon to try out a new ombre technique we’d seen. Instead of dipping the fabric for different lengths of time or making batches of different strengths, the 100% mix is applied to the fabric. This amazing ombre table cloth was done in about 10 minutes of work time + time for the dye to set.
The indigo blue fades into the natural, unbleached fabric so beautifully and totally lets the pink napkins practically jump off the table. Here’s how we did it:
Tulip has new super easy to use “One Step” tie dye kits. Literally, you add warm water to the bottle of dye, shake, and the dye is ready to use. I covered my porch with a sheet of plastic and we laid the wet fabric, folded in half, on the plastic. Then the dye was applied right to the fabric! Starting at the lose (or open) fold, we applied about 1/2 of the bottle to the bottom of the fabric (where it’s darkest) and immediately started working it toward the “light” side with a wet paint brush.
The dye “pulls” surprisingly easily across the fabric and doesn’t leave any hard lines of delineation between color saturations. If there was a spot that needed a little more dye, I applied the dye straight to the brush and then to the fabric instead of squirting it on the fabric.
As the dye was worked up into the fabric towards the lightest end, the fabric was drying out (it was SUPER hot outside!). A few mists on the drying fabric with water let the dye keep moving up the table cloth.
At this point, we were really pleased with the look and followed the package instructions for letting the dye set and washing/rinsing.
The napkins are actually flour sack dishcloths – and couldn’t have been easier. I’m thinking these might be making appearances as gifts for the rest of the summer! After the dye was mixed, the whole cloth was wet in a glass measuring cup that had a little warm water and a squirt of pink dye in it. We left these pretty wet (ie, don’t wring it out too much!) for this project to ensure the dye would move through the fabric.
Then Sarah rolled the cloth up and started at the open end, squirting the dye onto the fabric gradually squirting less and less over about half the length.
Then holding the fabric roll up and down with the darkest end up, squeeze the dye down the fabric, working from darkest to lightest. Then, just let sit and rinse according to the package!
Coincidentally, the dark blue totally reminds me of the Easter Caribbean sea on an inky black night – the water turns white at the shore where the moonlight reflects off the sand. That pink? A perfect match for the bougainvillea that hung over our table and peppered the island in my favorite color.
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I received compensation and Tulip One-Step Tie-Dyes to facilitate this post. Project, romantic honeymoon story, and opinions, tutorial, and ideas are all my very own.