The Hobby House is open for business.  Sort of. 

Now that the kids are back in school, I am finally settling into a daily rhythm of work in my beloved little Hobby House.  Writing, querying, researching– in my own little space.  I love it out there, surrounded by my books and journals and notebooks and handy-dandy laptop.  And best of all, there is no phone and there is no basket of unfolded laundry staring me in the face. 

Uninterrupted work time is bliss.

And in the afternoon, when Harper Lee and Isaac get home from school, the Hobby House is easily converted from writer’s studio to wildly creative and super funny multi-artist studio.  Our latest project actually took us into the yard in front of the Hobby House.

We filled some random tubs with hot water and vinegar and assorted colors of Rit Dye and set about the task of dyeing brown paper bags.  We had several left over from one of our Vacation Bible School crafts, and since they were just collecting dust in the black hole that is our garage, we went to work.

I would love to take credit for this awesome idea, but I actually got it from page 33 of the March/April issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, one of my all-time favorite magazines.  The only complaint I have about it is that its pages are full of so many wonderful project ideas, I could never get around to trying all of them.

After the bags had soaked for a while, we hung them on the clothesline to dry. 

Some of the colors turned out better than others.  At first, we were disappointed in the yellow, but after the papers had dried, it was a nice muted gold that we liked very much.

When we started the process, I didn’t really have any idea what we might actually DO with the paper once it was dyed.  Mostly, tubs full of permanent dye just seem like a fun afternoon, and if we’d done nothing with them afterwards, it still would have been worth the effort.  For a kid, coloring is coloring, especially if you throw in the added element of danger with PERMANENT dye.

But we are using it.  I started a sort of haphazard little picture with some Mod Podge and a needle and thread and had so much fun with it, I’ll probably finish it… though what it will end up as, I’m sure I don’t know.  The kids have also had fun making gift tags and bookmarks and book covers.  It’s a good thing since we were feeling pretty inspired during the dyeing process and now have an enormous stack of colored paper piled high on the chest freezer in our mud room.

It’s amazing what wonderful things you can create with a little space.

*Photos courtesy of Harper Lee.