Tuesday, September 6, 2016
In the Pink
My mother's color was pink. No doubt about it. Barbie Pink. And, indeed, she was a Barbara. She wore Chantilly perfume--the old-fashioned stuff with the very pink packaging. She wore pink in all shades. And when she decorated, it was most often with reds and pinks. She had the house fully carpeted in pink, and she painted her bedroom pink, too.
My color is yellow, sometimes green. I don't aspire to pink.
The guest room in my mother's house was painted pale lemon yellow in my honor. When my parents passed on and I moved into their home, the yellow room became my bedroom. I dearly love the yellow room. Unfortunately I discovered that I couldn't sleep there because the central air conditioning unit is directly outside the window, and it woke me constantly during the night.
Finally, I decided that I would have to move into my mother's former bedroom. And I didn't like the pink paint. But the room was always pink; to re-paint seemed somehow like a betrayal, and I just couldn't do it. So I decorated the room in a way that managed to merge my yellows and greens with her pinks, and it looks restful. Restful is precisely what a bedroom should be, in my estimation and in my mother's as well.
I kept the simple 1950's style curtains that my mother made for the room--bright white side curtains with pink polka-dotted valances. But time and bright sunshine took a toll: the valances faded so much that it was nearly impossible to tell that there were polka-dots at all. The valances went from a cheerful candy pink to a grey-ish not-quite-pink color. They looked tired. I tried replacing them with some generic white lace curtains that I already had but I missed the vintage style of my mother's curtains. Something would have to be done.
I checked the stores around town but, strangely, few of them carried good old Rit dyes; those that did had no pink. Very odd. But eBay came to my rescue; I easily found and purchased Petal Pink dye.
Then my washer broke down. I didn't care to attempt dying by hand. Months went by before I replaced the washer. I again put up curtains that I didn't like. And I forgot about the little box of Rit entirely.....until I was tidying a drawer in my sewing chest and found a mystery shipping envelope. The Rit was inside. I remembered those disappointing valances, and I came up with a bold plan: I would dye the side curtains, too. Cotton fabric for the valances and chiffon polyester for the sides--it couldn't work, could it, dying two very different fabrics together?
One of our family sayings was, "Nothing beats a success but a failure." No, I can't explain it but it always seems an appropriate thing to avow in slightly risky situations like whether or not to dye curtains.
I worry about ruining things; I tend to err on the side of caution. My mother was not so-minded; she was bold. She didn't mind a bit of ruination when change was in the wind. Once she hacked apart a sofa with an axe because she couldn't otherwise easily get it out of the room where it was. And she didn't spend a moment in regret.
It was time to follow her example. I dyed all the curtains. The result is good. Not perfect. There's some splotching on the chiffon side curtains but they came out a pretty pale pink. The valances are a bit bright--"lairy" is the word that Mother might have used--much brighter than I had thought the color on the dye packet seemed. But I believe that she would have laughed and used them anyway. That's what I'm doing.
Life is good.
And my curtains are Very Pink.