Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Science and Equality - IVF onesies for the baby with two moms

Mommy + Mommy + Test Tube = ME! onesie

Available in a variety of colors.

About this design

IVF for the win! For the baby with two mommies. Science is wonderful, and so is the new baby.

You can get these Carter's infant bodysuits at either of our two stores:

About the onesies

Screen printed on Carter's infant body suits. All body suits are printed on demand. You may request other ink colors. You may also request other body suit colors; however, they will be hand dyed and the hue may vary. Let me know what you would like in the Notes to Seller section or via a Convo and I will let you know if I can fulfill the request.

Note that in general, any special colors will have to be dyed by hand. I use Dharma Procion fiber reactive dye. Procion actually dyes the fiber, rather than laying a coat of color on the outside of it. This makes it color fast and safe, if your child decides that the clothes look yummy.

One point to note about it though is that it only dyes natural fibers; therefore, if there are (for example) polyester threads in the garment, they won't be dyed. This actually leads to quite a nice looking effect when it happens.

Another thing to note is that I might have to order the color that you desire, and that could add a few days to the time.

We'd love to have you visit

See these and lots of other great items at either of our two stores.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Coloring some Carter's infant bodysuits with Dharma Procion dye.

Some preliminary information

You may not be aware of it, but The Wits End is a small, family owned business. We operate out of our house and do not maintain any stock of tee and onesie blanks; for both financial and logistical reasons. Although, to be honest, that's not entirely accurate since I will sometimes buy a few common colors in a variety of sizes if the local craft stores are having a sale. In addition, the onesies are sold in groups of five. However; in general, if someone needs a particular color and size of shirt or infant bodysuit, I have to go in to town and buy it for the order.

I can buy any color I want, as long as it's white

Today I needed a black 9 month onesie for a Starstuff order:
I Am Made of Starstuff infant bodysuit, yellow on black.
You can't find bodysuits in a solid color here in Corpus Christi. There is one craft store that sells them in pink, blue, and black - but we don't get those because they shrink quite a lot and have a strange shape in general; plus, to be honest, we don't agree with their politics and don't shop there. Aside from all of that, we just prefer the quality of Carter's infant bodysuits, so that is all that we use.

I checked the storage area in the garage to see if I had any black 9 month onesies; I didn't, so that meant that I was going to have to dye one. I use Dharma Procion fiber reactive dyes. Procion dyes dye the fabric strands themselves, rather than just laying a coat of dye over the outside of the strand. This makes them very colorfast, and also safe, in the event that someone's child decides that their clothing looks particularly tasty on any individual day. One issue with the Procion dyes is that they only dye natural fibers. If the item has polyester threads, the threads will not dye. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it tends to give a nice look, like the onesie has a trim and many people like that.

Going to have to make my own

Dyeing properly is a very involved and time consuming process, therefore I never dye only one item. I'll usually select about a pound of tee shirts, onesies, and perhaps some personal items. Today I grabbed a pound of bodysuits, so that I would have some black ones ready for future orders.

Need some salt - lots of salt

The first step is to get some salt. Salt is necessary because both the fabric and the dye are negatively charged and repel each other. The salt alleviates this. Black dye, and in general any dye that contains red needs a lot of salt; about twice as much as other colors do. I needed six cups of salt for a pound of onesies. I use fifty pound bags of water softener pellets for salt. It isn't iodized, and it is simply salt, with no minerals or additives. You may have noticed that I said pellets. The salt needs to be dissolved in warm water, not an easy thing with rock hard pellets.  I keep a blender only used for crafts to chop the pellets up. Extremely noisy and hard on the blender (I've been through a couple now), but it works. For info, all of the items used in dyeing are only used for crafts.  I have them marked and kept separately. 

Getting the dye bath ready

The next step is to paste up some dye. Basically, just adding some water to four tablespoons of black dye powder and mashing it up to create a paste. Since this is black, and black is notoriously hard to do properly, I add a tablespoon of urea. This is also why I used four tablespoons of dye, because it is black - normally, I would only need one tablespoon for a pound of fabric. Urea helps dissolve the dye, and is also a humectant, which helps attract the dye to the water in the fabric. You might be saying: "Ewwww, urea? Isn't that from urine?" Well, yes, it is, but the urea used in this process isn't made from urine, but is instead synthesized from natural gas.  The pasted up dye goes in to the urea, which has been dissolved in about a cup of warm water and is thoroughly mixed together. This mixture is then put into the tote that I use for dyeing, and then I add about three gallons of warm water and the dissolved salt.

Let's turn those puppies black!

Now it is time to add the onesies. The onesies have been pre-washed in some detergent especially made for dyeing, to get all of the sizing and oils out. I wet them thoroughly before adding them to the tote one at a time. Wetting them first keeps them from getting uneven splotches. The onesies get stirred gently for about twenty minutes, and then I add dissolved soda ash in small amounts over a fifteen minute period. The soda ash is a dye fixative and makes the dye job permanent. Following the addition of the soda ash, I'll continue to stir the onesies for an additional hour, since black is a deep color and needs more time.

But let's not turn everything else black....

The onesies then get rinsed until the water runs clear, and I follow this up by washing them and giving them an extra long rinse cycle, followed by a trip through the drier.  The onesie is now ready to be screened and heat set.

Your purchases help provide feminine hygiene products to local shelters

Each purchase helps

We don't talk about it on the store sites, but a portion of each sale is set aside to help purchase feminine hygiene products for the local (Corpus Christi, TX) homeless and women's shelters.

Why would we do this?

Tampons and sanitary pads are pretty expensive, and people don't normally think of them when they're donating items to shelters. Not thinking about them doesn't stop the need of course. I'm a guy, so I have never experienced menstruation firsthand.  However; I still have an imagination.  Just the thought of being out on the street, desperate about so many other things and then having to deal with your period, has to be very stressful.

Of course, being a small company with just a small number sales per month, we can't do a lot - but every little bit helps.

Curious about our stores?

Visit us at:

Using coupons at The Wits' End online store

Using coupons at the online store

Using a coupon at http://thewitsend.aliboom.com for the first time can be confusing.

What is the problem?

You find an item that you like and decide to purchase it, so you put it in the cart and enter your shiny new coupon code that is supposed to give you 20% off on your entire purchase. However; once you hit return, you find out that it didn't work.  What's up with that, are we lying to you?

Actually, no, we're not messing with you

We're not lying, promise.  The store is actually quite capable when it comes to coupons, when compared to our Etsy shop. The thing is though, you have to manually tell the system that you want to use the coupon (just the first time, it stays for your entire visit).

Here is the 'trick'

Selecting a coupon

Instead of using Return/Enter, you have to click on the "+" next to the coupon code that you've entered.
Selecting a coupon at http://thewitsend.aliboom.com

Deselecting a coupon

If you decide afterwards that you don't actually want to use a coupon, you remove it with the "x" to the right of it.
Removing a coupon at http://thewitsend.aliboom.com


Sunday, July 26, 2015

We offer bulk discounts

Bulk discounts are available

Are you a member of a group or organization?

The Wits End has bulk discounts available for almost all items in the store. Coupled with coupons, bulk orders can save you a significant amount of money.

The discounts are automatic; just enter the quantity desired and the discount will be calculated for you.

How does it work?

You just enter the quantity that you want, and the system will figure out the correct price.  The bottom of each description lists the bulk discount levels and prices for various items.

Say, for example, that you wanted to buy multiple Invisible Pink Unicorn mouse pads.

For one mouse pad

In the upper-left area, the price is shown as $8.99 (not really easy to see here, but it is - click on the image to enlarge it). It's the same price everywhere on the form in this case, because there is only one of them being purchased.

For twenty-five mouse pads

In the upper left corner, the price is now shown as $4.99 each, since you're getting the bulk discount. The two prices on the right hand side are the extension, showing what the total will be(25 x $4.99 = $124.75).  In this case they're the same; they would be different if you also applied a coupon.

For twenty-five mouse pads, and a coupon code

In this one, the price in the upper left is still $4.99 for the bulk discount, the price in the upper right is still $124.75 because you're ordering 25 of them.  However; you've now applied a coupon, so the actual amount is going to be reduced by 20% with this particular coupon. You're now down to $99.75; that makes the mouse pads effectively $3.99 apiece.

Shifting over from Pokey

Why the shift?

Currently, posts related to The Wits' End go to http://qnr-pokey.blogspot.com/. However, Pokey is really meant to be associated with photography, retro computers and happenings in the Coastal Bend area of south Texas.

In addition, since we are actually paying for an online storefront, we should have a blog that is dedicated to that storefront and that makes things easy to find. This should be up and running properly by the end of this week.