This story begins before Valentine’s Day. I came home, and my sweet uncle who’s way too generous with his time and resources (which I take full advantage of) had bought an enormous bouquet of red roses from Whole Foods, because apparently the Kraken saw them and insisted I needed one. They sat on the mantle for a good week and a half before they finally kicked the bucket, and I happened to have read Rosie’s Garden to the offspring, so I was all caught up in the idea of being the sort of person who harvests her lavender to make sachets so the sheets smell good.
And there I was, armed with a dozen roses! Score!! I was totally going to teach my young whippersnapper how to make rose water, and then we would, I dunno, pour it in his bath water, and turn him a little pink? Make gallons of rose-colored cocktails? Okay, so I didn’t actually have a game plan, but dammit, I was determined!
Except it turns out that if you boil rose petals for too long (maybe on purpose, maybe because you completely forgot you had them going because you were busy building a fort in the living room, who’s to say really?) then the water stops smelling like roses, and starts smelling like artichokes.
Not that there’s anything wrong with artichokes! Please don’t sue me, Big Artichoke!
At that point, I was already all in, so I drained the petals out and had a dark red concoction that looked like watery ink. So we did the only logical thing with it, and experimented with using it as some sort of ink-watercolor hybrid. Turns out, rose water is really fun to make art with!
This is where I probably should have just stepped away. Said, “Wow, what a delightful little discovery!” while pouring the rest down the sink.
But this is the future! I have a supercomputer right there in my pocket! Before the munchkin had gotten bored of getting everything pink & soaking wet, Google had taught me how to dye things with roses.
You can see where this is going. First, I had to track down some 100% cotton yarn (I thought yarn would be more fun to experiment with). Then I acquired an unusually large jug of vinegar. Next thing you know, I’m getting my progeny to help me measure vinegar and water out into every pot we own, so we can fully experiment with different ways to dye things.
I’m not exaggerating. We literally used every pot we own.
First lesson learned: turning your house into a makeshift medieval dying guild means that everything will be smelly. Apparently the smell from boiling vats of vinegar water wastes no time in creeping into every nook and cranny of your home, and while I know people are ridiculously excited about the healing/cleaning/straight magical properties of vinegar, I just wound up with a headache and cold hands from all the open windows.
Second lesson learned: boiling a bunch of white yarn will make you hungry for noodles. You should probably have some on standby before you start this sort of thing.
Third lesson learned: holy crapballs, this is actually really easy! The hardest part, of course, is conning someone into giving you a dozen roses, but after that, you’re swimming in raw materials for some genuinely lovely dye! Since it’s just rose water with a fancier name it’s easy to clean up, even when you accidentally pour a bowl of it over your head (don’t ask), and you can do all of it at room temperature, so you can gain whole minutes of entertainment with your average preschooler. MINUTES, I say!
But all of this has me thinking. Well, it has me thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with all this pink yarn?” but I’ve also been considering my other favorite kitchen activities. Making curry from scratch with half the jars from our spice cabinet. Mumbling sweet nothings to yeast while I leave it to puff up my dough. Forgetting that one tupperware container in the back of the fridge until it’s started to grow new civilizations.
All that stuff leads me to one inevitable conclusion.
I want to be a witch.
I want to cackle over a bubbling kettle of strange ingredients, and then use it to transmogrify a donkey into a unicorn, because it’s not animal abuse if the end result is unicorn. I want to know the secret places where I can pick mandrake roots at midnight, and of course I want to dance naked under a full moon, because hello, have you met me?
So now that I’ve found my calling, I guess the only thing left for it is to move to the woods, get a pointy hat, and start looking for a flying broom!
This is going to be AWESOME.