Friday, 28 August 2015

Adventures in the USA part 6 - Tie-Dyeing and Salad at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

The second I discovered on the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa activities schedule that there were tie-dyeing sessions, I decided that if we were going to take a day off, it had to be either Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday.  And so it was that the Wednesday after we arrived in Florida was spent at the hotel instead of at any of the parks.  My top two television and film experiences of tie-dyeing are Tie-Dye Girl from The Parent Trap and when Lizzie and Gordo tie-dyed the sheets in the Lizzie McGuire episode Pool Party.  In Pool Party, Lizzie and Miranda have been invited to Danny Kessler's pool party.  Unfortunately, Lizzie can't go because it's supposedly her grandmother's 80th birthday party, and Miranda chooses to go to the party without her.  Later on, it is revealed that Lizzie could have gone to the party, but it is too late.  However, Gordo comes to cheer up Lizzie by helping her to tie-dye some sheets.  Well, I got the best of both worlds - I went swimming at the hotel swimming pool just before lunch (I went to Danny Kessler's pool party, if you want), and then I tie-dyed a T-shirt just before tea (like Lizzie and Gordo)!


  1. Put on some rubber or plastic gloves and prepare the tie-dye solutions according to manufacturer's instructions, and a pot of water mixed with a cup of table salt (this can be used instead of soda ash as a solution to make the dyes "stick" to the fabric being tie-dyed).
  2. From the middle of the shirt (make sure it is plain and white), make the T-shirt into a sausage-like shape using elastic to separate the shirt into about 10 different sections (depending on the size of the shirt).
  3. Soak the shirt in the salt-water solution before starting to tie-dye.
  4. Squirt the dye onto each section of the shirt.  For this shirt, I made each section a different colour and put the colours in rainbow order, starting with purple in the middle.  I then had a few sections left at the end which I dyed pink, purple and light blue.  However, you can also use just one colour and alternate between that colour and just leaving a section white.
  5. The shirt, all tied up and ready to be dyed!

    The three finger-like sections at the left are for Mickey Mouse's face and ears.
    Time to squirt the green dye.
    A second purple section.
    The last section dyed light blue!

  6. Make sure that the dye reaches as much of the material in that section as possible.  You'll have to separate the folds a little bit to reach some areas.  This will avoid an excess of white space on the finished shirt.
  7. Roll the shirt in Clingfilm and wrap tightly.  Let it set for at least 24 hours, longer for more intense colours (we left it for nearly 72 hours).
  8. Once the appropriate time as elapsed, remove your shirt from the Clingfilm, remove the elastic bands, and place it in the sink.  Run water over it to remove the excess dye until the water runs clear (or almost clear).
  9. Wash your shirt in the washing machine.  Make sure to wash it ALONE (or with similarly coloured tie-dyed items).  Place a small amount of laundry detergent into the washing machine and set it to the hottest water setting possible (this seems awful for the environment though).
  10. It is also a good idea to run and empty load or something non-critical (such as a load of old rags) after you have washed your tie-dyed shirt.
  11. After the shirts have been washed, they can be put out to dry (washing line or dryer).
  12. Once shirts (or other tie-dyed items have been washed and dried once, they can be washed with any article of clothing and the dye will not come out.
My finished Mickey Mouse tie-dye T-shirt.

On our first night in Florida, as in the evening we had the flight from Washington DC to Orlando, we obviously hadn't had the chance to go grocery shopping.  Therefore, just after we checked in at our hotel (Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa), we popped into their self-service cafĂ© The Artist's Palette to find some dinner to take back to our hotel room.  My choice was the Saratoga Springs House Salad, a dish I recognised from a very old (Spring 2009) edition of Disney Files Magazine.  Disney Files Magazine has recipes so that readers can bring dishes served in Disney restaurants to their own homes.  So here's the recipe for the Saratoga Springs House Salad!

Saratoga Springs House Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 cups gourmet salad mix (fancy lettuce)
4 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons dried blueberries
1/2 unpeeled red apple, diced
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/2 cup poppy seed dressing (see recipe below)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently.  Serve with poppy seed dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing Ingredients

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon diced onion
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients (everything except for the canola oil and poppy seeds) in blender or food processor and process for 20 seconds.
  2. With blender on a high setting, gradually add oil in a slow steady stream.  Stir in poppy seeds.
  3. Once blender to your satisfaction, serve with the rest of the salad!

The lake at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.

Ducks approaching ...


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