Two Questions for Evil Martha Stewart

Photo of Martha Stewart photoshopped to resemble Evil Spock from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror. Martha is sporting Spock's blue uniform, pointed ears, tilted eyebrows and a goatee.

If a father were to immerse his hand in the blood of his wife’s freshly plucked placenta and smear it on a white one-piece infant outfit and let it dry… how would he go about setting that stain in the garment for permanent retention and resistance to repeated washings?

Secondly, what common baby garment fabric is especially good for retaining blood stains?

Extra points to anyone who correctly guesses what will be depicted in the smear.

Double extra points for suggesting a better drawing idea than the one inside my head. And no, I’m not thinking of anything gruesome, except for using blood as finger paint.

And, double no, my baby boy hasn’t arrived yet, but a guy’s gotta prepare, doesn’t he?

P.S. That’s the evil Martha Stewart you see as she appeared in the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror. She is more aptly referred to as Mirror Martha because she had the integrity and good sense to let Captain Kirk escape back to his universe at the end of the episode. Oh, and I spent waaaay too much time with Photoshop for a post this brief.

I do seriously need some good advice beyond washing in hot water. And as long as I have my hands bloody, I might as well paint more than one shirt, so ideas are welcome.


19 Responses to “Two Questions for Evil Martha Stewart”

  1. ericafromamerica says:

    Huh??? Try using Dreft to wash – i find it doesn’t remove ANY stains!!!

    March 14th, 2008 at 4:32 am

  2. Teacher Jen says:

    I understand… what an interesting and subtle way to preserve the placenta blood to remember your baby’s first source of nourishment! I’m glad there are other liberals in the world who can pass on such out-of-the-ordinary ideas!!!!

    I would go with cotton, because of my experience with washable cotton menstrual products. The color fades to brown, but the design will still be there. Of course, let the blood sit for many days, and go with a second “coat” if it’s not too hard to follow the design. I have no guesses about the drawing though… please don’t let it be that insistent little chili-cheese fries baby from the shower.

    Seriously, though, great idea! II’m giving birth in June, and I can’t wait to see the look on the face of my OB here in Belize when I ask him for the placenta in a ziplock. I was just going to bury it in under the hibiscus tree, but now I think I might go for the outfit art first.

    March 14th, 2008 at 5:11 am

  3. Jen says:

    Well… I’m really almost frightened to ask what you’re doing. But I think it’s the picture of Mirror Martha that really freaked me out.

    I’ll ditto the cotton for fabric.

    Also, if you have a front loading washer, don’t let the garment soak for any time until you have washed and dried it at least 2-3 times to let the stain set. Don’t use Oxy Clean. Don’t use Tide or any other detergent that advertises superior stain removal techniques. Don’t get your hopes up that it’ll stay red. It won’t.

    I actually think I’d wash in cold the first time and then dry in the dryer to set the stain.

    Um, good luck?

    (The idea of LETTING a stain set is so counterintuitive to my control freak brain it’s crazy).

    March 14th, 2008 at 5:42 am

  4. Kathleen says:

    This is an interesting idea…especially if you are going to do hand or foot prints…very cool.

    I would not use cold water as I find that this helps to remove blood. I think your best tools would be time to set and heat as both promote coagulation and will make the stain “stick”. Good luck :)

    March 14th, 2008 at 6:55 am

  5. adrienne says:

    I’m with Jen. It’s hard to set the brain to reverse and intentionally SET a stain, but the opportunity to channel an evil Martha is irresistible.

    Cotton will take a stain, but you’re not going to come out with such a good stain that you can wash it by machine regularly without some color loss. Wool would be more receptive to natural dyes, but wool baby togs are hard to find. Most synthetics resist natural dyes.

    Your first days of garment processing are going to be critical.

    Paint heavily. Natural dye websites recommend a 1: 1 ratio of fabric and dye- so lay it on thick.

    Let it dry and sit flat for a week to stain deeply. Does a week seem excessive? Sure- but you’re not going to get any second chances unless you can bag the placenta and bring it home- so caution pays.

    Rinse in cold water without soap. Air dry flat.

    Iron at high temperature appropriate to the fabric to set the stain. Put brown paper bags above and below the fabric while ironing to absorb any color transfer. Clean your iron afterwards.

    Hand wash with gentle soap. Machine dry on highest appropriate heat setting for garment.

    There’s a commercial dye fixative called Retayne that might also be worth investigating.

    Avoid unnecessary direct sunlight (line drying outdoors) as this stain (rather than a proper dye) will be highly prone to fading.

    Now I feel completely crazy.

    My grandmother always recommended soaking something in freezing cold salt water to set dyes. I’m not sure how well that works though- my success has been mixed.

    March 14th, 2008 at 6:58 am

  6. Roland says:

    Oh…. I see what you’re doing — and it’s TWISTED!

    You want your child to wear a Red Shirt?! Any self-respecting Star Trek fan (well, at least of The Old Series) knows what happens to crew members who wear red shirts…

    How could you!! ;-)

    March 14th, 2008 at 7:07 am

  7. AJ says:

    Thinga-dad here….

    ericafromamerica, Dreft must be a cultural thing. I wasn’t even aware of it. Dreft sounds a little like a marketing ploy.

    Teacher, wow, I’d never peg this idea as one tied to liberalism or conservatism or whatnot. Did I just freak out half my readers? Maybe I should do a poll, asking your political party and gauging level of disgust.

    I have a friend who once sealed a hamburger in a plastic polymer, so I was hoping for some hardcore stain solutions. It sounds like the best course of action will be a straight-forward one.

    Kathleen’s idea for footprints is interesting. A handprint would be virtually impossible because infants curl their hands. I am slightly disturbed by Roland’s red shirt idea, unless we name the kid Scotty.

    March 14th, 2008 at 8:15 am

  8. Barbara says:

    If I were going to attempt this (I’d use 100% cotton for the material):
    Let dry completely
    Place a clean white (disposable) cotton cloth (or lots of paper towels) on both sides of the design and place face down on an ironing board. Iron and steam a bit to set.
    Rinse carefully but thoroughly in hot water.
    Let dry
    Use transparent iron-on transfer paper over the design to protect.

    March 14th, 2008 at 9:15 am

  9. Barbara says:

    Also, I noticed a lot of people have said to wash in cold, but since you are supposed to rinse with cold to remove blood, because hot water will set it, I recommended hot.

    You could always prick your finger and do a trial run with the best way to get it to set in advance.

    March 14th, 2008 at 9:19 am

  10. K says:

    I agree with Barbara, you need heat to set the stain.

    My best friend did a placenta print, the t-shirt idea is interesting.

    March 14th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  11. Erica says:

    Never heard of this before, and all of my good stain-setting ideas have been spoken. So all I have to offer is a guess: although it’s completely random, all I can picture is Wilson, Tom Hank’s volleyball friend from Castaway. Doesn’t exactly say, “Welcome to the world, Baby!”, but he’ll always have a friend close by.

    March 14th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

  12. Nadia says:

    Ironing and putting it in the dryer is always good. If you have time to figure out what works, you can probably buy blood from the butchers.

    March 15th, 2008 at 4:22 am

  13. leslie says:

    Well, I’ve heard that some cultures eat the placenta and other’s bury it but I’ve never heard of finger painting with placental blood. Not that weird to me though; this coming from a woman who asked to see her placenta after giving birth and everyone (except my doctor) thought I was crazy. The amnion (clear sac that surrounds the baby, but you probably already knew that) is SO thin, it’s amazing!

    As far as what you’re painting, I would guess the baby’s birthdate. As far as what you should paint I would say a heart would be cute or the baby’s name.

    You might want to also paint on some archival (acid free) paper, just in case the artwork on the onesie eventually washes away.

    March 15th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

  14. Lydia says:

    You crazy liberals and your bloody finger painting.

    March 15th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

  15. april says:

    How ’bout you squirt a bottle of red dye in the the blood for a better set?

    March 15th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

  16. addy says:

    I find that it is impossible to get anything out of clothes that are made by Gymboree…so buy something from there as they hold stains…not sure why,,,when I go through clothes stain fighting the ones that need double/triple treated are always gymboree…Best of luck

    March 16th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

  17. Kathy says:

    I was telling my friend about what you wanted to do (I didn’t even save the umbilical cord stump — I’m kinda grossed out by this talk, even though I change the diapers of a toddler and a baby several times a day), and she suggested you use the onesie to clean off your baby when he’s born, rather than paint with the placenta. It might have kind of a cool tie-dye effect. If you can figure out how to keep it!

    And can I just say, I’m impressed that you plan to have the presence of mind to try anything while this baby is being born. My second baby came so fast that the nurses asked if I saw a target on the wall behind the doctor. In my defense, he said the baby was in distress … it’s the only thing I clearly remember from her birth!

    Good luck! With the birth and the craft project!

    March 16th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

  18. AJ says:

    Barbara, thanks for the ironing idea.

    Erica, you get two points.

    Leslie, thanks for the heart idea, another easily doable design.

    Kathy, awesome idea too, cleaning the baby with the shirt. The nurses will have to approve it; they might insist on sterile towels.

    March 17th, 2008 at 1:46 am

  19. Chris C. says:

    I would probably skip the cotton and go straight for linen, maybe even a wool blend… If you’re going to do it, do it right. Really, no matter what I use or don’t use or temperature I wash things in, I can’t get ANYTHING out of clothes and I always set things in permanently. Just send it to me, I will take care of your all your stain setting needs!

    March 20th, 2008 at 10:28 am

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