Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

There's something about mixing up your own household cleaner/detergent to make you feel very domestic! I've seen lots of blogs lately talking about going green in different ways including making your own cleaners. I knew that cleaners had lots of chemicals in them but if you really start looking at the ingredient lists, it's a little scary. I've had breathing issues after using bleach in cleaning and laundry and that's without any other respiratory issues. So while I'm not all 'save the planet, hug a tree,' I think that we should be good stewards of our environmental resources and if I can reduce the amount of chemicals in my house, that's got to be a good thing! In my quest to pinch some pennies and make our home a little 'greener', I found a recipe for homemade laundry detergent to try. (Thanks for sharing, Deana!)

I assembled my supplies: Borax, Baking Soda (I couldn't find Washing Soda), and Ivory soap. (It was on sale last week so I thought I'd try it.) I've seen other recipes that call for different brands of bar soap or adding some essential oils. I might try some variations down the road.

Using my handy-dandy KitchenAid mixer with the shredder attachment, I shredded the soap in about 2 minutes tops!


After shredding a bar of soap, I added 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of baking soda to the bowl and mixed it up. Using my canning funnel, I put it all into my Ikea Burken jar.
Some measurement info for future reference:
Borax 4lb 12oz (76 oz) = 11 cups
Baking Soda 4lb = 8 cups
9" Ikea Burken jar = almost 2 batches of detergent
The little bit of extra detergent that didn't fit into my jar went into a spare canning jar. I also shredded the 3rd bar of soap since I had everything out. That went into a canning jar too.
Then, I gave all my tools a really good rinse in the sink and then washed them in the dishwasher to be sure to get all of the soap residue off.

So the real question.... does it work?? Yes! I think so. I've done 2 loads with some dirty, stinky clothes (no names will be mentioned to protect the not-so-innocent.) After they were dry, I gave those stinky things a good sniff test. I have to admit, I was really hesitant to breathe deeply but everything smelled clean and fresh, and a dusty, dirty shirt that was used doing lawn work came clean too. Making the detergent took all of 10 minutes and cost about $5.00 for about 155 loads of laundry. That's $0.03 per load compared to my regular detergent at $0.18 per load after using a coupon! But I shall not kick myself for not doing this sooner. There's no time like the present and plenty more laundry to come to make detergent for!

Isn't it pretty? I think a new project for my 'to-do' list is a vinyl label for the jar. Then, perfection!

My fav places to link up.

This project was featured here

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sp-ring! Oh, sp-ring!

Spring, where are you???
I should be used to Pennsylvania winters by now. I've lived here my whole life. I know that just because the calendar says it's spring, it doesn't necessarily mean we get to shed the heavy coats. Even tonight, the forecast is snow!
Last week though, a friend brought me a sweet gift that holds all the promise and hope of spring.
I'm relishing their simple beauty in my dining room table for the time being.
I'm sure the weather will catch up to the calendar soon. Right?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Pillow Covers

This week, I tackled the next thing on the to-do list: Mr. and Mrs. Pillow Covers for our master bedroom. I've seen several versions of the Ballard Designs pillows.

Like the ones made by Knock Off Decor, Mrs. DIY, and here. Using the great 5 minute pillow cover tutorial from Restoration House, I cut Osnaburg fabric to size, sewed it up, and then tucked cardboard inside the flap so I could paint. I just used MS Word to print the letters to the size I wanted. Then using the very old method of carbon paper (Do they still even sell that stuff? We have an old pack that's been hanging around forever!), I just traced over the letters with pencil. Then I used a brown craft paint and small brush to paint them in. I haven't yet but should probably heat set them somehow so they can be washed. For now, they're in their new home so we don't forget who sleeps on which side of the bed. *giggle*

Linking up here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Being quite-a-bit Irish, it just seems fitting to honor St. Patrick's Day. We're not into the leprechaun and magical rainbows aspect of it but like honoring the testimony of a great man of God. See here for more info on Patrick here.

To celebrate and give the house a much needed dose of spring, I got crafty!
On the front door, I refashioned a grapevine wreath. I added some greenery picks and a berry sprig that I had on hand and a green bow with ribbon from my stash. Using my Cricut, I cut out 4 hearts and a letter 'J' to make a shamrock and tied it to dangle in the middle of the wreath. That dresses up our pitiful front door. (Yes, it has a crack in it. Yes, you can see daylight through it. Yes, it IS on the list to be replaced as soon as possible!)

On our mantel, I added some brass candlestick holders, 2 green candles, a boxwood ball from the dining room, and an Irish blessing printable that I found online (and didn't save the link, so if it was yours, please let me know!)

And I made a rag garland with fabric and cording that I had in my stash. (I love 'free' craft projects!) Using inspiration from here, I cut fabric strips into 2"x8" pieces and tied and tied and tied and tied.

A touch of green on our dining room table and buffet adds some spring too.

Here's where I party!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This is no time to panic!

I don't generally freak out when my kids get hurt or sick. We've had some scary moments, like when Tenor fell into the couch and split his face open right near his eye or when he face planted on the school playground and you could see way too much of his nose or a few high fevers when he and Soprano were young, but we've been blessed to not have anything life threatening, anything requiring surgery or extensive hospital stays. So I don't generally panic when when my kids are sick or get a bump or bruise.

But the other night I sort of freaked out. Soprano woke up crying saying that her neck and shoulder hurt and she felt like she was choking. I thought maybe her jammies were around her neck so we unbuttoned her shirt a bit and were checking her out. We noticed she had a fever and as we were trying to figure out what was happening, her legs starting convulsing involuntarily. She was coherent and talking to us the whole time so it wasn't seizures but since she has a pretty high tolerance of pain and wouldn't stop moaning and crying, I got worried. My first thought was meningitis so Bass called our family doctor who confirmed that we should get her to the ER.

As Bass headed to the hospital, I called family and asked friends to pray and then waited for an update. When they got there, her fever spiked to 103, and she was still in pain. After a long night in the ER, some X-rays, and some childrens' Motrin, the doctor there said that her symptoms were not meningitis but probably just the onset of the flu.

A day of rest at home, she had no more fever, no more pain, no tummy troubles, no flu-like symptoms. So while we appreciated the ER doc's care, I don't think he was right. Her symptoms were too strange, came on too fast, and went away too quickly for it just to be the flu.

I honestly think that she had something worse. I don't know what it was, but I truly believe that the Lord removed it in response to the prayers of His people. As I was waiting to hear an update from Bass, I was trying to sleep. But I couldn't. Each time my mind started thinking again, I heard that still small voice saying, "Just trust; just trust." So I trusted. God worked. And we are so thankful!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The To-Do List

* A gallery wall for the master bedroom with fabric matted pics and 3D objects like this starfish pic
(DONE)  'Mr' and 'Mrs' pillows for the master bedroom like these
* shelf decor for the master bedroom like this beautiful room
* Moss or twine balls for the dining room like these
(DONE) (I found one. Actually 2 on serious clearance in a store on the Ocean City boardwalk.) A DIY cloche if I can't find one to buy for the dining room centerpiece (F
* Cloth napkins for everyday use (to be frugal and good environmental stewards)
(Done)  A rag garland for my everyday/spring mantel in the living room
(Done)  Mat the Williamsburg pictures in the living room with fabric so they match better like this
* Sew fabric runners for the piano and the entry cupboard
(DONE)  Paint magazine holders for the living room to coordinate with our color scheme
* Dress up the bay window sill (no ideas for this yet, I'm still looking)
(DONE)  Make pillow covers for the living room pillows
(DONE)  Make a sheet music wreath to hang above the fireplace in the living room
* Paint a bird silhouette on an old board we have like this one
* Paint a chalkboard on the kitchen door
(DONE) Make bird art for the kitchen (I love these!)
* Make art for laundry shelf (I have the frames and the ideas!)
* Finish and frame bird cross-stitch for the laundry room
* Make a name sign for Tenor's room like this
* Make a jewelry holder for Soprano's room maybe like this or this
* Add vinyl house numbers to the front door
* Make a mason jar soap dispenser and clay tag for the half bathroom

And some seasonal decor:
(DONE)  a St. Pat's rag wreath like this or something like this
* a pine cone garland for next winter
(DONE)  a shell garland for summer

Plus actual renovation/remodeling/landscaping projects like:
(DONE)  replacing the front door
(DONE) painting the exterior trim and shutters and garage door
* Add countertops in the laundry room
* Make a shelf for above the washer and dryer
* replacing all interior doors
* Paint the kitchen cabinets and soffit (replace the backsplash??)
(DONE)  removing lots of overgrown, nasty bushes
(DONE)  new landscaping in the front yard
* replacing the mailbox

I think that's quite the list. I should go get started!
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