Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY - Homemade Laundry Detergent

So anyone who is on Pinterest saw all the mania over homemade laundry detergent a year or 2 back. Some folks make the powdered and others the liquid version, either way it's supposed to clean very well and is dirt cheap to make and use.

There are a bunch of recipes on the internet, I chose liquid for my HE front loader because I think my washer does better with liquid detergent. About a month or 2 ago I helped my sister make up a big batch of this detergent for her own use, but I never made any for myself because I gave her all the empty containers I had on hand. Of her leftovers that didn't fit in her jugs I got 2 quarts.

Sunday I decided I had enough containers to finally make this myself. I had the ingredients on hand: 1 Fels naptha bar ($1.29) and Box of Borax and a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (together there were about $8-$10).

Mix dry ingredients: 1/2 cup Borax and 1 cup A&H Washing Soda (This not baking soda, Washing soda is sold in the laundry soap aisle as is Borax and Fels Naptha). Set aside

Boil 4 cups water.

Add 1 shredded bar Fels Naptha to boiling water. Stir to melt the shredded soap.

Use a 5 gallon paint bucket (less than $3 at Walmart) fill 1/2 way with hot tap water. Mix in the powdered ingredients, mix in the melted FelsNaptha/water mixture. Stir. Add more hot tap water to fill bucket to top. Set aside, let cool over night.

This mixture will form a gelatinous blob. I find it easier to remove 1/2 of the soap mixture (about 2.5 gallons) into another bucket or larger stock pot, set aside. This leaves 1/2 the soap mixture (about 2.5 gallons in the 5 gallon bucket). In the 5 gallon bucket add hot tap water to top to refill the bucket (about 2.5 gallons of water) and gently stir to break up the gelatinous blobs in the soap mixture, this will be like a soapy water (5 gallons). Ladle in to jugs.

Take the set aside gelatinous goo (about 2.5 gallons), pour back into the now empty 5 gallon bucket and fill to the top with water (about 2.5 gallons), gently mix until mixture is smooth (making another 5 gallons of soap), again ladle into jugs.

This mixture will make 10 gallons of detergent. Don't be worried that the mixture is like a slimy water when you ladle it into the jugs, as the water cools the mixture will get thick like normal laundry detergent you buy.

The color of the detergent is a pearly ivory color if you want to know how it smells it smells like the Fels Naptha Bar, a very clean soap scent. Fels Naptha is also good to have on hand to rub into stains on clothing. I have a jug that looks blue because I had some left over store bought that I poured into that jug, but this caused that jug to be runny, so it may not be a good idea to try to pour store bought into the homemade, it changed the consistency of mine, but I have no doubts it will work the same.

The cost of 10 gallons is less than $2.00, this should be enough for about 640 loads of laundry in my front loader.

Before you use this in your machine be sure to shake the jar very well to remix the soaps and the water in case there was any separation. If you want a very thick and more concentrated version add less water. I found the blog Budget101 that has a thicker more concentrated version. I may make this to use for stained clothing, this site also has a dishwasher detergent recipe (guess what I am making next weekend), and a few other cleaning product recipes that I may try out.

You can use any container you want gallon jugs work well, as do used fabric softener and laundry detergent jugs. I have a cat so I really like using the old Tidy cat jugs. The flip top tidy cat containers are good too. If you don't have a cat but know anyone else who does ask them to save the empty jugs for you to store your homemade detergent in. If you want a pretty presentation in your laundry room quart or gallon sized canning jar with labels would be really pretty.

I checked both the Purex and Arm & Hammer websites to verify that all 3 products were safe for HE washers before making this detergent. The Borax and Arm & Hammer both are multi-purpose products, as I learn new cleaning products I can make I will share them.

Monday, October 28, 2013

No Sew Table Runner

Not everyone can sew or enjoys sewing. I am a novice but I do like to sew and make things. As I was preparing my house for the kids party a couple weeks ago, I decided the night before the party that I needed to have a table runner on our kitchen table. No time to measure and sew.

I did have a piece of scrap fabric that 1.) matched the pillow covers I made for my family room couch, and 2.) that matched the fabric covered trash can I made as a flower pot. This fabric scrap oddly enough was exactly long enough and wide enough to make a runner for my table.

I got my iron and ironing board set up and let the iron get hot. I gathered the fabric and stitch witchery. I didn't measure this runner but instead was able to follow the pattern of the fabric to keep my line straight. I used the stitch witchery as my guide to fold the edges the same width.

This runner took about 10 mins to make. The runner changed the look of our every night dinner table. This is something I can use until I want a new look.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Trisha Yearwood's - 6 Week Pickles

If you may recall over the summer a local farmer sold me over 50 BIG cucumbers. Some I canned into dill pickles and the remainder I decided to attempt the 6 week pickle recipe that Trisha Yearwood showed on her HGTV program Trisha's Southern Kitchen.

These are tangy sweet pickles. I will be honest and say I hate sweet pickles or bread and butters, I have always thought they were totally disgusting. But the way Trisha was talking about these pickles made me want to try them.

The recipe is very easy, soak cucumbers in vinegar for 6 weeks, drain the cucumbers, slice them, add sugar and cinnamon oil and clove oil and shake for 2-3 additional days. Done!

I didn't have the glass jars she discussed so I soaked my cucumbers in a large drink cooler in my basement, literally an igloo cooler. This worked perfectly because the cooler seals when you close it and I got all the cucumbers into 1 container.

I admit the 6-week soak turned into a an 11 week soak. I just didn't have time to get to these after 6 weeks. I followed the recipe by pulling out the cucumbers and NOT rinsing them. I sliced them and added them to plastic jugs I had left over from snacks we bought at Sams. Again I just didn't have the glass jars she says to use and I was not willing to go buy them.

Once you slice and jar the pickles you add sugar and the oils (cinnamon and clove) shake the containers several times a day. Don't worry that you have no juice in the pickle slices, once you add the sugar and the oils the pickles make their own juice.

I didn't know how to can these because the recipe does not mention it. But I followed normal canning principles and processed the jars in my water bath canner.

I have to admit these pickles are strong, tangy, sweet. They are pretty good. I was surprised I liked them. My 11 week soak I think made mine very strong but I like that tanginess.

Here are the basic directions:

16 medium length cucumbers (about 6 pounds)
2 quarts white distilled Vinegar
4 scant drops clove oil
4 scant drops cinnamon oil
4 pounds white sugar

Soak whole cucumbers in vinegar in covered container for 6 weeks. cucumbers should be submurged.
After 6 weeks remove cucumbers from vinegar bath, DO NOT rinse cucumbers.
Slice cucumbers.
In jars layer cucumbers and sugar, top jar with drops of cinnamon and clove oils. This will make new pickle juice. Shake jars several times a day for 2-3 days. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Target Find: Nate Berkus White and Silver Pillow

My pillow mania is coming to an end...well maybe :)

I found the black and gold pillow and this white and silver pillow within a few days of each other at different Target stores. Like the black and gold pillow, I only bought one of these. I think the pillow is very pretty and stands alone so only 1 was needed.

I admit there is one more Nate Berkus pillow at Target that I like but I have not yet run there thinking life cannot continue without it. So I may have 1 more pillow in my near future.

This pillow is solid white and has little rectangular rhinestones sewed on making the pretty silver pattern up the center of the pillow. I like how it looks in my crappy but comfy old chair :). You notice my Ikea striped throw blanket covering the seat of my chair and the pillow to contrast the blanket. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dollar Store Pumpkins Turned Glitter Pumpkins!

I will admit I did this project last fall. But I was trying to finish up cheer season and my master's degree so I never had time to post this.

The Dollar Tree sells these little carveable pumpkins for $1 each. They are the size of  a cantalope, so not tiny but not like a big pumpkin. I like the size though, because I can move them around on nearly any surface and they don't take up too much space. This little fireplace "mantle" was decorated by my 10 year old daughter Brooke. She loves to help and this is fun stuff so I gave her the supplies and she set it up how she wanted it.

I laid out newspaper to do this project and it did take several days to complete. I used regular Elmer's glue to cover half of the pumpkin. Next I dumped (yes dumped) glitter over the glue, shake off the excess. I poured the excess glitter back into the container and let the pumpkin set over night. Next day I completed the other half of the pumpkin. Day 3 I did the stem and set over night to dry.

What I did not like is that this is covered in glitter so the glitter likes to fall off. So on day 4 I took the pumpkins outside and lightly and from a good distance sprayed clear gloss spray paint on the pumpkins to seal in the glitter. I think that a covering of decoupage glue on the glitter would do the same job. If you spray the clear gloss do it lightly it might cause the glitter to lighten, trust me I got heavy handed on one and it bleached the glitter in spots. But once this protective coat dried the glitter was sealed on and wasn't flaking off anymore.

This is an easy and fast project and kid friendly and cheap :)  Use different colors and textures of glitter they turn out very pretty and look like the glitter pumpkins you see all over the stores this year.

Friday, October 18, 2013

From Trash Can To Custom Flower Pot

I was scoping out great ideas on Infarrantly Creative a couple weeks ago and noticed this awesome idea posted by Carmel of Our Fifth House. Carmel has a very creative mind and I decided to steal this idea for my own house.

Lucky for me that Carmel remembered to snap a before picture of the trash can because I totally forgot.

Photo credit: Carmel @ http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2013/09/trash-can-fresh-flower-door-vase.html

What surprised me about this trash can besides the low $7 price was how big it is, I would say it is similar in height to a bathroom trashcan or a small office trashcan. This was a Target buy and I found it in the aisles where you might find bins and storage type containers.

Based on the size and the future weight of the finished and filled pot, I decided this was going to be WAY too heavy to use on my storm door and decided I would use this inside my house next to my patio door. I chose a fabric scrap I liked and used spray adhesive to spray down the trashcan and carefully smoothed on the fabric. I tucked fabric under the bottom of the pot and secured it with the spray glue.

The little handles on the side are very cute and have function so I slit the material in the hole and carefully wrapped the fabric inward and glued the fabric down inside the pot. I bought a nice size mum from Home Depot for $5 to put into the trashcan but they had small squat pots this year so I needed something to place inside the pot to sit the mum on. I used an old tall candle jar, mouth side down and set the mum on the jar.

Here is a picture of the Door bucket Carmel made, Love the beautiful fabric she used:

Photo credit: Carmel @ http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2013/09/trash-can-fresh-flower-door-vase.html
Thursday, October 17, 2013

IKEA Hack - Lenda Tab Top Curtain Makeover

I know you're looking at the curtains thinking so what? I bought these curtains not realizing it was a tab top design, despite the picture on the front of the package. I did however, realize that the length was WAY too long at 118 inches. I only need 84 inch length curtains. The curtains are called Lenda and cost $39.99 at IKEA. 

My plan was to stencil on a Zamira stencil design from cutting edge stencils but have not gotten that far just yet. To my surprise when I opened the package they were tab top panels, not the look I want or like. What I did like is that the curtain had a 2-inch pocket that I could put a rod through. So, I decided since I had to take up the bottom that I might as well remove the tabs from the top and open the sides where the pocket was so I could put the rod through.

Product Image
Image credit: http://www.cuttingedgestencils.com/moroccan-stencil-designs.html

I used my seam ripper to open the pocket and remove the tabs then I re-sewed the top.  I hung the panels and pinned them to the length I wanted, which ended up being 84-1/4inches. I didn't want the curtains touching the floor because vacuuming is a hassle when the curtains hang on the floor, so they are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch above the carpet. I cut the remaining fabric off and sewed the bottom of the panel, voila done. Probably took me an hour total. I used the extra material and made 2 18-inch envelope pillow covers.

White pillow covers on couch are from the extra material
Stenciling them is the next step, I have the stencil and the paint ready to go, just need time and energy to tackle the project. I do have to admit that I really like the ivory panels as they are, very simple and clean. I may just buy a cheap pair at Target or Walmart and stencil those and use them interchangeably based on my mood.

Here are some pictures of the stencil from http://www.cuttingedgestencils.com/moroccan-stencil-designs.html
I bought the small stencil because I thought I could get more use out of it versus the bigger pattern. 

stencilsmoroccan stencils

stencilsmoroccan stencils


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Favorite Finds - Target - Black and Gold Nate Berkus Pillow

I like pillows....A LOT! This one was sitting on the "Nate Berkus" end cap at Target and I wanted it. I don't have time to mill around Target everyday or every week for that matter. I am busy, I work a full-time job that is hectic and extremely stressful..which means most days I don't leave my desk even once, I just work... I don't eat, drink, go to the restroom.. I just work.

It is important to get away during the day to de-stress and to stretch out. I like those rare occassions to check out stores that are close to me like Pier 1 and Target (I live south of Dayton, Ohio and good stores are slim pickin's). This trip this beautiful black and gold pillow was staring me down and I decided I had to buy it, my luck is if I don't buy when something is on the shelf and I try to go back later, it's ALWAYS sold out.

I was not sure where I was going to put this pillow but I decided on my home office for now since the color was complementary. I did not buy 2 of these, only 1.. it stands alone 2 would be too many.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Urchin

Everyone in blogland has these cute little sea urchins as decorations. SO I wanted to know how much these little cuties cost. GULP!! almost $50, forget that. All I see when I look at it is a little ball with sticks punched in it and painted gold. No way this girl is shelling out $50 for something I know I can made myself for less than $5 to $10.

I started thinking about different ways I can make something like this and hit up Hobby Lobby for possible materials. My first thought was to make it with homemade salt dough, then I considered a little styrofoam ball as a base. I found little bags of wooden sticks that I thought would be great, they are thicker but most people don't know what the designer-made urchins look like so it does not matter. As I was walking through Hobby Lobby the oven bake clay caught my attention, I remember my ex-sister-in-law making us bakable clay pins for Christmas one year and they lasted forever.

Before I bought anything I decided to run a search standing in HobbyLobby to see if there was a DIY version out on the internet. I realize there are lots of very creative ladies out there and someone else has thought this was DIY-able before I did. I did find a few hits on this and decided to look at Craft and Couture's blog post on the DIY brass urchin. She had the same thoughts as me both styrofoam and the oven bake clay, but the clay appeared to be the better option, so I also went for the clay.

The clay was not expensive and it was big enough to make 2 urchins and I bought the bag of wooden sticks. I used a 40% off coupon to offset some of the cost, so I paid less than $5 in materials. I did not have to buy a can of gold paint because I still had some left from a previous project. If you want a pointy tipped urchin you can either use toothpicks or get wooden skewers and cut the stick down in length.

My 10 year old daughter made one and I made one. First break the clay into 2 equals parts and roll into a ball. Push sticks in, I went in a row to make a cross on the ball, this gave me 4 sections to fill in, it took about 10 mins to roll the ball and push all the sticks in. After we were done we placed these on a cookie sheet. I wrapped each urchin into little foil pouches (I was afraid the wood might catch fire) and I baked these at 165F for 1 hour and 15 minutes per the directions on the clay package.

I will have to admit though that I forgot the urchins were in the oven until about 4 hours later. I tore through the house and when I got to the oven they were still there baking and the little foil pouches protected them. I let the urchins sit on the cookie sheet overnight to cool completely. I sprayed one gold to imitate the designer look. I couldn't be happier.