Thursday, May 30, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

This is really a bit of an erroneous title that I attribute to the pin I found on Pinterest. Really, all I'm doing is combining various washing aids into a mixture that is used to wash clothes. The reason I gave it a try is that the combined cost of these ingredients was about equal to a big bottle of Tide, but will last a lot, lot longer because so little of it is needed for each load. Here are the ingredients I used:
A box of baking soda, a box of Super Washing Soda, a box of Borax, and three bars of Fels-Naptha soap.

The Fels-Naptha bars are pretty solid and a bit hard to cut or grate. So I popped them in the microwave for a short time - just enough to soften them a little, but not enough to make them start losing their bar shape.
When the soap had softened, I chunked it into a manageable size
then grated a few chunks at a time in my food processor. That worked OK. But during the clean-up of my tools, the soap didn't want to easily release itself from the blade. Next time I make the mixture I think I'll grate the soap by hand with a cheese grater. It may take longer, but I think I'll like the texture of the soap better as strips of soap rather than little pea-sized soap balls.
Next I poured all the ingredients into a plastic container that has a tight-fitting lid. You might consider doing this outside as all those powders tend to fly up in the air and you'll end up breathing them in. It was a rainy day, so I mixed them in the kitchen, just trying to be careful.
In the instructions I was following, two optional ingredients are mentioned. The first is a bucket of OxyClean. Since I don't like to use that on all my clothes, I left that out. I simply add OxyClean to the loads that need the extra boost. The other optional ingredient is a fragrance booster. Since I received a (very small) sample in the mail and liked the aroma, I added the little green pellets to the mix.

The proportion of fragrance booster to the soaps is obviously too small in the photo below. A couple weeks later I was able to find a store that carries the booster, so added in a full-size container.

It takes about 1.5 tablespoons of this mixture for a full load of laundry, so this bucket of soap should last a long, long time - especially since this is a household of two people. How do I like it? Well, these are my observations:

  1. Though the container has a fairly tight cover, it's not aroma-proof. It's a fairly strong odor when I walk into the laundry room. It's not bad. Just strong.

  2. It's a good idea to start the water in the washer and add the soap before putting the clothes in. That helps the Fels-Naptha dissolve. Grating the soap by hand would give less dense soap bits. My guess is that they would dissolve more easily than these pea-size bits.

  3. This laundry mixture does not bubble and foam like the detergents I'm used to using. So you can see the clothes agitate, see a bunch of dirt being released from the clothes in the water, but never get the bubbles. That was disconcerting at first.

  4. The clothes smell good coming out of the washer. Again, not that 'detergent' smell, but still a clean smell.

  5. The only thing that didn't come out as clean as I'd hoped was a rag that had a greasy splotch on it. So for greasy stains, I'll use a pre-treatment with a stain-remover aid.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homemade Swiffer Pads

I saw this pin on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea. My Swiffer hasn't been used much because the pads that you tuck into the slots just keep slipping around too much - and are too expensive. I've been tucking my microfiber cleaning cloths into the slots, and they, too, shift around too much, even through the cloth itself did a good job of getting the gunkies off my wood floors.
The idea is to buy some cleaning cloths at the dollar store and sew them into slip-on pads. No more fussing with those slots! So I got two different types of cleaning cloths at the dollar store - a shammy type yellow cloth and a blue microfiber cloth.
Each cloth made two Swiffer covers. It really was as easy as cut, measure, fold, sew. The covers are a little tight to get on and off, but that keeps them from slipping around when in use.

The blue covers work GREAT! (I haven't tried the shammy yet). Pop 'em off. Throw 'em in with the wash. Reusable. When they wear out, no biggie. It only cost fifty cents.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

LOOK at this gorgeous tree!
All lit up in yellow against our blue blue sky
 There are two of these in the front yard
and the house is for sale.
How 'bout it?
Want to live around the corner from me?

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Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Lilac Time

Fresh from the Bud

Favored Deep Purple

In Full Bloom

Remnant of 2012

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back Yard Butterfly

This little one was flitting around my radish sprouts.

Thanks for spending the morning with me!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh Say, Can You See

Surf, sand, sunset, lighthouse, land stars. 


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Easter Bunny Buns

I saw the idea for bunny buns on Pinterest this year. I thought I'd give it a go ... even though some other cooks had their finished product look like little burnt bunny devils. So for Easter dinner, I got some frozen bread roll dough and let it rise on a jelly roll pan lined with baking parchment.

Then my daughter Jeanne and I cut some "ears" into the dough and poked out some eyes with toothpicks. We had to play with the ears a bit to make them more rounded than pointy.

Our bunny litter went into the oven for a bit, then came out all nice and golden brown.


Tasty, too.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Pinterest's Gone Potatoes!

Yeah. I don't know what that title means, either.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a go.

Looks simple enough - especially if you use Potato Buds.
We added butter, bacon bits and parsley, 
then sprinkled cheddar cheese on top.

Popped 'em in the oven for about 15 min or so.
Mmmmmmmmmm. Tasty!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beaded Bracelet Blast

In sorting through my photo logs, I found these two bracelets that I made in 2011, but never shared. I gave these to friends as gifts.

Chrystal & Blues

Blues & Blues

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