Monday, October 29, 2012

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Making your own laundry detergent is quick and simple, I wish I had started doing this years ago.

Large bucket (I use a 5 gallon paint bucket)
Cheese grater
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
1 Bar of Soap (any kind will do, I get whatever is on sale)

The washing soda & Borax can be found in your laundry detergent aisle, usually in the bottom shelf area.  Both should last you for an extended time before needing to buy more.


 ~ Fill bucket with 3 gallons of water

~ Boil 4 Cups of Water

~ While waiting for the water to boil, grate the bar of soap.

~ Slowly add grated soap to the 4 cups of boiling water (if you add all the grated soap at once it will boil over).

~ Once the soap dissolves, add to the bucket containing the 3 gallons of water.

~ Next add the 1 Cup of washing soda & 1/2 Cup of Borax.

~ Finally, mix around around a little, cover with lid, and let sit for 48 hours before using. If you are in a bind and need detergent sooner, you can use it after 24 hours. It will be a bit "gloopy" but just as effective.

~ Use 1 Cup per load. Should yield about 52 loads ~

 Regardless of its consistency (liquid or gloopy), it will break down while washing and clean your clothes just fine. I have not bought laundry detergent in almost 3 years.

~ B

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Case of the Boring Bookshelf

We have a ton of books in our house and tend to pile them into random bookcases in various rooms. One such bookcase we picked up somewhere for very little money and put in the corner of our family room.  I love the placement in the corner (credit goes to my clever husband, he can walk into any room and see exactly where the furniture should go) but felt it needed some organization and a little something to make it look a little less cheap.

Recently I've become slightly obsessed with designs with lattice in them. I found some contact paper on ebay and decided to apply it to the bookcase in an effort to make it look a little bit nicer and organized.

It only took a little bit of measuring and careful applying and I'm happy with the results. 

The beauty of this project is you can use whatever design you want. Contact paper, self-adhesive wallpaper and even craft card stock will work.
~ B

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Before & After

Now that we own a home I find myself glued to HGTV hoping to pick up design tips. I'm always blown away by designers who can find accessories to "pull a room together" and do small things that completely change a room's style. Sadly, I do not possess that natural talent and have to keep myself from being too "matchy matchy" (i.e. buying pillows that perfectly match the wall color, using furniture sets instead of breaking them up, etc). Just look at my original living room above. I decided to put my sewing skills to use and make a few pillows using different colors I wasn't entirely comfortable with (Think of the Seinfeld episode when George decides to do the exact opposite of what he would normally do in order to better his life).

16 x16 Orange/Yellow Pillow
12 x 16 Lime Pillow
14 x 14 Raspberry (felt) Pillow
While looking online I found that curtain tie backs could range from $12 - $40. To me this is ridiculously expensive. I decided to use my leftover raspberry felt to make my own. Using just my pinking rotary cutter and some self-adhesive velcro it was pretty easy.  

Probably the most complicated project was the mirror. This mirror actually came with the house and was far too big for the master bathroom. We had enough mirrors for the other rooms but I hated the idea of just tossing it since mirrors can be pretty expensive. I decided it would fit perfectly between the two windows (where the red berry wreath was) and decided to paint the gold frame white. I have never stenciled before but decided I would give it a shot after seeing this great blog entry. It's a lot easier than I expected and now I fear I will be stenciling everything in site. The mirror became exactly what I wanted it to be: functional and decorative.

All in all, the craftiness paid off and I'm happy with our updated living room. 
~ B