homemade laundry detergent

Yeah, I know the picture on this post isn't pretty at all.  But this stuff has worked great for the two loads of laundry I've done so far!

I whipped up a batch of this stuff last night in about half an hour, following the directions I found here.  I also added some tea tree oil to give it a nice scent.  After letting it sit overnight, I got kind of nervous since it was still runny but had big clumps in it.  But according to the directions, this is pretty much normal, and depending on where you live and the consistency of your water, you can expect pretty much anything.  My main concern was, does it clean??

So I tested it on probably the stinkiest specimens in our house...a load of clothes belonging to my son (who still leaks at night sometimes), and our bathroom towels that were starting to smell musty after being used for several days.  The verdict?  They came out really clean!  You don't smell that tell-tale scent that you get from store-bought detergent, but the clothes just smell CLEAN.  I didn't smell anything musty on our clean towels or anything, ahem, bathroom-related from my son's clothes.  So I'm very pleased, especially because using 1/2 cup of this stuff per load means it will last a long time.  And when I need to make another batch, I have all the ingredients on hand still.

Price breakdown:  I had to buy a 5-gallon bucket and lid to store this in (the finished product makes around 2 gallons or so, but I didn't want it to slosh around), which were $3.97 and $1.17, respectively (I will admit I paid a dollar extra for a pretty turquoise bucket as opposed to the boring white variety...don't judge!).  Then the washing soda was $3.24, the borax was $2.98, and the laundry soap (Fels-Naptha) was 97 cents.  You only use a third of the bar of laundry soap, so I have enough ingredients to make two more batches after this one, and even when I have to buy another bar I still have more of the other ingredients.  I didn't do any math on this one, but the blog I got the recipe from says this detergent breaks down to 1 cent per load!  Can't beat that.  I hear it's good for sensitive skin too; my kid doesn't have that but it's nice to know what's going into our detergent (as well as not paying a bunch of money for it!).  I have heard some complaints that this homemade stuff doesn't get your clothes as clean...next time my kid gets his clothes real dirty or something, I might try adding an extra bit of Borax to the load since that might boost the cleaning power.

The only thing I'll do differently next time is add more tea tree oil to it...I love the smell!  :o)  I'm going to track down a funnel and put some of the detergent in an old Purex bottle too; that way it'll be easier than scooping it out of the bucket, and I can shake it up right before I pour it in since it does tend to clump up a little.  The cap on my Purex bottle is exactly 1/2 cup so that works out well too!

Just thought I'd share.  :o)


"bird nest" necklaces

Given that my son was still napping, I decided to make a couple more pendants to kind of improve my skills.  Can't decide if I like the "messy" look of the one on the left, or the "neat" look like the one on the right.  :o)

"peas in a pod" necklace

Today I decided to make myself something.  After spending a lot of time making things for others and for our home, I figured it was about time to give myself some love!

I keep seeing these cute bird's nest necklaces everywhere, where you use beads to represent your kids.  I wanted to use just two beads to represent the two babies we've lost to miscarriage, so I got a couple of beads out of my stash and got to it.  As I was starting the necklace, I realized that the shape of the pendant was more oval-shaped than circle-shaped (probably due to using just two stacked beads), so I thought, hey, let's go with it.  So glad I did because I love it!  The "peas in a pod" idea works just as well as the bird's nest, I think.  It was ridiculously easy and all I had to buy was the wire.  This is a good project for using leftover beads, which I always end up with after finishing a piece of jewelry.

Might make a few more to give away as gifts...let me know if you want one!  :o)

Linked up to Creations by Kara and A Little Tipsy!


christmas crafts: burlap tree skirt

Recently I decided to tackle a Christmas tree skirt.  Usually we just put a festive red sheet down since we always get a real tree and we need something to put it on when we bring it in from outside. 

A few weeks ago I came across this tutorial for a tree skirt made out of burlap, muslin, and lace.  I really liked the look of it, but was nervous about the part with the ruffles since A) I don't like anything too frilly, and I'm sure my husband doesn't either! and B) I am VERY deficient when it comes to sewing ruffles into fabric.  VERY.  But I bought the burlap and muslin using coupons last week, and as for the lace, I cut up an old window treatment that the previous owners left in our guest room.  I cut out 8-inch strips last night, as well as the muslin tree skirt base.

Then this morning I found this tutorial on Pinterest.  I really liked the smaller ruffles on it and the great contrast the pretty red fabric strips gave.  Most of all, I LOVED that it was no-sew.  Just tons of hot glue!  I knew I had plenty of burlap to do this, but I didn't really want to go out and buy more fabric, and I didn't really have any on hand that would work (trust me, I looked.  I have one-yard fabric pieces and remnants coming out of my ears, but that seems about it at the moment!).  So I decided to morph the two tutorials together. 

I used the tree skirt base and the 8-inch layers of fabric I had already cut out.  I started with a burlap layer placed a half-inch above the edge of the base's edge, then put the subsequent layers two inches above the preceding layers.  Took about two hours and tons of hot glue.  I also took a tip from the first tutorial and applied a layer of Mod Podge to the edges of the burlap layers to stop them from fraying.  I like the look of a little fraying, but not a ton!

The result?  Not bad. I like that it's not too ruffly, but I think it's a little plain.  I'm glad we have that red sheet underneath to give it a little punch.  Plus my top muslin layer didn't ruffle as much as I'd hoped.  But overall I think it has a nice effect, and this way we can still check the water level and water the tree without moving it around.

I think if I give this another go for next year, I'll try to find an actual tree skirt on clearance after Christmas to give myself a sturdier base to work with.  The muslin was flimsy and moved around a lot.  I'll also use shorter ruffles since 8-inch strips are harder to work with (especially with the burlap!), and finally I'll use red fabric with the burlap to give it more contrast.

Or maybe this skirt will grow on me as the season goes on and I won't want to change a thing.  We'll see!


"look whooo's one" birthday onesie

Let me just start by saying I'm a little amazed.  I kinda wasn't sure I'd be able to pull this one off.  And I'm not just saying that to be modest.  This is the most complex shirt I've ever done, and I'm happy to say it really wasn't as difficult or time-consuming as I thought.

My friend's sweet baby girl is about to turn one, and she sent me a picture of a cute embroidered onesie that she saw on Pinterest and asked me if I could create something similar.  I don't have an embroidery machine, but I was able to turn the basic design into something truly unique with some fabric and some patience.  I was a little intimidated working with this many letters, and my old sewing machine did attempt to eat some of them while I was making some finishing touches, but I like to think I pulled it off.  And I won't even tell you which letters I thought I had screwed up due to aforementioned sewing machine.  'Cause maybe you can't even tell.  Either way I'm very happy with how it turned out, and I think the birthday girl (or at least her mom) will like it too!

Linked up to Creations by Kara!


christmas crafts: quilted table runner

Here's a quick table runner I made out of some cute striped fabric and some bias tape.  I'm not sure if that fabric is supposed to be Christmas-y, but I think it fits the bill.  I already had the fabric and batting on hand, so all I had to buy was the bias tape!  Not sure what kind of centerpiece to try...a fake poinsettia plant or maybe a bowl full of ornaments?  Or maybe this runner will just hang out by itself.  Who knows.  :o)

Linked up to Creations by Kara and A Little Tipsy!


christmas crafts: repurposed door hangings

So I wanted something Christmasy to hang on our front door...so I took the simple wreath that was hanging there all fall, added a 50-cent bow from Michaels to it, and hung up a tree ornament inside of it.

Not too shabby.  You can't see it very well from the road, but I'm sure it looks cheerful to anyone who comes up to our door!  I might do something more elaborate if I come across something else, but this will do for now.

Most of the time we use the door off of our garage, so I wanted something there too.  Last year I made this Christmas card holder out of a picture frame, but now that my kid is walking around and can reach it with no problem I knew that it wouldn't work anymore (not to mention being in a box all year made that upholstery strip really wrinkled!).

So I cut the strip off and hung it on the door.

So I spent around $2.50 for one door, and nothing for the other door.  That works for me.


christmas crafts: cheap homemade ornaments

So last week I stocked up on some cute Christmas tree ornaments at Michael's since they were all 50% off.  That meant most of them ran me around 2 or 3 bucks each.  Not bad!  I wanted to get some that weren't breakable in case they fell off the tree or my toddler disobeyed a direct order and touched the tree...that and after being married for four Christmases, my husband and I still don't really have any ornaments to call our own.  I'm thinking I care more about this than he does.  :o)

Anyway, I really liked all of the ornaments I got but there were some gaps in our tree and I didn't know if I could get back there any time soon to get more ornaments, so I made some of my own instead.

All of the store-bought ornaments I found are vintage-ish looking, with burlap or bronze looking accents.  So I wanted to make some that coordinated with that.  I noticed my leftover cinnamon sticks from this project fit the bill, so I tied three of them together with Christmas ribbon I had one hand and then ran an ornament hook through the back.  I liked it so much I got another bag of cinnamon sticks from Hobby Lobby to make more.  While I was there I saw some painted jingle bells that also looked cute, so I got three packages of six and tied them together with twine.

The packages of cinnamon sticks and jingle bells were $1 each on sale at Hobby Lobby, so I ended up getting eight cinnamon stick ornaments for $1 and six jingle bell ornaments for $3.  Love it.  I also made an inexpensive tree topper out of a cardboard ornament; I painted it with acrylic paint I already had on hand so this one cost less than a dollar.  I'm not a fan of big, gaudy angels or other stuff on top of trees, so this looked better to me.

Here's our Christmas tree!  I really like all the ornaments on it and am looking forward to using them for years to come.  :o)


girly "yum" bibs

Yesterday I put together a couple more vinyl pocket bibs with some girly fabric.  These pictures were taken inside my house, so forgive the darkness.  If you don't like it, buy us a nicer camera. :o)

Want to hear something funny?  This bib has a superfluous piece of velcro on one of the straps.  Guess I wasn't paying attention and put it in the wrong place.  I realized my mistake almost immediately, but since I use industrial-strength velcro, it was impossible to peel off without ripping the vinyl (yep, it's that strong...this way I don't have to sew the velcro on, but it stays on indefinitely!).  So hopefully that doesn't discourage anyone from buying it.  The useless piece of velcro is on the back of the strap so you can't see it when the kid's using the bib.  I really don't know what else to do; didn't seem worth it to start all over just for that.  Here's the other one I made:

This one has the right amount of velcro.  :o)  I have enough stuff to make some more bibs, but I'm stopping for now to see how well they do next weekend.  I'm about all vinyled out for now!


christmas crafts: pillow slipcovers

Last night I made a few Christmas-themed slipcovers for our throw pillows.  The one above is a replacement for my fall leaves pillow I made several months ago:


Bye, pretty leaves.  See ya next fall.

I also made these ornament ones to cover a couple of smaller throw pillows:

But sadly I measured wrong somewhere along the line and they ended up too small.  I still like them even though they look vaguely like those cannonballs with the fuses at the top you used to see in old cartoons all the time.  But as my husband pointed out, that's what glass tree ornaments look like anyway!  I might make a couple of VERY simple pillows so these slipcovers can be used this holiday season.

Total cost for this project:  Zero dollars.  I had everything on hand already.  That huge canvas dropcloth I got months ago turned out to be a great investment for stuff like this.  It frays horribly once you cut it and it smells like a musty tent if you iron it with steam, but once everything comes together it makes some really cute stuff for a great price.

 Linked up to Creations by Kara and A Little Tipsy!
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