Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Have you ever wanted to make your own laundry detergent? I have two thrifty friends, well okay, I have alot of thrifty friends, but two who are a little more into making things themselves and we were discussing no poo, shampooing your hair without shampoo and the topic turned to laundry detergent. I decided to give it a go and see how it turned out.

They were both kind to share their thoughts with me. The first used this link, http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm, as a guide and then tweaked it to her liking. I used a mixture of her tweaked version and the linked version to make ours this evening.

Here is what you will need -
3 gallon bucket
Washing Soda
Fels Naptha Soap
20 Mule Team Borax

First off, a bit about finding the items. The washing soda and borax weren't too hard to find. I bought the borax at Target, but they didn't have the washing soda. So went into Publix next door. They had the washing soda but were sold out of the Fels Naptha. We hit a Kroger a few days later and scored the soap! At both stores that carried this item it was found on the top shelf and was very hard to see! It was also pushed back and you had to reach super far to get it! So look hard or get someone tall to help you. All of these were down the laundry aisle, but not necessarily close to the laundry detergent.

I did find them on Amazon at a HUGE mark up though! I paid $.99 for the soap and about $3 each for the other two.

First order of business is to smell the soap! LOL! Dallas enjoyed making sure it was going to be a good fit for us!

Grate the soap. I used 1/2 the bar. I also found the grater for $.49 at Kroger! I was pleased to not have to worry about using my food grater (even though you clean it with soap I just had some issues with that thought).

Lin helped too!

After the soap is grated put it in a sauce pan with water and melt it. I stirred it while it was melting but this didn't take long at all. Once it was melted I added 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup of the washing soda to the hot water and stirred.

Then I took my bucket and added hot water. While the hot water was filling I poured in our mixture. Fill to the 3 gallon line (almost the top on what I would call a regular size car wash bucket).

We then used a funnel and poured the mixture into gallon milk jugs. This could be messy but with the two of us it was pretty painless! It says to let the mixture set overnight and it will kind of gel up a bit. I used ours after about two hours and so far am loving it. I washed a load of towels with a winter jacket and snow pants tossed in. The jacket had visible dirt on it and it all came off, no issues. I use 1/2 cup per load of laundry.

This entire process didn't take long at all. 30 minutes max and that was with a kid having fun grating the soap. I would say you could easily make it all in 10. I was surprised at how fast the soap melted.

So to sum up what I used -

1/2 bar fels naptha soap
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
3 gallons of water

Thanks Teresa and Tifani for your guidance in making my own laundry soap.

For comparison Teresa uses -

1 bar fels naptha
1/2 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

mixed in 5-6 gallon bucket (filled to top)
then fills her bottles with half water and half mixture

If you found this helpful please leave me a comment letting me know! Also if you have a question I'll be happy to try and answer it. I am by no means expert, just trying new things out!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Hoping 2011 brings great joy for everyone!

For all my sewing friends and wonderful customers I'll try and start posting over here more often with the joys that happen in my life along with pictures of my wonderful creations!


I made these adorable t's for a great customer and hope her little cuties looked adorable in them! How fun would it be to have a little one in that onesie again!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Nerf Vulcan

Another hit is the Nerf Vulcan Gun!

Dallas received a generous gift card for Christmas and chose to purchase this gun. With a little help bargain shopping online we found it for 50% off and even better then that he'll receive a free toy in the mail!


Hasbro is running a promotion right now where if you spend $20 or more on select toys you can send in for a free toy. He is anxiously awaiting the arrival of a beyblade now. Below is a link to the PDF form. Make sure you read the fine print of course!

http://www.hasbro.com/shop/SuperChargeRedemptionForm.pdf

I even purchased some toys for tots this evening so I can send for another free toy (which I'll also donate). Gotta love FREE!

Keva Contraptions


Since I love toys and I love to find great toys I thought I would share with you a gift I bought Dallas for his birthday. It is called Keva Contraptions 200. I read about it on the disboards so checked out Amazon and decided to take the plunge and buy it! We have had so much fun building different contraptions and then rolling through the ball. It was well worth the $35 (on sale of course) and I can see this being a big hit for years to come.


I made this design tonight while we were watching a movie. It is almost as tall as he is!

This was my solution to a marble run that I wasn't quite ready to spend so much money on. I thought this might make Dallas use a little bit more creativity and that there were more opportunities to build different items.

New Year's Eve

I thought with the new year starting I would check in on my blog. My friend, Jill, pointed out that I had not blogged in quite a while, which is very true. Blogging is very time consuming I have found and with sewing I just don't really have time for both. I'll give it a better try this year though.

So, I want to share our New Year's Eve tradition. I am pretty low maintenance and enjoy staying home. I have no interest in partying or being out on the road.

I got this tradition from an old friend of mine, Janice. Janice is a very special person and was best friends with my old neighbor, Kay, who was also very special. A few years ago we were emailing back and forth and I asked what she was doing for New Year's Eve and she told me her and her husband go to their friend's and enjoy fondue and good conversation.

I loved the idea so much that we started this tradition. I know for sure this is the 3rd year we have done it. Here are a few pictures from our evening and what we enjoy cooking.



Mushrooms


Squash and Zucchini

And for everyone who my entire life couldn't understand why I didn't eat any fruit, guess what, both of these are a fruit! Yes, they are! They have seeds inside, the easiest way to know something is fruit. Feel free to google it, you'll see I am right!


Steak and Chicken

Normally they aren't dumped in the same bowl but tonight I told hubby to just mix them to make life a little easier. They are all getting cooked anyways so what did it matter!

Salt

I am actually not a big salt person but this is a must for my fondue night! In honor of Janice and Kay I used my super special salt shaker. It is tupperware and just like they had when I was growing up.


Here is our food cooking!

And Dallas giving it a thumbs up!

He kept saying over and over how great this meal was and that it was the best steak ever. That it was so nice and quiet and relaxing! He loved being able to cook his own.


Towards the end we get tired of cooking it bite by bite and just dump it all in.


Yummy!


This happens to be our leftovers which we'll enjoy tomorrow with rice. I am not much of a collars and black eyed peas girl.

So, what are your New Year's traditions?

I would love to hear about them in the comments! And remember it is never too late to start a new one!

We'll polish off the evening with some pound cake and chocolate syrup.

I hope everyone has a Happy and Healthy 2011!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

A couple more days and the start of the new year will be here! I am hoping to add many more features to my blog!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ruffling Using Dental Floss

I thought I would put together a little tutorial on how to make a ruffle using the dental floss method. This method is pretty much fool proof! The very first thing I ever made was a crib set for Dallas and I wanted the ruffled option. That pattern explained how to use dental floss and I have never looked back since then.

I do own a ruffler (Thanks HeatherSue) but for some reason it has never seen much action. Hopefully one day I'll get to try it out!

Now, on with the show! Today I'll be adding a ruffle to a pair of jeans. Here is a picture of what the finished result will look like.

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First off you need a pair of jeans. I then cut them off right above the hem line. Make sure to cut straight and so both sides are even (front and back and both legs of the jeans). This is the result you should have.

Just for reference, these are sized 24 months.

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At this point you need to figure out how long to make your ruffle and cut the fabric to that length. Measure the bottom all the way around. I tend to round off to the nearest inch usually to make my math easy. As you can see the leg front is almost 6 inches. I like to do about 2 1/2 times the ENTIRE area that will have a ruffle on it. So the leg is really 12 inches around. Multiply 12 x 2.5 = 30 inches.

I made these 4 inches wide, folded in half = 2 inches and with all the dental floss and attaching them they will be a bit longer then an inch when finished. You'll need to adjust your length for the size pants and desired length of the ruffle.

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It is easiest to use a rotory cutter and self healing mat. Cut on a hard surface. I tend to use my kitchen floor or table. As you can see the mat has little measurements on it to make your life easy.

If for some reason your ruffle will be longer then 44 inches (the length of fabric most of the time) just cut 2 pieces and sew right sides together. Iron open at seams and follow directions from here.

Make sure you cut 2 pieces. One for each leg.

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Next up I fold in the ends just a bit and sew. I have no idea why I do ruffles for jeans differently then for a dress but I do. On a dress it would sew both sides together to make one continuous piece of fabric.

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Use a straight stitch to stitch down. Do this with all four ends.

Next you want to fold wrong sides together and iron. Giving you this result.

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You are now ready for the actual ruffling. Get some dental floss. I have used several different brands. They tend to all work. Just don't get a flavored one.

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You'll also need several pins. Either style will work. I tend to use the yellow quilters pins now. They are longer and lay flat and I just like them better.

Take the dental floss and wrap it around the end of the pin several times. The more you wrap the less likely you have the chance of it unwinding. I have also recently started making a loop to slip the end of the pin through. That way if it does unwrap you don't lose your ruffle. Once you have it wrapped stick the pin into your fabric at the very end and get ready to sew.

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Use a zigzag stitch to sew. Your goal is to sew OVER the floss and NOT to catch it. If you catch it you will not be able to pull the ruffle at that point. You can use as wide and as long of a zigzag as you like. I tend to make mine super wide.

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Hopefully you can see it in that picture.

Sew the entire length of the ruffle, zigzagging over the floss the entire way. When you get to the end it should look like this.

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At this point you need to pull on the floss to make it ruffle. So I usually help the fabric along while pulling the floss. You want to pull it as tight as your piece is you are going around (remember mine was 12 inches).

Eventually your piece should look like this.

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At this point I measure it around the bottom of the leg and make any adjustments as far as the length. Take a pin and wrap the end of the dental floss around it just like you did at the beginning. This holds your ruffle. I then even out the ruffle.

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Once you have it even you are ready to attach the ruffle to the jeans. Make sure your jeans are right side out, otherwise your ruffle will be backwards.

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Pin all the way around the jeans. Pin often to get the ruffle to hold nice and to go on evenly. I match up the bottom of the jeans with ruffle. The ugly part will be matched up with the bottom. The folded over nice part of the ruffle should be at the top.

A slight overlap won't hurt anything and will assure that you don't get a gap.

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Make sure to pin close to the beginning and end of the ruffle. At this point pull out your yellow pins that you attached the floss to the slightest bit. Otherwise you'll end up sewing through the yellow part. Yep, the machine will sew right through it without skipping a step.

This part was a bit tricky with this brand of jeans (osh kosh) but usually I have no issues. Slide the end over the end of your machine and stitch using a straight stitch. I stitch just above the top zigzag. I am not interested in pulling out all those stitches and this way I can just leave them there or cut them off (the serger usually handles that part easily enough).

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If your jeans don't fit around the end of your machine you can still sew them just be sure to hold the bottom out so you don't catch it. I ended up doing that on this pair but it is hard to get a picture of me actually doing it when I am the one taking the pictures.

Once you have sewn all the way around your jeans should look like this.

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Make sure you used a backstitch at the beginning and end of the ruffle when attaching. You don't want any unruffling to take place.

Then you can serge the edge. I tend to make sure that the ruffle flips down correctly before serging. If you don't own a serger a zigzag will do. Just stitch all the way around the pant bottoms.

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This is what the ruffle looks like when flipped down.

Here is a picture of one ruffle flipped down and the other flipped up.

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At this point iron down the ruffle.

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And then topstitch.

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Make sure while topstitching that you are catching the top part of the jean and ruffle.

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And here is your finished ruffle.

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Nice, neat and not flipping up!

Hopefully I didn't over explain how to do it. It really is quite simple and doesn't take that long at all. I have never had a piece of dental floss break so I stick with this method!