Tag Archives: DIY

Homemade Laundry Detergent

My family has sensitive skin, my son the worst of us all. I’m the type of person who can’t put any form of chemicals on my legs for at least a full day after shaving. This includes swimming in a pool, hot tub, lotion, get a pedicure, etc. And back when my husband and I were newlyweds he worked two jobs, one of which required his face be clean shaven. Him shaving that often shredded his poor skin. And my son had an eczema outbreak that was so bad it looked like he had hives all over his entire body. The poor baby’s first birthday pictures had his skin all red and bumpy from his chest to his knees. (Looks like my daughter has escaped the sensitivity so far!)

Because of the sensitive skin in my household we stick to detergents that have no fragrances or dyes (free & clear). I hate paying so much for name brands, yet the cheaper brands were just that: cheaper. I felt like I had to use more of the cheap soap, which lessens the numbers of loads in each container, which defeats the purpose of it being “cheap.”

Entering now, the purpose of this post: Homemade Laundry Detergent. I browsed online, hunted and hunted, and finally found this recipe I wanted to try.

Supplies Needed:

1. One box (76 oz.) Borax
2. 1 Box (55 oz.) Super Washing Soda
3. 1 box (4 lbs) Baking Soda
4. 2  (400 g) bars of Zote Soap (or 3 bars of Fels Naptha Soap) (.97 ea.)
5. 1 tub of OxyClean (I used the kind without dyes with the green lid)
6. Optional for scent: 1 container of Downy Unstoppables. I left this out. It’s about $5.

Additional Supplies/Tools:

1. One 5 gallon bucket and lid to mix this all up inside.
2. Cheese grater or grater blade as well as a multipurpose blade in a food processor.
3. Large bowl to set shredded soap aside in.
4. Airtight container to store your detergent in.
5. 2 Tablespoon scoop (or a coffee scoop. I found one for $1, or you can use the scoop from the OxyClean tub but you’ll have to keep an eye on scooping the correct amount.)

Instructions:

Start out by grating your Zote (or Fels Naptha). I used the medium grade, not the itty bitty, not the regular size. Once that is completed, put a couple cups of that in your food processor, add a bit of the baking soda (less than a cup or so?), then grate until its a powdery pink mixture. Continue this until you’re out of Zote then pour it all into the 5 gallon bucket or trash bag.

Add the rest of your ingredients. Snap the lid on tight (or twist the bag shut) and shake it all together. If you are using the Downy Unstoppables, do so now so they’re mixed in, too.

Fill your airtight container and leave the scoop inside. Voila! You’re done. Leave the rest of the detergent sealed up in your laundry room or garage, or give it away if you like!

To use, just add one scoop (2T) to your wash. I have a front loader and I have read you can either put it in the little tray up top or inside the drum and both work just fine. I usually put it in the drum because sometimes it gets gelled up in the dispenser tray, which eventually flushes clean but that bothers me so I just toss it in with the clothes.

My only complaint was that I do not have the grater blade for my food processor and the grating was a pain.

Otherwise, this was a fun little project! It made my kitchen smell good and with all the costs it comes to $0.10 per load! I’m seriously considering giving this in mason jars as gifts to my neighbors at Christmas but I can’t decide if that’s lame or not. Ha ha! (Edit: I totally forgot to do this. Maybe next year? Ha!)

Have you made detergent before? What variations in your “recipe” did you have?

Update: It’s now January (6 months or so since I made this) and I have yet to refill my jar on my washer. I have had zero problems whatsoever with this recipe. No weird clumps of powder or residue or discoloration on the clothes. My HE front loader has been working just fine, too. I love this stuff. To make this once a year (or less, at this rate) is fantastic to me.

A “Handy” Post

I enjoy foaming hand soap, but hate the price tag. Usually I go to Bath & Body Works at their semi-annual sale and get a variety of scents. But because it foams, it runs out SO much faster. I’ve seen online and on Pinterest that some people use baby wash to refill. That idea really bothers me. Why use a soap that is only going to make your hands look clean?

Here is what what I use.

Soap

 

Cheap store brand refill.

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Squirt in about a half an inch or so, depending on what consistency you want. Mine changes every time. Haha.

Then get your tap running with HOT water. Put a little water in and swish it around (shaking makes it foamy and you run out of room!). Add more water, swish, water, swish. Once you’re filled up put your lid on and you’re done! Edit: When adding water to the soap it would foam up a lot and I didn’t like that a lot of the foam went down the drain. I filled most of the bottle with hot water then added the soap in second. Put the lid on, then swished it. Mixed up just fine and this is how I’ll be doing it from now on. 🙂 It’s really just a preference.

It doesn’t smell as fancy as B&BW but I think it’s just dandy. And, it’s antibacterial so it’s safe to use all around your house. I’ve even had people over who asked what scent it was and they loved that it was just basic hand soap. It also is more fun for my kids to use because it’s already bubbly.

Custom Sheets: A Brief Tutorial

For my son’s future Dallas Cowboys bedroom I was trying to think of ways to add the Cowboys without it being cheesy or costing an arm and a leg. NFL merchandise can be extremely expensive. It’s ridiculous. Our family with sport a lot more of their things if they were more affordable.

Anyways, I thought his bed was a good opportunity to add something fun. I ran off to Joann’s fabric store and found their team fabrics were on sale, so I bought two yards of navy blue Cowboys fabric with their logo (the star), and their name all over it. (Personal note, I should’ve bough some navy thread. I thought I had some but I did not. Phooey.)

You will want to measure the mattress you will be making the sheet for because some mattresses can be thicker or thinner than others. With crib sheets they need to be very tight (especially for babies, not quite as much for toddlers).

How to measure:
1. Get a measuring tape of some form, and measure how long and wide the TOP of the mattress is. Just the flat part.
2. Measure how deep the mattress is. The vertical part.
3. Add the “deep” length to the “top” sizes.
4. Now add an extra 2 inches or so. This will be so you can hem the edges but still have enough to hide the hem lines under the mattress.

Now that you have your measurements, get your fabric and trim it to fit the size you need. Pretty easy so far.

Lay your fabric out flat and cut an 8 inch by 8 inch square off of each corner. Here’s a basic diagram I made to give you a visual.

Crib sheet tutorial

See the dotted line corners? Cut those out. (Note: This diagram is not to scale.) I kept the corner squares and made this bow out of the scraps. Waste not!

Now, sew the “dotted line” sides that are still left, seen below in the green lines. These will be the corner pockets. If you have a serger, serge the edges. I just did a straight stitch then followed after with a zig zag stitch for strength.

Crib sheet tutorial 2Next, iron and fold over your edges to make your hems. I sewed this up all in one big line.

Now get your elastic. I used 3/8″. I’ve seen some sheets with elastic all around the entire sheet but I didn’t have enough for that. I cut four 12 inch pieces of elastic. I then pinned them to the corners of my “pockets.” When you pin, make sure you stretch out the elastic as far as you can. It’ll bunch up the fabric and look strange but this is GOOD.

Start sewing! Make sure you stretch the elastic, again, as you sew. And use a long stitch so the elastic can work it’s magic. It’s awkward to sew the elastic but this is how the sheet will hang on to your mattress.

Repeat this for the three remaining corners.

And there you have it! Your own crib sheet in a custom print of your choice. Stores are extremely limited on the fabrics they have for sheets. This is a spendier way to get sheets, but when you factor in NFL prices then this was dirt cheap. I couldn’t find any crib sheets. Especially ones that didn’t have bumpers and blankets and all those extras that I didn’t want. Plus, those sets are $100+ and that’s insane (to me).

Here’s my son when I first put the sheet on his bed.

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imageHe approves!

You can use this same method for larger sized beds but you will have a seam on the top of the bed. Some might not care about that, some might be bothered. It’s something to take note of.

Starbucks at Home – Passion Tea Lemonade

I love Starbucks’ passion tea lemonades. I craved those while pregnant with my first. I loved them even without the lemonade, too. They’re just so summery and delicious!

But, with all the hype of Starbucks’ prices going up I thought I’d share how to get the refreshing favorite of mine at home and for a fraction of the cost!

Here’s what you need:
Passion tea by Tazo – make sure it’s the blue box with the ice cubes on the front.
A can of lemonade concentrate
Large pitcher

Start by making your tea. I used one tea bag and added about 2 quarts of almost boiling water (because I’m impatient), let steep as the directions say.

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Once it’s nice and dark pink I took the tea bag out and added some ice to speed up the cooling process. I didn’t use an exact amount, but I added about this much.

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Obviously from that picture, it had all melted already.

Then, add your lemonade concentrate. I made sure it had somewhat thawed so I could mix it up faster. I then added a few cans of water as if I was making regular lemonade, but make sure you account the ice cubes i added earlier. This filled up my not-so-pretty pitcher to the top, making about a gallon.

Stir, pour over ice, and enjoy!

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You can also use lemonade from a bottle, like Minute Maid or Simply Lemonade. The concentrate was cheaper.

And please note if you like this to taste sweeter just don’t add as much water. Taste it as you make it until you find the right flavor you’re looking for. My version isn’t very sweet so I’m going to try less water next time.

Monday Pick Me Up

I was sent this image through Pinterest and immediately laughed out loud. I was waiting to pick my husband up from the airport and saw that my Pinterest app had a notification on it and when I opened it to see this picture. I got a few stares from strangers as I laughed by myself in my car with all the windows open.

Now, I tell my husband how much I spend at craft or fabric store, but this was too funny that I had to share it from this blog. So silly!

I apologize to anyone who reads this and gets “Let it Go” stuck in their heads today. My daughter has me sing it with her daily so I’m there with you.

A Bow From Scraps

I made my son a sheet for his crib with some cotton supporting my husband’s family’s football team, the Dallas Cowboys. From that project I had a few scraps of fabric left that were fairly small but I still wanted to use. I decided to have my daughter show her team love in a subtle, girly way.

Take your fabric and fold it in half with the right sides together and make one stitch, like this. 20140608-201220-72740956.jpg

Iron the seam flat. For this little project I felt silly getting the iron and ironing board out, so I just used my flat iron that’s for my hair!

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Flip your tube of fabric right side out.

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Fold the ends inside a tiny bit and iron those. You can do one end or both, I just did one.

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Tuck one end inside the other to make a circle. If you only ironed one end, make sure the “undone” end goes inside the other.

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Pinch your circle together, first like this,

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Then another pinch like this.

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Hot glue your “pinched” parts together. I used a clothespin until it dries. I’m notorious for burning myself, and with this project I really burned my finger and thumb. Because of this, my mom gave me a gift of a new bottle of aloe vera. Thanks mom for your sarcastic yet much needed gift.

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Once your fingers recover the glue dries, you’ll see you need to hide the glue. I got another bit of fabric and ironed a small strip, like this, and hot glued it to my butterfly/alligator hair clip.

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Then you’ll glue one end to your bow, wrap it around and glue the other end.

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And here’s your finished product!
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My daughter loves her bows. She loves them so much she wouldn’t stop jumping and running around once I put it in her hair to be able to get a non-blurry picture of her wearing it. Silly girl!

Simple Toddler Princess Dress

I’m a list maker. I make lists for every little silly thing. And what goes in hand with that is needing notepads, so I hoard those. Especially lined ones with the magnets on the back, those are the best.

I may have rubbed off my list-making on my husband because he suggested we make a list of things we needed to get done or would like to do in our new house. From unpacking our loft (first thing on the list), to decorating or landscaping, then we numbered each task in order of priority. So far we’re tackled most of the loft and organized and cleaned up the garage. Yay! Now that I have that breathing room, and a literal room of the loft, I took a fun break and officially opened my birthday gift from four months ago.

Back in February I received a gift I had been hoping for but too afraid to ask from my husband… a sewing machine. So of course the awesome guy he is did tons of research and found one and bought it for my birthday. Yay!! It’s a Brother CS-6000i for those who are curious.

Previously, I had an old machine my mom gave me because she got a new machine herself. Ha ha. That should’ve been a clue right there. 😉 But that old machine was the one I learned how to sew on. The first project I ever made was a pillowcase of a very horsey calico fabric. Ironically, I still use that pillowcase now since I unpacked it.

About a week ago my mom and I were in our favorite fabric store and stumbled on some cute Disney fabrics. What stood out to me for being a perfect first sewing project to break in the new machine was to make my daughter a dress. There was a purple shirred fabric that would be SUPER easy for a sundress and it had various Disney princesses along the bottom of it. My two-year-old loves purple and loves her princesses.

Fast forward to the present and I bought that fabric. I bought 58 inches of it (they measure it by the bunched up stretchy part of the fabric) for my daughter. Originally I somehow thought it would be enough for two dresses but I was COMPLETELY mistaken. It was a good amount for my skinny toddler. I measured the width of one of her current dresses and doubled that number for how wide to make my cut, but because it’s so stretchy I subtracted a few inches so it’d be more snug.

I made my cut and sewed it up. Because I don’t have a serger I repeated alongside the simple stitch with a zigzag to reinforce it, then trimmed the excess. If you have a kid who can hand a strapless dress, then there you go!

But, alas, my daughter would never wear a strapless dress. That kid, I tell ya…

Anyway, with the extra fabric I had leftover I cut off the shirred (scrunched up stretchy) part. I then looked at my daughter’s dress I was getting measurements from, saw the length of the straps, then made some tubes of fabric, hemmed each end, then eyeballed where to attach the straps.

After this project I’ve discovered I am very much a figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of sew-er. And my camera was dead at the time of all of this so I don’t even have pictures to show you what I did. Boo! But, from start to finish, measuring and cutting and sewing, this dress took me about a half hour.

This morning she tried on the dress. I knew better than to show it to her immediately after I made it or she’d have wanted to wear it as pjs and they aren’t warm enough without sleeves. She loved it today, she kept showing me her “princess dress” and kept telling me all about it.

What I would’ve changed:

  • Longer straps- I can tell it’s bunching up in her armpits, so I may get my seam ripper and make new straps out of a coordinating ribbon.
  • Not rushed- I did all this on a brand new machine and I hadn’t practiced anything before I started this so I wish I would’ve practiced on scrap fabric instead of the real deal.
  • Had a desk or table- Lol… yes… I did this project on the floor. Made it much more difficult and made my back and neck super sore.

 

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