Hurried Homemaker

- for supermoms short on time -
September 28th, 2010

Green Your Clean: Make Your Own Laundry Soap by Jaime McKee

I had the privilege of meeting Jaime McKee IRL a few years ago at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. At the time, I was handling my husband’s PR and she was reviewing his concert. Several years later, we have reconnected via our blogs and Twitter. And although I don’t like running, or cats, I love her blog and her!

You can follow Jaime on her blog or on Twitter.

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For Christmas, I received two copies of “Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home.” (I gave one of the copies to a friend, since I missed the return deadline by a few days.) I had high hopes for this book. My mom has owned a copy for years, and has been making her own cleaning products since I was in college. I used to think she was a little weird for making her own cleaning products. I mean, it’s SO much easier to just buy stuff at the store.

Then my husband and I bought a house. I started realizing just how many chemicals were in our household products, and it made me sick. At times, I was literally sick. (Like the time I poured a bottle of bleach in our shower to try and clean it? Yeah. Had to open the windows for a few hours in the middle of winter to let that one air out. We’ve since figured out that a little bit of vinegar goes a long way – and is less harmful to our health.) My husband, in the past several years, has developed an allergy that we’ve tracked down to certain soaps. We started looking into alternatives for soaps, which led to alternatives for cleaning products.

I digress. Back to the book. I was really excited about this book, and it has different alternatives for making your own cleaning products, including laundry soap. The “recipe” for laundry detergent is:
1 part borax
1 part washing soda

That’s all there is to it. I had bought bars of washing soda in New York last summer, and I finally had the chance to use them. (Turns out, Ace Hardware sells the bars I was looking for in my town. Go figure.) I used a grater to grate the washing soda (we had it in bars, not the powder form), and then added borax to a container. I shook the container to mix it all, and I was done! To make things easier, and to reuse the measuring cup from our old bottle of detergent, I cleaned the cup and threw it into the container with the new laundry powder.

The best part about the laundry soap is that I don’t have to worry about touching it. I know what’s in there and I don’t have to stress out about it being on my hand after pouring it into the washer, or the cat getting into it (because she’s curious.) It’s natural. Our clothes are clean, and nobody has had an allergic reaction to the new soap. It also cost very little ($1 for a bar of washing soda, $4.29 for a box of borax on < a href="http://alice.com"> alice.comand we can make our own detergent when we run out. No more trips to Target on the other side of town to buy it.

We’re about three months into using our homemade laundry soap, and I am always wondering why we didn’t think of it sooner.

February 8th, 2010

A Valentine Fortune

I was looking for something different and creative to do for the oldest’s Valentine Day cards for the oldest’s class at school. I wasn’t in a creative mood, and realized I needed to get it together and fast if I was going to get it all done on time. So, I of course headed to MarthaStewart.com for ideas. I found this great idea for a Valentine fortune cookies:

They were a breeze to make! I used a Tupperware dish for the circle template – super simple. I did not use ribbon over the floral wire, though – I used more felt (fewer supplies to buy and it used more of the felt up). So, here is a quick photo step-by-step of these little felt lovlies:

Like I said, these were super-easy to make! Get the exact directions from Martha’s How-to.

Then I made this little barrette from leftover felt and some embroidery thread as practice for an upcoming gift project:

What are you crafting for Valentine’s Day?

November 10th, 2009

Tackling a Handmade Holiday

Last week I talked about getting all my holiday crafting organized, remember?

I was able to get one item from my list almost finished!  The bunny for my niece is almost complete – I just have to embroider the face.  Anyone have tips on this?  I have NEVER done it before!

Best Bunnies (PurlBee.com)

Best Bunnies (PurlBee.com)

I love making handmade gifts!  It brings me joy to pour my energy and love into something that I craft just for someone special.  I feel the same way about cooking.  I truly enjoy doing these things for others.  I am so pleased that this year I have a little more time available to craft up something special for everyone.

For the ladies: I am knitting some of these washcloths for my sister and her fiancé, since they just bought their first house.  I have finished one (still needs to be blocked):

Kate's Washcloth1

1 of 4 washcloths for Sister

My SIL just began sewing again, so I am going to work on a pair of these adorable pincushions for her!

Tea Cup Flower Pincushions from The Object Project

Tea Cup Flower Pincushions from The Object Project

I have not decided yet what I am crafting for either of our Moms.  I need to … quick!  Any suggestions?

For the men: I am thinking about doing one or two of these box pouches for some of the men in the family (in manly fabric, of course).

Perfect Box Pouch (Indie House)

My FIL loves being in their mountain home, but doesn’t get to go as often as I’m sure he would like.  So I decided to give him a print of a photo I took of their view last time we were there so that he could have the view from their main home as well.

My Dad is a hard one to craft for.  He has exquisite taste, so whatever I make, it will have to be good.  [Insert your ideas here ...]

My kids are each getting something handmade by me.  I was going to be ambitious and make a quilt, but with time running out I have decided to make that a BIG birthday gift (not sure which b-day yet).  My oldest DD (who is 8yo) has been wanting a sleep mask.  I found some great fabric and will be making it reversible (purple on one side, black damask on the other).  I don’t have a pattern for this, so I am going to have to make it up as I go.  If it is successful, I will be sure to share it here on the blog!

I am going to attempt to sew this ring stacker (by Heather Bailey) for the baby (who is 10 mos) – I am excited to try it out.

Happy Ring Stacker (Heather Bailey)

Happy Ring Stacker (Heather Bailey)

Whew!  Looking a this, I am realizing how much sewing, knitting, stuffing, printing, and overall crafting I really have to do!  I better get busy!

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