Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade Cleaning Products

Recently, I saw a recipe for a soap scum cleaner. I tried it one day and love it. I did make some changes, though. My spray bottle didn't like it when it was a 1:1 ratio, so I made it a 2:1 mix of vinegar to Dawn. It works awesome, it even broke up some of the mineral buildup around my bathroom faucet. I use it in the toilet, on the sinks and the bathtub. 

And I used it as the starting point for a dishwasher detergent. I have found that most of the dishwasher detergents I have tried leave a powdery film or don't get my dishes clean enough, except of course the ones that are expensive. I had tried just dish soap and baking soda, but that led to some powdery residue and bubbles overflowing the dishwasher and covering my kitchen floor. 

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
One part Dawn Dish soap (the blue concentrated one)
3 parts white vinegar
I usually just eyeball it, but of course you can measure. Mix in an old dish soap bottle. Give it a good shake before each use. I use just under 1 Tablespoon per load. My dishes come out clean with no powdery residue. I also usually use plain vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser.

You may notice that the dishwasher detergent will separate sometimes, just shake it up before using.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homemade yogurt

I've been wanting to try making yogurt for quite a while now, and finally did it. I don't have any pictures, but maybe next time. I did the crockpot/blanket method and stashed it in a slightly warm oven to keep it out of the way and it turned out pretty good. Next time I will probably warm the oven a little more, but it is yummy. I used 2% milk and whole milk yogurt as the starter (that's what I had yogurt wise for the little one) with dry milk to thicken it. It turned out similar in texture to sour cream, but I strained some in coffee filters to thicken it closer to Greek style. When it was thick I stirred in some maple syrup, vanilla, blueberries, and grape nut cereal (no granola, so that's on the to make list). It was fabulous. I used less than $2.25 in ingredients and made 10 8oz jam jars of unstrained yogurt. I will probably continue to buy yogurt for the little one, but not for me and the rest of the family, unless its really cheap and then just the flavored ones for popsicles. Now I need to pick up some frozen fruit to mix into the yogurt...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Well, had some issues with tracking the loads of laundry that one batch of laundry soap washes because the tick marks accidentally got rubbed off. I think that it does about 40 loads for about $2.80, which works out to about 7 cents a load.

I gave up on the baking soda and vinegar shampooing and the non deodorant deodorant. My hair was just too greasy and somedays the deodorant worked and others it didn't.

I just found out how to cook dried beans and make them taste good! its soooooooo easy, put 1 c of beans in a pressure cooker with about 3 C water (or more) then put the lid on cook @ 15lbs pressure for 10 minutes and they are perfect. Yay! I finally know what to do with that shelf of beans now! Plus bags of beans or tupperware filled with them take up so much less room than all of the cans in the pantry/laundry room.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Homemade Home and Family Stuff

Home Made Laundry Soap
So I've made homemade powdered Laundry Soap before, but I've had difficulty with it dissolving fully in a top loading washer. When we bought our front loading HE last fall I gave up homemade laundry soap completely. Until a week ago, I made up a batch of Liquid Laundry Soap and its working great. I checked out a ton of different recipes and basically just did what I always did for powdered. I grated a bar of Ivory soap. This time I dissolved it in 2 cups of water, then i stirred in 1 cup each of washing soda (the yellow box, not baking soda in the orange box) and borax. Then I stirred in about a teaspoon of lavender essential oil and enough water to make a gallon. Once it cooled some, I poured it into a wide and deep bowl, because you will have to stir it up every couple of days. Wait about 24 hours before using, it will be a thick gloppy gel. So far it takes about 1/4 Cup per load and I love it. I'm still figuring our how much it costs per load, but a box of washing soda and a box of borax (from Meijers) cost around $7 for both, and Ivory in the 10 packs at Walmart are less than $5.

Home Made Hand Soap For Mom
I told Mom that I would make her liquid hand soap the next time she needed it, and well she was just about out so here it is. Again I checked out a bunch of different recipes and just kinda winged it. So here is my recipe for my first batch. Walgreens had the Yardley soaps on sale for $0.69 each and mom loves the Oatmeal and Almond. So I grated one bar, melted it in 2 cups of water on the stove (I used a whisk). I now know to let it cool until it thickens and then blend in another 2 1/2 cups of warm water, I used an attachment for my immersion blender that I don't normally use. It makes a thick, creamy, kinda whipped handsoap that will still pump from one of the many handsoap pumps that we had around the house. It made enough to fill one hand soap pump and 3 small peanut butter jars. So for $0.69 I made quite a few refills for mom.

Personal Care Stuff
A little over a week ago, I decided to try using baking soda in place of shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. So far its working pretty well, the last few days my hair has been a little greasier, but still not too bad. I filled the apple cider vinegar bottle up with cinnamon sticks, some cloves and a few cardamon pods and it smells really spicy and good.
I also have started to use baking soda and cornstarch with lavender oil in place of deodorant and its working just as well at keeping me from smelling funky, I still sweat since it doesn't have an antiperspirant in it, but store bought ap/deodorant didn't always work for me anyways.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Box Bag Tutorial

Box Bag Tutorial Modifications
Recently, I made a boxbag using the tutorial at While I like it, there are some things that I wanted to change. The first is that I wanted all of the seams to be hidden, so that meant that the lining and exterior had to be made separately. The second thing is that I plan to use these bags to carry small knitting projects which means that they have to be long enough to hold my 7-8" dpns.The black bag with vintage tattoo images is the one I made following the original tutorial. The tie dye one is made using these modifications. I used a 1/2" seam allowance everywhere except for the zipper and opening on the lining, which is approximately 1/4".
1/4 yd exterior fabric
1/4 yd lining fabric
(or 3 fat quarters)
2/3 yd mid to heavy weight fusible interfacing (I used mid weight because I want to be able to just throw it into my purse or other bags and not worry about the bag showing permanent creases when it gets squished)
zipper to coordinate or contrast at least 16" in length, mine was 22" I had it on hand and I prefer to use a longer zipper and cut it off

Step 1:
Cut a 16" x 22" piece from the exterior fabric, lining, and interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the exterior fabric. And cut a piece that is 5" x 17" for the handle, your choice if you want to use the exterior fabric, lining fabric or another fabric, I used lining fabric for both bags that I have made.

Step 2:
Fold the strap piece in half lengthwise and press a crease into it.
Open the piece back out. Fold the long raw edges in to meet the middle crease.
Fold in half again along the original crease and press flat. Topstitch along both edges, this time I did 2 lines of sewing along both edges.
Step 3:
Pin the zipper tape to the short sides of the bag right sides together and using a zipper foot sew the zipper in. Press a crease into the tube (placing the zipper along one edge) this way when you open it back into a tube the crease and the zipper can be laid out and matched along the center
of the bag.

Step 4:
Press a 1/4" hem along the short edges of the lining fabricFold the lining fabric in half right sides together (so that the short edges meet) and press, making a crease. Then bring both short edges in almost to the crease line, leaving a gap approximately the size of the zipper.

Step 5:
Sew along both of the open ends on both the lining and exterior pieces, leaving the zipper partway open on the exterior piece. (the wrong sides should be facing you and the sewing machine) Yes, you do sew across the zipper teeth, in fact reinforce the stitching over the zipper tape by sewing back and forth across it a few times.

Trim the ends of the zipper that extend past the edges of the fabric.

Step 6:
Cut a square of fabric that measures 3" from each corner of the lining and bag fabric. This will allow you to easily box the corners of the bag.
Step 7:
With rightsides together, fold the cut edges together to form a triangle shape with the tops cut off, they won't match perfectly, just make the corners nice and it will turn out well. Your seam will be running along the center, perpendicular to the cut edge. ( There is a picture of this on the exterior fabric a few images down from here) I used my serger just so that I wouldn't need to trim the seams. If you don't have a serger, don't worry about it, just use your sewing machine and trim the seams to about 1/4" or so.

This is what the lining will look like when you are looking at the wrong sides after its sewn together.

This is what your cut off triangles should look like when you fold them to meet.
You will do step exactly as written for all 4 corners on the lining and for the 2 corners at the bottom of the zipper tape of the exterior fabric. The top to corners will need the handle to be fed through from the exterior. You will want to extend the handles in a couple of inches to make sure that it is sewn in securely, if you are sewing on a regular sewing machine, I would recommend reinforcing the stitching across the handles by sewing back and forth a few times.

Bags are finished with the exception of not being sewn to each other, you could use the exterior bag as is, but there will be interfacing showing and raw edges.

Step 8:
Turn exterior bag so that the right side is showing and the wrong side of the lining should still be showing. Now for the persnickity part of all of this... carefully pin the lining into the bag with the wrong sides together.
Starting at one edge of one side of the zipper sew either by hand or machine, I avoid hand sewing when ever it is possible. You may need to adjust the placement of the lining while you sew. MAKE SURE THAT THE LINING DOES NOT GET TOO CLOSE TO THE ZIPPER TEETH.
TADA!!! It's Finished!

Monday, October 5, 2009

my children are turning into animals!!!

A while ago I saw some really cute bear/animal paw mittens in a giftshop at the fort in Mackinaw City. But they were $20, c'mon really for fleece mittens for kids! So I wrote the idea down, and 2 months later, I've finally gotten around to making them. It took about an hour of sewing time, 8 pieces of elastic, and 12 pieces of grey fleece, 2 of pink and 2 of red and look what i have. The mittens are kinda big but I wanted them to be able to spread their fingers out all the way.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blue Gill Festival Knit Tagging

And The Scrappy Stitcher Strikes Again! A Random Act Of Knitted Kindness For The Blue Gill Festival 2009!