Tag Archives: laundry

2013~ A Year in Review

2013 was a busy year. I didn’t blog much, but I did get a lot done.

I have a daughter that is now a senior in high school and a son that left elementary to move up to the big leagues of middle school. Hubby got (and rejected) two job offers. One was definitely not a better job. The other would have been a pay raise but would have caused a ridiculous amount of stress for Mr. Hippie. Mr. Hippie’s ulcerative colitis doesn’t do well with stress, so although I still pine for the extra income that would make our fiscal lives easier, I am grateful for his time with our family and for his health.

Will 2014 be The Year of My Blog? I don’t know the future, but I hear that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Regardless of what 2014 brings, I’m leaving 2013 with a bang!

The top posts always surprise me a little, but it helps me understand what people actually want to read! Apparently the movement toward healthier, greener cleaning hasn’t lost steam and people still love animals!

Coming in at number one:

Vinegar and oil(s)Homemade Fabric Softener

housing for two rabbits

Home to our breeding pair.

Building a Rabbit Hutch

Finished loaf cooled, sliced and ready to eat.

Freshly baked bread in five minutes?

Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Soap after the mold has been removed.

How I Made Homemade Soap (and Didn’t Screw it up)

Some of the finished treats.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Supplies needed to make your own.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Sink Scrub

Homemade Scouring Powder

Chicken Tractor

Chicken Run

Pinot Jelly

Pinot Noir Jam

Thanks for sticking around to hear what I had to say even when I didn’t have much to talk about!

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Goodbye, 2011

2011 was a difficult year both for my family and for this blog.  If you are/were a regular reader, you noticed I wasn’t around much. I hope to change that this year.  Because I didn’t write many posts last year, I wasn’t surprised that most of the top posts last year were older posts.

As a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Five Posts of 2011

  1. Brined Pork Roast
  2. Homemade Fabric Softener
  3. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  4. Building A Rabbit Hutch
  5. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

I am surprised that the Brined Pork Roast recipe was number one. Especially because in my opinion, this recipe is much tastier.

I get lots of searches for green cleaning recipes. Pinterest has been especially helpful in promoting them. I’m glad people are being greener and I’ll try to post some more green cleaning recipes this year.

I am excited to see the rabbit hutch plans make the list.  I wonder if that is because more people are interested in rabbits for meat, or if pet owners just need plans? Regardless, I hope to post more rabbit updates soon. Until then, if you’re looking for rabbit information, check out On Breeding Like Rabbits.

Happy New Year,

Angela

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Filed under Charcutepalooza, food, frugality, green cleaning, green living, meat rabbits, Miscellaneous

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

The start of a new year is always a time for reflection on the past, and hope for the opportunities yet to come.  This year my family starts with some setbacks, but I am optimistic that the future will be bright despite the hurdles before us.

Although this blog was “born” in 2009, last year was my first full year blogging.  Sometimes I did a better job than others.  Posting regularly was a challenge for me at times but I hope to have a better go of it this year.  I’m not going to resolve to post daily or even weekly, but I think that posting more frequently is a good goal, as ambiguous as it is.  Challenges like the Spice Rack Challenge with its required monthly posts and the Dark Days Challenge with bi-monthly posts until April will help me stay motivated, but so will various things on my 101 in 1001 list (which I fully intend to complete).

But, as a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Ten Posts of 2010

  1. Homemade Fabric Softener
  2. 28 Day Challenge Final Results
  3. June Can Jam~ Herbed Strawberry-Balsamic Jam
  4. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread
  5. How I Made Homemade Soap (and Didn’t Screw it up)
  6. Lavender’s Blue . . . (April Can Jam)
  7. How to Make Your Own Soap (Concluded)
  8. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  9. Everything but Apple Jacks?
  10. Can Jam Challenge Round Three ~ Jerked Onion

I was surprised that some of the posts made the list, but in general I wasn’t.  This blog is (mostly) about me getting back to slower times, cooking and cleaning in a way that is more sustainable.  So I shouldn’t be surprised that most of the posts on the list are in that vein: recipes for homemade food, instructions for preserving your harvests and recipes for cleaning in a more gentle manner. 

And, I was glad to see my three favorite canning recipes make the list!

Happy New Year,

Angela

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Stuff I Love

Well, it’s Thursday and even though I haven’t posted since the start of the month, I am trying to get back into a rhythm after The Hiatus.  So, time for another edition of “Stuff I Love”.

My last edition of Stuff I Love introduced you to my new friend, “Olan”.  This week I want to share with you his latest accessory:

Completed clothespin bag

Isn’t it lovely?

I looked around in stores for a bag to hold my clothespins, but had no luck.  Google, of course, didn’t let me down.  I found several different patterns for clothespin bags including a pattern for a clothespin apron.  I finally settled on this one and got to work.  I won’t post all my pictures and the directions because My Lucky Chicken did a really nice job and includes photos of each step, but I’ve included a photo of the necessary notions:

Necessary notions for the clothespin bag

I only used the colored thread.

And, after using the bag for a couple of weeks, I would recommend some modifications.

  1. Instead of using a precut quilting fat quarter, I would use some heavy duty canvas, or outdoor upholstery fabric.  There are some lovely patterns available for lawn furniture that would be quite pretty as a clothespin bag.  The quarter I used was 18″ x 30″ so a sturdier fabric cut to about that size or similar would work.
  2. Mr. Hippie thinks the bag should have holes at the bottom for drainage.  With the lightweight cotton I used, that isn’t really a problem, but if a sturdier fabric or something that is waterproof is used, drainage might be necessary.  I think that could be easily accomplished by adding a row of narrow buttonholes across the bottom before the bag is sewn shut.
  3. When I first hung my bag on the line, I hung it directly on the line.  If you have a long, straight line, or a line on a pulley, that should be fine but for my umbrella style clothesline it meant that I was spinning the line ’round & ’round and frequently digging under two or three layers of damp clothes to reach my pins.  If you use an umbrella-style or multi-line clothesline, I would highly recommend hanging the bag on a child-sized hanger like My Lucky Chicken suggests so that you can move your pins around easily.   If you know you are going to be using a hanger, you could skip the buttons and sew the bag directly onto the hanger; the buttons and buttonholes were the most difficult part of the project.

    clothes peg bag

    With the addition of a hanger for convenience.

This was a super simple project and I love the results.  Plus, since finding the tutorial, I have perused the archives of My Lucky Chicken and love the site so much that I have added it to my links.   She has posts about all the Stuff I Love including her clothesline and her snack bags!  Check it out!

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Filed under crafts, green living, sewing

Stuff I Love

Back in April I wrote a post called “Stuff I Love” after being inspired by my friend.  I had intended for it to become a sort of regular feature.  I even had a few things in mind to write about.  And then. . .

The “Hiatus”.

So, now that I am back I have a lot of catchin’ up to do.  I still plan to write about those other things I love, but today I have a new love to share with you. 

As part of my “live simpler, get back you your roots” life plan, I have been scheming for the addition of a clothesline.  Here are the pros:

  1. Clotheslines are the ultimate environmentally-friendly laundry solution. 
    No fossil fuels are used to create the power necessary to run a clothesline. 
  2. Clotheslines are a miser’s dream.
    No fossil fuel consumption = FREE to run. 

 

Now for the cons:

  1. Hubby does all the laundry. 
    Hubby refuses to use a clothesline.
  2. Hubby doesn’t like his underwear publicly displayed. 
    I wanted the clothesline in the front yard near the exit nearest the laundry room.
  3. Clotheslines can create stiff towels even with the use of my homemade fabric softener.
  4. Clotheslines do not remove the lint (or dog hair) from your laundry. 
    My dog creates a lot of hair.
  5. Clotheslines are subject to the whim of Mother Nature.
    Cool cloudy days result in long drying times.
  6. Clotheslines don’t work in the rain.

See what I’m up against?  The con list is definitely longer than the pro list.  If I wanted a clothesline, some serious action needed to be taken.

OR . . .

I could just wait for the dryer to break down in the middle of a cycle with another load of wash waiting in the wings.

I opted for the latter.

Also helpful was the fact that one of my students gave me a $25 Lowe’s gift card as a teacher gift at the end of the year.

New Clothesline

My new dryer. I think I shall call it "Olan" in honor of the student who gifted me the Lowe's card.

 

Here is the latest and greatest thing I love.  This umbrella-style clothes line folds down for storage and holds up to three loads of laundry!  I love it and have done lots of laundry since we brought it home.  I especially love how the sheets feel after drying on the line.

Now, how do I combat the cons?  Well, I can’t control Mother Nature, but I can hang the laundry early if it is a cool or cloudy day because I am home for the summer.  If it rains I can always use the dryer.  (Yes, hubby replaced the dryer.)

Stiff and/or hairy items can be placed in the new dryer to tumble without heat for a few minutes until they are less stiff or hairy.

The clothesline is in the back yard which means I have to carry it a little bit longer, but nobody can see our underwear.  Also useful is the multi-line design which allows for personal items to be hidden in the center of the rack by larger items on the outside lines.

Hubby doesn’t use it.  I can’t overcome that.  If I want my things dried on my line cheaply and greenly, I will have to do the laundry (at least the drying) myself.

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What’s in Your Vinegar?

Vinegar is a miracle solution.  You can cook with it, clean with it, even rinse your hair with it.  There are aged vinegars, flavored vinegars organic vinegars and thousands of other variations on this ancient product.  Here in Traverse City, we even have a store devoted to the sale of it

All of that said, imagine my surprise at this statement, “You know white vinegar is made of oil, don’t you?”  I didn’t take these words  lightly.  They came from the mouth of a wise friend whose opinions and ideas I take to heart.  I didn’t argue with him, because I didn’t  know, but I couldn’t just let that conversation go.  I had to do more research because, well, I love my white vinegar!

In my searching, I stumbled upon this post at Tiny Choices that discusses vinegar at length.  I won’t rewrite her post here, but it is true.  Most white vinegar is made with by products of the petroleum industry.  The worst part is that this practice is sanctioned by the FDA and other government agencies established to protect us! 

Ok, so chemically, the vinegar is probably the same as “natural” vinegar distilled the old-fashioned way.  But do I want to encourage the use of petroleum by-products in my food?  Do I want to wash my clothes in oil?  Soak my pickles in oil?  Rinse my dishes in oil?  I can’t speak for you, but no,  I don’t. 

The vinegar I was buying didn’t state its source.  Which means that it is pretty likely that it isn’t naturally distilled.   Heinz touts purity on its labels, but Heinz is significantly more expensive than the vinegar I was buying so I had to keep looking.  I checked all the vinegar labels at Meijer: none of them announced their source.

On to the next store.  My neighborhood grocery, Tom’s, is generally a little pricier than Meijer, but with time comes wisdom and I’m beginning to realize all the things that make paying a little extra important even if it cuts into my budget.  Tom’s employees are friendly and cheerful.  They are willing to help you and they still carry out your groceries for you if you want that service.  Many of the employees have been with the company for a long time; that says a lot.  I could go on all day about the merits of local businesses over box-stores, but this is a post about vinegar, no? 

Once again, Tom’s comes through for me.  The store-brand vinegar that they sell comes in a gallon jug, costs $2.29 and has this printed on the label:

distilled white vinegar

Natural vinegar

So, do you know what’s in your vinegar?

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Homemade Fabric Softener

Maybe, like me, you’re trying to green up your home.  Or maybe, also like me, you’re cheap budget-conscious.  Either way, you are going to LOVE this recipe.  Actually, this is more like a non-recipe. 

Vinegar and oil(s)

See, a non-recipe

1.   Get a big jug of white vinegar.
2.   Add some drops of essential oil for fragrance. I used lemongrass, lavender and rosemary so that it would match my Homemade Detergent, but oils are completely optional!
3.   Go do laundry.

That’s it!  See how easy going green can be?  You may be thinking, but won’t my laundry smell like pickles?  No!  That’s the beauty of it.  The vinegar smell dissappears when the vinegar dries.  You don’t actually have to add any fragrance, but it does linger on your clothing slightly, so I do it because I like it.  You don’t have to.  Vinegar helps the detergent rinse complete from your laundry and naturally softens the clothing without the toxic chemicals in traditional fabric softeners.  Plus, it helps clean your washing machine.

But, being green is only one advantage of this softener.  As I mentioned before, this will save you $$! 

Liquid Fabric softener

I just refill this bottle with my vinegar and a few drops of essential oils.

Now, even when I used toxic fabric softener, I used sheets.  But, one summer my sister and her family stayed with us.  She was kind enough to leave behind this bottle of Downy for me.   If you’ll notice, the price tag says, “$6.79″.  That price is from 2003, so it may be more.  I really have no idea.  If you’d like to weigh in on this matter, please feel free to leave a comment.

Anyway, back to the math.  For $6.79, you can soften 52 loads.  That works out to about 13 cents per load. 

I use the lid from this Downy bottle to measure my vinegar, so I use the same number of ounces per load (0.85 oz.) White vinegar comes in 1 gallon jugs.  I pay $1.69 for a gallon of vinegar (128 oz.)  1 gallon of vinegar is just over 150 loads.  That works out to about 1 cent per load.  Even if you add essential oils, it wouldn’t be more than 2 cents per load if you paid a LOT for your oil.  My oils are in the $3 price range so I don’t even figure them into the price because the 20+ drops I put into the Downy bottle barely cost a nickel.

Even if you only wash 1 load of laundry a week, (and who does that??) you would save over six dollars a year.  Not to mention eliminate gallons of toxic chemicals from the water supply and avoid long-term skin contact with these same chemicals.  If you do five loads a week you’ll save over $31 a year.  Imagine what you could save over a lifetime of doing laundry!

If you like green cleaning products, you’ll probably like my Sink Scrub recipe, too.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

I’ve been meaning to make my own laundry detergent for quite a while now.  I’m not sure what But the four jugs of “buy 1 get two free” laundry detergent I had kicking around the laundry room kept me from doing it until now.  Now, those yucky grocery store bottles of detergent are all gone so I can make my own.  This is so easy, everyone (including you) should go make some.   I wrote the recipe on the side of my container so that I wouldn’t have the trouble of losing it like I did with my dishwasher detergent.

Angela’s Laundry Magic:

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

Now I can never lose the recipe!

Remember how much I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer? 

Grinding the bars of soap.

Oh, Kitchenaid, how I love thee!

One more reason: It grinds up bars of soap in no time flat. 

Shredded Bars of Soap

Shredded up bars of Kirk's Coco Castille.

I used Kirk’s Coco Castille for this batch because that’s what I bought months ago when I got it into my head that I would start making laundry detergent, but I will NEVER use it again for two reasons.  One, it is expensive; you can use Ivory soap or homemade soap instead.  And, two it has such a strong scent that I can’t stand it. 

Once you have the bars of soap ground up, dump them into whatever container you are going to use to hold your soap.  (Three bars yielded four cups of grated soap.)  Add essential oil for fragrance if you are going to scent your soap (I used a combination of lavender, lemongrass and rosemary.) and shake or stir it before adding two cups each Borax, washing soda and baking soda.  Shake or stir the entire batch until the grated soap is incorporated throughout the powder. 

I put mine into this container I got from a friend that used to hold some kind of protein powder.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Finished homemade Laundry Magic and Wide-mouthed alternative container.

But, if your husband does laundry (like mine does) and has giant man-hands (like mine does), you may need to find a wide-mouthed container that he can easily reach into so that he isn’t deterred from doing laundry in the future.  I reused this old laundry soap container.  Best of all, it even came with its own scoop.  I use about 1/4 1/8 cup per load, but you may need to adjust the amount you use based on how hard your water is and how dirty your clothes are.

If you like this recipe you might be interested in my homemade Fabric Softener and Sink Scrub recipes

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