Saturday, April 30, 2011

Make Your Own Laundry Soap

After seeing several posts on the blogosphere recently about DIY laundry soap, I decided to give it a whirl for 2 reasons. Namely I'd read that it was much cheaper and second the smell of our current detergent makes me slightly nauseated. The Mrs. Meyers soap recently that I bought smells great but was pretty spendy. As far as the actual process, it wasn't very time consuming and the end product seems to work well.
The Ingredients
I used a recipe I found on several different sites.
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
2 cups grated soap (~1 bar)
There were several different soaps that people had used. The most popular seemed to be Fels-Naptha and Zote. I was unable to find zote at any of my local stores. I found Fels-Naptha at Fred Meyers (in laundry aisle) for $0.99 and at Rosauers for $1.49 (with other bar soaps). The washing soda and borax were on the laundry aisle.
The Process
First you grate the soap, I found one bar was equal to approximately 2 cups. Then I added the powders and mixed it in as well as I could. Then I ran it through my food processor in batches (I have a tiny one) until it was a sand like powder. Then give it a test run! The soap has a kind of strong smell but we both like it. Since you only use 2 tablespoons per load, it doesn't come out with a very strong smell. Also it doesn't make a lot of suds.
Cost breakdown per load of laundry
5 cents - My Soap. With the more "expenisve" bars it would be 7 cents a load.
12 cents - Ecos Liquid. This is the cheapest "green" soap I found
20 cents - Tide Original Powder soap
22 cents - 7th Generation Liquid soap
25 cents - Mrs. Meyers. Liquid soap
25 cents - Tide Original Liquid soap
28 cents - 7th Generation Powdered soap
30 cents - Method Liquid Soap
** Prices based on largest bottle available (ie cheapest) from

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Backyard Homestead

A new book I've been reading recently. Anyone else out there read it? Or any good suggestions for beginning gardeners (emphasis on beginning). So far this one seems pretty good, seems to hit the basics about a bunch of different areas and since I know nothing about this sort of thing, its a pretty good place to start. Gardening is one my "to do" list, having chickens is on my "bucket list" and having goats is on my "pipe dream" list. Anyways, I'm excited to try out gardening this year and see how that goes! Home grown tomatoes just taste so much better!! I also really want to grow cucumbers this year and make home made pickles!

Baby Nigerian Dwarf goats are super, SUPER cute!! (call me crazy all you want....) In case you don't believe me, here's some proof from the interweb.
Baby Goats

Click here to getImages  &
Baby Goats Pictures - Pictures

So whats the verdict? Cute or what?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hurry Up Spring

In anticipation of warmer weather, I made one of my favorite summer recipes and a pina colada smoothie today. It just keeps raining here, maybe by Friday we'll have some nice weather! We have one daffodil open now! Woot!! Need to get going on those garden plans...

Couscous Black Bean Salad

2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
In a large bowl, marinate beans with the ingredients above.

1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup couscous
Bring broth to a boil, add couscous, cover and let sit 5 minutes. Add couscous to bean mixture.

2 bell peppers, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Add to above.

Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 bottle Greek vinaigrette w/ feta
Stir into the salad.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I love Mondays!

I love Mondays, they're my Saturday! Its raining outside, so yard work is waiting until tomorrow! I love rainy days like this with some Frank in the background, sleeping kitties, a couple candles, a nice cup of tea and lots of creative energy. For all you *regular* readers out there, sorry for the lack of posts recently. Its been super busy around here, we went to Joe's bike race in Ephrata, had my in-laws and my best friend from Seattle over last weekend, I just finished up a five day stretch (of work), we picked up a new reel mower, and have been doing lots of little repairs and tons of cleaning. When Jenn was over she helped me clean, organize and rearrange my "office", I love it now and its still clean 10 days later!! When I saw the before and after pictures of Amy's scrapbook room, I was inspired to finish cleaning up and take some pics!

I recently picked up some pinking sheers, so today I finally made a banner with some scrap fabric I had, thats been on my "want-to-do" list for a looong time. When Jenn was over we moved the table in front of the window, stacked the storage boxes and moved the old sewing table in for some more storage. I hung up my "clothes-pin frame" in here too.

Value Village tray with a new coat of green paint, dollar store basket, little blue egg holder and canning jars, keeping all my "junk" contained :) All my string is kept in enclosed storage so Mal can't eat it. 

Picture with my sewing machine out, this used to be my Grandma Lolita's. I love it, it's a little beat up but it gets the job done. When you're done, it just folds back up inside the table - really handy! I use all the suitcases to keep my material in. The old Samsonite in the back was my dad's when he was a kid, he got me the suitcase boxes recently. ... and in case you're starting to think I'm an expert sewer, errr, seamtress, don't worry I'm not. The skirt on the bottom is to cover up the computer server, cable box and all those associated wires. 

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Drab to Fab

Little 50 cent tray from the dollar store that got a quick makeover to corral some stuff in my bedroom. I'm trying to get things a little more organized in there, would be nice to be able to find things in the morning while I'm rushing around trying to get to work :)
Came with two in the set - before and after. Just found a fabric scrap that I liked, cut to size and glued it on. Took all of 15 minutes.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Mason Jar Lanterns

Pottery Barn was selling similar mason jar lanterns last year and I thought they would be perfect to add some "ambiance" if you will to the finally completed patio out back. But of course, I figured I could make them for cheap .... so I picked up the jars at Value Village, I wanted some with wide mouths which I didn't have at home. Then threw them together one night after work. I found a tutorial here that I roughly followed. I was planning to hang them outside today and get better pictures but spent most of the day sleeping trying to avoid getting sick. Hopefully I'll get some stuff done this weekend!!