Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homemade laundry soap

I think in a lot of ways I grew up fast, but in the area of doing my projects, it has taken me a long time to grow up.
I feel like I am beginning this shift from doing projects just because it's something I really really want to do, to doing projects that are practical and coincide with caring for my family.  The projects that I've been doing recently have been less time consuming and more purpose driven.  I am getting better at choosing when to do my projects by planing ahead and deciding to have a start and finish time instead of working until the kids are driving me crazy or I want to fall asleep.  I am also being more cost conscious.  For a while I had felt so justified in my right to sew/craft that I really didn't care about the price of a project, if I wanted to make it I would.  But I don't want to do that anymore.
Now I still get to learn new techniques and create so I'm happy and staying true to myself.  But I'm doing it all in a new way.
So today, in an effort to try something new and find a way to save money, I gave homemade laundry soap a try.  Grating the soap was a good work out and I didn't do the math, but I know that each load has got to be only like a penny or so.  ($4 for a box of borax, $3 for a box of washing soda, $99 for a bar of soap)  its got to be cheep because you only use a small amount of the borax and the soda, Your most expensive ingredient per batch is the soap, and you get 64 loads per batch.
I found the recipe Here

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

After I did all the measuring I made a mark on the top of the water line in my bucket so that next time I don't have to measure out all the water.  I'll just pour the soap mixture into the bucket and fill it under the sink until I reach the line.
I used an old Costco sized powdered detergent bucket and it was plenty big.

I've been hearing from a lot of my friends who say that they do this and I've been wanting to try it for a while.  DON'T WAIT ANYMORE!  GIVE IT A TRY!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A few weeks ago my husband had to leave town for a class, since he was gone I got a project going to entertain myself after the kids went to bed.
I got this pattern and made a doll for each of my girls.
I'm not sure where I went wrong with the heads, but one is too big, the other is too small and I could have sworn that I followed the pattern exactly both times.  As they are, I think Gwen's (The one with the big head) looks sort of like Charlie Brown and Maggie's looks a bit like a voodoo doll.

My pattern deviations

  1. Hair- The pattern told me to sew strips of yarn onto some type of paper and then sew it onto the dolls head, but I just used my crochet hook and strung yarn through the holes in the dolls head.  I made sure to fill the hairline in really well, the crown and part line too.  But for some of the less important areas, I only threaded yarn into holes on every other row of stitches and the hair is still too full.
  2. body-I made underpants for them by using a fun color of yarn when I began the body, then when it told me to begin decreasing I switched over to the flesh colored yarn.

But the girls already love them and so I am happy overall.

Some of the things that I noticed about the pattern (good and bad)

  1. The doll is a great size because clothes for an 18" doll (American girl style dolls) fit them fairly well.  
  2. The hair reminds me of cabbage patch dolls from when I was a kid, so it will probably be great for using to practice braiding and stuff.
  3. For the first doll I didn't have to buy any yarn at all.  I just used some scraps that I had in my box of yarn.  So it was basically a free toy.
  4. The necks are not very strong so the heads flop back a lot.  (It's possible I didn't follow the pattern well enough.)
  5. The dress was too complicated for me to follow, I was catching on, but I kept having to unravel it and start over until finally I decided to get creative and make my own dress.
  6. I made about 1 body part a night so if you are working on this in the evenings too, consider that it will take about 6 nights.  (arms, legs, body, head, + 2 nights for the hair)
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am looking forward to Sam's next business trip (because I'd take cuddling with my hubby, a snack, and our favorite show over a project) but I have a few more toy patterns that I am wanting to try out for Toby that I will get started when Sam hits the road.