Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wonderful Uses of Vinegar!

Here is a great link using vinegar in laundry has 1001 ways it is beneficial - another reason
why Vinegar is my favorite thing to store and keep on hand.

Reusable Dryer Sheets

We do lots of laundry. Actually, to say we do lots of laundry is an grand understatement. Because of this never-ending chore, we've noticed how many dryer sheets we use and figured that there had to be a way for us to make them ourselves. Not only were we looking for a homemade option but one that was greener too. After all, all those dryer sheets just end up in our landfills after one use, and we knew there had to be a way to make reusable ones. Turns out we were right! We were first turned on to this idea by "Homemade Nana", and we think she found it here.
What You Need:
  • Strips of flannel (ours were scraps we had on hand but you can also use worn-out sheets or cut up that old shirt of your husband's!)
  • Scissors
  • A medium-sized plastic container with lid (we re-purposed a cleaned-out sour cream container)
  • A favorite brand of liquid fabric softener
  • Hot water
Pre-wash your flannel and cut it into strips that are about 3x5" (just eyeball it - no one is going to sneak in your laundry room with ruler). At this point you can hem your edges or you can be lazy like us and just cut them with pinking shears.

Place your strips into your container, making sure they all fit comfortably and the lid can go on.

Mix up a solution of 4 parts liquid fabric softener and 10 parts hot water. Pour the solution over the strips of flannel in the container, secure the lid, and shake it up to make sure the strips soak up the solution. Let it sit for at least two days...although to be honest we couldn't wait and used it the same day we made it!

When you are ready to do some laundry, just pull out one strip, squeeze out the excess solution, and throw it in the dryer with your wet clothes like you normally would with a commercial dryer sheet! Used strips can be put back into the container with the solution and used again!

Vinegar Wonders!

Got Vinegar?

Vinegar is one of my favorite things to keep on hand and in my Food Storage, sooo many uses!
Helpful Hints For Winter

*Ice-proof your windows...with vinegar! Frost on it's way? Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water & spritz it on all your windows at night. In the morning, they'll be clear of icy mess. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water---preventing water from freezing! *

*Squeak-proof your wipers...with rubbing alcohol! Wipe the
wipers with a cloth saturated with rubbing alcohol or ammonia. This one trick can make badly streaking & squeaking wipers change to near perfect silence & clarity. *

*Prevent car doors from freezing shut...with cooking spray! Spritz cooking oil on the rubber seals around car doors & rub it in with a paper towel. The cooking spray prevents water from melting into the rubber!*
*De-ice your lock in seconds...with hand sanitizer! Just put some hand sanitizer gel on the key & the lock & the problems solved! *

*Fog-proof your windshield...with shaving cream! Spray some shaving cream on the inside of your windshield & wipe if off with paper towels. Shaving cream has many of the same ingredients found in commercial defoggers! *

*Keep your headlights clear...with car wax! Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights. It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights - lasts 6 weeks. *

Snapping Reusable Paper Towels!

Love this idea, will post the instructions here in a little bit. Can't wait to make these!

 Here is a great idea for reusable, snapping "paper" towels on a roll. These paper towels are turned and topstitched, with a layer of flannel and a layer of birdseye. They have snaps to allow them to snap together. It also made a center core (it's washable too!) that coordinates with the towels.

                                Can't wait to make these, they look simple and way big on saving $!

Are you tired of spending money on paper towels?  If so, try “unpaper” towels!  Unpaper towels are reusable cloth towels – just wash and reuse instead of throwing them away!  This tutorial will show you how to make a set of unpaper towels – you can even add snaps and wrap them around a regular paper towel roll for extra convenience!
First, you need materials!  You need an absorbent material (I use terry) and a “decorative” material (I use flannel).  For the absorbent side you could also use cotton birdseye, old (thin) bath towels, or microfiber.  For the “decorative” side you could also use any woven (non stretchy) cotton material.
Cut your materials into 12 inch squares.  Make sure you cut your pieces as close to perfectly square as possible!!  This is important, because if you cut a little crooked here, then sew a little crooked later, you will end up with very lopsided towels! (Not that I know from personal experience or anything….)

You should be able to get about 9 pieces out of each yard of fabric.  (So 9 pieces of flannel and 9 of terry.)

Place one square of flannel and one square of terry on top of each other (right sides together.)

Pin all the way around (I use the bare minimum number of pins because I hate pinning, but if you are new to sewing, make sure to use plenty so your pieces don’t shift while you are sewing.)

Now choose a side and start sewing!  One hint: start in the middle of a side (not in the corner) – this will make it easier to close up the hole after you turn your towels right side out.  I like to do about 1/4″ seam allowance by running the edge of the sewing foot right along the edge of the fabric.

Sew straight down to the corner, stop with your needle down about 1/4″ from the corner.

Keeping the needle down, lift the sewing foot and turn the fabric (pivoting on the needle)

Sew down that side, and keep going around each side until you get (almost) back to where you started.  Leave about 2 inches open (the smaller the hole, the easier to close it up, but make sure you leave enough room to turn it.)

Turn the towel right side out through the opening.  Make sure to push the corners out completely so they are square (use your finger or a pencil.)  You should now have a perfectly square two-sided towel!

Pin the opening shut (with the edges folded under)

Now carefully sew it closed with your machine.  Keep your needle close to the edge, and go ahead and stitch all the way around the towel to give it a nice finished edge.

Congratulations! You have a nice unpaper towel!  Now make as many as you’d like for your set (I usually do sets of 6-12.) These make excellent wedding and housewarming gifts (I include a card with some information about unpaper towels – what they are, how to wash them.) I’ll be doing a separate tutorial later on making cloth wipes, but I’ll tell you a secret – you make them the EXACT same way!  Just cut your pieces 8 inches square instead of 12!
If you’d like to add snaps, keep reading!  If you don’t have a snap press or snap pliers (or prefer not to have snaps) you can just fold your towels and store them on the counter or in a kitchen drawer.

You can get a set of snap pliers and plastic snaps from You need to put one snap in each corner – two sockets and two studs

Now, here is the tricky part – you need to put the two sockets (the parts with the “dip”) facing toward the flannel side, and the two studs (the parts that poke out) facing toward the terry side.
See? Socket…


If you are unsure if you are doing it correctly, snap the towels together as you go to make sure!  When you are finished, snap all of them together…

And roll them up on an empty paper towel roll.

That’s all there is to it!

Make Your Own Can Organizer for Food Storage Organization


Ok, I've been known to re-purpose things before like when I made a tote bag out of business cards for a friend.  Or when I made a much needed container for my bathroom out of Tampax box - (don't worry it was covered and changed enough that no one knew what it was. Hubby would have died if it was recognizable).  I've made candy dishes from gladware packaging. (I'll show that one soon - stay tuned!) You get the idea.  Anyway, it's just the way my mind works, I see something for what it is but then my mind switches gears and starts designing what it could be. 

That's what happened with my project for today.  It actually came out of need.  I don't like stacking my cans.  They never stay orderly.  They always fall over.  Or they get pushed to the back of the cupboard and I forget what I have and it BUGS me.  So, I made this.

Yes, I know you can by self-rotating Can Stackers for food storage but the small ones are $32 and frankly, I'd rather make my own and so that's what I did.  I had everything on hand except for the soda so the out-of-pocket expense was $3.50.  Here's how I did it....

 1- First, I needed an empty fridge pack of soda.  My kids were thrilled to find rootbeer in the fridge.  I  bought it specifically for the packaging - is that wrong?  Not really, just backwards, I guess.

2- On the back end of the container I cut out a space that is large enough to put a can of soup in.

3- I grabbed some decorative paper (I used about 3 sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper)  and folded it into place to cover the box.  I put everything in place, creased my edges and cut out my opening to fit the one I had cut in step 2.  Then I just took some Mod Podge and glued all the paper into place.  I did the back end of the box first and let it completely dry.

4- Once the back end was done drying, I grabbed another piece of paper and repeated the steps until the front part is covered.  And, just to make it more decorative, I used a coordinating paper for the front.

5- Then I added a label to the front and added a coat of Mod Podge over the whole thing - this gives it a little more strength and will keep the papers from tearing.

So, that's it.  To use it, I just always add my soups to the back and take from the front, that way they are properly rotated.  And, the best thing, I don't have to stack my soups anymore.  Plus, each soup flavor is kept together which means no more hunting through my pantry for the flavor needed.  I can have a box for chicken noodle, cream of chicken, corn, peas, whatever... And, I can make as many as I need and my cupboard is organized. 


Liquid Hand Soap {DIY}

The other night I was bathing (Yes, my wonderful husband lets me have without interruptions a bubble bath every weekend!) I began to look at the ingredients listed on the liquid body wash bottle and started to think about the fact that the majority of it is water, then I looked at the hand wash and same thing.... aqua.  Because most people have turned to liquid soap rather than bar soap I figured there must be a way to convert the cheap bar soap into the expensive liquid soap we all know and love. After I tucked the littles into bed I began my google research and there it was...a wealth of information on the subject. I combined a number of "recipes" into one that works perfect!

Here's what you need:

Cheese grater (from the dollar store)
2 Tablespoons of Liquid Glycerin (found in the band aid section at any drugstore or grocery store)
1 - 8 oz bar of soap
1 gallon of water

Step 1:
Grate the entire bar of soap

Step 2:
Fill a pot with 1 gallon of water and add the soap shavings.

Step 3:
Add 2 Tablespoons of liquid glycerin and turn the heat to medium/high and stir until the soap dissolves.

Step 4:
This is what it looks like once it's dissolved, basically just soapy water.

Step 5:
Leave it alone to cool for at least 10-12 hours. It begins to cloud up after 3-4 hours.

Step 6:
After it has cooled completely around 12 hours later it will harden and look like liquid soap.

Step 7:
If the soap is harder than it should be you can take some beaters and blend it while adding just a little bit of water until the consistency is more like liquid soap.

Step 8:
There you have it....Liquid Soap!!!

Step 9:
Now you can refill your 12 ounce bottle of liquid soap (that cost $3.99) with your gallon of refill that cost around $4.99. That's some huge savings!!!

This is a fool proof project that results in huge savings. For my favorite Mrs. Meyer's Basil scented soap
1 bar at $4.99 produces over $50 worth of liquid hand soap!!! I'd say that's worth the 20 minutes it will take you to make it yourself. The hardest part about this project might be finding and choosing your favorite bar of soap. Mrs. Meyer's is kind of tricky to find. It can be ordered on their website or your can special order at your local health food store.
I do not like shelling money for dishwasher detergent. With sales and a coupon, liquid soap to hand wash dishes is easy to find for free....but not so with the dishwasher stuff! After many sleepless hours swagbucks-ing the internet....I finally found a homemade recipe that works. The ingredients cost just under $12 total. This should make enough to last us for several months.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:
~1Cup Borax
~1 Cup Baking Soda (or washing soda....find in the laundry detergent isle. Some ladies find the Washing soda works better....Baking soda has worked great for us!)
~1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
~1/2 Cup Citric Acid
(I use "Fresh Fruit" produce protector...which is basically citric acid. You can find it in the canning isle...or use 15 packets of unsweetened Lemon flavored Kool Aid...which has lots of citric acid! Guess that is why most detergents are lemon scented, the citric acid keeps the dishes from building up a cloudy residue)
*Put all ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid, and shake up!
*Use about 1 TB per load
*****DON'T SKIP THIS STEP- Pour some white vinegar into the "rinse aid" compartment of your dishwasher. This will help to keep your dishes...especially plastic...from having a "cloudy" look!
Wa-Lah! Your own Detergent!
We have been using this for some time now, and love it!
If you do a bit of research on homemade detergent, you will find lots of "controversy" as to how well it works. Apparently, much of this has to do with what type of water you have. Also, it is debated as to whether or not borax is "good" for the dishwasher, as it can build up in your plumbing. Dig a little deeper, and you will find that all commercial dishwashing detergents have a borax-like ingredient....they just also have a chemical to keep the plumbing clear. It is a good idea to every month or so use a regular detergent for just one cycle to clean out the buildup.