Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Today, I got an awesome delivery...2 blueberry plants.

These beautiful plants, which were made possible by a generous gift from one of my readers, are now safely planted in the yard. So, that means we now have blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. All the plants are old enough that they should produce next year, so we should be able to pick fresh fruit right in our yard. Aside from being healthy and convenient, this will also help lessen our grocery bills, since we go through at least a package of each type of berry every week.

To update on some of the DIY household stuff I've been trying out.

Laundry Soap:

I had previously used this homemade laundry soap and had remarkable success with it. It uses 5 gallons water, 1 bar Ivory soap, 1/2 cup borax & 1 cup washing soda. This time, though, I washed out the detergent jug that I just emptied & decided to wing it from there. I used 1 bar Ivory soap, 1/2 cup borax & 1 cup baking soda (I wasn't able to find washing soda that day). Then, I fill the rest of the jug up with the hot water (about 3 quarts).

It works just fine, I simply remember that it is more concentrated than the original recipe so, instead of measuring out a cap-full, I make certain to use about 1/5...which usually gets closer to 1/4. This is laundry, not rocket no harm done. I have made this type of soap using washing soda and baking soda and, quite honestly, don't see a marked difference.

Now, the big question that I keep getting asked: did it work?

Well, I washed a load of laundry that would typically require soaking & washing twice with my store-bought detergent. Instead, I soaked overnight with the DIY laundry soap & washed through when I got up the next morning. Everything came clean, no need to re-wash. An important note, though: I used vinegar in the rinse cycle. My washing machine doesn't have a dispenser, so I put it in a Downy ball. The vinegar makes sure that all the soap rinses out of the fabric and naturally softens the clothes.

Dishwasher detergent:

 This one is beyond simple. It's equal parts borax & baking soda. Use vinegar in the rinse aid well. I've been using it all week and have had no problems. Everything comes out clean and sparkling.

Shaving Lotion

This one was a little difficult. It calls for 1 cup shampoo, 1 cup conditioner & 5 tablespoons each baby oil & lotion. I had to half the recipe due to the size of the available container.

Because I didn't want to go out & buy any ingredients, I decided to use products that I had lying around the house. Here's where the complication arose. The shampoo & conditioner that I had are olive oil products. They are liquid, instead of creamy. So, my batch turned out more as a shaving oil. Next time I make this, I will reduce the amount of baby oil (or eliminate it completely) to help account for this and make it thicker.

Shoe Hangers

I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I've also made shoe hangers from wire hangers. It took a few minutes to make them, but it got easier the more I did. At first, I wasn't sure that there was a point. However, I have a low bar in my closet that had some room, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Once I started hanging up my shoes (everything from sandals to casual flats), I realized how much space they took up. Now, my closet is far more organized and I can actually walk into it now, since it's not crowded with rows of shoes.

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