Homemade Laundry Detergent

homemade laundry detergent

I love this homemade laundry detergent so much! Ever since the unexpectedly far-reaching effects of the liver cleansing diet kicked in, I’ve been on a make-my-own kick.

homemade laundry detergent

This laundry detergent works so well. Much better than other high-scoring (according to EWG) natural detergents, and just as well as some regular ones I’ve used in the past. The only issue I noticed was that our clothes weren’t quite as soft. This is easily remedied, either by adding some white vinegar, or by adding a scoop of a salt-based softener (also homemade!).

My full recipe and a step-by-step are published over on Apartment Therapy. Chalkboard labels and chalk marker are from Amazon (but spell lavender correctly on your label). If you’ve ever considered trying to make some, do it! It’s thrilling. =)

Check out All-Natural, DIY Goo Gone that WORKS for another homemade cleaning product made from items you probably have in your kitchen.


Sewing for Kids: Bateau Neck Dress

I was privileged to test another pattern for Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest. This is the Bateau Neck A-Line Dress, an extension of the Bateau Neck Top I sewed for Danny. Anneliese’s patterns are truly the most beautiful patterns I’ve worked from. I even learned some useful sewing techniques through following her meticulous directions.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (3)I’ve had this star fabric for a while and intended to use it for the boys. But I actually love it for her. I think it’s different and fun. Making it in a thicker knit (it was like light sweatshirt weight) makes the dress perfect for playing in while it’s still hot and then for layering as it gets cooler.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (2)I love the simplicity of the dress, and the cut is just the right amount of being fitted yet still loose enough to add the perfect amount of “swing.” While I was putting it together, I couldn’t stop picturing a little gathered pocket, so I added one of my own even though the pattern calls for a flatter version. I love the little touch of girly-ness it adds.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (7)Lining the pocket with some leftover minky from another project gave the dress a touch of pink. I couldn’t help myself. =)

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (1)I’ll be sure to let you know when this pattern extension is available.  In the meantime, pin this adorable dress to your sewing board!

Sew you next time! HAHAHAHAHAHAH (ouch, I know)


Keep Cut Flowers Fresh: Snapdragon Bouquet

One reason I get so excited about spring and summer is that I’ll have fresh flowers I can cut from outside and bring in for all over the house. Fresh flowers make me so happy, and when I can have a bunch without having to buy them — super happy.

snapdragon bouquetMy favorite flowers to grow for cutting are knockout roses (I put them everywhere when they are in bloom), with zinnias being a very, very close second.

I do have a “winter” garden, composed of snapdragons, pansies, and sweet williams, but it never occurred to me until this week that any of them were appropriate for cutting and bringing indoors.snapdragons growing in flower gardenBoy, was I wrong.

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-15

Five Ways to Keep Flowers Fresh

1)  Use sharp shears made for cutting stems.

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-2

2) Cut stems at an angle. This helps with water absorption.

snapdragon stems

3) Treat different flowers differently. For instance, flowers with woody stems, like azaleas, benefit from having their stems pounded so that they can soak up water. Snapdragons do well if their stems are cut at an angle (again) under running water once you bring them inside. Hydrangeas are complicated….

4) Strip the stems before you put your fresh flowers in a vase. You don’t want any leaves or buds below the water line for sure, and probably not even below where the top of the vase (or “vase” — I used a cleaned off jar) hits. Extra foliage in the water can contaminate the water, and your flowers won’t last as long, which brings us to…

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-6

5) Make flower food. There are various tricks out there, including crushing an aspirin tablet, pouring some Listerine in with the water, and using lemon-lime soda. I made the following mixture, which both nourishes the flowers and keeps the water bacteria free.

Cut Flower Food

In a 3-quart container (I used an empty orange juice bottle donated by a friend), mix together:

  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons bleach
  • 6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Fill with warm water. Use right away or have on-hand for small vases you’ll put freshly cut flowers in.


snapdragons bouquet


(Almost) Free Pantry Storage

before and after pantry storage

I love those beautiful pictures of color coordinated pantries as much as the next gal (or guy!) but I have yet to figure out how those are functional, at least functional in the way I need my pantry to be. I mean, where’s the peanut butter? Where’s the vinegar??

Here’s mine (and in the spirit of keeping it real, I didn’t even face the peanut butter forward):

pantry organization, picture of inside

Anyway, a very unfortunate event precipitated our recent overhaul of the pantry. In the middle of making dinner, as I dug around for the bag of pine nuts, I discovered, to my HORROR, some dead little buggies.

Ahhhh!!! I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve discovered an infestation in my family’s food supply (it’s only happened once before), I get so grossed out and panicky in an almost-screaming, almost-jumping up and down with arms flapping, almost crying kind of way. No joke.

You know these infestations haven’t happened because I’m some sort of slob or anything, right? =( I’ve done a little research and much of the time, people bring critters home in packages from the store. And if you keep things around for too long, they hatch and multiply and invade other pantry items. SICK! They chew through cardboard and soft plastic. I know because I saw the holes.

So I set out to do my best to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

To start, I invested in some of these gorgeous (Is that too strong of a word? Maybe…) Oxo containers with credit I had at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They are thick, safe plastic, easy-to-use, durable, and, as always with Oxo products, easy on the eye.

pantry organization with oxo containers

But to store beans, barley, popcorn, cornmeal, and other less frequently used small items, I turned to all the pristine jars I had saved after getting all the gunk off of them. Remember the DIY Goo-Be-Gone?

goo gone DIY

Because all the mismatched, not easy on the eye jar lids bothered me in the pantry, I decided to finally spray paint them, as I’d been meaning to for who knows how long.

jar lids for spray painting
pantry storage with glass jars
I love how they turned out, in both form and function. And all I had to pay for was the paint (which was actually left over from another project).
pantry storage with glass jars
pantry storage from glass jars

Quick tips for making your own pantry storage:

  • Save several glass jars from food items you buy. The more variety the better.
glass jars as pantry storage
  • Clean the paper and sticky residue off of them as you save them so you don’t have too many to do at once.
how to remove sticky residue from glass
  • Once you have a good number saved, collect their lids and spray paint them. Use Rustoleum, which adheres to metal. So far, it’s doing a good job staying on, even when we wash the lids (which isn’t very often since we store mostly long-lasting grains and legumes in the glass jars).

pantry view

free pantry storage arranged in a circle