Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kid's Valentine's Craft

This was a great project that we used for a 4-H craft the other night!  It was very simple and a wonderful project for Toddlers - 3rd graders to make.  (Even a high schooler enjoyed making one!)  Here are the directions:

  1. I had the kids string pony beads (a bag with pinks and purples in it at Wal-mart was only $3.17) on a white pipe cleaner.  You could use whatever color you like, I think for the pipe cleaner. 

  2. Have them leave 1" on each end empty. 

  3. Twist the two ends together and flip the twist to the inside. 

  4. Shape into a heart. 

  5. Tie a ribbon around the top. 

  6. To finish, string 2-3 beads on the twisted ends and glue really well the end with tacky glue.  (This was the hardest part, because they had to wait for the glue to dry, or the beads fall off.)

Oh, by the way, that one bag of beads made 5 hearts with leftovers.  That's less than $.75 each!  I hung them from my chandelier in the kitchen.  I think they're adorable, what do you think?

I am linking up to:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

One of the things that has saved me a ton of money over the last year or two is making my own laundry detergant.  Now we live in a small town and had a difficult time finding the ingredients in the first place (I just don't have the patience to order this stuff online) so after some research, we were able to find some good substitutes for the ingredients we couldn't find.  I used the Duggar Family recipe, which can be found here.  I wanted a liquid detergent and one that worked in a front loading machine.  I have used this in both a top loading and front loading machine. The ingredients needed for this are:

5-gallon bucket with lid
Cutting board
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda*
1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap**
1/2 cup Borax

*Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate and we found a 97% Sodium Carbonate in the pool aisle of Wal-mart.  The product is by hth Spa and is called pH increaser.  I've even seen this go on clearance, so it seems readily available (more so than the A&H Washing Soda.) 
**Ok - this bar, I haven't been able to find on the shelves, but had read in other recipes that you can use Ivory bars instead, so that's what I tried the first time.  I can't stand the smell of the Ivory, so tried the Dove bar and love the smell.  In this recipe today, I used the Cucumber scented & really loved it!
First I sliced up the bar of soap.  The recipe calls for grating, but slicing chunks it up into small pieces just fine.  I have found that because I am just cutting up a mild hand soap, and wash all the utensils in the dish washer, that it is fine for my food prep items.  You may want to use these kitchen tools only for soap making if it bothers you.  The kettle, I reserve only for laundry soap, because I wasn't sure about the rest of the ingredients being cooked on it.

Then you add all the ingredients, plus 4 cups of water to the kettle and cook it on medium heat until all the particles are melted and the liquid is smooth.  This gets poured into the 5-gallon bucket.  Then, the fun part - you fill the rest of the bucket with warm tap water and mix it!  Leaving this overnight will solidify the liquid, so it has the same consistancy as store purchased detergent!
To use the detergent, you take old laundry containers and fill them half way with the homemade detergent and half water.  Mix it well before each use. 

I have figured out that because this batch actually makes 10 gallons of detergent, it costs me about $3 to make all of it!  I haven't counted how many loads it makes for me, but I only make this two times a year.  We have six in our family and do around 10-12 loads a week!  I suppose that if you multiply 10 load X 4 weeks a month X 6 months you would get about 240 loads! I find this to be such a great value and only takes about an hour of my time to make!

I am linking up to:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Family Rules

I know that many of you made these Family Rules Canvases last fall, but I found them a little late and just had to make my own.  I won't show you all that I did, but give you the final results.  Here is where I found the best directions on how to make it.  I did tweek this a little, because I didn't want to go out and buy a canvas for this project.  I used a piece of flooring underlayment that was left over from our Airstream renovation and had my husband cut a piece of it that was 14 X17 inches.  I then painted it chocolate brown.  I also wanted to use Scrapbook paper since I am an Independent Creative Memories Consultant instead of the fabric.  It just made more sense to me.

The only thing that I didn't like about this project, was what several people mentioned was a problem with the Mod Podge (and I didn't figure out until I had a problem with it) making the scrapbook paper bumpy.  I did have this problem, and tried to get it to stay down as best I could, but well, it'll have to be good enough for now.

For the rules I used:

Love God
Show Kindness
Always Tell the Truth
Help Others
Be Thankful
Work Hard
Keep Your Promises
Forgive Others
Share Always
Use Your Manners
Say Your Prayers

I hope that you like the results.  Thanks to Lindsey at the Pleated Poppy for the great idea!  Oh - and all in all, I did have to buy some Modge Podge for this project, because mine had dried up (it's been years since I've used it!) so this project did cost me $7 for the bottle, but that was it - everything else was on hand.  I definately have a ton of Modge Podge projects in my future with the left overs too!

I am linking up to:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wellness Rice Bags & Boo Boo Bags

Ok - so I meant to share these before Christmas, but the holiday really got away from me.  I do think they are really cute, and we have been getting a lot of use out of these rice bags and boo boo bags that I made for everyone for Christmas presents.  I got the step-by-step directions here.  The directions were so simple that, I think that anyone with a machine could make them!  The truck material ones are the Boo Boo bags that I made for the families with kids.  They are made from barley and peppermint scent.  They can be kept in the freezer for those upcoming boo-boos for kids.  For the families with adults, I said they were wellness cold packs.  For the people without kids, I made the cold packs coordinating.Here are the rice bags.  The expense was really nominal,  I bought two soap fragrances for about $4 each.  One was almond for the rice bags and the other peppermint.   The material was mostly what I already had on hand along with the rice.  I went to a local store that has bulk items for the barley.

I put two rice bags and one or two of the barley bags along with some of the glade soy products that I had picked up this last year for either cheap or even free with coupons and sales.  I put them all in a basket with burlap as a liner.
The final result, I think turned out really homey and cute.  I made my own tag with scrapbook paper and a sticker letter of their last name.  Sorry I didn't get this out before the holidays, but I think they are still a great idea for use around the house.  My dh has had a stiff neck and has been walking around with the rice bag on him all the time.  He love's it!

I'll be linking up to:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

I apologize to any of you faithful readers that may have missed me, but I have taken a little breather through the holidays!  I really have no excuse, except, I just got busy and needed to do things around here.  I don't have a whole lot for you today, but hope that you all had a blessed Christmas & New Year!  I will be trying to "clean-up" all the Christmas stuff in the house and on my blog this week.  I'm looking forward to getting some of my stuff done, including, doing some catch-up in my albums!  I have gotten myself so far behind with my digital pictures lately, so I will be trying to get that done soon!