Monday, March 30, 2009


Do you ever do this? Take something and make it useful in another way rather than go out and buy something new or throw out the repurposed item? I LOVE repurposing but am not highly creative to always think of how to use something. Not this weekend however...I was repurpose Queen of my house.
Saturday was incredible Chez Nous...sunshine and 18 degrees. It was amazing and called for some puttering in the not so snowy yard. Hman started tearing down that ^&^%$ing metal gazebo frame on a cement pad in our back yard. This came with our hoiuse and the canvas cover is no more. The pad and the gazebo are plunked square in the middle of the yard, making navigation tricky by times and making my clothes line useless. This has driven me crazy. I love hanging out our laundry and being lineless for 4 years has been hard. In my excitement at the prospect of line hung laundry, I went out and purchased proper line for it, so that when the mood hits Hman to put it up, its here and ready. Yay.
As he disassembled the metal frame, the roof part was standing on the cement pad, looking very like a tee pee frame since it was folded a bit from its former expanded shape. i didn't think about the fact that those screws could work like hinges, and now that roofy bit will become a bean tee pee for the garden's pole beans FOREVER! Its not going to break anytuime soon like dowelling or bamboo sticks and its very light and easily moved from bed to bed each year. Sweet.
Then we looked at the upright segments and repurposed 4 of them as strong trellises for the viscious untrellised climbing rose in the back yard and for the clematises by the front steps. The older wooden trellises are rotted and breaking. They are made so crappy nowadays and are kinda pricey in my opinion. Voila, my metal trellises are rot proof and not gonna fall apart! I think I will give them a coat of paint before putting them semi-permanently in place.
Another couple of up right supports are becomeing t-poles for reining in the raspberry patch and the fencey bits that were the bottom portion of the frame will be used in various way (blocking old Blossom's escape routes out of the "inescapable" back yard for instance. Hman swears he will not bail her out of doggie jail again.)
Now all we have left to put out by the curb are the parts that the curtains hung from. All else has been repurposed in the yard and garden and if I could think of a way to utilise those last parts, I would. My garden is gonna look awesome!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sixty Minutes Is All It Takes

Its March Twenty Eighth and that means tonight starting at 8:30 local time all over the world it is EARTH HOUR!!!!
Turn out the lights and turn on your mind.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I want this book.

The Lazy Environmentalist On A Budget. SWEET!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Story Of Stuff

You must watch this video. Its child friendly and about 21 minutes long. Have the whole family watch it amd maybe discuss how your household can make changes. I'm sorry for the need to cut and paste but the hyperlink and I just don't seem compatible.


My family room furniture no longer reeks. I did just what I said I would...suds scrub with a vinegar and water sponging rinse on the arms and the cushion covers went into the washer. Then I sprayed the bejesus out of the furniture with the homemade Febreeze. There was a bit of a vinegary scent lingering but that beats the strange gaggy odour that was there. I didn't use as much Essential oil as the recipe called for so that could be part of the problem there. I used Tea Tree and Lavender oils. That vinegary scent has dissipated from the fabrics and the room smells so much better all around. (Also I took the trash out. The microwave popcorn addicts in this house are gonna have to stop bringing the bags down stairs and tossing them in the trash after because those things really stink up the place.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Makin' a stink...

Actually, its my family room sofa thats smelly. Its seen lots of snacks, smelly socks, pets, etc etc etc and is now sporting a funky aroma that I am getting really grossed out by. I could do the usual, empty a bottle of Febreze onto its surfaces, but Febreze makes me nervous (despite its awesome deodorizing properties) and I don't like the smell. Makes me think of Raid. Blech.

So, I have been trawling the innernets for something low impact that I can make myself to destink the old sofa.

Most of the recipes I found called for the use of liquid fabric softener, but that in itself is loaded with ingredients that are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, and make fabrics more flammable. Plus I don't have any.

I have tried baking soda and water and essential oils but that left a nasty residue on my floors and hard surfaces when it dried.

So, this recipe is the one I am going to try next as well as cleaning the cushiom covers and sponging the surfaces with soap suds to try and lift some grime.

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp glycerine
1/2 tsp essential oil of choice

Apparently the glycerine will work to emulsify the mixture so the oils don't just sit on the water and vinegar, separating after shaking or mixing etc. Wish me luck.

Also, many green recipes call for vegetable glycerine but I haven't been able to find any so far and bought plain old glycerine at the drug store instead. Will I go to hippie hell for using that instead?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I vacuumed today

Hand knit Swiffer cloths from Knittywhipped.

My floor was a nasty mess by the time I vacuumed today. In my defense I will say that my kids have been sick and so I didn't do it sooner. Then again, it needed doin' before the kids took sick. ahem.
I am also a total geek when it comes to household DIY: homemade anything to get the house cleaner etc with less waste and less impact? YEAH! Today on TipNut I found a link to someone's blog...someone who may be geekier'n me. Hard to believe! I know!
She not only knits Swiffer covers for dry dust mopping bare floors BUT she knit two different patterns and compared.
Pattern link for the 'Zoom' dust mop cloth :
The KnittyWhipped showdown:

The fiber of choice for dust cloths etc is cotton. I have been thinking though...cotton drags on the floor making the dry mop less slidey and more difficult to use. I saw on another blog that a Swiffer cover maker recommends machine washable wool. its slidey on floors and washable. I think too that the fuzziness would make it catch the dust and hairs better. This is what I am planning to use when I get around to making myself a "Zoom" . Wool producers often have wool "feather" dusters etc for sale. The fiber grips that dusties better in theory so this should work in this instance too, non? Anyone got some dusting science to back me up here?

I loves me some Tip Nut!! I tottally need a dry mop and hand knit cloths for it! Cat hair, BEGONE!

Monday, March 16, 2009


2 loads of dishes done and so far the powder is doing well. Its still early days though. I am only uing one spoonful...I may have been using too much before and also I am pretty sure my rinse agent dispenser in the old machine didn't work right. This stuff also makes a great sink scouring powder if you add some tea tree oil to a tblspoonful. Or not. My disgusting sink was shiney and clean after a scrub with it.

I am pretty sure that I can cut the laundry powder back to one Tbsp per load. Another homemade laundry person uses 2 but she has a top loader (lots more water used to dilute the soap)so I am reasonably sure that one will be suffice for my HE. I have a little voice in my head that doesn't agree but that little voice has a very big "More Is Better!" personality. Hence the size of my ass.

Also, the links that were broken in the Links list, have been fixed or removed as warranted.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gonna try it again

I keep blathering about making my own stuffs. i do it because A) I want to try and save some cash and B) I want a product easier on the environment. I also want th damn thing to work.
I am going to try the home made dishwasher powder thing again. I have a different recipe this time that uses a wee amount of dishwashing liquid and citric acid in the mix. If this causes a reisdue like the last mixes I made then I will officially give up and pay through the nose for the eco-kindnessy brands.
Here's what i am gonna try:
equal parts washing soda and baking soda
1/2 part borax
1/4 part salt
1/16th part citric acid and also dish soap OR liquid castile soap (which I am
making using this recipe: 1 cup grated castile (or marseilles), 4 cups water, 2 Tbsp glycerine)

Example: 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup borax, 1/4 cup salt, 1 Tbspoon each citric acid and liquid soap(dish liquid or liquid castile).

This is just an example. I actually will probably try it with less citric acid because that stuff ain't cheap and the bottle is small.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The math on Laundry Powder

Based on my costs for ingredients and using 2 Tbsp of powder per load, I can make a 25-30 load batch of laundry powder for approxiamately $2.28 plus tax, or .078 cents per load in my front loading washer. Thats pretty good in my books. I decided to start with 2 Tbsp (or 30 grams) per large load and see how the cleaning was, then cut it back until I cannot cut it back anymore and still have clean clothes. The less I use the more value is added to the batch(Can you imagine 60 loads for $2.28???)
Costs: 24 127 gram bars of Ivory Soap (I broke down because of the smell): $10.99
1 3 KG box of Washing Soda: $6.49
1 2 KG box of Borax: $5.49

I grated two bars of soap (254 grams) with the finer blade of my food processor, and then powdered it up with the other ingredients (254 grams of each) until it wasn't going to powder anymore. Because of the soap its a bit of a cakey powder. It reminded me of Ivory Snow that my mom used to buy (smell and texture) I measured everything by weight because its both more accurate and was easier since I have a digital kitchen scale.
My only worry is how it will perform in cold water.

I Have decided

I have been thinking about a return to haomemade laundry soap for awhile. I used to make a "liquid" form when the kids were younger and in diapers and I had lots of laundry to do, because I needed to squeeze wvery penny until it shrieked for mercy. Eventually I got lazy though when our income improved I started buying laundry detergents again. I know! I'm an idiot!! I didn't realise that with all the unknown ingredients store bought detergents contain, even those marked phosphate free, I was not doing the environment any favours.
I found simple POWDERED versions of laundry soap online and I will share here what I am going to do. Using equal amounts of the following:

Pure Soap Flakes (take bars of pure soap and grate them..voila ..soap flakes..I will use Marseilles soap which is olive oil based)because I have ahuge block of it. Try to choose a soap that doesn't use petroleum products. In the past I used bath sized bars of Ivory and really liked the clean smell of our laundry and it was the least expensive soap I could find. Dial, Dove, etc are not PURE soaps.

Borax: disinfects, deodorizes, helps with stains, softens water...Google it.

Washing Soda:(Sodium CARBONATE...not baking soda) deodorises, softens water, helps with stains.

As always when handling anything caustic, care should be taken to avoid skin contact and inhalation.

Grate the soap by hand or with the grating blade in a food processor. Then in the food processor (if you have one), using the chopping blade, mix all 3 ingredients together until its a fine powder. Be careful not to breathe in any when you open the processor. Store in an airtight container. Amount to use will vary with the hardness of your water so the range is 1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup per wash load. With my front loading HE I will start with 1 Tbsp. This laundry product doesn't suds up so don't keep adding more and more looking for suds. The plus side to this feature is that it will take less water to rinse. I usually use TWO rinses and still can here that crackly soapy noise in my clothes. Obviously I use too much.

Mixing some of this with water can be used as a stain pretreat but using a bar of soap would be pretty easy and effective as well. I swear by The Soap Works laundry bar for stains. I cut/break the bar and store the unsused pieces in a wee paper sack, keeping one bit out for use. This way the whole bar doesn't get all wet and nasty and wasted. One bar lasts a LONG time this way.