Friday, August 24, 2012

Electricity use and laundry

We have always used a dryer, never really thought about it before. We decided a few years ago to put up a clothesline. I love the smell of air dried clothes. It took some getting use to!  I learned to never wash towels, wash cloths, and socks with clothes especially dress pants!!!!

It does take a little extra time at first but what we learned was that because we had to hang them we were careful to rewear clothes that were not really dirty. My two children also learned not to take something off and throw it on the floor. GOOD LESSON there.

We still used the dryer on occasion like when it rained or I was in a rush, etc.  Then the dryer broke, I don't know what happened it is only two years old. On to the clothesline the clothes went.  Now we have been drying all the laundry on the line.

I never realized how much laundry I did. We are more conservative with our clothes which results in doing less laundry. I also get a vacation on rainy days!

The biggest plus is that my electric bill went from $100.00 to $78.00.  I have an old house so believe me the $78.00 is great. Our bill use to be $120.00 a month.

I will now have to figure out what to do during the winter....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is that a weed? NOOOO!

When I walk through certain areas of my small yard I see all the beautiful natural Maine Flora that grow here.  Each plant with its own unique look and its benefits to us.

I didn't care much for Dandelions until this year when I found out that all parts are edible. People make Dandelion greens, wine, tea, and jelly from it. It is very healthy and in some studies the tea may have some benefits ti fighting cancer. I made Dandelion Jelly this year and it tasted great.

Plantain is one of my favorites. I use the leaves to stop insect bites from itching. The relief is almost immediate. Just break open a leaf and rub onto your bite.

Jewelweed  is another one that has great benefits. This is the best plant to use on Poison Ivy. It can also be used on insect bites.

Wood Sorrel is also edible, it is sour though. I don't like it but it can add some flavor to a salad.

Yarrow is a great dried flower but it also helps stop bleeding. If you have this in your yard you will enjoy its beautiful flowers all clustered together.

These are a just a few of the many beneficial plants in my yard in Maine. What do you have in your yard?

Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY Cleaning products

I am very new to making my own cleaning products and I want to say that I wish I had this knowledge years ago.  You can pretty much find a recipe for anything online now. I can't give you all of them but I am sure you can find what you are looking for within a few links.

I now clean my house with very few household items.

#1 Bathroom is cleaned with baking soda and vinegar.

#2 I clean my kithen with a product I make.  Cut up lemons or oranges and place in a large jar, fill jar with vinegar. Let sit for a few weeks and then strain and filter into a spray bottle. Fill half way add water. I use this to clean my kitchen sink and counters.

I will continue to post different things but you can also look online I saw a really nice recipe for lemon dusting cloths and for homemade terro to get rid of ants.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dying wool

I have the felting bug and can't stop. I have some beautiful wool and wanted to make different colors.

Through a trial and error process I can now make my own colors using food coloring. I am starting off with this but would like to eventually learn how to dye with natural material. By the way I also have a love for canning jars. Those things can be used for everything, and they are not plastic, yeah!

First I fill a canning jar with hot hot water and I put about a tablespoon of vinegar in it.  I put the wool in the jar and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Second I fill another jar with hot water, a little vinegar and food coloring. Sometimes I mix colors and wait to get a surprise. I put the wool in this jar from the first jar and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Third, I take it out and let it dry on a towel.  Thats it! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Homemade laundry detergent.

This year is the year to decrease our family from relying on store bought items. We have gone to no shampoo and no fabric softener sheets. Now we are making our own laundry detergent. Not only does this save money, it is better for the environment and our bodies.

I am a frugal person and I don't like to spend money if I don't have to, however I also don't like to spend a large amount of time doing something to save money either. I have seen all over the web that people have made their own laundry detegent. I bought the items to make it awhile ago but was unsure of my abilities to do it correctly. Sometimes this kind of thinking will get in the way of accomplishing what you want....don't think that way (I say to myself).

Yesterday I had a load of laundry to do and ran out of the store bought detergent. I watched a few youtube videos, and then I just did it!!!!

I made a small batch because I wanted to make sure I didn't waste the ingredients if I did it wrong.

 So I grated 1/3 of a bar of fels-naptha soap, and measured 1 liter of water. I boiled the water on the stove and slowly added the grated soap, stirring.  I then put 1 gallon of hot water in a large bucket . When the soap on the stove was melted I added it to the bucket and stirred. I then added 1 cup of Super Washing Soda, and  1/2 cup of Borax stirring after each. I let it rest for a few hours. you are suppose to let it rest overnight. It thickens to a gel. I then added another gallon of hot water and mixed and stirred any clumps. Then used a funnel to put in the bottles that I saved for storage.

Some say to fill the storage bottles 1/3 with water then add the detergent. Not sure if this weakens the detergent. I did two bottles this way.  It is a preference I guess, also you can put an essential oil for fragrance. I did not do this step. I put 1/2 cup in each load. My clothes seem fine, they smell and look clean. I wash my clothes with cold water. Once a month I was my washcloths and delicates with warm water and I will continue to do that.

As an update the dryer balls have gone well with my adjustments see earlier post.
No shampoo has also gone very well see this earlier post for an update.

Check another item off the grocery list!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wool dryer balls

I continue to find new things to make with wool. I had some left over pieces from my slippers and nature bags so I wanted to use them up. On a few sites I have seen information about wool dryer balls. Well there, who knew that you didn't need those awful dryer sheets.

I did a little research and I found out that people are saying that they work.  When you place some in the dryer they bounce around and move the clothes which causes more air in between the clothes. This makes the clothes dry quicker. When you first put your clothes in, the wool absorbs some of the moisture, as the clothes dry some of that moisture is released back into the dryer. This helps eliminate static in your clothes. Some people have said the clothes come out softer too.

I wish I had heard of this before. No more dryer sheets for us. I had to try it.

Supplies needed are wool scraps, wool roving, old nylon stockings, and a washing machine. I also used some wool yarn to wrap around it. Using all wool  is important.

Supplies, as you can see these were scraps left from other projects.

Wrap the wool into a ball. Then wrap the roving around it. I added some yarn also.

Place in the nylon stockings and tie a not after each one to separate them. Put in the washing machine and wash with hot water and soap. You may need to do a few cycles. Then dry on high heat.

Not pretty but they do work. I am going to put another layer of roving and felt it again. Layers are suppose to make them last longer and work better.

Looks great.

**** I have to add an update to this post. I did what all the other sites said, put the balls in the dryer with my clothes. Mine did not lower the time and I think there was more static. So I looked into the science of it, did a few experiments and came up with my own plan. We are in the North Eastern part of America and we have dry winters. I wash the balls with my clothes or run them under water before putting them in the dryer with the clothes. This has decreased the time and reduced the static. Finally it works....I so wanted it to work!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


 We are now three weeks into our no shampoo experience. My husband is still using it, not ready to make the switch.   At first I thought, yuck that seems like it would be gross.

Then I started reseaerching online people who have gone to no shampoo and wrote about it. Some people have expressed that their hair was very dry and itchy. That was my hair.   I though wow if this worked for them maybe I should try it.

 My hair history - After my daughter was born my hair thinned and became very dry.  It becomes extremely itchy and flaky during the winter. It has never gone back to the original full curls that I had when I was younger. I would love to have that back.

What I do

Twice a week I make a paste with baking soda and water.  Then I put that on my roots, let it sit for a minute then rinse it out. Why this step you ask. When we wash our hair over and over again we are washing away natural oils that our bodies produce. When you stop washing, your hair still produces the amount that it was until it detects that you don't need that much anymore. So the baking soda absorbs this excess oil.

Next step for me is every 2 days I use apple cider vinegar and water. I mix one part vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Then I spray all over my hair, this time avoiding my scalp. Let that sit for two minutes, then rinse.  This conditions the hair.

I may experiment with honey or natural oils at some point.  So far though my hair is fuller and the itchy and flaky scalp is gone. I am really happy that it has worked out for me. Now to work on the husband.  The kids don't mind it but they don't like the smell of the vinegar when I spray it on.

-It does not leave my hair smelling like vinegar.
-I don't use styling gel, spray or anything. So I couldn't tell you how these come out.
-On other days I just rinse my hair with water, or I just put it up with a scrunchie.