Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Handmade Sewing and Natural Cleaners

I was supposed to post some pictures of the kids Art Class from yesterday. I haven't. Other things going on. I'm finding myself very busy these days with cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, organizing and sewing. I collapse at night with exhaustion but it's good. We are watching a whole lot less TV and the kids are loving the fact that they can stay outside until 7pm now that daylight savings has kicked in. I love watching them outside.
Now that we have reduced our homeschool schedule to one subject a day, I'm also finding the kids are getting into subjects with much more depth. It is taking them a little longer but no one seems to mind and they are helping each other more with their work. Small blessings.
Tae found a dollar outside today. How come I never find money? Here he is counting his money. This is $1.05 just in case you are wondering. Five coins equals five cents. He wasn't buying the whole eighteen cents story. "Five...just like me," he said. OK then.
Two computers and two kids doing their schoolwork. At least it will save me some money in notebooks. Morgan and Patrick do most of their work on the computer then email it to me for review. It's really a crackup. I print out their work so we can go over it.
Morgan read a story today on Slavery and then learned about their music. We listened to "Sweet Honey in the Rock" and many of their slave songs like No More Auction Block.

The big project of the day was sewing. I purchased a bunch of napkins and towels at Job Lot this weekend. I replaced all of my old kitchen towels with these pretty new ones. The old ones went into my new rag basket. Once my paper towels are used up I will no longer be buying them and we will use the rags for cleanup.

I had to haul out my antiquated sewing machine. It's about 13 years old, never came with a manual and this thing has been my nemesis ever since I got it. It took me at least 45 minutes to get the dang bobbin in and then the thread got all tangled in the mechanism. It took another 40 minutes of swearing at it to convince it that yes I would sell it for parts. I asked my husband for a new one...ok begged him for one. Between making my felt food toys and sewing for home it really is a necessity.
The towels I bought at Job Lot came in 2 packs for $0.50. Total bargain. What made it better is that they were so large that I just cut them in half and made napkins. 4 napkins for 50 cents is not a bad deal at all. A few others I got on clearance for mere pennies. I made it easy on myself and bought what I could and only had to sew one side hem. Some of the hems are a little wonky but it's fine since these will only be our everyday napkins. I'm sure once the kids get done with them that they will look a whole lot worse.

The only thing I don't like is that they are cotton and will need ironing. Not happy about that.

See how pretty the pattern is though? Really nice.

All crisp and pressed and ready to be placed in my basket.

Pretty, Pretty.

Waiting to be ironed.

All ironed except that top one. In all, I spent about $4.00 and got 30 napkins. It was such a good deal and easy to do that I think I'll go back this weekend.
CVS is also calling me. I've just started using their Extra Care Bucks. The DH went today and got some stuff (all stuff I had coupons for) but didn't bring the coupons. He still got $16 in ECB's that we will use this weekend when employees get 30% off everything in the store. I'll have my coupons in hand! I'm looking at free Colgate toothpaste and Fructis Shampoo. Can't wait to hit those deals.
A few have been asking for some of my homemade recipes so I thought I would post a few.
Homemade Dish Soap
1/4 cup castile soap (stop and shop now carries this as well as health food stores)
2 cups very hot water
4 drops essential tea tree oil
4 drops essential lavender oil
Mix in spray bottle or reused soap bottle. The tea tree oil is a disinfectant and is needed. Don't skimp on that. I use the lavender oil because I like the smell.
I also use this to really clean the wood on my kitchen cabinets. It's very gentle and cuts the grease that accumulates and leaves the whole kitchen smelling nice.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Powder type-approx 96 loads
6 cups grated Fels Naptha Soap (Shaw's carries this)
*each bar grated makes one cup so 6 bars are needed.
3 cups of Arm and Hammer washing soda (not baking soda)-Stop and Shop and Shaws both carry this.
3 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax
Mix all together and store in airtight container. 2 tablespoons for normal loads, 3 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.

Liquid Laundry Detergent
1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
4 1/2 gallons water.
Put grated soap in saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low until dissolved. Fill bucket (use a 5 gallon bucket) with hot water and add soap mixture. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup Washing Soda and 1 cup Borax and mix well. As the mixture cools it will thicken. Use 1/2 -1 cup per load.

General All Purpose Cleaner
Combine the following in a spray bottle.
1 tsp Borax
2 tablespoons of Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon of homemade dishsoap
1/2 teaspoon Washing Soda.
Add the above ingredients to very hot tap water and shake until dissolved. You can add a few drops of essential oils to your liking.


Mom, M.Ed. said...

I know this is a ridiculous question but, how long does it generally take to grate/mix the laundry detergent? I'd love to do this--and I even have the full box of Borax--but I'd like an idea of how long making cleansers will take! Thanks so much for posting these "recipes."

Paula said...

I just found your blog, and I've got to say that it's just wonderful! I'm a homeschooling parent, and I'm so impressed with your list of resources. What really made me smile, though, was your comment regarding your kids emailing you their schoolwork! Love that! Best wishes to you and your family ... I'll be back to check on your blog for sure!

homeschool mamma said...

Ummmmm-I hate grating the soap and told my husband I would only do this if he grated the soap. You can buy the soap pregrated on www.soapsgoneby.com if you want but it's more expensive. Realistically it takes about 45 minutes to grate 6 bars. I have the kids help.

homeschool mamma said...

Thank you for stopping by Paula-feel free to join the blog following if you would like. I love finding homeschool resources and even better is when someone else can use them.