Thursday, August 23, 2012

My name is! What? My name is! Who?

Now I have "the real slim shady" stuck in my head! I guess that's better than "Call me maybe"! Now both are taking turns. Great. "Moves like Jagger" anyone?

Remember him? Wolfie?

Getting the nut out of his ball. Yes. I went there.
He's been with us now for more than 8 months!!! My, how time fly's when you're having fun! He makes us laugh all the time and is a true member of the family. A member that Ginger the cat would like to "play" with a bit more, but that's not gonna happen!
As he has become more and more comfortable with us, he's taught us a few things.
One, is that he has a name already. It's Snickers! He's told us, "My name is Snickers." More than once. He also will say things like, "Snickers thinks..." and then it's bird mumbles stuff that you can't understand the words of, but you can understand the emotion. It's precious.
He does an incredible impression of someone leaving a message on a answering machine - down to the beep and the ending bye bye! And he laughs at the most inappropriate times during movies.

The other night while we were watching a movie, he said, "Snickers is a girl." There was no mistaking what we ALL heard. "Snickers is a girl". Well, we haven't had him sexed (it's a DNA test) and as the ratio of female to male was heavy on the girly side in the house, so we decided he would be a boy type. So, unless he lays an egg, Snickers will be called him. I hope he doesn't mind, and if he does, I'm positive he will tell us!

Here's a video of Snickers and Jenda, enjoying their time together! Lots of kisses and lalalala's!

Last week, I made a new batch of food for him. It's really, really tasty! Like, with REAL food and flavors! This batch is a combination of an all organic mix of sprouted adzuki, mung, lentils, amaranth, quinoa, spelt (wheatberries), two other grains I can't remember. Green/red/orange peppers, garnet sweet potato's, kale, dandelion greens, zucchini, pineapple, broccoli, jalapeno, Anaheim pepper and I know there's at least two other veggies I can't recall.

See? Doesn't that look good?
Last night we had corn on the cob.

He likes his corn cooked on the grill, and his beets (red and not golden, thank you very much) roasted, not boiled.

There's no nuts in those balls, so he's ignoring them.
And this is how you eat a grape. Turns out they DO taste better when you're upside down!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

MMMMMMMMMM. Cake. Or, as the Snickers Wolfie Simonsen would say, mmmMMMmmm!, with a cute tilt of the head. Don't believe me? Watch THIS.

My point is - who doesn't like cake? Especially THIS cake!

From scratch. No lie.

This kinda thing isn't a normal occurence in our house. I made this for Brad for Father's Day. It's his favorite, and you couldn't ask, hope or pray for a better Dad than him, so it was well worth the effort!

So one day I was looking at Pinterest, like I do, and saw a scrumptious picture of said cake. I clicked through only to find that whomever had originally pinned the image (not the one above, that's MY cake!) did it from a members only forum. I was devestated. OK, not really, but I commented on the pin and then some helpful soul replied that it was on What's funny is that I was ON at that very moment (but wasn't looking for cake).

So here is the recipe! It isn't hard, but does dirty up a lot of dishes. Totally worth it.

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake - or -
Upside Down German Chocolate Cake
. Whatever

1 1/4 cups water

1/4 cup butter 
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts

4 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. (Thanks Pinterest! I just learned how to do that little degree thingy!) 
  2. In a sauce pan, combine 1 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Heat until butter melts, then stir in brown sugar and coconut. Pour into ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle marshmallows and nuts over top. set aside. 
The top. Or bottom. I guess it depends on your perspective and time of reference.
  1. For the cake: in a saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate with 1/2 cup water. Heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add sour cream, 1/2 cup butter or margarine, vanilla and eggs. Add chocolate mixture and beat 3 minutes. Carefully spoon batter over coconut marshmallow mixture in pan. 
Yummy, delicious cake batter...
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Place pan on foil or cookie sheet to guard against spillage. 
I had no spillage to guard against.

I let it cool completely, and then we just cut and flipped it over when it was served. Why risk jacking up an entire cake and all of the effort you put into it, just to have a top that looked better than the picture above? The flavor? Dreamy. Pretty much the best cake I've ever made, or tasted.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh no he didn't!!!

Oh yes he DID!!!

That's right. I accessorize my hair with my shirt.
Doesn't everyone?
Why? Because that's the crazy stuff you do when you're 13.

The process:

Nice and normal looking children...
Add a Brad and bleach...

I really think Brad enjoyed this!
Rinse, don't repeat...

He looks pretty good as a blonde!
Maybe a bit more smart ass'ish than before.
Make mine blue, please!

Blue hair makes you think you might be related to Gene Simmons.
Damn. I look good.


Friday, May 11, 2012

At least there's a happy ending...

I cannot say that I have ever had such a stressful, love/hate relationship with a project as I did this one. It's done, gone and delivered, thank goodness! And yes, she loves it!!!

Labradorite & Sterling Silver Pendant.
Terrible lighting/picture - sorry about that. I was in a hurry to get this gone.

In late December I was contacted by a potential customer about making a custom Labradorite necklace. My selection didn't include anything as large as what she was hoping for, so she began her own search, found a piece of Labrdorite and asked if she could send it. Sure, I said, why not!!!! What I failed to notice in her email was a comment she made saying that I'd need to probably "cut it down". Um, yeah. A slight understatement.

Here is what I received:
Crazy, beautiful, awesomely HUGE Labradorite slab!

Luckily, I have a friend that doesn't live too far away that agreed to take a look at it for me, and maybe cut and polish a cab from this. Lynn Bowes to the rescue!!! (I bet she has a cape somewhere!)

So, one gray winter morning (the gray factors in later), I took my stone and drove to meet with Lynn! I found her place - no problem - and it's pretty much everything I want when I grow up! In the country, on a beautiful piece of land with an incredible view, a couple of different buildings besides the adorable Craftsman style home with workshops, and, and, and.... well, I could go on, but you get the picture. I handed it over, and we both agree that an oval or marquee shape would be great. She got right to work, and didn't disappoint, in ANY way! This is what I received back from her:

The finished Labradorite Cab! Great job, Lynn!!!

Lynn's super sweet husband and I were talking before I left that morning, and he brought up another route I could take home that would save time, and keep me off of I-80. (I don't think I-80 will EVER be "finished". There is always construction going on, at all times of the year...)
I set out to find my way home, and immediately went the wrong way.
In my defense, it WAS a very gray day, so I couldn't use the sun, and there was also a very intriguing story on NPR. Don't judge me. It was probably 30 minutes before I realized I was going the wrong way and had to turn around. Of course, I ended up on I-80, and my trip home took almost 2 hours.

Less than a week goes by, and I have it back! What shall I do - so many ideas!!!???
How's this - over the next several weeks, I started and trashed wire five times, at least. Thank god I can recycle that wire. NOTHING was working, and I was getting very frustrated, and found myself avoiding my work area and making excuses.
There were two main issues - the sheer size of the cab, and that I thought having squared off edges would be a good idea. It wasn't. Nothing wanted to "flow" over those edges. She was fairly adamant that the setting be wire - not a bezel.
I finally created a frame I could live with, and decided to use spirals in an "S" shape (sideways), wired to the frame with a bent part on the top of the spiral to hold it in front. I was making progress, and then ran out of wire. That happens a LOT when one is extremely wasteful. Got more wire, and had actually wired ALL of the spirals on, and was OK with where it was going in front.
The stone was on my table during the majority of the work time, but every now and then you have to check the fit and put the stone into the work - blah, blah, blah.
The front is done(ish), I was checking the fit, and turned it over to address the back of the pendant.
It fell right the fuck, out of my hands. Sorry for the cursing there. That was probably the nicest word that exploded out of my mouth as it broke into two pieces on the floor.

Successful gravity check. It could have been SO MUCH worse.
After seriously freaking out for 15, 20 minutes, I sent a quick email to Lynn, and bless her soul, she calmed me down and said no worries, we can fix it.
She said, go have a drink. So I did. Several, in fact.

Another trip to Lynn's was soon planned, but this time I actually looked up the alternate route that her Hubs tried to explain to me. WAAAAAAY better! Much more scenic and relaxing, plus now it was spring, plants and trees were blooming, the sun was out, and I was feeling optimistic!
Lynn was confident she could fix it, and also helped me by rounding the front of the cab. We both crossed out fingers, and hoped that everything would turn out for the best.
She is a miracle worker, and I'm sure she probably wore her cape as she was fixing it. Here it is, all better!

Horrible quickie picture. Honestly, I was afraid to even TOUCH this!
Didn't Lynn do an amazing job???
So now I have it back, again.
However, now I have rounded edges, and some very minor visual blemishes I wanted to work around. NOW, I have focus!!!
I tore all of the wire work from the frame of my last attempt and got to work. Had to order more wire, of course.
At this point, I've had the stone for four months. My customer sends me an email, noting that it had been a "few weeks" since we had chatted. I hadn't yet told her that I broke the stone. Oops. Must have slipped my mind somehow! Here's part of the email I sent to her:
I'm pretty sure it's been MORE than a few weeks.

There's a story to tell here, and I suppose it's time. Have NO FEAR though! I actually worked (no lie) 14 hours on the pendant this past weekend.

So... I was what I thought was pretty close to finished, for the 5th time. I was turning the pendant over in my hands and it slipped, breaking into two pieces on the floor. I have a mouth like a sailor, and in that moment (and for a long time after) I came up with a great variety of new words. Words that would impress the best cussing fools out there.
No one was home at that moment, and the parrot couldn't hear me well enough to learn anything new.

I didn't know what to do, aside from contact my friend that had cut and polished the rough slab you sent me. She told me not to panic, and have a glass of wine. I still panicked while I was drinking that glass of wine (or 3).

I took the stones to her, and she explained what I was aware of with a stone this big. It's fragile (I knew that), and shouldn't be dropped (knew that too). Stones that big and thick have natural cleavage (weak) areas, and that's one of the reasons Labradorite has such a gorgeous amount of color. In most cases, a stone is cut and shaped based on those natural cleavages, and the risk of breakage is minimized. As luck would have it, the break was a clean one and it could be repaired.

She's a miracle worker, and just this past week, it was back in my hands, in one lovely piece! I also asked that she round off the front of the stone, so that it had less of a square edge to it. The size has not changed. It is still 3" tall and 1.5" wide. The easing of that front edge gave me a greater ability to work in a smoother fashion, if that makes sense...

There it is, in a nutshell. The stone is as beautiful as it ever was, and let me tell you - it's SECURE!!!
Please give me some feedback as to what you think.
All my best,
Angie Simonsen


I sent her a picture of it in progress, along with that email, and didn't hear back for three days - I started freaking out again.
However, all was well!!! I finished it, took some terrible pictures of it, as I was getting to be in a hurry to no longer have this stone in my possession.
Here are the last pictures (aside from the one at the top of this forever post:

There it is. Story over. Thanks for listening, and I won't be doing this type of thing again, so please don't ask. (Except for the one I have in progress. I'll finish that and promise not to break it!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Where to start....

Yeah, it's been awhile, sorry about that!!!

Um, how did it get to be May already?

So what's been going on, you ask? Lots! Let's start with the new family member, shall we?

In January - we (Jenda) adopted a rescued Timneh African Grey (TAG) parrot from The Nebraksa Parrot Rescue, which happens to be right down the street from us! We did lots of research on different types of parrots, and were familiar with what to expect (somewhat), having had an older peach faced Lovebird (Mr. Cheeks) for many years. As I was growing up, we had a Blue Front Amazon (Maynard). I wish I had a picture, or knew if Maynard was still alive - he went through a lot, and was a great bird. Credit to Jenda though, she saved her chores allowance for months! I'm not sure where she acquired that skill - she certainly didn't get it from her parents!!!
Anyway, without further ado, here is our Wolfgang! (Wolfie for short)

Pretty intense, isn't he?

Wolfie and his Mama.
And no, that isn't bird shit on her shirt - it's SUPPOSED to look like that...

Jenda and Mr. Cheeks in 2005. RIP Mr. Cheeks, you little screamer!

Wolfie is an absolute riot. He came to us, armed with an arsenal of beeps, whistles, words and mumbles. We think his previous owner had an answering machine screening calls, because he can act that scenario out perfectly! It starts with the long beeeeeeeeep. Mumble, mumble, audible word that varies, mumble, mumble, cackling laugh with a cute little sigh on the end, bye bye.
So freaking awesome. He mimics our laugh, usually at the most inappropriate time (watching a movie and someone dies or something).
He LOVES to kiss. Seriously. He's a regular make-out artist! If he could give kisses all day, he would! Of course there's so much more, but I think you get it!

Sorry the video is sideways. I blame it on my phone, not operator error or lack of editing skills.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A New Year, a new craft!

I guess technically, we did this in 2011.
New Year's Eve was here, and I essentially told Debbie that while the boys (big & little) played with all of their new gidgets/gadgets/guitars, we were going to etch glass! It wasn't hard at all, and luckily, she has a bunch of stickers, stamps and other scrapbooking supplies that we could use as templates.
Of course, I didn't take pictures during the process, or any pictures of her pieces - sorry! It's pretty easy though. I have a
pinboard dedicated to the process if you want more details and ideas than I give you here.

You will need:
Amour Etching Cream (this is fairly expensive, but I used a Michael's 40% coupon and got the big bottle for $17)

Various Glass items (I used my wine glass, and also went to the dollar store for vases and votive holders)

Safety gear like gloves, goggles and the like.

Glass Cleaner

Stencils, stickers, contact paper, masking tape

Crappy Paint Brushes

Exacto Knife (for cutting out designs in your contact paper/tape)


First, I would recommend not having kids or animals around, and a good level of sobriety. We did not have any of those things going for us.
Second, when applying the etching cream, do it under the ventilation of your stove if possible. It is fairly toxic stuff, but you'll be fine if you use your common sense.

Essentially, you decide what you want to etch, and where it's going to go. This was probably the hardest part for us. No, it definitely was the hardest part.
Using a stencil, or stickers, or a design cut out of contact paper or tape, you clean your glass, apply the design (sticker, stencil, whatever) and then apply the cream with the paint brushes. (This is when you use the safety gear)
Really put it on thick. I didn't on one side of my candle holder, and you can tell. (Don't forget to rinse your brushes)
Let it sit and dry. The bottle says five minutes, but we left it way longer.
Rinse and dry. At first it will seem like nothing happened, but then you'll see the design once it's completely dry (unless you didn't put the cream on thick enough).
Admire your creation!

Some pointers - as you can see, I went for the negative effect on my candle holder and wine glass base. I used stickers, and then applied the cream all over the glass & stickers. Once removed, the only thing not etched is where the stickers were. I didn't do a good job on the glass where the stem starts. I should have used a rubber band or something to create a crisper line there.
You could do the reverse, but you need to give yourself a buffer when applying the cream so it doesn't etch where it's not supposed to. Extra pieces of contact paper, or masking tape work well for this.

Also, you may want to work with an item that has flat sides, or isn't rounded (like the business part of a wine glass). It would be difficult (not impossible though) to get the sticker/stencil down flat so the cream doesn't go where it's not supposed to. Think smaller designs for those items.

Here's the rest of what I did:

See how the back side isn't cloudy? Cream wasn't thick enough.

I used contact paper on this one. It was a huge pain in the ass.
Now, what to put it it???

And of course, about a week after we did this, I broke my wine glass while drying it. Guess I don't know my own strength. Back to the Dollar Store I go!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quick Chicken Enchiladas

mmmm, left overs!!!

You know you liked dinner when you want the leftovers for breakfast the next morning!
 Being the lazy cook that I am, I'm always looking for quicker ways to make good food. Here's my latest success.

14 oz Can of Chicken Breast, drained, with the juice going to the begging pets
Can of beans (Black or Pinto Chili beans), drained
Can of Green Enchilada Sauce
Large Can of Red Enchilada Sauce
Packet of Enchilada Seasoning
Small Can of Diced Green Chilies
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (separated into two 1 Cup potions)
Tortilla's (the whole wheat flour ones are really good!)

Optional toppings:
Green Onions, Cilantro, Sour cream, salsa, hot sauce - you know, the normal toppings.

Preheat oven to 350, spray a 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix everything, except for the tortilla's,  one cup of cheddar and the red enchilada sauce.  Once mixed, spoon it into a tortilla, roll and place face down in your dish. Pour the Red Enchilada sauce over all of your rolled tortillas, trying not to leave any exposed areas of tortillas.
Bake for 45 minutes or so, until it's bubbling everywhere. Add the remaining cheddar, and heat again until the cheese is gooey like you like it. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before enjoying!

If you do try this, let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Table Tease & the Supply Wall

I've been dreaming of a new work bench for years. YEARS.
Since I started making jewelry, I have been using an old Formica table that was left here by the previous owner. It's cool & all, but too low, too deep, too unstable.
And hooray for me, a work bench is my Christmas present from Santa this year for being such a good girl!!!
I found the one I wanted, checked stock and even had a coupon! Then the car acted up - it was starting sporadically, so I was nervous to drive it by myself, across town, and risk having to ask a stranger for a jump start. Plus, have you SEEN my work area? I had a lot of cleaning to do. Here's a picture:

Please don't judge me - I like organized chaos!
Except this picture is from almost 2 years ago, and it's worse now. (In related news, bot kids have taken turns getting sick over the Holidays. Evan on Christmas Day, Jenda on New Years Day. Thank god I didn't get shit-faced New Years Eve. Cleaning up vomit at 6:30AM was bad enough. Doing it with a hang over would have put me over the edge!)  So we had a couple of "sick days" where I was home with the kids, and I decided to "start small" with the cleaning.

The Supply Wall. I've seen some cool ideas on - you guessed it, Pinterest! - for organizing gift wrap/ribbon and other various craft ideas. So I riffed off of them! Here's the before supply wall:

This is one of the annoying things about this landing area in the basement - the wood slats on the walls. Why??? They're not even on the studs!!! So, while shelving isn't an option in this spot, it has created issues in other areas. Anyway... I thought this would be a great spot for the spools of chain and other stuff I have, and it totally IS!!! Check it out:

I used eye hooks in the ceiling to hang chain from, and re-purposed some large pieces of aluminum wire and a steel rod for the hanger parts. The ends that stick outside of the chain have a rubber band wrapped around it to keep it on the chain. It also it is easy to remove the rubber band from one of the ends to add on! I added additional rows for my leather, and also used paper clips on another to hand sterling silver chain. Turns out I've reordered things I already had. Go figure.
I used the backside of a 2009 calendar that HAD been hanging on the wall there (you're judging again, aren't you?) to make a dry erase board for open orders and things I need to remember, and used a scrap of pegboard for my larger gauge wire that doesn't fint anywhere else! And here's a closer view:

It's pretty awesome, and I'm totally impressed with myself. However, that cleared virtually nothing (visually anyway) from my mess of a table. Back to work...

During the Holiday's, Evan & Jenda spent the night over at the Watson's, so I had a free evening. I cranked up Spotify, had a few too many Vodka & Club Soda's, and went after the rest of my table.
Here's the visual evidence:

(Me being drunk & moody, all at the same time! My talent is NOT wasted!)

Here I am, with a clean table, nice supply wall, and no new bench. Because I didn't go that day, when I checked stock and the car was being an ass, they sold out, and have yet to restock. And apparently, they have no control over what their distribution warehouse sends them, which is total bullshit. I'll find out this afternoon IF they have one on the truck that comes in NEXT TUESDAY!!! If they don't, they have lost my business. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Comfort

I absolutely LOVE fall.
It means the return of football, cool weather and comfort food. Not that I've ever needed an excuse to cook comfort food, but it helps!

I made a roast the other day that was so good I didn't want to forget the recipe, so I submitted it to so I wouldn't forget it. They have NEVER published any of the recipes I've submitted. Frankly, I've stopped caring if they do or not. (I'm lying)

It's a combination of several different ones I've tried at different times, but this is what I'll be sticking with in the future. Even Jenda ate it. That says a lot.
So here it is!


3 to 4 lb Pot Roast
1 Envelope Onion Soup Mix
2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Red wine
1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon corn starch

  1. Place the onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, wine and soup in a crock pot large enough for your roast. Using your soup can, fill with water and add that to the mixture.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Liberally salt & pepper both sides of the roast and place in crock pot.
  4. Flip roast over so it is coated on both sides.
  5. Cook until the meat shreds easily. 8 to 9 hours on low.
  6. When meat is finished, slowly stir 1 tablespoon of corn starch into 1/2 cup of water in small container. Slowly add that to the liquid in the crock pot while stirring. Replace lid for 15 minutes and serve.               
I made this with my mashed potato's and a salad, and it was beautiful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crazy Hair Day, Pinterest Style!

Oh the fun of elementary school!

Every now and then Jenda's school has a theme day, and earlier this week it was Crazy Hair Day. Normally she waits until 10 minutes before it's time to leave to tell me about it, but this time she told me the day before. Perfect!
I had seen this rag rolling hair thing on Pinterest awhile back and we (Jenda being the guinea pig!) tried it with just a few chunks of hair. It works REALLY well. So well in fact that she looked goofy the next day because she had a couple of spots of really curly hair, and the rest was dead straight.

We sort of followed the directions here at A Beautiful Mess, however, Jenda's hair was damp from a shower, she also dampened the strip of cloth, and I rolled the rags all the way to her scalp since her hair isn't that long.
This is how she looked before going to bed:

And in the morning:

And after we freed the locks:

VERY Medusa'ish!
This is how she went to school!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More soapy goodness!

So, the same day I made the second batch of laundry detergent (October 8th), I decided to also try my hand at home made dishwasher soap. Why not, right?

I had been doing some comparing and research on the different types of recipes, and it seemed the biggest difference between most of them was that if you have hard water, you should add some type of citric acid product. This products varied between Lemon Kool-aid (or a generic version), citric acid from the canning area of the store, or Lemi-Shine.
The Kool-Aid will eventually stain your dishwasher soap cup, so I wasn't going that route. The Citric Acid canning additive sounded expensive (based on others comments) and I read wonderful things about Lemi-Shine, and Baker's down the street carried it. Done deal.

I didn't really follow any ones specific recipe on this one, but based on what I read at several different blogs, decided to go with the following...
Here are the needed ingredients:
I still have a LOT of the Washing Soda left, and the Borax, so the only thing I had to buy was the Lemi-Shine.

Here's the recipe:
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Lemi-Shine
1/4 Cup Salt

Use 1 tablespoon pure load in your soap cup. Add white vinegar as a rinse agent.

Most recommend Kosher salt, but I didn't have any so I used plain old table salt.
This is where it gets REALLY complicated.
Measure and mix all ingredients. See. Wasn't that hard?
I stored this in an old margarine container we used for leftovers. We don't use margarine anymore, so when the kids see me putting soap in the dishwasher, they get a bit teary eyed.
They LOVED margarine.
They're slowly getting used to plain 'ol butter. Whenever they ask for margarine, or complain about butter, I tell them to go eat some plastic as that's pretty much what margarine is.

One of the biggest complaints I read about these (dry) types of dishwasher soaps is that the citric acid will turn everything into a solid rock a couple of days down the road. And sure enough, it's true.
I took the advice of a couple of different people and left the lid off, and stirred it every now and then, breaking it up. It's still hard, but perfectly usable.
It works very well and I seriously doubt I will ever spend the money on the store bought stuff again.

So, in ONE HOUR, I made both dishwasher soap AND laundry detergent, both of which will last for a very long time. I have plenty of all supplies left to make more down the road. The total cost for the Borax, bar of soap, Washing Soda and Lemi-Shine was $11 and some change.
That. is. AWESOME!

While I worked on this, Brad was doing this:
Inside view

Outside view

Looks great, doesn't it??? Then, we went to the Watson's and watched the Husker's pull off the best ever comeback to beat Ohio State - freaking excellent fall Saturday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Liquid Laundry Detergent - Attempt #2 = SUCCESS!!!

I did it, and I LOVE it!!!
This time I started with this recipe from the blog, "Why Not Sew".  She doesn't use as much water as some others I've seen, but that's OK - it's STILL way cheaper than the store bought stuff, and it works GREAT!!!
Here's the ingredients:
Except that I took this picture after I made the soap, so what you don't see is the missing bar of Ivory soap. My bad.
Also, this makes 2 gallons of detergent. Since my previous detergent bottle isn't that size, I poured the finished recipe into a clean cat litter bucket. (I always saved them and they come in handy all. the. time!)

Here's the recipe and what I did:
1 bar of soap (IMO, the more natural, the better)
1 cup of Borax

1 cup of washing soda
a big pot
empty gallon jug
container to store your soap in

I filled the empty gallon jug full with water, and poured about half of it into a large pot and started warming the water. As it was heating up, I grated the soap bar, and slowly stirred it into the water, stirring frequently. I also measured the Borax and washing soda and set that aside. Once the soap had dissolved, I added a bit more water from the gallon jug, and then slowly added the powder products and kept stirring until it was also dissolved. Remove the pan from heat.
It will look like this:

I poured the remaining water left in the gallon jug into the 5 gallon bucket, filled the gallon bottle one more time with warm water and poured that into the 5 gallon bucket. I then added the soap mixture to the bucket and stirred until it was well mixed.
Immediately I could tell that I had what I wanted. It was a beautiful consistency!
The recipe I used calls for 1/2 cup of detergent per load. I knew that I didn't want to be slopping detergent everywhere, so I used the recently emptied store bought detergent bottle, and checked to see how much it's little blue cup would hold. Guess what - it is exactly 1/2 a cup!
I did remove the plastic spout thing on the bottle because I found the homemade deteregent does thinken a bit as it sits. When I go to do laundry, I give the bottle of detergent a good shake to even out the consistency.
I'm thrilled with the results. Next time I MAY add some lavander or citrus essential oil, and I may add a bit more water. We'll see.
Happy Laundry!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Liquid Laundry Detergent - Attempt #1, Two Fails

Well, I did it. Or tried to.
I've waited for what seems like months for the detergent we had to run out so I could make some of my own. I'm trying to replace as many commercially made products with homemade, greener products. We've already gone "poo free" here, and I have the supplies to make some body soap (I have both "Melt & Pour" and rebatched soap base for hand milled), but haven't gotten around to it yet. More on those later.

So, as I'm addicted to Pinterest, I was able to find many different types of laundry soap recipes.
Most boil down to a several key ingredients:
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
A bar of soap

Optional Ingredients: Salt (for hard water)
Essential Oil (or fragrance oil)

I decided to start with this recipe from The Simple Dollar as I love their blog. Here's what their final product looked like:
First fail.
Now, we have hard water. On several other blogs, I read that you can dissolve 1/2C Epsom salt into a cup of warm water and add that to the final product and it will soften your water AND act as a fabric softener.
Silly me, I thought I'd skip a step and after the grated bar of soap had melted into the water, I just poured the Epsom slat into the soapy water.
I wasn't trying to do a science experiment, but that's what I did. Here's how it turned out:
It was like cottage cheese in water, and no longer smooth, sudsy water. I was determined to carry on though, and continued with the recipe.
Here comes my second fail.
I had purchased an essential oil blend called "Karma", which is a blend of the following: Patchouli Oil, Orange Oil, Lavendin Oil, Pine Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Elemi Oil, and Gardenia Extract. It's great for lotions and soaps or as a body scent - if you like to smell like an earthy dirty hippy! My husband loves patchouli. I think it smells like dirt, but I kind of like it (just a teeny tiny little bit).
Instead of adding a recommended essential oil (Lavender, Orange, Lemon - you know, something CLEAN smelling!) I thought it would be a good idea to add some of the Karma oil. Bad idea.
What I ended up with was a liquidy cottage cheese water that smelled heavily of dirt. It never set correctly even though I tried (and burned out the motor) using a stick blender to break up the cottage cheese soap pieces.

My second attempt will soon follow...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I remembered

my password! Yes, it HAS been that long since my last post! I'm getting ready to take on some DIY projects at home and am going to blog the efforts. First up, the big bathroom! Pics coming soon!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Every now and then

I remember that I actually HAVE a blog. Usually it's because I post on someone else's blog. Which is why I'm posting this - if you haven't been to this place, you're missing out.
The Bloggess
It IS a must read. Preferably with a drink of your choice in a spill proof cup.