Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I just made another batch of homemade laundry soap yesterday. I sure do get that frugality thrill every time I make it. :) So cheap and effective!


Here is the recipe I use:
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm
These instructions are very clear and easy to follow, however I would add that finely chopping the Fels Naptha soap is easier for me than grating it, and that if you have a big 4 cup measuring cup as I do it is easier (for me) to remember the amount of water to add at the end as 6 1/2 measuring cup fulls (26 cups). I don't generally add any essential oil as I like to save it for other things such as the spray cleaner I make. I think clean clothes smell quite good on their own. If the soap gels too much I find that a really vigorous shake now and again loosens it up.
The bigger container holds five gallons. I got it at WinCo for $5 plus $1.50 for the spigot. It is on its end in this picture. I generally have it lying on top of the washing machine (I have a front loader) and use a 1/4 cup measuring cup for each load. The smaller container is the cheapest laundry soap from Albertson's. It made Big Girl break out in hives (!) so I had to use the rest of it on give away clothes and rugs, etc. That's when I started making my own laundry soap and just refill and reuse the container for a friend.This stuff is so cheap to make that I can share it, even during hard financial times.It is good for the soul to be able to share the wealth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Make and Do


Here is Big Girl looking through one of my favorite craft books as a girl;" Make and Do". It is part of a series put out by Childcraft in the 1970's. I remember poring over this book with all it's good ideas and wonderful illustrations.  I love to see my own little crafty girl now doing the same.

Yarn crafts




Yarn crafts. This is a photo I submitted to a craft show to give an idea of my wares. Left to right: free form crochet fingerless mitts I made up when I was in my early 20's, behind that a infinity scarf I think I might dye with all those onion skins I (& Husby, very kindly) have been saving up in the freezer.
 In front of that is the best hat I ever made. The striped design is based on a turkey wing fungus. I have been trying to recreate the shape as it is so flattering but I think I am encountering the drawback to "freeform" crochet.
Behind that is a solid little purse that was my first ever cardboard loom project (from when I was 19). Little Girl likes to fill it with random things and carry it about.
Next is another infinity scarf made from two of the t shirts Husby owned when we first met. He was 18. A mere young'un :) It is sentimental but, alas, also uncomfortably lumpy.
The mittens in front were made from a striped wool sweater I bought with one of my first paychecks. It fit a bit boxy and then developed some moth holes. I just traced Big Girl's hand when she was about 4, then stitched it up on the sewing machine.
I am in the process of making more sweater mittens from a lovely thick, red sweater I found on dollar day at Value Village. It machine felted beautifully and actually came out about a 1/4 of an inch thick. I cut a new pattern for Big Girl's now 8 year old hands and cut two mirror images of wool, two of an old t shirt for lining. I think they will turn out well. Now Little Girl can wear the old ones if they can ever both be found at the same time. I think I may attach some mitten strings to our collection like the ones in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. Big Girl has been finger knitting up a storm so this may be something we can use all of those strings for.
Attached to each mitten and through the sleeve like these above :
Or these.I'll post pics when I'm done.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A good start


In my continuing journey of making a cozy, frugal, sanctuary of a home, I have taken another tiny step. I baked four loaves of yummy whole wheat bread. My goal is to make all of our bread from scratch.It has been far too long since I last made bread. I kept telling myself that it took all day, it was too messy, etc. I'm beginning to see that this kind of internal message is bull. The process goes on all day, but certainly doesn't require my constant attention.Quite the contrary, a lot of it is waiting. But to tell the truth, I love the whole soothing process of waiting, kneading, pounding down, shaping the loaves, and finally the sweet, delicious, nourishing smell of bread baking that fills the house. To me, baking bread is a strong symbol of home and comfort. You know someone is home making the plain bread that family will eat all week. Mama is home making sure all the regular duties that make life pleasant are being seen to.
Some friends stopped by just after I had taken the loaves out to cool.I love that they came from their frosty walk into a house that was warm and bright and smelled heavenly. All the kids gorged themselves on it too, paired with mine and my mother-in-laws' jam. Seeing everyone going back for seconds and thirds (and in some cases, sixths!) was sure a nice compliment for me, the semi-novice bread baker!

Mrs. BB

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cultivating patience


I was sitting here holding this sweet sleeping toddler-girl. Unable to get up or shift her without waking her, I came to realize that I had been going over my mental "to-do" list and growing impatient and discontent, thinking of all I needed or wanted to do with my day. Then the Universe kindly reminded me of what is really important. Is not holding and loving my daughters the most vital thing I could be doing? Annoyance dissolved, priorities were restored to their natural place. Sometimes I think my attitude can be my biggest handicap or my greatest help.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

15 quarts plus dinner!




I bought 2 cases of tomatoes from the Farmer's Market and was given a few more tomatoes by my sister in law.From this I got 16 quarts of tomato sauce (one broke :( so 15). $24 a case for organic tomatoes,8 quarts or so per case of thin sauce. $3 per quart. Not fantastic, but still cheaper than store-bought. I would like to can 30 more quarts this year so to reduce the costs I am going to look into U-pick, (http://www.pickyourown.org/)and can all the juice too.I think I could have had at least 4 quarts or so of juice for broth because squeezing out all the seeds and juice was MESSY! I just squeezed them into the compost bucket with the skins. Next time I'll squeeze them over a bowl or pot and just strain out the seeds.Can chickens can eat tomatoes? That would save a bit on chicken feed. (Update-Yes! They can!)

Next year I plan on making either a little hoop house or open-sided greenhouse for tomatoes and basil to provide a little extra heat. Washington summers are usually not long and hot enough for them.I have some old shower doors for a roof (maybe use pallets for the sides?)and some bamboo and clear plastic for a hoop house.Check out this cost analysis on canning your own sauce.
http://stitchandboots.com/kitchen-garden/planning-maintenance/is-it-cost-effective-to-can-your-own-tomatoes/

Friday, September 10, 2010


Six jars of cornelian cherry jam from our foraging yesterday. It needed quite a bit of sweetening but it tastes quite nice.It is tart like cranberry sauce.I think it would be very tasty with something savory. One jar was old and of an odd size so the lid wouldn't fit. I'll try that one out tonight on some mushroom loaf.