Thursday, April 25, 2013

I finished a quilt!

This may not seem like a big deal, but lately finishing ANYTHING is a big deal.  My life has been extremely busy and stressful over the past few months.  But it’s done, and I’m happy with it. 

I challenged myself to make this quilt entirely from previously used fabrics.  There are shirts, dresses, sheets, you name it, it’s in there.  The backing is a sheet my mother gave me.  I had been on the hunt for one at a thrift store but I decided to ask.  Well, ask and ye shall receive, she gave me 3 sheets!  I’m set for backing for a while.  I bought the batting with a half price coupon at Joann’s, and I wanted a particular color for one area so I bought a shirt at Waterfront Mission when they had their 69 cent sale recently.  In total I spent about $7 on this quilt.
The profit from all quilts I make and sell this year will go into my travel fund.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Goal Achieved!

One of them, anyway.  You may remember, when I started this blog the intent was to keep myself on track financially in order to save up for 2 trips.  One was to a wedding in New Orleans.  That wedding was last weekend, and I’m happy to report I was able to save for the entire trip, putting nothing on credit.  SUCCESS!  Being the aunt of the groom, I didn’t feel it was necessary to spend anything on a new outfit, I put together something nice enough from my current wardrobe.  Not like when I was the mother of the bride, for that I bought something lovely and new (to me, it was from a consignment store).

I’m also happy to report I’m well on my way to saving up for the next vacation, in September.  I hope to have more than enough banked so that I return from that trip with cash left over, but even if that doesn’t happen I want to have enough to thoroughly enjoy myself while I’m away. 

Now, back to HOW I’m getting the money saved up.  I’m still cooking most nights, although I’ve had a hard week and regret to announce we relied on takeout pizza.  But sometimes you do what you gotta do.  Now I think I’m back on track, I have a menu planned for the upcoming week, I’m going shopping tomorrow night.  My menu for this week is as follows:

Ham, potato salad

Black bean burgers, home fries

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, glazed ginger carrots

Quiche made with bacon, onion, bell pepper, shredded carrot

Taco salad

I hope to also find time to make at least one snack food this weekend, I’m debating whether to try granola or candied popcorn.        

I’m also doing a lot of sewing.  I hope to finish a quilt this weekend, I can’t wait to show it off.  I’m very proud of it.  I’ll give more details when it’s finished and I can post pix of it.  As soon as it’s finished I was to take a break from quilting and make a few items of clothing, I have a VERY cute idea for Drake and can’t wait to see if I can make it turn out how I picture it in my head!  I also want to make a skirt for myself.  And I have sorely neglected my knitting lately.  I had started a sweater last month but I have far too much on my mind lately to concentrate on counting and getting the rows correct so I’ve set that aside.  A few nights ago I started a simple garter stitch afghan, toddler sized to give to Zane when he’s a little older.  Absolutely NO thought involved at all, which is what I need right now.  Plus I’m making it striped so I can use up a lot of leftover yarns.

And an update on the Great Laundry Soap Experiment:  So far so good!  I like the results I’m seeing so far.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If I ever conquer this mountain of laundry, I refuse to plant a flag because it’ll just get dirty and I’ll have to wash it.

In my never ending quest to save money, I’ve decided to make my own laundry detergent.  No big deal, you say, recipes are all over the internet and it’s not uncommon at all these days for people me make their own.  True!  But for me, this is a second attempt.  I tried it once before, about 15 years ago.  Neither hubby nor I were satisfied, and if he has an opinion on laundry, there must be something to it.  His usual opinion involves little more than asking, Do I have clean underwear?  So when he said he hated it, I stopped using it.  We went thru 2-3 batches before I quit, wanting to give it every chance.  But the clothes looked dingy and felt stiff.  At that time, I was too broke to buy the recommended Fels Naptha soap to put in it so I was using hotel soaps given to me by my sister-in-law from her many travels.  I hope those soaps were the problem but I’ve never been sure so this time, I sprung for the Fels Naptha.

I used this recipe, halved: 

Apparently I don’t own a grater (???), and the baby was asleep in the living room so I didn’t want to use the food processor, so I chopped the soap with a knife.  I melted it down in water on the stove, then added the washing soda and borax.  After letting it cool a bit I poured it into my old laundry detergent container.  I paid for that, I might as well get all the use I can out of it, right?  Then I filled it to the top with cold water and shook it up. 

I’m curious how thick this will be.  When I made it before it was a very thick gel.  I have a high efficiency front-loader, and I wanted something a little less thick, so I kind of did some overkill with the water.  I hope it gels enough, I don’t want it runny either.  Admittedly, this first batch is total experiment. 

During this process Hubby asked what I was doing.  I explained, and he looked skeptical because he remembers how we disliked it the last time.  But I explained about the change in soap and how I hope that makes a difference.  I also explained that a jug of detergent from Sam’s costs me $12 and this same jug, filled with the homemade stuff, costs about 15 cents a gallon, according to the website.  Maybe less because I used more water.  He perked up and said he’s interested to know how this turns out.  I also read on that website that it might help to use a vinegar rinse, so we’ll do that as well.  I never use fabric softener but I do sometimes do a vinegar rinse on my laundry so this really isn’t a change but HE doesn’t know that.  And I don’t remember ever using a vinegar rinse on it when I made the laundry soap before. 

I’ll post updates as we start to use this stuff.  Wish me luck!