Low-cost laundry love

As I started to write this post, it felt oddly familiar. And that’s when I remembered I had already written about this back in my days at the College Heights Herald at WKU. So I figure I’ll keep the new intro and stick with the original post, because it’s all still very true, minus the college references ;)
Every now and then, I have to force myself to stay home on a Saturday and clean. I mean, really, really. clean. I love living out here by the lakes or going to Greenville to play volleyball, but it seems my cleaning efforts before are always thwarted by The Price is Right or Law & Order: SVU.
So today seems as good as any to talk about laundry detergent since I’m four loads in. (I don’t do laundry very often since I re-wear a lot of my work pants if they don’t get food on them. Just being honest, here.)

As a poor college girl and a Pinterest-addict, I stumbled across a recipe for simple, no-grate homemade laundry detergent. Other recipes I read required grating soap and boiling it have 5-gallon buckets. I wasn’t that committed to the idea.
But I was still pretty poor, so I kept looking. And then I found it.
This recipe comes from One Good Thing By Jillee; she posts all sorts of DIY and homemade ideas. It’s a fantastic resource for cheapos like me :)

[This is the part that I’m copying from myself circa October 2012, tweaked a little.]
I’m on a budget, as are most college students. I sometimes joke that the only reason I’m graduating early is because I’m out of money.

Thanks to Pinterest, we all have access to how to make homemade, well, everything.
And I’m sure there are people that would never dream of purchasing anything but the most expensive laundry detergent on the shelf — because it’s obviously the best.
Wrong.
I searched “homemade laundry detergent” for a few weeks before I landed on the perfect recipe. It was called “No-Grate Homemade Laundry Detergent,” and it had my name written all over it.

Many other recipes call for buying soap, grating it into tiny pieces then cooking it on the stove. They also require huge pots, 5-gallon buckets and way too much effort.
This one requires only 3 Tablespoons of Borax, 3 Tablespoons of Washing Soda, 2 Tablespoons of Dawn and some water.
All three ingredients are in the same aisle, making shopping super easy. For me, the hardest part was choosing a scent of Dawn. (Dawn is known for cutting through grease, so I’d go with name brand on this.)
I rinsed out my old laundry jug, put in the ingredients and added four cups of hot water (use a funnel!). Swish them around to mix them together — it’s a very technical process — and let the whole thing cool.
After it’s room temperature, add water to it straight from the faucet. Bubbles will run over, but try not to let too much of the actual detergent flow over.
That’s it! You’re done. It does require you to use a little more, I use two capfuls, but you’ll have the ingredients left for months.
My clothes are still wonderfully clean, I hand-picked the way they smell, and it will probably be 2013 before I need to buy more Borax.

I was right! I’m hardly halfway through my ingredients and it’s almost July. So I’m pretty confident I can bump that up to 2014. Unless I start a laundry business. Which I don’t plan on.
I convinced my brother to make this one weekend and though they started just using it on towels and the dog’s blankets, I think he and Amy have come to realize it really does the trick.
This detergent is perfectly compatible with ye olde top-loaders (like the ones I had in college) and fancy HE machines as well, like my new big girl one. (Read, expensive.)
The original “Pin-Up Girls” column also features a fudge recipe, so here’s the link to that as well.

Since Jillee’s original laundry detergent post, she has also created a super-concentrated version for those who may be interested.
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So here’s to saving a little moolah on laundry day! I need to go add some water to my detergent and throw my last load in the dryer. Happy weekend, y’all! try to stay cool out there!

xoxo,
Cat

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What do you DO?

One time, I moved from Kentucky to South Carolina for a job. Cool story, right?
So what exactly am I doing down here in Seneca, you might ask.
Well, copy and design is what it’s typically called, but since I work at a small paper with a reporting staff under 10, I get to do a lot more.
My actual duties include placing content on-page for the C section of our paper — Lifestyles — and D as well. Typically my section includes the front-page story and photos, maybe a local column, the obituaries, submitted entries of honor roll, officer elections of local organizations, somebody graduating from Basic Training or anything along those lines. The Lifestyles section is also home to “Tell Willie,” which is a very local thing. I can’t say I know the entire history, but it originated with an employee of the paper giving the community a sounding board for their rants, raves, praises and other peculiar comments. People from the area call in and leave a message with Willie, email it in or sometimes send snail mail (What’s that?) and Willie will respond once our crew types them up and sends them to him.
Y’all, I go through 5-10 of these every day and we almost NEVER come close to running out. We get complaints about the sheriff, questions about how to get rid of squirrels, comments on Obamacare and shout outs to the nice lady at Walmart who returned somebody’s wallet. The entire thing is anonymous and HILARIOUS. Willie, being the sassy old southern gent that he is, will applaud things that deserve it and tell people to use some common sense when they seem to have forgotten how.
It’s fantastic.
Anyway, so that’s the main chunk of my job — putting stories on page, editing them and proofing submitted items before they go to press.
The D section is the World and Nation section and comes almost exclusively from the Associated Press wire. I get to pull stories and art for that front page, pick which briefs need to run and place the stock reports. It doesn’t sound super exciting, but to me, it is. It’s like a giant puzzle, but you don’t know if the pieces actually fit together, hah.
I also occasionally get to shoot or write stories, so I’m actually putting my education to good use, no worries. I have also recently earned the title of “graphics diva” since I volunteered to make a chart ONE TIME and now we have one probably once a week. In my mind, they’re so super sub-par it’s ridiculous, but most of our audience isn’t familiar with them, so they’re super great.
My hours are typically from 1-9ish, depending on how large my section is. Some nights I’ll be done by 7, some nights I’m there until 10 and other nights I work 1-4 then come back from 7-9. It’s a matter of how many ads there are, how many pages are in my sections, if I have a story to write and a few other little things.
The staff is pretty cool.
And there’s free ice cream. So that’s one of the biggest job perks I’ve ever found.

To find out latest publications, click this link.

So now you (sort of) know what I do on a daily basis and get to see some of the final products! :)

-Cat

Recycling crafts

I’m trying to get back into my blogging routine again, and I figured this would be a quick and easy way to do just that.
My junior year roommate and friend, the now Mrs. Emily Thornton, made me a super sweet picture collage with wooden letters modge podged on top that spelled out “love.” She worked incredibly hard on painting the letters red to match my room and actually stopped sharing food with me until I found a place to hang it in my room that year.
Fast forward to January 2013, and the photo collage was um, not so relevant. But I didn’t want to toss out all her hard work, so I pried the letters off (the three that hadn’t fallen off yet anyway) and tossed the collage.
I finally realized what I wanted to do with them just the other day. The bookshelves in my living room were looking a tad empty, and stacking these letters would be just the ticket to take up some vertical space.

It was pretty much just a coat of white paint to cancel out all that red, some (read: a LOT) of hot glue, and some spray paint.

Painted white and glued together!

Painted white and glued together!

I missed a spot. But you can see the red I was fighting against!

I missed a spot. But you can see the red I was fighting against!

It didn't feel stable, so I used toothpicks to make me feel better about it. It almost worked.

It didn’t feel stable, so I used toothpicks to make me feel better about it. It lmost worked.

I’m currently in the process of moving EVERYTHING around on the shelves in my living room, so it doesn’t have a permanent home, but the color — pistachio by Krylon — pretty well matches my other decor. And my lamps. I have this thing where I want to spray paint EVERYTHING now. Whoops.
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So that’s the gist of what it looks like. I love that I was able to keep a part of an old craft and make it into something that still holds good memories and fits a new niche in the living room :)

I also made a chalkboard last week. It was an event for sure. So be looking for that. And some super cute photos coming to a blog (this one) near you (right here) soon!

-Cat

Sorry I’m not sorry

Took a small hiatus from blog-land because I’ve been a little busy lately.
Busy falling in love.
Picture 3
Meet Cooper Marshall Morrow, my precious nephew.
He surprised us all by coming into the world on Memorial Day, making it just that much more memorable ;)
My plan to live super close to my sister panned out really well since I’ve been at the hospital so much the NICU nurses know about my personal life. They’re such wonderful ladies!
Keep prayers coming his way to grow and develop the skills and reflexes he needs to go home, I know that Prius gets good gas mileage but I dare say Claire is getting tired of all the driving.

-Cat