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.
IMG_2522
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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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.
IMG_1727
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

Jewelry tree on the cheap

I found a group of volleyball players that get together on Saturdays and play in Greenville, which is only about 45 minutes from Seneca, so I figured I’d make the trip up, play around, get to meet some cool people and explore Greenville a bit before heading home.
However, it was cold. And windy. And kinda rainy.
After 15 minutes of waiting with one other guy, we decided to call it quits. But that wouldn’t deter me from my plans, no sir! I changed out of my volleyball clothes and told my GPS to take me downtown. I was going exploring!
Thanks to a tip from a friend, I found some free parking and got out of the car and headed on my way in search of some lunch.
Then I got cold and decided it wasn’t worth it.
True story.
On the way home, I spotted the coveted Hobby Lobby.
Oh happy day.
Oh happy, happy, happiest of days!
I had a gift card from Christmas burning a hole in my proverbial pocket and felt the Pinterest bug bite into my brain.
Game on, Hob Lob.
Game. On.
After an hour or two (or three? I don’t remember. I might have blacked out from craft overload) this is what I came home with.

Blue gingham, red polka dotted and turquoise chevron fabric; a 1/4" wood dowel and a 4" wood plaque.

Blue gingham, red polka dotted and turquoise chevron fabric; elastic thread; a 1/4″ wood dowel and a 4″ wood plaque.

I’ve got a couple of sewing projects that I want to conquer. (This dress/skirt in particular.) But I was set on making a jewelry tree for my necklaces. They seem to be all the rage and also expensive. I present to you my $2 necklace displayer extraordinaire.

Materials:
3 ft wooden dowel — $1.29
wooden plaque — $.79

nails
screw
screwdriver
hammer
wood glue
saw
sand paper
drill (optional)
hot glue (if you get desperate)

I want to take a minute to give a shout out to my Daddy who bought me a couple of really helpful tools on accident. When he rigged my curtains back in January, he left me these two little gems:
2.saw
A baby saw
3.drill
and a drill bit that fits in my cheap-o screwdriver. Lifesavers, y’all. Life. Savers.

The first step is finding the center of the plaque and drilling a hole for the screw that will anchor the tree. I suppose you could skip this step and just use a screwdriver and screw if you wanted to. I didn’t.
Just measure it both ways, x marks and spot and you’re good to go.
Voila.
4.base

You can set that aside for a bit as you now get to construct the actual tree. I decided I wanted a 20″ tree with four 4″ limbs. Not your style? Change it.
The beauty of this project is that you can totally customize it. This is the most basic I could come up with on a rainy day. Just remember to sand the raw edges after you cut.
I cut my pieces and drilled a hole in the bottom of the tree trunk, for lack of a better term, to make screwing it in easier.
5.hole

I then marked on the tree where I wanted my limbs to go and planned to just nail them on.
Apparently a certain someone (me) can’t hammer (remotely) straight to save her life (or project.)
6.attach
One out of four isn’t bad, right?
I put wood glue between the two pieces, but after messing up two of the limbs, I was literally inches away from just using the hot glue gun and calling it a day. But I didn’t. I stuck it out. And some of the nails stuck out, too.
Anywho.
Once my limbs were secure on my trunk, I easily screwed the trunk to the base and landed with this guy.
7.fini
It’ll get a coat of paint, obviously, but I’m honestly just amazed that it’s still standing.

8.decked out

Part of me wants to return to Hob Lob and get some cute drawer knobs to put on the top of the tree (They had a super cute bird one. Appropriate, right?) and maybe something on the ends of the branches. Who knows? I may end up adding some little hooks here and there or a row of nails for earrings.
So, what do ya think? Any ideas on what I could add or do better on the next go-around?

-Cat

An update on my sister — for those who may or may not know — she went into labor on Wednesday, April 24 just shy of 29 weeks. I got a call from mom at work and flew down to Atlanta (a post on my AMAZING co-workers who covered for me is coming) to be with her and her husband in the hospital until Momma could make it from Ky. Long story short, they are both stable for now but the doctors feel she could go back into labor at any time, so she’s on bed rest at the hospital. Each and every day without baby is a blessing because the little monkey needs every minute to keep growing. Thanks for all the prayers, they’re absolutely working, so keep them coming! God is good!