Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homemade Goodness

Well I've been trying to clean-up and use what we have. Awhile ago I started making our own liquid laundry soap...then I stopped. Well I found my supplies and started again. Homemade laundry soap is ridiculously inexpensive, you can make your clothes smell how you want and is incredibly EASY to make. It takes way less time to make than preparing dinner four a family of five.

First you grate the soap. I had a few bars of Fels Naptha soap left, so I'm using that up, but next I'm going to switch to this LuSa Organics soap. You can also use a castille bar soap. I've read to use one that is not scetned, but have you ever smelled Fels Naptha? That is totally scented and Dial Corp. will not reveal what are the actual ingredients. My Nana (my Mom's Mom) used Fels Naptha to clean her clothes and it does work amazingly well at getting out stains, but I'm doing my best to support local and eco-consciously-made companies and products.
Once you grate a 1/2 a bar of soap (5.5oz), mix it with 6 cups of water and gently heat until all the soap is melted. Then mix in 1/2 cup of washing soda (not baking soda), 1/2 cup of borax powder, and 1 tablespoon of essential oil. I had some veviter and peppermint essential oil on hand, and we're all really loving that smell combination. Stir it all constantly until it is all dissolved. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Pour half into one gallon jug and the other half into another gallon jug then slowly fill each with hot water. Shake well, then keep filling with hot water until it is all full. Let it rest for a day as it gels up. Use 2/3 cup per load. It's not a sudsy soap, so I hear it is great for front loading washers. Right now I've got my eye on a James Wringer Washer for our next washer.
My next home-made project was also my first attempt at quilting. I've been saving our older clothes (even my Grandma Corky's clothes) to make into quilts. I made a window quilt to help keep out the bitter cold. It's made of about 4 of my old shirts, several pairs of worn-out boxers and pajama bottoms, and a couple of the boy's old shirts that no longer fit and were filled with stains and holes.
It's warm and snuggly and I'm pretty happy with my first quilt. My next sewing project was a small purse for my neice. There are lots of mistakes, but hopefully she can look past those and know her Aunt made it with love. The strap is an old pair of jeans. The yellow fabric was Grandma Corky's pants. The patterned fabric was Grandma's pajamas. The red buttons were from my late Cousin Dee Dee's Mother-in-Law's sewing box that I somehow inherited :). If folks is going to give me stuff, I'll do my darndest to use it.
That's it for up is a wallet made from my material stash. Now onto things I've knit recently. These are a pair of fingerless gloves for my Auntie.

I made them extra long in the fingers, in case she needed the extra warmth

When her hands warm up, she can roll them back and have full use of her fingers, while keeping her pulse point warm. I made them from left-over yarn I had for the clogs I knit Stella and myself.
This was a coffee cosy that I knit.
Here is another pair of clogs that I knit...super comfy!

Another pair of fingerless gloves for our neighbor that drives Reeve to school every morning.

A new hat for me...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stella's Castle

Once upon a time, in a land far to the North, where a bitter cold King Winter was ruling the Raye Kingdom, Princes Reeve and Kyle had a quest to build their sister, Princess Stella, a Royal Castle all of her own.
 Their quest was made easier when their father, King Solar, received a shipment of solar panels that were delivered in a rather large, castle-like box.
 Oh the fun they had carving windows, skylights and doors. Oh the sweet smile on Princess Stella's face when she toured her new castle.
 King Winter cannot destroy their warm spirits when they are at play in their own kingdom.

It is much warmer today...2F (above 0!) this morning...that's 22 degrees warmer than yesterday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brrrrr! -18F Right now... -30F with the windchill

It is bitter, bitter cold out here! I decided to post some pictures of last week...when it was oh so much warmer.
 Stella really, really, really wanted to go outside with her big brothers to see what this snow stuff was all about.
 Well she lost her mittens and wouldn't let anyone put them back on and she came to me (knitting in bed) wanting to be warmed up.
 Luckily our sledding hill is right outside the bedroom window.
 Stella had a grand time watching Reeve and Kyle sled and snowboard down our hill.
 In these next pictures, if you look closely, you can see them (Kyle is in a blue snowsuit) sledding down the hill.

Just some pictures of Stella, because I think she is just too darn cute.

Hope you all are nice and warm! I think we are supposed to warm up here...thank goodness it will be sunny today!

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Blizzard of the 2010-2011 Winter Season

We survived the massive BLIZZARD! Wow!!! That was a LOT of SNOW and wind....BRRRR!
 Last weekend on December 4th we thought it was amazing when we had 4 inches of snow, but this Saturday, December 11th, we received well over 20" of snow...that's TWO FEET total!
 I don't have many pictures, because I'm a wimp and I have not ventured past the front door.
 Thank goodness for our snow plow truck... Tom kept on top of the plowing and the driveway is all clear.
 Now we are dealing with FRIGID cold temperatures. It was -8F this morning and -30F with the windchill.
Way too cold for me and Stella to go outside, so Tommy took Reeve and Kyle to the dentist today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thanksgiving in Atlanta 2010

These are from Ms. M's camera :)