Archive for August, 2012

Homemade washing powder.

Are your clothes dirty?  Are you too cheap to buy laundry detergent?  Me too!  Fear not, help is at hand!

One of the best things I have bought this year is this fabulous book by the lovely authors of this other fabulous book.  They are both wonderful, and I use ‘Making It’ on an almost daily basis as it contains loads of projects for thing to make yourself, be self-sufficient and generally stick it to the man.  So, when we ran out of laundry detergent a while ago I simply whipped out the book and made it myself!  Hoorah!

It’s really easy.

Here’s what you need:



1 part laundry soap

2 parts Borax

2 parts washing (or baking) soda

(vinegar for rinse cycle)

I usually use baking soda instead of washing soda as it’s more gentle.  Washing soda has greater cleaning power, though, so it’s your choice.  A 50/50 mix of the two is good.  If you use washing soda, be careful with your delicates and of course fabrics like wool or silk should be washed separately anyway.  ‘Making It’ says that you should use castille soap like Doctor Bonner’s for your wool/silk items.  I tend to hand wash with just a tiny bit of my detergent powder, but that’s only because I haven’t bought any Doctor Bonner’s yet.

Laundry soap comes in a bar, so you need to grate or otherwise chop it.  There are two brands available here: Fels-Naptha and Zote Soap.  Zote Soap is a lot of fun because it’s bright pink, and also kind of soft, so you can just chop it into chunks then throw it into the food processor with the other ingredientsto grind it up.  I wouldn’t recommend putting Fels-Naptha into the food processor.  Very scary.  It’s pretty easy to just grate it with the cheese grater, though.  I tend to buy it just because it’s available at the supermarket down the street, but Zote is more fun to use.

Once you have dealt with the laundry soap, just mix up all the ingredients, and you’re done!  I keep mine in a mason jar, and a quart jar lasts several weeks.


Ta da!

You only need to use 2 tablespoons per load!

Just add it to your machine as you normally would.  Instead of fabric softener, I throw a splash of white vinegar (about half a cup or whatever) into the machine during the rinse cycle, and this seems to work just fine.

It’s so cheap!

There are lots of online sources with slight variations on this recipe, and proper cost breakdowns.  Potholes and Pantyhose is  my favourite – she also has a whole lot of other household product recipes as well as being very entertaining.

Not only is making your own laundry soap cheap and kind of fun, it cuts down on nasty chemicals and additives being used in your home.  Just as I prefer to cook my own food so I know what’s in it, it’s good to know exactly what’s involved in cleaning my house and washing my clothes.

A really cool consequence of this is that you only really need a few ingredients to make a variety of cleaners.  Once you’ve bought these basics (borax, baking soda, washing soda, vinegar), you’re pretty much set up to make anything you need, so if you run out of something there’s no need to run to the supermarket – just whip up a batch in five minutes and carry on.  Obviously it’s also way more cost-effective, especially if you can gt vinegar and baking soda in bulk.

Tune in next week to see what else I’ve been making around the house!

Happy crunching.


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Stitchin’ USA

I’m back!

It has been three months since my last post!  Madness.  It has been quite the fun time of moving to the US, getting legally wed, fixing up our new place and getting a (deranged) puppy.  Now I’m finally settled in and once again connected to the webby world.  Although there has been no blogging for the last couple of months, I have certainly been crafting, mostly on stuff for our house.  It was pretty bare and man-cave-ish when I arrived here, so I’ve been spending lots of time prettying it up.  Among my achievements have been assembling Ikea furniture alone, and even putting up a shelf.  AND, there have been no disasters with things falling apart.  So far.

Since we spent all of our money actually getting me into the country, we haven’t had anything left over for homemaking, so I’ve had to get creative with the things we have, This means I’ve been upcycling like a demon.  Right before I moved out here, I spotted this tutorial on making a rug out of old clothes, and I thought it would be fun (since if there’s one thing Husband has an abundance of, it’s old clothes).  Then, when I arrived, there were many complaints and grumblings about us needing a bathmat.  So, I put my thinking cap on and decided to have a crack at using old towels to make a bathmat.  Genius!  Here it is…


It’s a bit raggedy around the edges, but I don’t really care.  It’s really absorbent.  And the puppy loves it.

Inspired by the bathmat success, I decided to make a rug for the living room.  Our whole apartment had original wood floors, which is nice, but does it does make everything look a little brown and dark, so I thought I’d try and brighten it up a bit.   Besides towels, another thing we have a LOT of is old t-shirts.  I have been unsuccessfully attempting to pry some of them out of the husband’s hands for a long time, and after much nagging persuading, I finally managed to bag a few!  Hooray!  Before he had time to change his mind, I quickly cut them up and turned them into a rug.


It was really easy, and I think it looks pretty cool.  This was simply knit in garter stitch (knit every row) on 10mm needles, with random colour changes whenever I felt like it.  It was so much fun that might do a bigger one for our bedroom, but maybe attempt a hexagon shape or something.

Making these rugs was pretty entertaining, but the best part is, they cost me NOTHING!  Nothing!  Not a cent!  Amazing.

Most of the work in these came from making the yarn.  This is a bit time consuming, but very simple, so if you’re interested in knitting or crocheting with t-shirt / towel strips yourself, here’s how to do it in a nutshell…


Just do this.

Basically, cut your fabric into a big long strip, as wide as you want/need.  I didn’t bother too much about being consistent with the width, since I thought it would be cool if the rugs were a big bumpy, but I found that you don’t want to let it get less than 1″ wide, or it will rip too easily.  Also, jersey fabrics work better than woven fabrics, since they won’t fray as much.  Towels are really hard to cut, but can be ripped without much effort.

When you’re done, you’ll have a lovely chunky ball of yarn, like this…


This one is just a face cloth. A towel makes a hilariously large ball.

This is not the only t-shirt banditry I’ve been perpetrating recently – tune in next time for more upcycling madness.

Happy crunching!

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