Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dye Those Eggs

I don't know about you, but my stomach is about to explode.  Between the kids "sharing" their Easter candy with me, and going to a fondue get together last night, I think I have eaten my weight in chocolate in the last 18 hours.

So before I slip into a chocolate coma, lets quickly walk through a homemade Easter egg dye.

DIY Easter Egg Dye
You Will Need:
Food Coloring

Take a bowl or coffee cup and mix water, vinegar & food color (80% water, 20% vinegar and 2 to 4 drops food color) You don’t have to be exact with this recipe as I generally just sort of “eye” it.

 I've heard about this method many times over the years but never bothered to try it because I can get egg dye and fun stickers in a pack for only a few dollars. But this year my daughter was old enough to dye eggs so I decided to let the kids each have their own set of dye and hope this minimized any fighting.  My son had a store bought pack and my daughter got the DIY stuff. 

The Verdict: The darker colors worked pretty good but the eggs had to sit in the dye for a couple minutes for the dye to do anything.  The lighter colors didn't do very well at all.

This is an egg that sat in the yellow dye for about 3 minutes. 

The egg on the left was put in the blue store bought dye.  The egg on the right was put in the DIY blue dye.  They were both left in their containers for the same amount of time.  

I think part of the reason for the lighter color on the eggs was because I had a lot of liquid.  I probably should have put in more then the 4 drops of food coloring for the amount of liquid I had.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Have Eyeliner On Your Walls? Try This.

I was getting out of the shower one day when I heard my son yell, "Mom!!! mumble mumble Eliza mumble the wall!"

Even though I could only understand a few of the words, the fact that he said 'Eliza' and 'wall' in the same sentence could only mean one thing, she found something and drew on the wall again!

I threw on my oh so unflattering mom bathrobe, ran out the door and saw this

She was down the hall holding two eyeliner pencils and looking very guilty.  I wish I could say that I reacted calmly and rationally, and that I lovingly corrected her behavior in such a way that resulted in a beautiful mother daughter bonding moment that is worthy of a Folgers commercial from the 80's, but I didn't. I pretty much reacted like this.

 That afternoon I grabbed my mayonnaise to try and clean it up but it didn't even smudge the eyeliner.  I tried make up remover, but surprisingly that didn't do anything either.  So I got on and posted a question on one of their forums.  I got several suggestions and decided to try a few.

 Baby Oil's Verdict: It came off very easily without taking any paint off, but left a nice greasy spot that wouldn't come off. Pass

 Nail Polish Remover Verdict: It worked so well that the paint came off with it. Pass

Hand Sanitizer Verdict: It got a little bit off but I had to scrub pretty hard and it started to take the paint off. Pass

Witch Hazel Verdict: It just smudged the make up a little bit. Pass

Rubbing Alcohol Verdict: This was a big fail.  A couple of rubs and I had wiped off all the paint and primer.  Big Pass

Hot Water and Soap Verdict: We have a winner! It took a little scrubbing but it got the make up off without hurting the paint. The cloth I was using had to be hot.  When it started to cool off I would have to scrub harder and harder until eventually nothing would come off.  I would rinse the towel in hot water, throw a little more soap on and start scrubbing again. 

I hope this is the last post I have to do about getting things off the walls, but the odds are slim.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Another Attempt at Dishwasher Soap

After my last failed attempt to make my own dishwasher soap a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post about a different kind of homemade dishwasher soap.

Hoping for better results I decided to give it a go.

Homemade Dishwasher Soap
You will need:
2 cups of Dr. Bonners castile soap
2 cups of washing soda
40 drops of lemon essential oil or lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients until you get a crumbly texture, you can use more or less of the washing soda until you get the desired texture.  Use about 1Tbsp per load. 

I poured my castile soap into a jar then slowly started to stir in the washing soda until I got a crumbly texture. It looked like cottage cheese. The soap and washing soda turned out to be about a 50:50 ratio. I didn't have any lemon oil so I used lemon juice. Has anyone else noticed how often I say that?  I think it's time to invest in lemon essential oil

As much as I love Dr. Bronner castile soap I wasn't thrilled with the idea of using it in my dishwasher.  It tends to leave an oily residue and I really didn't want to have that on my dishes, but I have been wrong in the past about the outcome of a homemade project so I went for it.  But I played it safe and only put about 10 things in my dishwasher.

The Verdict: I think the picture says it all.  Can you see the black swirly marks?  That is where I used my fingernail to scrape off the horrible residue that was on there.  It took a good dose of Dawn soap and elbow grease to get my dishes clean.  Can you imagine how happy I was that I didn't use this on a full load?

I went back to the Facebook post and asked if anyone else using this recipe had the same problem and if I was doing something wrong.  Some people responded that they had the same results I had.

I have no idea why this homemade detergent works for some people and not others, maybe it's the type of dishwasher being used, or maybe it depends on if you have hard or soft water?  So if you do decide to try this one, I would start with a small batch and only put a few dishes in your dishwasher. 

I would love to hear from anyone who has had success with this dishwasher detergent, or with another homemade dishwasher soap that you love.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shine On You Crazy Furniture

A friend of mine recently asked if I had any dusting tips.  She told me that she loves Swiffers but because they are a bit pricey she tends to re-use them so much that eventually she is just pushing dust around. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one guilty of this.

There are basically three ways to get dust off a surface;
1) Furniture polish
2) Just a cloth with nothing sprayed on it, like a Swiffer
3) Walk by a shelf, see that it's covered in dust, then proceed to pull the sleeve from your already stained sweater over your hand and wipe the dust off because your about to get in the shower anyways (I have done this more times then I would like to admit)

As I started to look at furniture polish, the first thing I noticed was that every one of them had olive oil in them.  I really did not like this idea due to some not so pleasant results that came from the last time I tried to put oil in a spray bottle. But I started to realize that it was unavoidable.  If I was going to make a good quality furniture polish I was going to have to add the olive oil in it, and hope it doesn't ruin another spray bottle.

Homemade Furniture Dusting Spray 
You Will Need:
1-3/4 cups water 
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon lemon essential oil (about 8 to 10 drops)

Combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle of at least a 16 oz size.  Shake well to mix.
To use, spray onto wooden furniture and wipe off with a soft cloth to dust and clean the surface.
You’ll have to keep shaking this mixture as you use it to keep the oil and water mixed together.

I didn't have lemon oil so I used lemon juice instead.  I put all my ingredients in the bottle then started to shake.  About 10 seconds later I realized I was singing Shake Your Sillies Out by The Wiggles out loud and the kids were no where in site. I'm now singing kid songs for my own amusement, I need to get out more. 
 After I stopped my little one man performance I started to wander the house to find my first victim. It's amazing how much wood you realize you have in your home when it's time to dust it.  It's even more amazing how many knick knacks are usually covering those wood surfaces.

The Verdict:  I used the spray on all types of wood and all types of finished and the outcome was always fantastic.  The wood looked so clean and shiny.  I would spray the polish right onto the wood then wipe it off with a clean towel.

All the dust came right off and the wood looked great.

 What I really love is how easily it cleans gunk off the furniture.  The spray quickly dissolves anything on the wood like finger prints, food, dog slobber, etc and the spots come off with very little scrubbing.

 It also works well with my homemade Swiffer, but that will have to wait for another post, to be continued....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Scrub Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Long before I had children, my mom and I had a conversation about choosing to be a stay at home mom.  I had asked her if she ever got tired of staying home with us 5 kids and if she had ever wanted a career.

The only thing I remember her saying is "you can find satisfaction and fulfillment in the daily tasks of being a stay at home mom.  Even cleaning a toilet can be an uplifting experience because you know that by cleaning that toilet you are keeping your family healthy and safe from harmful bacteria."

I don't know why that comment has stuck with me all these years, but now that I have a 4 year old boy I have decided that my mom was wrong......very, very, wrong.

When she told me that, I think 1 of 3 things was going on
1) as she was saying this she was thinking "ha ha, this sucker is totally buying it."
2) she has suppressed the memories of having to clean a toilet that is being used by a little boy
3) my brother had good potty manners, unlike my son who likes to see how good his aim is "I wonder if I can make it in the garbage can from here.... nope, maybe the bathtub..."

Sorry mom, cleaning a bathroom is gross and if I could, I would hire someone to do it for me.

Naturally when I saw a Pin about not having to scrub the inside of the toilet bowl, I ran to the kitchen to grab what I needed so I could try it out right then.

It was one of those pins that tells you the pin has been tagged for spam if you click on it, so I can only tell you what the description on the pin was

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Punch a hole in the top of a bottle of vinegar and sit the bottle in your toilet tank. In doing this you will save water, as the tank wont fill as much, the vinegar will clean your toilet AND tank on each flush, it leaves the bathroom smelling fresh and it doesn't harm any component of your toilet OR the environment when flushed.

The only un-opened bottle of vinegar I had was plastic, and even though it was full of vinegar I wasn't sure if it would stay in one place.  I put it in the tank and sure enough that bottle was trying to make a break for it. It kept floating and bobbing all over the place. 

So instead, I grabbed a mason jar, filled it with the vinegar and by using a hammer and nail I punched a hole in the top. 

There wasn't a lot of room in the toilet tank, so I'm glad my mason jar was smaller. I scrubbed my toilet, put the mason jar in the tank then started to count the days to see how long it kept the bowl clean.

The Verdict: Every time I flushed I would look at the jar to see if I could see the vinegar coming out, but I couldn't ever tell.  The toilet I had put it in usually starts to grow things around the 10th day after cleaning it. On the 14th day after I put the mason jar in the tank I started to see growth in the bowel.

I pulled the jar out and was surprised that it still smelled strongly of vinegar.  Clearly the vinegar wasn't getting out easily. So I decided to try again.

I poked another hole in the jar and this time I put it upside down in the tank.  I was hoping that this would create a better flow system for the vinegar to get out with each flush.

 The Verdict: 3 weeks of a gunk free toilet!  I'll take it!

For a few months I attempted to refill the jar with vinegar before the three week mark so that I could see if I could keep the toilet bowl clean indefinitely, but I kept failing.  1 of 2 things kept happening.  1) I would completely forget, then one day look in the toilet and say "oh yeah, i forgot to change the jar." or 2) my two little ducklings would follow me and insist on helping which would result in me scolding them for getting toilet water on everything, or me cursing when the tank lid is pushed off the toilet and onto my foot. These outcomes would help me to quickly forget why I was in the bathroom in the first place.

Even though I still have to clean the outside of the toilet, and the floor, and the garbage can, and the ceiling, (just kidding) it was really nice to skip that step and not have to clean the inside of the toilet.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Quick Definition Of Essential Oils

Do you know what would be really awesome?!?!?!  If I spent 2 hours typing a blog post that I was really proud of, came back to edit it and just when I was about to hit post somehow the whole thing got deleted!


To add insult to injury, blogger decided to do it's auto save right at the same time.  So I lost it all. The whole blog post gone *poof* 

So, instead of re-typing my entire post  I'm going to change gears and give you all a quick tutorial about essential oils. They are used in so many homemade products that I guess now would be a good time to give a quick run-down for anyone who may still be in the dark about what the fuss is all about.

An essential oil is the natural oil that is extracted from a plant. There are many, many oils and countless ways to use them, but mostly they are used for medicinal purposes, or for making your own products. 

Of course their are pro and con arguments for essential oils, but the basic argument is that oils are natural, so they are much healthier for you and there are no side effects like medicine or cleaning products can have. 

While you can buy essential oils in most health food stores, doTERRA is usually the most popular place to buy oils.  Young Living is another popular place to get essential oils. 

Personally, I think of myself as a low end oil user. My knowledge is pretty basic.  I have about 5 different oils that I use, but not on a regular basis.  Except for my melaluca (or tea tree oil) I use that stuff by the gallon and it is in a lot of my homemade cleaning products.

If you want to learn more about them then Camp Wander is a great blog to start with.  Or you can check out this facebook page about using doTERRA products.

So there you go, you can now jump into an essential oil conversation and pretend you know what people are talking about.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Shower Cleaner In A Scrub Brush

If you are Pinterest person then I'm sure you have seen "the best shower/tub cleaner in the WORLD!!!!!"

And since everything on Pinterest has that same description, let me clarify. This is a shower cleaner that is half liquid soap and half vinegar.  You either spray it on about once a week or put it in a scrub brush and use it in your shower/tub every time you use it.

Like always, my curiosity set in and I had to try it.  The saying goes "curiosity killed the cat," but I think in my case it should be "curisity consumed the DIYer"  The amount of time I spend trying out new things really could be a full time job.

Like I said, there are two ways to do this, putting it in a spray bottle or into a scrub brush.  I chose the method of keeping it in a scrub brush.

Shower Cleaner
Dish scrubber with a sponge that you can fill with cleaner
Dish soap 

Fill scrubber up half-way with dish soap followed by half-way with vinegar.  The vinegar-dish soap cleaner works great with 1:1 ratio,  allowing the vinegar to work it's magic and the sudsy soap to do it's best as well. When you're finished preparing the cleaner, simply wait until the next time you're in the shower and scrub down those walls and tub, toss or spray some water to rinse of the soap, and you're done until next time.  Keep this cleaner handy in your shower for quick cleanings that you have no reason to put off! 

Almost every Pin I have seen about this cleaning method recommends Blue Dawn as the liquid soap, especially if you are doing the spray bottle method. I couldn't find my Dawn, so I used whatever generic brand I had at the time. 

I easily found the sponge scrub brush with all the other dish scrubbers in the store and I filled it with my soap and vinegar. 

The Verdict: The fact that I have been using this for about 5 months now should tell you that it's a keeper.  I keep it hanging up in my shower and about every 3 days I use it.  I put shampoo in my hair, turn the water off, give the shower a quick wipe down, then continue with my shower.  It takes 30 seconds and my shower is always clean now. 

Back in September I did a post about a soft scrub I love because it got all the black gunk out of the grooves on the bottom of my shower.  As much as I love that soft scrub, it has been replaced.  If I use my sponge scrub brush on a regular basis, my shower floor never gets those black spots.  30 seconds of a wipe down every few days and my shower stays clean I LOVE it!!!!

One day I looked down in my shower and saw this beautiful spot of shower gunk build up.  Apparently I have been missing one corner every time I scrub the shower.

 So even though this cleaner is pretty fantastic, I wouldn't say it's the best ever. In my opinion, it's only the best ever cleaner when it can get up on it's own will and clean the shower for me while I sit and enjoy Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mod Podge

I have a confession to make, I have never used Mod Podge *GASP*

For someone who is obsessed with homemade projects you would think that I use the stuff by the gallon.  I just never had a need for it before now.

I had a photo project I wanted to do that required Mod Podge, but I only needed a little so I decided to make my own. 

Homemade Mod Podge
You Will Need:
Elmers Glue

Directions: Pour the glue into the jar. Now fill the empty glue container with water and pour that in the jar with the glue. Shake the jar

I mixed my glue and water and was surprised at how runny it was.  This didn't give me warm fuzzes about using it on photos so I decided to test it on a few things.  Since I have never used actual Mod Podge before, I have no idea how they compare, so I can only tell you what I thought of this.

For my photo project I was planning on gluing photos to wood so I decided to do a test run by gluing an old photo of the hubs and I, and regular paper onto a piece of wood.

Both the photo and paper went on great and they looked great but I still wasn't convinced.  I put them in my closet and left them alone for a month. Why a month you ask?  Because I forgot they were there.

The Verdict: The photo wasn't looking to good.  It had warped quite a bit, but the regular paper still looked pretty good.  A small piece on the corner popped up but that was all.

 Just out of curiosity sake I decided to try the stuff on something completely different to see how it would work. My #10 can of baby wipes was such an eye sore, so I decided to cute it up a bit with fabric

The Verdict: It's been 5 months since I used the homemade Mod Podge to put fabric on my can, and it still looks like this. It hasn't frayed or come apart at all.  That fabric is stuck to that can like a...... dang, I got nothing.  I tried to think of something clever to put there but I can't.  Anyone want to fill in the blank for me?

Since the regular paper looked pretty good, I decided to try the Mod Podge on my project since I would be printing the photos myself on thinner photo paper, and I was no longer going to use wood.  I decided to put the photos on fabric wrapped around Styrofoam

The Verdict:  No good.  This is how it looked the day after I Mod Podged the photo paper on the fabric.  If you look closely on the upper left corner you can see the color was also bleeding. 

Overall Verdict: Again, I have no idea what regular Mod Podge is typically used for or how well it works so I don't know how it compares, but it looks like this homemade stuff is a hit and miss.  Somethings the homemade Mod Podge will work great for, it and the project will get along happily. But other projects are just going to get punched in the gut.

I am planning on using it for another project I have coming up so stay tuned for that. What is your favorite thing to use Mod Podge for?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cleaning Paintbruses With Vinegar

I was digging through my garage the other day for..... something.... I don't remember what and it's not relevant, when I came across a paint brush that I clearly had not cleaned very well after the last time I had used it. 

The bristles could still move but there was quite a bit of paint dried on it and if I tried to use it I'm sure I would have gotten some crazy unwanted design in the paint.

I jumped on Pinterest and found several pins about using hot vinegar to remove dried paint from paint brushes.

Revive Old Paintbrushes with Vinegar
You will Need:

pour enough vinegar into a saucepan to cover the paint brush.  Let the paint brush soak in boiling vinegar for about 10 min, or pre-heat the vinegar on the stove or microwave and pour it onto the paint brush in another container and let it soak for up to 30 minutes.  Wash with hot soapy water then rinse and let dry

I decided to go with the first method of letting the brush sit in the boiling vinegar.

The Verdict:  Another one bites the dust! This is one of those DIY's where not only does it not work but it makes things worse.  The paint sort of melted together then hardened into a plate of armor.  The bristles were so stiff that I probably could have broken them off it I pulled hard enough.

I got online to see if i did something wrong and I started to find blogs where other people tried the same thing and they had similar results. It's nice to know it's not just me.  Looks like I'll be heading to the hardware store before my next project.