Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cutting Glass Bottles with Fire

 Is it just me, or is there something really alluring about fire?  There is a sense of satisfaction that comes with starting a big camp fire then sitting back and being hypnotized by the flames.

When I saw a Pin about cutting a glass bottle with fire I immediately ran around the house to find all the materials I needed.  Maybe I should be slightly concern with out excited I was to play with fire.

Cutting Glass Bottles
You Will Need:
glass bottles
nail polish remover
sink full of ice water

Wrap the cotton yarn around your bottle 5-6 times, tie and cut ends. You can also braid three pieces together and tie that around the bottle. Slide yarn off of the bottle. Dip yarn in nail polish remover. I filled a bowl with nail polish remover and let the yarn sit in it for a few seconds to make sure it was fully saturated.  Slide the wet yarn back onto the bottle. NOTE: The bottle will be cut wherever you place the yarn, so make sure it is as straight as possible.  Holding the bottle sideways from the mouth, light the yarn on fire.  ****Please please be careful!**** Only the wet yarn will be lit on fire and the flame is very well controlled.  Rotate the bottle in circles as the yarn is on fire for 20-30 seconds so that all parts of the bottle warm evenly.  Holding each end of the bottle, submerge in cold water and watch the bottle parts separate.  Use sand paper to smooth rough edges.

 The only glass bottle I had in the house was a maple syrup bottle.  I didn't have cotton yarn so I grabbed regular string and...... long story short it didn't work.  You have to use cotton yarn in order for this to work.

So I loaded up the kids and went to the store.  Yep, I loaded up two kids to drive to the store just to get some yarn.  Seriously, I might have a problem.

After wrapping the yarn around the bottle a few times, I took it off then soaked it in nail polish remover. I then forced the yarn back onto the bottle.  

I sent the kids outside, grabbed the lighter and the fireworks began. 
 Check out the massive flame.  I was a bit worried and was really glad that I was holding it over a sink full of water just in case things got out of control.  

I rotated the bottle in a circle until the flame died out.  It was around 25 rotations. I dunked the bottle into the ice water, grabbed the other end and pulled.  It was the strangest feeling.  If felt like gum was holding the two pieces together, so the pieces sort of oozed away from each other then suddenly popped off. 

The Verdict: Ummm, clearly something went wrong.  Instead of a nice drinking glass, I got a torture device. 

You mean I get to try again!!!!  Awesome!!!! (is there a pyro anonymous group?) I didn't have any other glass bottles so I asked my neighbor if she had some old ones kicking around.  Fortunately for me, she did.

I went through the same method, and the first dunk into the water nothing happened.  So I got to had to dry off the bottle and start again. 

The Verdict:  Much better.  The cut spot is a bit uneven but at least there aren't horrible jagged edges. 

I used a really fine grit of sand paper to sand around the edges and it smoothed up nicely.  I would still be a bit nervous drinking out of it, but I think it's more of a physiological fear.

I dont' know if my first bottle failed because of the type of glass, but this could be a fun way to make things like vases or center pieces, just be prepared for it to take a few tries to get it right.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Baking Soda Laundry Detergent

My sister sent me a website that had several different homemade laundry detergents.  For the most part they all had the three basic ingredients (washing soda, borax and soap) but with a variation on the amount.  I saw two that caught my eye and I decided to try them. As of now I have only tried one of them so I'll share what I think and it then do another post about the other one.

Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent #8
2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda)

Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted.  In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted mixture, stir well.  Then add the baking soda, stir well again.  Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

I decided to half the recipe just  in case it didn't work (spoiler alert: I'm SO glad I did that) so I broke a Fels-Naptha bar in half, then broke that half into pieces and put it in my food processor.  On the slight chance that any of you remember that my husbands skin doesn't appreciate the Fels-Naptha bar, have no fear, due to his lack of desire to let his cloths be guinea pigs, he is now doing all of his own laundry.  It's a win win situation. 

This was my first time trying to melt Fels-Naptha in a pot and I couldn't believe how long it took. I can now appreciate the expression "I slaved over a hot stove all day!"

Once it was finally melted, I mixed all the ingredients together and let it cool.

The Verdict: NO!  It did absolutely nothing.  I decided to try and give it a second chance, so I ran the same load of laundry again and used 2 cups of this detergent.  Not only did it still not work, but the urine smell that was on my daughters clothes was now all over everything else.  Throwing my clothes on the ground and spraying them with a garden hose would be more effective then this.   I'm glad I halved it, that way I didn't feel to bad when I disposed of it.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Custom Plates With A Sharpie

 If you have spent time on Pinterest then there is a good chance you have seen many pins about drawing on a ceramic plate or cup with permanent marker and baking it.  If you have done any sort of research on these then you have probably seen a lot of complaints about the permanent marker eventually washing off.

There is a lot of debate about the correct method.  What temperature to use, how long to leave them in, do you put the plates in while it's pre-heating or wait? 

So I decided to find out for myself if it was possible to make the permanent marker actually stay permanent.  I bought two white plates at the dollar store then spent the next 4 weeks testing different temperatures and time. I would place a plate in while the oven was pre-heating then put the other in once the oven hit the desired temperature.

It became a pretty normal routine in my house.  Draw, bake, wash, wash, wash. Draw, bake, wash, wash, wash. I would put the plates in my dishwasher and leave them there wash after wash until the marker would come off.

The Verdict:  First of all, it has to be a regular Sharpie pen.  Any other sort of Sharpie doesn't stand a chance. And secondly, it's never going to be permanent.  No matter what temperature you do, or how long you bake it, the marker will eventually come off.  The longer you bake it the more washes you get, but I ever got more then 6 washes before the marker came off. 

If I hand washed it with a scrubber then it always came off immediately. The only way to get more then 10 washes out of it is to use a very soft sponge and treat it as though it's a bomb about to explode. 

But what was really interesting, and I didn't see this on any other sites, was how the color faded and changed.  The higher the temperature the oven was, the more the colors faded and changed.

So I started to experiment with really low temperatures.  You have to get below 250 degrees for the colors to stay untouched. Unfortunately, it comes off with one quick wash.

So basically you have two options.  Have bright colors that don't stay, or have faded colors that last a while.  Or you could always just decorate them and have them on display.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Homemade Fruit Leather

Neither of my kids are a fan of Fruit Roll-Ups which is fine by me.  That's one less thing that will cause an argument in the store.  You know the one...

Mom can we get those *fill in the blank*
But I neeeeeeed them *used with the most pathetic whiny voice imaginable*
Sorry, but they are expensive and not very healthy.
*This will be followed by 1 of three things 1) child stops asking but pouts and gives you the evil eye for the next 20 minutes.  2) more argument proceeds where the child does their best to wear you down and convince you that they will die if they don't have the item in question. 3) Full blown temper tantrum.*

Anyways, several months ago I had some homemade fruit leather that I thought was fantastic.  I wondered if my children would actually eat it even though they dont' like Fruit Roll-Ups so I found a recipe online that I wanted to try.

Homemade Fruit Leather
You Will Need:
2 cups fruit 
1 tablespoon lemon Juice
¼ cup sugar (optional, depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
Food processor
Parchment paper
Vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 150 -170 degrees F. If your oven doesn't go this low, simply set it to the lowest temperature and prop the door open.  Puree the strawberry pulp and lemon juice in a food processor. If you choose another fruit you can chop it and stew it with the lemon juice until it softens before pureeing it. Stewing the fruit helps it retain its color. If it is a fruit with seeds, a food mill will remove the seeds more easily than a food processor and strainer. Add a small amount of water to the mixture if necessary so that it has a pourable consistency.  Cover a baking sheet with plastic, parchment paper, or a silicon baking pad. The temperature of the oven is low enough not to affect the plastic. (Note: wax paper will not work for this recipe, it will stick.)  Spray or brush with vegetable oil, then spread the fruit puree onto the sheet tray with an offset spatula or knife to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Place it in the oven for 6-8 hours. Make sure there is air circulating to prevent scorching. Alternatively place it in the sun for 6-8 hours.  Invert the fruit leather onto another baking sheet covered in plastic or silicon baking pad, and oil, and remove the first lining. Place in the oven or sun for another 6-8 hours. If it becomes too brittle at any point, simply brush on water with a pastry brush to rehydrate it.  Cool the sheet tray and cut the fruit leather into desired sizes. Dust with corn starch to prevent sticking, cover in plastic and store in a cool place in a sealed container.

I grabbed a bag of frozen strawberry's and set them on the counter to defrost.  When they were fully defrosted they were already pretty soupy looking so I decided they didn't need to be stewed to be softened.  I put them in my food processor and it was pure liquid in about 30 seconds.   I opted out on the sugar for this first batch because the original poster said that as the fruit dries it becomes sweeter.

 I poured the liquid onto my prepared cookie sheet then put it in the oven.  The lowest my oven goes is 170 degrees.

About every hour I would check on it and it ended up taking 7 hours for the entire batch to dry out.  The center was being pretty stubborn.

The Verdict: In no way did it resemble leather.  It was pretty brittle. I broke off a couple small pieces and handed them to the kids.  They each took a bite, made a face and declared that they didn't like it.  In my daughters words "I don yike it." I took a bite and had to agree with the kids.  It was pretty bitter.  I should have put sugar in.

I left that pan out for a few hours not wanting to throw it away, but not wanting to keep it because we probably wouldn't eat it.  That evening I decided to just toss it and when I went to get it I saw that 3/4ths of it was missing.  The kids had been sneaking pieces all afternoon and apparently had decided they loved it. They ended up eating all of it.

About a week later I decided to try again but I wanted to experiment a little bit.  I added sugar, then I threw in a handful of fresh spinach. I put the spinach right in the food processor with the strawberries and they blended together great.

The Verdict with Spinach: Except for the burnt pieces it tasted great.  You couldn't taste the spinach at all and the kids ate it up very quickly.

I bet your wondering why it had burnt edges.  Let me tell you.  I put the pan into the oven and turned it on.  My plan was to pull the pan out of the oven right before I went to bed, but when do things ever go according to plan?  Things got a bit hectic that evening so I plum forgot all about that fruit leather sitting in the oven.

The next morning I walked by the oven and was surprised to feel a lot of warm air next to it.  At that point I remembered about the fruit leather and started to freak out. I began yelling "OH NO OH NO OH NO OH NO"  as I yanked open the door. I was expecting a smoking black crisp, but instead I saw this. That fruit leather had sat in the oven for, get ready for this, 19 hours.

 About half of it was still edible, I was shocked.  So even though the texture I keep getting is nothing like leather and I can't roll it up, it taste pretty good, the kids love it, and it's very easy to make.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Homemade Garbage Disposal Cleaner

 I've been pretty fortunate when it comes to garbage disposals.  I've never had a problem with one getting a funky rotting smell that some can get.  I don't know if it's the type of garbage disposals I've had, or if it's because I tend to run them for an extremely long time ensuring nothing is left in there. 

Regardless of never having a stink issue, I wanted to try a homemade garbage disposal cleaner to see if it made a nice citrus smell in my disposal.

Homemade Garbage Disposal Refreshers
You Will Need:
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap
  • 1 lemon
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Small spoon or scoop
  • Sealable glass jar
Measure and add the baking soda and salt to a small mixing bowl, and give a stir, ensuring the mixture isn't lumpy.  Now grate the lemon peel into the mixture along with adding the liquid dish soap.  Slice the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the mixture. Continue stirring and adding juice until the mixture resembles course sand.  Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper, use a small spoon or scoop to mold the half rounds, and then tap them out onto the pan. A rounded teaspoon measuring spoon works wonderfully. Continue molding the refreshers until the mixture is gone. Allow to dry overnight.  Place the dried garbage disposal refreshers in a sealable container. When your sink isn't smelling fresh, simply place a few in the disposal, and flip the switch.

 I mixed all my ingredients together and was pretty surprised at how much of the lemon peel I was able to grate off.  I was worried that my big cheese grater wasn't going to work on the lemon, but it worked just fine and the bigger lemon peel pieces blended in ok.

 Using a teaspoon, I was able to get 61 disks and the whole process only took me about 10 minutes.

The Verdict: The next day I grabbed one and was impressed with how hard they were.  If I squeezed one it would break, but they were pretty tough. I used one in my disposal and didn't notice any difference.  So I used another one, and I still didn't notice anything. At that point I grabbed a flashlight, stuck my head in the sink and tried to see if my garbage disposal looked any cleaner. This action created a flashback to The Incredible Shrinking Woman.

My disposal did look cleaner but I started to realized that it was going to be hard to give an opinion on this when I didn't really have one.  So I recruited my friend over at and here is what she had to say;

"My previous experience is with Plink brand garbage disposal cleaner/deodorizers, in both lemon and orange scents. I have used them when the sink area was starting to smell funky or we'd put some stinky stuff through the disposal. They eliminate the bad odors and when you run the hot water for a couple days after, it renews the citrus scent. The homemade ones didn't seem to leave any particular scent, although they reduced the bad ones. As for the cleaning action, I did carefully peek down the disposal and it looked less funky.
Frankly, for the time and money, one could probably achieve the same effect with lemon slices."

So it sounds like these may or may not be worth the effort, it probably just depends on how funky your disposal is and if you want to invest the time to make them. Either way, just check your disposal before you turn it on, you never know if you're going to find a stray fork or Lily Tomlin.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

I thought this little guy was so cute and funny. Plus I think it's a great list.  So enjoy!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Remember my Mater look alike muffin tin?

Before I tossed it out, I spent some time trying a few rust removal home remedies.

I searched the Internet and found four different methods I wanted to try.

 Coke's Verdict:  I had always heard that coke could take rust off a nail.  This was the perfect chance to play my own version of Mythbusters. I poured some coke into one of the muffin tins then let it sit over night.
Unfortunately (or fortunately if your a Coke drinker) I think this myth is busted.  It took a little bit of the rust off but not a whole lot. It might have taken off more rust if I had left it longer, but I really don't want a rusty Coke filled muffin tin in my kitchen.

Hydrogen peroxide mixed with cream of tartar Verdict: I mixed the two together until I had a thick paste.  Then using a toothbrush I scrubbed the mixture onto the rust.  Bubkiss!  All it did was lighten the color of the rust.

Lemon juice mixed with borax Verdict: I mixed the two together until I had a thick paste then I scrubbed the mixture into the rust using a toothbrush. (In case you missed it, that was the exact same method I did with the cream of tartar) It did slightly better then the previous method, but still not much. 

Lemon Juice's Verdict: I poured some lemon juice in one of the tins then left it over night.  It didnt' get everything, but it made a significant difference.
This of course got me curious as to how lemon juice would work on other things.  So I dug around in my kitchen some more and found a knife and can opener that were looking a bit sad.  I let them sit in a cup of lemon juice for about an hour and was pleasantly surprised  at the results.

If all else fails then just do what I did, put your item out of it's misery by tossing it and just go buy a new one.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Homemade Swiffer Duster

About a month ago I did a post about a homemade dusting spray.  My final line in that post was,
"It also works well with my homemade Swiffer, but that will have to wait for another post, to be continued...."

I had planned on continuing that post a week later.  You can see how well that panned out.  I've done enough posts now that they are all starting to jumble together and I'm forgetting what I've posted about.

So without further ado, here is the highly anticipated (or quickly forgotten) review for my homemade Swiffer

Homemade Swiffer or another Homemade Swiffer (they are both good tutorials)
You will need:
A sewing machine
A Swiffer wand
Fabric (microfiber and fleece seem to be the most popular when I looked at all the tutorials)

Cut 2 pieces of microfiber cloth into 4 inch by 6 inch pieces.  Cut 2  pieces of microfiber cloth into 8 inch by 8 inch pieces.  Place one of the small pieces of cloth on top of each of the larger pieces.  Sew each small piece to the top of each large piece. Right down the center.  Place the two large cloths together with the two small pieces facing out.  Fold the small piece of cloth to the side. (both the small pieces to the same side) Sew the large pieces together leaving a  1 & 1/4 X 6 inch slot for the handle to slide into. Cut the cloth into fringe around the Swiffer holder

Before I get into my quick step by step process, let me warn you that my sewing skills are awful.  Want proof? I bet you can't guess what this is suppose to be...
Give up? A pair of boxers that I made in 9th grade.  Yes, I really do have awesome sewing skills.

So with that in mind, you aren't allowed to mock my sewing job on the Swiffer I made..... ok you really are, but only as long as I can join in on the mocking.

I decided to do fleece, since that is what I had on hand.  I grabbed a Swiffer and used that to measure my first piece. 

I then cut out three more pieces, each one smaller then the next.  Apparently my cutting skills are just as awesome as my sewing skills. 

 I placed my Swiffer handle on the fabric and traced it then I sewed on the lines.

Here is where my really fantastic sewing skills came in handy.  By hand, I sewed the top two pieces together and the bottom two pieces together so it would be easy to put the Swiffer handle in. 

 I then cut all around the edge and voila!  It's ready to go.
 The Verdict: If you have used a Swiffer then you know that there is something on it.  Something that helps the dust get collected then stay put. So it wasn't a big surprise to me when this homemade version only succeeded in pushing the dust around.  I ran around and dusted my family room and when I was done the homemade Swiffer looked brand new.  There wasn't a speck of dust on it.  The dust was currently floating around in the air trying to find another victim to land on.

However, when I spray it with my homemade dusting spray, it works pretty good.  Not as good as a store bought Swiffer, but the money I save by having a reusable duster is worth it. 

 Maybe I can use that saved money for sewing lessons.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Body Scrub

The very first DIY I did was a body scrub.  I loved it so much that 5 years later I am still making my own body scrub and I frequently give it away as a gift.

While there are many pros to homemade body scrub, the main reason I love it is because I can customize it a thousand different ways. 

Homemade Body Scrub
You will need:
Some sort of abrasive substance such as salt, sugar or Epsom salt
Some sort of oil such as olive, canola, almond etc. 

Mix two parts of your abrasive substance to 1 part oil.  If you use an oil that is hard, like coconut, melt it before adding the abrasive substance.  Don't get it to hot or your salt or sugar will dissolve.

You don't have to be exact with the measurements, but you want to have a consistency similar to this.

 The oil will settle to the top, but you can give it a quick mix with your finger before you use it. 

Now comes the fun part. You can add food coloring, essential oils, dried flowers etc.  Throw in anything you want to make it look cute and smell good.  The soap making section in craft stores usually have great scents and dried plants that work great with body scrubs.

The Verdict: I have made countless batches of this stuff and I have found that sugar and coconut oil are the best combination.  Epsom salt can be a bit rough and table salt is very unforgiving if you have any sort of open wounds.  Coconut oil isn't as greasy as other oils and it absorbs into skin pretty quickly. 
 The bad thing about coconut oil is that it will re harden.  I keep my scrub in a sealed container in my shower and by the time I'm ready to use it, it's usually soft enough that I can grab a handful. 

This is a citrus blend I made and gave away to several people.  I got a lot of complements on this one, unfortunately I can't remember how I made it.  I just sort of threw stuff together without paying attention. I need to be more organized.