Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DIY: In the Laundry Room: Homemade Laundry Soap

I'm always trying to cut costs and use as little chemicals in my home as possible. One of the easiest ways to do both is by creating your own laundry soap. I've been using a homemade powder in my front load washing machine for years. I used it on cloth diapers, on every day things, and on caked on muddy clothes. It really works great!

The powdered recipe is very easy. Equal parts: 1 bar of finely grated soap (Fels Naptha, Zote, Ivory), 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Super Washing Soda. I also add in a half cup of Calgon water softener since I don't have soft water. Use 1 Tbs per load of laundry. And that's it!

You can find both the powder and the liquid versions in the videos below. Each video also has a rough cost break down.

Monday, April 29, 2013

WIP: Ripple Blanket

I like to crochet when I have the time. This is a WIP, work in progress, that I've worked on for about a month or so. It's working up really quickly and is a pretty mindless activity I can do while watching TV (or Netflix on my Kindle). The goal of this WIP is to use up my stash of yarn, to buy little to no additional yarn. The colors seem to be all over the place right now. But there is a method to the madness, which won't be visual until I'm further along in the blanket. I'll post again as I get create more of it! :)

For the ripple pattern you can go HERE to find out more. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On the News!

I should have posted about this a long time ago. Life just doesn't slow down and blogging gets put on the back burner sometimes!

A couple months ago I was contact by Jennifer who has a segment on a local news station where she shows off small businesses and their products. I sent her a few of my things and she added them to one of her segments. It was so exciting to see my items on the news! Check it out for yourself!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Products: Navy Sweeper and WetJets

The newest addition to the Sweeper family is available! Navy will make the 10th color I now carry. It's exciting to see my little business growing so much!

Find them on my website: HERE or find the on Etsy HERE.

Microfiber Swiffer Sweeper Refill

Microfiber Swiffer Sweeper Refill

Microfiber Swiffer Wetjet Refill

Microfiber Swiffer Wetjet Refill

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ahhhh #1: The Pointing Star

My sister over at Hillbilly Handiworks has been creating hexagon designs for awhile now. Her hexagon series are called Artistic, Hexotic, Hectic, Hillbilly Hexagons: AHHHH's for short. She's teamed up with Paper Pieces, who help her out by pre-cutting all those little pieces. Tonya then counts them, divides them, sells them, and ships them out as little kits. On her blog there are links along the top for learning how to create hexagons to how to purchase her kits. 

I've completed the first hexagon in the series: The Pointing Star. These are all hand sewn and done in my free time, which isn't too often, so they are slow going. I love picking out the fabric and enjoy the whole process though!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homemade Chicken Stock

Last week I wrote about how to roast a whole chicken. The process is simple with some delicious results! You can find the tutorial HERE.

Today I'd like to tell you hot to make chicken stock from the left-overs. Homemade chicken stock is so much more wholesome then what you can find in the stores! You can flavor it however you like, make it low or no sodium/salt, and save a ton of money too! The stock can be used in any recipe that calls for it: soups, stews, etc.

  • 1 (5 lb) chicken carcass (or any size)
  • Vegetables (use what you like)
    • 1 large onion, chopped into large chunks
    • 1 large leek, trimmed and rinse, chopped into large chunks
    • 3 carrots, unpeeled, ends trimmed and chopped into large chunks
    • 3 parsnips, unpeeled, ends trimmed and chopped into large chunks
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped into large chunks
    • a handful of parsley
    • a few sprigs of fresh thyme and dill
    • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Place the chicken carcass in a large stockpot. Add about 2.5 quarts of water (your chicken should be submerged). Add all the vegetables, herbs, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 4 hours or until liquid is reduced by half.

Strain the entire contents of the pot through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Pour liquid into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, use a spoon to remove the layer of fat that has solidified on the top of the bowl of stock. The stock itself may become jelly-like when it's cold. Once it's room temperature or heated, it will turn back to a liquid state.

Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Divide usable portions into mason jars, leaving enough room for expansion during freezing, or freeze in ice cube trays and transfer to a freezer bag later.

That's it! Pretty easy, huh? Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Whole Roast Chicken

Occasionally I like to make a whole chicken. It's delicious and I can use the left overs in another meal the next day or so. Prep time is about a half hour and cooking time is about an hour. It's really simple and I can work on other things while it cooks. :)

For this recipe you need a chicken that is approximately 5 lbs. You can season the chicken any way that you like. Some ideas are: butter, garlic, and bacon; butter and herbs; lime and coconut; the possibilities are endless!

1. Begin by putting a 5-quart Dutch oven in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. After the oven has preheated, continue to heat the oven and pan for 20 more minutes.

2. While everything is heating up prepare your seasoning. Clean your chicken, remove the skin (unless you like it on), and pull out the gizzards, etc. Cut slashes along the legs, breast, and back and rub your seasoning on, pushing some into the slashes.

3. Carefully place the chicken, breast side down, in the hot pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 165 to 170 degrees F. About 60 to 75 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool for awhile. If you wish, carve and arrange. If you're like my family, just dig in and enjoy!

6. Save those chicken bones! I will be posting next week on how to make a delicious and nutritious chicken stock that you can use in all your cooking needs!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sewing Saturday: I got something done!

This week was FULL of school work. We were off last week and it always seems like the week back is hard. I'm so glad to have my boys home with me even though it can be a challenge most days. We can go at our own pace, work ahead or work slower on things. I'm thrilled to see progress made either way.

I did sew quite a bit this week too. If you're a facebook fan or a friend of mine then you've probably already seen progress photos. I've been working on a large order for a good customer of mine. She's ordered matching diaper covers and fitted cloth diapers for her little guy. She picked out her favorite fabrics and I ordered everything in. So far I've gotten all the diaper covers completed. My goal for next week is to sew the fitted diapers. :)

In other news, we've got about 3 weeks left until my husband comes home!! This has been the longest past 11 or so months. Deployment sure isn't for the faint of heart! I'm trying really hard to wrap up my current projects so I can take a little bit of time off when he gets back. 

Until next time... have a great weekend everyone!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sewing Saturday: My recent accomplishments

I have been busy as always here in my little sewing room! I have been trying really hard to schedule my days and stick to it. It helps my time management tremendously!

This past week was full of sewing and school planning. We took the whole week off, which is something I get to control as the head honcho of our little homeschool. We're year-round schoolers, for those who are curious that just means I plan roughly six weeks of school at a time, take a week off, repeat. We take 3-4 weeks off in the summer and around Christmas too. The benefits are shorter days, less review,  and it just really works for us. :)

This week I completed a wetbag wholesale order for Karin at Dominopads.com. I sew all her wetbags. :)

I also completed a custom order for a client. I created 5 large diaper covers for her little one. She picked out the fabric and I lined everything with PUL (waterproof fabric).

I love sewing! I can't wait to show you what I make next week! If you're interested in placing a custom order, check the tabs up top for more info!

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Friday, April 5, 2013

New Products: Black Sweeper and WetJets

I recently was able to add the new color, black, to the Swiffer Sweeper and WetJet collection! I've been working hard to get them available to you. Check out the links below!

Swiffer WetJets

Swiffer Sweepers

Hand Mitts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Introducing: Julie! ~Our Newest Team Member~

I'd like to introduce Julie to you all!

Life has gotten so busy for me over the past couple of months that I've needed to bring on some extra help. Julie is a great friend of mine. We've known each other for several years when our oldest boys were in school together. She helps me out by babysitting my little guy several times a week so I can homeschool my oldest or work on sewing projects. Recently, though, she has joined me in my business. Julie cuts almost every single fitted diaper and diaper cover for me now. I love being able to hand over the fabric and have it cut up just as I need it. It saves me so much time and energy! With her help I'm able to manage everything just a little bit better and I'm blessed to have her on my team!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Giveaway Time!

Hey friends!

I have some exciting news! Kiwi and Kiki are having a huge 25,000 facebook fan giveaway and I'm one of the sponsors!

There are 3 different giveaways. You can enter all of them or just the one that interests you. I'm participating in the mom/family one with a set of my Swiffer Wetjet Pads.

Hop on over and check it out!

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