DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

I always liked the idea of DIY-ing things. Even if it ends up being “more work than it’s worth” or costs the same (or more) than store bought. Which, in my life, I usually get both!

I love this recipe for making your own laundry detergent from Bren Did, and I think you will, too. It is so easy to make, and costs around $10. My first batch lasted me FIVE MONTHS…. and I have a husband and a toddler. So, that’s pretty legit.

All of the ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store or Amazon.

I modified (slightly) Bren’s recipe, and here it is:

RECIPE

1 box of Super Washing Sodahere

4lbs. of Baking Soda, here

4 bars of Kirk’s Original Castile Soap, here

1 – 3lb Container of OxiClean Odor Blaster, here

I pull out my big Thanksgiving stuffing-making bowl and get to work. I grate the soap on an inexpensive cheese grater, like this one. I liked the idea of having a separate grater for my crafting/DIY projects. I know it’s just soap, but I didn’t want it mixing with my food.

Grate up your bar soap and mix it in with all of your other ingredients. This is where that BIG bowl comes in handy.

I use a whisk and a spatula to fold and whisk together all of the ingredients. I would also suggest some kind of mask, because the dust will get to you. My husband says I look like a scene from Breaking Bad when I’m mixing my soap up!

Next, I use a funnel to pour it into a pretty flip-top seal-able jar. You want to make sure it stays sealed. I used my Cricut to cut out vinyl letters that say “Laundry Soap”. That was one of my first Cricut projects. I use one 2 Tablespoons per load. (I received a 2 TB. measuring spoon as part of a wedding gift that I never used, so now it has a purpose!) Sometimes I use two scoops if it’s a particularly nasty load.

I know you’re going to love this and it will last you forever. Like I said, I just made my second batch after FIVE MONTHS!

 

How To: Chalkboard Signs

I love handwriting and hand lettering and all things hand written. I love fonts, and I love getting to practice new fonts.

I get asked to address envelopes for weddings and holidays all the time, and I LOVE it.

Fancy writing is really quite easy, and today I want to show you how to take the plunge if you haven’t practiced hand lettering before, OR give you a few tips if you are a hand-writing-lover like me!

This post may contain affiliate links.

If you are going to be making a sign, consider the type of material you want to write on. It doesn’t only have to be a chalkboard to work. I often use black wrapped canvases like these, and I prefer them.

I choose to use chalkboard markers over actual chalk. And I MUST have a chisel-tip!!! I used these VersaChalk markers for my friend’s wedding chalkboards, and they turned out so well. The colors were perfect because they’re more natural, not as shocking and crazy as some of the neon-colored packs you see at the craft supply store!! I also like the Bistro Chalk Markers, but I have a harder time finding them – usually just at JoAnn’s if I’m lucky.

An actual chalkboard is nice, but I feel like the canvas absorbs the ink in a different way, and gives it more character. The chalkboards can sometimes be too crisp. (Which I think is an example of irony… making a chalkboard design, but not on an actual chalkboard because it doesn’t look chalkboard-y enough?!)

First what you need to do is decide what the heck you’re going to write. See: Pinterest (here’s my Typography board!). You may want to practice on some paper first, get the spacing right, see how you like the word placement. For example, maybe you think that you want to write two words next to each other, but once you write it on paper, you might decide it looks better with one word on each line.

So you’ll have your canvas and your chisel-tip chalk marker. (La Croix optional, but suggested!)

Next, start with the out line and main focus of what you want the board to be. For example, my board I’m making today says Mr. & Mrs. – so I’m going to start with that, not the flourishes and little extra stuff.

So I got it all drawn out.

Next, you will start to outline the letters. The trick here is to only make the writing “thicker” where your “down stroke” with the pen would have been. This makes it look more like you’re doing legit calligraphy.

See how it’s double-lined in some areas? Next, you’ll fill that in. (Although I think the double-lined thickness does look kind of cool and I have stopped with that before!)

And for the final touches, I drew the thinnest line possible on the left sides of the letters. This give it a cool, more dimensional look. I also added in some flourishes and border things. Pinterest is another good resource for getting flourish inspo.

I probably could have kept going on this one, but decided to keep it more on the simple side!

Happy Crafting!

How To Make Cake Mix Taste Like Scratch

So I have a degree in culinary arts. I also use cake mix occasionally.

I once saw an episode of Alton Brown (all hail Alton Brown) where he said the secret to the best cake ever is to use cake mix, but ONLY if you make your own frosting.

So that is what I (usually) do. There are some cakes that I will make from scratch, but I almost always use a cake mix, and I’ve gotten pretty crafty with it, too.

Pillsbury is my brand of preference. When I use their White Cake mix, I whip the egg whites like a meringue with very soft peaks and fold it into the batter.

I always make my own frosting – sorry, not really a fan of store bought frosting. I just can’t get into it. Making your own frosting is really one of the easiest things to do. Especially if you have a stand mixer like mine.

Start with room-temp butter, or just a little colder, and whip it until it’s white and fluffy. (Remember, room temperature is different in July than it is in January.) Then, add a pinch of salt (I prefer sea salt, not table salt) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Next you will add the powdered sugar, about a half a cup at a time… unless you want a big ol’ mess to clean up. After all of the powdered sugar is mixed in, whip it for another minute or so until it’s fluffy.

A secret tip for cake frosting: to get all of the bubble out, use a hand mixer and be sure the whisk part of the paddles are completely submerged in the frosting. (This will also work in your stand mixer if you are making a TON of frosting.) Mix the frosting for a minute or two, and the top with start to look really smooth and soft. This method gets all of the air bubbles out, and the frosting will be so smooth, especially if you’re putting it on a cake.

My Recipe for Buttercream:

2 sticks of Butter (unsalted, softened)

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt

4 cups of Powdered Sugar (a little more or a little less)

  1. Whip butter with stand mixer on medium speed. Throw in a pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides well with a rubber spatula often.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar SLOWLY, like a half a cup at a time. And don’t add more in until it’s mixed in. Keep your rubber spatula scrape downs going on!

You can store the frosting sealed well if you’re not using it right away, although it’s best to use right away.

Toddler decorating action optional.

 

How To Use Cricut Design Space with Iron On Material

I’ve been obsessed with my Cricut lately.

I got it for Christmas from my mom, but we had our house listed for sale shortly after, and then had to pack and move, and then unpack…. I didn’t really get to play around with it as much as I wanted to.

Well now the flood gates have burst with Cricut projects. I sure hope my family is all looking forward to Cricut project gifts for Christmas!

I’ve been especially excited about the iron-on material. I made a shirt for my daughter (which turned out so freakin’ cute), a couple of tote bags (okay like 10 tote bags), and then some more tote bags.

Here’s some things I’ve learned about iron on material.

By the way, if it helps, I have this Cricut.

So I had a hard time understanding how the IO Material should be oriented on the mat. Especially because the metallic and non-metallic look so different. Add the mirror-imaging to that and my brain is all twisted up.

So the outside of the roll will go down on your mat (the part you see when the material is all rolled up). It seems backwards, but that’s the way you want to do it. (However, I found out the hard way that if you put it wrong-side-down, you can still re-cut it on the correct side.

Don’t forget to check mirror image before you cut. Found that one out the hard way, too. When you have IO Material selected as your media, it will show a “mirror image” option in the “cut” screen that you can select. It’s really easy, but you won’t be able to do it until you’re in the “cut” screen.

Next, your image will be cut and you have to weed out all of the negative space. Weeding is the term they use for peeling out all of the extra material so you are left only with the design you want to use. Once you get a little more seasoned, you will get craftier with positioning so you don’t waste as much material (like I did).

Now you’ll be left with a big piece of clear transfer sheet and the design cut from the metallic/other IO Material.

Change the setting of your iron based on the material you’re transferring onto. For my daughter’s shirt, which was a thin cotton baseball t-shirt, I used medium heat. For the heavy duty canvas totes, I used high heat. Do not use steam.

Iron your design onto your tote/shirt/etc. evenly. It will take longer than the Cricut packaging suggests (that’s what I experienced, longer than 30 seconds). I probably spent at least a minute rolling the iron around the design.

You may notice that the color of the IO Material changes when it heats, but in my experience it has gone right back to the original color when it cools (a minute, maybe?). Pay special attention to tiny lines and delicate parts, make sure then get good and ironed on there!!

Once it appears the image has transferred, gently pull up a small corner of the clear paper to see if the IO Material is sticking. If it is, let go of the clear paper! Allow the image to cool for a couple minutes, and then remove the clear transfer paper.

Make sure to take care when washing the item, spot treat if that’s and option. My daughter’s shirt gets washed inside-out, and hung to dry (which is why she doesn’t wear it often! HA!).

I hope this helps with your Cricut cutting!

 

Really Good Lemonade

So last week, with it being the beginning of July and all, I realized that it’s officially summer. (Duh.)

If you live in Michigan, like me, or anywhere in the mid/east/northern section of the country you’re in a constant up-and-down in the months of February through May. We had 70 degree days in February this year. We also had snow in April. It’s ever changing.

About this time every year I realize, Oh! I need to start enjoying summer now that I know it will officially stick around now! (Also, I’m obsessed with fall, so excited about that, too.)

Every summer I like to make lemonade. I usually only do it once, because I forget how much work it is, and my family chugs it down so it doesn’t really last more than a couple hours. (Which I should really take as a compliment!)

Last week I bought a whole bunch of lemons at the grocery store with the intent of making lemonade, and this morning I came across a recipe that kicked me into action.

I found Sheena’s blog Noshtastic via Pinterest (is there anywhere else to find anything of importance?!) What originally drew me to her site was her attention to food allergies, diseases, and preferences. My husband and I try to eat a mostly-paleo diet, and what I like about Sheena’s recipes is that they are all clearly noted with Vegan, Vegetarian, GF, Paleo, etc. labels, so they’re easy to sort through!

Now this lemonade was definitely not paleo, but OH SO DELICIOUS!

The simpler the recipe the better. I tend to stray away from any recipes with too many ingredients. Sheena’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade was a perfect fit for this. All you need is sugar, water, and lemon juice.

The only thing I did slightly differently was that instead of putting in 4 -5 cups of cold water at the end, I put in 3 cups of cold water and about 8 ice cubes (#impatient).

The process is quite easy. You can get the full recipe and instructions (and helpful video) here, it was very easy to tackle. So easy that I think I will make it more than once this summer.

Cost comparing, it’s the same or less than store bought lemonade. The lemons cost me $0.33 each (times 7, so $2.31 total), and the sugar… maybe another $0.50. Collectively under $3, and it took less than 10 minutes to make. (It probably would have been quicker if I hadn’t lost the top to my electric citrus juicer!)

This Lemonade is so refreshing. Store-bought has its place but this was definitely a perfect summer treat without comparison.

Here’s a thought. If you’re anything like me then you ashamed that you usually don’t use all of your produce every week. When you have leftover citrus that’s about to go, juice it and pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze. Then, once you’ve collected an ample supply of citrus juice, use it to make this lemonade. I would love to try this recipe with a mix of oranges, limes, and lemons.