Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Projects

Temperatures have dropped and a wet fall has set in. This means less clothes drying on the line outside;

which means more drying in the dryer; which means more lint in the trap; which means more fires in the fireplace.

Let me put these all together for you as I share a tip I learned from my favorite magazine, Mother Earth News.
Here is a free way to make fail-proof fire starters...really, fail proof. No matter how you stack your logs (with-in reason), these little wonders get the fire going everytime...and they are 100% recycled material making them effectively FREE!
First thing to do is to put used up candles into an old pot and melt them down.
This large one I have inthe picture ran out of wick with all of this wax left! I also received some old candles that a friend bought at an estate auction. I use a chopstick to stir and poke the wax, also to lift out the wicks that come floating to the top.
Meanwhile, get some empty egg cartons, tear off the lids, and fill each egg indent with a little bit of lint from your dryer.
When the wax is melted, pour it over the cartons.
Let them dry and cut or tear them apart. This batch that I made should last us through January.

Now all of the extra money being spent by running your dryer is made up by heating your home with wood heat. Of course, this only works if you have a fireplace or a wood stove--both very good investments.

Second tip for today.
My friend, Project Junky, posted a recipe for making your own laundry detergent at home. Her recipe was for liquid detergent. I was hesitant to try it b/c I prefer powder detergent. I like it dry so that I can come up to the washer with one arm full of clothes and I can put my soap in using just my extra arm w/out having to put down the clothes. ANYWAY, her post made me wonder if I could make powder detergent. So I found a recipe and tried it today. The recipe ratio is 2:1:1 (Bar soap:Borax:Washing Soda). This is exciting to me because it is going to save A LOT of money and I can make my laundry detergent A LOT more natural. I am using an 8oz. bar of Kiss My Face (love their soap products), Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and 20 Mule Team Borax.

All there is to it is to grate the bar of soap finely, add the other 2 ingredients and mix...EASY! Ok, well the first step isn't incredibly fun but I did find soap a lot more pleasant to grate than cheese. Here is my beautiful new bar of soap ready to be shredded (I purchased this through my local food co-op but Target has a good selection of natural soaps).
I only used 5 ounces of my bar and came up with 4 cups.

Then I added the Borax and Washing Soda (these were purchased at Fareway).

Mix it together and wa-la. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.

Use 2 tablespoons of powder for each full load. 2 TBSP!!!!!????? What do they put in store bought soap as a filler so that you have to put in a 1/2 cup for every load?

Here's the breakdown of savings.

Kiss My Face 8oz. bar soap: $3.00
Borax 72oz: $3.00
Washing Soda 55oz: $2.50

Price per load:
Homemade: $.02
Normal dry Arm & Hammer detergent: $.10

Boo-yah. Thank you Project Junky for the inspiration.