Anti-Chemical Warfare

As my move-in day at the U draws nearer and nearer I have been frantically trying to back up the ‘natural’ in my URL with something blogable. Actually, that’s not quite why I spent my morning measuring washing soda and grating a rather stubborn bar of soap. You see, I decided that the best way for me to cut most of the chemicals from my day to day life is to make the cut as I go to college. I can start fresh, so to speak, and change my lifestyle into something that I want it to be.

This morning I measured, poured and blended several different  household cleaners from simple everyday items, everyone of which I was able to find either in my grocery store, or at a local fresh life. (Is that a chain? If not, just check out your local natural grocery store or, heck, I’ve seen essential oils at Wegmans and I bet they have the other more exotic ingredients there too. But, I digress.)

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My Arsenal

Instead of boring your with each and every recipe I used I’ll list them  and, if you find one you want to try, just click on the picture, it’ll take you to the website I found it on.

Before we start, always use separate measuring and storage containers for these. Don’t use anything that will come in contact with your food. While these methods don’t use synthetic chemicals you don’t particularly want to be ingesting them. Trace amounts of these chemicals shouldn’t harm you but it’s better safe than sorry. also, I am neither a chemist nor a doctor. These are recipes that work for me. Don’t try them if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients and please, if you have a reaction that you’re uncomfortable with please seek a doctor.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way want to see what  I made?

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Glass and Window Cleaner

I just used the recipe on the bottle for this one which is as follows; 1/2 tblsp. liquid detergent or soap, 3 tblsp. vinegar (it didn’t specify but I used white vinegar), 2 cups water. Mix and spray.

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Toothpaste

I’ve been using this toothpaste for most of the summer now and I love it. It gets my mouth clean and it has stopped tasting yucky as the day progresses. For this recipe it’s backwards. Since you are putting the toothpaste in your mouth you want to make with the same utensils that you cook with and keep it separate from your other cleaners.

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Dishwasher Detergent

I made a little less than half of a recipe because I didn’t have enough citric acid (AKA lemonade koolaid.)

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I about killed my arm shaving a bar of soap that I found in the closet of the bathroom. I had meant to buy soap flakes but I forgot. I would highly recommend it. Shaving soap sucks, to be quiet frank. As if obsessive knitting didn’t raise my chances for carpal tunnel enough. 😉

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Deodorant

This is the recipe that I’m most excited about. I’ve been wearing homemade deodorant (goodbye aluminum!) for a while and it works great but I still hated it. Why? It wouldn’t stay solid. The coconut oil would melt at room temperature. I ruined a favorite tee shirt because it had dripped and left oil spots so, today I dumped out what was left and went surfing for a new recipe. I found a blog post where a woman had had the same problem. The solution was so simple I wondered how I hadn’t thought of it. Beeswax. It keeps things from melting. I used it in lip balm to keep it solid last Christmas. I made up the recipe and it is still solid in my eighty some degree room (at least that’s what it feels like). I used it today and it worked just as well as the original recipe.

Are you going to try any of these out? If so or you have any questions leave a comment. I’ll get back to you as quick as I can.

Pro tip:

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Have sticky residue left on your recycled bottles or jars? Soak a tissue (Yes, a tissue. For some reason it works best that way.) in nail polish remover and scrub away. It’ll take a while but it should remove all of the sticky residue.

Time Traveling Bedsheets.

Everybody in my family thinks I grew up in the wrong decade. They think I’d be more comfortable in the nineteen sixties. What can I say? I’m my mother’s daughter. That being said, as I shopped for everything I would need in my dorm I hatched a plan. I was going to tie-dye my bed sheets. I would have a brown comforter and curtain over my closet but, all my little things like plates and cups and whatnot would be bright colors that matched the tye-die hues of my bed sheets.

The battle was hard, there were lots of color casualties.

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Mostly my hands and feet, due to a leaking bottle of purple dye that I stepped in and a yellow bottle that wasn’lt closed right so it sprayed yellow everywhere.

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I actually ran out of dye part-way through so all I did was the sheets and a few shirts. One was a white blouse that had come out of the washer with mysterious blue stains. I tie-dyed to cover those up. I also did a purple ombre on a grey tank top. A few days and a Walmart run later, I tie-dyed the three dishcloths that I had knitted up earlier in the summer (using The Almost Lost Washcloth pattern by Julie Tarsha). 

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I think, for once, on of my plans actually worked.

I have a problem.

My goal while I was at the beach was to catch up on the Blanket. While I now realize that this goal was a ludicrous one I have a problem. I did work on the Blanket every day and towards the end I noticed something.

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I was running out of yarn. As I diligently knitted I was using up skeins. That’s a good thing on the progress end of things but, on the variety of the blanket end I might as well be starving it. I had a lot of blue yarns to begin with and now I think 75% of the yarns I’m knitting with are blue and 10% are green or grey.

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What a pretty problem

The only solution is to knit more socks, right?

As tempting as that suggestion is I have a better one. A swap. Would anybody be willing to swap mini skeins with me? We could do five (or any number you feel comfortable with) mini skeins at in between 25 and thirty yards per skein. That should be enough for two squares, at least by my math. One person would be drawn randomly to receive the 30 yard skein of yarn I dyed with sour grass, dandelions, and onion skins.

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This is what looks like knit up

Stocking Up

Once upon a time, back when my mother was a tuck driver and lived in Texas, she was also vegetarian. (I don’t know if all these things happened simultaneously but, they were in close proximity with each other.) She has since returned to her carnivorous roots. I don’t know why but I’d bet a skein of yarn a fair bit of money that it had something to do  with my father. He’s a meat-and-potatoes-on-a-plate sort of man. She still has, however, a vegetarian cookbook.

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It is from 1981 and it looks like it. Pages are falling out and there are stains on some of the pages. The recipes are gold, though. I especially love the soups, my favorite being curried peanut soup. It also has two recipes for making the vegetable stock needed to make the soups. Of course, one  can always use a bouillon cube but, I prefer to make my stock. It just tastes better I think.

The drawback is that it adds another hour to your soup-making time. The university I am (which shall henceforth be called ‘the U’) attending has new kitchens, one in each ‘residence hall’ (the politically correct term for dorms), and you can rent and pots and pans or other cooking utensils from the RAs. I fantasize about taking full advantage of them making bread and soup. To cut the time needed to make soup I decided to make up stock at home an take it up and put in the freezer of the mini-fridge our room

The two recipes for making stock making stock are similar. One is for cutting up vegetables specifically for the stock and the other is designed so that only scraps such as peelings and ends are needed. I make a combination of the two recipes; I save up saps and ends but I prep in it in the way called for in the other recipe. some the scraps even came from where I work. We sell side dishes like potato salad and pasta salad and my boss is more than happy to let me take home the celery ends and carrot skins that are left over from making them.

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Celery, carrots, tomatoes, purple green beans, onions…

To make the scraps recipe a quart of veggie by-products are needed. I only had half of a quart so I cut up the green beans I was going to steam for lunch ahead of time and threw in he ends of those along with a leftover half of a gargantuan tomato. I did wash the seeds out though because they would have been impossible to strain from the stock at the end.

Here’s where I deviate. I like to cook my veggie scraps with a little butter. This is what you do with the normal stock recipe whereas in the scraps one you just boil them. Once they were soft I covered them with about one-and-a-half quarts of water and seasoned.

 

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Parsley, salt, 1/2 a bay leaf, and thyme.

Then I brought it to a boil, covered and let simmer for about thirty minutes. After the stock had cooled I strained it and separated it into quart bags. I had just under a quart and a half of stock. Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the finished product… I’m sure you’ll get to see it in a later post going into some soup.

I’ve tried to write this so that, if you want to make some stock, all you have to do is follow the post. I had a little of almost every kind of vegetable recommended for the stock but the compete list of acceptable veggies is as follows:

tips of green beans

ends of zucchini

crookneck squash

mushrooms

carrots

asparagus stalks

parsley stems

tomato trimmings

pea pods

wilted celery stalks

outer leaves of lettuce

spinach or card stems

you can also save up the water from steaming vegetables to if you want to get really thrifty.

Hope I didn’t bore you with this rather long blog post about extracting the essence of vegetables. 🙂

Slightly Dysfunctional, Brady Bunch-like, Thriftaholics

Being the type of family (Slightly dysfunctional, Brady bunch-like, and thriftaholics) that we are, when we found the All Saints Parish Thrift Store in Rehoboth we had to stop by. So on one of the rainy days (there were a few) of our vacation we spent a good hour in there.

I bought a few things. One was a dress. I liked so much about it. The flowers: yes. The length: yes. The lacing in the back: yes. The fabric: yes. The lace on the collar: no. The shoulder pads: no. But I could fix the two nos pretty easily. I would simply snip the seams that were holding the offending parts on.

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When I went to start I discovered that my mother’s thirty-year-old seam ripper had finally broken. I decided that I could, being very careful, just use her scissors. Trickiness level increased.

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Once I had the shoulder pads removed with a minimal amount of difficulty, albeit that I had to remove the hanger helper loops (whatever their real name is), it was time to start on the lace. As I made the first incision a few lines from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were running through my head.

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Harry, Ron, Seamus, Dean, and Neville changed into their dress robes up in their dormitory, all of them looking very self-conscious, but none as much as Ron, who surveyed himself in the long mirror with an appalled look on his face. There was just no getting around the fact that his robes looked more like a dress than anything else. In a desperate attempt to make them look more manly, he used a Severing Charm on the ruff and cuffs. It worked fairly well; at least he was now lace-free, although he hadn’t done a very neat job, and the edges still looked depressingly frayed as the boys set off downstairs.

I really didn’t want it to end up a frayed and stringy-looking like that. Luckily, the first section of the lace was the worst, being the most attached. Everything else was just little strings holding it on. With careful trimming I was able to remove 99.99% of the lace. I think I have a few more grey hairs for it but, it was worth it.

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I made an OOTD flipgram for my personal Instagram account (aka the non-knitting one) and I thought I’d post it here too to show off my new dress in all its glory. And to embarrassed myself by showcasing my awkward way of jumping. But, alas, things never go as planned. Unfortunately I don’t have the upgrade needed to imbed videos and I don’t seen myself shelling out the sixty dollars per year needed to purchase it. To compensate I have posted two of the pictures from the flipgram.

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I must love you guys, you still get to see my awkward jumping.