This was not intended to be my third 8 in 2013 project. In fact, I didn't even know this was going to be a project at all! The story is this: I took E to gymnastics one Saturday morning like I always do and on the way home we stopped at JoAnn's so I could pick up a couple things I needed. While waiting to get fabric cut, E spied this half yard of pink owl fabric in the clearance bin and just had to have it. For under a dollar, how could I argue?
She played with the fabric for a few weeks and then one morning, I asked her if she'd like me to make it into something for her. "Yes!" she said, "A pizza!"
I gave her some options. Skirt? No, a pizza. Drawstring bag? No, a pizza. Finally, a pillow? Yes.
We have a winner!
It was incredibly simple - I simply folded the fabric in half, right sides together, and sewed it up, leaving a hole for stuffing. Then I flipped it right side out and sewed a little border around it, making sure to leave the hole for stuffing. I stuffed it with enough stuffing to make it puffy but not overly filled, as I wanted the pillow to be flat-ish when she actually got around to lying on it. (This was an excellent excuse to use up a whole bag of polyfil that I bought years ago for stuffing, among other things, the black and white pillow in the photo below!) Once filled, I sewed up the hole and voila! Perfect toddler pillow! The whole thing took perhaps 10-15 minutes, with a baby to tend to simultaneously.
I love quick, satisfying projects like this - they're so gratifying! Especially when the intended recipient is in awe and "love love loves it." (Her words.)
Unfortunately, I'm about out of quick projects for my 8 in 2013...anyone want to come help me bind a large lap quilt?
Oh how delicious! A delicately maple-y, quite gingery, moist cake. With one of my favorite things - whipped cream - on top. If you want the recipe (which is not an eat! craft! live! original by any means) you'll have to head over to my blog post for work! Enjoy!
This is the second of my 8 in 2013 projects - brown flannel pajamas for M. And this is an example of my 8 in 2013 projects being defined by being finished this year...not necessarily started. These PJs took an embarrassingly long time to make. I picked up the flannel (in three colors!) on Black Friday of...2011. Yes. Over a year ago. *ahem* I also picked up the pattern - Butterick 5537 - at the same time for 99 cents.
Now, the problem with this pattern or, possibly, the problem with sewing things for M, is that nothing fits him. He's...very tall. So in order to have these jammies fit him, I bought the pattern for the XL-XXXL. Great! Except that M is extra tall, but not extra wide. So, while they fit around him, the length is strange. And part of this must have to do with the pattern itself - otherwise, the lengths would all be too short. Right? The length of the shirt is fine. Possibly too long even. But the length of the sleeves? Way too short. As you can see, I didn't even hem them. I'll need to do something about those raw edges, but I didn't want to subject my husband to 3/4 length sleeves on otherwise warm and cozy pajamas in the middle of winter in Maine.
The actual cutting and sewing went fairly smoothly. It's not a complicated pattern, it just took me forever to finally get around to it. (And, in all fairness, I did sew the pajama pants quite some time ago. It was the shirt that was missing...) It's a pretty straightforward pattern - sleeves, two fronts, back...and some weirdness with the collar pieces that may or may not have had some degree of operator error. I'll let you know when I sew the next set...
Because remember? I bought three lengths of flannel! So, coming up soon (hopefully sooner than next year...) will be two more sets of pajamas! Stay tuned for blue and green...
This post is selfish. I mean, it's not that I don't want to help you all out by telling you how to make your own laundry detergent for super cheap. But the main reason I'm posting it is because for some strange reason, every time I go to make this, I've forgotten how much of everything goes in it. And when you see what goes into it...well...you'll laugh. How could I forget something so simple?
(Truthfully, I think it's because I tend to confuse it with the homemade dishwasher detergent I used to make - almost the same ingredients but different amounts.)
What you see up there is everything that goes into it - borax, baking soda, washing soda and fels naptha soap. There's a big gallon-sized glass jar back there that I store it in, and my trusty food processor to speed up the process. (Not necessary, but helpful.) You can probably find all of these ingredients at your local grocery store or perhaps Target. They generally live in the laundry aisle, except, obviously, the baking soda, which is in the baking aisle. If you think you don't see them, look again - they tend to be either on the top shelf or the very bottom, sometimes hiding toward the back. Not big money-makers, these.
Fels naptha soap! The smell takes some getting used to but I'm accustomed to it now. It's a very hard soap, which is one reason I use my food processor to grate it. You could always use a handheld grater, it'll just take some muscles and a bit of time. I've heard of people using castile soap bars as well, but have never tried it myself.
First step - grate the soap. One bar per batch. Not cheese. Don't eat it... Because my food processor is not that large, I then dump the grated soap out into a bowl to hang out for a bit while I mix the rest of the ingredients.
See that big lump? That's why I always dump the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse a couple times. I invariably end up with lumps in my raw ingredients, probably because I store them under the kitchen sink and they end up getting damp. So, what's in here? One cup each of borax, baking soda and washing soda. (See? I told you you'd laugh. It's so easy!)
After I've pulsed the white powders, I slowly add back in the grated fels naptha soap. It processes the grated soap into a fine powder and distributes everything (relatively) evenly into a pale yellow powder.
Voila! Laundry detergent! This jar is currently holding three batches. I usually make multiple batches at the same time, since I've got everything out already. But I do mix them up separately, due to the size of my food processor. To use, I keep a small coffee scoop that has, I believe, a 2 tablespoon capacity, right in the jar with the detergent. For each load I use less than one scoop of detergent. Smaller loads get a little less, but our usual load of laundry is pretty large.
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1 cup washing soda
1 bar fels naptha soap
To make - Grate the soap. Combine the powders, either in a food processor or large bowl. Add in the grated soap and process or stir to combine.
To use - Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons into your laundry, depending on the size of the load and how dirty it is, and wash as usual.
Yes, the fels naptha soap has a strong smell. It dissipates slightly once combined with the other ingredients and frankly, I just got used to it.
How long does it take me to make this? I made three batches in under ten minutes. It's super quick.
How long does it last? I generally make multiple batches, so I can't say exactly. Also, it will be highly dependent on how much laundry you do. We do a LOT of laundry and I don't make it more than once every couple months, if I remember correctly...
How much does it cost? The powdered ingredients cost a few dollars each at my local store. I don't believe any one of them costs more than $4 or so, probably less, and they last for a good long while. The fels naptha soap is about $1/bar. A note about the cost of ingredients - in my experience, they will cost much, much less if you can get them locally. When I couldn't find borax in our usual grocery store, I looked online and it was more than twice as much. The fels naptha soap is almost 4 times as expensive if you have to get it online. So how much does a load cost me? Not much. That's about as far as I can narrow it down!
Baking soda? I've seen people say that the baking soda is unnecessary. It might very well be. I figure, as cheap as it is, I might as well add it. It certainly isn't hurting anything!
Whiter whites? Nope, sorry. One thing this homemade detergent does not have is what they call "optical brighteners." These are chemicals added to laundry detergents that don't actual make your clothes cleaner, they just make them look like they are. I have noticed some of our lighter colors tending to look a little dingier than they used to. This doesn't bother me immensely, as most of our clothes are dark anyway.