Homemade All Natural Laundry Soap

Super easy and non-toxic

Super easy and non-toxic

Making laundry soap isn’t the most exciting thing to do on a Saturday morning, but in the pantheon of household chores, this ranks in the “very tolerable” category in both time and money.  I started to make my own soap out of necessity as our former residence had the hardest water ever which, after washing, left a crummy residue on our clothes when the soaps did not dissolve.  I started to do research about natural solutions to this conundrum and discovered that both borax and washing soda work well in hard water.  I then found many recipes for homemade laundry soaps using both ingredients and, after some test runs, have settled on the following.  This formula is an extremely affordable way to use natural laundry detergent without the steep price of manufactured natural soaps — at pennies a load.  Nothing costs a penny anymore, except this!

Grating the soap bar.

Grating the soap bar.

All you need is washing soda, borax, baking soda and a bar of natural soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s because I like to have a little bit of fragrance in the soap), and a bucket.  The first step is grating the bar of soap; I use a cheese grater.  Once grated, I grind the soap in an old food processor (it’s missing half a blade so I kept it for this purpose but you can use your regular appliance and wash it post soap-making) with a cup of one of the powdered ingredients until the soap is about the same consistency as typical laundry soap.  Place all of the ingredients in a bucket and mix, shaking until everything is incorporated.  The process from start to finish takes all of 10 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to walk down a couple of aisles in the grocery store.  Yep, this recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my former kindergartner students used to say.  The best part is that you only use a tablespoon to do a load of laundry, so your batch will last you at least a couple of few months.

Homemade laundry soap — adapted from many online recipes and tested by our household

  • 3 cups of borax
  • 3 cups of washing soda
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 bar of natural soap (i.e. Dr. Bronner’s), grated

That is really it!  All of these ingredients can be easily procured at your local store.  As a bonus, this recipe also works well for people with sensitive skin as there are no harsh ingredients.  Give it a spin and you will see that making your own laundry soap is loads better than what you can buy.

A Reflection on Resolutions

Farewell 2014.

Farewell 2014.

Today is the day where we as a culture are overwhelmingly optimistic and introspective.  We all start to evaluate and make promises to ourselves and others that we can (hopefully) keep.  The New Year’s Resolution is one of the trends that I find both hopeful and distasteful.  One the one hand, we make commitments to better something in our lives; on the other hand, these often involve our appearances/weight or financial gains.  I believe that we should all strive for what we desire in life, however it disheartens me to see how much of what we want is what rarely really benefits us.

Instead of dashing about trying to achieve some of my new goals at once and starting 2015 with scratched out items on a to-do list, I’ve taken the day to pause and just be.  My day has involved the following:  laying on the couch watching the snow fall and enjoying the feeling — compliments of our wall of windows — that I am in my own snow globe, wrapping myself in the warmth of my great-grandmother’s afghan, a book, a giant latte, a smattering of mini-mimosas, a 2nd book, black-eyed peas and greens,  Downton Abbey episodes and some correction of quilting mistakes, er new quilting lessons.  After a quiet evening of homemade sushi and a 9 p.m bedtime with no disturbances by revelers, I needed a whole day to start 2015 with peace, comfort and contentment.

Looking forward to this year, I do have things that I wish to achieve that will enrich my life and carry over for years to come.

1.  To knit my first sweater, preferably with the green yarn I’ve been carting around for too long.  (*See goal number 5.)

2.  To get a high-altitude bread recipe down and be the 2nd best baker in our home.

3.  To take more baths.  Not for hygienic reasons but because baths are simply awesome.

4.  To van camp more.  I love Bishop the van and need to spend more time camping in the vehicle than  driving it to and from the grocery store once a week.

5.  To downsize even more.  To really pare down to the essentials and to want even less.

It is really pretty simple that I can achieve what I want on my own terms.  There are no grandiose plans for me to run a marathon or weigh a certain amount or jump out of a plane.  I know that some believe you should aim for the stars, but that isn’t my style:  I am more of a live-r than a planner and I appreciate the simpler things in life.

In closing, I sincerely hope that 2015 brings everyone good health, peace and love.

 

Chalk Full of Ideas!

Who needs fancy fabric pencils when you have chalk?

Who needs fancy fabric pencils when you have chalk?

Do you ever have that moment where you feel like your project is getting out of control and becoming stressful?  I have these kinds of moments quite often and the solution is to step away before I get flustered.  After all, crafting is supposed to be my antidote to the stress in life, not another instigator.  Over the weekend, I was working on what will become a baby quilt and getting overwhelmed by the explicit instructions to keep quilt blocks labeled left and right.  This directive sounds much more simplistic than how the pattern really is, trust me.  Anyhow, I went to the garage to kvetch with my sweetie who was working on his own creation.  He suggested writing on them, or marking the separate sides with chalk.  Holy cow, my problem was instantly solved!  Armed with chalk, I was able to label my pieces (on the back, naturally) so that during the process of creation, there is no mistaken direction.

I love that the simple solution of chalk was brought up and how quickly I was able to move past my previous hurdle.  Armed with my chalk, I was no longer stressed out about mixing up my pieces.  I am going to keep this piece of chalk with my quilting tools for future projects.  Sometimes, you just need someone to point out the obvious, simple solution.