After abandoning blogging for a while I finally came to a conclusion: I want a fresh start. I have had fun with We A.R.E. Randall’s for sure, but now is the time to start anew. I am just beginning this new adventure, so there’s not a lot to view and read right now. As days go by, that will of course change. I hope you’ll visit my new (virtual) home and choose to follow!
The new blog is “Front Porch Sittin’, Sweet Tea Drinkin“. Visit me by clicking HERE.
Ever heard of making your own laundry soap? No? Well, let me wax poetic about why doing so is a good idea.
1) It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that a lot of other detergents have, meaning it won’t break down the fibers in/is gentler on your clothes, textiles, etc.
2) It is way cheaper than buying premade detergent. We are talking about $.70 a load here folks. That is easily a 1/3 of the price you would pay for even no name detergent.
3) It’s fun to make!
Hopefully, I’ve at least got your mind’s cogs turning and (possibly) interested in giving homemade laundry soap a go. I found this recipe after doing a little internet digging and was able to source all of the ingredients at my local Harris Teeter. I payed roughly $9 for everything since they didn’t have any smaller sized boxes of washing soap or Borax. On the flip side, I have enough material to handle about 5oo loads of laundry!
- 1/2 cup Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup Borax
- 1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap (shredded- I used an old cheese grater)
- 1 gallon plus 6 cups water
- 2 gallon container/bucket with lid
Mix first four ingredients in your bucket.
Let sit for 24 hours until it “gels” (It will be the consistency of egg drop soup). Use 1/2 cup per load.
Please Note: this mix is not designed to be “sudsy”. It is not the soap bubbles that clean your clothes it’s the actual ingredients in your mix.
I have a weakness for eye-catching fabric. Not to the point of obsession, but my eyes do widen with glee when I see a print I like. That being said, there are, apparently, folks who are obsessed. Like the lady who frequents one of my favorite fabric haunts. The owner there told me she comes in quite frequently and buys about a yard of different fabrics each time. When he asked her what she does with all the fabric she buys she informed him she puts it on display in her fabric room. She doesn’t use it for anything but eye candy. In a room dedicated solely to her fabric collection. Seriously. That being said, my fondness for textiles is not nearly that maniacal. Tangent aside, I visited my aforementioned haunt yesterday and picked up a yard each of these beauties.
I am going to make some 20 x 20 pillow covers tonight (zippered thank you very much) to put in my Etsy Shop (click here to visit). Among my other sewing projects in waiting are the organic french terry diapers I need to make for Charley. Girl is growing fast! I made six a few weeks ago and I absolutely love them. I love the fabric, fit, feel, absorbency, and look. The only problem is they are time-consuming to make. Here’s one from the batch I made a ~month ago.
Good looking, huh? Last but not least, my other sewing project in the works is to make new reusable shopping bags using Hutson’s dog food bag. Sounds crazy I know, but I came across images of similar ones yesterday and thought they were rather nifty. For one thing, they are putting what would otherwise be trash to good use and for another they are essentially free to make.
(courtesy of Etsy Shop Farmtown Totes)
Needless to say I have plenty to keep me busy these next few days outside of work, family, and other daily requirements. Here’s hoping I don’t flake out and decide to be lazy tonight instead, choosing to read the latest Food & Wine instead of sewing!
I am already making my own lotions, solid perfumes, and exfoliants…why not my own soap? That, at least, was my thought process the other day when I decided to try my hand at homemade soaps. My explanation for this home bath and beauty adventure (warning: scroll down to the next paragraph to skip my soap box rant) is that I want to know what I put on my body and in my belly. I find it disturbing when I read ingredient lists I cannot pronounce much less understand. Why do I need preservatives that act like formaldahyde when absorbed by own body? Why do I need fragrances and perfumes that are synthetic and disrupt my endocrine system? I embrace the notion that knowledge is power- that knowing what you are consuming, absorbing, buying keeps you healthier and saves you from unnecessary risk. So when I realized my last soap bar was just about kapoot, it was the perfect time for me to make my own using organic and simple ingredients.
I chose a glycerin-based soap to experiment with first. I added Vitamin E, shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils to liven it up and, wah-lah!, I ended up with three batches (9 bars total) that all smell amazing and leave my skin soft and smooth. So far the Cedarwood variation is my favorite and rustic enough (re: manly) for Aaron to like it, too.
My Lavender Soap
The moral of this tale is that making things yourself results in a superior product both in terms of quality and safety. While it is true that homemade requires more time and effort than running to the store, I firmly believe that whatever exertion you to have to put forth is a small cost for the rewards you reap. I am now stepping down from my proverbial soap box. Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!
Holy Moly Gaucamole Batman, this weekend was exhausting! The reason for such whirlwind activity was a very important one- Roscoe turned 5! We had not one, not two, but THREE parties for him with the end result being one very happy, and very tired, young man. The celebrations started out with cake and party favors for his class. In the interest of time and my sanity, I did not make his cakes for 2/3′s of the parties and bought the favors online via Oriental Trading- easy peasy. After being hopped up on sugar and the added excitement of turning 5, Roscoe came home to celebrate another party with family. My mom and dad came in for the party, too, making it an even more special day for our special guy.
What summer party is complete without watermelon?!
The cake! (Spiderman of course)
Our big presents to little man were a touch tablet (only $55 folks- not an ipad!) and an ukelele. I am proud to say he loved both! As for us, we loved having so many special people with whom to share this awesome occasion. Once the party was over, however, it was time to gear up for party #3. Fortunately for us, we decided to keep the friends party low key opting to have it at our neighborhood playground. We were pleasantly surprised how many folks showed up and had a truly memorable time.
Roscoe’s meal request were pizzas from his favorite spot- Corner Slice. He even made a custom pizza request of Mac n’ Cheese Bite Pizza. The consensus was that it was delicious, but I just couldn’t muster the courage to give it a try.
For dessert we had homemade vanilla ice cream and “hamburger” cupcakes that I made copying a recipe I found online (courtesy of Delicious Melicious)
Although it was an exhausting weekend, we are confident Roscoe felt uber special and had an amazing couple of days: mission accomplished!
Just a brief recap of our Father’s Day celebration for ya’ today. We spent the weekend at the lake house with Aaron’s family and I hunkered down to make a feast that could satisfy even the most insatiable of carnivores. The menu? For my part, I parboiled several racks of pork ribs and then threw them on the grill alongside chicken drumsticks, basting them with my homemade country-style barbecue glaze (the recipe is below)- and, yes, I did manage the grill (yet another hidden talent).
Aaron’s Mom took care of most of the sides, including fresh green beans, corn, and watermelon while I made a peach cobbler using fresh peaches, garnished with homemade vanilla ice cream. Described in one word? Scrumptious. The best part is that all the dad’s present felt special, loved, and happy with full bellies to boot.
Country-Style Barbecue Glaze/Marinade
Mix together all of the following:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. molasses
- 2 tbsp. worchestire sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. ground mustard
- 2 tsp. chili powder
Happy hump day boys and girls! It’s setting up to be yet another whirlwind day for your’s truly, but what day isn’t when you have two kids, a dog, fish, and three chickens? That’s right…three chickens! Our newest additions joined the Randall flock (ha!) this past weekend and have already blessed us with five eggs. We decided some time ago we wanted chickens since 1) I eat eggs like they are going out of style and 2) we fancy ourselves urban farmers and revel in the idea of being more self-sufficient.
The original plan was to purchase day old chicks and raise them ourselves. The only downside of that idea is it would take months for them to mature enough to produce eggs and, well, we’re impatient farmers (oxymoronic, I know). It just so happens that one of Aaron’s customers raises chickens and offered to give him several for free. Who can say no to free? So Aaron and Roscoe went and picked up three lovely ladies- Lucky (Aaron’s), Fred Clifford (Roscoe’s) and Ruby (mine).
They are Buff Orpingtons and have slowly started to get used to us. It’s amazing how providing food and water will make you fast friends with a chicken. So far, it’s certainly been a learning curve for us. On the first day, we quickly realized that our chicken yard needed to be enclosed after we chased them down in the neighbors yard not once, but twice after they flew over the fence. Despite looking absolutely ridiculous scrambling after loose chickens, I am thrilled to have ”the girls” as I like to call them.
As for the chicken coop, Aaron built it almost entirely out of scrap material and of his own design. It turned out beautifully!
He incorporate a handy way to get the eggs out of the coop without irking the chickens. Ingenious!
So far so good, although we are still researching like crazy in ensure we keep them healthy and producing. Who knew they had to have certain ratios of feed (i.e., pellets and scratch), be deloused, have their coop and run cleaned regularly, etc.? They are certainly more work than we had anticipated but the reward is two fold: not just eggs, but a learning experience for the whole family. As for Roscoe, he’s smitten! We might have a future farmer in our midsts!
No, this is not some S&M related post (although the title may lead you to believe otherwise). Instead, I wanted to share a simple and affordable route we took to update a light fixture. It all started as I fed our darling girl, letting my mind wander and mull over the living/dining rooms’ decor. I wasn’t pleased with the room’s overall feel, but couldn’t my finger on what was bothering me until finally my eye settled on the deviant: the metal chain that suspended the pendant light over the dining room table.
I realize that this may sound insignificant to most folks, but it was a bain on the aesthetic feel. But what I could do other than change out the light fixture? Inspiration struck and I was off to the home improvement store.
My purchase was a 50 ft section of rope, roughly a 1/2 ince in diameter. My plan was to wrap it around the chain, effectively hiding it from view while simultaneously lending the light fixture more interest. With Aaron’s help, it took me 10 minutes to complete and only $8 in expense. Whoo-hoo for little investment with a big return!
I had prepared a well-thought out, long post for today, but the cyber gods laughed at me and erased it right before I posted. Boo! To make a long story short, my topic today was all about my adventures in the kitchen- the latest of which is making homemade pasta. It is definitely better than store bought and was actually fun to make, too. I found my recipe in a 80′s version of Good Housekeeping and found it easy to follow with simple ingredients (mainly all-purpose flour, olive oil, water, salt, eggs). I am too lazy to repost the recipe, however, if you do by chance want it just let me know in the comments section. Sorry to be lazy, but running after a 4 (almost 5) year old and taking care of an infant has drained me of energy today. Just trust me though- making your own pasta is well worth the effort. The best part? You don’t need a fancy machine or hand crank to make simple noodles.
First and foremost, I have been quite the absentee blogger lately, but for what I consider good reasons. I decided to take it easier these last few weeks to get in as much quality time as possible with our little girl before my return to work and I have enjoyed it tremendously. Charley is now smiling, cooing, and melting my heart on a regular basis! As for projects, I have managed to undertake a few- like giving our master bedroom a bit more pizazz.
When we moved in the master bedroom wall color was a nice green, but it had loads of marks and scratches that made it necessary for a new coat of paint. My solution was to paint two of the walls using the same off-white color I used downstairs (Valspar’s Honey Milk) and then paint stripes on the remaining walls using Honeymilk, the original green base color, and the color used in our living room. Sound complicated? I promise it really wasn’t. Here’s what it all looked like before I started.
To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t just the wall imperfections that were annoying me- it was also the lack of function in this room. It’s a rather large room and is quite long. I decided the best way to utilize the space was to cut it in half- visually not physically- using fabric. I screwed my curtain rod directly into the ceiling and- presto!- I immediately had what feels like two spaces in one.
As for the stripes, they turned out okay enough where I can live with them…for now at least.
Last but not least, I hung some personal memorabilia and photos on one of the walls to personalize the space.
Seeing as how I used paint leftover over from other projects and re-used or rearranged items I already possessed, this redo was entirely free. Whoo-hoo for spending zilch! With that said, I will attempt to post more regularly about my projects and our travels. Until then, cheerio mate!