Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baby Surprise Jacket #3~ 2012

This sweater was knit for Kai~
Pattern is the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. (Ravelry Link)
Made from Miss Babs Yowza in Raindrops.
Yowza is my favorite, favorite yarn right now. 
Gauge on a size 8 was 4.5 st/in. and 6.5 rows/in.
I used a provisional cast on in the beginning so I could add length to the sleeves. Cast on 160 stitches.
For the decreases I used a sl2tog knit wise, k1, psso and purled the center stitch on the return row.

For the increases I used a Kfb and purled the center stitch on the return row.

Once the body of the sweater was finished, I put the live cuff (sleeve) stitches on a piece of yarn to hold them and seamed the shoulders.
Seaming done using the sewing technique shown here at Pam's Knitting & Spinning Blog~
I then placed the live sleeve stitches onto don and knit the additional length in the round. 
I extended the sleeve length by 1.5 inches, decreasing evenly at the bottom of the sleeve, (from 34 sleeve stitches to 28, approx. 1 dec. every other row) then knit a k1p1 ribbed cuff for another 2 inches. This cuff can be rolled back when Kai is smaller. Total sleeve length is 8 inches from armpit to cuff edge.
Chest measures 18 inches, which is a standard 18 month according to this chart: (this is how I calculated the final sleeve length)

I finished the edges off with an attached icord.
Buttons are from my gram’s button tin.
They are all the same size and material, but different designs. Perfect!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent~

I have been obsessing about several things lately, one is cutting our everyday costs. 
So many"natural" products are beyond pricey. 
It gets ridiculous really.... so I started with the things that I use every day. 
Like laundry detergent.

I found this recipe on the Why Not Sew? blog... (click for link)
It uses very few ingredients and took very little time to make.
I did not take photos of the process, since WhyNotSew did such a spectacular job of it.

My notes are in hot pink~

1 bar soap (Kirk's CocoCastile)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soap (not baking soda)
a big pot (that will hold more than 2 gallons)
a grater (I use my food processor)
a long spoon
a bucket to store detergent in (I use a 2 gallon bucket)

1. Grate the bar of soap. (I used my food processor because I am impatient... it took 30 seconds to grate and the soap rinses off easily)

2. Add 1 gallon hot water to the pot and add the grated soap. Heat until soap has dissolved.
I used Kirk's CocoCastile as my bar soap, only because I hate frangranced detergents... you can add essential oils too for smell, instead of using frangranced soap.

3. Add the Borax and the Washing soap.

4. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate. 
It will also cook over really fast and make a huge mess. Beware.

5. Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir. 

6. Let sit until it cools. If it hasn't coagulated yet, no worries. It will. 

7. Once it is cool transfer it to the bucket. Great tip on WhyNotSew was to store it in the pot you cook it in. Eliminates the messy transfer step. I already added a pot to my thrift shopping list...
Right now I store my detergent in a 2 gallon bucket and scoop out with a measuring cup. 
It is a thick, snotty consistency and I did not want to thin it out to make it pour, because that would mess up my measurement calculations.
I use a 1/2 cup and put it in my front loader dispenser into the powder dispenser. It did not flush out when I put it in the liguid detergent thingy. (thingy is a technical term...haha)

Previously I used the Ecos brand laundry detergent from Costco, which costs around $12 for a 210 oz. jug. 
I used 1/3 cup per load, which came to 30 cents per load!
(I have no idea where they get their calculation on the HE amounts! The Ecos bottle says you can get 100 some loads??!!, but that did not work at all for me. Maybe if you washed 3 towels per load, haha).

After breaking down the math on this recipe, a 1/2 cup per load comes to 
4 cents a load! 1/3 cup comes to 2.6 cents!!

So, on average we do 2-3 loads a day. 
The Ecos brand cost comes to 60-90 cents a day, $18-$27 a month and $216- $324 a year.
This recipe costs 8-12 cents a day, $2.40- $3.60 a month and $28.80- $43.20 a year.
BIG SAVINGS, and more than enough to make it worth the time to cook this up.

I have been using this recipe for about 3 weeks now, and so far have noticed NO difference in the cleanliness of the laundry. 
My clothing no longer has a faint old lady perfumy smell and the Borax makes the whites brighter (I do not use bleach in my l laundry, it is bad for the septic).

I use white vinegar for the fabric softener and if it is a stinky load I put vinegar in the bleach dispenser also with a cup of baking soda inside the washer.
The bleach dispenser goes into the wash load, the fabric softener goes into the rinse.
The baking soda also keeps my front loader from smelling mildewy, something I reallllllyyyy noticed after getting a front loader. It does not seem to empty the water competely out after a load, and here in the PNW it is always a bit damp. Even leaving the door open when not in use did not help. The baking soda/vinegar in an occasional wash load did take them mildew smell away.

SO there you have it.... riveting info from Reenie. ;)
What every day household products do YOU make from scratch?
Please share in the comments~

Cross posted on

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Change the System~

I recently saw a version of this on the internet,
it was profound but a bit crass (and not kid-appropriate, so I did not link it here),
so I made my own version... 
If you want the link to the version that inspired me, drop me an email and I will gladly share.

This pretty much sums it up. 
These may not all be realistic changes for you and your family, but remember...
Every little change makes a difference!

Cross-posted on