Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peacock Card Set

Here is another set of cards I created this afternoon using the "Royal Garden" collection from DCWV. I couldn't get any really good pictures to show their depth and beauty, but oh well! 

I tried out some texture spray- you can kind of see on the card where I sprayed. It's really cool looking.
 If you've seen the paper in person, you'll know the gold is shiny and has a beautiful brown flower pattern. The blue has a lovely pattern, as well. 

The inside of each... 

And the boxed set! 

Tweet Memories Birthday Card Book

I decided to play with the Heidi Grace "Tweet Memories" paper until I became sick of it (which happened around the time I realized I punched the holes in the book backwards and had to re-do it, I think). It has taken a few days, but I finally finished my birthday card book along with 12 cards. The only part I really don't like about making these books is that my rings (2" on the Cinch) aren't quite big enough to make the book close well when full of cards. I wish I could find a better binding for them. 

Here's what the inside looks like. I used brown vinyl to cut the months from Designer's Calendar.

Here are the front of the cards.

Here is a peek of the inside. I used Papertrey Ink's Birthday Sentiments for the words.

Here is an example of what the page looks like. These books are super easy to make. 

The envelopes were all identical.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For the month of April, I gave up using the internet for superfluous purposes. I thought this might mean I can go to the Y to continue running, but the ankle dr. said I need to stay off it for 6 weeks so that's not happening :-/). Anyway, that obviously meant I needed to find reasons to go on My Pinterest Account. I ran out of laundry detergent yesterday so I thought this would be a perfect time (!!!) to go online and investigate creating my own. I've heard it's better for the environment and it's a lot cheaper, so I decided to give it a try. 

There are basically two ways to make it- liquid or powder- and they use the same ingredients. I picked up 3 bars of soap so I made both. I don't think I'll be purchasing detergent for quite some time. 

For both versions, you'll need to start out with borax ($3.38), washing soda ($3.24 [NOT baking soda])  and a bar of soap. Many sites recommended Fels-Naptha ($0.97) in the cleaning aisle so that's what I used. 

In the powdered version, I chopped up 1 bar of soap, which made about 2 cups. (I used my blender, which works fine until it gets heated... I think grating with a cheese grater will work just as well) and added 3 c. borax and 3 c. washing soda. I mixed all ingredients together in a bowl. You can see the yellow soap in the white mixture.

After this, just find a container to store it in! I used a large Ball jar, but pretty much anything would work. It made about 8 cups of detergent. Using 1/2 to 1 tablespoon in each load, this should last several months.

Super cheap and easy! 

The liquid detergent is a bit messier, if you're someone like me, but it was really neat to make. I usually prefer liquid detergent over powdered, because I feel like it cleans better. I'm sure it doesn't, though. lol

Anyway, grate 1 bar of soap (which once again makes about 2 cups) and put in about 8 cups of boiling water on the stove to melt. Quickly turn down the heat if your soap starts to bubble so it won't make a mess. After my soap melted, I turned the heat down to medium.

After it's melted add your cup of borax and cup of washing soda. Stir until it appears to be completely liquid (didn't take long!) Then pour into a five-gallon bucket (or whatever you choose, I guess) and add about 3 more gallons of hot water, and let it sit overnight.

The next morning it should be gel like, and after a quick stir it's ready to go. Of course in ValerieWorld it  wasn't quite that simple, however. I only added 2 gallons of water yesterday, and there was no gel consistency... it was very much like thick pudding. So after trying to add another gallon and mix it in (didn't really work) I scooped out bits at a time and used the "whip" feature on my blender for about 5 seconds. That worked fabulously, and now I definitely have more laundry detergent than I could ever possibly want! haha I recycled an old detergent container to keep some in the laundry room, filled up a recycled orange juice container with some, and still have a little more than 2 1/2 gallons in a five-gallon bucket. I'm not sure how I'm going to store it quite yet. Perhaps I'll try to rummage up some more old containers today.

Big Question: Does it work? Yes. I used the powdered form to wash two loads of clothes last night (whites and a comforter) and they both came out of the dryer looking and smelling fantastic! I just finished up a load using my liquid, and it's just as great as the powdered. I hung up a tally chart next to the washer so I can keep track of how many loads I get from each batch. I'm expecting about 150 loads from the powdered, and at least 100 from the liquid (unless I give some away, of course). That will be 250 loads of laundry for $8.56 (and that doesn't even take into consideration that I have more than 1/2 box of borax and almost 1/2 box of washing soda leftover).

That's about 3 cents per load of laundry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Few Cards

Being Spring Break, I stayed up late last night playing in my craft room. I bought some super cute Heidi Grace Design paper at Joann's the other day, so I thought I would try it out making a few cards.

I was so saddened to hear yesterday that one of my mom's dear neighbors (whom I have known my entire life) passed away. She called my mom a couple of weeks ago and invited us to her house to get a few plants and flowers (since the hailstorm destroyed mine) and we had a lovely visit. I will treasure that time- and those flowers- forever. Her husband is staying temporarily at a nursing home, so Channing and I visited him yesterday afternoon. I doubt he'll ever recover... he told us, "I'm 85 years old. She's been with me since I was 18. I can't live without her." My heart is breaking for him, and their amazing love. This card is for him, and I wanted to show the inside because it has a beautiful stamped verse, but I wrote a personal message before taking a picture, so it won't be shared.

These four cards are the first boxed set I created. They are all blank on the inside. 

And here is the other set. I love this paper. I plan to make a wordbook or album with the rest of the paper this afternoon. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Catching Up

I have been so busy for the last month! I created a couple sets of cards but gave them away before I took pictures. That's about as crafty as I have gotten. I do have other updates in my life to share, though.

On March 19, I apparently became superwoman. I caught my engagement ring on one of the doors at school and somehow cut it in half. Oops! Luckily it didn't hurt my finger (I would have expected to be missing some skin) and I was able to get it fixed. It looks good as new now.

We had a ferocious hailstorm on March 24 (my little sister's 18th birthday!) only minutes after I came inside from mowing the yard (in shorts!!) My poor puppies were super-scared from the loud noises on the tin roof. I was super-scared for my precious vehicles in the driveway. As it turns out, the 3" of hail we got in 45 minutes is going to cost my insurance company almost $18,000 to fix our two cars. Ugh!!! We have spent many hours getting estimates and what-not to get both the GTO and the Challenger back to pristine condition... which will take several weeks of face-lifts. Our home insurance guy is coming to look at the roof and siding on Friday. I'm worried to think what a hassle that will be, too. All in all, I'm really glad Ally's surprise party wasn't until the next day, so we didn't have a dozen cars sitting in our yard when the storm hit. 

March 29 (Thursday) was my birthday, so of course I got an entire weekend of birthday awesomeness. Here is a Copic storage box that Kymberlee sent me for my birthday. I also got an iPad from Channing, in addition to the awesome storage unit he bought for my classroom. My dearest mother bought and helped me plant some new shrubs to go around my house, which looks amazing. The hail nearly killed everything that I had blooming.

The end of March marked my 3rd "Better Me" Challenge by going to the Y to run more often. I ended up running 56 miles during the month, which is something I'm proud of. I did have to lay off some toward the end, however, as my ankle started killing me (literally.... it made me want to cut it off and bleed out lol).

The entire first week of April was consumed with Easter and other important things (Monday- Mulched the yard, Tuesday- Pampered Chef party, Wednesday- church, Thursday- communion, Friday- prepared for the Easter Party at church, Saturday- Easter Egg Hunt at Church, Sunday- Sunrise Service, Sunday School, Church, Aunt Marilyn's for Easter Dinner, Whew, I'm tired!) 

On Monday I cleaned house, yesterday I went shopping with my birthday giftcards at ACMoores and JoAnn Fabrics, and today I finally went to the doctor for my ankle. I am so glad the x-rays shows nothing is broken and I don't have arthritis, but the doctor said that I have a very small degree of motion (whatever that means- mine is like 5 instead of average 15) so I'm basically over-extending it no matter what I do. I am supposed to do Physical Therapy for 6 weeks and he gave me an Anti-Inflammatory medicine, but I can't take it until tomorrow night, because I have to take it with food, which brings me to my last update.

We are doing the 30-Hour Famine at my church with our youth group today/tomorrow, so from noon today until 6 pm tomorrow night, I and my crew shall be dining without food. I have a lot of fun things planned for them, but I am not looking forward to spending the next 24 hours with my lovelies. I need to run, now, because I haven't picked up any juice yet (the only thing they can have) and I am supposed to be at church in an hour!