Friday, August 31, 2012

Less Dryer Month

For the month of August we participated in our version of no dryer month.  We live in an apartment with a tiny balcony, so no room for a line. I have been hang drying everything possible on hangers. I'm trying to convince the hubby that we should get a drying rack, but he's not quite on board with the crunchy clothes thing.

My first load of clothes came out pretty stiff and crunchy. I've progressively reduced the amount of laundry detergent in each load, trying to reduce the amount of soap left in my clothes as that's what makes them crunchy. I've also started adding vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove left over residue from past washes. I'm thinking I'm going to have to do 2-3 vinegar rinses per load until I can get the clothes to dry without crunchiness. I'm amazed that when I hang dry my clothes instead of popping them into the dryer I can actually see the soap residue when they're dry. Some of my heavier cottons have a slight white film on them. :( Yuck!

And because every post need pictures...

 I did try to hang dry a load of bath and kitchen towels, but after hanging all day the bath towels were still soaked. I have been hanging the kitchen towels and smaller rags, since they do dry well, but I gave in on the bath towels and have been drying those in the dryer. Luckily we use the same bath towels for about a week and a half so I've only had to do two loads so far this month.

Has anyone else had success without their dryer?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Farmer's Market

I have a new love of farmer's markets!

Since trying to simplify our lives, I have been trying to get into the habit of buying everything we can from a farmer's market. The food is fresher, I enjoy supporting local small businesses, and I feel better about the quality of product we're getting.

Some of the fresh produce I got :)

So far we've tried five different markets, still trying to find one that has everything we need. So far though we've been able to find meat, cheese, and bread products along with the traditional produce and crafts.There are times I wish we lived a little closer to Seattle so we could grocery shop at Pike Place on a regular basis. Or even better that there would be a market like Pike Place north of Seattle. Preferably somewhere with parking. :)

I've actually started considering joining a farmer's market. It's a little scary as that would mean getting a real business license and starting my own real business with taxes and regulations and being committed. In exciting news though I had my first sale this last weekend. :)

This has been a hard post for me to get through for some reason, so I think I'm just going to leave it as is. Tune back in later this week for sofa cleaning and how my less dryer month went.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joined a Sunday Social :)

Sunday Social

Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday! This is my first link party.

1. What is the first website you log on to each day? Gmail

2. Give us some funny websites you visit that we need to know about:
These girls are hilarious and real! :)
3. Pinterest or Facebook? Why? Pinterest because...
4. Twitter or Instagram? Why? Neither. I just don't understand them....

5. Favorite youtube it!
6. Biggest online pet peeve? Vague status updates/blog posts, and/or updating/posting pictures of everything throughout the day.

Stop back by tomorrow for an update on our simplifing journey. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oven Cleaner

To continue from last week's post- my oven cleaner journey (yes, it was a journey... :) )

The next soap we ran out of was oven cleaner. This one was a little trickier. I tried three different recipes before I found one that really worked, but the last one I tried was AMAZING! Better than any store bought cleaner I had used before (If only I had taken before and after pictures...although now I don't have to post how dirty I let my oven get... :) )

I don't remember where I found this first recipe because for the life of me I can't find my pin on pinterest for it (I think it might be this one), but it was essentially making a paste with baking soda and water. I was excited to try it, because frankly I pretty much only had baking soda on hand, and anything else would have required a trip to the store. I tried it on my drip pans first. I left it be for about 30 minutes while I cleaned other things around the kitchen. When I came back to it, I tried to scrub the gunk away, but had very little success. Mostly it was just the big stuff that had fallen down and then been absorbed by all the grossness (yes, that is a word. I just made it up. :) ). -Fail #1

My next oven cleaning adventure, after a trip to the store, was this- a paste from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I scrubbed this in a little and then let it sit and do it's magic. Lots of scrubbing later I was still disappointed with the results. This definitely got more than the baking soda and water alone, but still left a lot of gunk in the drip pans. -*Sigh* Fail #2

At this point the hubby was definitely rooting for me to give in and by the commercial, chemical laden cleaner, but I knew there had to be a way to get the oven clean before commercial cleaners were popular. I decided to put in the effort and use one of the more "complicated" oven cleaner recipes. I used the one from Crunchy Betty. I subbed the dish soap for my homemade liquid soap, but other than that I did everything else the same. I did leave it overnight (and by overnight I mean a couple nights...oops).

Once I got around to scrubbing the now many layers of baking soda out of my oven it was a little daunting. Ovens are very deep and I am short. I started with a warm wet rag. After wiping away a pile of baking soda there was still grime on the oven door. :-/ I grabbed my scrub brush and started trying to scrub. Unfortunately the bristles were a little too long, and therefore weren't stiff enough to do much good. I tried getting the hubby to help me scrub at this point, because my shoulder was getting sore, and it was making me a little lazy. :) The hubby tried scrubbing and after a couple minutes of no success, deemed this cleanser a failure too.

I refused to give up. There was no way I put in that much effort to have this not work. I went back into the kitchen and grabbed the sponge. I swirled a little of the baking soda around on the scrubby side and starting scrubbing. Miraculously the grime started disappearing. I have never had a commercial over cleaner work as well as this one. And because nothing's proven until there's a picture, here are two. :)

Sorry for the glare. There seems to be no good way to take a picture of my entire oven...

This shot's a little easier to see the lack of grime. I will also mention I am really bad about remembering the cookie sheet below things when I bake, so there were a lot of big black spots on the bottom of my oven before cleaning.

What homemade cleaners have you tried, successes or failures?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Homemade cleaners

So as I mentioned in my last post I have been slowly switching us to homemade cleaners as we use up our chemical laden ones.

The first soap we ran out of was dish washing soap. I found a recipe here. Instead of the castille soap, I used the liquid soap I made. So far we've used about half of the soap. It seems to clean well, the only downside I've had so far is that it tends to separate. The problem could be with my soap though as it might be a little heavier than a true castille soap.

After that I tried a homemade solution for cleaning the microwave (which is now on it's way to storage :) ). Several posts and pins had suggested just microwaving a bowl of water and vinegar- I think this is the exact recipe I tried. Anyway, we tried this and it worked wonderfully. I wasn't the one scrubbing it, hubby got that fun, so I can't attest to ease of scrubbing but it looked sparkly when he was done with it. We used a glass bowl to microwave in and then used the heated vinegar water to scrub/wipe the microwave. Be very careful if you use the water, it's VERY hot.

I was originally going to post my oven cleanser saga in this post as well, but it was getting to be waay too long, so tune back in for more homemade cleanser fun! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Handmade items and a new outlook on life

So, I know I'm a terrible blogger. July was just a super crazy month. I worked through the month and was able to get my Etsy shop up and running! You can also just search for Firefly Natural in the search bar, just be sure to select search  shops when it appears below. :)

Here are a couple products I uploaded to my shop.


I'm excited to get that up and going. Hopefully I'll be able to eventually make it full time. :)

Other new things in my life, the hubby and I have decided to try simplifying our life. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from this new blog: the year of less. We are starting with a couple big changes and a big clean and sort of each room and we'll see where that takes us.

So far our big changes have been:
-to give up our microwave. ( we will be putting it in storage until the hubby sees that we really can live with out it)
-as we use up all of our chemical laden cleaning supplies, I will be switching us to non-toxic homemade versions
-I am trying to use our dryer less, to reduce our energy used and the heat output in the summer
-we are also reducing our paper towel usage (I would go completely cold turkey, but the hubby hasn't gotten to using cloth to clean up gross stuff yet)

So far we've been doing really well. I've already swapped our dish soap and oven cleaner with good success and glass cleaner is next. I will post my successes (and failures) here as we go.

I encourage everyone to look around and see if there are things you could simplify for yourself and the environment. :)