Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fabric Softner & Dryer Sheet Tutorial

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to share a tutorial as a guest on The Natural Beauty Workshop. Today I'd like to share that tutorial with you. Enjoy! And get busy making some awesome natural products for everyday use. It is so simple!

Making your own fabric softener and dryer sheets is made easy and cost effective by using ingredients and materials readily found in most households. If you like a light scent on your clean laundry, you can easily coordinate the scents of your handmade laundry powder, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.

Fabric Softener

Equipment

Measuring cup
Measuring spoon
Permanent marker

Ingredients

32 oz Distilled white vinegar*
1-2 tsp Essential oil**

Making the Softener

Add your essential oil right into the vinegar container and shake well to incorporate. Label your container to let everyone know it contains essential oils and is NOT for culinary purposes.

Using the Softener

Using a measuring cup, for regular sized laundry loads add ¼ c vinegar mix and ¾ c water to the fabric softener dispenser at the beginning of the wash cycle. If you do not have a dispenser, add at the beginning of the rinse cycle. Larger loads may need up to ½ c vinegar mixture. Just add water up to 1 full cup.

This will leave a faint essential oil scent but NO vinegar. Plus, if you are coordinating your laundry products, your scent will be stronger. The vinegar helps soften your clothing and aids in reduction of static in the dryer phase (or you can line dry your clothes to save on that power bill).

*Never use vinegar on Dry-Clean ONLY garments.

**Follow recommended precautions when using essential oils.

Scented Dryer Sheets

Equipment

Used, 100% cotton t-shirt
Ruler
Scissors
Small airtight container, with lid

Ingredients

3-5 drops Essential Oil*

Making the Sheets

Measure and cut 4-5" squares from your cotton t-shirt (don't tell, but I took this one out of my husbands drawer). One shirt will make many so you can have a stack ready to go or make some as gifts.

On each sheet drop 3-5 drops of your selected essential oil.

Do not use more than five drops per sheet. Too much essential oil can leave stains on your clothing.

I decided to use lemon essential oil* on this set to coordinate with the citrus laundry powder I am using.

To preserve the scent between uses, store sheets in airtight container.

*Follow recommended precautions when using essential oils.

Using the Sheets

Place one sheet in dryer with wet garments and dry as normal. Sheets can be used twice before needing refreshed. Simply toss in your washing machine to launder. Refresh with essential oil, store, and use as before. They can be used over and over again.





Have fun creating your own custom scented laundry products! What scents will you be trying first?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joy of all Joys

My joy is in watching these children of mine know something, grasp something I never quite had at their age. They know it and feel and breathe it. And I want that pure, innocent, child-like faith. I live it through them, and at times, learn this faith through them.

"Can we just leave these up even after Easter, Mommy, so we can remember how Jesus came and died for our sins?"

Most definitely! This is the gift that we count, we count it over and over and over again so we don't forget! We number it, we write it, we feel it, we tell it....we draw it! Let's not pack away our Easter...but live it too!


Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem.

Jesus teaching the people.

Jesus cleansing the temple.

The Passover Meal.
"This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.




"It is finished."

And yet it begins...my soul weeps for joy at the man, the God-man, who came to bring all hope and joy, who laid down His life and is preparing a joyous place in His eternal presence.




They found the stone was rolled away.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!
Alleluia!

#44-69

  • Lamb of God crucified
  • Sunshine warm beating on my face
  • A no worries day
  • Flowers growing from rock crevices
  • Unceasing conversation
  • Shared experience
  • Rough and tumble boy play...joy when mom joins in
  • Daddy bird keeping watch
  • Backyard teaming with miniscule life
  • Backyard baseball games...not enough players, ghost runners
  • After school ice cream treat
  • Peeking under rocks, creepie crawly critters abound
  • Princess dress-up, friends heading to the park
  • Four-leaf clover picking days
  • Teachers who love my kids like their own
  • Sunset, sparkling stained glass, illuminates His cross
  • Water hose rainbows
  • Honey bees doing bee magic
  • Friends with fresh, renewing perspective
  • Big Boy snuggle time before school...we should do this more often
  • Tree lines emerging green
  • Two minds thinking as one
  • Big hugs before they head off to school...they never forget
  • Flash of blue at the bird house
  • Early words deciphered from The Book of books--Bible words
  • Sink of dishes left til morning, for family time and Bible time

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Hunting Contest - Winner Announced


The eggs have been found, the entries checked, and a random number selected.

And the winner to the Easter Egg Hunt is....




#6 who was Laurie Porter. Congratulations Laurie. Your prize will be shipped on Monday.

Thanks to everyone who played! We'll do it again next year!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Laundry Powder Tutorial

What do you get when you combine handmade soap, washing soda, vinegar, and an old t-shirt? The beginnings to a wonderfully natural laundry regimen of course! It’s easy, cost effective, and better for you and the environment. It's also extremely gratifying to create something with you own hands. Here’s what you need to make a 2 lb batch of laundry powder.

Equipment:

Box grater
Large bowl
Gloves
Scale
  • recommended: food processor, dust mask


Ingredients:

1 lb handmade, cold process soap
  • many soap makers offer soap chunks or pre-grated soap
8 oz borax ($2.35 for 76 oz)

8 oz washing soda ($2.21 for a 48 oz)
  • optional: 1 tsp essential oil

To Make Laundry Soap:
  • Grate Soap with box grater on smallest shred into large bowl.
  • Measure powders into bowl by weight.
  • Wearing gloves, mix powders by hand. I also recommend wearing a dust mask as the mixing process can generate a lot of excess dust.
  • If you desire, add up to 1 tsp essential oil of your choice and mix thoroughly.
NOTES:
  • Also, if using essential oils you should always wear gloves as they are highly concentrated and should not be used on skin in their undiluted state. All essential oils should be used with caution if you are pregnant, nursing, or have heart related illnesses or epilepsy. Always research any essential oils you may use and consult your physician regarding any concerns.
  • I really love lavender, but in the winter months I lean toward tea tree oil or eucalyptus. Citrus oils like orange and lime are also excellent choices for laundry powder.
  • I suggest running your powder mix through a food processor to get it as fine as possible. This helps combine the ingredients and also dissolves better in your washing machine.

Before Food Processor

After Processing
  • Store the powder in an airtight container.
To Use:
  • In wash water add 1 Tbl per regular load or 2 Tbl for heavy and large loads. A batch this size should give you a hundred plus loads.
  • Handmade laundry soap does not create foam and bubbles like commercial detergents. This makes it perfect for HE machines. And because it is made with natural ingredients it is safe for babies clothes too!


Of course if all that grating sounds too daunting for you we offer pre-made laundry powder in Unscented and Citrus Fresh in our Etsy shop.

Stay tuned to find out how you can get your clothes soft without the use of commercial softeners and dryer sheets!

**UPDATE (6/25/15):  For best results use soap that has NOT been super-fatted.  I like 100% coconut oil soap.  Additional oils in your soap can create issues in your laundry including oil stains and build-up in your machine. Be sure to check out the Dryer Sheet tutorial to make a coordinated laundry.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Please Pass the Gravy

We don't require an expensive resort vacation (although I have to admit a little sunny get away would be quite palatable right about now) to shake our winter blues. So the boys and I escaped to my grandparents' home for a few days over their Spring Break to change up our routine a bit. They always spoil us to the nth degree and we let them. But their spoiling isn't lavish...it's just time...cherished time.

And as we helped set the table for lunch one of those days, something struck me in this simple setting of the table. It wasn't a fancy china plate kind of setting, but the good ole, down home setting. Food, comfort food, in a mismatch of decades of bowls and platters collected. Those chipped dishes filled with that which is meant to satisfy our rumblings, deeper than even I knew. Even leftovers are reheated and then transferred to those dishes. And whether are two or twenty of us these dishes are filled. This wasn't a haphazard filling...rushed at days end, but carefully placed til the table was full, and plates were full, and bellies were full.



There is such joy at this table as bowls are passed round and plates are filled. That clattering of spoons and chattering of voices, and "please pass the gravy" (there is always gravy at Grandma's table). Tales told, histories of years long gone, laughing at this days events, enjoyment....a family communion in this breaking of bread.

And afterward, I find my children gladly, cheerfully even, clearing the table and myself at Grandma's kitchen sink scraping plates, scrubbing pans, and loading the dishwasher and I'm happy, joyfully happy and content.

Why don't I do this? I don't truly set the table. I scoop helpings from the pots and pans I cook in and carry them to the table where we scarf down food and move on to the next task....living...but not truly communing in our hurried ways. Why should we escape or even wish to escape this simple time together...laughing, learning, loving, savoring not just the meal but the time, the moment?

You know, I still learn something unexpected at Grandma's house, even in my own motherhood. So "Please Pass the Gravy"...meal time at our house is getting a makeover...from mundane to joy filled. Now if I can just find that in meal planning! Life is a journey and I'm taking it one step and one meal at a time.

holy experience and still counting my everyday gifts...

43. Enthusiastic boy crafter...wall filled with Easter story in drawings

42. Silly mistakes...a reminder to slow down, don't rush

41. A realization that Mom does do laundry...and he's thankful

40. Helping hands at dinner time



39. Colors cascading into quilt patterns
38. Building memory moments
37. Grandma time
36. Mom time
35. Sister time
34. Belly laughs, til you cry laughs
33. Sunshine window panes across child's play



32. Crazy, kid jokes...laughing in spite of myself
31. Boys who still aren't too big for Easter egg hunts
30. Early Easter egg hunts
29. Invincible daddy's
28. Quiet man's pleadings with no words, eye's that tell all



27. Indoor flowers, fragrant scent
26. Exuberant play with cousins
25. Winds blowing seasons change
24. Big brother, reading tutor to little brother
23. Little boy with big ideas
22. Spaghetti smiles, sauce splashed chin
21. Boys tales of school day adventures
20. Sun light shining through windows in need of cleaning
19. Socks stripped off into messy balls, left knowing they'll be cleaned by Mom
18. Birds Spring songs through windows open
17. Peepers peeping
16. Great-grandma's retelling of childhood memories, of piano playing long lost from crooked fingers
15. Boy wrapped in Grandpa's loving arms
14. Surrounded by cousin laughter
13. Smiling Grandpa, who's smiles are fewer now

Happy Hunting Contest - 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Within my Etsy shop you will find 10 hidden eggs...each in a separate listing. Find them and be entered to win an "Egg-cellent" prize just in time for Easter.



Rules:
Find all 10 eggs (see image above) in the shop listings.
E-mail all 10 listing links and your contact information to support@lifesoapsimple.com
Hunting begins April 1 and ends April 15 at 11 pm CST.
All complete and correct entries submitted by the deadline will be entered into the drawing.

The prize:
One Cotton Soap Surround
1 Easter Bunny Soap Set
1 Bar Lavender Lemongrass Soap
and 1 Pink Grapefruit lip Balm



Drawing will occur Saturday, April 16 and will be announced right here on the blog. Winning participant will be contacted directly so be sure to include your contact information when entering your links.

Note: Non-US participants will be required to pay shipping charges if you are the winner. (rates vary by location)

Happy Hunting!