Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Homemade Laundry Powder Detergent!

So...I'm VERY into homemade non-harsh cleaning products, but one I hadn't tried yet was laundry detergent. My aunt had made some a while ago, but since we've been living with my parents, I haven't had to buy laundry detergent lately. But the other day while we were grocery shopping, I saw the Fels-Naptha bar and all the supplies to make it (cost less than $10!), so I thought I might as well.

The source I got the recipe from says that the final mixed amount will be enough for 60 loads, so about 15 cents per load. But you'll also have enough of the Borax and Super Washing Soda to make at least 2 to 3 more batches if you don't use it in other places around the house. An 150 oz container of Tide is roughly $18 for 90 loads or 20 cents per load. It may not seem like a lot, but if you do a load a day for a year, that's a savings of about $18.25, which adds up. Especially if you replace the other chemical cleaners in your house for cheaper homemade alternatives.

All you need is:
-20 Mule Team Borax, roughly $3 at Walmart
-Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, roughly $3 at Walmart
-1 Fels-Naptha (yellow) or Zote (pink) laundry bar (they do essentially the same thing, but Fels has a cleaner scent, and Zote has a flowery scent), less than $1 at Walmart

Take your cheese grater (it's safe!) and grate up the bar of soap (only half the bar if you're using Zote). I've heard you can use a food processor to annihilate the soap into tiny pieces so it mixes with the other ingredients better, but mine just made little tiny soap balls in the bottom, so I won't try it again. If you're a prankster, put this in the fridge or on the counter and see how many think it's cheese. Just kidding. Don't do that. :)

1 cup of Borax.

1 cup of super washing soda. Easy peasy.

Stir to mix. Or you can put a lid on it and shake it, but when I did it, it made a layer of soap on top and everything wasn't mixed together very well.

Throw in a tablespoon of the mixture with each load. That's it! AND, it works well enough that it got out the blueberry stains that had been left on my son's clothes for a day. This will be the only detergent I use at home for the rest of my life! So cheap, easy, and safe. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wake Up Call

Update: In a few days, I'll finally be posting about my son's birthday party and I'll try to attach downloadable templates for the decorations I made.

On topic: I know religion is a taboo topic in this world, but I'd like to share an experience of mine. This may be a sloppy post and all over the place because I didn't put too much thought into it before I wrote it. Haha.

I realized the other day, I hadn't been to church since I was early in my pregnancy...and hadn't been a regular church go-er since before I GOT pregnant. As most of you know, my son just turned one and that's a LONG time to go between visits.

Here's a little bit of background (and I really hope my family doesn't get mad about me posting this): My family is Christian (specifically Catholic), but my parents were never really church-going other than Easter, Christmas, and Baptisms, at least once my brother and I got older. We were baptized in a Catholic church and I can remember going to CCD (?) and doing all the preparation for my first communion, but I never attended my first communion (and I don't remember why). From then on, we tried a couple of churches in the area when we moved, but none of them stuck. Not saying my parents aren't religious people, because I know they both very much believe in God, I just think they never really found anything that FIT them.

I went to youth group and church by myself from the time I was 13 until I was 18. I went to three different churches throughout that period of time; one for youth group until I could drive, one by myself (which is my "niche" and the one we're attending now), and one with James once we got together that was in our area. They're all great churches, but my FIT was definitely with the 2nd church. I had been going there for two years and I was almost a member by the time I stopped going. Then I went to college, dropped out after a semester, and experienced a "dark period", which was also when I ended up getting pregnant. After that, my faith was at the bottom of my priority list.

I never felt like God had given up on me. At the time I had "more important things to do". I realize now that they weren't as important as I had made them. I also felt like if I went to church pregnant, while everyone knew I wasn't married and wasn't planning to get married anytime soon, that I would be uncomfortable and unaccepted. There are always people who are going to judge, but my fear was more my feelings than actuality. I don't think any of the people I talked with in church would have disassociated me because of it, I was just so AFRAID and ashamed, that every time, I talked myself out of going. There were days we'd be completely ready to walk out the door and I'd psych myself out and change my mind. We had DRIVEN to church and once we got there, I told James to keep on driving.

ANYWAY...the point of this whole book...
This past Sunday, I finally sucked it up and went, and it was GREAT. Totally refreshing. They just combined with another church, so most of the people didn't even think we were new, they just thought they hadn't met us yet, so it was less awkward for us to introduce ourselves to a bunch of people. And a lot of them remembered me, which made me feel better too, since I thought most of them would have forgotten me by now. I have a feeling that a "side effect" of attending is going to be a renewed interest in music. I had pretty much given up on that when I got pregnant too, but it felt GOOD to be singing in church. It's hard to describe just how amazing this was for me, unless you've been at this kind of turning point yourself. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Breastfeeding Experience

Yes, I said I wouldn't post anything else until after my son's birthday, but I read an article this morning that inspired me to write about my own experience. You can read Why I'm Glad Someone Told Me To Stop Breastfeeding In Public here.

I have always been pretty modest. Other than low cut t-shirts, I've always been uncomfortable with changing in the locker rooms before gym or even just being in the same room as one of my friends while we changed.  For some reason, I never thought that would affect my ability to breastfeed my child, until the time came to do it.

It started while we were IN the hospital. Although I never had anyone tell me to stop breastfeeding, I was SO self conscious about showing ANY part of my body, and it started us out on a path to failure. I'm sorry, I know the nurses and staff in the hospital are only there to help you and to make you feel comfortable, but they actually did the opposite for me. Someone was walking into my room every hour...they would knock and announce themselves but not really give you time to acknowledge them or to answer whether it was okay to come in...and it was more than just the nurses and doctors. It was also the maintenance staff, professionals who worked in the building to talk to you about paperwork and birth certificates, etc. Between them and constant visiting family, it's not the ideal environment to be setting a foundation for nursing for a new mom. Each time someone came in, it interrupted our already frustrating, exhausting nursing sessions.

When we got home, my breast pump would become my best friend. Instead of attempting to nurse in public or at family gatherings (I knew being as uncomfortable as I was around family, there was no way I was going to do it in a restaurant), I supplemented with formula or previously pumped breast milk in a bottle and then I would pump as soon as I was able to. I also was pressured into allowing family to feed him, which then I would pump first and then put it in a bottle for them to feed it to him. And then my supply began to drop off. I went from being able to pump an additional 8-12 oz after our first morning feeding to only one nursing session per day before I got so frustrated that it was starting to hinder how I felt about being a mother. So I stopped.

I could have stuck it out and "tried" harder, but with every unsuccessful thing I tried, it only brought me down farther and stressed me out more. So I sacrificed something that I so desperately wanted to be able to do for my son to save my relationship with him. I didn't want to look back at the first few months with him and think about frustration, but wanted to cherish every moment with him, which I couldn't do while being so stressed out. I somewhat successfully nursed for two months before my supply dropped and spent a month trying everything I read or heard to increase it.

I guess in sharing this about me, I hope to prevent someone else from experiencing this. It was very heartbreaking for me when I stopped because I felt like I couldn't even provide my child with the basics. So this is my advice if you are planning to breastfeed for a significant amount of time:

  1. Before you have your baby, research your rights as a mother to breastfeed in public just in case anyone ever does ask you to stop or move. 
  2. Become comfortable with the idea that it IS okay to nurse in public, regardless of what anyone thinks or says. However, you may want to wait to go out in public until you and baby have become a little more comfortable with the latch on and let down process, because if you're nervous, it's only going to make that process more difficult.
  3. Take advantage of the lactation consultant in the hospital, EVEN if you aren't having any issues during your stay. Ask them about the most common issues they deal with and what they suggest if they don't already give you a packet answering those FAQs. When you're home, you can give them a call or you can contact your local La Leche League.
  4. IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW THINKS YOU HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Now that I can look back, I am VERY sure that I had PPD, but I never talked to anyone about it and I was miserable.
  5. You DO NOT have to let anyone, family or not, feed your baby. Don't feel pressured. I do recommend letting dad bottle feed a couple of times during the first week to bond, although that's not the only way he can bond with baby.
  6. If you aren't able to successfully nurse, don't feel like a bad mother. Sometimes circumstances are just out of our control.
  7. As long as you are there for your child, you are a great mother. No matter whether you breastfeed or formula-feed. That has nothing to do with it. :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Making Strides

If you didn't notice your browser redirecting you, you can now get here by typing! It may not be as exciting for you, but this is a huge deal for me. :)

I won't be posting again until next week because this Saturday is my son's first birthday and Sunday is his party! Here's a photo from his 1 year session yesterday:

I made all of the decorations and the invitations for his dinosaur themed party by myself with a digital scrapbooking kit, photoshop, and a printer. I'll have to update with pictures sometime next week. I'm totally in love with them. :)

And I will leave you with this scrapbook page:

1 year ago from this coming Saturday, I met the little boy that would become my life! He gets so much more amazing everyday and I only hope that I can convey how immensely I love him throughout his life. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Pattern in My Craftsy Shop!

My striped slouch pattern is now for sale on Craftsy for $1.50! Get it here.

Trying Something New

So, I've been digital scrapbooking, and I've been looking and playing with different ways to make my own digital elements. These definitely aren't the greatest since I'm very new at this, but I thought I would share these with everyone else, and if anyone's interested, I can share the videos I used and show how I made the staple and button since I did those myself.

You can download them here. Includes a button, staple, gem, flower, and 2 ribbons. The flower is the only element with a drop shadow included. I would love to see how you use these on your pages if you choose to share. :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Searching For Blog Tutorials

New feature on the site! Since I'm hoping to get some recipes and patterns posted soon, I've added a pin it button to all my images. All you have to do is mouseover the image you'd like to pin, the button will pop up, and all you have to do is click to bring up the pinterest options. :)

If you'd like to add this to your blog as well, I used this tutorial over at Kevin and Amanda's blog.

There is still SO much left for me to learn about blog design. Right now, I'm trying to mess with my pages so you have the option to view all my recipes on one page, patterns on one, etc, so if there are any tutorials that you've used or seen, feel free to leave me the link and it will be greatly appreciated! :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Forever And A Day... how long it's been since I've updated. I keep thinking every day, "I need to do something on the blog today" and then I don't get to it, and now it's been almost 4 months. Holy cow.

You may have noticed the new blog theme, inspired by SPRING! :)
I made the background and header myself using The Cutest Blog on the Block's background tutorial and digital scrapbooking elements from Pixel Scrapper's Birds and the Bees blog train (This link takes you to the forum where all of the designers linked their creations, so in order for it to take you to the correct page, you must first register or log in to Pixel Scrapper's main website).

So, I've been working on some pretty cute things lately and thought I would share some of my favorites. :)

These are a couple of stitch markers I made for my cousin. I've recently been playing with clay a little bit.

Flower headband.
This is still for sale in my shop on Etsy.
Pattern for the flower is here.
Pattern for the headband is here.

Striped hat photography prop (before weaving all ends).
Pattern is mine and will be released sometime in the next couple of months.
The color choices were the photographer's but I fell in LOVE with this while making it!
Frog hat.
This is also my pattern that will be released hopefully sometime soon.
I thought this thing was just SO darn cute!
Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket.
Pattern from Attic 24's Neat Ripple Pattern starting with 73 chains.
This is my latest finished project. I couldn't STOP working on this blanket. I started it at about 5 pm, worked on it a few hours that night, and finished the edging at about 4 pm the next day. It worked up SO fast! I think I only spent like 5 or 6 hours on it (not including weaving in all the crazy ends!).

I've also been working on getting my photography business started back up again and I got a Canon Rebel t2i to play with. Here's some of my favorite pictures I've taken in the last few weeks:

And finally, last thing (I promise!), a new scrapbook page that I'd like to show off. :)

I've only done a 9 month update before this, so I'm hoping to catch up on all the others. Aiden turns ONE in only TWELVE days so I need to get going on his baby book! 

NOW...let's hope that I remember to get my butt back on here within the next few days! I'm hoping to get a couple of my patterns tested this week and I have lots of Easter photos to edit, so I'll probably make it on here for SOME sort of update. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chain Cowl Free Pattern!

Bulky Chain Cowl


Worsted weight yarn, double stranded
N hook
Optional large button for embellishment

Ch- chain
St st- slip stitch
St(s)- stitch(es)

Ch 105, join to beginning ch with sl st
Repeat 10 more times
Fasten off leaving VERY long tail (2-3 feet)
Fix each chain so that each one sits correctly. Hold all strands in your hand by the sl sts. Wrap the tail around sl sts to conceal until it's pleasing to the eye. Use your hook to go under the wrapped part and grab the remaining tail, pull through and trim. Add button.

This pattern has not been tested. Even though the pattern is free, it is my property. Please do not share or sell as your own. I ask if you share this pattern with anyone, you provide them with my blog and the url, not the pattern itself.

Get the PDF of this pattern here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm a Hoarder...of Pictures!

I really don't need to be doing this Project 365. I already take way too many pictures as it is! I've been trying to organize my picture folders by year and month, and it's taking FOREVER. Wanna know why? Because...stashed on my over 13,000 pictures! Mostly from 2006 on, but some are images that were scanned on my computer to make my graduation and my grandpa's 60th birthday slideshows. Half of them are pictures that I took, uploaded on my computer, but never went through them, so I probably only really WANT about 25% of them. Then I'm hoping, when I'm done, I can scrapbook and frame the special ones and put the rest of them in a blurb book by year. It's much cheaper and time saving than trying to print all of the images in 4x6s and put them in photo albums. And a space saver too.

I'm a novice in digital scrapbooking, but I figured since I loved doing paper scrapbooking and I'm learning to play around in photoshop, I might as well try it. I got advice from a friend on finding page and element freebies, but these are what I've done so far:

And here's my pictures for the last few days:

Day 4:
January 5, 2013
Our boots lined up by the sliding glass door.

Day 5:
January 6, 2013
Got a picture on my phone and for some reason, my SD is acting up
and it didn't save. :/

Day 6:
January 7, 2013's that kind of night...
Good night! :)

Friday, January 4, 2013


Just updating for my Project big post today. James and I are going to look at a house for rent in Marshall tonight so we're going to be gone for a few hours. Wish us luck! We REALLY need to get out of my parents house soon.

Day 3:
January 4, 2013
I love it when there's snow on the ground,
but I missed the sun during
these last few days!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Made It To 2013!

In the spirit of resolutions, I'm going to restart my Project 365! I got WAY behind last time and just kind of gave most things I start. :/

BUT...there's a verse in Proverbs that's going to become my new mantra:
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." -Proverbs 14:23

You are free to steal it as yours if you like. :)
I was looking through Chapter 14 looking for my other favorite Proverb (I couldn't remember which verse it was. It's 14:1.), and this one really caught me. It was exactly what I needed to find. If you can't tell already, I have a hard time following through with ideas. Oops.

Some other resolutions of mine:
-Write, test, and publish a pattern every 1-2 weeks (that includes free patterns included on my blog)
-Lose 100 pounds. That's right, ONE HUNDRED. Wish me luck.
-Journal more, and read more. Journaling includes gratitude and when I need to get my emotions under control by venting. Read more of the Bible and just novels in general. I used to love reading, yet I never do it anymore.
-Use my awesome baby cookbook my godmother got me for Christmas. Made sweet peas and zucchini for Aiden today. You can see in my picture for today that he LOVED them. :)
-Finally...make a granny square a day AND attach them as I go. I'd love to make myself a queen size blanket for our bed, and a throw/lapghan to give someone for Christmas.

Sooo....I'm hoping that I can remember to do an update like once a week or every couple of weeks on here to let you guys know how I'm doing!

Ready to see my pictures?? I started yesterday...

Day 1:
January 2, 2013
Breakfast time! Oatmeal with pears.
Day 2:
January 3, 2013
Aiden LOVES peas! I was expecting different from
him since he'd never had them before,
but he didn't want to stop eating!


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