Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Spray Starch Tutorial

I really dislike ironing.  However, since I work with lots of fabric, it is a necessary evil.

I tend to use a lot of spray starch, just because I do think that it adds a crispness to the fabric and ultimately makes my job a bit easier.

I do not, however, like the smell of spray starch that you purchase at the store.  So again ... in my quest to find more natural products and things that will save me money and I can make at home ... I have discovered the spray starch recipe!

This one is so easy!! 

Just one pint of cold water and one heaping tablespoon of corn starch!  You can add a drop or two of essential oil, but since I am sensitive to scents I do not add any smelly stuff.  Shake it well!!  and remember to give it a good shake before each use!

I had to try it out on some black cotton fabric, and I was pleasently surprised that there were very minimal if any at all white flakes ... which is almost always an issue when using store bought starch.

I had to make a pretty label for my bottle!

Other homemade recipes:

Weed Killer (White Vinegar and Dishwashing liquid)
Bathroom Cleaner (White Vinegar and Dishwashing liquid)

Homemade weed killers ... a tutorial and results

I really dispise spraying chemicals all over the place ... seems that you need a gagillion chemicals around your house for cleaning, pest control, weed control, and all sorts of other things. I have seen a lot of neat ideas for storing all of these bottles of stuff on Pinterest lately, but what I would really like to do is take a different approach.

First, I would like to reduce the number of chemicals in my house significantly! Second, I would like to take a more natural approach for tackling these things. Lastly, I would really like to have more space for things I actually want in my house and not so much space dedicated to stuff I dislike having in my house.

Therefore I have been really researching homemade remedies for things. Now, it would be wonderful to say that I could eliminate my need for weed killer 100% by mulching and pulling weeds. However, since we live on almost 7 acres and I love to garden veggies and flowers ... I am fairly realistic that I don't have what it takes to maintain all of that without a little weed killing intervention.

So ... I have seen several recipes for weed killers that are a mixture of distilled white vinegar and diswashing soap. Which is absolutely fantastic since it is the same two things that I am mixing together for tub, shower, sink, and general bathroom cleaner. You can find a post about that here: http://mooremagnets.blogspot.com/2012/01/skeptical-about-homemade-cleaning.html

So, I am trying out the recipe for 1 quart white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid.  I have to note that the mixture that I am using today has more Dawn dishwashing liquid because I am using my partially empty bottle of the shower cleaner mixture which is 2 parts white vinegar to 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid.  However, at the moment I don't have another spray bottle empty.

Here is the weed ... I gave it a good spray

And this is 24 hours later - Please note that we have not had any rain and our temperatures just barely reached freezing, so no frost was involved.

I am actually pretty pleased with the results on this particular weed.  However, there were several others that I sprayed and the results were not nearly as significant.  So, this morning I poured more vinegar in my mixture to make it closer to the 1 quart to 2 tablespoons recipe.  I will update you again in a few days! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Featured Friends! Sarah-Lambert, TuckooandMooCow

I think one of the best and most unexpected things that has happened since I started selling on Etsy and selling at craft shows are the wonderful and talented friends that I have made along the way.

I hope you will enjoy seeing objects made by a few of these friends!

This week I would like to introduce you to Sarah-Lambert, aka TuckooandMooCow.  She is a watercolor artist and paints the most fabulous miniatures that are captured as jewelry, pocket mirrors, and various other goodies! 

I love this luna moth necklace!  It reminds me of seeing luna moths flying around our neighborhood as a child.  I am so thankful that my parents took the time to point out these amazing creatures!

Wearable Art Pendant-- Luna Moth

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Around the Shop

I've been working busily in the shop over the last few weeks, unfortunately all of my extra camera batteries have been mysteriously running off and jumping into wii controllers, remote control cars, and things that whizz, shoot, and beep.

So, I did manage to take this picture today ... at the expense of a wii remote!

I had hoped to have some more goodies to show you, but with a order of 20 magnet displays going to Maine keeping up with custom orders there aren't too many new things in the shop! 

I did manage to list this collection of coupon organizers ... but they are selling like crazy and even some of these are not available at this time.

Now - Back to work!  I promise to have more exciting things to show you next time around the shop!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Featured Friends! Michelle of Calamaristudio

I think one of the best and most unexpected things that has happened since I started selling on Etsy and selling at craft shows are the wonderful and talented friends that I have made along the way.

I hope you will enjoy seeing objects made by a few of these friends!

This week I would like to introduce you to Michelle, aka Calamaristudio.  She is a freelance illustrator and her designs of the sea, sea creatures, and night sky remind me of my adventures scuba diving and climbing on the Appalachian Trail! 

I love print of her jelly fish!  Isn't it just amazing! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I am Chopstick Man!!

I am Chopstick Man!!

Isn't this the cutest thing ever!

My mom knows that my son and I go out to each Chinese food every so often, and that he is always trying to learn to eat with chopsticks so she got him this little set for Christmas! I just love the little guy!  

Basically the little guy holds the chopsticks open so that all a learner needs to do is close the chopsticks until they can get the hang of using chopsticks on their own.  

The chopsticks go in his legs!
The other fun thing a bout going to each Chinese food is the fortune cookies and fortunes inside!  

How did they know that I work with magnets!!??

And my son got the other one!  I hope all his dreams come true!

If you don't have a chopstick man, you can make your own little device by folding up a napkin and putting a rubberband on the top of the chopsticks like this.

Now, go eat some yummy Chinese food!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Skeptical about homemade cleaning products ... But this one works!

For years I have been really sensitive to fragrances and cleaners, and I have had to change the types of things that I buy because of it.  This runs the gamut from laundry detergent, to lotions, to hand cleaners, and especially cleaning products!

I have seen many receipes for cleaning, and I have no doubt that dilluted vinegar does a great job cleaning windows, and lemon is a life savor for smells in the kitchen.  However, those hard to clean places, like tubs and showers ... well I confess that I have always just broken down and purchased commercial cleaning products.

I recently came across a pin on pinterest for a tub and shower cleaner - Tub and Shower Cleaner that used Dawn dish detergent and white vinegar ... and I just had to try it because even the commercial cleaning products just don't do too well on the soap scum and mineral buildup from our well water.

The mixture is a 1 to 1 ratio of blue Dawn dish detergent and white distilled vinegar.  They recommend hot vinegar, but I have mixed it with the vinegar cool and gotten the same results.

Update!  I recently mixed it as a 2 to 1 ratio with 2 parts vinegar to 1 part blue Dawn and achieved the same results.  I may try reducing it even more as it is very soapy!

I have to say that I am THRILLED with the results!  I will absolutely not be buying any commercial tub and shower cleaner again!  I can't say that I didn't do any scrubbing, because I did ... here's the picture to prove it ... But the amount of scrubbing I did was the same as I do when I use a commercial cleaner ... Only I wasn't gasping for air, running the bathroom fan, and had to sit outside for at least 30 minutes after I was finished.

My house does smell a bit like vinegar, but it must not be that bad because my son isn't complaining about it!

I only mixed up a small amount.  Instead of the 12 oz and 12 oz mixture they indicate, I only did 4 oz and 4 oz ... frankly cause I didn't want to use all the vinegar I had, and I also didn't want this strange mixture around if it didn't work to my satisfaction.

The mixture wasn't nearly as clear looking as the picture above - that looks more like glass cleaner to me.  Mine was thicker and milky looking.  I will try increasing the vinegar and lessening the Dawn next time.  However, I do think the thicker mixture allowed it to hang on the walls of the shower for a longer time.

Now, I can't wait to make my tub all sparkly and remove that film!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Resolutions ... and Plans to Make them Happen!

I've been working on this post for a couple weeks now. Like I said before, I don't like to make and start resolutions on January 1st. I like to take a couple weeks to really make a well thought out plan for resolutions and even give myself a chance to drop some that seem fly-by-night and don't have a well thought out plan.

So ... Here is the list!

Get the art and pictures out of bins, boxes, and files and get it up on the walls! - I am so terrible! I have bought several pieces, and even been given some pieces of art that are still sitting in bins and boxes and have not been displayed. All along I have been saying that I need to paint first ... cause our walls look terrible. However, painting hasn't happened either! At least the art would cover up some of the holes, handprints, marker doodles! So, as I am going through boxes I am getting that stuff hung!

Take more pictures of my kids! Seems that I am always taking pictures of products ... not so many of my kids. I am actually saving for a new camera - but that is no excuse! I have got to take more pictures! They are growing so fast!

Streamline ... everything!  I feel like I have to much stuff that does the same general thing.   There are so many areas of my house and life that this is relevant to that you will just have to follow along!

Make my workspace a more inspiring place. Right now it is so full of "stuff" ... all sorts of stuff ... I want a workspace like you see in a magazine ... which is probably not really going to happen ... but I can make it more desirable and less junky! Given some of my recent posts you can see that I have already started clearing out!

Increase my business - Business growth is always on my mind, I'll be spending more money on ads this year and really working on getting my name out there! I would also like to support some of my amazingly creative friends with this too, so I'll be asking them if they have a button or something to put on my blog! I have amazingly creative friends that can sew, paint, make toys, needle felt, draw, sculpt ... the list just goes on and on! And who knows, maybe they will return the favor! We have to support our friends! Love them!

Have fun! This is always a goal of mine, and it is funny that I feel the need to remind myself to do this. I had such a good time with my boys, my hubby, my friends - on beach trips, hanging out at pools, building forts, roasting marshmallows, going to the zoo, and generally just having fun. I am continuing my efforts to finish work by 5pm and take weekends off (except for craft show weekends). Life is too short not to have fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Featured Friends! Lisa, TheBeadGirl

I think one of the best and most unexpected things that has happened since I started selling on Etsy and selling at craft shows are the wonderful and talented friends that I have made along the way.

I hope you will enjoy seeing objects made by a few of these friends!

This week I would like to introduce you to Lisa, aka TheBeadGirl.  She loves metal as much as I do, add precious metals, fire, and her talent and presto you have fabulous jewelry! 

I love this message token!  I think it would be so lovely for a parent who travels a lot, or who is facing a long deployment to give it to their love or child as a reminder of their feelings even when miles separate them.

Silver Love Message Token

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Garden doesn't know it is January!

Do you see that?  Those little sprouts coming up!!  That's some of my crocus bulbs ... Apparently this cold/warm/cold/warm has messed with my bulbs and my crocus are going to bloom way too early!

You might wonder why I have a strawberry pot turned over there too.  Well, the bottom of the pot fell off, and I thought it would make the perfect little toad house!  So send the memo ... Toads, I have the perfect little house waiting for you!  There will be plenty of little bugs for you to eat in the spring!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Organizing Never Ends! Revisiting Projects

 About a year ago my husband and I installed cabinets for my work in our living room.  I had very specific things in mind that I was going to store in each cabinet, and it was just going to be fantastic!

I still think they are fantastic, but with the addition of a new binding machine and color laser printer, the where I was going to put everything has changed ... seems like every week!

That's okay though - I really think that organizing isn't something that you do, and then you are done with.  I think it is an ongoing process that needs to be evaluated all of the time.  Let's face it, our interests changes, our kids' interests change, we stop doing things and start new things, and people and businesses grow!

So here is the newest arrangements of one of my cabinets.  I decided that I could really put some of the things I had out into a different place.  I wasn't using them right now, and even though I have plans to use them in the future, they don't have to stare me in the face everytime I open this cabinet up.  So, I've decided only to keep the things that I use right now in here.

I really love that I actually have some extra space too!  And I love having a basket that is just for fabric I have out for outstanding orders.  This will save me so much time since I don't have to dig through my fabric bins over and over again!

And, the rest of my spice racks turned paint racks came in!  The new ones that I ordered are actually a little deeper so I can even fit my spray can in there too!  I love that my brushes are there too ... they make me happy!

I am sure that some of you have tons more paint, but I must say that I got a deal on these spice racks on Amazon through ACE Hardware - They were less than $2 each!

Ok!  Back to work!  Hope you have a fantastic day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yay! The Patio is Finished!

As some of you may know we did pour the patio concrete on December 23rd ... Oh I know, RIGHT before Christmas ... cause you know, I didn't have anything else to do! I have my husband to thank for that timing.

However, even though it was stressful, it was really nice to have it done before Christmas - a nice way to wrap up the year with a project checked off the to do list!

Thanks to some really nice weather after Christmas I have had coffee sitting in my chairs at the little table. I can't wait until spring to put some plants in all those pots and get the garden areas on each side done! And, thanks to my wonderful mother, I have a nice gift certificate to a nursery to buy plants in the spring! Isn't it awesome how mom's just know the perfect gift sometimes! Although my Dad gave me an equally awesome gift ... a gift certificate that can be spend anywhere since it was cash!

So earlier this week I checked out this book from the library, but decided that I needed my own copy to dog ear pages! I have a feeling that the gardens are going to overflow again this year!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

If I could find my scissors then I wouldn't need 15 pairs!

So, I decided that it is really time to clean out my workspace. I am removing half finished projects and putting them in a bin so that I can come back to them later. When there are lots of little pieces for the projects I am putting them in baggies so that everything stays together. I am also putting all of the Christmas crafts in a bin so that I can pull them out at the end of the year when it is time to get started on them again.

However, what I have really found ... is that I would have a WHOLE lot more space if I just got rid of all of these multiples of things ... like sanding blocks, pliers, and scissors! Really - I would not need 15 pair of scissors if I could actually FIND scissors when I was looking for them ... This is what came out of ONE drawer!

Oh my ... I have a problem ...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clear Jars - Saving me from madness!

I seriously only have 5 minutes of organizing time today ... I really need to devote more time to it tomorrow.

But ... each small step is still getting me toward that elusive goal of actually being organized! I do have my doubts that I will reach that holy grail at this point though!

So, today I grabbed some canning jars that weren't being used and seperated all my buttons! Some glasses are also handy for pens and paint brushes! WooHoo! I can see what is in them and they will fit nicely in my cabinet!

I just love using things for multipurposes!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crafty Storage Ideas! Spice Rack as Paint Storage

So, I was cleaning out my spice/baking cabinet over the weekend and decided to finally get rid of some of those spices that have been in there for far too long. I also decided that I really needed to find a new spice rack since this one was a wee bit too big for the cabinet door causing it to not close all of the way.

This morning I realized that it would be the perfect place to store all of those paint bottles that are shoved in a basket in a closet! Maybe I won't have to dump out a whole basket of paint to find the right color anymore! Now I just need to add a dab of paint to the top of each lid so that I know what color is there!

They fit so well that I ordered a few more from Amazon for the rest of my paint stash! WooHoo! Gotta love repurposing your stuff ... especially if it isn't working quite right!

FYI - I do not know the brand of this rack as it was purchased many moons ago, but it is about 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep. It fits 14 of the small 2 oz bottles of craft paint.

Preparing for Resolutions ...

So, have you all started your new year's resolutions? How are they going? What did you resolve to do, not do, or do differently this year?

Well ... I haven't started any resolutions yet. For the last few years I have actually resolved to have a "cooling off" or "preparation" period for any new year's resolutions. Generally I take the first 2 weeks of each year to really prepare to get resolutions off on the right foot.

I guess that I could do this preparation the last two weeks of December, but between work, school vacation, family visiting and visits, and the holidays ... that preparation just doesn't happen.

So, one of my resolutions is to step back and prepare to get off on the right foot. Some years this has meant a good cleaning of the house, organizing paperwork, cleaning out the junk food from the pantry, getting those things ready for an exercise regimen ... generally just putting things in place to make it more likely that I will succeed in making my resolutions happen.

So this year my resolutions will start on January 17th, just after the Martin Luther King holiday.

How do you set yourself up to make sure that your resolutions happen?