Sunday, April 29, 2012

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner ! Environmentally Friendly


My current "green" project is making All Purpose Cleaner.  There are a lot of recipes online, each varying by small degrees, but all sounding worth a try.  So, which one do I try first?  I went with easy.  Not easiest, as that was simply vinegar and water.  Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted a teensy bit more for my test bottle.


The recipe from Sustainable Life Blog won out.  Jeff has an easy recipe with a bit of fragrance and added cleanability (that's my new word).

Jeff's All Purpose Cleaner
2 Parts Water
2 Parts Vinegar
10-20 drops of Tea Tree Oil for pleasing smell and extra cleaning power.

Just shake and spray.  Use in the kitchen or the bathroom.  Non toxic and environmentally friendly!


Just for giggles, I made labels and stuck on on my recycled window cleaner bottle.  I'll test it in my kitchen first, and then give the bathroom a once-over with it.  Once again, this "going green" idea is turning out to be so easy - and fun, too!  Even HB (HoneyBunny) is getting with the program! 

Have you tried making your own household products?  What have you whipped up or plan to concoct?


Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vinegar ~ It's Not Just For Cooking

Vinegar has many uses.  Some may surprise you.  Some may bring back memories of your Mother or Grandmother.  Some may become a way of life for you.  I love these simple solutions to everyday problems!

Ten Uses For Vinegar You May Not Know:

1.  Paint brush softener - A vinegar and water mixture will revive stiff   paint brushes.  After soaking, wash in a heavy detergent to clean.

2.  Get the stink off your hands - Rid your hands of onion or fishy smells by rinsing with vinegar.  Easy peasy!


3. Tea kettle cleaner - Get lime deposits out of your tea kettles with equal parts of vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and let is stand overnight.

4.  Poached egg container -  Keep that poached egg together by adding one teaspoon vinegar to the water.  (I need this one!)

5.  Hair Rinse -  Use a mix of two cups water and one cup vinegar and rinse hair after shampooing.  Rinse again with clear water.

6.  Decal remover - Loosen decals with a heavy dose of vinegar and they will peel right off.  (Sorry, this won't work on tattoos - giggle)

7.  Pain reliever -  Use hot vinegar compresses on strain or sprain when ice isn't doing the job.


8.  Iron cleaner -  Remove mineral deposits in your iron with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water.  Fill steam iron and let it steam until dry.  Rinse out with plain water, refill and shake water out through the steam holes.

9.  Crease setter - Before ironing in creases, apply solution of one part vinegar to one part water to the crease area.  Be sure to test small area of your fabric first.

10. Rust remover - Place rusty bolt in small container of vinegar and let soak for several days or until rust begins to dissolve.

There you have it...ten useful uses for using vinegar!  What are some ways that you use vinegar in your household?

Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WasteLESS Wednesday ~ Five Ideas to Recycle Pallets

Source: etsy.com via Pat on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Pat on Pinterest





It's Wednesday ~ do you know where your pallet is?  Are you ready to try something like this?  Let your mind run wild...what would you create if the stork dropped a used pallet in your lap?

Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Worms ~ Wiggly Composting Machines



Worms!  Eeewww, you say.  Me, too!  Worms are why I could never be a fisherperson.  My boys had to learn to bait their own hooks.  I didn't want to touch the wiggly little critters.  But, who knew worms would turn up (pun intended) in gardener's compost piles? 

Turns out we all know worms are good for our gardens, but did we ever dream we'd have our own little worm farm?  Not those kind they sell in plastic see-through boxes kind of worm farm.  I mean real worm farms.  The feed and nurture the little squirmers worm farm.

Heads will turn, the conversations will stop and all attention will be on you once you announce you have worms!  But wait...this is a good thing.  While everyone is listening you can educate them on the fine art of composting with worms.

You only need four things to start your worm farm:
  • a bin
  • biodegradable bedding
  • food waste
  • and worms!

You can find any number of sites online to help you build a wood bin for your composting.  It should be not too big, have good drainage, stay clean, and more. 

Run some newspapers put through your shredder for the bedding, or hand shred some.  Other good bedding includes peat moss, leaves, shredded cardboard. 

Now for the worms.  Not just any garden variety (chuckle) will do here.  You need red worms...there are several varieties.  These are the best food scrap chompers and they make little worms quickly in captivity.  You need about 2 pounds of worms per pound of food waste generated daily by your household...or classroom - or wherever you will be composting.  Here's the fun part - are you ready?  You can buy worms by the pound - 1000 little wigglers to the pound.  Eek!  What if they get loose in the car on the way home from the (Squiggly Wiggly) worm store!


 Last thing you need is food scraps to feed the masses.  Egg shells, plate scraps, spoiled food (good news in my kitchen!), peelings & other vegetable waste.  Never use cat litter, dog feces, rubber bands, bottle caps, glass and other non-biodegradable items & steer clear of  meat and bones, as they just may attract critters that you don't want in your garden, like the neighbor's dog.  (Why would anyone with common sense even need to be reminded of this?)

There you have it ~ your next party topic!  Stun the crowd with your knowledge.  Bring some wigglers for show and tell.  Maybe even give some as gifts to show you care!  (It's a gift that keeps on giving ~ how cool is that!)

Okay...leave me comments and tell me what you think!  How successful would you be at vermicomposting, all you soon-to-be vermi-culturistas!

Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Uses For Shower Curtains


Ever wonder what to do with shower curtains you are no longer using?  Here are ten ideas for recycling them!

1.  Paint cloth - they are wonderful for catching those paint spills while you recolor a wall or door.

2.  Car window defroster - cover your vehicle windshield to protect against frost and ice.  Use the magnetic hem to help hold it in place.

3.  Tarp - cover tools, garden equipment, and/or your wood pile!



4.  Raincoat - a crafty seamstress could stitch up a quick slicker for the kiddos, or a cover for the grill.


5. Food catcher for kids - place under table or in the middle of the floor if you are having an indoor picnic, to catch the goop and crumbs that miss those little mouths. 6.  Mulch - Place under gravel or bark chips when you are landscaping to keep the weeks at bay.


6.  Poncho - Yep!  Just fold in half, clip an opening so you can slip it over your head, and presto (!) you have a poncho.  Trim the length if you are height-challenged like I am./div>

7.  Ground cover - Use under a tent or sleeping bag when camping to keep moisture away.

8.  Apron - Use pinking shears to style into an apron with a bib and fasten ties at the top of the bib and at the waist.  Great for messy tasks around the house.


9.  Tablecloth - toss over the picnic table and voila (!) you are covered!


10. Mulch - use under gravel or bark chips when landscaping to keep out those pesky weeds.


How have you repurposed your old shower curtains? 


Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning Goes Green ~ Guest Post

Today I am featuring one of my favorite blog friends, Katherine of Katherine's Corner blog as my guest blogger.  She has been an angel to me, helping to set up and design buttons, etc for my other blog, Growing Old With Grace, and I love her for it!

Katherine is sharing her post from May 6, 2011 on the topic of Spring Cleaning.  The timing is perfect for us and she has so much good information here for us!  Get out your handy dandy notebook and take notes ~ or bookmark this page and come back for another look anytime!

Heerrrre's Katherine!


 
 
Before I dive into today’s post I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to Java at Never Growing Old. Every week I join her blog hop and discover wonderful new blogs. She generously offers the chance to be randomly selected as a featured blogger . I am thrilled to have the coveted spot this week. Please stop by Java’s blog you’ll be glad you did. Don’t forget to tell her I sent you .

Okay now on to today’s post!

I know most of you have probably started and finished your spring cleaning by now. But, I’m just a little slow out of the gate this year. With the weather being so uncooperative it’s been difficult to get into spring cleaning mode.

But this weekend it’s happening!

Spring cleaning means different things to everyone. To me it means, washing down the patio furniture and cleaning the windows. Taking care of a few of the things around the house that otherwise went unnoticed during our winter hibernation.

The windows are a big deal to me. Don’t you just love having the windows sparkling clean after the winter. Being able to see clearly through them to view all of the lovely flowers in the garden is a must. I love watching the birds to as they enjoy the endless ” all you can eat” buffet I provide for them regularly.

In our home we try and limit the use of chemical based cleaning products. Today I’m sharing with you some simple alternatives that work really well. I hope you’ll give one, or some, of them a try.

Baking Soda – Cleans and deodorizes. It’s also a good scouring powder, but it can scratch so be careful where you us it.
Liquid detergent – Biodegrades safely and most are completely non-toxic.
White Vinegar -or Lemon Juice – Cuts grease and freshens.
Washing Soda-( sodium carbonate) Cuts grease and removes stains. You will find it in the laundry section of your market ( I prefer arm and hammer)

Window Cleaner
1/4-1/2 tsp of dawn (or other liquid detergent)
3 Tbsp vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use it just like you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash the windows of wait for window to be in the shade. If it’s too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you’ll have streaks. I use a washable microfiber cloth to wipe with, But the old newspaper page works well too ( just crumble a few pages into a loose ball and wipe. A squeegee is great too!

All Purpose Spray Cleaner
1/2 tsp washing soda (sodium carbonate)
A dollop ( about a tsp) of dawn (liquid detergent)
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Creamy Scrub
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough dawn (liquid detergent) to make a paste. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is also a great way to clean your bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave a gritty residue. Just make as much as you need at a time, it doesn’t store well.

A little dab of olive oil on a microfiber cloth is a great furniture polish too.

 


Thank you, Katherine for enlightening us and giving us reason to "go green" as we so our Spring Cleaning!  Be sure to visit Katherine at Katherine's Corner!  There is always fun stuff going on there!

Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day ~ Farmer's Market Style


Today is Earth Day at our local Farmer's Market.  There will be exhibits by local vendors, plus live music, farm/ranch animals and demonstrations of solar cooking.
One of my friends will be there with her alpacas.  I wrote about them at Picnic With The Pacas. 

I hope to get over there to say "Howdy" and check out all of the booths.  There will be baked goods, fresh fruit and veggies, Body Care products, lunch, fibre crafts and more!  Several live bands will play, and I can learn about cooking with the sun, among other things.  I also have a friend who raises worms to make dirt for his garden.  He does a whole lot more, but that would be a whole blog in itself.

I am particularly interested in water harvesting.  We have a large roof area and get a lot of runoff when it rains.  Rain barrels would be a good thing!  There are all shapes and sizes to fit any landscaping/decorating theme. 


 If I can get away for a little while, I be sure to snap some shots and take notes for another blog day! 

What are you planning for Earth Day?

Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Friday, April 20, 2012

Seven deals and free items for Earth Day


Do you like deals?  Me, too!  Here are some to check out, thanks to Rita at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide!  She has graciously given her permission to repost her article just in time for Earth Day!

Grab your cloth bags and go!

April 19, 2012


Earth Day is Sunday, April 22.

If you’re interested in finding good prices or free items, dealnews.com offers these possibilities are available to consumers.

Free reusable bag from Target

Target is giving away one reusable Target bag per shopper on April 22. Go to your nearest store and visit the Guest Service desk to get one.

Free reusable bags from Kellogg’s
You can earn a series of reusable shopping bags from Kellogg's. You'll need to purchase any two Kellogg’s cereals or Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, 10 oz. or larger, to earn a free, 1960s-inspired Kellogg’s print bag. Fill out a short form and you can start collecting all four.

Free Origins skin cleanser

Bring one of your current skincare products, either full or empty, to any Origins counter, along with a form, and they'll swap it out for a full-size sample of one of their skin cleansers. Visit your local Origins store to receive either A Perfect World SPF 25 Age-defense moisturizer with White Tea or the Starting Over Age-erasing moisturizer with Mimosa.

Free greenery and scenery at the national parks
The National Park Service is offering free admission to all 397 national parks to celebrate Earth Day and National Park Week April 21 to April 29. If you miss this free offer, mark June 9, Get Outdoors Day, on your calendar as the next day for free admission sponsored by the Park Service.

Free sunflower seeds from Pottery Barn Kids
In association with National Geographic, Pottery Barn Kids is giving away free packets of sunflower seeds on April 21 and 22. Go to your local store to pick up your seedlings for planting.

Win a year's supply of Better Life greener cleaners from Whole Foods
Only one person will win this item, but that person could be you. Share one change you’re planning to make for Earth Day to win. Pledge your Earth Day everyday commitment by April 22 to win $350 worth of eco friendly cleaners.

20 percent off earth friendly Toys at BN.com
At Barnes & Noble, you’ll find an assortment of kids' toys and games marked down 20 percent to celebrate Earth Day. And, you’ll receive free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

Earth Days past
Last year, Earth Day freebies included free coffee in your mug at Starbucks and free trees at Lowe's. Check to see if these companies are offering something again this year. Be on the lookout for another freebie; Starbucks begins giving away used coffee grounds to gardeners around this time of year.
Copyright 2012, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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Many thanks to Rita for sharing with us! 

So....how many deals did YOU find?


Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Think Before You Trash It ~ Recycle

Our City is taking baby steps when it comes to recycling.  The County has been in the recycle business for years, but the City has been using financial issues as a reason not to try it.  Now, finally, in the last year or so, we have the blue cans and once-a-month pick up of paper, cardboard, tin cans, aluminum cans, and plastic.  (Don't snort...during the trial period they distributed large orange trash bags and only if we called and told them we wanted them!  Really?


Now, they tell us that in the fall we will have a new schedule for trash and recycle pickups, in order to give us more times to fill our cans.  Yippee, 'cause ours is always full to the brim!  I'm embarrassed to tell you that that is only from two of us - oh, and two dogs.  Well, the last dogs ate canned food...the current two are on dry food.  But...since HB (HoneyBunny) must eat through a feeding tube for now, we have tons of cans to toss!  I blogged about his esophagus issues here, here, here, and here if you care to catch up.



There are many ways to save the earth.  Not all of our trash needs to go into the landfill.  For instance, we save our aluminum cans for AZ Greyhounds, Inc, and they get cash for them for their rescue program.  A lot of organizations collect them, so why fill the blue can with them?


Now that I am experimenting with making my own cleaning solutions, I am saving plastic bottles and asking friends to give me theirs.  Another item kept from the landfill!    If we really think about it, there are so many ways to NOT put things in the blue cans - like donating, reusing, upcycling, etc.  Those are food for more blogs, doncha think?

What do you do to save the landfills?  Do you have any suggestions for the clueless and those of us who would love to do more?




Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Did You Know? ~ Tidbits on Baking Soda


How much do you know about using Baking Soda in your everyday life?  Here are some interesting tidbits I found while researching natural cleaning products.  Take them and use them to your little heart's content! 


  1. Mix baking soda with water and clean your glasses.
  2. Soak in a bath with baking soda to soothe sunburn, skeeter bites and even chickenpox.  (Bet our Mom's knew this!)
  3. Make a paste and put on bee stings and skeeter bites.
  4. Sprinkle on carpet 8-10 minutes before vacuuming to freshen carpet.
  5. Toss on small electrical or grease fires to put them out.  (Hint: large fires require a call to 911...we are not professional firefighters!)
  6. Baking soda is a natural substance.
  7. The largest deposit of baking soda is found in Wyoming.  It is called trona.  From trona, washing soda and baking soda are created.  The U.S. is the largest producer of baking soda today.  I'm all for "Made in U.S.A." products/substances!
  8. Since baking soda is a naturally formed material, using it for cleaning will not harm the environment
  9. There ~ off you go... to clean, clean, clean! 
Did your Mother or Grandma pass on the secrets of Baking Soda, or have you been as clueless as me?  There are so many uses for this substance - which ones do you use?


Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent ~ It IS Easy Being Green!

Finally...I found time to run to the grocery store for a box of Kosher Salt!  That's the last ingredient I needed in order to make my own dishwasher detergent.  So, are you believing me when I tell you I am going green?  I am giving it that ol' college try, even tho' college and I parted ways many moons ago.

It is so simple.  Here's all you need:
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • White Vinegar
1 cup Borax

You'll need a 32 oz container with a lid, a funnel if you are pouring challenged like me, a spoon for stirring, and you are good to go.  Pour 1 cup of Borax into your container.

1 cup Washing Soda

Hint: Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer) is NOT the same thing as Baking Soda.  You need Washing Soda.  Add 1 cup  of it to your container.

1/2 cup Citric Acid

Half of a bottle like the one pictured equals 1/2 cup.  Sugar free lemonade Kool Aid (4 packets) can also be used.  I found Citric Acid in the canning section of Walmart.  It is also online in larger sizes.  Add 1/2 cup to your container.

1/2 cup Kosher Salt

I found Kosher Salt at Fry's (Kroger), after looking in vain at Walmart.  That's okay - I really don't like our Walmart and avoid it like the plague when I can.  Add your salt to the container.


Put the container lid on tightly and...SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE  it till it is well mixed.  You could stir it with a spoon, but Hey(!), why not get a little exercise while you are being frugal! 

The Citric Acid can cause the mixture to harden or clump, so here are three ideas for nixing that...
  • add a tsp or so of rice to absorb moisture
  • leave lid off and stir occasionally for the first day or so
  • add 1/2 tsp Citric Acid separately to each dishwasher load instead of adding it to the mixture.
I used the second option. 

Finished Product!

Now you are ready to try it out!  Add one rounded Tbsp per wash load.  Hint:  If you notice a white film on your glasses, you may want to experiment with more Borax to counteract the harder water.  As with all homemade products, some tweaking may be necessary depending on the hardness of the water.

White Vinegar

Fill your rinse aid compartment with White Vinegar.  Lemon juice may also be used as a rinse agent.

Here We Go!

Turn on your dishwasher and sit back with a glass of tea while it does the work.  That's it...fast, easy peasy, and cheap!  By other folks' estimates, it costs approximately five cents per load for the powder detergent and approximately six cents per fill of the vinegar.  Cost will vary according to cost of each ingredient. 

Ahhhh..it is so worth it!

A close look will show that the glass on the right, which just came out of the cupboard (yes, it is clean) is dull and coated with white stuff, while the glass on the left, which just came out of the dishwasher, is the shiniest it has ever been!  My jaw dropped and I did a little "happy dance" right there in my kitchen!  This is exactly the result I was aiming for!

So...what are the chances that you actually will try this?  What will your neighbors think?  (Mine loves my gift samples when I ask her to test these recipes for me!  She is such a sweetie!  You may know her blog - Pandora - Out Of The Box!)


Huge Green Hugs,
Pat

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