Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Emergency Planning Sheets

After the weather we've had the last few months, it's an especially good idea now to have an emergency preparedness plan. We personally keep on hand a way to filter water, as well as some canned and dried foods in case we are left without power. My husband and I also carry emergency blankets (the thin little mylar ones), a pocket knife, our phones, my husband a portable charger, matches and a lighter, a first aid kit (a mini one for me, a larger one on my husbands larger bag), paracord, snacks, and more. In our car we have two gallons of water we rotate out, a change of clothes for each of us, and a small supply of cloth diapers. We have a set meet-up location if necessary, as well as plans for different severe weather that would require us to stay put (like tornado's).

You never know what is going to happen, and don't have to be a doomsday prepper to be prepared. If a tornado hits, we still have a way to make sure everyone is okay and have immediate needs met. If the power goes out in the middle of winter due to a class 3 snow emergency ice storm (as has happened in the past), we can still stay warm and fed. The idea is similar to having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, or a conceal carry license. You don't have it because you ever expect to need it, but because you realize things can happen and it's better to not be caught unprepared.

The blog Pinch a Little Save a Lot has a free downloadable emergency planning kit. You can use parts of this for nearly anything, including the emergency contacts for a babysitter or the wallet cards to give to your kids to remember who to call in an emergency. It also has tips for creating a plan for your family in case of an emergency. Downloads are available for free here: http://pinchalittlesavealot.blogspot.com/2012/03/free-family-emergency-planning-kit.html

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

Here's another that I'm quite excited to try. I've seen recipes for just about everything homemade, but not dishwasher soap. However, Louise's Country Closet recently posted one! The recipe is so simple too, with only 4 ingredients: borax (1 cup), washing soda (1 cup), epsom salt (1/4 cup) and lemon juice. Mix it together well and let it set up in an ice cube tray. I'd suggest mixing the powders first, so that they get evenly mixed well and each load will clean the same.  The ingredients will disinfect it well, too.

For a DIY rinse agent, I'd suggest using white vinegar. I started using it because the bottles are so expensive, and I like how my dishes turn out so much better. Plus, when it's washed you don't have any chemical residue (as I'm sure have to be there after a chemical rinse agent is used). It works great even if you have hard water.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

I don't know about you, but I love infused oils in cooking. My mom brought back an amazing one from Spain that tasted like oranges, and is so good as a dip for crusty bread on it's own. She's also made herbal infused olive oil, leaving a spring of Rosemary in the oil for at least a few weeks so that the oil takes the flavor of the herb.

Here's a little bit different of a method, and makes garlic infused oil. You peel the garlic, throw in the cloves and heat it to sizzling for 10 minutes. Strain out the cloves after it has completely cooled (if you want), and it's ready to use! If you do pull out the garlic, save it and use it in something else. Maybe to make garlic butter?

Make sure you refrigerate the olive oil to let it last longer. You didn't add anything that the stores do, so it can go rancid more quickly.

For the full tutorial, go to the Untrained Housewife's website.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shoulder Rice Heating Pad

I love rice heating pads, and have since my Grandma made me several after I had surgery at 8 years old. The ones she made me were from socks that she filled with rice and sewed closed at the leg. Certainly an easy, cheap way with very little sewing. They can be stored however you wish, as they don't need to be in a fridge, freezer, or any sort of special place. To heat it up, place the rice heating pad in the microwave with a mug of water, and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or longer if you have an older microwave.

Shown to the left is a much fancier, prettier version specifically made to sit on your shoulders. The heating pad is sectioned off, so that the rice doesn't all bunch up in one place (aka, fall down onto the chest part). She also added dried lavender to the rice, which would make an amazing scent when it's heated. Lavender especially was a fantastic choice on her part, as it's quite relaxing. The tutorial is found at Crafty Endeavor, and shouldn't require too much sewing savvy as it's mostly just straight lines. The heating pad can also be made in any shape you want, tailored to whatever part of your body you need.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

T-Shirt Braiding

I'd never even heard of this, but how cool! You can re-size a much too large frumpy shirt into one that fits nicely with a cute little pattern, using minimal sewing. The tutorial on Handmade with Love (click on the name to see the tutorial) shows exactly how to do the braid, which  requires slits to be cut into the fabric and no extra tools or fabric. The only sewing is to hold the braid in place at the end so that it doesn't unravel and can be done by hand.

The braid can also be done on the sleeves, and can probably be used to make a cute neckline on a much too big shirt. I may actually use it on the neckline to make a dress for my daughter out of an old teeshirt of mine or my husbands. Old shirts make fantastic dresses and nightgowns for toddlers, as they're worn to a very comfortable feel. If/when I do, I'll be sure to share!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cloches (Mini Greenhouses)

I know it's only January, but the planting season will fast approach. Here's a little, very easy, way to make miniature green houses for your garden. It uses literally three parts, a hanging basket frame, glazing film, (which seems to be simply shrink wrap), and double sided tape to hold it together. You'll also need a hair dryer to shrink the glazing film to size after it's taped on. According to the tutorial, it's strong enough to last several months with consistent use. And if the plastic does rip or break, it'd be simple enough to replace (just peel it off and redo it). And it looks so beautiful too!
Full picture tutorial found here: http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/garden-diy/how-to-make-a-cloche-for-seeds/82.html

Friday, January 4, 2013

Folding Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

Okay, this one I am very excited about. Unfortunately I can't do it right now, as we have no space to do so and are moving soon anyhow. But it looks so easy! It's a fully collapsible drying rack, wall mounted, and looks so easy to make. And the blogger even says that you can collapse it while the clothes are drying on it if needed, so that you don't have to worry about how much space it takes up if you need to switch another load.

For each rack, you need two slatted crib sides, some bolts, two plant hooks, and a strip of wood to rest the bottom of the drying rack on when it's propped up. The tutorial for flat racks is found here, and the follow-up (which includes a backlink to the original tutorial) can be found here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cinnamon Nutmeg Toothpaste

I despise store bought toothpaste. I had been using a mix of baking soda and coconut oil when I brush mine, but I get pregnancy gingivitis (yes, we're expecting our second now!) and that's not a risk I want to take, using a recipe that isn't exactly toothpaste and certainly isn't a breath freshener. I also wanted to find something that had actual reasons for each ingredient. I know baking soda is great for whitening, and coconut is antibacterial but not anything beyond that. So here is a fantastic recipe I'm going to make soon, once I order the base (either calcium carbonite or clay). It uses essential oils, baking soda, coconut oil and a few other ingredients. The site includes an explanation for why to use each ingredient. She even includes many flavor combinations she's also tried out, and how the taste experiments turned out. See the recipe's here at Nourishing Joy.