DIY Laundry Supplies

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I don’t normally post “life hacks” types of crafts, but I’ve been looking into more of this stuff to suit my family allergy needs and I figure I shouldn’t just hoard it all to myself. πŸ˜‰ So today I’m gonna give you the info you need in order to make your own laundry detergent and an anti-static wool ball.

 

Washing Detergent

  • Borax
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 5.5oz Fels-Naptha Soap (you can also just about any bar soap really, but this one is made specifically for laundry)
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Hand Grater (Yes, like the one for cheese)
  • Essential Oils (Optional; only used to add a scent to the clothes)
  • 5 Gallon Bucket (for liquid detergent only)

Once you have you ingredients gathered you have 2 options. Powdered or Liquid. The first step for both requires you to grate the Fels-Naptha Soap bar. A normal house hold grater will do just fine. Then for powered detergent simply multiply this out depending on how much you want to make:

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

Β½ cup – 1 cup grated bar soap

That’s it! Use maybe a ΒΌ cup per full load. You’ll likely adjust to suit your needs after a few experiment loads.

If you prefer liquid soap, you’ll need to perform a few extra steps. First, take your grated soap and add it to a pot with 4 cups of hot water. Β Put it on the stove on medium-high, and stir until completely melted – about 10 minutes. Take that 5 gallon bucket and fill it half way with water, then pour in your liquid soap. Stir in 1 cup of borax & 1 cup of washing soda into the bucket. If you want to make it scented, now is the time to add your essential oil. You’ll need Β½ – 1 oz total depending on how strong you want the scent to be. Stir that in as well to combine. Now, fill up the bucket with warm water all the way to the top – and stir again. Β If you don’t have a utensil long enough to reach the bottom, just put on a pair of rubber dish gloves beforehand. SNap the lid on the bucket and let it sit for at least 24 hours so it can gel up.

Once it’s done, you’ll likely notice it’s got clumps, or if you made it while it’s humid out it may still be pretty thin. This is normal/fine and you should still use it like normal. If you really want it to have that store bought consistency instead of being lumpy though, you can take an immersion blender to it to smooth everything out. Disperse it into other containers (empty detergent or milk gallons for example) and voila. You’re no longer beholden to the detergent industry.

Anti-Static Ball

I know we’ve all heard the aluminum foil ball thing, but this one will leave your laundry smell nice instead.

  • 100% Wool yarn would into a ball
  • Essential Oil

Make sure your ball of wool is tightly wound and wash it until it becomes felted. Then add a few drops of essential oil to the ball, letting it set before using. It will not need to be rewashed (bar anything happening to it), just add more essential oil again if the smell fades. Simply it toss it in when you are drying your clothes and bam. No more static. πŸ™‚ If you really need that dryer sheet feel you can soak the wool ball in fabric softener instead, but the wool is key to help get rid of static.


DIY Mermaid Crown

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My sister is expecting her second child within the next few weeks (aka not soon enough if you ask her) and has been nesting. She’s constantly fiddling with the baby’s room and fussing over it being “not ready” with her latest obsession (since the room actually is ready and has been for some time) being the decorations in the room. Since she lives by the beach doing a beach/mermaid theme appealed to her and she’s been bombarding me with every mermaid print/decoration she’s fallen in love with for the last 2 weeks.

Basically you have her to thank for today’s topic, lol.

Now this wouldn’t work well with a new born outside of a photo shoot of course, but she loves the ideaΒ  of using found shells from the beach near her home to make one. Personally I’d like a more tiara styled one, but that’s the beauty with this type of thing, once you know the basics, you can easily adjust it to suit your needs. πŸ™‚


Making Buttercream Transfer Art

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Baking is sorts my side craft/love that I dabble in when I have time cause it’s like a craft that you can eat if you do well! πŸ˜€ So today I want to share a very helpful tutorial I came across that teaches how to make frosting art (that’s NOT made from nasty fondant) and transfer it safely to your cake.

This tutorial comes from the folks at Craftsy and explains not only how to do the technique but where it comes from, why it’s important, and what the best applications are for using it. I personally found this method to be easier then making roses, even though both methods are ones where the creation is being applied to the cake later, and not as you are making it. The supplies you’ll need besides buttercream frosting and food dyes are:

You’ll be printing the image you want to put on your cake backwards to act as your stencil so you’ll want to use that image for color matching as well before you get started. I’d also recommend reading the tutorial in it’s entirety before starting instead of as you go. Nothing worse then getting caught off guard if a tutorial goes a place you weren’t expecting. πŸ™‚


No One Steals Alone Cookie Jar

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So we’ve all done it. Swiped a few fresh baked cookies from the jar when your friend/family walked away. Rookie mistake of course on their part as they could lose all their baked treats this way. It happened to me so I suppose that’s Karma for ya. Well this one artist has designed a cookie lock bx that will require an assistant for you to get in to.

Crafted by Thijs Sondag and his friend Gustav, this cookie box requires at least 2 sets of hands to open. Now if it were me, this is where I’d use my many younger siblings to swipe cookies for me so I could truthfully admit I’d not touched the box all day. You could of course use this for hiding things from those without built in teams of scapegoatsΒ  assistants, but if you make it out of wood it probably wouldn’t keep a determined thief from simply breaking it open. Still, if you’d like to make your own, the creative duo has kindly shared the plans online. You can also watch the full video of the box here if the lovely gif loop just doesn’t do it for ya. πŸ˜‰


DIY Spa Style Mother’s Day Gifts

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Gift giving can sometimes put a strain on a budget. Depending on the person and expectations one’s family has, it can cause load of extra stress and pressure. Well, if you have someone you’re celebrating this mother’s day that enjoys a bit of personal pampering, I’ve got some DIY suggestion to help you out in the remain crunch time days here.

From the lovely folks over a Lil’ Luna, here’s all the info you need to make a simple custom set of spy type items; namely bath salts, candles and a sugar scrub. All you need is a custom mix of relaxing music to go with it and you’ve got the perfect at home relaxation kit. πŸ™‚ You will need several supplies to make all 3 items, so if you’re strapped for cash, it might be best to pick 1-2 items that would work best for the recipient. You’ll need a container for all the items, so I won’t list that as other then the candle needing to be glass, the type/style is really up to you. We’ll start with the easiest:

Bath Salts:

  • 1 Cup Epson Salts
  • 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
  • 3 Drops of Essential Oils
  • Zest of one citrus (optional) Citrus types include Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruits, etc.

Simply mix all the ingredients together and place them in your jar/container and seal it up. Doesn’t get easier then that. πŸ™‚

Sugar Scrub:

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Drops of Essential Oils

Heat up the coconut oil a bit in the microwave to get it nice and runny so everything will be easier to mix. Then, simply add all the ingredients together and pour in jar.

This last one is the hardest/most expensive so if you think it’s beyond your skill then buying a candle may be the better choice

Candle:

  • Soy Wax, enough to fill your container twice
  • Container
  • A Wick
  • Skewer
  • Essential Oils
  • Pan

First, wrap the top of the wick around skewer and set in container. Then, melt the wax in a double boiler, stirring constantly. When the temperature reaches 170 F remove from heat, addind about 8 drops of essential oils and wait til it drops to 150 F before pouring the wax into the jars. Leave for a few hours to set, and then snip off the top of wick, leaving about 1/2″ above the candle for lighting.

You can get fancy and add various colors using food grade dye for the body products or colored wax for the candles, or even mix and match essential oils to get a custom fragrance you know they’ll love. πŸ˜€


Food from Legos

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I see all kinds of art made from Lego at cons during the year. Mostly mini-figs, but the rare few will even make custom statues/pieces out of Lego during the course of the weekend. With that kind of medium in mind today, I wanted to showcase a Lego artist using the medium to make organic shapes from very geometric pieces.

Inspired by the Japanese practice of using plastic food displays in restaurants, Japanese artist under the name Tary creates almost lifelike food with Lego. Recognized officially by Lego as a Master Builder, Tary uses the medium to make shapes that I honestly didn’t think were possible.

The process to becoming a Master Builder with Lego is similar to classic apprenticeship with different skill markers and milestones being used to identify your skill level. You can also only use official Lego parts. No 3D printing your own. All of Tary’s posts are of course in japanese, but if you’d like to at least follow what they’re working on you can find Tary on Twitter, Flickr, and their official blog.


Amazing Sign Replicas

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I love me a good sign. And I also love accurate detail, so it will come as no shock that I am in love with Quest Design Canada. They make incredibly accurate recreation signs for the proud nerd in your life to display and use at home. My personal fav are all the Disney park ones (as seen above) which my husband doesn’t know we will one day be getting, lol.

Most of their signs are cast in resin and then bronze coated to keep costs down while still maintaining the desired look, though a few like the Hollywood Tower Hotel (Tower of Terror) are made from cut metal.

Besides signs, they also make some prop holders for displaying your geeky based weapons (lightsabers and laser guns for example) but if you’ve been looking for something truly unique for you SO/Family/Friend that will likely cause their jaw to drop, then I definitely recommend giving this shop a look through. πŸ™‚


Exercises for your Hands

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A different kind of post for today. This is a subject that’s been weighing on me personally the past year, and I wanted to share my findings and help my fellow artisan crafters and artists out there. As much fun as it can be to make really cool items by hand, it’s equally important to make sure you’re taking care of those hands. Just like the tools you hold, your hands are an important and vital part of your crafting that can be worn down if not given time and treatment. So the first thing I’m going to start out with is a video on exercises you can do for your hands.

These exercises are designed to help prevent and/or cure injuries such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. While traditional 2D artist are most known to have these issues, as a crocheter I’ve come to find this video invaluable. Less then 5 minutes a day is all you need to run these stretches and the benefits are already starting to show for me. I would recommend doing these daily for anyone that creates things with their hands; yes even writing. Your future self with thank you.

Since it was important enough to be the top comment, I want to include David Kuckhermann‘s addition on feeling a stinging pain while doing the stretches.

for those of you guys who ask about the stinging pain in the thumb/wrist while doing the stretches –Β  This is how it went for me: I had the same sharp stinging pain in the area that was inflamed while I did the stretches. The doctor I consulted with advised me to do the stretches anyway – once every hour or so for 8-10 seconds. I was careful to not overdo it but to stretch enough to still get the stretching effect on the muscles. In the beginning it was very painful but already after two days I felt a big positive change and had much less pain.

Note that I am not a medical doctor, so if you experience severe pain you should definitely consult your doctor before continuing these exercises.

The next advice I want to touch on is taking vitamins. This seems silly, but hear me out. I’m already required to take them as I have a genetic iron deficiency (my body doesn’t have/make enough naturally) that a simple multi vitamin takes care of. If I have super dark circles under my eyes when you come by at shows….it’s cause I’ve forgotten to take them regularly…again. Personal needs aside though, one of the muscle pains I can develop from crocheting is along my tendon muscle near my elbow. It can feel almost like a knot is sitting there, not unlike a charlie horse issue in your leg, that feels more sore then shooting pain. After consulting with my doctor, he suggested I try adding extra potassium to go with my multivitamin as it was possible I wasn’t getting enough in my diet. After about a week I noticed a marked difference and have been attempting to keep up with it. Potassium is an electrolyte and besides helping with your blood pressure, it also aids in electrical impulses carried through your body for proper nerve and muscle communication. Think of it like lubrication for your muscles. πŸ˜‰

The last bit to add here is the one everyone knows and no one wants to hear.

Rest.

Yup. Take a break. Do anything that doesn’t put high stress on your hands/arms. Play some video games, watch movies, whatever you like. Give your hands a rest as much as you can before doing more creating. When you do jump back in don’t go ‘nose to the grind stone’ either to try and ‘make up time’. You’ll just undue all the rest you gave your poor hands and get you back to square one. I took a week off with no crocheting after NYCC last fall cause my hands/arms were so sore, and even though they felt normal after only 2 days, I stuck to the plan and then went at a slightly slower pace for a bit when I started back up until I felt I could resume normal activity/speed.

While none of the 3 suggestions I’ve listed are full proof and you should always consult your doctor first if you have severe pain or injuries, these are good places to start finding a plan that works for you and gives you & your hands a nice long working relationship. πŸ™‚


3D Paper Wall Art

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So we all know decorating can be a pain. Picking colors for paint. Finding pictures/painting for your walls. Making a theme almost guarantees you’ll double that time as well. While it won’t solve all your problems, I have found some very cool wall art that adds an interesting decoration to at least part of your room and it’s easy to remove as well!

These are handmade paper art installations that are just lovely and engaging. Each piece is cut and folded by hand by Oregon based artist Jacqueline Jean of hipandclavicle over on Etsy. The detail and precision of her cutting is just stellar. I could see myself using these in a nursery or a college dorm thanks to their inexpensive price and wall safe adhesive not leaving any marks. Most of the her work is nature themed as she loves the outdoors, though dragons have managed to jump in there from time to time.

No guides for layout of the pieces seems to be included with orders which means the possibilities are endless and can be altered to suit you needs. Got a big empty space to fill? Order a few sets and make a swirling design or a giant butterfly shape.

Most sets cost only $15 so if you’re looking for something different to decorate your walls with, I definitely recommend giving this shop a look through. πŸ™‚


Talking Gloves

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I know winter is behind us, but I only just found these recently and I don’t wanna wait until it’s cold again to share them. πŸ˜›

Based in Istanbul, Talkingloves makes adorable knit clothing with a fun twist. When you put the gloves together, or sometimes position them just so, they contain a special adorable shape. The kitty ones above are my favorite, cause I love cats, but it’s the concept in general that I caught my attention. Perhaps it’s the romantic in me, but I’d be super cute to get 2 pairs of the heart one so that when you and your significant other hold hands it forms a little heart on the inside that only you know about. ^_^

A bit more on focus for those of us going into wedding season, they also make bridal gloves and accessories that are sheer and light instead. Including very delicate looking ring pillows that suit a variety of modern/traditional styles. If you like cute knit and sheer items definitely give their store a look thru as you won’t be disappointed. πŸ™‚