Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Miscellaneous DIY projects from this month

**I actually typed this post way back at the end of March, but never got around to publishing it because I planned to take some pictures and go back and add them in. Posts are always more fun with pictures . . . :) However, I STILL haven't taken any pictures of this stuff and I want to get this posted before I completely forget about it. So if you want to see pictures of the detergent or cleaning wipes, you can do that by clicking on the links and seeing the photos at the original posts, okay? :)

I thought it would be fun to post about the various DIY projects I've tackled this month. One of my monthly goals is to do something "homemade," and I did get this month's project done, but I also did a few other things--some that were new to me, and some that weren't, so I thought I would blog about those, too.

  • Homemade foaming hand soap: This was the one thing I had planned to make this month, because our soap was running out. Back in December I had gotten 3 natural foaming soaps for a good deal, but they didn't last long. However, one of my main reasons for getting them was that I had read about how to make foaming soap, and wanted the bottles so I wouldn't have to buy them specially. :) When it came time to make the soap, I read the directions and realized that regular creamy liquid soap (what we have) wouldn't work. So instead I used some of the natural, clear dish detergent that we had. I just put in a good squirt (supposed to be a couple of tablespoons, but I didn't measure), filled up the bottle with water, and . . . voila! I actually like the lather-i-ness of this better than the soap that was in the bottles originally. :) This was SO easy, and can you say "cheap?!"

  • Homemade laundry detergent: I've been making this for a while now, but today I had to whip up a new batch, so I thought I would write about it. I use the recipe found here at DIY Natural. It's so easy--1 bar of Fels Naptha, 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda. I grate the soap in the food processor, then blend everything together in it, as well. (Then I make sure to wash the food processor REALLY well afterwards. :)) Sometimes I double the recipe so I don't have to make it as often. A batch doesn't last all that long around here! I keep it in an old coconut oil jar along with a half tablespoon measure, and I use about 1 tablespoon total for each load of laundry.

  • Homemade cleaning wipes: I used to love using Clorox wipes to clean the bathroom sink and the toilet. Just swish, swipe, and you're done! But they get expensive after a while, plus over the years I've come to prefer using more natural cleaners as much as possible. So I haven't bought the wipes for a long time. A while back I came across a post about making your own reusable wipes, using rags made from old t-shirts, soaked with a combination of water, castile soap and tea tree oil. So I whipped some up a few days ago. So far it seems to be working well, and I love the convenience! I used the instructions here, but later I noticed this post that I had bookmarked a long time ago, which is worth a look, also.

  • Homemade elderberry syrup: We love elderberry syrup for cold season. Well, I shouldn't say we *love* it . . . although none of us are crazy about the flavor, I love what it does for colds. :) I have had several colds that started over the winter and got stopped in their tracks by this stuff. It is seriously amazing! My friend Jen gave me a cup or so of it back in the fall, and then I bought some dried elderberries from her so I could make my own. I finally remembered to make it today (too bad I didn't think of it when the kids were first showing signs of cold symptoms last week!). I feel a bit of a scratchy throat coming on, so I'll definitely be taking lots of this over the next few days. Here is how you make it; it's really easy-peasy.
1/2 cup of dried elderberries
3 cups of water
1 cup of honey (raw local honey would be best--I don't have this--yet!--so I used
Combine the elderberries and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and
simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain into a bowl, squishing the elderberries to get as
much juice out as possible through the strainer. Mix in the honey. Store in the fridge
(I use a mason jar) for up to 3 months or so.

I love trying new homemade things! Have any of you tried any DIY projects lately?

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