I must have done something good in the past to deserve the wonderful group of readers I have here. I was overwhelmed by the response to yesterday's post and the jump in visitor numbers. Thank you. Those of you who read here regularly know that Mondays and Tuesdays are the days I do my voluntary work and on those days I'm always busy, rarely able to comment during the day. Usually, all I can manage is to read the comments and okay them for publication. I sometimes have good intentions and resolve to answer when I come home, but when I get here and there are emails waiting and a husband to talk to, I walk away from the computer so I can relax and recover from what are always mentally and physically challenging days.
But now I've had a good night's sleep and I'm ready to face the world again. Today's post will be a bit of a patchwork affair. I want to show you a very quick milk jug cover made last week and I hope to answer the questions asked in the comments this week. Before I go on though, Sharon will be posting on Friday, after the deadline closes on the swap on Thursday. She will then give you all the details you need about the swap and let you know when the list of partners will be ready.
I made this little cover to show you how to make a jug cover using something you might already have at home. I used a small old doily, stitched this little posy of roses on it and tied on some weights in the form of pearlised dangling buttons. You could also use shells from the beach that you drill a hole in, or just your average buttons. I think buttons of different sizes would be fine. The stitches used here are backstitch and French knots; the entire thing was finished in an hour. It's just right for a weekend craft or a weekday one for those of you who are working outside the home or have littlies and need a small project that you can pick and and put down.
Now, to answer some queries. Sarena, I grew the pineapple by cutting the top off a bought pineapple. I let the top dry out a little and then just planted it in the vegetable garden. Hanno fed and watered it, and, I have to tell you, complained about it for two years. He didn't like it in the middle of the vegie patch where he wanted to plant other things. But for those two years, he cared for it. In Spring of the first year it sent up a spike that turned into a fat pineapple. It took a long time to ripen and when I picked it, after it had fallen over due to its weight, it sat on the kitchen bench for about a month. It slowly turned that lovely golden yellow that screams ripeness, but I kept testing it by trying to pull a leaf from the top. That is the true test of a ripe pineapple. When I could pull a leaf out, I cut it open. And yes, it was worth the wait.
CM, I'll ask Hanno to help me with a raised bed post. Just last week he took photos when he cleaned out one of the water tanks and he'll help with that post soon too.
Carmell, don't aim for perfection, love. Nothing needs to be perfect, just good enough for you to enjoy your home. And get the kids to help you, it is their home too and they should at least keep their rooms clean and tidy, depending on their ages, of course. When my boys were very young (4 and 5), I taught them to get their own breakfast - just cereal and milk, not toast or anything cooked. They enjoyed that independence and it lead to other things. I think children benefit from having to help in the home. It teaches them how to look after themselves and it allows them to contribute to the home, and that gives them self respect. I hope you find some enjoyment in your homemaking. I send you warm hugs.
It's good to see you back, Gail. I was wondering where you were.
Attilathehen, I too like seeing others living as we are. It's comforting to know there are many others out there who are doing it or working towards it.
jenniepowell, I'm sorry to hear of your illness and hope today is a bright one for you. I don't claim to understand depression but I have a couple of people very close to me who suffer from it and I see others at my work. I send my best wishes to you and hope you find true and lasting happiness in your home life. Don't ever expect, or aim for, perfection. All you need is to do what needs doing on that particular day and if you can't manage that, there is always tomorrow. Look after yourself, love.
Joanne, thank you for your thoughts and for reaching out. Yours are wise words and I appreciate you sharing them here.
Hello Colleen, yes, I get the picture. I had days and weeks like that when my sons were little. As I said before, don't aim to be perfect, just do what you can do and be satisfied with that. Everyday strive to do a little more, if you can't, then you can't, but try again the next day. Big hugs to you. I hope you like your hot chocolate today.
Alecat, thank you for the award. I appreciate you thinking of me. However, I have to tell you that I stopped accepting awards a few months ago because I never have the time to pass them on. Thank you anyway. I left a comment on your blog.
Sarah, yes that's fine. :- )
And to all of you who needed the encouragement of this post, to those who stopped and reflected on how they do their work, and to those who are struggling with illness, I send my best wishes to you and hope today is a good one.
Rachel, I've never tried soap nuts but I've heard of them. I'd be interested in knowing how you go with them. Good luck growing them too.
Hi Donetta, it's good to hear the sourdough is a great success. I'll start another one as soon as I can.
Blossom, leave the borax out if you use your grey water. It can build up in the soil. Make sure you use the washing soda with the soap, you might even like to increase the amount. I'm sure it will be fine.
Ajoyfilledlife, you can use water from the washing machine on your garden but don't add borax to your washing powder or liquid. However, you can't store grey water because the bacteria, which quickly die in the garden, will multiply in a rain barrel. Many people in Australia, run a hose from the laundry straight onto the garden, and move the hose to different areas in the garden when they do the laundry. So if you drain the grey water into a barrel, make sure you use it that day or the next. And good luck with your gardens.
Jan Hatchett, adding caustic soda to your laundry mix is not a good idea. It will clean, but it will also harm your clothes, sheets and towels. It's too strong. The caustic soda in soap is neutralised in the process of soap making, and that removes the ability of caustic soda to burn - both clothes and skin. You may not notice it straight away but the fibres in your fabrics will be weakened by it. Use washing soda, not caustic soda. Vinegar is not necessary as a rinse aide. I rarely use vinegar in my washing machine and my clothes are fine. If you do use vinegar, usually the smell goes when the clothes/sheets/towels dry. If you're concerned about soap buildup in your washing machine - and usually the addition of washing soda and borax stop that build up - run an empty short cycle with a cup full of vinegar. That will clean everything out.
Hi Angela, Hanno used to be a diesel mechanic so I know about greasy work clothes. There is a heavy duty laundry powder recipe in the green cleaners link that should work for you. Make up two batches of powder - one for your normal washes, and one for your husband's work clothes. The ingredient in the heavy duty mix that makes the difference is it uses as stain removing soap and if you can let the load soak for an hour or two, all the better. Our stain removing soap here is called Napisan but I'm sure there is a similar overseas if that's where you are. Another way to deal with this is to make up the normal washing powder and add a cup of powdered oxygen bleach. That is also called Napisan here but I use the Aldi verson of it because it's much cheaper.
Here is that recipe:
HEAVY DUTY WASHING POWDER
For use on worker’s greasy or dirty overalls, football and sports uniforms or fabric that has food spills.
- 2 cups grated Napisan soap (or one cup of powdered oxygen bleach like Napisan or Clorox)
- 2 cups grated soap or soap flakes
- 2 cups borax
- 2 cups washing soda
For a very heavily stained load of washing or tradesperson’s clothes, if you have a top loader turn the machine off when the powder is completely dissolved. In a front loader, operate the machine to dissolve the powder and then stop the machine for an hour to soak the clothes. Leave to soak for an hour, or overnight, and then turn the machine on and continue washing as normal.
If there are any readers who have a good and reliable source where you buy washing soda and borax, would you please share that information with us. There are quite a few readers, particularly in the US and UK who have trouble finding those products.
Leann, the ingredients for soap making do need to be accurately weighed. I use an old postal scale and it does a very good job but any scale that is accurate would do.
Linda, washing soda is sodium carbonate. Does anyone know where Linda can buy washing soda in South Africa?
Hi Kim, it's good to see you tried the soap and it's working well for you.
Elaine, the homemade soap is more expensive than commercial "supermarket" soap, but less expensive than the natural soaps you buy online or in little stores.
I was interested to read your comment, Billie. I sometimes use emu oil or olive oil as moisturiser on my skin, both work well. I'll be experimenting with some lotions soon so I hope you keep in touch and let me know how yours work out.
Hi Ellen, yes, I really like rice bran oil. Adding it to soap makes a noticable silky difference.
Maureen, I'm sorry I can't help you with an air freshener, I never use them. I wonder if any of our readers here have something to share with us. Hopefully there is someone who can help.
Barbie, it's good to see the family on board with this!
Kim, how great your dad is helping. I think the soap will be good for your baby's skin. I have two washcloths and some homemade soap ready to give my next door neighbour who is due any day now.
Lady Katherine, it's fine to share the recipe, the more people using it, the better. Hopefully we'll have some readers today who will tell us where they buy their supplies for soap making. I love the Back to Basics book too and have written about it somewhere way back. It's a great book with a lot of very helpful information.
Robyn, I've written above about leaving the borax out, it's fine. Cornstarch and water makes a good starch but you could also use wheat flour and water. I used to love making the starch for my mother when she did the washing. In those days, almost everything was starched. LOL!
Que, you can't use the aluminium forms unless they are lined (with plastic) - it will ruin the soap and the forms. The soap makes about 10 or 12 cakes, depending on how large you make your cuts.
This post is very long, I'd best stop. Thanks for the comments. It is really interesting reading about the lives being lived in Australia and far off places.