Sunday, January 26, 2014

DIY Cleaning Recipes

After a series of weeks where my kids have been coughing indoors due to typical winter weather and being stuck inside, it dawned on me that we need better indoor air.  Then it got me thinking about all the chemicals we use in our house just to clean it, but we end up leaving the air and eventually our earth more polluted.  My kids have sensitive lungs so it was high time I got rid of all the nasty store bought cleaners and replaced them with all natural cleaning supplies.  
My cupboard went from this:

BEFORE

To this:
AFTER

The following four recipes are awesome and you'll find them easy to make and easy to use. Here is what you need to make the following recipes for Glass Cleaner, All Purpose Cleaner, Toilet Cleaner, and Laundry Detergent. 1) White Vinegar, 2) Corn Starch, 3) Borax (found in your laundry aisle, 4) Rubbing Alcohol, 5) Liquid Castille Soap (sometimes found in the natural food aisle or beauty aisle) 6) Washing Soda (found at your grocery store laundry aisle,) and 7) Natural bar soap like Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory, or other natural bar soap,) and 8) Essential oil like lemon oil.


You'll also need three large spray bottles and a glass jar to hold your laundry detergent. I found these at Target.


Glass Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 4 cups warm water

Combine everything in the spray bottle using a funnel if you have one. Shake well each time you use it to make sure the cornstarch doesn't clog the spray bottle.  I used an old cloth diaper to clean my windows and they have never looked so sparkly!

All Purpose Cleaner

  • 2 tsp borax
  • 1 tsp washing soda
  • 2 tsp liquid lavender castille soap (or orange)
  • 4 cups warm water

Combine everything in the spray bottle using a funnel if you have one. Shake well each time.  You can use as a bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, or kitchen cleaner. Works great to disinfect.

Heavy Duty Toilet Formula

1 1/2 cups borax
2 cups white vinegar
5 drops lemon essential oil

You can combine everything in a squirt bottle or add directly to the toilet to clean. You can let sit overnight to remove rings from the toilet too.

Laundry Detergent

  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Washing Soda
  • 2 bars of Dr. Bronner's Castille Bar Soap grated

Mix everything in a glass container and use 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup per load depending on size of wash. It's so easy even your kid can help!


This amount of detergent should last for at least 36 loads if not more.  I'm happy to use less plastic and have cleaner clothes with no dyes, perfumes, or chemicals going into our water supply!

BEFORE

AFTER

I can't wait to try more natural DIY recipes for cleaning. It's been fun cleaning the house without feeling like I'm going to pass out from harsh chemicals. :)  Happy Cleaning!

xo
Cathleen

Friday, January 17, 2014

Plants and Nate

It's always a bummer putting away the Christmas decorations and recycling the Christmas tree. All that Greenery and fun gone.  January Blues set in.  To alleviate this I got some cute green plants for the house and some cute new things that we've been needing. I've been seeing lots of Christmas cacti around other blogs and fell in love. I searched everywhere for one, but didn't find one until I purchased the last two from here. I mentioned this little guy in our Pom Pom Garland post, but wanted to show you again up close! :)


This pink Bromeliad from Home Depot is so cheery in the front window (where the Christmas tree used to be.) It's rather top heavy so we've had a few accidents of it tipping over. I had to turn it to lean against the window.  I just read that they bloom for 2-3 months but only once in their lifetime.


My poor 2013 calendar was about to get tossed, but the pictures in it were just too cute to throw out. Some got put up around the house. Here's one tucked into a frame in the living room.



Our living room NEEDED this chevron deer picture. I couldn't believe I found cute art at Target, but they are getting so hip there!  I love the raw wood frame too.



I just finished reading my Nate Berkus book, "The Things that Matter."  It was a great read!  I love you Nate Berkus!  When I was at Target picking up my deer art I found this cute rug by Nate. I'm a big fan of black and white and I love the arrow design.  I needed a kitchen rug and this one seemed to fit the bill. I love the wool rustic charm. 



Okay and that's it for me shopping this month!  I thought I was done in December!  Can't help getting sucked into those after Christmas deals!  Have a great three day weekend.

xo
Cathleen

Friday, January 10, 2014

Finally Framed Artwork

This print from Etsy's Pen & Paint shop has been sitting in my daughter's room for months. I ordered it for her back when we redid her toddler room in Coral and Navy Blue.  I love this quote "Be Still & Know." I guess it's a bible quote, but I like it because it's a reminder to have faith in her decisions and not to doubt herself. I want my daughter to grow up strong and reassured. Confident in her choices. And to also know that I will be with her every step of the way.


I picked up the white frame from Target. It was really well priced, I think $13.99 for an 8' x 10' opening, 11' x 14' when matted. This photo looks a little cluttered with all her toys, but at least they are organized! And I finally filled that bookcase that I painted several months back.


Next to the new print I taped up a little raccoon painting from my 2013 calendar with some floral washi tape. I think the formality of the big print with the casualness of the little one works well together. Notice the wooden desk calendar on the top of the bookcase? She built that herself and painted it at a kid's Home Depot workshop on January 4th. She proudly displays it.



Here are some close-ups of her shelves. I am always changing things around. I added these two fabric collages under the top shelf and added some Washi tape around the edges of the shelves for some interest.  I found the cute coral bowl at Target a while back so she has a place to store her bows and hair ties.


Her Tiffany's piggy bank makes a great holder for her birthday cake paper garland.


So I'm finally feeling like her room is complete.  We've got all her prints hung.  But like I said things are always changing so I'll keep you in the loop! :)


xo
Cathleen

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DIY Pom Pom Garland

Here is our New Year's Eve/New Year's Day/January fireplace mantel!  It's a little crazy meets festive, but much needed after all the Christmas decor got put away. We decided to add some white lights to the mantel to leave some holiday cheer.  


We got a little inspiration for the pom pom garland and finger knitted garland from the blog Life in Grace.  I have never made either before so I did some research and found this youtube video on how to make finger garland.   My seven year old son watched it over and over again with me and we both learned how to do it!  What a fun way to spend some quality Christmas break time together.


He was able to complete a whole strand of the gray garland by himself and I made the other one. It was really easy and pretty fast. In the green ceramic pot is my new Christmas cactus! I literally couldn't find one anywhere but snatched up the last two from Josh's Frog's online.


For the Pom Pom garland I purchased two sets of Clover Pom Pom makers from Joann's.  I used the largest size to make the white pom pom garland and the second smallest size to make the coral pom pom garland. After each pom that I made I simply used one long strand of yarn to tie off each one so it is continuous.


I think what makes this mantel so festive for January is the vintage colorful hanging "chandelier" in the front of the big mirror. It screams New Year's Eve!  I think it's actually meant for Christmas, but I'll keep it up in January. :)


Today we woke up to 10 degree weather, hence the fire!

xo
Cathleen

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas treats

I know I know. It's January and we've all resolved to loose weight and eat healthy. So I'm SO sorry this post is a little too late, but here it is anyway.  My Christmas treats that I whipped up one Saturday afternoon for friends and neighbors. 

Girardelli White Chocolate Pretzel rods with sprinkles. These were a big hit and turned out so yummy!


Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Pretzel Rods with sprinkles, crushed candy cane, and silver pearl candies (same recipe as above.)


Molasses Sugar Cookies.  These turned out very soft and chewy.
Recipe


Peppermint meringues, also a big hit and pretty easy to make.
Recipe


Ghirardelli white chocolate peppermint bark.
Recipe


And of course, the usual, frosted and cut sugar cookies. This time I used lemon extract in them to change them up a bit from the normal vanilla extract.
Recipe



Now back to your regularly scheduled January diet.  :)

xo
Cathleen

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas pillowcases

I still can't believe how much sewing I accomplished this Christmas season! My sewing machine is tired and worn out! All in all, I sewed up five pillowcases (like the ones shown below,) one toddler flannel sheet, four throw blankets, two tea towels, two scarves, and three doll blankets! I was really inspressed with how the Christmas pillow case turned out for my daughter so I wanted to share it with you.   All of the fabric and the iron on letters are from Joann's Fabric store here in Durham. 


The main part of the pillow case is flannel so it's nice and snugly. And I just love the old C9 and mini Christmas lights! The outer green and silver chevron fabric is a less soft but is cute paired with the lights fabric.  It's hard to tell in this photo but the white accent piece has a snowflake pattern on it.


The iron-on letters were also stitched on to give them more durability when run through the wash. I tend to wash my kids sheets and pillowcases in hot water, so I knew they'd fall off it I didn't stitch them on.


You can find out how to make these cute pillowcases for your kids here.  They make great Christmas presents!


I haven't talked to my sister-in-law or brother yet, but I hope their three kids are enjoying these that I made for them. :)


The Grinch in Flannel for my nephew!


And Hello Kitty Christmas Flannel for my nieces.




xo
Cathleen
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