Category Archives: homekeeping

Tuesday Tip: Coffee Filters for Thread Bits

Hey! It’s a Tuesday Tip! It’s only been about 2 years since I posted one of these, but I recently discovered a great way to keep your thread bits contained.

Tuesday Tip: Use a coffee filter to keep your threads contained as you work

I used to use one of those pin cushion/thread catcher things, but you know what- those dangling thread catcher bags are at the perfect height for toddlers to pull down.¬† Ask me know I know ūüėȬ† So now I’m terrible about just throwing threads on the ground.¬† And since the studio is carpeted, it’s difficult to vacuum & just a mess to deal with really (but that hasn’t kept me from changing my habits any!)

I was recently given a bag of trims, etc for my classes & in there where some coffee filters. My original thought was to use them for my collage classes, but I saw them as I was about to clip a bunch of threads from a quilt that was on the longarm. Bingo! I can put all the threads in a filter & just throw the filter away!

I’ve even started using them for those tiny fabric bits that happen when you trim a bazillion half square triangles for a Bear’s Paw block ūüôā

So now I wonder what else I can put in coffee filters to contain small messes.

Garden Update

I haven’t given a garden update in a while, so here’s the status of the plants:

The tomatoes are growing happily….

I¬†de-suckered them & decided to try rooting the stems in water.¬† It’s all an adventure in this gardening thing, so we’ll see how it goes…

Here’s the potato plant from the seeds I obtained locally & planted after Good Friday (& thus after the last frost).¬† This should turn out successful!

Here’s the potato plant from the certified organic seeds I purchased online & planted on Good Friday.¬† Not sure what happened, but at first I thought they were a lost cause, now it seems they just had a slow start….

Here are J’s cayenne peppers.¬† We dry these & crush them.¬† He says they’re the best on our homemade pizzas.¬† I also like to add a pinch in our meatloaf ala Jamie Oliver. (recipe from his Food Revolution book.¬† Best.¬† Meatloaf.¬† Ever.)

Lastly, here are the basil¬†& string bean plants.¬† We like to make pesto & freeze it in snack bags.¬† It’s makes the perfect portions for those frozen raviolis.¬† The string beans are an experiment.

The gardening hobby around here is truly an experiment.¬† I always loved doing the little gardening I did as a kid & wanted to grow my own veggies to use in cooking.¬† I don’t know much¬†& am really learning as I go.¬† Thankfully J likes to dabble in this with me.¬† If we succeed & get to eat some homegrown goodness, yay!¬† If something happens & we get nothing, that’s ok too.

Homemade Fabric Softener

I stopped using fabric softener years ago after I discovered it actually shortened the life of your clothes.¬† However, sometimes it’s nice to have some on hand- like for a new set of sheets you want to break in.

Since I’m trying to be a more frugal homekeeper, I searched Pinterest for softener recipes & after some math (to make less than 1 gallon), I found a good one.¬† Our sheets came out nice & soft & they didn’t have that fabric softener smell which I personally can’t stand.¬† Here’s the recipe:

1 1/2 cups HOT water
1/2 cup hair conditioner (they recommended a Suave rain that smelled nice, I used Suave Shea Butter ’cause that’s what we use)
3/4 cup vinegar

РPour water & conditioner into a lidded jar (I used 2 pint mason jars, or 1 quart would be perfect).
–¬†Shake until completely dissolved.
– Add vinegar & shake well.

Use about 2 tablespoons per load.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

Dishwashing Detergent

I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to get our dishwasher to clean the dishes.¬† We’ve never lived in a place that has such hard water!¬† There was consistently a film left on our dishes & glasses that I swear only a 15 minute soak in a vinegar bath could eliminate (and believe me, I timed it.¬† No less than 15 minutes.)¬† The stupid rinse aids never did anything & every brand of detergent was a joke.

Since making our own laundry detergent proved so successful, I decided to try to the same for dish washing detergent.

After a lot of research, I ended up with this recipe:

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid (found in the canning aisle)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

Shake all the ingredients together well.  I use about 1 tbsp in the soap dispenser & 1 tbsp in the rinse area.

Then, there’s the other secret I learned!¬† Lemi-Shine!¬† This stuff is golden!¬† I just sprinkle 1 tsp in the bottom of the dishwasher before it runs & I swear our dishes actually shine!

One problem solved.

I can’t explain how happy this makes me!

Weekend Wrap-Up & Other Stuff

Whew!  That was a busy couple of weeks!

We had a friend to visit, so between prepping for that & Holy Week at church, there went some time.¬† I did manage to plant some potatoes on Good Friday (per an Old Wive’s Tale).¬† Here’s my first planting:

Our friend (who’s always up for trying something new), didn’t mind helping me figure out how to setup this¬†“urban gardening method” of potato planting.¬† (She’s such a sport!)

Then I’ve been finishing some knitting projects.¬† My knitting bag is overflowing, so I took some time to finish projects:
A bunny made from leftover bamboo yarn:

A dish scrubbie from leftover cotton yarn:

A swiffer cloth from more leftover cotton yarn:

And I’m *almost* done with a cardigan I started when I got my wisdom teeth out last year- just need to block the collar- then I’ll post some pics.

But where’s the quilting?¬†¬†After all, this is a quilting blog!¬† I know, I know.¬† Those pics with¬†be uploaded shortly,¬†stayed tuned for those posts!

Winter Sowing on Homekeeping Monday!

Hey everyone!!

I can’t believe it’s the middle of February!!¬† What happened?¬† Oh yeah, the migraine, the quilt retreat & that pesky migraine again.

Good news is I have new meds & glasses, so the migraines *should* be going away!¬† Those & daily ginger tea to stave off the daily nausea that tells me a headache is coming…..

Back to my “real” life….

It’s the middle of February and I have that gardener’s spring itch.¬† I want to get started on my seeds, tilling my plot & well, just get moving.¬† But for those of you that live in zone 5, you’re chuckling too because well, it’s too early. (Did the snow forecast give it away?)

Or so I thought!

I came across Winter Sowing on Pinterest. (evil, evil Pinterest!!!¬† Worst time sucker than Solitaire!)¬† Did a little research¬†& decided, what the heck- why not try it here in our snow covered state of Nebraska.¬† What’s there to lose?

So I gathered my recyclables, soil, seeds & duct tape & made one container.¬† Since I’m taking the recyclable road, my garden is going to grow slowly (you know, as we drink a gallon of milk a week), but that’s ok.¬† (Only, I wonder what our next door neighbors who are trying to sell their house are thinking!)

So here’s the start of it.¬† In the meantime I’m researching ways to grow potatoes & shallots (we eat an insane amount of shallots) & lettuce.

And if you’re on Pinterest, you can follow my homekeeping & gardening boards!¬† Just search for!

Pesky Foggy Glasses (& How I Conquered Them)

Today is Monday, so today I was busy mending and getting some yard work done (it was 65 degrees!!!). While emptying the dishwasher, I noticed our horrible foggy glasses.

Does this happen to anyone else? Does this happen *anywhere* else? *sigh*

No matter what I do to clean the dishwasher, nothing comes out clean.

I was nearly tempted to throw away all our glasses & get a new, matching set from Target. But then I reminded myself that’s not fiscally responsible.

So I soaked them for 1 hour in hot soapy water. Nothing. So I went to the Internet to research how to clean these pesky glasses. After combining several tips, this is what I came up with:

– take a large pot, fill with water (but allow enough water for the displacement of glasses)
– add 1 cup of vinegar (vinegar is a frugal homemakers best friend. We should all store vats of this stuff)
– bring to a boil. I didn’t wait for a rolling boil (not that much patience), but there were small bubbles coming up for about 3-5 minutes
– remove water bath from heat
– using tongs, carefully immerse 2-3 glasses. They should be fully immersed in the water.
– set timer for 20 minutes
– using tongs, remove glasses from bath, hand wash & dry
– repeat until all glasses are clean!

Have any doubts this works?
Here’s a before & after pic:

It doesn’t get any better than that!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Laundry Soap!

Today is Monday, which means it’s “house” day.¬† The day I clean, organize & attempt to keep our routines sane.

So today, in the midst of wrangling cats for a vets visit, baking bread, writing letters, paying bills & cleaning, I realized we were low on laundry detergent.  (Yes, I did actually leave a corporate finance job for this, but I love every second of this life!)

About 7 months ago, (or sometime last summer), I decided to start making our laundry detergent.¬† This was partially due to wanting to live a more natural life & partially due to the fact I was irate over paying a ridiculous amount of money for detergent that didn’t clean our clothes. (Does this irk anyone else??)

After hours of research on the internet, I discovered that yes, we could use homemade detergent in our HE washer (it’s actually better since homemade is low sudsing- the main requirement for HE washers), it was actually doable without me killing myself in exertion & it was even cheaper.¬† Done.¬†¬†I was sold.

Over the past few months I’ve taken the original recipe & “tweaked” it some.¬† Here is my revised recipe:

1/3 bar Ivory soap, grated
1/2 c. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 c. 20 Mule Team Borax

– In the biggest stock pot you have, put in the Ivory soap (I use Ivory.¬† I like the smell.¬† Some people use Fels Naptha.¬† That wasn’t available at my local grocery store.) with 6 cups of water on medium high heat.¬† Stir until the soap has melted & then bring to a small boil for about 5 minutes.

РAdd the washing soda & borax.  Stir until dissolved.  Add 4 cups of hot water.  Stir well.  Wait about 5 minutes.

РNow add 1 gallon + 1 quart of hot water.  Mix well, keep on stove for another 5 minutes or so.  Then remove from heat.

– Wait 24 hours before transferring the “goop” into their storage containers.¬† I use 2 old milk jugs.¬† They say the mixture will be a “watery gel” at this point.¬† I’ve never exactly had it “gel.”¬† To me it just looks like milky water.

– Use about 1/2 c- 1 cup of soap per load.

There it is.¬† Nothing fancy.¬† I don’t add any essential oils or anything- I just like¬†that Ivory soap smell.¬† In the end it really doesn’t take that long- about 20 minutes or so.¬† The cost point is another great benefit- all the supplies cost me about $5 & so far I’ve barely used half.¬† Can’t beat $5 for laundry detergent for 1 year.

A Cleaning Routine

Flylady is full of *&*#$%.
For me a least.
I came to this realization a few weeks ago when I finally became fed up with my messy house.  Being the incredibly analytical person I am, I started to think through WHY I was unable to keep a clean house on the Flylady system & it all came down to the 15 minutes of cleaning premise.
Note:  This is not going to be a Flylady bashing post, instead this is about how I came to figure out how I needed to keep a house.
If you’re not familiar with Flylady, her basic idea is that everything can be done in 15 minutes a day.¬† Sounds great, right?
And I do really like that idea- it works great for straightening up every evening, going through those piles of overwhelming clutter, etc.¬† But for some reason I couldn’t keep the house clean.¬† It still always felt like I was battling cat hair and dirt & chasing after cleaning supplies.
The most frustrating part was knowing that, in previous stages of my life, I kept a fairly clean house¬†& most of all- I LIKE keeping a house!¬† I’m one of those few women in the world who loves the fact that I get to stay home to keep the house running!¬† I’m also one of those women who read Home Comforts front to back when she was in high school!¬† So what was my problem?
Well, what did I do then?
Back then, I used to take one day a week (usually Saturday) and clean every nook & cranny, do all the laundry, then collapse on the couch after 3 hours and enjoy the clean smells.
So why didn’t I just do the same thing in our current house?
Well, first of all our current house is as least twice as big as any of those places.
Then, I did actually try to do that one day, big clean, but again, with all this space, no matter how hard I tried- it took about 8 hours & I was horribly exhausted (& let’s be honest- probably pretty B*&$%Y too).
Then, in a moment of cleverness (or divine inspiration?), I realized what would work.
First of all, I assembled my cleaning bucket (see pic above).  This would have everything I need as I go from room to room cleaning.
Then, I would break the house into 2 parts- upstairs & downstairs.  One week I would scour upstairs, the next downstairs & so on.
During that designated day, I would do all the laundry, so no longer would clean clothes be sitting in the laundry basket, waiting 2 weeks to be folded.
I’ve been on this routine now for 3 weeks & so far, it’s been going great!¬† Now it just takes me 2 hours to scrub & I finally have that large sense of accomplishment I was missing with the Flylady system.
And that sense of accomplishment is what I needed- the 15 minute thing didn’t feel like an achievement of any kind & it was too much to do the whole house in one go.
The part that amazes me is that it’s taken me 2 years living in this house to figure this out!!¬† Yeesh!

Busy Weekend & the Status of the House

We had an extremely busy weekend here, running errands, assembling furniture, buying furniture & our first DIY project in the house!!

The garage was mess of yard tools and bikes. We hung these 2 handy dandy pegboards to organize all the rakes, shovels, gardening supplies on & ta da! No more mess! We even have room to store the grill in the garage over the winter!
The lawn furniture arrived this morning & hopefully I’ll have time to assemble that this afternoon.
The office is still a work in progress. We are now going to paint sooner than later, so we picked up lots of paint samples as Home Depot & now just need to decide which to use. The main problem is that the former owners painted the ENTIRE house (and I’m not exaggerating here) in one shade of tan. It’s a special shade too- almost like adobe, but darker- I swear there are hints of peaches & cinnamon in the color. We like the color, just not in every single room of the house. Now to find complementary shades….. makes my brain tired. Also, in assembling our desk, one of the pieces was damaged & it still hasn’t arrived from the great big Staples warehouse (note to future office furniture purchasers- look at Staples- free shipping & they are GREAT about replacing damaged parts!)
The quilting studio- coming along slowly. The Quilting Machine came! Now we just need to assemble it & set up the computerized software.
The garden- producing more cucumbers than we can possibly hope to eat. Luckily the neighbors don’t mind free cukes. The watermelon plant has 5 babies melons so far. I hope the neighbors like watermelon too.
The yard- We’re slowly coming up with the landscaping plan. Not going to happen anytime soon. We did however find this cool sprinkler that you can set to various distances to water your entire lawn at once. But of course, it’s supposed to rain all week. Ahh.
The kitchen- mostly all done, but J bought be a Kitchen Aid 12 cup food processor & I’m so excited about this! I’m thinking zucchini bread! Pesto! (oh yikes- I need to split the basil plant! It’s being strangled in the small pot.)
The bathroom- need to pick a color- the matte paint that is in the ENTIRE house doesn’t quite cut it for the humidity in a bathroom. Maybe a nice blue-green shade?
Living room- haven’t done a thing. It’s currently our drop space for all these boxes.
Lots & lots still to do!!!! Musn’t forget the business either!