Sunday, October 24, 2010

busy bees!

Between sickness, family pictures, Renaissance Fairs, getting put in jail and elephant riding, we've been busy little bees! But the end of busy-ness is in sight! We have costumes ready for Halloween. Now we just need to make all the good food for the trick or treating party!
Then I'm going to wrap up all the projects I have going and start on my handmade Christmas!! I'll keep everyone updated on what's knitting and sewing at the Jones house.
Look here for a Mario/Luigi costume tutorial in a few days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

getting there...

I love seeing my sewing queue dwindle down! I finally finished this jump rope dress just in time for family picture day next week. I used fabric from Heather Ross' Far Far Away II collection. I love the way it turned out.
This dress probably isn't great for beginners to tackle, but if you're pretty comfortable in front of a machine, give it a go!

lots o' laundry

I have four kids and a husband. One of those kids is a wee one who spits up on everything. The other three kids are, well, kids who are capable of getting their clothes really, really dirty. And the husband runs a lot therefore produces sweaty clothes. That's a lot of laundry folks. I could do a load a day and still not be caught up. That's also a lot of laundry detergent, which as most of you know can get expensive. Instead of telling the kids they can either go to college or have clean clothes, not both, I decided to try to make my own laundry detergent. I tried many different recipes and finally settled on one that I'll share with you.

1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 bar Castile soap

Grate the bar of soap and mix it with the Borax and Super Washing Soda. Put in a sealed container to store when not in use. Use 2 tablespoons for a large load.

If you want no additives at all, you can use a bar of Fels Naptha (but grate only about 1/2 of the bar) or Ivory soap. You can find all these items in the laundry aisle of your grocery store, except the Castile soap is usually in the "natural" section or body soap aisle. If not, you can order online from a number of retailers or ask your grocery store manager to stock it.

The great thing about this detergent is you can change it to fit your needs (fragrance, no fragrance etc). And it is super, super cheap!! One batch goes a long way. You can double or triple the recipe to make it last a long time. Another trick is to add vinegar to a downy ball and put it in the wash. The vinegar rinses all the soap out after washing. If there is soap left in the clothes, it tends to attract dirt and weakens the fiber of the clothing.

For those of you with HE washers, I think it works well. I don't have and HE, but if someone wants to buy one for me so I can test it out, you are very welcome to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the fun of fall!!

Did you know that before pumpkins, turnips used to be used as jack-o-lanterns? Says so on Wikipedia so it must be true! (Check out the picture of the Irish jack o lantern on that page...freaking scary!) Anyway, I brought some pumpkins and a turnip to my sister's house to carve with her minions. I love the way my little turnip turned out! I plan on making a few more and hanging them with twine on the front yard tree. They look extra spooky when lit.

I used a melon baller to gut him. It worked really well. To keep turnips and jack o lanterns to last a bit longer, I hear soaking them in bleach for 8 hours then drying them out helps to keep mold away. But make sure you get all the bleach out and not let it pool at the bottom, or rot will set in.
Another great thing about fall is the squash that comes with it! This here is South American Ragout cooked inside of acorn squash. I got the recipe from this month's Vegetarian Times. It tasted even better than it looks!
And last but not least, a fall dress for the little lady. This is the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver and S made with my very last yard of mermaids from Heather Ross. If you're new to sewing or want to start, try this pattern. It's easy and sews up quickly.

Friday, October 1, 2010

spooky fail (but an awesome giveaway, yay!)

So the first day of my spooky craft every day until Halloween didn't happen today! Oops. This morning was a home school morning and by the afternoon, I had a sick kid to take care of. There's always tomorrow.

On a good note, there's a giveaway for this gorgeous necklace over at No Biggie. I want!