Monday, December 19, 2011

T-Shirt Blanket

Last Christmas I made a fleece blanket for my little guy, this year it was the big boy's turn. I decided to try and make a blanket for him out of his very cool, very beloved, yet very outgrown t-shirts.

I cut out the logos with my rotary cutter and made them into 14X15 inch squares. Then sewed them together, strip style, like a patch work quilt. I then laid the completed top over a piece of polar fleece. (I purchased 1.5 yards and that was the perfect amount for 12 t-shirt squares.)

Once it was thoroughly pinned down, I stitched "in the ditch" vertically for each row of squares and then stitched around the outside to fasten the top to the bottom. (again machine quilting style) When the top was fastened to the bottom fleece, I trimmed around the whole blanket with pinking shears to give it an inch and a half border.

Presto!! A t-shirt blanket. I think it turned out pretty cool. I went ahead and gave it to him last night when it was finished, since he knew I was making it and it wasn't going to be a surprise.

And he was very happy.....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A little bit of Crochet

My 14 year old says to me the other day, "Mom, you need to use up the wool you have before you buy any more." Since when is a 14 year old boy the voice of reason??

But, he does have a point, I have a lot of yarn, especially half used up skeins and it is kind of everywhere.

I had an inspiration. I saw this vintage afghan pattern on another blog a long time ago and loved it. I think it is really pretty. the pattern can be found at Bella Diva -

It seemed like a great way to use up my scraps. So, far it is turning out really pretty. We will see as the colour variation dwindles. I have made a vow to myself to not purchase any yarn to complete this afghan. We will see. I might have to.

I have to add, I am not a crocheter. I knit a lot, but crochet very little, so this has been a good experiment in elementary crochet.

My verdict on the project - the jury is still out, we'll see how it looks when it is finally finished.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Felted Dryer Balls

I love, love, love, these!!! They really are the perfect companion to the home made laundry soap. The clothes were already coming out of the dryer softer and now with the dryer balls there are almost no wrinkles, even cotton dress shirts. Again, huge bonus, because I hate wrinkled clothes and do not have enough time to ever catch up on my ironing. Supposedly they cut down the drying time as well, but I can't say that I've noticed a difference in that respect.

Very easy to make. You need 100% wool yarn. I had some Patons 100% wool yarn left over from a couple projects, but that did not go very far, so I bought a skein of Lion brand Fisherman yarn. It has to be 100% wool and not superwash, because you want it to felt up into tight balls.

I just wound the yarn into old fashioned balls, about the size of a softball. Then I cut off the leg of some old tights and stuffed the ball into the leg, tied it off (with acrylic yarn), stuffed in another, tied it off, etc, etc. I felted 4 at a time. It should look like a string of sausage when it is ready to go in the washing machine.

To felt them, I washed the tied up balls with my towels, one cycle with the temperature on hot wash/cold rinse, then threw them in the dryer. End product, nicely felted dryer balls!

I made 10 and put them in every load I dry. Winner!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home Made Laundry Soap

I've made my own laundry soap before, but did the liquid variety where you grate the soap and melt it in hot water on the stove, add the other stuff and it looks like egg drop soap when you are finished. It worked pretty well, but the process was labour intensive and didn't smell very nice at all. I was excited to find reference to home made dry laundry soap the other day on another blog I follow - The Sitting Tree - It is the same basic ingredients, you just don't have add any liquid.

So, I used 1 bar of Dr. Bronner's soap, I like the lavender scent, but there are others and un-scented as well. It is totally vegetable based, so no petro chemicals. I know lot of web sites refer to Fels Naptha and Zote soap, but I wanted to get as natural as I could. And then the other standard ingredients are washing soda and borax.

1 bar soap - grated finely

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda

Mix well.

I found the finely grated soap incorporated easily with the powders and it smells awesome!! The whole process took about 20 minutes from beginning to end. Mix well and store in an air tight container. I happened to have a large plastic tub left over from some take out Hot and Sour Soup that worked perfectly. (I guess it was probably 1 quart, sized?) I have been using 2 tablespoons in my machine, which is a HE front loader and it works great. the clothes are clean and smell very fresh. The lavender scent is not strong at all when it's all said and done.

I have also made some felted wool dryer balls. (More on that to come) The soap already made the clothes come out of the dryer softer than store bought laundry detergent and now that I've added the dryer balls they really come out very nicely. Items I used to have to touch up with an iron are coming out wrinkle-free. That it a huge bonus for me!!

So, relative cost per batch:

borax - $4.95 per box - 10 cups per box - $0.50 per batch

washing soda - $2.99 per box - 7 cups per box - $0.43 per batch

Dr. Bronner soap - $3.99 per bar

Total cost per batch - $4.92 (I have not kept track of how many loads one batch will do, yet, but I'm not doing it just to save money, more because I know this is a better, more chemical free, alternative to Tide and such)

This project worked well for me. Winner!

My New Blog

I am excited about this new blog. I'm hoping for it to become my personal record of sorts, to keep track of the things I have tried, what has worked and what has flopped and just a fun way to brag a bit. I'm hoping that it will also motivate me to try even more new projects. My first real post is going to be a re-post from my other blog, but I think it is a good one. Stay tuned...