July’s First Monday Contest

by Stefani on 7-July-2008

Blue Yonder's First Monday Contest - July

Hey y’all!

Well, first things first.. why are you guys making this so difficult? I swear there were SO many lovely stories summer memories, how could I possibly choose?

I have gone round and round and ROUND over this decision, and I change my mind every five minutes. Seriously…. Anne of Green Gables, beach collecting, wild cousins, horses, summer farm jobs and VW bugs. It’s all just too good!

But, I did promise to choose so, deep breath, here goes:

Congratulations to the winners of last month’s Blue Yonder First Monday Contest!

The birdie necklace and paper will go to Laura for her story about living with her cousin in a pop up tent, wearing their funky skirts and subsisting on english muffins and Pringles. It just seemed like one of those moments when the stars are perfectly aligned and the world is just right – you are becoming an adult, old enough to have some freedom, and yet you are still a child too, seeing everything with fresh eyes and untainted wonder, not needing much, and feeling like you’ve got the whole world. Perfect.

Those days go by too fast. Laura, shoot me an email with your address okay?

I know a lot of you were out for that necklace, and believe me, if I could have a bunch of them made, I would have given one to each of you!

Kristi and her story of days gone by made me smile too, because her summers seemed so very like my own, with their plum jelly and crossword puzzles, Granny’s “stories” on the television and Simplicity patterns. Ms. Kristi, send along your digits and you’ll be getting a box of goodies too!

Thanks so much for sharing your summers with me!

Now, on to July’s contest…

Well, first let me tell you what I’ve been up to this weekend (there’s a point here, I promise).

I read about making your own household cleansers, a while back, over at Old Red Barn Co. This is something that I’ve really wanted to do for sometime now, but I hadn’t gotten around to doing the research… what to use, how much, what combinations worked best, etc, etc.

So, when I saw that Dana had posted some easy recipes, I was itching to give them a go.

See, it bothers me that my choices are these:

1) Hold my nose as I pass the boys bathroom, and never but NEVER go in there. or 2) Put on my HazMat suit, arm myself with toxic goo, and defunk the place, only to then worry that the fumes and residue will cause my future grandchildren to grow tails.

Now you know that I would spoil those grandbabies anyhow, and maybe even crochet them some little tail cozies, but it does seem that there really should be a better option, don’t you think?

I have to tell ya though, I had my doubts that the natural cleaners would do the trick. I mean, I have three boys. THREE of ’em. Three boys that use ONE bathroom. Think on that for a minute. Or better yet, don’t.

Still, with just a scritch of hope, I gathered up my supplies, made all three of Dana’s cleansers, and then set to work trying them out. People, my house shines like Christmas morning! It’s like the 1950s around here, with little sparkles and sunbursts emminating from the appliances and countertops.

I might wear highheels next time I clean, just to complete the effect. Of course, I’d have to go and buy some high heels first, so maybe not.

As an extra added bonus, our cleansers smell so good – homey and fresh, not harsh and lung collapsing.
(we used lavendar and rosemary essential oils to scent them)

Well, I’ll tell you what, I think I’ve unleashed some kind of internal make-your-own monster. I had such fun and such pleasant results from the cleansers that I went hog wild and made the homemade deodorant from angry chicken (insane, I know – have I mentioned that it’s 100 degrees or so in Texas?), as well as some homemade shampoo and conditioner and a homemade balm for insect bites (I’ll share the recipe for that tomorrow). And guess what? They all work great (no really!), smell great and feel well, GREAT.

The thing I don’t get is this: if the natural stuff works so well, how come the big companies put all the weird toxic crud in theirs?

Is it just cheaper? Maybe it has a longer shelf life? Is it easier to handle in large quantities? Maybe it’s a grassy knoll conspiracy? I don’t know.

Anyhow, all of that brings me to this entirely self-serving point – to enter this month’s Blue Yonder First Monday Contest, leave a comment here with your favorite make-your-own recipes/tips (or a provide a link).

What qualifies? Well anything that the majority of folks would buy, pre-made, from the store – beauty products, food items (yogurt, bread or jam say), fertilizers or pest sprays for the garden, medicines, etc. Any old thing that you make at home instead of buying.

My most favorite tip will earn some wonderful handmade goodies from the Old Red Barn Company Store. (exact details to come) the lovely bird-shaped Talavera salt and pepper shakers above, and a beautiful postcard set from Molly of Field | Work.

So tell me, what kind of things do you make at home?
Mama Urchin July 7, 2008 at 9:48 am

Well boohoo but congrats to the ladies who won.

Jade July 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

My babies are homemade… but I think you know how that works! 😉

Hey, where in Austin do you buy the oils for scenting the cleaners??? I’m going to make these today!

misschris July 7, 2008 at 10:03 am

I make my own fabric freshener to spray on whatever — sheets, clothes pulled out of the ‘off season’ box, inside kids’ shoes, the sofa, etc. I mix 4 parts vodka to 1 part liquid fabric softener, which you could probably make on your own. The vodka acts as to kill bacteria + odor, and evaporates, leaving your favorite scent behind. You could maybe use essential oils, too..

(I read somewhere that Madonna sprays pure vodka on her costumes between shows when she can’t dry-clean, which is where I got the idea. I’m pretty sure she uses Grey Goose or something fancy. I buy the cheapo slurge by the gallon.)

mamaroots July 7, 2008 at 10:24 am

well, I haven’t made these in a while, but when my wee ones were in the cloth diapers, I could not do the wet pail bleach method, so I just tossed them into a 5 gallon bucket that use to hold pickles- (no I didn’t eat all of them!!) and leave the bucket dry, then mix up backing soda, water, and an essential oil like peppermint, tea tree, or others that smell good and good to disinfect- make it into a paste and fill up muffin papers 1/4 of the way in a muffin tin, let set over night till firm and toss one in the bucket to absorb odor- seriously- diaper odor- then wash with the diapers for extra cleaning touch! Add a new disc for each bucket- easy sneezy- got me through 2 sons and cloth diapers!

melissa July 7, 2008 at 10:24 am

I use hydrogen peroxide -a big old bottle- fitted with a spray nozzel to get rid of mildew in my bathroom. I only have one boy, but he, ah, misses, frequently, so I use the HP there too. Wipe it up, flush it. It gets rid of grout mildew, shower curtain mildew, and little boy misses. I wouldn’t be without it. I guess you could scent it, but I haven’t tried.

molly Bridle July 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

I don’t make it, but have found that baking soda works great for cleaning tubs, sinks and toilets. It’s also good for pans that have food burnt or stuck to the bottom.

Now I’m going to try your make at home recipes. Not the deodorant though…..I’m not that brave.

dana July 7, 2008 at 10:59 am

How cool to see me mentioned on one of my favoritest blogs in all of blog land. But, what is even cooler is that you made the cleaners and see how great they work! Feels good knowing your saving Earth one measily little toilet at a time, eh?

Other things I make at home for our use: soap, body scrub, yogurt, jelly, jam, salsa, canned tomatoes, pickles, fertilizer (compost and compost tea), um . . . I’m sure there are others I just can’t think right now.

Thanks Stefani for the mention. I feel all warm and fuzzy today. Thanks!

TD wool design July 7, 2008 at 11:00 am

to clean pots and pans that might have a ring ’round them i use cream of tartar. mix with a little water to the line and boil. it breaks it down somehow.
another is mix salt and boiling water and pour on poison ivy leaves to kill it.
an inside tip and an outside one! happy summer.

Shannon July 7, 2008 at 11:02 am

I have started making my own laundry soap, it works really well and does not have all the funky odors and perfumes of store bought soap. I have gotten others in my family to try it too. Next up is to make my own cleaners for around the house.

myrnie_twin July 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

Wow, what a timely question. As of right now, we’re making our own laundry detergent, yogurt, wheat flour, bread products, preserves, clothes, dolls etc. Each new thing I try, I’m amazed at how easy it is, and how inexpensive. I ask the same thing: Why do we pay so much to have someone make this in a factory with toxic goo?

Laundry detergent: Mix together 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap grated fine (I use a microplane.) Use 1 tablespoon per load of laundry, with some oxygen bleach if you need it. No phosphates, no detergents, no fragrances.

Another recipe that I haven’t mixed up yet, but my friend swears by: 1 tsp. Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap diluted in 1 gallon water makes a fantastic non-toxic aphid spray. And corn meal sprinkled on the ground will stop weed seeds from germinating (only use in patches you’ll put starts in, not seeds!) It lasts about 5 months.

Tanya Koenig July 7, 2008 at 12:11 pm

My favorite homemade thing (and I make almost everything homemade) is my newest find for homemade deoderant. Yes, I’ve tried the more complicated recipes and they work..but this one works and it’s so super duper easy.
Just put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle with your favorite scented essential oil(I’m using ylang ylang this time) and spray.
I never have to reapply and never…ummm…stink…
It’s so super easy and it works!

meg July 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm

The first thing that springs to mind, as far as homemade goodness, is salad dressing. I know — very innovative stuff here. My favorite is a simple vinaigrette: a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a squirt of dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and then whisk in olive oil. The proportions are very much to taste. Most recipes call for a 2:1 oil to vinegar ratio, but I find this too oily.

As my husband sums it up, “I love when you make the dressing, not just because it tastes good, but because I know it didn’t cost extra money.” Er, high praise indeed. 😉

Wylie July 7, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I’ve been doing without shampoo for about a month now, using a squirt bottle of water with a couple tablespoons of baking soda, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. My hair feels wonderful, and is squeaky clean without all those detergents and other additives.

We make our own compost. We reuse potting soil from the previous summer by putting it through an old screen and adding compost and some perlite to it.

We make our own jam and sometimes bread.

We also have given up laundry soap and dryer sheets and are using the wonder balls. Even the most disgusting gym clothes and exercise shorts are clean and don’t smell.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment.

Love your blog!

heather jane July 7, 2008 at 2:30 pm

The diaper pail trick is making me soooo happy right now. Thanks for inviting that post. I’m on it.

As for us (I’m guessing this is nothing earth shattering here):

Aphid spray: 1T dish washing liquid 1T vegetable oil and 1 gallon of water. Fill a spray bottle and spray weekly until they get bored of “bugging” the plants.

Sugar scrub: angry chicken told the world or I’d post the recipe for you here.

My favorite is my salsa. The instructions are:http://living-senses.blogspot.com/2008/03/blender-salsa.html

And clothes. I make a lot of our clothes lately. I love using sheets and thrift store fabric for my projects.

Yeah, I know. Earth shattering!!

emily ruth July 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm

i am so looking forward to reading these tips…the only thing i make myself at home is the bed:)

amy July 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I make my own room freshener spray. In a spray bottle I mix up two ounces of distilled water (sometimes I just use regular tap water) and two ounces of vodka, something really cheap and then I add 30-40 drops of essential oils. I play around with the mix, lavendar and bergamot work really well together. I keep some in the bathroom and around the house. I also mix essential oils with baking soda and make a great carpet sprinkle, you leave it on for 30 minutes and it freshens up the carpets.

Donna July 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Just don’t overdo the lavender or instead of growing tails they might be getting breasts

(in all seriousness, I think you’d need to be using a lot, and actually spraying it on the boys rather than the bathroom)

Katie July 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I love to make my own chicken stock. I wrote up a whole post about it, which I’ve been meaning to do for awhile but this finally gave me the impetus! Check it out here:

Shawn July 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm

I make our own ant spray. You partially fill a spray bottle with water (the kind that sprays or squirts), add essential oil of peppermint (approximately 20-30 drops), and a splash of rubbing alcohol (to help the oil and water blend). Spray around the baseboards and door frames (test first to make sure it doesn’t damage your finish or paint), then spray around the entire foundation of your home. It has worked for me for many summers now, and leaves your house smelling minty-fresh. 🙂

Stephanie July 7, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Okay, I’m so behind the times, I haven’t done anything homemade other than crafts–unless you count the bread machine bread. And I’ll bet that doesn’t count. But I am interested in trying some of the things mentioned here.

And I ’bout lost it when I read “tail cozies”! That just made my night!

melmo July 8, 2008 at 5:21 am

Homemade baby wipes, used on three little bums. Found that it was not as owie when they get a diaper rash. Overall, was great.


* 1 cylinder shaped plastic container
* 1 roll of paper towels
* 2 Cups Boiling Water
* 2 TBSP. Baby Bath (johnson and johnson, head to toes is what I used)
* 2 TBSP. sorbolene lotion

Cut the roll of paper towels in half (cross wise) with a knife. Remove the card board from the middle. Place your paper towels in the container (cut side down). Mix the baby bath and baby oil with the boiling water. Stir well. Pour the mixture over the paper towels in the container.

noted to add: I’d make heaps at a time (maybe four half rolls) and use an empty plastic container to do the making, but once made, I would store them in ziplocks.

and also, sorbolene lotion, not sure if this is found in the US (i’m an american living in oz land) … could also use baby oil or olive oil, but i found the lotion worked best.

and again, use good quality paper towel, i used viva.

okay really now that’s the end. hopefully didn’t scare you off with all my addendums.

sherrieg July 8, 2008 at 5:24 am

Yee-haw, another one joins the make-it yourself club! 🙂 I’m beaming. I try to make as many things as possible myself, but my main one is soap (www.birchbarksoap.com). I also make sugar body scrubs (if I win, I’ll send you one) jam and other food things like mayo and croutons, surface cleaner (2 cups water, 2 tbsp natural liquid soap, and 25 drops tea tree oil for disinfecting), diaper wash stuff (baking soda and tea tree oil), face washes and scrubs, baby soap and lotion, etc, etc.

Many big companies don’t make natural cleaning products like these because they don’t have a guaranteed shelf life, since there aren’t full of all of those scary preservatives and such. Essential oils are also much more expensive than fragrance oils.

Yay for a safely clean house!

katherine July 8, 2008 at 5:29 am

Katherine’s Handmade Life Healing Salve

As well as an answer to your question about how to use fresh herbs.

Cheers! : )

Christina Joy July 8, 2008 at 7:38 am

I recently made up Dana’s cleaner recipes too (and decorated the bottles with labels like she did…) and LOVE them!

I actually make our own diapers- lots of flannel + 1 decent serger = lots of homemade, super-soft, cut to fit nappies for cushy tushies! We’re still using diapers from when my son was 6 mos. old and have them prepped and ready to go for #2! Saves SOOO much money and makes me feel awesome for not adding to the heap of diapers out there that are taking 500 years to decompose…

Our Green Nest July 8, 2008 at 7:59 am

Oh gosh, I don’t know where to start…we try to make as much as possible…All cleaners for sure (just posted on it last week http://ourgreennest.blogspot.com/), salad dressings, granolas, bread, diaper bum cleaner, bug spray, lotions, shampoos, soaps, room sprays, massage oils, compost, etc etc…It was already on my list for next week to make Angry Chicken’s deodorant and sugar scrub, and a hair gel for my hubby – can’t wait!!

I don’t know which to share…hmmmm…I think the bum cleaner (we CD babe and thus cloth wipe too – us and babe) but the cleaner is just used on the babe:

Bum Cleaner:
(1) T – Jojoba Oil
(1) T – Castile Soap
(2) drops – Tea Tree EO
(2) drops – Lavender EO
(1) C – Distilled Water

Mix together and put in a reusable spray bottle…Easiest if have (2) bottles – one for diaper changing area and one for the diaper bag. Cloth wipes work so well with this!!! Just have to shake the bottle a bit before use. But DON’T put EO’s in mixture before baby is 6 months or so as some babies are very sensitive to some EO’s – just make mixture w/o them until they reach 6 months or so. Best if all your ingredients are organic, especially your EO’s…Mountain Rose Herbs is an awesome resource!!

SO glad you started making your own cleaning products – so easy and so beneficial to you and your fam!!

Rachel L July 8, 2008 at 10:46 am

White vinegar is a fabulous product – I use a glug of that in place of fabric softener (with maybe a few drops of essential oil for fragrance) and as a descaler, you can’t beat it. And it doesn’t make the place stink of vinegar either – the smell goes as soon as it dries. I also make my own body scrubs – just olive oil, sugar and whatever essential oil you fancy – lovely.

Nancy July 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Last Christmas, we made most of our gifts. Homemade jam, knitted dishcloths & scarves, dress-up capes for the cousins. The biggest hit of all was super easy & cheap: a set of stationery featuring my kids’ art.

I went through the piles of saved artwork & cut out lovely little scenes or funky people (drawn by my then six-year-old) and appealing bits of scribble or dense watercolor (from the three-year-old). I cut & folded bit of colored paper into greeting-card size & glued the artwork on the front.

Come Christmas day, the card set stole the show. They were adorable, one-of-a-kind, and useful. The sad relatives who received other gifts moped, then begged for their own.

I’ll never buy another greeting card again. And gifts of cards will become a tradition.

(Can’t resist one more . . . I’ll never purchase children’s shorts again! You have passed on the bandana pants disease — we’re laboring to turn every bandana in a fifteen-mile radius into britches!)

Thanks for your blog. I discovered it a few weeks ago & now check it daily. –Nancy in NC

hanna July 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm

There are some great ideas here, I’ll definately be doing the daiper pail ‘cakes’!
I make heaps of stuff myself – clothes, diapers, baby shoes, bags, breastpads, cloth baby wipe solution (pretty much like Christina Joy’s above). Bread, hummus, muesli etc etc.
I’ll share my bread recipe because it is SO easy and so yummy.
No knead easy bread: (makes 2 loaves)
8 cups of flour – this can be a combo of any grains and flours you want(At the moment I’m doing 6 cups of white flour, 1 cup wheat or oat bran, 1 cup of ground linseed).
2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp yeast, 2 tsp salt
1 1/2 pints warm water (I mix 1 Tbsp of molasses in here).
Rise it to double in size and cook in two loaf tins – EASY! (I normally rise in 2 seperate bowls and make one lot into a sweet bread by adding a handful of raisins and cinnamon)
Cook for 15 mins at 200 celsius then 45 mins at 160 celsius.

Angela July 8, 2008 at 8:57 pm

i LOVE LOVE LOVE the diaper deo-disc recipe! since i’ve got a 6 week-old, i’ll be trying it out!

we love to make tons of homemade goods and goodies. i make homemade carpet deodorizer with a box of baking soda and several drops of lemon essential oil or patchouli (yes, i’m an old hippie at heart. i just love the scent of it). sprinkle on the carpet, wait 30 min (take the kids for a walk to the playground?) and come back and vacuum and the house will smell GREAT.

but my 5 year-old loves making homemade sidewalk chalk paint best – cornstarch + a few drops of food coloring + enough water to get a nice consistency, and paint the driveway like crazy!

thanks for the contest – i love your blog!

kay July 9, 2008 at 6:01 am

Oh gosh there is a bunch. Soap, lotion, jams, pickles, tomato sauce, and so much more. (we have a big garden!) But one thing that I am proud of are my quilts–all handmade.

Lisa July 9, 2008 at 7:17 am

Wow I just found your blog via Old Red Barn. I love it! Let’s see…I make lots of food but that probably doesn’t count huh? I make my own cleaners similar to Dana’s. I make my own room fresheners by putting a few drops of vanilla on the light bulbs in the house. This trick also works in the fridge. I will stash a cotton ball with some vanilla on it and stick it way back in the fridge for a great wiff when you open the door. I make my own primitive Christmas ornaments, but that’s off season, lol. Gee I feel so uncrafty now, lol.

rose July 9, 2008 at 9:28 am

I make my own granola. Partly because I developed a nut allergy during my second pregnancy, and this was the best way to ensure a nut-free granola, and partly because it’s just sooooo much better than store bought.

We make all our own bread — my husband does a lot of it, and I sometimes bake with the kids.

I also make jam. We make our own pasta sauces and all other sauces and flavorings — no jars or boxes here.

My next thing I want to learn is about making yogurt. We eat a lot of that.

I make some of my own cleaning things as well, but the recipes you posted look a lot simpler, I think I’ll be trying those.

Thanks for the focus on homemade!

Jennifer July 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Hmmm…We do the usual vinegar/Baking soda/water cleanser for the house and I want to try making homemade hygiene stuff, but we do make our own root beer!

My son got a kit from grandma and grandpa for Christmas and we have had a great time mixing up batches, it’s a great way to teach science as well and no high fructose corn syrup.

Then we saw this(scroll down for recipes):

No kit necessary and root beer float popsicles? We made those right away! You could probably search for a more natural root beer base online and I know homebrew places sell other soda flavors. Tons of fun!

Emma July 10, 2008 at 6:23 am

I have just discovered the joy of making elderflower champagne! so simple and scrumptious x a great summer drink! http://emmabradshaw.blogspot.com/2008/06/elderflower-champagne.html

Regina July 10, 2008 at 12:03 pm

The best investment I made when my son was born was a bunch of ice cube trays. Anything I could get my hands on went into the blender and into cubes – fresh fruits and veggies, brown rice, lentils and other beans, mushed up bananas, you name it I froze it. I would send a cube of this and a cube of that to day care, and they would just warm them up for his meals.

I am still using them for juice cubes, leftover sauces (thaw faster when in cubes than in blocks) and chopped up herbs. (snip into tray, top with water and freeze. Later drop into soups or other recipes)

Muffin tins are good for much more than muffins, too – I make homemade macaroni and cheese, add pureed beans to the sauce, and freeze these in muffin size “pucks” – great for lunches and much better than the box stuff.

Rika Toll July 10, 2008 at 10:14 pm

We make our own popsicles. So easy! Just pick a juice and pour into your popsicle container. You can get fancy and add berries. Or add little surprises (not good for young kids that might choke) – like mini plastics frogs- as a treat at the end of an already yummy treat!

Perfect for all the hot weather.

My husband keeps a family blog: http://www.runandfetch.com

Love your blog!

molly July 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Well thanks to you Miss Blue Yonder I now make homemade yogurt – and oh my goodness! It is delicious, inexpensive, wholesome, easy, and best yet, my kids said, “It tastes like store bought mom!” Now that I’m making yogurt I have also been making fruit sauce and granola to go on top. I thought one batch of granola would last a week but it lasted only two days.

And just a quick yogurt tip I picked up on the net – use a Thermos to incubate. I bought one for a buck at the thrift store and it works like a charm. After the yogurt is ready I pop the whole Thermos in the fridge.

Now I can’t wait to make some cleaning products too.

Laura July 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

I love all the cleaner and home-product tips!! But since it’s summer, I’m going to have to go with… homemade ice cream!

Check out this blog for the step-by-step way for you and the kiddos to make homemade ice cream in a bag! So fun.


Jovi July 12, 2008 at 11:30 am

I love reading all of these wonderful comments, it’s so inspiring and comforting!

I make all kinds of stuff around the house. Like many here I use baking soda and vinegar for most cleaning, knit a lot of our winter wear and make most of my family’s bread, jam, yogurt, granola, and all of our pie 🙂

Some slightly more unusual things I make include cheese, hot chocolate (I use unsweetened cocoa, chocolate chips, a bit of sugar, and vanilla with the milk of your choice. Minus the vanilla it can be packaged in jars and given as gifts! People love it, very rich and delicious), marshmallows, cough/sore throat syrup (soak cloves in a honey/lemon juice mixture), lip balm (beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil/grapeseed oil/olive oil (or any oil you like), glycerin and any EOs you likee), and my husband’s shaving cream (the kind you apply with a brush. oil, beeswax, glycerin, castille soap and EOs). Making things yourself is fun and addictive!

Maggie Ann July 16, 2008 at 7:41 am

I make window washing cleaner…into half a small pail of warm water I add…a couple of sqirts of Wisk liquid laundry detergent and a generous dollop of white vinegar. I’ve used this for years. Also, I love to make & have on hand my own ‘Bisquick’ baking mix. 10 cups of flour,6 TBL of baking powder, 1 TBL salt ( I use less)..one and one half cups of shortening…cut shortening into other ingreds. store in frig till needed…mix 1/4 to 1/3 cup of milk or yogurt to 1 cup of mix. For bisquits or cinnamon rolls Bake 425 degrees 8 to 10 min. This has been fun to read..and I’ve learned so much from the other commenters. Very nice!

katharine July 23, 2008 at 9:42 am

Right now the kids and I are canning (pickled garlic scapes, dills, beets not to mention those still to come…), brining (saurkraut and more dills), baking all of our bread, drying fruits for the winter baking, thrifting, bringing in our wood to heat the house, and eschewing manufactured cleansers (for us and the house) but the best homemade we’ve got going on right now is the kids. These girls maybe set for boys like yours some day. They are definitely growing up to appreciate that handmade and homemade are a way of life that helps unite us as a family and really learn to rely on each others strengths and to be inventive and resourceful in meeting our needs.

Marnie July 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm

o.k., i’m late on this, but the more tips the merrier, right?

we (and by that I mean me subjecting it on everyone else 😉 are on a quest to make as much handmade stuff as possible as well.

I do the baking soda and vinegar hair rinse thing, lipbalm, and just use hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting. For a general cleaner, I make a bunch of the following and store it for use on bathroom countertops, fixtures, and tubs:

cup or two of baking soda, a squirt of dishwashing liquid (we use nature clean), and some essential oil (lavender is a favourite) – mix it up.

dip a wet cloth in it, scrub it around a bit (don’t have to try too hard), then spray it with vinegar, let sit about 10 min, then rinse with water.

and i can’t go without my lotion; you can find the recipe here:

i love all the tips here!
what a great idea…

Marnie July 23, 2008 at 9:46 pm

and Katharine, it’s ridiculous that we’re both on her blog at the same time….seriously….

Marnie July 23, 2008 at 9:47 pm

and p.p.s, your comment is beautiful, compared to mine, which is merely utilitarian 😉

Nancy July 25, 2008 at 5:58 am

When I saw this, I knew I had to share it with the July make-your-own contest:

It makes me smile. –Nancy in NC

amy July 29, 2008 at 8:49 am

we make our own laundry soap now and cleaning soaps with castilles- here is a link to laundry

Lisa July 30, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Wow, where to begin? I think I began making homemade as a way to have better quality things for less money and instead found great joy and satisfaction when we got to use something we had actually made. Some of the things we make are soap (it took me two years to have enough courage to try this-it is really easy), granola, a simplicity shirt I first saw on this blog (it was the first thing I ever put sleeves in, it also makes a great little girl night gown, just add length), jam, baby wipes, bread-fresh ground wheat, laundry soap and our latest adventure is organic yogurt cream cheese. You can get a donvier yogurt cheese maker for about $15. Cream cheese is soft, spreadable, and a fraction of the cost of organic cream cheese. The leftover whey can then be put in smoothies.
I am so looking forward to trying the deoderant.
Thank you for inspiring me to get out of my comfort zone and write.
I look forward to your new post each day

Lisa July 30, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Wow, I’m not sure where to begin. I began this homemade journey many years ago as a way to get better quality at less cost. I use baking soda, vinager, peroxide and borax for most cleaning. Borax sprinkled on carpet with any type of shaker, I use a tennis ball can with wholes puched in the top, will render a flea free environment. I also make jam, fresh ground wheat bread, laundry soap, and after two years of worry -bar soap (why all the worry? it is really easy), pot holders, crocheted dish rags, a simplicity shirt – first seen on this blog and the very first sewing project that I even attempted sleeves, granola, sushi, and baby wipes. My latest adventure is organic yogurt “cream” cheese. I purchased a donvier yogurt cheese maker for about $15. Just add yogurt. The left over whey can be put in smoothies. The “cream” cheese is soft and spreadable and a fraction of the cost of organic cream cheese.
I am looking forward to trying the hair rinse and deoderant formulas.
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and sharing you do on Blue Yonder. It is a gift you give to the rest of us!

Lisa July 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Sorry, I do not know what happened here. After this long comment, my post was lost. I could not remember what I had said and had to retype my comment. When I posted it, my original post was there and with someone elses name. If you have any insight I would be grateful. I did try to put my blog in the url and maybe that was the wrong thing to try. I have enough computer knowledge to be dangerous. Again, sorry.

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