Repairs

Julia’s teddy she got from Daniel for Christmas was in rough shape. The arm fell off before Julia recieved it, and after Christmas the two legs let go as well. 

Today, a no school day, Julia was fumbling through my repair basic I have set aside for sewing repairs. She found her teddy and asked if I could fix it. Right away, I pulled out my sewing kit and set to work. Two legs secured on and the other flimsy arm got adjusted too, would not be long cord that one to come off either.

Patched a hole I found on the foot too. Julia is super happy and renamed her teddy, Reindeer. How original! Lol.

Alaina’s pajama top turned into a strange disaster when the neck line started to let go. She got this one at Christmas time and held together for a couple months only. Disappointed in this one. Should have held better.

But I fixed it too. I learned the collar is a separate price of material, just folded over the main shirt material. I sandwiched them back together and secured it. Not a pretty job, I’m no professional, but it worked. No more holes.

Homemade Play-doh With Natural Dyes

Our family has been out of homemade play-doh for a little while now. The kids ask when I can make some more. Today, I decided to make some and I had a last minute inspirational idea. Natural dyes. Turmeric, coffee and berry juice. I did not research into any other ideas yet, but these items I had on hand. I would have loved to use beet juice, but I did not have any. Next shopping trip I will pick some up. I can even prepare the beets and freeze the juice. Ice cube tray will do very nicely to get a good amount.

Here is the recipe for making play-doh. Recipe #1 is my favourite. It stays soft and pliable. It is easy to wash and comes with no plastic container from the store. I have been making this play-doh for over 2 years. It is 100% better and does not have such a strong odor as the store bought.

Turmeric, small coffee from reusable keurig pod, frozen raspberries and blueberries
I put the frozen berries in the microwave on defrost for a couple minutes, they softened right up and were easy to mash.
Strained both to separate the juice. The raspberries were much harder to strain because of the particle size. Strainer and utensil to push the juice out worked.

Jack was my helper for most of the play-doh making. He was super excited! First we made the raspberry dye play-doh. The colour came out a very light pink. Could have used more juice for a darker colour. I would say we used about a tsp worth. I will add, my camera on my tablet is not so well. The colour is much better in person compared to the pictures.

about a tsp worth of raspberry juice
Jack mixing away before the heat gets turned on
constant mix with a scraper. Don’t let it burn!
Getting thick, keep mixing and scraping all around
Almost done. Lots of play-doh residue on the sides and bottom of the pot, normal. Don’t over cook it, or it will be dry and not so good! A little moist is great!
Let it cool on a cutting board for a minute, then knead by hand until smooth. Any moist spots will work itself out. I recommend the cutting board for kneading as you don’t want the dye on the counter (Natural dye or store bought dye).
Smooth and ready for fun. It is a light shade of pink. Camera is not so good. Let cool before adding to air tight container. I recommend to roll it wide and flat for the cooling process to happen quicker. The longer it is exposed to the air the dryer it will get (as it is with any play-doh).

Next came the blueberry dye. This one turned out a light purple. It could also use a larger amount of juice for the dye. I would say I used about 2 tsp. I did not measure.

about 2 tsp of blueberry juice.
Jack mixing away.
a light shade of purple
almost ready to come out
Ta-da
Bit of a better picture for the colour difference. pink on left, purple on the right.

Next came the coffee dye. Yes the play-doh smells like coffee! just slightly though, and the kids do not eat the play-doh. That has never been a problem. Maybe a lick here and there when pretending to make ice cream. lol. Nothing for me to worry about, really. So instead of using 1 cup of water to start, I used 1/2 a cup of water and 1/2 a cup of coffee for the dye. The colour turned out a light tan. I could have probably boiled off more water from the coffee, but I was experimenting and tried just a small brew to concentrate it that way.

Light tan colour.
Nearly there.
complete with a hand print
a picture to show the colours. Pink on top, purple on the bottom and tan on the right.

Next came the turmeric. I added a 1/2 tsp to start, but the colour was the same as the coffee, or very close. I added another 1/2 tsp, and there was not a whole lot difference. So I took some mustard powder, 1/2 tsp worth and it brightened the colour a little. by the time I had the yellow I was looking for, I used 2 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of mustard powder. This one is my favourite. It came out bright.

2 tsp both turmeric and mustard powder
Almost done
A little gooey, must kneading it helped so much. A little under cooked is better than over.
Do you see the flower?
Top left is pink, top right is tan, bottom left is purple and bottom right is yellow.

Last came plain old white. No dye is needed for this one.

mixing and mixing.
Love it
Top left is pink, top right is purple, bottom left is white, bottom right is yellow, and the small ball is tan. Jack an Thomas already got into these to play.

For this process, I was using two pots, a whisk and a silicone scraper. As one play-doh was finished cooking, the used pot was set aside to cool. A new pot was put on the stove with ingredients added. No heat turned on yet. The cooled pot was put in an empty sink and filled with water to loosen the dried/baked on play-doh. That would soak until the new batch of play-doh was ready, which the hot pot would be set to the side to cool and the pot in the sink ready for a wash out, dry and use. The cooled pot would get a soak and repeat until finished. The utensils would get a quick rinse in between so colours would not mix.

Jack is busy trying out the new play-doh.
Busy Thomas is from toys to play-doh, back and forth and both at the same time.
The play-doh gets stored in the reused yogurt containers.

I am hoping the natural dyes will stay well with the play-doh. Chris was wondering if the dyes would stain clothing. After handling the play-doh myself (kneading), there was not stain on my hands. So I think it will be fine. I still have store bought dyes to use up as well.

Jack was asking if I could make blue play-doh. I don’t know off hand what to use to make blue dye naturally. I ran out of cream of tartar as well, so next time blue play-doh for Jack.

I would like to find natural dyes for Red, Blue, Green, Orange and Black.
Beet juice is on my list. I want to find natural dyes without packaging as much as possible.

Raspberries = light pink (need more than a tsp)
Blueberries = purple (need more than 2 tsp)
Turmeric and mustard powder = yellow (Great with 2 tsp each)
Coffee = tan (need a more concentrated coffee)

Homemade Make-up

No make-up

 

This is where I got my inspiration to make my own powder foundation as well as the eye shadow (tweaked). This is the website to this recipe as well by gittemary.com. Fantastic site I just found.

 

 

In the beginning I did not have shea butter for a primer. I tried using coconut oil, which I bought at the Bulk Barn in my own container. But the coconut oil does not absorb into the skin very well and left my face pretty . . . wet. The foundation would rub off very easily and then my skin would be blotchy. So no go with the coconut oil as a primer!

3 Tbsp Arrowroot powder, 1/2 tsp cocoa powder and cinnamon each.

I went a long time with just the powder and no primer. It was fine, but not the same as a liquid foundation for sure (which is what I was used to).

I found a vendor at The Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago who sells shea butter. All the way from Africa. 1 pound for $28.00 in a cardboard box or a container with a .5 pound for $15.00.  Of course, I avoided the container without thinking about it! I whipped up a small portion, 1/8 of a cup or so. I use that as my primer.

I tell you, what a difference! Primer is definitely a need. The powder foundation blends onto the skin so nice! Its also a great lip balm for a final touch.  (I would love to add some colour to it, like beet).

I must mention, I do not use a concealer. I need to lighten the recipe in the video for my skin colour otherwise I have dark patches. I just have not gotten around to that. I must say I am no make-up expert. I have never used concealer, so I am unaware of the benefits, really.

I also do not use the bronzer (cocoa powder), as I find it leaves blotches on top of the foundation. It just does not blend so well. I am not sure why. Though, it was fine without the shea butter primer. (I never used bronzer anyways).

For the eye shadow, I found straight up cocoa powder was not dark enough. I found some superior red cocoa powder at Bulk Barn, and that is what I am using. I take my applicator and sweep off the particles off the side of the container, so I can collect a small amount at a time, rather than sticking the applicator in the cocoa directly (too much).

I have not yet found an eye liner, mascara or eyebrow pencil replacement.  I will be doing some more researching soon and asking some helpful people I have been in contact with on different groups online. I feel I should go see a professional make-up artist and get some “how to” tips.

I took a break and further researched the link above and found this mascara recipe. Interesting! I have seen recipes calling for aloe vera gel before, and my first thoughts was to get a aloe vera plant too. Yes! She says something about using almonds to make activated charcoal . . . Must research that one.

I did find a container of activated charcoal at Superstore a few weeks ago, and it says to keep away from eyes . . .  so that needs more investigation.

As you can see, there is no rushing this process. Rushing will result in mistakes and waste (product and money). Something my husband has taught me. My commercial mascara is running out and needs to be replaced, now, but, if anything, I will just do without until I can make some. easy as that. ( I will save the old container and applicator to refill in the future).

A me sure to watch the video and read the site I posted above. I left some things out for my own routine.

Dishwasher

So, recently I have switched to using Nature Clean Dishwasher powder detergent. I have been fining the dishes have a residue. So I tried a little less detergent. That seemed to help some, but not so much in the glasses. Though I don’t find it is getting worse.

I also found that the dishes were not coming out clean. Dried foods bits, like potatoes, were still there. Our dish washer is old. The water pressure is not great with it and there are other issues in this old house. So I was not sure to blame the dishwasher or the detergent. The detergent seemed to work fine when I tried it as a trial for a few days about month or two ago.

Today as I was unloading the dishes, I noticed there was still some detergent left in the dispenser. Also a one dish was not at all clean and it was facing down, where the water surly would spray it. No doubt about that. But it was still completely dirty.

So I decided to take the dishwasher apart a little. I did not want to go to far, as I think, I may loose my way. Haha. I only really found the the bottom of the door was super dirty. I got that cleaned up. Put it back together as I thought, me and Chris can tackle the rest another time in the evening.

I through in a bunch of vinegar and baking soda. Set the washer to quick rinse with the dirty dish inside. And yes, it got rinsed! Yay. But, when I opened the door mid waymthe cycle, I noticed the water was not spraying out of the spinning blades very much. Maybe a couple inches high. And the rotating blade on top was not moving fast either.

So there you have it. We seen this before, took the washer apart right down and gave it a good cleaning. Worked fine until recently. And when I think about it, I can remember hearing the water spurting around the washer, loud, like it should be.

I’m happy to learn that I don’t necessarily need to switch detergents!!!

I was trying to use vinegar in the rinse aid, but I think it is plugged. Not sure how to clean that or even empty it. I’m not even sure where the rinse aid comes out of during the rinse cycle. I did find a bunch of plugged up holes (vents?) on the bottom of the door. Not sure if that is the area for the rinse aid to come out of . . .

Anyways, deep clean coming soon to our washer.

Oh yea, and, I found a tsp and 2 plastic spoons Thomas used to use (not for the past 8 months or so) trying to fit their way down the slotted drain. Oh dear!!

Smooth Yogurt Drinks

I started to make yogurt drinks (vanilla) in jars instead of using the blender. This only works with yogurt and milk, as any fruit/veg needs to be blended.

Some benefits to just using a jar include:
1. Less to wash and easy to wash.
2. No foam so the drink is smooth all the way!
3. Easy to store leftovers in the fridge as a jar seals shut!

Even Julia likes them now! Im super happy!!

To fit in a regular size mason jar, add 1 cup of yogurt (or 8 heaping Tbsp) and 1/2 cup milk. Seal the jar and shake 10 ish seconds. Pour and serve!

To fit a spagetti sauce jar, like Ragu brand, add 1 1/2 cup of yogurt (or 12 heaping Tbsp) and 3/4 cup of milk.

My ratio is 1/2 cup of yogurt for every 1/4 of milk.

Daniel and Jack like having chia seeds added to their drinks. I get these at Bulk Barn too.

DIY Deodorant Tryout #2

Trying this DIY deodorant recipe again, January 6th.

I recently read an article that says you should detox from store bought deodorant for several weeks before switching to a natural (DIY) kind. It can cause irritation and other problems. When I first tried this recipe 3 or 4 months ago, two days later I was inflamed and itchy.

So here we go!

Update January 17th, 2019

This homemade deodorant is awesome!!! No irritation!! I guess it goes to show to take several weeks without deodorant before trying a DIY kind.

So I emptied one of my old deodorants from its case. Put the deodorant in a container marked, Hazard. As those cleaning and beauty products are not supposed to be disposed in your house hold garbage. Good question here: why do we lather ourselves in hazardous products?!

Once emptied I let the case and other parts soak I  warm soapy water. They got a good scrubbing with an old toothbrush and paintbrush in hard to reach areas. Though, I could not take away the old product smell.

Once dried, I put the case back together and and unwinded it so the inside platform was at the bottom of the case. Then I scooped my homemade deodorant inside, gently pushing it to the bottom. Once full pack it gently so it is well compressed. Put on the cover and your good to go!

The coconut oil melts quickly once applied, so I recommend half turns of the deodorant stick, so you don’t get an overabundance of product.

You could easily must skip the deodorant case and store the product in a container and apply with your fingers.

Also, if your shirt rubs on the product, you will get white smudges on the clothing, which can be washed.

Update, January 24, 2019

DIY deodorant still a go!! Super happy!

Ditching Store Yogurt Drinks

These are the last yogurt drinks to be washed and recycled in our home. We go through about 4 per day adding up to approximately 130 per month! That is a lot of single use plastic!

Not only does the bottle/package go for recycling, but the wrapper and caps are waste. 130 bottles, 130 caps, 130 wrappers and 21 plastic packaging pieces (comes in a 6 pack).

I asked a few groups of people for help on choosing recipes and how to make smoothies. I thought smoothies would be a great alternative, though I never made them before. I was worried too that the kids would not like them. My sister in law came to the rescue too! Offering lots of suggestions and recipes. Someone else also mentioned to just add some milk to yogurt to make a yogurt drink. Very simple!

So I got my blender and food together and started to try making some smoothies.

1/2 cup yogurt and 1 cup milk.
Fruit such as bananas, strawberries, peanut butter. It was just a no go taste wise. I felt I was wasting a lot of food. Pretty sure my mixtures were not balanced right; too much milk. We found the peanut butter was not pleasing either.

So that day I had to stop and re think what I was doing. Plus buy more product! My next grocery trip I did not buy any yogurt drinks! Skipped them completely!! I was determined to make this work.

The next morning I was all over it! Tried to keep everything simple. I decided to just start with yogurt drinks. Alaina wanted to call them smoothies still, so that is what we are doing! They love the sound of “smoothies”.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
Alaina liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup blueberries
Alaina liked this one.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp Nutella
1/2 frozen banana
Thomas liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup strawberries (also with 1/2 banana)
Alaina liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup raspberries
Alaina liked this one.

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
Daniel and Jack liked this one.

These recipes of mine are basically single servings.

Julia is not a fan of these drinks. I am not sure why. She really is not a fussy eater! She has taken a dislike to white milk lately. I am hoping she will come around. She does like yogurt. We buy the vanilla kind and sometimes the raspberry kind. Source, Yoplait.

Lately, Alaina like the raspberry yogurt with milk blended. She says it tastes like strawbrry ice cream.

I froze some berries and bananas, as the cold makes the drinks better for consuming. Otherwise it seems they are kind of warm. If there is no frozen fruit added, I simply just drop in an ice cube to cool it right down.

I freeze the bananas just as they are in the peel. Just let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes and the peel comes right off.

I would like to add more to these drinks soon. Like Chai seeds for example. Also I so wish I had a frozen stash of berries! Next year we will be doing lots of berry picking and freezing. I will be needing a bigger freezer and  containers to freeze the produce in. Not using bags. I got lots of time to figure that one out.

I am so happy with the turn out! Next, homemade yogurt! I am more worried about this one! I myself am not a fan of yogurt, but Source Yoplait is the only one I found I liked. I hope the kids are not as fussy as I am about it!

Advent Calender, 2018

Every year to start the Advent season, we always bought the chocolate advent calender. Everybody got one. This year, with our family that would have been 7! We don’t buy the cheap ones. The chocolate is not very good. So we opted for the more pricy ones. $10.00-$12.00 each. That adds up! And the waste!! Wrapping on each calender and the trays holding the chocolate.

This year is different! Me and Alaina got together and came up with some ideas to make our own. I thought at first I would make a calender for everybody, but it does take a lot of space to Store 7 cale Continue reading “Advent Calender, 2018”

Homemade Cleaner

I’m dropping chemical cleaners at home. I have been cleaning our home with 10% vinegar for a few weeks now. Awesome! Mostly I would wash surfaces with soap and water, then spray with vinegar and let it sit.

All I do is take an old spray bottle, mix together equal parts water and vinegar. Ta-da!

Do not add baking soda while cleaning with vinegar. Together they will become neutralized, an not work as they are supposed to separate.

Before sanitizing with vinegar, I clean with soapy water first. Drying the area is also effective.

Here is the article that really inspired me to make the switch.

Less Waste Party

Today we celebrated Thomas’s 2nd Birthday!! Our norm for decorations include balloons, streamers, plastic “Happy Birthday” signs, and all that hung up with tape. Presents usually wrapped or put into gift bags packed with tissue paper.

Though, I have not bought a gift bag for years! The amount we get from family and friends is enough to keep reusing for years!! Two or three years ago I took all the gift bags and split them up between family, just to get rid of them. So many!! I am almost at that point again!

Tissue paper is bought every couple of years, we also save those from family and friends to reuse.

Plastic or paper cups and utensils were commonly purchased. Sometimes a plastic table cloth was used too, once, then thrown out.

Streamers are always used for Birthdays.

Balloons are an all time favourite! The kids love them! Have to admit, they are fun to bounce around!! Enjoyment for hours and days!

Though, this year is different! Our family is on a new journey. Zero waste!

To replace the balloons, I made paper fans from construction paper. I found a recipe for homemade glue (thanks for the tip from a friend in a group I follow). This is the recipe. Though, I take some cold water and mix the dry ingredients in first before adding to the boiling water. No lumps! I store it in a jar and use a paintbrush to apply.

My process includes taking a sheet of paper, what ever size, and make your first fold for the fan. Unfold and add a bit of glue and press it firmly back down.

  • Flip the paper over as you would to continue the fan and add glue to where the paper folds down. Continue until the whole paper is folded.
  • Note: put the glue in the centre, not all along the strip.
  • Next, add glue all along one whole side and fold in half.
  • I like to slightly sit on this piece to make sure it holds together good! Optional.
  • Repeat 2 more times until you have 3 fans.
  • Glue each fan to one another, firmly pressing them together.
  • Once they are together you will have a circular decoration!
  • I sewed some thread to secure a line to hand up. I hung mine on curtain rods.



Yes, streamers are compostable, but they still come wrapped in plastic. I want and can avoid that by making my own kind. FYI, the construction paper I am using came without any wrapping and is the biggest stack I could find. 250 sheets I believe. I also have too many scrap book paper that could get used. Some nice prints there to add some flare!

  • My process for my streamers is to take a number and colours of paper stacked together. I liked using all the colours. But any choice is good for any theme!
  • Once the paper is stacked, cut a circle keeping the papers together.
  • Next, cut a continuous circular line starting outide and work your way in.
  • The bigger the circle and thinner cutting, the longer and more twisty the streamer.
  • A small circle will result in a short streamer.
  • Next, I take the ends that were started with and added some glue to them.
  • I put some glue on the wall/door frame/cupboards and stick the streamer ends to it.
  • With the paint brush I added some more glue to make sure they got coated good!
  • Press with your finger so there is good contact between the surface and paper.
  • Continue until house is decorated!!

Our plastic “Happy Birthday” signs are not going to waste. They are still in good condition even though they are almost 10 years old! I thought there must be another way to put them up besides tape. I already knew what to do! Homemade glue!

I cut off the edges that held 9 years worth of tape (pretty thick!). I added a thin layer of glue to the back two sides and they stuck to wall without a problem!! I was pleased!!

Again, we reused gift bags and tissue paper, though the paper was coming to the end of its use. Thats okay compostable (I just checked!).

I did not give myself time to look for good used toys or clothes. He really already has everything he needs! We did buy some of those items. I’m not too worried about it though! Small steps forward.

I did make the birthday cake. Most times I do. Though, for some reason, I cannot get the icing right. The Betty Crocker pre-maid store bought icing is hard to beat!! This time round, I tried the Bulk Barn kind. Pretty good. Rich. Maybe too much. I will continue looking for the right recipe! Also, I bought a can of decorating icing. Not plastic tube, can! I need to get a good icing decorating kit. Not a cheap plasticky one. Been there, done that. Two uses and it broke.

Our 3 year old, soon to be 4, requested the cake to be decorated like this! Quite the planner!!

Also, no plastic or paper plates, nor cups. Just our home items. Usually parties have those items, but not this weekend coming. Yes, we got a family party to get ready for, and I will be aiming for a less waste one again! Though, I do have some paper plates that could get used, I’m not sure if I have enough plates for everyone. I guess time will tell! Also cloth table cloths will be used! No more plastic ones!

Thomas’s Birthday waste included this. Also a couple plastic links from clothing, and a plastic ring. 8 waste items total.

I already did a test the other day and confirmed it again this evening concerning the homemade glue on the walls and such. Yes it does wash off. Hot soapy water. No problem at all!!

We have 4 more kids Birthdays coming between now and April, and parties. I’m looking forward to finding more DIY decorations ! I would like to find something that will last longer than the paper. Construction paper will rip and tangle and loose colour overtime, quickly. Small steps!

Thinking for the future: cloth wrapping.

Update

Red, orange and black paper, stain white background when glue was applied. A simple rub with baking soda and water paste cleaned it.

No more buying plastic/paper plates, cups or utensils. Just using what we have, and washing a few dishes if needed during the party. Not a big problem!