Sunday, June 21, 2009

#54 Oxi-clean saves the day!

I know I finished posting about laundry already, but just recently I had an "oh, duh" moment that has saved me a lot of money and plastic waste. I mentioned that with my homemade laundry soap I have to be extra diligent about stain removal. Well, I was going through spray bottles of Oxi-clean like crazy, and at $3.50 a bottle, the cost was adding up. Although some of the bottles got reused, most were going into the recycle bin. Anyway, last time I went to buy some the price had skipped up to $7!! This made me stop and think if there was another way. Right there next to the spray bottles was a tub of oxi-clean powder. I looked at the label, and lo and behold, I can mix about 1/4 cup in a spray bottle with water to make the same thing I had been paying so much for. The best part is that the price on the other one was a mis-mark and the $7 was actually the price of the tub. Thanks WinCo! Yea!! I just bought about 20 bottles worth for only the cost of 2 bottles. And I can reuse the same spray bottle that I already have for all of those. I feel so silly for not realizing this before. I can also use the powder to add to a whole load that needs extra stain-lifting power.
I haven't found anything better for gettng poop stains off of diapers.

Pros: Much cheaper, and much less plastic waste. Stain removal power is just as good.

Cons: None.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#53 Catch the rain

There is something that I love and hate about my hubby. It's that he gets an idea in his head and won't let it go until it's accomplished. One day he decided we needed to have rain barrels. Double rain barrels, no less. He watched some online videos of how to make them. The next we had purchased all the parts and as soon as he had a spare hour, there they were. The barrels are food-grade and we bought them off someone on Craig's list. The water is diverted from the rainspout into the barrels and if they get full, the water overflows back into the rain spout. Ya, I know they are not the prettiest things. But they are on the least visable corner of the house, and I will paint them when I get around to it. They have been great for watering my small garden that's here at the house, along with my potted herbs and roses and such.

Pros: Great way to conserve water, lower water bill, less water into the storm run-off, naturally soft water that's great for plants, chlorine free water, good back-up water source in times of drought.

Cons: Not very pretty (although there are some you can buy that are nice looking-- they just cost a lot more,) hard to get water pressure out of the hose. Also, you must make sure the spigot is CLOSED when it rains, otherwise all the water goes right next to the house foundation.
Oh, and did I mention that they are illegal in the state of Washington? The rain run-off apparently belongs to the government. Ha ha. Luckily and understandably, that law is not enforced.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

#52 Cloth Goodie Bags

Okay, one last thing from the birthday party. Instead of the little plastic goodie bags, I made the party guests cloth drawstring bags with some princess fabric. I actually ended up making them out of some fabric that we already had. They were easy, turned out really nice, and the kids can keep them to put whatever they want in them at home, instead of throwing the plastic ones in the trash.

Pros: Easy, reusable, less plastic waste, and something the kids (and hopefully parents) appreciate more.

Cons: It took more time to make them than it would have just to buy the plastic ones. Also, I couldn't figure out a way to label them with the kids' names.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

#51 Easy green tablecloth

Half way there!  Yea!  It's been difficult to blog lately due to computer issues and the nice weather outside.  Also, the party is long over, but I still have a couple of things to post about it.  All in all I could have done better at making it a "green" princess party, but I think I did okay.
One of the things was to skip the plastic or vinyl tablecloth that is so common in kid-themed parties.   Unfortunately I didn't get a great picture of the table, but you can kind of see it in the picture above.  I picked up some purple fabric from Goodwill for the main part, and put a leftover square of purple/pink butterfly fabric in the middle.

Pros: Easy, pretty, and cheap.  Fabric will either get used for something else, or given back to goodwill

Cons: Because of lack of time, I didn't roll and sew the edges.  I still was able to wash it, but it frayed a little.