Friday, January 27, 2012

Tube Map Brooch

I have an incredibly talented Sister-in-law. Her name is Amy and she is amazing. She is my inspiration for many things in life including being crafty and decorating. Which I stink at, but she inspires me. Unfortunately she doesn't blog. Shes a busy, homschooling momma to 2 of the most adorable, active little boys I know. I just love going to her house and looking around at all of the awesome ideas, new and old, that she comes up with. I told her I was going to blog about her house occasionally. This post is not about her house, yet, but about a birthday present she made for me this month.
You may remember that I went to England this Fall. Amy was one of the 7 ladies in our group that went. We had such an amazing time and formed memories to last us forever. Well for my birthday she made me this brooch. It is all about some of those memories from our England trip.
 Now to you this may just be a lovely little brooch. To me it represents the most amazing time of my life!
Its a London Tube map! I love how she added that to the back.
 I am not exactly sure how she made it, but I do know that a printer and Mod Podge was involved.
You may be wondering what the Waitrose thing in the middle is? Ok.. this may seem silly but it is from a grocery store that we fell in love with. A grocery store you say? Yes. It was AMAZING! I loved seeing all of the different foods that they sell and the freshness of those foods. There was no yellow cheese there. Yellow cheese is not natural and since I am trying to be more natural I was amazed. It doesn't take much to amaze me.
 This little green disk was given to us when we were paying at the check-out. It was basically a vote for which charity you wanted to receive a big donation. This is a copy of that token but it brings fond memories of our visit. Waitrose was about as exciting to me as Stonehenge. I kid you not. ( If you are from the U.K. please don't make fun of me. It was amazing I say!)

I have worn it like intended. Pinned to my shirt.

And also pinned to the side of a necklace. like so.

 Or my favorite, this blue beaded one.

Isn't Amy awesome?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toiletpaper Tissues

I found something the other day, while browsing the internet, that made me say...duh! Of course I didn't bookmark it.. duh.. and now I can't find it but it was so smart. Maybe it was something on Pinterest? Anyways, this person took an old tissue box and put a roll of toilet paper in it to use as tissues. Now maybe I am slow and you all are saying,  duh Lizzy! That is soooo last year! Well, it was new to me. I have had to resort to using toilet paper as tissues before, and maybe that is all you use to blow your nose, but this made it seem more sophisticated. I had to try it. Here is what I did.

Take a roll of toiletpaper and cut out the tube in the middle. I used my fingers to loosen it up a bit first so I didn't cut the toiletpaper.

Those are my awesome $4 blue, flannel snowflake pants. Yay for sales! I also got a bright green pair :)

Now pull out the tube,  It came out quite easily, and ooooo look! Select-a-size tissues! A size for all sorts of snotty/boogery situations.

Instead of reusing an old tissue box, like the post I read did, I used a metal tissue box cover I had picked up at Big Lots last year. It was super cheap.. maybe $2. I like box covers for my tissues because I can't stand it when you get to the end of the box and you go to pick up a tissue and the whole box comes with it. The cover keeps things where they belong, on the table/counter/dresser...etc. Also, it works nicely to cover up that roll of toiletpaper! See! The roll is a perfect size.

I could probably even get one of those massive jumbo rolls and it would fit. This roll is big and one step down from jumbo.

Well, there you have it. Simple. 
 I didn't do the math, but this should be cheaper than a box of tissues (up to 10x according to something I read). Of course it depends on the brand you like to use. I don't like John Wayne toiletpaper (rough and tough and don't take no crap from nobody) so I get Charmin Strong.  I always hate to buy tissues because of the price. I wish I had seen this a long time ago.

Oooh! I just thought of something. You could use this instead of a toiletpaper holder if you have one of those awkward bathrooms that have no place for a paper holder and your only option is the back of the door... or whatever.

Thanks for reading to the end,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine Day Tree

I still don't have a box or place to store my bedroom Christmas tree so I decided to keep it there another year. Or until I get sick of it and force myself to deal with it. But I love it so much. It fills a corner of our big room and puts off a lovely glow. So I decided to go ahead and decorate it for Valentines Day using stuff I already had. I just took down all of my Christmas decorations today. Yes. I just didn't feel like dealing with the stuff. Such a hassle!
It is really hard to photograph this tree. I think it is always much nicer than the pictures show.

 I am not a very good bow maker but it works. I bought this pink glittery ribbon at Michaels on clearance after last Christmas.
 Since this tree had some pink balls on it already from the Christmas decor I just left them on and hung up some little pink hearts I bought at Big Lots last year.

 Under the tree I put some pink tulle on top of the white fabric skirt that was already there. Under it is just a small string of lights I had put there at Christmas.
Here it is with the flash on so you can see all the pinkness. My daughter just LOVES it!
That's about the only Valentine decorating I will do. Simplicity. I figure since I have the tree up already it might as well be put to a good use.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Last year I decided to start making my own non-toxic health and beauty products. I made my own face cream,  lip balmlotion bars and sunscreen. Of course I still make my own laundry soap too.

I intended to write this post for nearly a year now but I have also been making my own hand soap this year. I started off making my own liquid hand soap, but I didn't like it so much. Mostly because I used scraps of soap I had laying around and it smelled funky. Plus I just didn't care for the consistency of it. It was like the goo from a snot flower. I don't know the real name, but growing up in Florida we had these purple flowers in our yard and when picked there was a clear goo in the middle.. like snot... but clear. Ok. so.. right then. Here is what it looked like (the soap that is).
 The Farmers Nest blog has a great tutorial on how to make liquid soap from a bar. I didn't bother Googling how to make mine so it wasn't very fabulous. I really wanted to use it in a foaming pump dispenser stretching it even further. It just didn't always dispense all that well from the foam pumps and needed to be shaken a lot. So I decided to try another method.

First off you will need some foaming soap pumps. I had done some Googling on foaming pumps and most everyone said the ones from Bath and Body Works were the best to be had. Well I didn't want to spend a lot of money for their soap just for the containers so I searched for cheap foaming pumps. Turns out it was  just cheaper for me to get the B&B soap.  I had been receiving daily (grrr B&B) email from them and in one they announced a clearance sale online with free shipping on a $20 (or $25 maybe) order. So I got right on there and ordered 10 bottles because I needed 3-4 and what if one or two broke? I now have spares.
I had thought to just use the soap in it then gradually refill it with my homemade stuff, but that Twisted Peppermint stanks! (sorry to those who love it) I can't deal well with artificial fragrances as I get headaches/migraines and allergies flare up.  It also contains Triclosan, as well as other stuff I don't need to get clean,  and I want to avoid that in my products.
So I just emptied it out, saved it for a while because it seemed wrong to pour it down my drain, or throw it away. Eventually decided to pour it out and.. where was I? Oh. So I poured it out peeled off the labels and cleaned up the sticky residue with Goo Gone (love) and then soap and water.

Next, choose a liquid Castile soap that you love, or make your own if you want. This is way easier.
You all probably know of Dr. Bronner's but there is another cheaper one (like $6 less a bottle) that I found out about just after like within minutes and I couldn't change the order I ordered the Dr. Bronners that I actually like better. It is called Dr. Woods. You can get Dr. Bronners just about anywhere. My local grocery stores sell it and so does Target. It is several dollars cheaper from Trader Joes if you have one. My TJ's only had peppermint, sadly. Those above are the 3 that I have acquired. I prefer the Dr. Wood's. It may be because of the shea butter in it, but it seems nicer to me. Both are organic, so yay!
You could even find a plain castile soap and add essential oils to make your own smell if you like.
I bought my Lavender and Dr. Wood's from . I love that site as they have very good prices on vitamins and lots of other stuff.

Once you have your soap picked out fill your thoroughly clean dispenser about 1/4 to 1/3 full of castile soap. In mine it was about 1/4 cup or 2oz. of soap.

Finally,  fill the rest of the bottle with water, but not all the way up to the top. Leave about an inch for the pump. Shake it up and enjoy. Thats it. Super simple. Can't believe it took all of that writing for such an easy recipe!
 Note that this will not be as slippy and slimy as your normal soap. It will get your hands clean though and you will get used to the feel of it. I did add a dash (didn't measure) of vegetable glycerine to the one I made for this tutorial just to try it out. It may help take away that feeling that I am having a really hard time describing. Its like.. your hands are stripped of all moisture and they drag.. does that even make sense? Only they are not dry. I use this soap because my kids and I get eczema hands and this soap makes a big difference.

I figured out that this soap costs me $0.56 a bottle. I am telling you friends, you seriously should consider making your own products. This is way cheap. I think you can get even cheaper if you use bar soap melted and heavily watered down. Even with having to purchase the bottles (about $2 for me) it is cheaper than buying it. The best part is that the ingredients are non-toxic and gentle on my skin.
One way to save is if you have a friend who uses B&B foaming soap ask them for the bottles that they most likely throw away. Then direct them to my blog so they can  make their own soap.. after you have gotten a few bottles that is. I didn't have any friends so I had to buy mine.

Guess what? You can also use this as dish washing soap (Not dishwasher!).
Also, I re-used a Kandoo foaming shampoo container and the kids use this concoction as shampoo and even body wash! Its gentle so you could wash your face with it also. I haven't actually tried that yet but it says on the bottle you can. Yay for multi-purpose items!

I hope you will give this a try.