Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips for Hanging Laundry Outside

Using a clothesline, or as I like to call it my solar-wind hybrid dryer, can be both green and frugal. It can also be daunting and a pain in the butt without a little planning. Here are my tips for making a clothsline work for you:

1. Get an early start -- I have 3 lines in my backyard, none of which are very long so if I want to get all of my laundry out on any given day I have to do it in 2 shifts.

2. Wash the clothes the night before -- In order to get clothes out on the line early in the morning I have to wash them the night before. I let them sit wet in the laundry basket and then hang them after breakfast. NOTE: I have a plastic laundry basket so mold/mildew is not an issue for me, if you have a wicker basket you may want to reconsider this step.

3. Double Hang -- On really hot days, to make the most of my line space, I double hang things. For example, I put two socks under one clothespin. I hang two T-shirts as if they were 1. All of my laundry drys without a problem. On overcast or more mild days it will take longer for the laundry to dry if it is double hung, but it will dry eventually.

4. DO NOT LEAVE LAUNDRY ON THE LINE OVERNIGHT -- In my expereince, and my mother's experience, this invites spiders into your clothes... enough said. There is the urban legend (or maybe it is actual fact) about the woman who had a bat in her clothes after leaving them outside all night... either way, better to err on the side of caution and bring it in for the night.

5. Don't have a clothesline, don't despair -- Use a drying rack. I use a drying rack in the winter to dry clothes inside, but before I have lines up outside I used to take the rack outside. It works just as well. Remember, because loaded drying racks are top heavy they have a tendency to fall over on windy days. Anchor them from the bottom with something heavy, even if it is rice in a Ziplock thrown over the bottom rung.

The Rockabilly Tunic

I have been sewing again. I posted about my sewing projects here and although it has taken me longer to complete them then I thought it would, I am making progress.

This is the completed top (project # 2 from this list)... I am calling it the Rockabilly Tunic


It is a tunic length top with a gathered/ruched yoke and a ruffle at the neckline. I added the grograin belt to make it less sack-like. The pattern called for a belt made out of the same fabric as the top, but I thought that was too matchy-matchy.

Here is a close up on the gathered yoke and ruffle:


I love this tattoo flash fabric from Alexander Henry... it makes me feel like I am on the set of Cry-Baby!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Nutella Breakfast Bread

This is for Lisa who LOVES Nutella...

A while ago Lisa posted this recipe for Chocolate Chip Bread, which I in turn made and posted about here. I mentioned in that post that I had thought about swirling Nutella through the batter. Yesterday I decided to give it a try. Below is the resulting recipe... TRY IT, you will thank me.


Whole Wheat Nutella Breakfast Bread

3 cups White Whole Wheat flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
2 TBsp. oil
2 tsp. vanilla paste (you could use vanilla extract, but the flavor will not be as intense)
1/3 cup + 2 Tbs. Chopped hazel nuts
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Nutella


1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. Combine remaining ingredients. Add to dry mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened.

3. Spead half of the batter in to a lightly greased and floured pan.

4. Spead Nutella over batter in pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of chopped hazel nuts over the Nutella.

5. Spread the remaining batter over top. Down the center of the batter make a little indentation. Spread 2 Tbs. of Nutella and 2 Tbs. of chopped hazel nuts in the indentation.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

Food Processor Ice Cream

Although I have a very nice double barrel ice cream maker, I rarely use it. The problem? You have to freeze the barrels for at least 24 hours before you can make ice cream. They are pretty big and bulky and there is rarely enough room in my freezer to get them good and frozen... and then there is the whole planning ahead thing... I'm not always so good with that.

So last week I went exploring and found this recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. I made blackberry ice cream and it is GOOD!

1 c. heavy cream (1/2 pt.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) pkg. frozen fruit, not sweetened (I used blackberries)

While fruit is still in package, soften and separate with your hands. Using the sharpest blade in your food processor, mix all ingredients together completely. Scoop into individual dishes to serve. If served shortly after making, it is of mousse consistency. If stored in freezer, it will be ice cream.

Friday, July 23, 2010

500 Posts!

This is my 500th post. I feel like I should celebrate in some way, shape or form. I don't know if that is going to happen. Right now it is taking all of my collective willpower not to put my head down on my desk and fall asleep. You see... It turns out I am allergic to Stevia... Huh? I know you are scratching your head right? This post isn't making any sense... You're right, its not... so let me start from the beginning.

I am always trying to eat less chemical-laden food and more natural food. That said I have a house stocked with diet soda and Splenda :(. So, I decided that I would ditch the Splenda (which was created in a lab) for something more natural... Stevia. I bought some Truvia and put it in my iced coffee yesterday. Fine, no big deal, except I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was itchy. I didn't really think anything about that because I was reading a book that was talking about having fleas in bed and I thought I was itching at the THOUGHT of fleas in bed.

This morning I put Truvia in my coffee again and the longer I sat at work and the more iced coffee I drank the more I started to itch.. everywhere... my face, my head, my belly, everywhere. It was as if someone had given me morphine, which I am allergic to. So it dawned on me that I am probably allergic to Stevia and should stop drinking it. So I stopped drinking the iced coffee and went in search of Benadryl. Luckily a co-worker had some and I took both of them... BOTH OF THEM... i.e. TWO BENADRYL or as I like to call them, horse tranquilizers! And so that brings me to the trying "not to put my head down on my desk and fall asleep" from above.

[Author's Note: I was completely out of my mind in a Benadryl fog when I wrote the rambling nonsense above. But now that me head is clear I think it is funny so I am going to leave it there]

Toddler Activities

It has been so hot this summer (90 + every day in July) that is has been nearly impossible to get Nate outside to play. Staying in the house and play is starting to get old and even Nate's beloved train table is not holding his attention like it used to. That means I have started to look for ideas of what to do with a toddler. I found a couple of blogs that I really like with great ideas...

Do you have any blogs with toddler friendly activities? If you do, I would love to know about them!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things I am Coveting Right Now...

Mama and Daddy Cardinals

Koi Bracelet

Delonghi Gelato Maker

Crumbs Red Velvet Cupcakes

Shark & Fish Washcloths for Nate

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just Creepy

I was trolling recently when I came across this:

It is the Carniverous Doll Purse from Scotattoo

I think the only way it could be creepier is if it was a clown instead of a doll.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Refashion... Kind of...

I love reading the Wadrobe Refashion blog. I am constantly amazed and inspired by what people can make from old clothes. That said, here is my confession, I would rather make something from scratch then try to rip something apart and refashion it... I just would.

So last night I defied my nature and tried a refashioning of sorts. I bought a T-shirt at Old Navy in the beginning of the summer. I really liked the design and they only had one so I bought the XXL thinking that I could shrink it in the wash and then just have it be a little slouchy.

In reality it didn't really work the way I had planned. I washed and dried it on hot and it wouldn't shrink. This really wasn't a problem in areas of fit (it was slouchy, which I liked) but it was WAY WAY too long.

I decided that instead of hemming it, I would add some rouching to the bottom. First I tried gathering the material with a basting stitch and then sewing over the gatherings. That didn't work for some reason. Then I decided to try sewing on elastic, even though I have never done it before and didn't really know how. Surprisingly (not really) that didn't work either. So I decide the try some according folding and hand stitching the folds into place. That worked.



{{Close up on the Detail}}

I am not entirely happy with the finished product, but I am going to wash and dry it and then make a final judgement. The fabric that this shirt is made of is really loosely woven and becomes misshapen really easily.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

I know I have said countless times that I was going to make laundry soap, but yesterday I actually did it. My mom is very frugal (in a good way) and is constantly looking for ways to cut costs. She was asking me about the homemade laundry detergent and since I had all of the supplies I thought I would make her a batch. She hasn't used it yet, so I can;t comment on how well it works, but here is what I did/used:

1. Finely grated 1 bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap (I used a hand grater and the finest holes... it came out in a powder form)

2. Combine with 2 cups Washing Soda, 2 cups Borax, and 1 cup Baking Soda.

3. I put the powder in a big canning jar with a tight lid and added an scoop.

Note: I am sure the Fels Naptha works great, but it was stinging my eyes while I was grating it, so next time I might use something a little gentler like a bar of Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap, which is what Soule Mama uses when she makes her laundry soap.

Update on To Do Lists

Once upon a time I created a couple of "To Do" lists... you may remember them...

From 12/11/09

1. Learn to Needle Felt.
2. Make my Tan Skirt
3. Take doors of the pantry
4. Buy more boot stays
5. Clean/Condition Leather Furniture
6. Inventory and Clean out as much as humanly possible

and from 4/18/10

1. Finish the tan wrap skirt that is cut out.
2. Make the spring/summer blouse from this fabric before it is fall/winter.
3. Make this Tie Shirt for Nate in lieu of an Easter outfit.
4. Make a few bunny door hangers as Easter decorations.
5. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
6. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)
7. Learn to needle felt before next Christmas

There seems to be a lot of overlap, so let's throw out the duplicates and here is the master To Do List:

1. Learn to Needle Felt.
2. Make my Tan Skirt
3. Take doors of the pantry
4. Buy more boot stays
5. Clean/Condition Leather Furniture
6. Inventory and Clean out as much as humanly possible
7. Make the spring/summer blouse from this fabric before it is fall/winter.
8. Make this Tie Shirt for Nate in lieu of an Easter outfit.
9. Make a few bunny door hangers as Easter decorations.
10. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
11. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)

So I have made really good headway recently and here is the update list:

1. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
2. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)

I can't believe everything else is finished!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Things I am Coveting Right Now...

Here is another edition of "Things I am Coveting Right Now..."




Etc, Etc, Etc.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Attention WalMart Shoppers

I can't guarantee that this will be applicable in yor neck of the woods, but here in PA WalMart has most (not all, but most) of their jeans on clearance for $5. I saw 4 or 5 circular racks on clearance jeans when I was there today... I even scored a pair of my favs for $5.

It is worth checking out.

Making Iced Coffee at Home

I love iced coffee... maybe even more than I like hot coffee, especially in the summer when it is too hot for hot beverages (especially this week when it has been over 100 degree every day, not normal for the mid-Atlantic region). Anyway, it was getting really expensive to buy iced coffee a couple of days a week so I decided to start making it at home.

1. Brew coffee. I have found that 12 cups gets me through the week. I like Target's Archer Farms Organic Fair Trade coffee.
2. Decant coffee into a pitcher of some sort. I have a Le Cruset pitcher than hubby gave for for Christmas a few years ago, I use that and put a plastic bowl cover over the top to keep other food smells out.
3. Refrigerate.

4. Find and appropriate drinking vessel. I am sure that any glass would do, but since I drink thins in the car on the way to work I have opted for something with a lid and a straw.

5. Fix it the way you like it. I put a lot of ice in the cup (mostly because I brew the coffee really strong), then pour in the coffee almost to the top, then a little sugar free vanilla syrup, and then a touch of cream.

It is very easy to make at home if you plan ahead just a little bit... saves a lot of $ too. I figured that I was buying about 4 iced coffees a week at, let's say, $2 each. That is $8 a week on coffee... over the summer that is approximately $100 + in coffee alone. WOW!

The coffee was $7 (I think) and the vanilla syrup was $4 (at Home Goods), lets say that I will need two of each to get me through the summer, so $25 in supplies... $75 + in savings for me :)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Good Day at Goodwill

I completely scored at Goodwill on Friday... I stopped on my way to work and found:

A Pie Safe with the internal riser ($3.50)


Watercolors for Nate ($1.00)


5 Thomas the Train DVDs (they were smudged but not scratched) ($3 each)


A ginger grater, these primitive snowman ornaments, and photo cube ($6.50 total)


And the score of all scores, a turtle sandbox for Nate ($15.00)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Frog's Eye Salad

This is the BEST thing to bring to a BBQ and I am famous for it... FAMOUS I tell you!

It feeds an army and is easy to assemble. Think of it as an ambrosia with a twist. And in case you were wondering, this is in no way, shape or form a "Whole" food.


  • 8 ounces acini di pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve 1/4 c. juice)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup coconut (optional)


  1. Cook pasta in boiling water 11 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In large bowl, beat reserved pineapple juice, milk, sugar and pudding for 2 minutes.
  3. Gently stir in pasta,and remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

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