Saturday, June 14, 2014

My All Time Favorite DIY Spray Cleaner

A while back I used up this bottle of spray cleaner, (the bottle on the right) It was a nice cleaner that worked well and smelled nice and fresh.  It was citrus and sage and  the label said it was made with natural ingredients, biodegradable and it had the ecologo  . 
When it was done I wondered if I could just make some more so I started reading the ingredients. I wasn't overjoyed to find this "natural" cleaner had ingredients that I couldn't even begin to pronounce and that if swallowed I needed to call a poison control center.  Ewww.   How can that be good for the environment.

So this is what I decided to make instead.   
First I emptied about half the vinegar from a gallon jug into another container. Then I added the peels from  about 12 lemons, oranges and limes.  I save my peels in a  bag in my freezer until I have enough when I need them. 
 I added a handful of sage leaves and  some thyme from my garden.  Then I topped the jug back  up with the rest of the vinegar and put it under my sink and forgot about it for a few weeks. When it was ready I strained out a cup of the cleaner for my spray bottle, added 3 cups of water and used it to clean everything in sight. I just strain out what I need to use, and let the rest sit in the jug and it keeps getting stronger.
 I use this all purpose spray in my kitchen and my bathroom.  I even add a half cup to a pail of hot water to wash my tile floors.
I love how fresh everything smells when I'm done.

The citrus oils clean so well ,and  vinegar is a natural disinfectant.  This would probably be good enough on its own. 
But adding Thyme for it's antifungal and disinfectant qualities,  and Sage for it antiseptic qualities gives this spray another punch to fight those nasty germs. This is a great spray to use during cold and flu season too.  And I know it's safe around the kids and pets.  I won't have to call poison control for any reason.  All in all I think this is my favorite all purpose spray cleaner. 

Bye for now and have a great day.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coffee is a necessity

 We've have been really lucky this winter and have had no power outages. Everyone around us has been hit really hard with ice storms and high winds, and had to endure some long stretches with no power. We've had a ton of snow but our power has stayed on.
One of the things I hate when it does go out is having to make instant coffee.  Coffee for me is a real staple. And the instant stuff is really awful. 
I've been making a list of things that I would need to get through all kinds of emergency situations and this percolator from Amazon is on the top of the list.
  It might not be the most important thing to most people doing their own emergency preparations, but for me it's right up there. During an emergency its important to have all your basic needs met, but it doesn't hurt to have a few things that just make you feel a little less stressed as well.
 I grew up with the smell of coffee brewing on the stove top,   in a pot just like this one, every morning, and there's something about it that just says home and comfort.  So the next time the power does go out I want to be able to make good coffee.
What's on your list of things to get you through an emergency? and make you feel a little less stressed.
Bye  for now....and have a great day

Saturday, January 4, 2014

DIY Hand Sanitizer

 We are right in the middle of cold and flu season.  We do our best to avoid getting sick. We get a flu shot. We wash our hands as often as possible.  When we're out and about we use hand sanitizer.

I wanted a to make a good hand sanitizer spray with the  added benefit of essential oils. Something that would  give  those nasty germs an extra kick in the you know what. 

I gathered together the items and  made up a spray in about 5 minutes. Honestly it takes longer to write about it than it does to make it.

Hand Sanitizer Spray
1/4 cup Witch Hazel (I use one with Aloe added)
1/4 cup of alcohol
 1tsp of vegetable glycerine  and
1tsp of vitamin E oil   for a little protection  for the skin
10 drops of Lemon essential oil   

10 drops of Clove bud essential oil  

 10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil  

10 drops of Cinnamon  essential oil  

I put the ingredients into a spray bottle and gave it a shake. 
These oils combined have great antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Use the links to see for yourself what they can be used for.

As well you can add these oils to a spray bottle with alcohol and water and you have a great spray to use around the house to kill germs in the air as well.  I add a little Tea Tree Oil in my spray as well.
Using this spray around the house should help during those times when everyone in your house seems to have some kind of a bug. Here's hoping we can all stay healthy this year.

Bye for now... and have a great day.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Diaper Rash Salve

Extremely cold weather like we're having plays havoc with your skin. Spending so much time with my kidlets means I wash my hands about a million times a day and that creates even more damage.  Usually by  the first of the year I have dry cracked knuckles that are actually bleeding and sore.
I have tried all sorts of creams and salves and get a bit of relief but nothing really prevented it completely. 
This year my hands are healthy.

I made a wonderful Calendula oil salve for using on the baby's bums when I change their diapers.  It is really amazing as a preventative for diaper irritations and I've used in an the tiny patches of eczema a few of my kidlets get in the dry cold weather with great success.  I love it the most for what it does for my dry hands.  They look just as good now as they did in the middle of summer. No dry patches, no cracked knuckles, just healthy.

Here is the recipe I use with links to earlier posts for making the ingredients.

2 parts Calendula  Infused oils
1 part Dandelion infused oil
1 part Coconut oil
1 part grated beeswax
1 tsp of vitamin E oil
5 drops of Lavender essential oil
3 drops of Tea Tree essential oil

Add the infused oils , coconut oil and beeswax together in a bowl (I use a small mason jar) and warm in a pot of hot water until the wax is melted.
Remove from the heat and add the Vit. E and essential oils

Stir until it is well blended and pour into small sterilized jars.  Stir in the jars a few times while it is cooling to keep it a bit on the creamy side. This goes a long way so you just need to use a tiny bit.

disclaimer:  I am not a medical expert in any way.  As with any product always try a tiny bit first to check for reactions. and always do your own research before making and using your own products.
This is my go to site for information about essential oils.

Bye for now ..... and have a great day

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Water .. No Flushing.

We got up this morning and we have no water.  We usually open all our lower cabinets on really cold nights to let the heat circulate. 
Of course last night was the coldest night here so far and we left all the doors closed...  Oh well.   Things will thaw out. 
A few weeks ago the system that supplies our neighbourhood with water suffered a broken pipe and it took the better part of a day for it to get fixed.  Then we had a boil water advisory for a few days.  I don't know yet if today it's a town water problem or we have a  frozen pipe.  Whatever it is, it's nothing more than an inconvenience. 

Think about the thousands of homes in the Toronto area, that have had no power  for the last couple of weeks because of the huge ice storms. I wonder how they all coped. I really feel bad for them.  I think it's way easier to get by when you live in the country than it is when you live in the city. 

The first thing I really miss when the water is off is not being able to flush.  What if you had to go without any power for a few weeks. If you live in an apartment building or a home without an alternate heat source,  pouring water down your drain will only freeze. 

This article  has a good instructions on how to put together a homemade compost toilet that could be used in an emergency. It can be used in any type of home.  All you  need is a five gallon bucket, some heavy duty garbage bags and some kitty litter or sawdust.  Line the bucket with the garbage bag and after each use cover waste with sawdust or litter. 
Everything can be stored in the bucket until it's needed, and with any luck you will never need to put it together. 

DIY Composting Toilet
You could take it one step further and make the milk crate cover so you can have a luxury unit like this one. Click on the picture to read the article.
I hope this idea helps a few people be a little better prepared for what ever happens next.

Bye for now.. and have a good day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

52 Week Money Saving Challenge

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014.

I don't know if you've seen it or not but the 52 week Money Saving Challenge is all over the internet right now.  I have no idea how one would go about finding the original post for this idea because there are just too many of them.  Do a search and you'll see what I mean.
The concept for this plan is that if you make yourself a savings jar and put in $1 the first week you have started the plan. 
Each week you add one more dollar than the previous week. Week 1 deposit $1,  week 2 deposit $2, right up to week 52 depositing $52.   If you follow this plan at the end of the year you have saved almost $1,400.

I think it's a great idea and decided this would be my New Years Resolution.  There is one big drawback. I never have an extra $200 in December. I don't make a set amount of money each week because the number of children I care for fluctuates ...... and December is always the slowest month  because of  Christmas. I had to adjust the plan if it was going to work for me.
 52 week savings challenge
I found this chart  at  and liked how it was more flexible with the deposit amounts. At the bottom of the chart it has the amounts from $1 to $52.   

Each week I put my deposit into my jar and cross off the amount I used from the bottom.   If I have a short work week I can deposit one of the lesser amounts and in the summer months when I  make larger paychecks I can make the larger deposits. In the end I will have the same total because all the deposits are in the jar. 

So that's my New Year's resolution... to work on my savings challenge for 2014.  Did you make a resolution? .. and if you did ,  did you come up with a plan to make it work?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye to 2013

It's been a long time since I've been here to write anything at all..  I was taking a much needed break.   I won't bore you with the reasons why, let's just say I had too much on my plate and needed a rest.

Today is New Year's Eve and other than the obvious "let's party and celebrate" the day means different things to different people.  A lot of us are deciding what our new years  resolutions will be.  Personally, I find this is  a good time for reflection. I've been thinking about the past year and taking stock of what I accomplished and what I didn't quite get done.

I had two goals this year.  I was going to start a  blog and I wanted to be chemical free in my home by the end of the year.   Well I started a blog.  I've let it slide a lot in the last few months so I think it was only a partial success.  I am going to try a little harder to keep it up to date in the new year.

 On the subject of a chemical free home I am happy to say I think its been a great success.  As I look around I feel quite a sense of pride in the products I've been able to replace with more eco friendly choices.  And I know what I'm cleaning with and what I'm putting on my body.  I can pronounce all the ingredients now,  because I choose to use them.  I'm not pouring a lot of poisons down my drain and wearing them in my clothing.  I make whatever I can myself, and pay a lot of attention to what I buy that I can't make. Wild crafting and essential oils have become the norm here.

I recycle, reuse and repurpose whenever I can now, and have learned to compost every single thing that can be put back into the earth.

So Yeah.  I can sit back tonight, relax with an egg nog ( and rum :) and know I've done my part, however small.   I think I've made a great start and  it's been a lot easier than I ever would have dreamed.  I'll share my favorite DIY products and how they work in the coming months, but for now....

Have a good day everyone.  Bye for now and have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Weeks Treasures 3

Found at the CURB

Most of the yard sales for this area are over for  the season, but lucky for me there are still some curbly treasures out there.  Hubby and I went for a drive this morning and decided to head to a nearby town for some breakfast.  On the drive back I spied a bunch of  doors  and windows in front of an old motel that was closed down. We had already passed the driveway when I spotted "Free" painted on one of the doors. Well you know me enough by now to know I got really excited and I couldn't get hubby to turn around fast enough. We had been to a   re-store on Saturday and the cheapest solid wood doors I could find were $50 so this definitely warranted some investigation.

 What an incredible find.  Here were four Solid wood doors, very old, very chippy and very beautiful.  Two of them even had the glass intact.
And a bonus, a motel style double headboard. 
Unfortunately the windows were rotten and unsalvageable. 

See the pretty trim board below the window on the pink door. And the mail slot cut out. 
I wish I had taken a picture of them before we got them out of my Escape.  They wouldn't quite fit so they hung out the back about a foot and we tied the back door down with the cord out of a hoodie. They do say, "Where there's a will......" 

 I have been looking at projects made from old doors recently  and am really excited because now I can actually make some of them :)

Bye for now.... and have a good day everyone.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A dining room buffet makeover

I've recently done a few pieces of furniture that I have for sale in a beautiful antique blue colour that I absolutely love. 
My buffet and shutters in my dining room needed a makeover so I mixed up a batch of my homemade chalk paint and got busy.

The shutters had been painted in a green that matches my backsplash but that needs a makeover as well .
My wonderful daughter in law gave me the buffet recently,  but it was dated and in desperate need of a pick me up.

I use this area for storage and a coffee bar to save space in my tiny kitchen.

First I got some help from hubby to lift  the buffet onto my work table and  remove all the drawers and doors. I had no intentions of being  belly to floor with a paint brush in hand trying to paint the bottom edges.

After a good wash to remove any grease and cleaning agents I got busy painting.  This is the outside after the first coat. It only needed 2 coats because this paint has awesome coverage.

I wanted to paint the inside as well. I will be using this piece a lot and the lighter colour will make it easier to find things.   And to be honest it will inspire me to keep it tidier as well :)


 Much better.

I took the handles off the doors and raised them off the work surface by setting them on a few plastic bowls.  I painted the hinges because I didn't want them to stand out.

I painted the body  with a lighter shad of the blue, by adding 1 part blue to 3 parts white.  I used the full  blue for the top of the buffet, the door fronts and the shutters and shelf.
I got the mirror at a yard sale a few weeks ago and thought it would look good here. 


I only reused one set of shutters instead of the solid shutter wall I had before.

Here's the buffet all finished. After painting I gave it two coats of paste wax to protect it.
 I really want to get new  handles, but can't find ones I like so for now I will use the originals.

 I've decorated with a few of the items I had on the shutters and shelf from before.  
I don't quite think I'm done with this yet. 


I love these little glass jars I got at a yard sale.   And of course a chocolate and a vanilla candle will make everything smell awesome as well.

Just a bit of what's on the top shelf.  The tins were my grandmothers. The dark blue tin always had buttons in it and the light blue one still has a little label on the lid that says ribbons and bows.  Memories of grandma's sewing room at the end of her hallway linger with the tins


And of course I love the old mason jars, one is a Ball and the smallest is a Crown .

I have a small collection of old wooden rolling pins and a few pieces of old style kitchen tools.  I'm considering the shutters as a display area if I can find a new home for the old family photos. And maybe a nice large piece of subway art between the shutters. What do you think?

WOW!   I'm not even done with this project and I'm already trying to figure out how to change it up. Oh well. It's really a lot better than it was.  I'm really happy with the buffet and that was my main goal here. I love having the extra storage space too.  All in all  I think it was a well spent weekend.

Bye for now ... and have a good day everyone.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to school lunch choices

This post is a bit out of the norm for me but I really wanted to share this. 
I saw this post for a really great idea for back to school lunch prep that allowed kids to choose their own lunch and snacks each day for school. 
I remember from the days when my own boys were still in school how frustrating  it was when their lunch boxes came home half eaten because they weren't happy that day with the choices I had made for them.  I also remember how hard it was to get them to eat healthy from a packed lunch. 
This post is about a way to let your kids pick their own lunch and snack items and still know they are getting a healthy balance of food items.  It also means they might actually eat their lunch because they picked it themselves. 
I know a few well organized moms who do up a ton of food choices on the weekend to make lunch making easier through the week, but why not take it one step further and actually let the kids pack their own lunches.  This method lets them do that while still maintaining the control over their diet that you need to keep them eating healthy.
An added benefit of this idea..... it helps develop good decision making skills. 
I recommend this post to anyone with kids.  Just click on the highlighted words above to read the complete post with the instructions.

Bye for now ... and have a good day everyone.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This Weeks Treasures 2

The long weekend in September means different things for different people. End of summer vacation and beginning of school being the  main one.
For me I love that it's a huge yard sale weekend.  People tend to put out things they have a hard time letting go of. But now  its the last chance before winter and if it doesn't go now it's  a long time until the next big yard sale weekend.  Around here that's usually the long weekend in May.

Here's what I brought home this weekend. Actually I went to a few places and got a head start by picking out a few things during the previous week.

I brought the table in this picture home on Tues evening because I knew it would go early if left for the yard sale scheduled on Saturday.  I think the word is out that I'm looking for stuff to do over, otherwise I wouldn't have heard about this one. It's really nice to get the inside scoop. :)

This coffee table was a pre- yard sale  purchase as well.  It's very old pine and still in good shape. I think this one is a keeper. We have been looking for the right sized  table for it seems like forever.

I found a bunch of little wooden craft projects at one of my first stops on Saturday morning. Of course they need some attention and maybe some re-inventing. 

And this home made rack for holding 2oz. craft paints was almost a steal.  The lady that had it  said her husband made it for her but she wasn't painting anymore. And it came with all the paints you see here. I hope she knows it has a good home now, where it will be appreciated every time I choose a paint colour for a project.  This piece is definitely not for resale.

You can never have enough shutters.  I think that should go without saying.

And this stash of windows and crates I found at a single stop.  The top crate is for bottles of HP sauce and someone has written on the side "for Haliburton". Probably the original delivery instructions. 

So... what do you think of this weeks finds?
Did you find anything wonderful this weekend?

Bye for now ... and have a good day everyone.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Little desk and message center.

I can't wait to show you the  message center in the corner of my kitchen .. It didn't start out as a planned project,  but for some reason it just ended up as the perfect pairing.  Does that happen to you too?  Things just seem to go together naturally.

First I fell in love with this little yard sale desk set.  It's very petite by todays standards, but it's the regular height of a modern desk and chair. It was made in the early 1900's long before we needed extra space for all of our electronics. Back then people still wrote letters .

It had some little scratches  on the desk top and the chair was broken at the top cross bar.  A little Gorilla glue fixed up the chair and the hole was filled with some wood filler and sanded.

Just look at this seat,  its hideous.  It is definitely going to need an update.
I painted this set in my favorite (right now) colour, and after a little distressing and wax I thought  it was looking quite beautiful. 
And the damage on the chair? Can't even tell where it was.
Isn't this a pretty colour? It's no wonder I'm hooked on it right now.  :)  It's such an improvement over the dark brown finish and those horrible harvest gold flowers. 
Take a look at this stash of stuff again. Do you see those rectangle shaped trays piled on the desk. There are four of them and they are truly ugly, and cheaply made. 
A coat of blackboard paint and some paint on the boarder to match the desk set and look at them now. It's cool how you can turn almost anything into a blackboard now.

There were four of them so I labeled them according to what I needed most.  I actually missed  a shower invite on the weekend which inspired one of the labels. I won't forget another invite again.
And here they are in their new space, doing a wonderful job of keeping me organized ...... If that's possible. Just enough room inside for my daycare schedule and a phone book.
Of course all my pieces are for sale, but I won't be too sad if this one doesn't go for a long time.
Bye for now.... and have a great day.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Giving an end table new life.

Last weeks treasures post had a picture of this really great mid century, barrel shaped end table. It was one of the reasons I was so thrilled about my finds. Every thing I picked up that day was really good but this was a perfect jewel. Except for the finish.
It had such beautiful details on the bottom edge and on the legs, as well as such pretty little feet.
The door has this great chicken wire detail along with just the perfect hardware.  I absolutely fell in love.  It went straight to my work room from the truck. All it needed was the perfect colour.
I started by removing the hardware and giving the whole piece inside and out a good wash with some vinegar and water.
I mixed one part blue paint with three parts of white and made up my chalk paint mixture.
Then I painted the inside with the lightened blue. Have I said how much I love this colour of blue.  Once the inside was dry I gave the outside, including the chicken wire, a coat of this lightened blue mixture.  It's easy to paint the wire but you must use very little paint on the brush to keep it from clumping up.
Once it was completely dry, about an hour, I gave it a second coat of paint.  The main part was the light blue mix, and the door and top were painted with the original blue. The finishing touch was a coat of natural paste wax. And of course the hardware.
 What do you think?  Isn't she beautiful? 

Using 3 parts white with one part of the original colour makes it easy to do any piece in a two tone like this.  There is never any worry of the two colours not going together.
 Because the chalk paint mixture is porous it takes the paste wax really well and buffs up to a nice soft shine.


Bye for now... and have a great day.