Friday, March 23, 2012

Bringing Out My Inner Katniss

I can admit it.  I'm a Hunger Games fan.  I've read the entire series twice, and I'm super excited about the movie. . 

Every geeky cell in my body longs to have Hunger Games T-shirt, but I just can't bring myself to spend our hard-earned money at Hot Topic on the mass-produced, over-priced rags they sell.  So after cruising Pinterest, and viewing some super-creative Panem-inspired garb, I decided to used the bleach stenciling method. 

While most instructions I found recommended using freezer paper and bleach pens or vellum and spray adhesive, I didn't want to spend that much money.  After experimenting for a while I came up with my own method. 

I picked up a nice dark gray shirt at Walmart for $4.48, the printed out an image of the mockingjay symbol on a piece of card stock that I already had at the house.  I put several sections of the newspaper in the middle of the shirt to prevent the bleach from soaking through to the other side.  I cut out the image with a razor blade, and positioned it where I wanted it on the T-shirt.  I didn't use any adhesive, I just set it on the shirt.  I filled small spray bottle (one with a fine spray nozzle) with Clorox, and sprayed a fine layer of bleach over the area of the stencil.  You don't need to use much, and while I didn't do it this time, next time I'll rinse the bleach out of the shirt once I get to the desired color of the shirt.  I let this sit a little too long and it over-bleached a little, but I still love the finished produce. 

I think it looks very District 12.  I made one for me and and identical one for my sister.  She was thrilled.  The entire project only cost me $4.48, since I already had cardstock, bleach and a spray bottle at the house.  It was a fun, fast, easy and cheap project that I'm sure I'll do again! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

OK, So Maybe I Am Becoming A Duggar...

So while I was at bible study last night (btw we're studying Daniel by Beth Moore, and all I can say is A-MAZ-ING!!), one of my other frugal friends got on to me for not posting more often.   Sorry, life caught up to me, so blogging took a back seat for a while. 

A few months back, on my other blog, I wrote that I was thinking about making my own laundry detergent:

What I'm about to say sounds crazy, but just go with me here, ok?

I'm going to attempt to make my own laundry detergent. 

I know, I know, it's 2012, and these products are readily available at my local grocery store.  And, no, I haven't decided to run off to Arkansas and join the Duggar family.  My awesome friend Ashley (she writes a blog called
Organized Homemaking), got me interested in trying this.  She and I are what I like to call "famously frugal."  (This is where I came up with the idea for the new blog)  We love finding new ways to save money.  This one is apparently a HUGE saver! 

After lots of highly intensive research (I did a Google search), I found that there are a lot of "recipes" out there for laundry detergent.  Most of them are for the liquid variety, which is the kind I normally use.  They seem pretty labor intensive and involve "cooking" the mixture and monitoring it to make sure it doesn't burn.  This is the kind that you see the Duggar Family make on 19 Kids and Counting.  I'm sure it probably works great and it's worth all the effort, but I don't have teenager in my house that I can ask to take on this project.  There a two preschool age children and  frazzled, stay-at-home mommy here, and frankly, I don't have time to "cook" my laundry detergent.  So I found a recipe for the powdered variety on a great website called DIY Natural.  It seems MUCH simpler, and this is what I plan on trying. 

The website estimates that their homemade detergent costs $0.05 a load, compared to an average of $0.21 a load for the name brand detergent.  Since I don't trust anyone (I mean, come on!  I won't even use my name on this blog!), I'll do my own price comparison. 

Here's the link to the recipe:

I'll let you know how it goes.

Well, I did it.  It was incredibly easy and cheap to make, and I've been really happy with the results.  The supplies I bought for around $7.50 would make around 6 batches of detergent.  You only use one tablespoon per load, so a little goes a long way.  It doesn't really make suds, so I've been told you can use it in an HE washing machine.  I don't have one, so I have no way of testing it out, but it sounds feasible. 

I used Ivory soap for this batch since I had some I'd gotten for free with coupons just laying around the house.  Next time, I think I'm going to try the Fels-Naptha laundry soap I keep hearing about. (I know what you're thinking. My friends and I must be super exciting, we sit around and talk about laundry detergent.)  While the ivory cleans well, and doesn't leave much of a fragrance, I'm betting the Fels-Naptha would take out more stains.  Of course, that would make it cost a little bit more per load since my Ivory soap was free, but I think the savings would still be pretty substantial.

Here's my own price comparison from buying ingredients in my local area:

Arm & Hammer Powdered Laundry Detergent:  $6.99 per box / 54 loads per box = $0.13 per load
Homemade Laundry Detergent:  $0.93 per batch / estimated 41 loads per batch = $0.02 per load

I know it seems like pennies, but it adds up quickly.  If I spend the same amount on supplies to make six batches of homemade soap as I spend on just one box of name brand detergent, I've saved $42 already!  That's enough to buy a whole new outfit (at least it is for me, since my wardrobe is almost exclusively from Kohl's, Target and Walmart)!  With two adults, one preschooler and one potty-training toddler, we have A LOT of laundry.  I see this turning into a bit money-saver for us.

Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I've seen recipes for tons of other homemade cleaners that I plan to try.  Homemade stain removers, dish detergents, glass cleaners, even skin products abound on Pinterest.  If you're not on Pinterest yet, you really should be.  Send me your e-mail address and I'll send you an invite.  It's fabulous, especially if you're life is exciting as mine, and saving money makes you all giddy inside, like it does me.  I'll let you know how they turn out.  :)

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A few months ago at my neighborhood ladies bible study, we learned some shocking news.  One of our didn't realized that you reall...