Monday, January 9, 2012

Make It Monday: Coffee filter snowflakes, Homemade liquid fabric softener, and homemade dishwasher detergent

So, I did not get caught up yesterday, but in an attempt to not fall behind, I am going to jump in with the first Make It Monday.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures...yet, but I am hoping to get some up in the next few days.  Here are the craft and projects I have worked on this past week:

- Coffee filter snowflakes: These are similar to paper snowflakes and just as fun, but I like them more because of their more rounded shape.  We folded ours into quarters and then just snipped away.  If you want a hole in the center of the snowflake, be sure to trim of the point at the top.  After trimming them, open them up and lay them flat under a heavy book so that they will hang flat.  It took about 24 hours for ours to stay flat.  We then taped ours to the plastic covering we have on our big picture window, but you could hang them with fishing line, string, or yarn from anywhere.  I also thought about letting the kids paint them with some watered down glue and sprinkling glitter on them, but then decided against it...maybe in a few years.

- Homemade liquid fabric softener: I found this recipe on The Frugal Girls blog (which, if you do not already read, is a phenomenal source of money saving ideas).  It was super easy to make and it works BETTER than any other liquid fabric softener I have ever used.  In fact, I really disliked liquid fabric softener because my clothes were still always had static cling afterwards, but we have found that not to be the case with this.  Due to the fact that we did not buy liquid fabric softener previously, I did not have any old bottles, but if you have one, I recommend rinsing it out and using it to mix up some of this.  Otherwise, you can do what I did and rinse out an empty gallon container (I used a milk jug), but be sure to label it clearly.  This is certain to save you quite a bit of money each time you make it.

6 cups hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups hair conditioner (I used Alberto VO5, strawberry moisturizing milk)

Mix conditioner and hot water until well blended.  I put them in both in the jug and shook it well until it was done, just a minute or 2.  Then add the vinegar and mix again.  That's it!  When you are ready to use it, add 2 Tablespoons to the fabric softener dispenser on your washing machine.  I put an old measuring "cup" from a bottle of cough syrup with the milk jug so I could easily measure it.

- Homemade Dishwasher Detergent: I originally found this as a pin on Pinterest, but after I wrote down the instructions, I never hit re-pin, so I cannot give credit where it is due, but I can tell you that this is NOT my recipe. (If anyone recognizes it, please let me know and if it is the site I used, I will link to it.)  I was hesitant to try this for a few reasons.  First- I typically dislike powdered dishwasher detergent because it sever seems to dissolve completely.  Second- I researched homemade dishwasher detergent before and the reviews were always mixed, often with people saying they left behind a film.  This recipe was a bit different than the others I had seen and I decided to give it a try as the reviews were good.  The results?  We LOVE it.  My kids love the smell and fight over who gets to do the dishes, because they want to fill the soap dispenser.  I love that it cleans my dishes, dissolves completely, and does not leave a film.  According to the review, it says to use vinegar for the rinse agent (think Jet Dry), but we have not found that to be necessary.  I still have some Jet Dry in my rinse agent dispenser and a couple more bottles under the sink so it makes financial sense for me to use that up first.  I have used vinegar in the past though and will use it again in the future when I do not have bottles of rinse agent I received for free.  The homemade dishwasher detergent is much less expensive than even the store brand powdered detergent.

1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda, look for it in the laundry aisle)
1/2 cup Borax (also found in the laundry aisle)
1/4 cup Kosher salt
4 packets of unsweetened lemonade flavor drink mix (I used the Great Value/Wal-Mart brand of Kool-Aid @12 cents per packet)

Put into a container and mix well.  We used a gallon size (though a quart bag would have been big enough) Ziploc bag for our first batch, but now that we know how much we like it.  I will multiply the ingredients and make a larger batch in the future which I will store in a Tupperware container.  Add 1 Tablespoon per wash.

I would love to hear your feedback if you try any of these.  I know water hardness may also play a role in the effectiveness of the fabric softener and dishwasher detergent, so I am curious if the rest of you have different experiences than I did.

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