Green Clean

I found a great little book the other day at the library and wanted to share a couple “recipes” with you.

From The Naturally Clean Home – 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning. [ISBN: 978-1-60342-085-3]

[Photo: stock.xchng]

Basic Sink Cleanser

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 drops lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime, or orange essential oil*

Combine all ingredients. Rinse sink well with hot water. Put the cleanser in the sink and wipe with a sponge or cloth. Rinse again with hot water.

*If you’re looking for essential oils, you can usually find several varieties at health food stores. Or….Google it on your favorite browser and surf, surf, surf. You can also find lots of them on eBay.

Super-Easy Automatic Dishwasher Powder

  • 2 cups washing soda*
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup baking soda

Combine all ingredients and store in a plastic container. To use, add about two (2) tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. If you find your glasses are getting a residue buildup, then reduce this amount to 1-1/2 tablespoons.

*Washing soda is NOT the same as baking soda. I had a really hard time finding washing soda at the grocery stores in my hometown. Some wonderful person on a blog or forum (sorry, can’t remember) suggested Kroger’s. Yep: they had it. Right next to the borax in the laundry detergent aisle.

Last tip of the day: if you’re in the market for a book, please check out Better World Books. They are located in my area (Northern Indiana) and have oodles of titles to choose from (new and used). And…shipping is free. Yes: F – R – E – E! And…they use environmentally-friendly packaging materials. And…they support world literacy — big time. Check them out when you want an alternative to the ‘big box web-stores’.

Food, Flowers and Frivolty

Not much going on ‘craft-wise’, so I thought I’d share some more photos from this past weekend at the lake.

Saturday morning we went to the Farmer’s Market and they were loaded with vendors and customers. Just the way I like it! We found lots of fresh veggies. Not too many tomatoes yet (we bought the best we could find), but plenty of summer squash, onions, zucchini, green peppers and cucumbers.

Farmer’s Market Fare

We bought several and later that day Crafty Mama cooked them up on the grill. Excellent. The boys and I kept saying, “Oh my gosh..this is so good” all through mealtime. (What a great way to make Mama proud: compliment her cooking. Oh yeah!)

Chicken Kabobs, Onions and Green Peppers on the grill

Here’s a big shout out to Linda (our neighbor at the lake) and her beautiful lily.

Linda’s Lovely Lily

OH, and I’m am doing my part to stimulate the economy. It’s been a while since I’ve added to my family of sewing/craft machines. So….I ordered a new combo sewing and embroidery machine from my favorite shop. Ken’s Sewing Center is the best place to find great machines at great prices. Give them a call or look them up on the web. They are also on eBay. Their seller ID is “easyterms”. They always have lots of great stuff for sale. Prices are low and many times they offer FREE shipping. And they have nice warranties too. Can’t pass that up.

Here’s the cool machine that I bought:

Brother Sewing/Embroidery Machine (Model HE-240)

Happy Hump Day. We’ve made it halfway through the week. Can we do it? Yes we can!

Take care!

Puppy Update

Puppies sure do grow fast! Riley is now ten weeks old and has just about doubled in size since we got him three weeks ago. Un. Real.

Ready for a great photo? Okay. Here you go:

Happy Monday!

Busy, Busy, Weekend

Hey Bloggers!  Welcome to the middle of another week.  Summer is marching on, so be sure to take advantage of those daylight hours.  Soak up that sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!) and enjoy the warm weather while you can.  It was an overcast, misty, rainy, kind of weekend for the Crafty Dad house, so we skipped the trip to the lake and, instead, worked in the basement.

In case you don’t already know, I’m a pack rat.  In fact…I’m the King Pack Rat (any questions?  just ask my wife.  On second thought…..don’t.)  I spend many of my lunch hours visiting Goodwill Stores and the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift shop.  It’s amazing what I find there.  I’m a sucker for ‘something for nothing’ and can’t seem to pass up a good deal.  Problem is, where do you put all this stuff?  Answer:  the basement.

Our basement is 50% finished so I can’t stash my stuff there.  However…the other half is unfinished and you’d be surprised how much crap stuff you can store in there.  The shelves were overflowing, the counter-tops of my crafty corner were buried, there was stuff under the counter and all over the floor.  No.  I did not take any ‘before’ pictures.  That would be embarrassing.  I will get some ‘after’ shots taken so I can at least prove to you that I did clean up my mess.

A few months ago, I got a hairbrained idea that I needed a more permanent work space for all my projects.  When we remodeled the kitchen, I talked my wife into keeping the old counter-tops for a good reason:  me!  With my dad’s help, we created a pegboard wall (I love pegboard) and a nice L-shaped work space.  It’s nothing you’d find in a magazine or on the Ikea website, but it works for me and I enjoy working in my space (when I can actually find my space).

[Note to self:   STOP bringing sh!t home.  You have enough of everything.  You need to sit down and start making stuff so you can list it on Etsy or eBay or start making gifts for the upcoming Holiday season.]

I told my wife I would be happy to de-clutter, de-stash, whatever you want to call it, so long as she’d help me build ANOTHER pegboard wall.  She agreed.  [Love you honey!]  So, a couple weeks ago the boys and I went to Menards and bought some more 2 x 4’s, two more 4 x 8′ sheets of white pegboard (white makes the area brighter; the natural pegboards and way to dark for me), a box of long screws, a box of shorter screws (both in the square-head version, which I did not realize until this weekend.  [Thanks Dad for leaving the square driver bit with me!]

The wall is complete.  I even found a nice pair of cafe’ curtains to cover the one and only window in the basement.  Touche’

Now…the de-cluttering continues.  I’m trying to have a critical eye towards all the crap stuff I have.  Some of my ‘treasures’ have been sitting around for quite some time….and I think it’s time we parted company.  It sounds really strange, but some of the stuff I bought at St. Vinnie’s is going back to, well, it’s going back to St. Vinnie’s.  [I can hear you laughing.....and I'll bet some of you have done the same thing.  Admit it.  We have a problem.  Perhaps there's a 12-Step Program for us.  "Hello, my name is Crafty Dad and I buy too much sh!t at all the Thrift shops within a 50 mile radius of my home."]  Please tell me there’s hope for us.  Ah, but I digress — big time.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the wall is up, the 1957 Singer 401(a) sewing machine has a home, the coverstitch machine (oh yeah, I had to have one those…) has a semi-permanent place to sit, the blindhemmer is still where he was (and that’s okay for now).  The blindhemmer was a smart purchase (I can justify anything, okay?).  But really, we are short-ish people and most of the slacks we purchase need to be shortened.  The blind hemming machine is a godsend.

Now it’s time to go thru the collection fabric and ‘other stuff’.  I will be so excited to have some ‘space’ when I’m all done.  It will so cool to be able to escape to my crafty corner of the world and be able to do all those projects that I’ve had floating around in my head for so long.

And the Freebie Friday Award Goes To …

Lisa !

The random number generator cranked out No. 9 and … you were No. 9 on my list.

(Click on the image so you can actually read it.)

Congratulations Lisa! You are the first Freebie Friday winner. You’ll be receiving an all-expense-paid trip to …. Whoops, wrong prize. Sorry Lisa.

You’ll be receiving some of my new lemongrass-scented bath and body products:

  • Glycerin soap bar
  • Hand and body lotion (4.0 oz.)
  • Shower/Bath Gel (4.0 oz.)

I will get your items all packed up and sent off to you as soon as I receive your mailing address. An email will be sent to you soon….please reply with your shipping address and we’ll be all set!

Thanks to all of you for playing along. I had a lot of fun with this. My next giveaway includes a beautiful Country Living hardback book and who-knows-what-else.

And Lisa…I expect a product review from you. I really want to know what you think of the soap, gel and lotion.

Until next time, take care bloggers!

P.S. If you’re interested in the lemongrass products (in all seriousness they are really, really nice), please visit my Etsy shop later this week and grab some before they’re gone.

Freebie Friday!

Hey bloggers! Happy Friday….and welcome to the first Freebie Friday. I appreciate you guys so much that each month I’m going to pick one Friday to be Freebie Friday. I’ll give away something to the lucky winner.

How do you play? It’s easy. You need to sign up for my mailing list to be eligible. It’s just that simple. Then…on the designated Friday I’ll draw a random name out the ‘hat’ and that’s the winner. There will also be a blog post explaining the Friday Freebie. I told you it was easy!

I’m a bit behind (so what else is new, right?) but I do have one picture of my lemongrass glycerin soap that is part of this week’s giveaway. The winner will get one super-lathery bar of soap PLUS… 4 oz. of lemongrass hand/body lotion and 4 oz. of lemongrass shower gel. These are not store-bought: all three items are custom-made and packaged by me. You are gonna smell REALLY good…I promise.

Here’s what the soap looks like:

Lemongrass Glycerin Soap with Real Lemongrass
The lotion and shower gel come in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (technical term: ‘tottle’). This is the type of bottle that stands on its cap so the lotion/gel is always ready for dispensing. I’ve been using the lotion and gel for a few weeks and have tested it out on some co-workers too. They LOVE it. And I think you will too.

So…this is your FINAL CHANCE to get in the drawing. If you haven’t already, please use the mailing list sign-up form in the right hand column [ over there ----> ] and get registered. I’ll be drawing a name over the weekend and will post the winner’s name on Monday. Then…I’ll contact the winner to get his/her mailing address.

Lemongrass is an uplifting, energizing scent. It’s great all year ’round, but I especially like it as a summertime scent.

Okay…get busy. And Good Luck!

New Floor in the Park Model

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Crafty Mama and I were so talented, did you? Well…when we put our minds to it, we can do just about anything. [Note to self: hire someone to strip the ugly-ass wallpaper off the bedroom walls.]

During the cold, cold winter months the park model remains unheated. And we’ve never had any trouble with anything. We have it professional winterized each fall and we put little containers of moth balls around (to ward off any pesky mice). But we got an really unpleasant surprise when we opened up our unit this year.

The vinyl flooring in the kitchen and entryway was split in several places. It was like someone came in and took a utility knife to it. It was sliced in pie-shaped triangles from wall to wall. Ugg!

We got an estimate on having it replaced. After picking each other off the floor (the estimate was a tad bit too much to appreciate and we both about fainted!) we decided we could/would do it ourselves. So…Crafty Mama made a few trips to Lowe’s and Menard’s to pick out some nice square vinyl tiles. The kind that you peel and stick. I was a bit hesitant at first…not sure if the “stick-em” kind was going to be a good idea (as opposed to vinyl that comes off a roll). But, thankfully, the project moved along faster and better that I imagined. In fact, it would have been a huge PITA* to deal with a sheet of vinyl as there’s not a great deal of space to work in, and there were TONS of places that had to be notched out.

IN case you didn’t know, I carry my camera with me everywhere, but do you think I had it when we opened the park model? Nope. So…I don’t have any good photos to show you of the ‘before’ shot. However, here are a few pics to show you how it ended up. Bottom line: it’s nicer than the original floor. We love it.

Thanks Honey for all your hard work! Crafty Mama makes a great partner in these handy-man/woman projects.

Before

During

More “During”

“DONE!!!”

Smooth as a baby’s butt!

*Pain in the a$$

Have a good one!

P.S. Oh, yeah…almost forgot. Please make sure you sign up for the Crafty Dad mailing list. Later this week I’ll be drawing a name for some great giveaway items. It’s going to be FREEBIE FRIDAY in honor of my Christmas in July celebration. The sign-up form is over on the right-hand column. Go there now and then watch for a special e-mail invitation. ;-)

You Say Tomato, I’ll Say Tomaaaaahto

Have I told you how much I LOVE home-grown tomatoes? I think I have. There is no substitution for them. Period. Don’t even begin to contest that statement, okay?

I suppose my love for those juicy, red globes of wonder stems (lol, no pun intended) back to my childhood days. Spending quality time with my grandpa working in his garden. He was the best. And tomatoes were his pride and joy. Sure…he had lots of other things in the garden:

  • green peppers
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • beets
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • sweet corn
  • potatoes

But…tomatoes was the No. 1 plant in the patch.

I can remember many summer afternoons at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I would walk in the kitchen, open the pantry door, get out the cardboard salt shaker and head outside to the garden. I’d find a medium-sized tomato, wipe it off (using my t-shirt), take a small bite…being careful to leave enough skin on the tomato so the piece stayed attached. Then…I’d sprinkle it with salt and bite it off. O.M.G. That was like heaven.

Earlier this summer I bought a patio tomato plant and it is doing WONDERFULLY. We’ve had almost ten nice-sized fruits off the vine.

My Tomato Plant – Summer 2009

Ohhhhh, I loves me a good home-grown tomato.

How ’bout you?

Happy Independence Day !

Wishing everyone a very safe and happy weekend.

And….let’s hope the weather cooperates. It’s been VERY cool the past few days. The weatherman says it’s been some of the coolest July days in history. Yeah. That’s not good.

PUPPY UPDATE: His official name is Riley. We had a very tough time coming up with a good name for him. But I like the name Riley…and it seems to fit. (Whatever that means!)

Oh, and have you seen the latest issue of Country Living magazine? It’s good. You should get it.

Take care,

Puppy Update

Mama and the boys have returned from Wisconsin with the cutest puppy I’ve ever seen.

And the winner is:

BURLEIGH!

Congrats to Carolyn and “Anonymous” for guessing the correct answer.

Christopher: Thank you for playing along.

More pictures will be posted soon. We’re having too much fun playing with him. No time for uploading photos.

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