Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Laundry Soap Recipe (& how I actually make it)

For years I have said that I would make a powdered version of this, but the liquid has worked very well for me for years and years now. I found the original recipe somewhere online, or from someone online, but of course had to make it my own. So you can do the same, I included the original recipe as well as the way I made it the last time. Each time I make something, I do it a bit differently. To me that is the way it should always be. That's what home made things are all about! 

Here is the original recipe:
1/3 - 1/2 c liquid castle soap; 1/2 c borax; 1/2 c washing soda
Put in a 2 gallon bucket, and add enough hot water to almost fill it up.  Stir.  Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup per load.          *Grated Castille bar soap can be used in place.  Use scented soap, like lavender, for an added touch.

Here is what i did last time and i think it's the best yet....
Being that I use white vinegar to clean stuff all the time, we always buy the big bottle of it. We usually recycle them, but one worked out great for this. Since they are only one gallon in size I halved the amounts of stuff in the recipe, and used Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castille Soap, lavender scent (my fave). The borax and the washing soda can usually be found in any laundry isle, I've bought mine at Kroger for years. I filled the bottle/jug about 1/3 up with warm/hot water (it helps the powders dissolve faster), used a funnel to add other ingredients, shook it up to mix, added more hot water, shook up, and so on until it was all dissolved and mixed. Remember that it's easier to shake to mix when the bottle is not full. 
Since I halved what the original recipe called for, I use one eighth of a cup per load... which if i recall right is a tablespoon... not sure. But I do know that those Simply Orange juice bottles are great for storing it because not only do they look nifty but their caps are just the right size to measure it out (the inner part for reg loads, the outer for super big and nasty ones).

I stopped using bleach years ago, now I only use Oxyclean (or another item like it, like a super earth friendly kind I once got at Earth Fare) instead. It can be used for lots of cleaning purposes, not just laundry, so don't forget to read the packaging. 
Sometimes adding some extra vinegar can help get nasty odors out of your laundry (and help disinfect as well). It's perfect if you have some lil ones that have "accidents" and so on. The washer I am currently using has a special bleach dispenser, and that's what I use to add the extra vinegar to the wash (remember, we are bleach free in this house).
For really nasty stuff (I use hankies instead of tissues most of the time, or stuff a dog may have peed on, etc) I will soak it in a bucket with hot water, some laundry soap, and some Oxyclean at least overnight. I never use hot water with the washer, though. It can be damaging to clothing, and using only cold can save you bunches on your power bill year after year... or gas bill if your hot water runs off of gas.
Now for the easiest but messiest part of all... the "fabric softener". Take one part white vinegar, one part baking soda, 2 parts water and MIX SLOWLY! I cannot stress the mixing slowly part enough. I like to add a few drops of an essential oil (once again, I love lavender) as well.  The best part about this stuff is that it can be used in a Downy Ball (if you don't have one, buy one now... best thing EVER). Just don't expect this stuff to work like Downy or Snuggle, etc... it's so much better. The way that commercial fab softeners work is they break down the make up of the clothing, the cloth, the material... it makes it softer but makes your clothing wear out a lot faster. And I don't know about you guys, but I love my clothes and want them to last as long as possible. 
Another great point about the laundry soap and fabric softener is that they aren't full of harsh chemicals that damage our water supply, clothing, and even our skin and air. All detergents are automatically harmful in that way, but for some reason they can be found in everything (yup, shampoo, hand soaps, and even toothpastes... ick).  That's why I like to make my own when I can, but if I can't I always look for things that are not full of nasty detergents. 
The next step in doing laundry is naturally the drying process. I love to hang my clothes out to dry, but it's starting to get too cold here to use my outdoor umbrella style clothes line. We do have a set up for delicates, but I must admit that certain things like my jeans and sweatshirts just don't come out right with them... so my weakness would be using my dryer at this point. 

One thing I will mention, when you go to buy the stuff to make the laundry soap you may think it's too expensive. Keep this in mind: I went about 2 plus years without having to buy anything else. I did start with grating the bars of soap, and had more than one, but still... this stuff will last forever. Plus Dr. Bronner's Castilleborax I linked does not test on animals or use animal products as well, but Arm and Hammer (they make washing soda) does... so be careful. We want to make sure these companies know that we demand cruelty free products and will accept no less! 

Please give it a try, and comment here to let me know how it went for you. Laundry tips are also always welcomed! 
**You may notice it starting to look a bit cloudy or some clumps to show, depending on how chilly it may get where you store the laundry soap... but that's just fine. Give the bottle a few good shakes (after making sure the top is on tightly) to mix it back up. The fabric softener will separate, so also check and make sure it's top is on and shake really really well before each use. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quick update

My plans to blog daily have not exactly gone as smoothly as I wanted... ok, they haven't gone as I wanted at all. But it doesn't mean I am not planning something... the gears in my mind are constantly running and thinking of ideas to share with you guys. Sadly, life is taking it's toll on me. I'm still trying to get it all together, and with so much going on right now it isn't so easy.
Please, be patient.
I will let you know that I am working on some house renovations, getting back into school, and possibly starting my own business (outside of jewelry making, though).
In the mean time, go check out TheKindLife.com, and join (yup, I'm Rogue Decadence there, too), vegnews.com, care2.com, and all the other fun stuff we can do from our desks to help learn how to live a happier and healthier life in a happier and healthier world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Etsy Shop

For some time now I've been posting hand made items (mostly jewelry) for sale online at my Etsy shop Decadent Designs by Rogue Decadence. For the past couple of months I have been considering moving my shop, but still staying with Etsy.  If the move is made, I'll be sure to post the info.
"What is an Etsy?" you ask.... actually it's www.etsy.com. It's an amazing site were people sell handmade items, vintage items, or supplies only. That's right.  No thousands of mislabeled items to go through like on some shopping sites, and I've always had a great response from the makers of things whenever I have a question no matter what that question is.
Sadly, since I had to move I haven't taken the chance to make anything new, let alone update any posts. About a month ago I had to move back in with my mother (insert repetitive blame on the economy here) but I will leave that story for another blog.  I will say that I am helping my mother work on cleaning up and clearing out her home. She's an almost recovered packrat/horder and has never been much for keeping the home really really clean. Some stuff may look ok on the surface... but yeah...
Anyway, only having the use of one room has limited any workspace I might need for beading... plus a lot of stuff got mixed up and spilt around in the move.  Gotta love seed beads... except in that situation.
But please, take a look at my Etsy shop and see what you guys think. I'm not sure exactly when, but the revamp of it will happen soon.
One thing I have accomplished is starting to go through some things in this house that have been around for way too long, and no one should keep any housecleaners/dog meds/etc for 20 plus years.  For those that don't know, I've done lots of work as a professional organizer and am working towards adding environmental consultant in with that... and it is definitely coming in handy at this house. I even took some "before" pics of the laundry room (the first organizing project room in this house I want to tackle).  A few more yardsales, some freecycle postings and donations here and there, maybe even an eBay/Craigslist posting here and there... and things will be much better. This clutter must be gone.... but, again... that's another blog.
What are you doing still reading this?  Go check out my Etsy shop, see what you guys think... and don't worry... my next blog will be coming soon! Seriously trying to get into the habit of posting daily, hoping that it will help me keep up with my plans...feel free to send me reminders!! lol

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's not easy... but someone's gotta do it!

Ok, so it isn't like I'm the only person that's taken the vegan-save the planet-etc lifestyle... but I'm actually pretty good at it.  One of my fave parts is helping others improve their lives as well. Sometimes it comes in handy. Sometimes it annoys the crap out of those around me. Either way, I love it.
I also love vampire novels, sunsets, and walks on a beach... so don't think the whole tree lovin' thing is all I am about. There is a lot more to me than meets the eye, as some might say.  There aren't many others out there like me... it can get very lonely but I do love being a bit different...
But, anyways....
My name is Kris but many of my friends call me Rogue. In fact, there are many that only know me as Rogue.  Yes, it's an X-men reference. No, I'm not a Sarah Palin fan (DO NOT get me started on that, jeez). Actually, if you google "RogueDecadence" (my online name, of course) you will see many links to me or things related to me. It's kind of neat. Now if I only had a kick ass entry on Wikipedia....
I've been vegan since February of 2008.  I don't remember the exact date, but I know it was a Wednesday (karaoke night at one of my fave night spots, I LOVE karaoke and yes I can sing thank you). Before becoming a full on vegan I gave up dairy.  Yup, kind of backwards from vegetarian... but I realized how lactose intolerant I was and could no longer stand it. Then I began doing research online... eventually it was the cruelty aspect that finally got to me, not to mention the prospect of eating healthier. Sure, living off things like "french fries & Bocca burgers" is technically vegan, but not the healthiest thing on the planet (though I could go for that right now...hhmmm).
So why am I vegan?
For my health, the animals, and the planet. Simple answers are great, aren't they? Just so... well, simple...lol.
When asked what I do, job-wise, I always will respond with "I make stuff".  I title myself as a maker of stuff, because it is always true. Sure, I make things like dinner and coffee, but I do make much much more. In fact, I have a shop at www.RogueDecadence.Etsy.com where I sell things that I make (mostly jewelry, for now). I am most proud of my laundry soap, though. It's just so amazing to me.  I also love to organize, but being a "professional organizer so often gets confused for a maid by others that it is almost not worth it. I do hate cleaning up other's messes... I also love to write and one day want to have some stuff published, maybe even a cookbook (vegan, of course).
Well, I'm ready to wrap up this first blog here. I'll leave you guys with an easy recipe that is soon to be a fave of all pasta salad lovers out there.

Your New Fave Pasta Salad
(I call mine "My Pasta Salad", and it is never the same each time I make it though it always ROCKS!)

-A package of your fave kind of pasta or more depending on how much you need
  I like bow-tie pasta, my mom prefers elbow... some like angel hair... it's all up to you. I like Earth Fare's brand.
-some fresh veggies
  I like carrots, cucumbers, asparagus tips (I'll steam them a bit first, but the rest can be raw) especially
-salad dressing
  This is where you can be really creative. I like Annie's Naturals Goddess dressing. Wait, like is an understatement. I could drink this stuff. Yeah. It's that good and actually vegan. Has some fat in it, but we need fat. Yes, I said it. WE NEED FAT. Everyone does. It's the kind of fat and the amount that you need to watch out for. My boyfriend (not a veg, yet....muwhahahaha!) likes to add some rice vinegar to the Goddess dressing, my mom prefers a raspberry vinaigrette.  You could even go with the basic oil and vinegar. All up to you.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While it's cooking, cut up your veggies as you wish. Oh, zucchini is good as well. Some people prefer to steam their veggies first, but I like them just a tiny bit steamed especially if tomatoes are involved. How do I do that? Once the pasta is done and drained (never rinse it, that's just silly) I put it back in the pot, throw the veggies on top, and put a lid on it all. You can place it back on the burner, but I turn my burner off. I don't like anything anywhere near burned. I let it sit for a bit before touching it again. This does mean you have to drain it pretty quick so the pasta and pot are still fairly warm, but it's pretty easy. I will let it all cool before refrigerating, and will wait until single servings to add a dressing if I know others might want something different (or I don't want to share my Goddess dressing, yup I'm evil like that).
Sprinkling with some nutritional yeast only makes it yummier. That stuff makes EVERYTHING yummier...