"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Sneaking in a few Christmas decorations here and there?  Me too.  Wish I was going all-out to tell you the truth.
All in good time my friends.
Meanwhile, I've been wrapping like a fiend...
 I found these attractive ribbon arrangements and not only do they cheer up Santa's Workshop (aka DaniBP's Sewing Room) they also store some good quality ribbons.  Red ribbon and a white box... it's all you need for Christmas cheeriness.  Unless of course you find yourself some tartan paper paired with little wooden Christmas tag items:
Christmas tag items sourced at Target.
I am finding this a very masculine arrangement for the men on my Christmas list: MrBP, The Bobster, Old Rascal, Christopher and JDP, my father-in-law...  Let's face it, men love Christmas presents.
They might deny it but they love the presents.

I've been getting together a box of gifts for our Swedish friends.
We miss them very much and a few North American gifts will be a little reminder to them of their friends and of life here in Canada.
Anyway, let's face it, who doesn't love a Pez dispenser?

Have you been wearing an apron non-stop?  Count me in on that one.  Especially while frying up the potato latkes.
Chicken Apron
 We've been celebrating Hanukkah in our small way, on the fifth night which was also the first day of Advent.  We are Catholic and Anglican with a Jewish ancestry in our household, well why should things be straightforward?  Honour it all, that's my view.
 Have you been feeling an interest in making your own laundry soap?  Look no further, I have a perfect recipe.
 Grate a bar of real, pure soap, preferably Dr. Bronner's bar soap, the lavender one.
 That's right, I used a grater typically engaged for cheese... it works perfect.  Measure your soap and add up 2 cups or so, smushed down of course.  Be sure to have a large bowl for the mixing of your laundry concoction.
 Then add in 4 cups of Washing Soda and 4 cups of Borax.
 Stir it all so it forms a fairly uniform mixture and then pour it into a giant jar, and maybe a small jar for Christopher.
I put together a small jar for Christopher.
He was so delighted.
 I use about 2 tablespoons of the stuff per wash load, it cleans so well.  The clothes and linens are fresh and stain-free.  If this saves me from hauling home giant plastic containers of laundry detergent I will keep mixing it up, that's for sure.

Enjoying the treats of the season even if it's a bit early?  Us too.  A tea tray with glasses for port and some gluten-free Christmas cake is just the thing for these dark evenings.
Anyone interested in my Christmas cake recipe?  I soaked the fruit in brandy for over a week, it's boozy-delicious!
Enjoy your Monday,
xoxDani

55 comments:

  1. Your laundry soap recipe looks interesting. You say it cleans well? Will have to try it. This year, I think I'm going to finally use brown paper inked with holiday stamps for wrapping. Once someone shipped me a large floor lamp and I saved all the brown paper stuffing used to cushion knowing it would be good for that purpose. Your post has me all excited about getting ready for Christmas once I return from my trip, though it will be so good to visit with my dad.

    Do you find you wear a different apron depending on what you're cooking? I do and wonder if it's just my own oddness.

    Well, must get through some work and then pack on Monday. I hope you have a wonderful week.

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    1. Tiffany well you know me I wear a different apron based on my outfit! Safe travels my dear.

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  2. This is all so pretty, the wrapping accoutrements are all present worthy themselves.
    I use one wee non biological tab per load, I can cary a month's worth of detergent in the plan of my hand. I soak my kugelhopf raisins in brandy for three weeks - they are amazing at the end!

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    1. Tabs, you make your own Kugelhopf? always such a glorious crowny thing. Never thought of sousing the raisins. Mostly do a holiday cheat dessert, bread pudding made with Panettone and boozy sauce.

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    2. Mmm, yes it's a lovely tradition for us, I had to boot the blog to get my recipe the other day as the burglary meant the end of everything on my last computer!

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    3. Tabs I'd like that recipe too, 3 weeks!!

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  3. Presents are pilling up, but I have not started to warp them so far... That is a so good idea to work ahead to not feel overwhelmed in the last days. I started writing the Xmas cards over the weekend and I will carry on to be really on time this year. I should write a planning, I might not get carried away. We celebrated the first day/Sunday of the Advent this weekend. I made my own Advent "wreath" and I made an Advent calendar for my son. He is quite pleased with it and I am very happy how it turned out for something that has been changed a lot along compare to the plans from the beginning.
    I don't do my laundry soap, but I should definitely try... Just the soap itself is enough for a good smell?
    Have a wonderful Monday and a great week.

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    1. Steph it is, it works, but it does smell like lavender because of the bar soap, you could also add extra lavender, essential oil. You are very organized don't worry, I do like to get that wrapping done, I've wrapped things up Christmas Eve until very late and it makes for a tough day afterwards, which is not good as I'm the cook!

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  4. Well that is the holiday spirit!! I love Hannukah - I think there is envy for each other's holidays - i used to be so envious when they had presents every day for over a week.

    but does that soap really work? I guess it should but that is just amazing - i thought that was pinterest urban myth stuff. What about stains - coffee etc? Would love to know Dani.

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    1. Naomi don't tell The Rascals about the presents, they think the latkes are the big treat. But of course they get Christmas which is our big holiday so they are not suffering. It does it works! Its lovely and fresh smelling. I do have a natural safe bleach product from the health food store I use for stains. And of course I use The Laundress New York products for my cashmere and lingerie so how much am I really saving? It's High/low laundry.

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  5. Day one and you have it all under control. This is a little motivational..time for me to get started.

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    1. BB I like to do it all in a short window of time so that I don't buy too much stuff. So I gave myself a December 1st deadline. At one time I'd start in early November and just keep going!

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  6. I am just starting the wrapping. Nothing tasteful for me - I found fabulous rolls of Grinch, Mickey Mouse and Charlie Brown Christmas paper, so that's my direction this year! I use Borax and a green laundry detergent. I like the idea of making my own, but I am so behind that I know I will never get to it! Am back at the work this morning, and between that and the wrapping and the dinner stuff, I am trying to be kind to myself this December! would love the recipe as I am thinking of something like this or a Christmas pudding for the Dickens dinner!

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    1. WMM that wrapping sounds excellent. I saw a mickey mouse paper somewhere, (Target?) and I thought it was adorable. Maybe in the new year when you're less busy try making this soap, it's much less expensive than buying a green laundry detergent, and it's definitely green and simple. Wish I was coming to the Dickens Dinner!

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  7. THAT'S A WRAP Dani your gluten-free cake looks gorgeous. And that box would cheer anyone up with their REALLY short winter days. Planning a Target run on my way back through Orillia. They have these holiday wine/ bottle bags from BYOB - the neoprene "wetsuit" cushioning ones. Made me think of you and the house party circuit ;-)

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    1. GF laughing at the wetsuit wine! Yes hard to believe but their days are shorter than ours.

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  8. Dani you are way ahead of me this season. I have started putting out my holiday decor, however nothing is wrapped yet! It is so great that your celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas...
    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Hi Karena, the more festivities the better, it means more treats etc ;)

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  9. I want the recipe! I'm especially intrigued by the brandy soaked part.

    Your holiday preparations are delightful, Dani. Thank you for giving us this peek into all of it.

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    1. DF I'll post it, soaking the fruit is the most fun on account of the huge quantity of brandy.

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  10. I also put out things a little bit at a time and find it keeps the spirits lifting ever more as Christmas gets closer. We've been celebrating Hanukkah as well, the candlelight and prayers mean so much. I do love to wrap gifts and spend quite a bit of time savoring the activity, singing along with Christmas music. We haven't started eating any treats yet. I'm watching my intake, exercising and trying to eat healthy but the temptation is getting to me and I will have to open the candied nuts very soon I think!

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    1. xoxo if anyone has an excuse to eat candied nuts it's you! Wrapping gifts will be a good activity for you during the storm you're having just now.

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  11. I recognize that laundry soap and can vouch for its effectiveness! Haven't started wrapping yet, but when I do it will be brown kraft paper and tartan or red ribbon for all. I thought Target's Christmas stuff was really nice this year, and at least at our local store, it's not really busy which makes it a pleasant place to shop (for me, less for them, I'm sure). I quietly and privately lit an Advent candle last night - usually I forget and miss the first week, but it was nicely timed to be December 1 this year, so a good reminder. Love the thought you put into the presentation of your cake-y Christmas treat! Lily (aka Sue)

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    1. Hi Lily (Sue), I have to tell you I like this recipe much better than the liquid variety, it goes a long way too. It is nice to have such an empty Target but maybe not the effect they were going for!

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    2. I still have half a jar of my gelled liquid stuff to use up, and then it's on to a batch of powdered soap (some for me, some for Christmas treats for family & friends.) I found the same powdered soap at the funky health food store downtown for $2 less than the slightly more upscale one.

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    3. Ah the New Age store, it's so weird! Can't beat it for product prices though. I have some theories about that place, I'll let you know another time! I was there today, I bought essential oil of cedar and some lavender, also Dr. Bronner's.

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    4. Ha, I'm heading there this afternoon (it's where I get my greens powder) .... I like the sound of oil of cedar ... very seasonal.

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  12. You make your own laundry soap with a cheese grater?!?! Now I think your just showing off. What's next? Washing Mr BP's undies in butterchurn with storm drain water?

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    1. Dani is the Platonic ideal of the perfect wife, I want to go to her classes.

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    2. You two are killing me. Tabs you likely want to call it the Stepford Sessions or is it Domestic Bliss Bootcamp DBB with DBP.

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    3. Dying laughing! Thanks for the image GSL, which apron would I wear for that?

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    4. Hmmm, GSL says butter churn, so do you have one with cows on in addition to the chickens ;-)

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    5. I'll bet Brora already has one en route!

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    6. GF and GSL yes why don't I have one with cows? And good idea GSL, can I convince Victoria Stapleton to start producing aprons? Truly brilliant, keep those ideas coming. Liberty print aprons with silk lining at the pockets, you can see that this could be great.

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  13. I haven't started doing anything for the holidays :-O. Hopefully I'll get on it today. I love your laundry soap idea. I'd love your recipe. My granny's is not the yummiest. Hate to admit that...but it's true. Happy Monday xo

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    1. Jennifer you've been busy so no wonder. I'll get that recipe on the go!

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  14. I bought those same wooden tags the other day! Please jot down the gluten free cake recipe!!

    I started decorating Friday and have a few batches of cookie dough ready for rolling out and cutting. I need to send out a few cards. Have almost all my presents ready for hubs and the girls. My quandary is where to put the tree? My new chairs are larger than the ones they replace and we could barely squeeze the tree in then!

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    1. Dannie as you know we always struggle with where-to-put-the-tree. I want to see your new chairs!

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  15. i have always wanted to make my own soap and your recipe is the one i'll use. meanwhile i posted on washing cashmere today so we must be on the same wavelength. x

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    1. Janet we are on exact wavelength, I use The Laundress wool & cashmere soap for my precious Brora. Works excellent!

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  16. The only think I've done so far is to put out the Advent stockings - each with 24 little pockets into which I put chocolates. However, I have to start planning my bake-a-thon for the school community dinner next week, plus I still have to write cards. Luckily, the few gifts that we sent abroad have already gone, and I'll be ordering online for the rest of our friends and extended family.

    Would love your Christmas cake recipe, although I'm sure it's too late to make it for this year. By the way, can you use your home-made washing soap in an HE washer? I've always wondered about that.

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    1. Patricia yup I have a HE washer, the LG front loader. Works perfect.
      It's not too late, you only need a week or two, I'll look it up and post it!

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  17. Dani ,thanks for the washing recipe however hate to admit that I never heard of washing soda. Where to you buy it? Does the bar soap dissolve enough in the washer? Looks wonderful and it must smell lovely. Love all your wrapping assortments! Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Chiming in. Anon, not sure where you are, but you can get it at Walmart and Target (bottom or top shelf of the laundry aisle or near the dish soap or Oxyclean), London Drugs in Western Canada, Canadian Tire most places. Price does vary, so shop around, shouldn't be paying more than $5-6 to for a cereal-sized box. Also better to look for non-enzyme variety if washing any clothes for small kids.

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    2. I bought mine at NoFrills and I think it was 5 bucks for a huge box, same with Borax. Very inexpensive considering how much laundry soap it makes. The bar soap does dissolve but I always use warm water, for cold water washes I'm using a liquid soap (ecover).
      And thanks Anon!

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  19. Love all these cheery little tid-bits Dani! I've been meaning to try out this soap recipe, but perhaps in the new year. We put out all our holiday decorations over the weekend, and it's such a mood-lifter! I'll be posting some pictures tomorrow of the festive result. And I felt very on top of things as I wrapped a good amount of gifts this morning. I'm going with the kraft paper and tartan ribbons, but I'm in love with that plaid paper you have. I have a vintage-y reindeer paper just for my son, as a 5-year-old doesn't much appreciate a rustic package quite yet. :) I'm trying to stay away from the sweets, but soon enough I'll be giving in. We're having a holiday party in a couple weeks, and it will be all downhill from there with the treats and booze!

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    1. Melissa it's already downhill for me with the wine and that cake lying around.
      A 5 year old at Christmas is Magic!!

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  20. My Christmas Cactus is blooming, that's the only Christmas decor I have out right now! I will pull out some of my wreaths and buy some greenery and Christmassy flowers, trying to keep it minimal this year.

    Very interested to try the laundry detergent!

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    1. LR well you'e better off than I am, I kill every plant that crosses my threshold. It's sooo embarrassing with Christopher as my best friend too. He just doesn't get it. I am trying to keep it minimal, balanced with Christmas-Exciting for The Rascals. It's a bit of a challenge I have to say. I have their presents purchased, all to budget, now I'm focussed on the food. That's a big deal right there so I'm doing my best even though I'm in one of those awful I-don't-want-to-cook moods.

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  21. I love your Christmas wrap! The red checkered ribbon looks wonderful. My favourite is the dark red and the kraft paper rolls from Ikea. They had tape in tartan patterns this year, 3 rolls for $1, so I had to have them. Now I am starting to panic about shopping for presents...!

    Thank you very much for the laundry powder recipe. I really like the idea of making my own laundry powder, but I am so strapped for time, I just keep buying boxes of ready made stuff (I use Nature Clean laundry powder)

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  22. Hi Dani,
    My husband would leave me in a heartbeat for you. I have tried to wrap my head around the image of you grated soap.I hereby nominate you for Domestic Goddess of the year.It rubbed off a bit and I climbed into the closet and wrapped all the presents going back east to Ontario. Maybe you could churn butter tomorrow and I'll decorate the front entrance. I'm in awe of you Missy!

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  23. We experimented briefly with the idea of finding one product that would do everything rather that invest in a different soap for each chore. Not a success: kitchen floor was dull and sticky, gold decorations on china turned bronze, refrigerator racks stayed soapy, and my sweater shrank. I am grateful for the scientists who figure out how to deal with all these first-world-cleaning issues, because I can't. I'm sorry I ever learned to iron, I don't enjoy it but I'm hypercritical of others' ironing.

    Loving the wrapping & stuff, that's a chore that is a pleasure!

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  24. Great soap recipe. I've been wanting a lavender scented laundry soap that smells like real lavender, not manufactured. Thank you :)

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