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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mop Philosophy Monday

December Flowers
 I think Kelly at the Flower Shop outdid herself with the monthly arrangement, so festive and merry yet still incorporating my favourite colour in a rose: that gorgeous blush-coral-gold.
Go on Laugh Out Loud.
 A good friend sent me some new cocktail napkins for Christmas, and she had them monogrammed: LOL.  They are now my favourite and best.

As you may remember there have been years when the state of my garden shed quite vexed me with indecision at Christmas time: to decorate or not to decorate?
I think it looks festive enough.  I spent last week organizing the interior instead, it's shiny as a button in there.

We finally drove out to the tree farm to find our one and only:
Christmas Tree 2013
We are embracing the decorations made during the kindergarten years: may they never fell apart.
 They are a bit delicate, made of popsicle sticks, cotton fluff and variously sized googly eyes.

Every year I find that there is one angel in particular I'm drawn to, this year it's the blue and yellow herald angel.
Herald Angel
 Don't worry, I have been up to some foolishness.
Bought a frock for New Year's Eve.
Tory Burch Dagny Dress
 Of course I like to balance tomfoolery with sensible tasks.  Now that I am very happily making my own laundry detergent I decided to turn my attention to the dishwasher detergent.

 You can make your own dishwasher detergent, it's easy as anything.

This is the recipe I used:

1 cup of washing soda
1 cup of Borax
1/4 cup of citric acid
1/2 cup of kosher salt
No hideous packaging required.
 Mix it all up and use 1 tablespoon per load.

Well, I know the proof is in the pudding so I took some pictures of my shiny clean dishes, compliments of my homemade dishwasher detergent.
Clean

Clean

Clean
Aren't clean things so pretty?  There's something about being able to make my own detergents that really pleases me.  I have a shelf full of washing soda, borax, kosher salt and citric acid packets stored in my laundry room.  When I run out of laundry or dishwasher detergent I can make my own, I'm free of the tyranny of the grocery store packaging and prices, it makes me feel quite independent.  That's always a good feeling, isn't it?
I hope your week is off to a brilliant start and that you are feeling happy and merry.
xoxDani

48 comments:

  1. I used to feel the same way when I used cloth nappies (diapers) on my babies. I always had some on hand and never ran out as I just needed to wash them when running low.
    Your shed looks so charming! Love the dusting of snow on the windowsill and the wreath makes it look like a little house you could move into.
    The christmas flowers are so pretty, what a lovely gift Mr BP gave to you to enjoy every month xx

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    1. Heidi there is something of the pioneer spirit in us!
      That garden shed is positively covered with snow now, it just won't stop. Must be hard to imagine as you go into high summer!
      I wonder if MrBP has anything up his sleeve for Christmas this year, the flower gift was very special.

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  2. I would live in your shed, it's beautiful.
    I was just thinking about your floral gift the other day, such a lovely present, good old Mr BP!
    I love the cocktail napkins, and I see what you mean about making your own, at first I thought, ugh too much hassle but I like the independence too it.

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    1. Tabs I've really enjoyed that present and it really shows how fast a year goes by!
      Just going into that grocery aisle with all the packaged laundry things with the chemical smells and the dishwasher tablets wrapped in three layers of packaging... it gives me a big headache!
      I'm so happy to be free of it.

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  3. Tabitha beat me to the punch; that is a lovely garden 'shed'. I too give high marks to Mr BP and he is going to have a very well turned out NYE date.
    What is the next book club selection?

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    1. I'm with GSL - what's next? I am just finishing a VERY frothy read about the last days of JFKs and Jackie's marriage! so "lite" after the Luminaries, which I loved!

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    2. GSL thanks very much and as for the next selection, I'm not sure! Little Women was pretty great, our discussion that is, I do have a few titles in mind and I'll announce before Christmas for a January date.
      GSL and Wendy, email me if you have any suggestions, anything Classic that is readily available at libraries or free on the interwebs...

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  4. I want a garden shed - to be honest the only reason i want a garden is for the shed at the end of the garden which I could just read and write. Very cute indeed Dani!
    But where is the modelling pics of the dress tho?
    I haven't eaten at home in so long i forgot all about dishes - only positive thing about eating out all the time! I would try that recipe except i am banned from teh dishwasher even in normal times due to the high standards of Mr CSW...PS the comments were so much fun on the book post! ANd that was for little women! :)

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    1. CSW, yes remember dishes! That's so funny. I'm the high standard dishwasher person around here I guess, though I probably wouldn't pass MrCSW standards...but at least I don't put things in upside down!
      I've ordered the dress so we'll see. I actually tried two others that I had to send back. This is my last chance at one but I could always wear black if it doesn't suit.

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    2. I see Tory has cheaper shipping to Canada - but what happens to duty when you return?

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    3. WMM they have lowered their shipping but the customs are a pain, you have to submit the forms with receipts and proof of return. It's quite a bit of paperwork that I am hoping I won't have to do.

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  5. The flowers are gorgeous. She really did outdo herself. Everything is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Although the kids roll their eyes at their "old" decorations, I cherish them.

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    1. BB it is looking very festive around here and we had a cozy weekend with the tree. Now we just need Old Rascal to finish his exams and get home for the holidays.

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  6. We seem to have the same taste in dishes.... mugs and glasses, anyway: )) I mixed up a big batch of the laundry soap last week and gave it a try on the weekend, and, as you said, it is excellent. If I had a dishwasher, I would try that recipe too - there must be a liquid dish soap recipe out there somewhere (although I am a long-time fan of good old basic lemon Sunlight). Envy you your garden shed, monthly flowers, and the LOL napkins!

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    1. Lily I'm very happy you like the laundry detergent, much nicer and easier than the liquid stuff don't you think? I'll look around for a dish soap recipe, I'd like to make that too. The garden shed is lovely now though the mess of it was an absolute fright before I went in there last week and sorted it, "the gardener" (MrBP) might be brilliant but he's not very tidy. I should show before and after pics as I did take a picture of the terrible mess!

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  7. Love the dress Dani! Since I will be home wearing leggings and something comfy and playing games and watching movies, I am good, though I admit I purchased the black kikis with the bow (a gap) and the pale pink ones for Florida! I may have to try making these detergeants in the new year!
    Where do you buy washing soda and citric acid? I have never noticed it in our stores before!

    we are just now starting to dig out - I will send a picture - it was a crazy storm!

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    1. Wendy pics of winter wonderland please. Actually it's snowing here again this morning, I think it should be a snow day but nope. I've never seen this much snow before Christmas before, and here in the "highlands" we are considered a snow belt!
      I didn't know they had pale pink ones, uh oh. I buy the washing soda at "No Frills" which is a discount grocery store, and the citric acid at the baking supply shop.
      I hope you don't have to go anywhere in all that snow.

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    2. Oh I am scoping lawyers this morning - need a legal document signed asap! Sigh... and costumes to be returned and I NEED a walk - am going stir-crazy!

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    3. Wendy you need your in-house lawyer!

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  8. MUST BE AN ANGEL Dani those flowers are blooming gorgeous and I like your atypical NYE frock as well. As for the cleaning potions, domestic chemistry seems very satisfying. Rascals all done with exams?

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    1. GF poor Old Rascal slogs on and doesn't finish until Thursday. Quantum Mechanics, and something else this week as well. Middle Rascal is finished and enjoying the rest, she had a great first term and studied hard.
      I do like the domestic chemistry, I was thinking I should ask Louise to explain it all to me. Of course I'm sure it would go right over my head.

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    2. Oh, I have my fingers crossed for him. Somehow, although decades ago, that slog still seems so familiar. Maybe because budgets, proposals etc. all due at work same time so remember the feel of the crunch. Glad older miss is getting reprieve, less stress around the house too. Knew she would stay an excellent scholar.

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    3. Oh, and I am totally with Coulda woulda shoulda, still want that shed, especially now it is shiny inside, bother the garden. (Do not tell Christopher I said that.)

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    4. Very impressed that Old Rascal is taking quantum mechanics. I was forced to take it in 4th year undergrad and the experience scarred me for life.

      The detergent recipe above relies on the basicity of sodium carbonate to break down protein, and also both sodium carbonate & borax (sodium borate) to act as (1) water softeners that prevent the formation of magnesium and calcium precipitates and (2) abrasives to help remove some of the solids from the dishes. Sodium chloride also helps to further soften the water. The cleaning action of the detergent would be dependent on how hard the local water supply is.

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    5. Louise I bet you'd like my son, he's very outgoing but has a natural talent for physics and math, he doesn't know where it's all going, he considers himself a "mediocre" physics student, I cannot believe the courses he takes, U of T is pretty tough. The math to support the physics is intense.
      Mixing these concoctions will be a completely different experience for you, thank you for explaining it to us!

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  9. The flowers are gorgeous! I love having fresh flowers in the house too. I also took your recommendation and purchased a feu de bois Diptyque candle. I can't wait until it arrives.

    I hope you will do an outfit post with the NYE dress so we know how you accessorize it. We're staying in for the evening and our biggest decision is what to eat!

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    1. DF you will love the feu de bois. I light mine for about 40 minutes a day, I'm trying to stretch it out!
      I hope I like that dress and don't end up sending it back, we'll see. I'll let you know.

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  10. Your shed looks beautiful. I really need to give it a go: the laundry detergent and the dishwasher detergent... I am not yet decided on my Xmas and NYE outfits... I have this velvet dress/tunic from Brora but as already told, I don't know how to wear it...
    Your flowers are so beautiful. I love having fresh flowers in the house. I think it is a very nice (and classy) touch. Have a lovely week... Here it is the last week of school and someone is just waiting for the end of it ;-)

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    1. Steph have you tried it with their cashmere tights? And some tall boots? I wonder if I had that one, I might have, it was too short and I gave it to a friend. Too bad as it was a lovely green!
      I cannot wait for school to end, this is such a busy week with concerts and the last week for the office to be open, it's going to be hectic!

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  11. Lovely arrangement! I like to have paperwhites this time of year, but did not get them started before my trip so they'll cheer up January. Shed is perfect exactly the way it is.

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    1. Lane it doesn't really need tarting up does it! With your green thumb I'm not surprised you normally have paperwhites on the go. They will be nice to have around in January, they have a very fresh, new year look about them.

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  12. Dani, with you fixin' to look so Fab for NYE I was concerned Mr BP might feel like your plumber and not your dashing escort so I do have a budget friendly remedy. I'm just starting to understand these ever changing online retail strategies as Brooks Brothers dangles fresh meat (via email) for me every day and now they are at 70% off which is when they start to get GSL's attention. Have Mr BP lie low but chamber a round as we can just about see the whites of their eyes I'm thinking this Wednesday may be the sweetspot for getting the max selection/discount.

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    1. GSL I'm happy someone understands the strategies. I'd love to pick up something festive for MrBP, his trusty black cashmere jacket finally bit the bullet last year. It was so dashing over a white shirt! I'll keep my eye on that BB site, thank you.

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  13. Dani I love your new holiday dress! The ornaments I cherish the most were made by the children, they are so very special. I still cannot believe you are making your own detergents, Bravo!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Scalamandre Giveaway!

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    1. Karena thank you and trust me the detergents are so easy, I wouldn't make them otherwise. The hardest part is sourcing the ingredients, though once found they are very inexpensive.

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  14. The flowers are gorgeous. The dress is stunning and I bet it is perfect on you. I tried a similar style in a different print, but had no excuse to buy it. It did fit like a dream though. Don't you think TB makes such quality things. This dress continues to be on my lust list... it is perfection,http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tory-burch-dayton-stretch-cotton-sheath-dress/3550425.

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    1. Julie, hi! I do love a good Tory Burch dress. I have several for summer and I wore one every day, most of the them had to be dry cleaned but I just love the designs and fabrics. This dress is done in that silk jersey that she does so well so it might be a win. I have given away many of my print dresses for winter so I definitely have a spot for it. I'll let you know!
      I see that your perfect dress is now on sale, 60% off? Go for it! I didn't think the Dagny dress would go on sale until after the holidays, I've been looking at it for months. I'm surprised at the sales I'm seeing BEFORE Christmas even arrives.

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  15. I am seeing the ornament with my son's kindergarten photo on it, in my mind. I wonder about waiting for him to get home to hang it, but maybe that's silly. Mom sentimentality:).

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    1. LPC if Mom isn't allowed to be sentimental who is? :)

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  16. Is washing soda baking soda? And where do you buy the citric acid? You are so inspirational with your concoctions! Wonder if the laundry det. ould be okay in HE washing machines? Anyone know?

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    1. Jill washing soda is not baking soda though you can actually heat up baking soda in the oven to the point where it becomes washing soda. Washing soda is also known as soda ash.
      Try this blog post:
      http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/01/homemade-washing-soda.html
      The writer explains the chemistry and gives instructions for turning baking soda into washing soda. I was prepared to do this until I found washing soda for $5, a giant box of it, at No Frills.
      Citric acid can be more difficult to source though I was able to find it easily at a specialty baking supply shop that I go to weekly. I bet you could find it online.

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    2. Oh Jill and I have a front loading HE washer and the detergent works perfect. It doesn't have artificial sudsing agents that would compromise the HE washer, I think I read that that is normally the issue with detergents not designed specifically for HE.

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    3. Thanks so much Dani! Off to the internets

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  17. Hi Dani, I'm definitely going to try your dishwashing powder recipe as it looks straightforward, as will save me a ton of money - we currently buy President's Choice Green Dishwashing pellets, which are excellent but are ridiculously expensive. I will finally have some spare time over the holidays and hope to get some stuff done around the house. Your garden shed is done up perfectly for the holidays, and I must agree, the flower arrangement is stunning!!

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    1. ...I just wanted to add - I have never looked that closely at the chemistry of household products but I guess I probably should! Commercially available dishwashing powder also contains surfactants which help solubilize oils and fats; the more advanced formulations also contain enzymes which also do the same thing. The PC Green brand I use contains non-ionic surfactants, enzymes and a peroxide-based bleaching agent, plus sodium silicate as an abrasive.

      If you are interested in making more homemade household products, I recommend "Better Basics for the Home" by Annie Berthold-Bond. It is a veritable encyclopedia of traditional recipes for both household products and body care products for all ages. (I have only been through a tenth of the recipes in there!!) It is interesting that the author is of the view that it is difficult to make a substitute for a commercially made detergent for dishwashers- sh doesn't give any recipe for that one, so I thank you again for this recipe!!

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    2. Louise I'm very happy to hear that you'll some free time, there is nothing better than unscheduled time at home. You are going to so enjoy that! Please let me know if you like the dishwasher detergent, have you noticed that the products in this category have become so packaged and expensive? It upsets me so much to have to buy all of that packaging. At one time it just came in a box, now it is in pellets wrapped 3 times to justify the cost.

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    3. Louise I will look for that book. The detergent is working really well, I've been surprised actually. Two things to consider: I do have a brand new Miele dishwasher, I also have a water softener in the house as we have an extremely hard water supply here.
      It would be so fun if you looked at some of these recipes for us, then you could explain it to us! I think there are lots of people who might be interested in making these things themselves to cut back on packaging and save money.

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  18. Hi Dani,
    The flowers are fabulous and it must be such a treat when they arrive.Very romantic and love the idea.We also put up the tree this past weekend and carefully unwrapped the toilet paper rolls.Our daughter Taylor was born on Xmas morning at McMaster. When they brought her to our room they places a felted stocking in the bassinet .She was the first Xmas baby and it such a treat to see it each time.
    Will the rascal apply to medical school?

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