Orange Vinegar Cleaning Mix

Orange Grapefruit Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Here is an easy All-Purpose cleaning solution using the peels from oranges and grapefruits and vinegar.

In a wide mouth jar, fill with peels from oranges and/or grapefruits. I packed them in, so there were a lot, but not so tight there wasn’t room to move a bit. In the picture, I used a canning jar. I also used an empty juice bottle. It wasn’t easy to get the left over peels out.. but it worked well too.

Once the peels are in place, cover to the top with white vinegar.

I let mine sit for almost a month before I used some. I poured straight into a spray bottle and used neat. But it smelled really strong of vinegar.

The second bottle I filled, I fill about half way, and then topped off with water. Distilled would be best for cleaning glass, but even tap is works.

You can also buy orange essential oil. A few drops would scent your mixture more of oranges, but may cause streaking – I haven’t tried it, yet.

Happy cleaning! (Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one!)

Oil Cleansing Method – OCM

The Oil Cleansing Method of facial wash, is a healthy and natural alternative to washing with soaps or facial cleansers.

There is already a lot of information out there on this method of washing your face, so maybe you’ve already read about and are just looking for more support.  I like to read several articles on something before I try it, because everyone has their own reasons, their own method and process.

This year, 2012, brings with it my 42nd birthday.  And while I hit my 40’s happy, I can say I’ve never been happy with my skin.  I’ve always battled breakout and redness.  I’m now noticing my skin is getting thin, and fine lines.  I’ve used my own handmade soap on my skin for years, but I think it’s time to change my routine for my face.  Here’s where OCM comes in to play.

This method calls for simple ingredients which you should be able to easily find at your grocery or drug store.

  • Olive Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Essential Oil

Olive Oil, it’s good for all skin types, but don’t feel limited to this one oil.  There are plenty of other oils that are easy to get, but will help target problems, like dry or oily skin.

Castor Oil – this helps clean and dissolve dirty oils on your skin – but can be drying so you’ll want to use more or less, depending on your skin type ( oily skin = use up to 30%, dry skin = use 10% or less).

Essential Oil – this isn’t necessary, but I had Lavender oil and Patchouli oil on hand, so I made two small bottles 1 of each eo.

Bottle it up: I had plastic bottles from my days of lotion making, but any jar or small container with a lid will work.

  • 3/4 Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Castor Oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon EO

How to Wash your face with Oils:  You need a nice washcloth and hot water (running, so it’s clean).  I wet my face out of habit, then pour the mixed oils in my palm to equal the size of a quarter or so (more or less, no big deal).  Rub the oils together between your hands to warm the oils, then rub on your face.

Pay attention to any problem areas, rubbing and rubbing.

Side note:  This is a great time to get in a pep talk to your body.  While I’ve always sort of done this, I had it put into words when my sister came home from France recently.  On her long trip on the plane, she did some knitting, but most inspirational to me is her writing in her journal – she wrote to her body, telling it she was sorry for all the things she done wrong, and what she plans to do better.  So, get in a chat with your face.. you’ve likely put some nasty stuff on your face over the years.

Once this is done, turn your hot water back on and get your cloth wet.  First thing I did was lay the cloth against my face and let the hot moisture open my pores.  Then I rinsed the cloth again and gently rubbed away the oils – and I visualized wiping away the dirty oils.

Rinse a few times with water as hot as you can stand it (this helps break up the dirties and wipe them away), until you feel you’ve gotten most of the oils off your skin.  Pat dry, gently.  You may or may not need extra moisturizer.  Today, I chose not to use any – I’m mostly curious how my skin will respond to the oils only.  It’s winter, as I write this, so my feelings on this may change depending on the weather.

One down side to this method is your skin might go into a panic the first few weeks, much like it does when you stop using store-bought shampoo.  It’s ok.  Give it a couple of weeks to get use to this new gentle method.. but in the meantime, you may be faced with more breakouts than usual – they should clear up after a few weeks.   No fun, I know, but all things good usually come with a little discomfort to start out.

How the Oil Cleansing Method works:  Well, others have explained it sooo well (Crunchy Betty and Simple Mom), that I don’t think I could do better, but essentially, Oils clean oils.. the Oils in this mixture, are warmed on your skin and cleanse away the dirty oils, leaving soft clean skin behind.   Simple Mom does a good job explaining the hows and whys it works, while Crunchy Betty gives a list of oils to use, ratios and some why’s as well.

Beginning Knitting – my projects

A few months ago, I started meeting a friend at a local coffee shop with a knitting group. It was nice to start routinely going out again, even if just for an afternoon once a week. Since I didn’t knit, and really had no interest in starting.. I mean, I’d tried several years ago, and though I love the look, I determined it was just too complicated for me to bother with.

Instead, I took other projects along. One day I cut out patterns for doll clothes, or tiny stuffed animals for doll toys – these were for my ball-joint dolls I’ve been collecting. I took some wool roving, felting needle and piece of foam to play with another day. Still another day, I took pieces of long fur material, the size of a note card and made little wigs for my dolls. I could have taken a crochet project, but really hadn’t been in the mood to crochet yet another scarf. Scarves and wash clothes seemed about all I had ever really made.

One day, another knitter brought a sweater she was knitting for her nephew (I think it was). It was a natural color, like a sandy, natural off-white, brownish color (yeah, I’m sure there is a name for it, but I’m totally drawing a blank on it. On the front, she’s knitted (or maybe it’s cabled) 3 owls. It was adorable, and I could so envision making something similar for my granddaughter. I was in awe… and told the ladies that was the project that was going to make me want to knit. I wasn’t kidding.

I went home and over the next week, I bought small circular knitting needles, went through all the patterns on ravelry, and settled on a dress for my dolls. Over the coming couple of weeks, I made two dresses, and a few others that were ok, but not my favorites.

I then found a pattern for a shawl. I thought that’d be wonderful. Many times the coffee shop we meet at is chilly in the evenings, other times, I run in the grocery in shorts and a tank top, only to come out shivering and numb because the grocery is just so cold. A shawl kept in my bag would be perfect.

I started with a pattern that was simple for me to understand, and was so easy it makes for a good group project – in that I can knit this pattern, while I chat and not worry too much about mistakes. It’s called the One-Skein Shawl – find it on, or

After knitting the body, I was ready to do the border. Here I got stumped. Today, I finally figured it out – not that I did on my own by any means, but the people on the ravelry forum were great at helping me out. It took them figuring out my thinking, rather than the pattern, though.

I wrote an email to a friend giving her an update. Rather than rewrite it here.. I’ll just share the email. I hope you get a good chuckle from my confusion.

I thought I’d update you on my issues with the shawl border.

In the pattern when I got to the amount of stitches I was suppose to have on the needle, it said that it was now time to add the border to the bottom. This didn’t make any sense to me, since I was working from the bottom up… to me, it meant adding border to the top, which I didn’t want.

I went to the pattern’s [forum] page on ravelry, and asked about it. I got two responses that told me yes, the pattern was correct and to just keep going and I’d be fine. Still not understanding the why’s of this, I decided I’d run over to FiberWorks [local yarn store, LYS] last night. Since they were open until 830 and I’d have the opportunity to go ~ Bob [hubby] would be home in plenty of time. And, I thought, I’d pick up yarn for a couple more shawls. If they go really fast, I’ll give them as gifts right away, if I run slower on them, they’ll be gifts for the holidays. I also figured I’d take my work, the pattern and ask for help there.

I showed them my LittleFee bjd doll – the one I’d named Darla – but changed to Agnes (a nostalgic name from childhood. I kept getting little whispers in my thoughts that this needed to be her name). They oohed and ahhed and told me I did a good job.. (btw, another customer came in at the end of my talk with “forgethername”, and she ooh’d and ahh’d over my doll and the dresses, lol).

I showed her the pattern, my work, etc. And she agreed with me that it didn’t make any sense. Now, in my favor, I don’t think she’d made shawls before, as I think if she had, she’d have caught my mistake right away. That said, I gave her misinformation and based on my misinformation, she wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. I was frustrated, disappointed, but at the same time, i still felt good. I wasn’t giving up the project. I wasn’t going to just “wrap it up” as it was.. I was determined to figure it out. Which really did feel good (but you can understand my frustration at what felt like deadends). I really needed someone to explain, exactly what was going on.. did I need to pick up stitches, bind off and then back on.. what?

Have you guessed my mistake? It’s so simple, and really, I knew it was. The whole pattern up til this point had been so simple. A quick pattern you could easily whip out in a weekend of dedicated knitting… so why was this last part causing me to hang up so much. And I knew once I knew the answer, it would be a “smack forehead” moment.

It truly was.

I had posted on the forum for the shawl, but since the replies there hadn’t helped me, I went to Fibers of Dayton (is that right?) and asked there too. One lady took the time to reply back and forth with me a few times, trying to figure out where this pattern was situated in my brain, and why I was seeing it so different than everyone else. While we went back and forth a few times throughout the day, I remembered I’d posted on the other forum – I must not have it set up to notify me via email, so it’s easy to forget, and I had to figure out my way back to my posts… anyway, I must have told them there what I was doing and that I didn’t want the border across the top, but along the bottom… and it clicked with them just what I was doing wrong.

Actually, nothing wrong. I was just thinking upside down. I thought since I was increasing with each row, that I was knitting bottom to top – like an upside down triangle, point to width. In actuality, it is worked top down. So the point or tip that I thought was so flat, was really the center of the top. And the border I needed to add really was to the bottom of the shawl, the part on my needles.

So flippin’ simple.

In my defense, this is only the second real project I’ve done.. and I only really started knitting a couple months ago. And the only real instruction I’ve had the whole way, was watching YouTube videos. So, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I will share pictures soon, of the shawl, almost ready to come off the needles, before and after blocking, and of Agnes too.

How To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

(This recipe is for Liquid Laundry Soap. Here’s a Powdered Laundry Soap Tutorial.)

Have you ever wondered how easy it would be to make your own homemade liquid laundry soap? This recipe is not only easy, the cost is less than a few dollars per batch and each batch makes enough for 110 loads of laundry.

This liquid laundry soap works Great for High Efficiency washers as it’s not a super sudsy soap.

The ingredients you’ll need should be available at your local grocery stores or maybe big box stores.

1 cup – 20 Mule Team Borax
1/2 cup – Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of ivory soap (I used my own handmade soap and part of a bar of castile)
Large clean bucket enough to hold 3 gallons of water easily – I used a 5 gallon bucket we acquired from a fast food restaurant – it used to be filled with bags of pickles.. we got it free.
Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil (optional)
– 1/8 ounce to 1 ounce

The ingredients are simple enough. Should only cost maybe $10 if you are purchasing the boxes for the first time. The two boxes of powders will last you through several batches (or use to make powdered laundry soap, or even liquid hand soap).

First, shave your bar of soap using a peeler. I used 1/3 bar of castile and a 1/2 bar of handmade soap

Once your soap is in small pieces, place a pot on the stove big enough to hold 5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil. When it begins to boil, lower heat to simmer and put the soap in the water. I covered with a lid and let it sit.

While your soap is melting, add 3 gallons of hot water to your bucket. For ease, I used a 2 qt pitcher to fill it.

To the hot water, add 1 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup of Washing Soda. Stir with long handled spoon until dissolved.

Add the melted soap water to the bucket and stir well. If you want to add any fragrance, add it now. Since I make soap, I have tons of fragrances around. I used one called Eucalyptus Thymes – I got from a place called Sweet Cakes (their eucalyptus is the best clean smell – not like medicinal eucalyptus). Or add essential oils. If you plan to make your soaps regularly and want it fragrances, I’d suggest finding a good soap/candle supply company (maybe one local to you?) and order it – it’s Much cheaper to order your essential oils and fragrances rather than purchase from the health food store or craft store.

How much Essential Oils or Fragrance oils:
I would say it’s up to you.. but somewhere between 1/4 ounce to a full ounce.. completely depending on your sensitivity, preferences and the scent. Remember, some scents are stronger than others and adjust accordingly.  You need less essential oils than fragrance oils.

Cover the bucket and set aside for 24 hours. Your soap may be watery or gel up in areas, may be slightly lumpy in areas. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Make sure to smoosh up the clumps when you add it to the washer. If you have smaller containers to put your in, it may be easier to handle – I have old detergent bottles and filled mine with my “new” soap. My soap is very watery – but very soapy.

This makes over 110 loads of liquid laundry soap – and you only need to use about a 1/2 cup.