DIY Reusable Frozen Foods Bag from plastic bags

I read an article this morning that reminded me I’ve been meaning to get some reusable grocery bags made.

After watching an episode of Vet Adventures when Luke cuts open a cow and pulls out about 35 lbs of plastic bags, the kiddoes and I decided we really wanted to change our habits!

I went ahead and started getting some supplies together but haven’t found a tote pattern I really like yet. So, in the meantime as I was researching I found this post about fusing together plastic bags to make a new “fabric” that can be sewn together.

What a cool idea! I had to try it.

So I just jumped in and did it. I folded out 8 bags, and used my rotary tool to quickly cut off the bottoms and tops. Then I individually slit the middles to make each one a long rectangle.

I laid them all flat together and put parchment paper under and on top. I grabbed my iron, set it to the highest heat setting under the steam ones and then gave it a go. I kept the iron moving and checked as I went to see if it was fusing. It was!

Now, it was also shrinking, so I may have my temp set too high, but I wasn’t worried about how it would look. It was kinda shriveled and melty in places, but the layers were fusing.

Once I finished the top, I flipped it over and repeated the efforts on the bottom. And then I had a long single piece of “fabric” to work with. As I looked at it, I folded it in half and it kind of resembled a mailing envelope. And that’s where I got my idea:

I was going to use it to make a removable sleeve for my frozen groceries!

I just fused the sides and then trimmed off the edges. Then I sewed a quick seam up each edge and around the top to reinforce it.

For the cover, I cut some cotton from an old sheet I use for projects like this, and then I did the same thing: Cut it on the fold, then sewed a seam up each side. At the top, I flipped the edge down a little to make a small cuff and then sewed a seam to hold it. Turned it inside out and put the plastic sleeve inside:

frozenbag-inner-1

Perfect fit!

Now, for the closure, I poked a little hole in the top cuff and used my yarn needle to pull through a piece of cotton yarn. I tied it in a knot and put one in the end. Then I added a little button on the front of the cover so I could just wind the yarn around it to close it.

 

frozenbag-outer-1

This one looks pretty plain, I agree. But you could easily make it fancier by using this tutorial for printing on fabric. I did a test piece using this same old sheet using a graphic the hubs is fond of:

fabricprintingwithfreezerpaper-1

And it turned out to be really easy. (The hardest part was finding the freezer paper. I think I found it at walmart for about $7~.) The colors weren’t super saturated, but I can easily see that if I planned ahead, I could print “FROZEN” or “ICE CREAM” in a novelty font, or a cute graphic on the fabric before I sewed it up. (Another great idea is to use a novel print fabric.)

Next up, I will tackle actually making the grocery totes!

Would love to see what you come up with too-

Love,

Momma

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DIY Clean-rinsing hand soap

I’m a fan of homemade soap, and I’ve done research and actually made my own liquid soap using several different recipes over the past year.

Even though I enjoyed the process, and the results were great, I found on several occasions when I was running out and it was really time to grind out make another batch, I just didn’t have the initiative.

My time was more valuable to me, so I ended up just buying something and calling it good. And honestly, that’s ok. Time is valuable, and sometimes it’s just worth it to buy a commercial bottle and have a few extra hours to yourself!

Along with having more time, I also really enjoy some of the commercially available scents that I have not been able to replicate through my own diy efforts.

Last year, I was buying this really wonderful-smelling liquid hand soap at Bath & Body Works, and like so many of their products, once I fell in love with it, they discontinued it. Boo.

I happened to get 3 or 4 bottles on a super sale, and I was slowly using them, trying to make them last as long as I could, because yes… I was addicted to the smell!

I got to a point where I was adding water and then more  water and so on, trying to eek out the last bit. As the soap thinned out, I actually loved it even more because it rinsed a little easier than the heavy gel consistency it was when I first bought it.

When there was nothing left to pump, I didn’t want to throw the bottles out because they still smelled amazing, and I also didn’t want to just go buy another kind. I just wasn’t willing to keep going through the cycle of finding something I loved, only to be crushed when I couldn’t find it.

And to be honest, I like to recycle or re-use commercial packaging if I can.

Then, one day I remembered a post about making liquid soap at home. That gave me an idea. And that idea led me to finding my all-time favorite hand soap! Here are just a few reasons why this is my new go-to for hand cleaning:

  1. cost savings
  2. re-use commercial packaging
  3. water conservation
  4. effective cleaning
  5. diy satisfaction

1. Cost Savings

Feeling defeated but still needing hand soap, I went ahead and bought some Ivory soap bars. I like Ivory for cleaning my hands: The ph is a bit alkaline, so it does a good job. And since the cost of the bars was like $0.16 each versus about $4.99 for the BBW hand soap, I was pleased about saving money.

But… The messy bar on the sink is not my favorite thing. And lathering up a slippery bar. And running water the whole time. And the bar getting itty bitty and breaking into pieces. All these were negatives for me.

2. Re-use Commercial Packaging

As I was cleaning out under my sink, I found one of my empty-but-still-amazing-smelling hand soap dispensers that I had saved, unable to toss that delicious smell into the trash bin.

I took one, filled it up with as hot of water as I could get out of the tap, then I dropped in the broken pieces of Ivory bar soap that were piled up on the sink and in the shower, probably about half a bar altogether.

And then I walked away.

A few hours later when I needed to wash my hands, I came back into the bathroom and remembered that I had left it sitting there. I shook it up a bit and then pumped some into my dry hands.

3. Water Conservation

The pump worked great, even though it was made for a much thicker liquid. The soap  was watery, but for me that was a PLUS. It means that I could start washing my hands right away without running the water. Two pumps gave me enough soapy liquid to puddle in my cupped palms and then I just did my 20 seconds of rubbing and scrubbing to make sure my hands were good and clean. Then I turned on the water and WOW!

I only had to use a trickle of water to get them clean! This is really important to me both because of the cost of water, and because I always try to conserve water.

4. Effective Cleaning

My hands rinsed clean immediately! No rinsing and rinsing to get the slippery feeling off. The soap just slicked off, and my hands felt squeaky clean with zero residue. After I finished rinsing my hands, the water beaded and dried off quickly and easily, so even the hand towel I use was less wet.

Usually when I wash my hands, it’s a matter of wanting to clean off bacteria, versus actual visible dirt. So I did kind of wonder if the soap was as powerful as the bar after I put it into water.

My hubs works with hydraulic fluid and other black, grease-heavy products and we share a sink and a hand towel. He’s also been using the hand soap and guess what? I’m not seeing streaks of black on the towel, so I know it’s working for cleaning even really dirty hands.

5. DIY Satisfaction

I saved the best for last: My super clean hands didn’t smell like Ivory soap when I was done; they smelled exactly like the super-awesome smelling hand soap that had been in the dispenser!

Finally I had found a way to replicate the experience of washing my hands with the scent I loved, but without the heavy, slippery feeling that required tons of water to rinse off.

So, here are my top 5 reasons why this is my favorite hand soap:

  1. I re-used a container I purchased commercially
  2. I get to diy and save money (bar soap $0.08 a bottle vs $4.99)
  3. I get to save water
  4. I get squeaky clean hands that feel good
  5. I get to keep using a scent I love that’s not available

So, going forward I plan to keep using my dispenser to hold dissolved Ivory bar soap as my bathroom hand cleaner. If my hands ever get dried out, which could happen over time, I plan to use a drop of olive oil to restore them. That’s what I do whenever I have to use harsh cleaners around the house, in the yard, or on the vehicles.

As I have continued using the hand soap, I thought that this method would be a great way to use up any bar soap. If you have a bar soap that you love the scent of, try putting it into a clean dispenser full of really hot water, and leaving it to dissolve over time. Just don’t cap it until it’s cooled off!

I hope my idea gives you an idea too!

Love,

Momma

 

My best pillow ever

photo of wool stuffing

As someone who has neck trouble, back trouble, hip trouble and just body aches in general, I’ve always been a sucker for pillow advertising (mattresses too!) in hopes of sleeping better.

And I’m a sucker for down: pillows, comforters, toppers,whatever! I just love the smooshie feeling.

And I’m also a wash-n-wear girl, and that goes for pillows too. I like to feel like my bed is a haven and there are just too many gross out articles detailing what goes on in the covers at night! So I want to be able to wash my pillows regularly.

And if that wasn’t me being picky enough, I also want to buy local or American, aaaand I gotta be able to afford it!

It was a daunting task, but I did it! I found my best pillow ever!

Ta-da!

photo of wool stuffing
The fluffy wool makes the best pillow ever

I now have wool stuffed pillows that are the best pillows I’ve ever used.

I love these because they are smooshie and formable, and they support my extra heavy head (side sleeper). Wool is also naturally dust mite resistant and naturally flame retardant, passing the gov’t test without needing chemicals applied.

It gets better!

I bought my wool from American farmers, and then I bought American made, seed-to-seam organic inside covers, cases and sheets.

It feels like I’m sleeping in a cloud!

And once a month or so, I dump the covers out and I air dry all my beautiful wool while I wash bedding. It dries out and fluffs up and then I put it all back in the covers and voila! Like brand new pillows!

I wasn’t sure how my hubs would feel about the new pillows but he just loves them! His sinus trouble  has been dramatically reduced and even better… No snoring!

And the cost for our 100% American-made two queen-sized, medium to heavy density pillows with covers was less than two similar pillows at IKEA filled with synthetic fiber.

So let’s see I hit all my needs:

Cost-check, natural-check, smooshie but firm enough-check, American-made–double check, and washable with hygienic properties-check check check!!

I’m so giddy over a pillow!! And how do I sleep? Awesome. If my neck starts bothering me, I firm up or smoosh down and presto–back to dreamland.

Cheers to motherhood FTW!

Love,

Momma