Going green(er) in the garden!

Let me start with this: One of my ways to go greener and save $ is to remember, Re-use, Re-purpose  Re-cycle.  Yes, in that order!  This craft is fun, easy to make and falls into the re-purpose category!

OMGoodness, these are fun to make, fancy looking in the garden and can be tailor made to suit your style!  What am I talking about?  Garden plant labels! Not just for the garden though, oh-no!  You can make these for the flower bed, house plants or a number of other things.  The best thing is I made them for free(almost), with stuff from around my house, and what I wrangled up for free (more on that later) and a small splurge at a craft store.  So you wan’t to see them?  OK, here ya go:

My homemade label!

My homemade label!

What do you think?  Aren’t they the cutest? I will give you a list of items needed and show you how I make them.  Before I do though I’m going to share with you how you can get a bunch of things for free.  Ask.  Yep, that’s it. Just ask!  That’s how I got the hangers, and some of the canning lids.  I was looking for wire hangers but was appalled at the thought of paying for something just to cut it up.  So instead I just thought a bit and realized that I can probably get hangers for free from someone who gets their clothes dry cleaned.  Thanks to the nice lady who said many mechanics get their uniforms dry cleaned, I was able to leave the store spending a lot less money than I thought.  I called a local tire company and was able to go get hangers for free!  Canning lids?  Ask anyone who uses home canned food.  The lids are not reusable so they will probably be over joyed to save them for you!  See a pattern?  Ask!

Ok, here’s the list:

Hammer, wire cutters, etching pen, wire hanger, used canning lid, etching pen, permanent marker, wire, jump ring(s) and beads.

Hammer, wire cutters, etching pen, wire hanger, used canning lid, etching pen, permanent marker, wire, jump ring(s) and beads.

Odd mixture of items, wouldn’t you say?

First get your hanger and wire cutters (yes, they are my hubby’s) and cut as shown

Cut at top two bends

Cut at top two bends

Set the wire aside and grab your canning lid and etching pen.  Start ‘writing’ what you want your label to say.  Go back over it a time or two if desired.

Etch as desired

Etch as desired

Find your hammer and nail and WAIT!  Are you on a surface that will tolerate a nail hole?  Yes?  Ok, then put two holes in the lid (top and bottom).

Cat scratch-er as my 'workbench'

Cat scratch-er as my ‘workbench’

Now get out your markers (if desired) and decorate.  The marker will probably fade in the sun but I think they will still look cute!

Pretty and purply

Pretty and purply

Pick out your beads or whatever you chose to use and string ’em up.  Attach to bottom hole on lid.

Beads make the label special and maybe deter little critters with their movement in the wind

Beads make the label special and maybe deter little critters with their movement in the wind

Set all that aside and grab that hanger you cut earlier.  Straighten it up as much as you can then grab the needle nose pliers and start to curl.

Curl how ever you desire!

Curl how ever you desire!

Attach lid and keep curling till desired look is achieved.

I also bend up the bottom of the hanger to keep it more stable in the ground and so it won’t spin!

The bottem is bent to make it more stable in the garden

The bottom is bent to make it more stable in the garden

Multiple plants in one space?  Try this, just leave the wire a bit longer.

Multiple plants in one space? Try this, just leave the wire a bit longer.

Do you like em?  Feel inspired?  I hope so!  Have fun and comment if you have any questions and leave a link to the things you make, I’m always looking for ideas!

Want free stuff?  Here’s how:

Freecycle

Craigslist

Ask and remember to be responsible and share as well as ask! 🙂

Upcoming blogs?  Homemade window cleanser, apple cider vinegar and more!  Subscribe now…

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Grand-baby and laundry soap

The grand-baby has arrived!  He weighed in at 7 lb, 13 oz and was 22 inches long.  Mamma and baby are both home now and doing really good.

I want to show other people what I do to go green and save money so today I made laundry detergent and I took pictures so I could show you too.  Why make it?  Well look at what’s in the laundry detergent: (look here). Eeek! I can’t even pronounce some of those ingredients!   Yes, Tide is a great detergent but it’s not worth it when I think about my kids with sensitive skin.  My laundry detergent cleans just as well and apple cider vinegar in the rinse cycle makes sure no residues linger on the clothes and removes odors.

Oh-ya, the cost.  Here’s a chart of how mine costs:

$3.16 for 5 gallons of laundry detergent!

Yes 5 gallons for $3.16! Now for the side by side cost comparison: 

Tide is $0.19 and homemade is $0.04!

It says $.04 a load but it’s actually less!  My program won’t let me do half cents so it rounds up! I also use it as a pre-treatment and I don’t worry about how much laundry I have to do.

How do I make it, I’ll show ya.  First off most recipes call for a 5 gallon bucket and gallon bottles are easier for me to come by so I do it this way.

You will need Borax, Washing Soda and Castile Soap.

Washing Soda, Borax and Castile soap

Fill a stock pot about half full with water and add 2 cups Borax and 2 cups Washing Soda.  Stir over medium heat till dissolved.

It will be cloudy at first

Cloudy at first

 and then once it is dissolved it will clear up.

Clear after dissolving

Clear after dissolving

            Add ½ cup Castile Soap, stir well and remove from heat.

1/2 cup Castile soapNow I hope you have your 5  1-gallon jugs rinsed out and ready to be filled.

Remove from heat and divide evenly (while still hot!) into the 5 jugs.

Measuring cup, funnel and big sink make this easy!Your almost done!  Add enough hot water to fill,

Hot water

Hot water

Then close, give it a shake label it however your heart desires and-

Voila 5 gallons of laundry soap ready to use.  Let it sit over night and give it a shake before you use it.  It is not thick at all so don’t think you messed up.  We just don’t add all the crud that makes it thick.  Also, because of how watery it feels you can safely use it in your front loader like me!  I’ve had a front loader for a year now, been making my soap for two years at least and not one problem!

Laundry soap!

Laundry soap!

Use 1/4 – 1/2 cup per load and as usual, use apple cider vinegar in the rinse cycle!