Monday, October 31, 2011

Onion Bag

Yesterday was bored and doing anything possible to avoid housework. Well I made me another crocheted sponge, but it went so fast that I needed another quick project. (I don't like the long drawn out making an afghan type projects!). I realized I had onions in two separate baskets - you know those metal 3 tiered hanging ones? We use a lot of onions. So I decided to make an Onion Bag and wrote down the directions as I made it. I was trying to figure all day where in the house I could take a picture of it where it wouldn't show how much I should quit avoiding housework, when it occurred to me... "take a picture outside"!!! (duh!) Of course it is dark now, so will take one tomorrow :)

Ch - chain
Slst - slip-stitch
Cts - counts
Dc - Double Crochet
Sc - Single Crochet
*blah blah* - follow those directions for row

Net Base
Start:   Ch 4. slst in 1st ch. Ring formed
Row 1:   Ch3 (cts as first dc) 11dc in ring (total 12 dc). Slst in top of ch3. turn.
Row 2:   Ch8 (cts as 1sc and ch7) *sk dc. Sc in next dc. Ch7* around. Slst in base of ch8. 6 loops. Turn.
Row 3:   Ch8 (cts as 1sc and ch7) *sc in top of next loop. Ch7. sc in sc. Ch7* around. Slst in base of ch8. 12 loops. Turn
Row 4:   slst in next 4 chains. (until you are at the top of ch7 loop). Ch7 (cts as 1st sc and ch6). *sc in next loop. Ch6.* around. Slst in base of ch7. 12 loops. Turn.

Net sides
Rows 5-20:   repeat row 4. 12 loops
Row 21:   ch1. * 6sc in next loop. Sc in sc.* around. Join with slip stitch to beg ch st. turn

Row 1:   ch3 (cts as beg dc). dc in next 6 sc. Turn (total 7dc)
Row 2:   ch3 (cts as beg dc). Dc in next 6dc. Turn (total 7dc)
***continue Row 2 until handle is length you want*** (mine I did 16 rows)

To connect handle to other side of net bag, find opposite side, slst thru bag and 1 st from handle, continue to slip stitch across through both the bag and handle. (total 7slst). Finish off. Weave in ends.

This size will hold approximately 6lb of onions.

In the interest of our health - I DID wash dishes and washed some clothes and got them hung outside!.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Solar Oven

Thought maybe would want a look at my solar oven. This is a very simple one I have hobbled together, and it works, so am not going to mess with it until have everything together to make a "permanent" one :)

Simply lined an old cooler with foil, that silver thing is a stand to put smaller pots on to raise to the middle, and my dutch oven that I mostly use. The dutch oven I can just place inside (without the silver stand) and put what I want to cook inside it - even another pan or mason jars, place the lid on and I don't have to worry about burning anything! Put the window on and walk away... I LOVE cooking this way!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

No Electricity Adventure

Hello all. Had some adventures this passed week. We were unable to pay our electric bill on time (and they could not wait a day) so our electric was turned off. Not too big a deal as it was anticipated and I have 2 ltr bottles of water in the big freezer ready for just this type of occasion. Put a few in the fridge and freezer and it will hold the temp and keep things from going bad. It worked beautifully. In the morning just grabbed everything out of the fridge I would need and that reduced the time the fridge was open. No meats or anything, things like jelly and stuff was fine to keep out till evening.

I did forget to make me more tea, so I made it in my solar oven (I usually make tea on the stove) and that worked fine also… as long as I had the lid on tight, so the second attempt was perfect ;) I kept the tea in concentrated form in the mason jar and put that in a thick clay jar with water and a wet towel to cover and keep it cool. When I wanted something to drink, I just poured a bit into my glass and added water to dilute it. It also saved so much on space that I think I will do that from now on! (except in the fridge ;) )

My vegetable oil and homemade wick “candles”  and “stove” worked well also. We had plenty of light (even for me to read by, which is saying a LOT - I did have one holder with a candle) and was able to boil water for coffee on the stove. I do have a camp percolator, but it is gigantic and would have taken forever to make coffee with. So I set up my coffee maker like I usually would, boiled the water on the “stove” and poured the water into the reservoir of coffee grounds, and had perfect coffee, which I kept warm in a thermos. BTW my coffee filters I made from old sheets so no paper products…

(These are pics of the "lamp" in action along with my coffee warmer - I do not like cold coffee, and since didn't have a microwave...)

This is how I was able to boil water: plumbing strap, wire, homemade wicks, vegetable oil, a rack, and good to go.

Note the lid - not a good idea, should FIT the pot. Water and oil do not mix. The only reason this worked was because I have it hanging over the pan to drip outside the oil pan.

Laundry was fine, I have a bucket and a plunger (of which is ONLY used for clothes!) and cleaned my clothes that way. This I knew would work as have done this many times. Whats interesting is when you don’t have water, and we did that for 6 weeks in July/August, but that is another adventure to talk about later J
Drying the clothes was the usual clothesline outside.

If it weren’t for the fact that it was SO quiet, and have to work on fixing a system to heat water for showers, and solar power for computer (phones can charge off of computer so is a “twofer”), OH and for the freezer/fridge I would have been just fine without electricity. And even for the fridge, wouldn’t mind so much in winter as have made a “California Cooler” before, just doesn’t work so well with Texas heat ;) but winter time – would work just fine! The computer and phone, eh, I could do without, but it IS nice to be able to communicate with hubby now and again when he is at work, otherwise I HATE the phone and the computer is a serious distraction to getting things done ;)

So that was my adventure this week, with some thoughts to go along. Have a few ideas rumbling around in the “ol’ noggin’” and hubby is groaning that he can feel his back hurting already – before I even tell him my ideas :D

SIDE NOTE: I am NOT responsible if you try any of this for yourself! Oil WILL burn! Do not leave unattended! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tea Time

Tea Time by myself is just not as fun as with my daughter. Miss you and Love you BUNCHEZ!

But it still makes me smile to think of it :).

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I realize it is October, my favorite time of year. I LOVE Halloween, but I just cant seem to get it in gear and get out decorations. But am enjoying the new cooler days and all the nifty blog posts on Fall and different crafts. There are a bunch!

Not much going on today except that Hubby left for the day and this poor boy so missed him!
That's just pitiful isn't it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Laundry Detergent

I made the laundry detergent :) Did you guess it? I usually use Zote soap but found Fels Naptha this time, and I miss the pink, pink is my favorite color. I know soap is soap, but well, that's how it is.

I use the recipe of
1 1/2 cup Washing Soda
1 1/2 cup Borax
1 bar of soap
2 Tblsp Orange Oil (added to the liquid)

Grate the soap and measure out the dry ingredients. Add it to a blender and chop away.

on the stove put in about 2 cups hot water into a saucepan and add 3/4 cups of the mixture to the water and heat to boiling and soap is dissolved.
 I know this doesn't look like a lot, especially as it is in a 1 gallon jar, but this little bit will make 6 gallons of liquid detergent for you.
add more hot water to your container you will use for the detergent and once everything is dissolved pour into your container. BE CAREFUL IT IS HOT! Add the Orange Oil and CAREFULLY shake to mix. then add enough cool water to container to make a gallon.

Now let it set for overnight to let it gel. I leave it on my kitchen counter so I can shake it periodically as I walk by. Also "gel" is kind of a misnomer, the mixture does turn translucent once dissolved, but a lot of the times its clumpy. That is o.k.! It will still work. Also wash your pan, spoon, and funnel as soon as you can! I waited one time, thinking "it's SOAP!? What could happen?" HAH it took me forever to get them cleaned up again!

Once you need to wash a load of clothes, use 1/2 cup of the liquid detergent for each load, if the clothes are really nasty or if your washer is small, adjust by 1/4 cup.

Side notes:
Also I have a top loading washer and it is my understanding that front loaders are a little touchy on what detergent is used. Consult your manual for your washer! I have heard from different people that they have used the recipe with their front loader with no problems and others did have problems. I can't judge that for you. Also, there is no cost savings if you ruin a washer or void that expensive warranty! All I can say is I have used this for some time now and have had excellent results with no issues with my washer.

The orange oil is purely a personal choice. You can use any oil for scent that you prefer or none at all.

Altogether this should take maybe 20-30 minutes to do. Let me know how it goes for you!

Laundry Soap Cost Breakdown
Borax – 76 oz - $3.54 - $.05 per oz x 12 oz = $0.56
Fels Naptha – $1.05              (Zote is the same price)
Soda – 55 oz - $3.17 - $.06 per oz x 12 oz = $0.69
Orange Oil 32 oz - $14.00 - $.44 per oz x 3 oz = $1.31
Water – 6 gal - $0.015 per gal = $0.09
Total cost = $3.71
Makes 6 gallons. 
16 cups to a gallon. Use ½ cup per load. 32 uses per gallon x 6 gallons = 192 loads 
Cost per load = $0.02 

had to edit realized had old figures with new total - it didnt make sense!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can you guess?

Can you guess what is on the agenda for tomorrow... since I ran out of time today?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Busy Week!

Well Blogland, it has been a busy week! Went to my mothers home to house sit and storms came through and knocked out the phones and internet. Turned out to be an easy fix... once you know what needs fixing! So 3 (4?) days of NO internet or phones... serious withdrawals :)

You would think though with all the "free time" that was suddenly opened; ie time would have spent on internet, that I would have had more time to get those gifts done... nope!

But I am home now, and have a mess to clean up. Hubby tried, he really did, but his and my ideas of cleaning are completely different. Besides he will do laundry etc, not fold clothes, but will clean and dry them. BUT WILL NOT WASH DISHES. Ever. :) But he did try. And it would have been so much worse than if he hadn't, so it was very much appreciated.

So guess what I will be doing for the next couple of days?