Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Christmas Time

Every year I seem to be on the hunt for something I can make A LOT of for cheap, so that I have simple gifts on hands for aunties and Grandmas and wonderful friends. Last year I made a million homemade bath bombs (which is wicked fun and I highly recommend!). Of course goodies are always an option and there's the old home made cocoa mix or bean soup in a jar ideas, too.
But this year, thanks to everyone's new favorite website pinterest I had a bazillion ideas. I ultimately settled on something a little more practical than Christmas normally calls for. Laundry Soap.

Yes, it's true.  I made them laundry soap. 

I found the recipe here, via pinterest.
I personally think it's just lovely:

Home made laundry soap

If you'd like to make some of your own, here's how you do it:

You'll need
1 box of Borax (4lb 12oz)
1 box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (550z) (Google told me that washing soda is baking soda that has been heated to make it more alkaline)
1 large box of Arm and Hammer baking soda (4lb)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap
2 containers of oxyclean (optional)

All of these ingredients are merchandised together in the laundry aisle of my local Wal Mart.  I haven't checked other stores but my guess is that you can get them anywhere. 

The prep on this is really simple.  Just grate the soap on a cheese grater.  I found that the larger holes on my grater worked best.  Then, just bring all the ingredients together in a kitchen sized garbage bag, inside of a garbage can or bucket or hamper.  Mix it together nicely with your hands, breaking up any clumps as you go.  Be careful not to accidentally squeeze a handful of laundry soap gratings like I did, they'll clump up tightly and need to be broken up again.  And that's it!  You have laundry soap. 

During my research about this soap I have discovered MANY other homemade laundry soap recipes that use essentially the same ingredients.  Some even use Ivory soap.  One commenter on a soap recipe said that she uses mini hotel soaps that her husband brings back from his business travel.  Not a bad idea if you're feeling super broke.

You only need to use 1 Tablespoon per load.  I've been using this soap for about 2 weeks now (without the oxyclean) and one tablespoon seems to work perfectly.  Other recipes I've seen online call for 2 or 3 tablespoons, but as far as I can see that's not at all necessary.

7 jars this size cost me about $14 to make (not including the jars themselves, which were $3 each, if you're curious).  The jars as shown hold approximately 60 loads worth of soap which works out to about 3-ish cents per load.  The recipe makes 420 loads of soap in total, for about 14 dollars.  I'd say that's like A LOT cheaper than any other soap out there.

Lastly I wanted to ad that I have been using it in an HE washing machine and it hasn't foamed up too much or caused me any problems consistent with non-HE detergent.  It melts just fine in cold water AND it is comparable to Free and Clear detergent in terms of gentleness on skin.  It hasn't bothered me at all.

In other crafty exploits:

I recently found this adorable mobile on Pinterest, which inspired me to create a cute DIY Christmas Card display. I made it completely out of supplies I had on hand, including 3-4 spools of ribbon, a little hot glue, a lamp shade frame and some tiny little clear clips (designed to clip string lights to a tree) that I purchased on clearance at Target at the end of summer.

Something Crafty

Christmasy colors would have been more Christmasy, of course, but this way I can use the mobile year round.  Plus, I already had this ribbon on hand.

Now, hopefully someone will send me some Christmas cards! :)

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