Thursday, December 6, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I have dabbled off and on with making my own laundry detergent for years.  The liquid stuff was fun, but a bother to make.  Last year I came across a powdered alternative using the same ingredients and gave it a try.  I just was not as happy with how clean the clothes were coming out though compared to the Tide I was using.  Thanks to Pinterest I am back on the DIY wagon.

I while back I came across a "Pin" for this DIY Laundry Detergent.  The time was fast approaching when I would have to pay another 30 bucks for a box of detergent, so instead I rounded up the ingredients for this homemade version.

Here is what you need if you want to try it for yourself:
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda  (Note this not baking soda- there is a difference.)
1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean- Opt. ( I used the Sun alternative because I like to to save money-leaves more for quilt fabric you know!)
2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap
1 (4 lb) Box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda- (I always get the the big bag from Sam's so measured mine out with the kitchen scale)
1-2 (55 oz)Bottle of Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer. (I chose the Lavendar scent and used one bottle)

I found everything I needed at the superstore except for the Zote bars.  Our store only carries Fels-Naptha which is what I have always used in the past.  Having done a good bit of research it seems that over time the Fels starts to dull the colors on clothes.  I still love it as a pre-treater though.  The Zote bars I had to order from Amazon-but I am on the lookout for a local supplier as some find them at dollar type stores for around 90 cents rather that the 3.00 dollars a bar I paid.

You will need a large bucket- five gallon would work well.  I used one of my recycling bins.  The hardest part is preparing the Zote.  We are on a septic and I need the soap to be very fine so that it dissolves easily in the water.  My process was to open the bars and let them air dry for a couple of days.  Then I zapped them in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  If you do this watch very closely and do not leave the microwave unattended.  The science person in me loves how this makes the bars a pink oozing blob.  Next I popped those blobs into my extra coffee grinder to give me a very fine powder.  A lot of people use a grater rather than the microwave method, some even put it into a food processor or blender- do what works best for you and your situation.

Next I started mixing everything together.  I added about a third of all of my ingredients and mixed them thoroughly, then added another third of each ingredient, mixed, and then added the last of the ingredients and mixed it all up until I was satisfied that it was all well blended.

At this point I have to mention the house smelled like a field of flowers, which lasted for several days.  Fine by me and the men did not complain.  I refilled the Purex Crystals container, two 48 oz containers I had in the laundry room, and 2 1/2 gallon size Ziploc bags with my detergent.  I feel like this pink and lavender concoction needs a prettier jar- something like this perhaps:

Now for the really hard to believe part.  I use just 1-2 Tablespoons of detergent per load in my HE machine!!!  I may have enough detergent made to last me for a year doing 5-7 loads a week.  And I paid less for all of my supplies than one box of Tide that does apprx. 80 loads.

It is probably just my imagination but the whites seem whiter.  What is not my imagination is that I no longer have to add a dryer sheet to my loads, even as we enter the time of year where that static cling seems to worsen.  I was totally won over however, when I forgot about a load over the weekend.  Usually I have to run it through a time or two to get that musty smell out, but this load smelled just as fresh and clean as if they had just completed the wash cycle.

I think I finally found a DIY detergent that I can love.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Partners in Evil

This fall I have been in a battle for the truth.  That sounds dramatic doesn't it?  But really that is what it boils down to.  I have heard things like; it is foolish to suggest we only use the Bible as the source for our teaching, we can use the good points an author makes without agreeing with all that is in the book, that is a sign of maturity (even if that author aligns himself/herself with false teachings.)  I am feeling let down by shepherds in the church who are not protecting the sheep from error.

I  read 2 John this morning.  It is a short letter from John, the Elder.  Some sources believe that the Apostle John was around 100 years old when he penned this letter.  It's recipient: "the chosen lady and her children." I don't know who that woman was, some even believe this is code for the Church.  Either way this letter is filled with the importance of knowing the truth.  That word truth is used three times in just the first two verses and six times in the letter's 13 verses.  John was happy to have met some of her children and to have found them living in the truth.  I like to think this woman was teaching her children well, but John suggests there is a problem.  First he urges her to be obedient to God's command to love one another and adds, "Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning." (NLT1)  This morning I am seeing a two-fold meaning here: the first, love one another; the second, recognizing what it means to love someone the way God loves them.  It is not a love that is blind, but one that seeks the best for the other, and we know that the best is bound up in truth- love cannot compromise the truth.

John then moves on to warn her that "many deceivers have gone out into the world." (v.7a)  The Greek word used here is Plan'-os and denotes an imposter (noun) and as an adjective signifying "wandering or leading astray, seducing." (from Strong's Greek 4108)  John says that "such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist."  Wow- we don't say things like that about people- an antichrist?!  I guess by definition those "who are not with Me (Jesus) are against me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters." Such a person would indeed be an anti-Christ.  I am more comfortable with the words "false teacher," and even that I hesitate to say, but I think the Church needs to get bold again about calling things what they are as we have allowed too much false teaching to infiltrate the body, we no longer even recognize it or it's dangers.  And it's dangers are matters of life and death.  Which gets back to the idea of loving one another the way God does.

So what does John say to this woman about the deceivers?  Watch out, be on guard, pay attention, be diligent- so that she does not lose what has been accomplished, but receives a full reward. (v.8)  I don't like this verse for it suggests that I can lose ground in my faith.  Again, I am led to believe that John sees this as an extremely important issue- something that we must not ignore, for doing so is perilous.  Why is it so dangerous?  "For if you wander beyond the teaching of Christ, you will not have fellowship with God."  There you have it.  "But if you continue in the teaching of Christ, you will have fellowship with both the Father and the Son."  Sounds so simple really, but those deceivers are really good at what they do, and they do it so sincerely, many because they themselves have allowed themselves to be deceived and so promote false teaching/doctrine.  (This is where I hammer in the idea of Sola Scriptura-by Scripture alone.  Read The Book, it is the safest place to be if you do not want to wander away from the teaching of Christ.  Don't take my word for it, don't take the top selling author's word for it, don't take your pastor's word for it- check everything against this one Book.  It takes work on our part, but I cannot stress enough that we dare not be lazy in this regard.  John MacArthur has stated in effect that a mark of a true believer is one who has a love for the Word, one who holds it in highest regard and longs to be in it.)

And now I come to the verses that led me to write as I have this morning.  "If someone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don't invite him into your house or encourage him in any way.  Anyone who encourages him becomes a partner in his evil work." (v.10-11, NLT-1991 version)  The NASB says to not even greet the person, for in greeting them you participate in their evil deeds.  Think twice about buying that book!  Think twice about using materials that lend financial support to those who do not teach the truth about Christ.  They are out there in our churches dear ones- popular authors who say there is no hell, that everyone is going to heaven for God would never turn any away.  There are those out there who would have us delve into the practices of eastern mystics with their teachings on contemplative prayer and the "spiritual disciplines."  I read somewhere recently that you can judge an author by their bibliography.  Many of the books out there encouraging the modern church in these practices have very interesting bibliographies indeed.  Do you know who Aldous Huxley and Thomas Merton were.  It is on these mens writings that much of the teaching we hear today is coming from- they are the "fathers" of contemplative/centering prayer.  Merton was a Roman Catholic monk who held to the belief that all religions had the same basic truth and Christianity could not lay claim to the whole counsel of God.  What do you think John would have to say about inviting the thoughts of these men into our homes, our churches, and yet that is exactly what we are doing when we pick up a copy of Celebration of Discipline for example.  I have a copy sitting on my desk right now- I purchased it back in the 1980's when the church I was attending at the time began a study based on this book.  I told myself that while I did not agree with everything Richard Foster wrote I could still cull some good ideas from it's pages.  Hmmmm- I don't think that argument would go very far with John the Elder.

And so my thoughts return to the woman John was writing to- and to her children.  Some translations say that John met "some" of her children and they were walking in the truth- what about the others?  Had they wandered away because the woman had allowed some deceivers into her home?

Be careful out there today,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Santa Quilt Progress

I have been busy in my workshop (aka quilt studio) the month of November.  Someone in my life is getting a Santa quilt.  There have been a lot of firsts for me on this one so far.  First time to really take a pattern and make it my own.  Last year I purchased this pattern from Country Appliques called Belsnickel Santas.

I chose one of the Santas and made three for the blocks.

 Then I designed a patchwork tree to go with them.

I wanted to jazz up the background for the Santas so did a crazy patchwork style for them.  I also decided I wanted to do an applique border and so far this is what I have.

Need to finish needle-turning the last three leaves 
and then add heart shaped to-yos to the centers.
(the stripes on top are the beginnings of the final borders that will finish it off.)  

This is the first time I have gotten serious with needle-turn applique and every so often my fingers needed a break from the pricking so I also have been putting in some time on the McKenna Ryan wildflower quilt I had hoped to finish this year.

Four more blocks finished and ready to be added to the others:
Yellow Bell
The last four have not been sewn in yet,
but this is how they will be set with the previous blocks.
And in case that was not enough I also started working my way through  Sally Collins book.  A very generous friend gifted me with and Amazon card and what better way to spend it than on quilting stuff!  This was one of my purchases.  I have already seen an improvement in the precision of my piecing, enough so that I am willing to tackle some three inch blocks.  More on those later.

Not as productive a month as I had hoped, but I am enjoying the flow of creative juices and that is something that had been missing for a while.

Have you got any projects in the works?  I would love to hear!


Sitting at His Feet: A Different Kind of Party?

I have some unfinished business at my other blog, where I led a study of Ephesians this past Spring at church.  I finished the study with the ladies but never finished posting my thoughts...

I have been trying to decide what to do for my next study- any suggestions would be appreciated!

Sitting at His Feet: A Different Kind of Party?: Ephesians 5:18-21 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalm...