Thursday, April 23, 2009

I did some greening this last weekend!

First of all, I bought enough reusable bags to take on a normal grocery shopping trip. Can I just say that I LOVE them? So much easier to carry than plastic ones.

And I also bought Dr. Bronner's and mixed up some all purpose cleaning solution. No more soft scrub in my house! Now I think I will need to start buying the giant bags of baking soda at Costco since my little box in the cupboard won't last long!

I'm also contemplating buying flour and sugar in bulk like that. Less packaging, less waste. And it stores for awhile. I just don't know where in my house I would store it. I don't have any pantry space...

In other news, I bought a spindle. Actually, I bought this:

On Etsy. I don't know why, but I have this fascination with homespun yarn and decided I might as well try to make it myself. Strangely enough, I feel like I've spun before... I wonder if my mom did it as a craft project for us children before. I'll have to ask her.

Well, it came in the mail this morning, dropped off at my work. Thankfully, I went home for lunch so I started spinning... and it's yarn! It doesn't look perfect, but that's the beauty of handspun yarn, isn't it? I'm just working with the alpaca fibers that came with the spindle for now. But, I've been researching places online to get wool fibers. I found a real store in Spokane that sells spindles and supplies so the next time the husband and I get up there I'm going to track it down.

Even though I only spun for 30 minutes or so, I'm itching to get it in my hands again! I think I'm addicted. I just really want to spin up the rest of the fiber so I can finish it and make something with it! What to make? I might dye it first (it will be my first time dyeing yarn too!) I don't have any idea of how much yarn the fiber will make. I'll post a picture of the process once I get something finished. Maybe a cup cozy or a scarf. Or some baby booties... who knows?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More crafting...

So, the pi symbol and the little funny shaped toy are for a friend of mine who is having a little boy. She's a math nerd and I thought she'd enjoy the pi. And, it makes a perfect baby toy because it's easy to grab onto. The funny shaped toy is actually a rattle, it has a bell inside so it makes a little bit of noise.

These shoes were made to try out a pattern. I used some scrap fabric I had and the bottom of the shoes are cut from off-white stiff placemats that were stained during the first use. I think they turned out pretty good. For the next pair, I need to work on the elastic. The shoe on the right isn't as tight as the other one.

So, those are my latest crafting projects. The pi took me awhile because I set it down for a month or so. The rattle took me about an hour and the shoes about that too! Pretty quick little projects!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another step: Cut out the fake creamer!

So, I cut out our Coffee Mate creamer, effective this morning. I found the recipe by googling creamer recipes. There were lots of options but I chose one using sweetened condensed milk, regular milk and flavoring.

Here's the recipe:
One can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups regular milk
Any flavoring you want!

I added a capful of vanilla and a capful of almond (which, by the way, goes a LONG way... there was a lot of almond flavor from that small capful.)

I mixed it together in an old Ragu jar (16 ounces)- see I knew those saved jars would come in handy! We just have to remember to shake it well before pouring it into the coffee.

I have to say that it was good. I did add a little more sweetened vanilla syrup to my cup, but it was really good. And it was nice to know that my coffee actually had milk in it and not some milk derivative. Have you ever read the label on a Coffee Mate bottle? Yeah, not so much cream in there!

Next step- actually getting reusable grocery bags and remembering to use them!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some sewing projects!

I made a newborn gown and then a newborn sweatshirt!
I used the same pattern, just shortened it for the sweatshirt. I used some fabric I bought at Goodwill... it was about five yards for $2.50. So, these things cost almost nothing to make!
I think the newborn gown turned out really cute. So, I'm going to make a few more for some friends of mine who are pregnant.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More eco change

I know, these eco changes are tiny... and done mostly out of a desire to save us money! But, a change is a change, right?

Anyway, when I was a kid my mom always bought blocks of cheese and grated it as needed. There were five of us so she would grate mounds of it for macaroni and cheese (we never had the boxed kind), tacos or pizza. I remember trying to sneak a handful because it was so good.

When I was on my own, I just bought the bags of preshedded cheese. It was just me and it was so much easier. I'm pretty sure I didn't even own a grater. This habit of buying bagged cheese continued after I got married. I bought two or three bags of it every week for tacos, lasagna, or toppings for pasta.

Well, then I started comparing prices. Good grief! I couldn't believe how much I was spending on grated cheese compared to buying it in a block. So, I switched to block cheese recently. Of course, the grater I had broke the first day I used it. So I sent the husband to Ross and he bought me a heavy duty stainless steel box grater with the no slip rubber on the bottom. I had put that thing to good use since I got it.

When I have some spare time in the kitchen now, I just grate half a block of cheese and we keep it in a plastic container. This way, it's readily available when I just need a little bit as a garnish or if I'm trying to make a quick dinner of tacos and the grater is dirty in the sink.

I didn't really think of this as being eco friendly- more saving us money. But, really, all those plastic bags the cheese came in with the ziploc top were being thrown away! And, I'm sure that there were extra preservatives and chemicals to keep the cheese from getting clumpy. I've even noticed that I've gone back to snitching some grated cheese. I never just snacked on the grated cheese out of the bag because it looked so dry and unappetizing.

So, even if it wasn't a concious eco change, I figure I'll rack it up as one anyway.

Next up, getting rid of our Coffee Mate creamer. I found several recipes using evaporated milk and flavor. That'll save us a ton too!