DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Finished Wool Dryer Balls

Simple.  Natural.  Effective

As soon as I came across these balls I knew I had to have them!!!  Like so many awesome things, I found them on pinterest.  Like etsy, I LOVE pinterest.  Others loath it.   No biggy.

I drip a few drops of my fav essential oils onto each ball and I use 4 balls all at once  I’ve NEVER bought dryer sheets.   When I left home mid 20’s it never crossed my mind to ever buy them.  Now in my early 30’s I’m glad I didn’t waste my money or health on dryer sheets.  They contain awful, synthetic chemicals and call them “mountain fresh”.  I love the mountains and I can tell you first hand they do not smell the way dryer sheets claim.  Using wool dryer balls, with or without essential oils, is a safe, effective and economical way to dry clothes.

PILLING ALERT ** I would NOT recommend using them with any materials such as Nikes DryFIit, Adidas ClimaCool, Lululemon Luon etc.  The wool balls will cause pilling!

Benefits of using wool dryer balls.

– wool is a natural material containing no harsh synthetic chemicals

– shortens the drying time of your laundry by helping to separate the clothes.

– uses less electricity and saves you money

What you’ll need 

– R-E-A-L wool (not a wool blended with any other material like cotton or acrylic)

***it must be real 100% wool for the balls to felt properly

***be sure the wool is not super wash wool

What you’ll do

– start by wrapping the wool around 3 fingers about 8-10 times.

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– remove the wool and wrap the centre about 6-8 times.

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– carefully begin wrapping the wool around its self to begin creating a small ball.  I prefer to wrap the wool one direction about 5 times and then slightly change the direction and repeat.  It’s important to wrap the ball with some tension.  Too loose of wool could result in slight unraveling of the outer layer of your final dryer ball.

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– secure the end of your wool by threading it through a tapestry needle and pushing it into the centre of your ball.

– i prefer to make the ball 10.5 inches in diameter BEFORE I felt it.

Remember the wool will shrink (aka felt) so that 10.5 inches will be much smaller once washed & dryer HOT!

Felting happens when the wool is washed in HOT soapy water and dried in HOT.  This shrinks the wool, causing the wool fibers to cling together.

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– place the ball in a stocking/pantyhose & tie a knot, add the next ball, tie another knot and repeat.  You  should be able to fit 4-5 balls per stocking leg.

– throw the wool ball/pantyhose combo into your regular wash .  Agitation is important so try washing the balls with jeans and try to avoid washing them with items like towels.  Once the wash is done toss them into the dryer, while still in the pantyhose and with your clothes.

– after the dryer is done, simply untie each knot in the pantyhose and admire your new wool dryer ball!

*** If the ball looks like its unraveled a bit not to worry.  I simply wrap the ball a few more times with new wool and repeat the HOT water wash & dry like before.  I get some unraveling about 20% of the time.  It just means I didn’t wrap the outer layer of wool tight enough.

Don’t feel like making your own??  These will be for sale on my etsy site shortly  I’ll share the link once its up!

Best,

Julie

DIY: Awesome Smelling Playdough

DIY playdough revision 1

It makes PLENTY!  So you could half the recipe or share with a friend!

YOU WILL NEED (per ball/colour of jello)

I cup – white Flour

2 Tbs – cream of tartar

2 Tbs – cooking oil ( I used avocado oil)

1 pkg/3oz – jello

2 tbs – salt

1 cup – warm water

STEPS

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. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium pot or sauce pan

. “cook” it all over MEDIUM-LOW heat (my gas stove is really hot so use your own smarts to when it comes to this step).

. stir the mixture CONTINUOUSLY until it thickens and is tough to mix.  It will begin forming into a ball

. remove the mixture from the heat

. dust your counter top or cutting board with flour.  Let the play dough cool on that floured surface.

. once cooled, knead the dough with additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky (1/2-3/4 cup)

The play dough is now ready for action!  Store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to approximately one month.  When the dough becomes sticky simply knead a lil more flour into it.

Play Dough clump

DIY: Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish

Let me start with a confession.  A year ago I was looking to buy an overpriced, toxic stainless steel cleaner.  Then I had a word with myself.  “Self, use vegetable oil to clean the stainless”.

( I learned many moons ago that oil cleans oil and dirt off surfaces.  This included the human face.  Ever tried using coconut oil to remove eye makeup?  It’s amazing at lifting the mask off our eyes and is safely and naturally moisturizing ).

So I used olive oil to “clean” my stainless steal appliances for a while.  I used this method until I realized it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  I found I could scrape a layer of grime off the surface.  The grime was a combo of old olive oil, dust and what ever else floats through the air in a home.

stainless steel fridge before & after

My Stainless Steel Fridge: Before & After results

My solution?!  Lemon essential oil!  What a goldmine of a discovery!!  I’ve used lemon oil to remove sticky substances so why not remove stainless steel grime.

DoTerra Lemon revision 1

doTerra Lemon Essential Oil

Use a soft cloth with the Lemon oil.  Rub with a little elbow grease along the grain of the stainless steel.  I did rub in a circular motion but found better results when I stayed with the grain of the steel.

This is a small example of what I got off my steel.

stainless steel junkI’ve managed to flip over all my cleaning supplies from toxic mayhem to non-toxic magic!   I have two exceptions that I haven’t managed to successfully replace.  I still have a couple Mr. Clean magic erasers and windex on the shelf.  If you know of a better option that works amazingly PLEASE do share:)

Thanks 🙂

DIY: Caring for Wooden Utensils

Wooden Spoons CollageI’m not a fan of buying something I don’t need.  This includes wooden spoons!  I’d rather maintain than replace:)

I had a look at my wooden utensils the other day and man were they tired looking!  They had a food smell to them (big surprise right!) and they lacked their original new wood look.  So I went to them with my essential lemon oil from DoTerra and some salt.  The lemon oil naturally deodorized the wood and the salt was a natural abrasive.

YOU WILL NEED

well used wooden utensils

lemon essential oil ( I use doTerra oil )

salt

natural soap or what ever soap you wash your dishes with

warm water

coconut oil (olive oil works well too)

a clean rag

STEPS

. rubbed the lemon/salt mixture well into the wood, let it rest for 5 minutes. (2-3 drops of lemon oil per utensil should do it.

. gently wash with Dr. Bronners Soap or dish soap under warm water and dry them.

. take a finger gob of coconut oil and a clean cloth (make sure to use a cloth you don’t mind having an oil stain on).

. rub the oil coconut oil or what ever oil you’re using into the entire spoon.   Your done! no need to wipe, rinse etc the oil away:)

I immediately saw how “thirsty” the wood had been.  The dry wooden spoons sucked up the coconut oil really well.  Once the wooden spoons had a coconut oil rub-down I laid them on my counter to soak up the rest of the oil on the wood surface.

PS: This same method can also be done on your wooden cutting boards.

If you’re interested in essential oils form DoTerra I’m an Independent Product Consultant and can help you learn more about oils, how to use them and their benefits.

6 DIY Advent Calendars

The Christmas season is almost here.  I got to thinking about advent calendars and how as a kid eating that crappy chocolate really wasn’t all that fun.  Even at 4 years old I though it tasted awful!  I did however enjoy tearing the perforated cardboard to see what shape the chocolate was for that day!  On a quest to start a family tradition I started searching for a nostalgic way to continue the tradition with my own family.  I came across some awesome ideas and just had to share them with you.

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photo credits Cherished Bliss (top right), Sas Interiors (Second from top on right), Echoes of laughter (Middle on right),Visual Heart (second from bottom on right), Drachenbabies (Bottom on right), Dandee-designs (on left)

1 – Mason Jar Lid 12 Day Advent Calendar

The handy gals at Cherished bliss are to thank for this idea. They skipped the usual 25 day advent calendar and made it a 12 day count down.  Great idea for those who get impatient:)  Pretty well all of the required supplies are things you’ll have around the house if you’re into making and creating. If not, than I’m sure you’ll be able to improvise

2- Stenciled Muslin Bag Advent Calendar

These stencilled muslin bags take a little more time if you’re stencilling each one.  To speed up the process you could just stencil on the numbers in holiday colours and have it up and ready in no time!  Echoes of laughter gives an awesome play by play tutorial.  I think this is the one I want to do for my home.

3-Yarn Wreath Advent 

Danyelle of Dandee has incorporated an advent calendar onto a wreath to make fantastic awesome holiday decor.  A simple wicker wreath wrapped in yarn is the base of this calendar.  Fastened with clothes pegs are the festive red envelopes printed with numbers 1 through 25.  In each envelope there’s an advent activity!  If you have kids or just a really fun spouse doing an activity over eating poor chocolate is the way to go!

4 – Clothes Peg Advent Calendar

Get ready to up cycle & re-porpose!  This DIY advent calendar is inexpensive and all supplied needed are easily found around the house or at your neighbourhood thrift store.   Visual Heart has an amazingly eclectic selection of DIY ideas.   I’d be silly to not share this Vancouverite with my readers.

5- Pallet Christas Countdown Tree

I love me a good DIY pallet project!  Get out your measuring tape, nails and saw for this one!  Takes a little more prep work but it’s rustic charm is well worth it.  Sas interiors has created an advent calendar that hosts no morsels to chew nor activities to do.  You count down the days by adding a new holiday ornament as each new day arrives.  The finished look is prefect.

 

6 – Glass Jar Advent Calendar

This is a perfect fit for on a mantle or in that unusable wood burning fire place that so many homes seem to have.  It will warm the house and create that fuzzy, cozy holiday feeling.  Gather 25 glass jars of varying sizes, washi tape, tea lights and stencil on your numbers!  Voila!  Your new advent calendar is ready!  This awesome creation came from Drachenbabies “Sewing-Diary”.  It’s an awesome site that I wish I could translate.  Luckily this DIY tutorial is pretty self explanatory.

December is almost here!!!! So you and I better get crackin’!
Happy December festivities 🙂
Julie

DIY: silver polish

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It’s no secret that I prefer natural methods of cleaning, cooking, eating and life in general.  When I came across my nasty, heavily tarnished silver I didn’t deviate from this preference.  Without further ado here is what I did.

 what you’ll need

– tarnished silver jewellery or silver cutlery

– kettle of HOT boiled water

– glass or ceramic medium sauce pan

– baking soda

– aluminum foil

what you’ll do

– line the medium sauce pan with a sheet of foil (I placed the foil SHINY side up)

– lay your silver on the foil.  Be sure it has contact with the foil

– sprinkle baking soda over your silver

– pour the boiled water over your silver so that it covered and allow it to sit for 5 minutes

– after 5 minutes carefully remove your silver from the HOT water, rinse it in cool water and dry it completely with a clean cloth

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above: silver magically coming clean

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above: silver just out of its baking soda & hot water bath

That’s all there is to it!

No scrubbing, no harsh chemicals just a couple of everyday household goods!

Time to shine up!!  xo julie

etsy love

It’s no secret I LOVE etsy and you might too!

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Its an awesome on line community of artists and crafters from all over the world who sell their handmade or vintage goods.  The selection of items have shown nearly no limits.  Although I haven’t searched for a home on etsy I could buy nearly everything I need for my home on there.  Need a handmade coffee table made out of reclaimed wood? How about some new pillows for your sofa? Bikini for your next surf or a floppy hat for your next trip to wine country?

I made my first purchase on etsy about 2.5 years ago.  I bought my bridesmaids gifts, wedding invites and a BIG banner for my wedding from there.  The banner has hand painted words onto canvas and came from a Kara Melwood in Alberta, Calgary.  The bracelets I gifted to my bridesmaids came from a selling LeAnn Larson in Minnesota,
United States.   I have since bought just over 25 items from sellers on etsy.

My love for etsy satisfies my deep belief that supporting business at the grass roots level is highly important to community, fellowship and personal health.  And besides, it’s an AWESOME way to get my hands on goods from anywhere in the world.  There’s something special about quality handmade goods.  I absolutely love knowing that I’ve purchased something directly from the person who’s made it themselves.  I’d like to someday open up my own etsy shop and get my “etsy-on”.  I wish to have my own little work shop one day where I can paint, stain and create like the best of them.  I’ve limited experience in doing so but I know that I can.

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chalkboardpaint

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Confession time.  I have a new addiction.  It’s an old time addiction for some.  I just discovered chalk board paint about four months ago.  Any avid DIY’er would be having a chuckle by now.  Turns out the matte paint has been a hit in the DIY department for ages.  Not having a Home Depot or a mega craft store within walking distance has helped postpone my personal discovery of the stuff.   I’d happily paint an entire wall for my 1.5 year old to chalk up if my husband and I owned our condo.   I’ll save that chalkboard dream for when we own a home and have a wicked playroom for the kiddies. In the mean time I’m happy to paint old mirrors with the matte paint and dive right in as if it’s never been done before.

I’ve played around the paint on (roller/brush) version.  I used Martha Stewarts grey chalk board paint over an old mirror.  I primed the mirror surface first and painted three coats of the grey.  It only called for two coats but I’m picky and did one more.  The chalkboard paint rolled on well, dried well and lives up to any chalkboard standards you may have.  Remember the important step of coating your newly painted chalkboard surface with a layer of chalk BEFORE writing anything on it.  Turn your piece of chalk on its side and rub it over your entire chalkboard surface.  Once I did that step I was clear for take off and have happily written many messages with no ‘stain’ of old worlds left behind from previous writing.  I’ll post my mirror converted to chalkboard in the very near future.  In the mean time I’ll continue to dream via pinterest for more ways to use chalkboard paint!