Friday, February 6, 2009

Arts Rush 2009

After the last few weeks of snow and ice we could all use a little culture. Several Louisville arts organizations including the Kentucky Center, IUS Ogle Center, Louisville Palace and Actors Theatre are offering a limited number of $10 tickets two hours before curtain time. Go here

for the full range of offerings. If you are not in Louisville, I'm betting that every arts group in the country is offering some sort of deal to keep them going during these lovely economic times. They and all other non-profits need our help to keep the lights on. Instead of a movie, buy local and go see a play produced by a regional theater.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fantasy Travel Thursday

Travis McGee is going to Florida tomorrow for a birthday party and I am very jealous. I couldn't get the time off of work so pfffftt! In response to this I am going on a fantasy vacation to Menton, France on the Riviera. No, I have not been there but it's somewhere I'd like to go and today seems as good as anytime. Above you'll see a beautiful view of the city from the harbor at night. I so love this view. Below, now don't get jealous, but this is the view of the sea from my hotel room. I often have cocktails at the little table on the veranda. They make a fantastic bellini here and the waiters are gorgeous.

Below you'll see the quaint little corridor in the Old Town that leads to the spa where I get my daily massage and hot stone treatment. Olga is the best and throws in a pedicure for free!

Don't you feel better? I know I do. This is possibly the cheapest vacation I have ever taken. Send me your pictures and comments on where you're taking your fantasy vacation today and I'll post the pics. I promise, you'll feel better. Wish you were here!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent Part II

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent is a Success! We have now done several loads and I can honestly say we will probably not go back. As you can see, Travis McGee thinks the towels smell really good. So here's the lowdown on what we did and what we learned.

  • We used Ivory soap. I know, the picture on yesterday's post shows Fels Naptha. I bought it but then discovered that it is perfumed. And not in a pretty way. It smelled too chemically for me. But lots of people use it and also Zote. Ivory is three bars for .99 and worked beautifully. Apparently beauty bars (Olay, Tone, etc.) are not good because of the emollients in them that can stain clothes. The idea of simple, cheap Ivory appealed to me.
  • It is kinda fun to make. Like a chemistry set experiment for a three year old. It's so easy it's almost embarrassing. Shave the soap, melt it, mix, done.
  • It does look like egg drop soup after it is finished. Weird but true. It has little clear gel blobs and white strandy looking things. Like, well, egg drop soup.
  • You need to shake it before measuring it out when doing a load.
  • We are using about 3/4 cup per load. Travis McGee does renovation and maintenance for our real estate business so he is forever snaking a sewer line or climbing inside a wall to do plumbing. He's always filthy and so far this stuff is cleaning great.
  • You can get Borax and washing soda in the grocery or Wally World in the laundry aisle. It's 20 Mule Team Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing soda. Both of these products are considered environmentally friendly so yay, environment! If you go on the websites they'll give you a ton of ideas for other uses for these products.
  • It makes the laundry smell really clean. Not in a smells like something else way but really clean. And the clothes feel soft, almost like you used a fabric softener.
  • This detergent does not suds very much. This is not an issue. Apparently this is a good thing for high-efficiency washers. All around the web people say that they have used this stuff just fine with HE. If it blows up your washer don't blame me but you should be fine.
  • A lot of people use essential oils to make it smell good but I didn't bother.
  • Because we are very style conscious at the Basilica, we have packaged our product in an array of fine styles including the well-worn Arm & Hammer detergent bottle, the Ocean Spray Cranberry bottle (my personal favorite) and the bulk size is stored in the large Tidy Cat bucket, always pleasing on a shelf.

To go to Making Homemade Laundry Detergent Part 1 click here

Monday, February 2, 2009

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent Part 1

Here goes with what must be the 6,987,342nd post on the internet about making your own laundry detergent. I cannot believe the amount of bandwidth that has been allocated to this topic and yet here we go again. We have a problem at the Basilica. Travis McGee has a deathly allergy to fabric softener and other smelly chemical things. We are indentifiable in public by the static cling in our clothes. When he comes in contact with said chemicals, his heart wants to stop if left untended and his ears puff up like Princess Leia's hair buns. It is not worth the effort. That said, I am always looking for ways to remove unnecessary chemicals from our life.
We have been buying "free and clear" laundry detergents for several years. Recently though, the prices started going up on those and that does not jibe with our frugal plan. So in the interest of environmental consciousness, keeping Travis McGee alive, and staying stingy I decided to give this a try. I perused approximately 4,289 comments and posts and decided to go the way of The Simple Dollar. This is the grandaddy of this whole process and here is my version of his recipe:

1 bar soap
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Shave the bar of soap into four cups of warm water in a saucepan. Heat and stir until melted. Mix into four gallons of hot water then add washing soda and borax, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Done! Wait 24 hours for it to set up and then bottle or keep in big pickle bucket with a lid. Shake thoroughly before each use and use about one cup per load.

This was a snow day project and it made a ton. I really hope it works and will be reporting back this week on variations and tidbits I have learned about the process.