Jul 052012

DIY party favor bagsLast week my daughter had her birthday party and, as usual, we planned on making little party favor bags for her friends to take home with them.  The morning of the party we went shopping for the necessities we didn’t already have at home, including the usual assortment of treats and little toys for the bags, and we specifically did not buy bags for the favors because I was sure I had some birthday-themed cellophane bags stashed at home in one of my craft room drawers.  Just a few hours before the party, as we were getting ready to put the bags together, I went to dig out the bags I was *sure* I had, only to find a stack of Christmas bags instead.  And 4 valentine ones.  Major bummer.  I was not about to wake my two-year-old up from his nap to run back to the store, so we decided to get creative and find some things around the house to make our own.  What we ended up with were brown paper bags with colorful cards as closures over the top, all hand-decorated.  These were a great little craft project for my daughter and I think they turned out way cuter than store-bought bags.  Most importantly, she had a blast making them and giving them out to her friends.

DIY Party Favor Bags

To make these bags, you’ll first need to gather up some supplies: Continue reading

Jun 212012

how to make laundry detergentHomemade laundry detergent is a great low-cost alternative to commercial laundry soaps and it is very easy to make.  When homemade cleaning products first became an interest for me, store-bought laundry soap was right at the top of my list of things to permanently scratch off my shopping list.  If you do a lot of laundry like I do in my household, you probably already know how the cost of laundry soap really adds up fast, so I want to show you how to make laundry detergent that will save you money and is just as effective (if not more) than most store-bought brands.

This simple laundry detergent recipe only takes 3 ingredients and it is super quick to make.  This recipe will give you a powder detergent, but it can be made into a liquid detergent if you prefer liquid.  I like the powder because it is easier to store and much faster to make, but I know a lot of people like to use the liquid kind so I will do another post soon showing that process.  Whichever option you prefer, I think you will be able to appreciate how economical making your own detergent is.  Also, it doesnt contain the harmful chemicals and fillers that a lot of commercial brands do, so thats a big plus for you and for the environment.  So, lets make some detergent! Continue reading

Apr 192012

grow your own foodSpring is here, which means its time to start thinking about what fruits and vegetables to plant if you plan on having a garden.  While I was working on a list of garden-related topics to write about, I decided it might be good to do a quick post covering some of the awesome benefits of growing your own food.

Of course, there are many more benefits to growing food than what I list here, but I narrowed this list down to the following six, which I feel are the most important: Continue reading

Apr 072012

homemade livingHow would you define homemade living?  For me, it means creating as many of the things I use and consume as possible while eliminating the unnecessary “clutter” of massive amounts of store-bought goods.  For people craving a simpler way of living, I believe this is one of the most important elements.  Making things by hand is a back-to-basics approach to living and it comes with some amazing benefits.  This is not to say that you should never purchase anything from a store – for most of us, that is just not realistic.  But minimizing the amount of things you need to buy by making more at home is very possible for just about everyone.  Before getting into some the benefits that can be gained by living a homemade life, I will list some examples of the types of products that can be handmade.  You can transition to homemade products in just about every area of your life, to one degree or another. Continue reading

Apr 022012

homemade baby wipesHomemade baby wipes are a great alternative to store-bought wipes for many reasons.  One of the most important reasons is that you control the ingredients, so you know exactly what is going onto your baby’s skin when you use the wipes.  Homemade wipes are also cheaper than store-bought wipes, they are easy to make, they can be used for all kinds of messes, and since there is no packaging material to throw away, they are more earth-friendly.

The recipe below is one I have been using for a long time and it is very customizable, so you can tweak any of the ingredients to suit your needs.  It is also a great solution to use with cloth wipes if you prefer not to use disposable wipes.

Homemade Baby Wipes Recipe

Here is what you’ll need to get started: Continue reading

Mar 302012

decluttered officeHave you ever taken a long, hard look around your home to assess how much of what you have is just unnecessary clutter?  For most people, an excess amount of stuff in their living space can be a major source of anxiety, but the idea of clearing it out can be very overwhelming.  I know this all too well from personal experience, as I have always been one of those people who accumulates random stuff that piles up rather quickly.  I know that all the clutter stresses me out, makes me anxious, and inhibits my ability to focus on things I need to be doing, yet for years I have moved tons of stuff around with me and have not made any attempt to let it go.  Recently I decided to tackle the problem head on and it resulted in a massive decluttering/spring cleaning project.  It was a lot of work, but I am so happy that I finally did it.

To simplify the task of decluttering, I have put together a list of six tips that should make the process a little easier for anyone else wanting to create a cleaner living space.
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  Some of these tips come from one of my favorite writers, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.  I expanded on a few of his ideas and added some tips of my own.  If you are like me and avoid eliminating clutter because the task just overwhelms you, this list should help. Continue reading

Mar 272012

Simple living can mean different things to different people, but voluntary simplicity as I describe it here involves changing one’s way of living – often by reducing one’s possessions and becoming more self-sufficient.  Living without excess does not have to mean depriving oneself or living in meager conditions.  It simply means reducing the clutter in one’s life in order to make room to enjoy what is really important.  Many people today have an abundance of material things and time commitments in their lives that create unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! -Henry David Thoreau

Just about everyone can take action to simplify their lives and benefit from it.  Does the idea of stressing less and enjoying life more appeal to you?  It should!  Reducing the amount of unnecessary things in your living space and cutting down on excessive time commitments can have an unbelievable impact on your life.  You might not even realize how much needless stuff you have until you start to eliminate it.  The idea of cutting down might seem overwhelming, which is to be expected.  But if you make the process itself more simple by tackling tasks and implementing changes one small step at a time, you can be on a worry-free path to some very positive changes in your life.  Every little thing you do, no matter how small, can feel like a breath of fresh air. Continue reading