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Thursday, January 19, 2012

No Cash Trash Bash: Beautiful Boozy Bookend

I'm a little pleased with myself right now, so please bear with me.  It cost me $0 to make this craft.  Absolutely freeeee is my favorite craft budget!  I have been stashing all the materials to make this craft for a while, until I finally had everything together.

All you need is an empty 6-pack.  Keep the whole thing: cardboard pack and the bottles.  I say keep the bottle caps too, because you know I'm going to come up with something to do with 'em in no time.  Luckily, I live with a young man in his 20's and so these are ALWAYS stacked plentifully in the recycle bin and I can have my pick.  I highly recommend that you wash these out with dish soap and let them dry for a good long while.  I called this  a "Boozy Bookend", but let's get real; I do not want my desk or bookshelf to reek of old beer.  Gross.  To be fair, if you don't have access to beer bottles because you don't drink, you could do the same thing with Coca-Cola glass bottles in a 6-pack, but I don't live in 1954, so they're not readily available to me.  I think there are flavored sodas in glass bottle 6-packs at the grocery store, but as I said before the appeal of this craft for me was that it was FREE materials.  Deal with it.

I really don't know what came over me yesterday.  One minute I was waking up at 7a.m. to get ahead on homework (confession:  I had a post due for one of my online classes at 9a.m. and may or may not have procrastinated a touch.)  The next thing I knew, I had done a day's worth of school work in less than two hours and by 9a.m. I had three crafts going an one time!  (Look for the frame and magazine pages in upcoming posts)  I may have lost my mind for just a sec, but it worked.  I found out that my white acrylic paint is alarmingly thin, so I was able to work on other crafty projects between the million or so coats it took to achieve full-coverage. 

I use dried roses in this post.  These roses from a bouquet I received after my fall were dried for 3ish days before I placed them in these bottles.  If you don't know how to dry roses so that they keep their shape and color, comment below and I'll share that.  I've been doing it since high school, so I will just go on assuming that everyone knows how to do that.

On to the actual tutorial...
Step 1:  Wash the bottles out.  Seriously, this is non-negotiable.  Let them dry completely before painting.  Step 2: Paint the bottles with acrylic.  Thinner gloss paints will require multiple coats (the white took 5 or more for full coverage) whereas thicker flat coats were full-coverage in only a coat or two.  The purple was a flat paint, so after it dried I covered with Mod Podge to give a gloss finish and protect the paint.  Step 3: Spray paint the cardboard container.  I recommend priming with primer or acrylic paint.  ESPECIALLY on the exposed raw cardboard on the inside of the container.  It just soaks spray paint right up.
Step 4: Once everything is dry, plop them together and stick 'em on a shelf.  TaDa!!!  That wasn't so hard now, was it?

Linked up at the following parties: Crafty Soiree, Blog Stalking Thursday, Hookin' up with HOH, Show off your stuff party

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hanging Bathroom Organizer

This post is a super quicky post.  I don't have a lot of detailed description because the instructions are so simple.  Please enjoy all the pictures, though!

I bought this block of wood at Goodwill two or three months ago.  It was half off, so I paid less than a dollar for it.  I just couldn't resist the potential of something clearly crafted with a purpose, but left half-finished.  It seemed to speak to me, but I waited until it was practically shouting before I got around to doing something with it.  It became a wonderful bathroom addition.

For starters, I purchased a can of spray on primer.  I wasn't sure exactly how or what I was going to paint it, but I figured raw wood was going to drink up whatever I put on there.  I actually primed it the week I brought it home.  It proceeded to sit politely on my shelf and wait for MONTHS to be given a purpose.  I finally figured out what I could use it for, and began my attack.  I painted it all over a lovely "Tiffany Blue" color.  I used E6000 to adhere the tops of three glass jars to the underside (to hold my bobby pins and hair ties).  I replaced the too-short rope with a piece of white-ish ribbon.  I hung it all up with a "Hercules Hook" which boasts a strength of 50lbs.  I am so pleased with how this turned out!  I love perusing the shelves of Goodwill for hidden treasures.

The Victorious Return of Bathtub Laundry

I wrote the following as an entry in my old blog (completely unrelated to crafting) over a year ago.  I revisited the idea last night and got my bathtub laundry on.  I can't believe it's only been a year since I wrote this post.  It feels like decades since I moved to STL to live with one of my best friends in the world.  I have a washer and dryer now, and live in Oregon... but after becoming overwhelmed that my comforter wouldn't fit in the washer, I had to figure something out... that's when it hit me:  I love bathtub laundry!  So please enjoy this little blast from my past (just like I did last night).  I'll meet you at the bottom with some more insight from the present.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I watch documentaries every day. I am constantly searching to increase my knowledge and expand my world views. I have recently become attached to environmental documentaries because, realistically, we don't have much time left until everyone has to get real about the environment.

I have just moved to a new city and I don't have a washer and dryer in my apartment like I have for the last 6 years that I've lived on my own. While I have used laundromats before, I'm sorry if sitting in a St. Louis laundromat alone all day does not sound like the safest or most entertaining way to spend my day. Naturally laundry has piled up and I just don't have $3.50 a load to spend washing it all.

I was watching one documentary the other day called No Impact Man: The Documentary. I highly recommend it. One tiny little moment in the movie involves them doing laundry in the bathtub. I watched it two weeks ago, and it has remained on my mind since then. I finally decided to do some research and make it happen. There are about a bagillion different ways to do this posted online, and I feel like I've read them all. I have tried a handful of the techniques and cast some out without trying them at all. What follows is what I have devised as the best method to achieve the following goals that I had for doing bathtub laundry:
1. Can be done with only things I have in my apartment.
2. Takes no more time to wash than a washing machine would.
3. Is not a completely miserable experience.
4. Make a significantly lower environmental impact than standard washing machines... just because I can.

Now, I want to establish that the temperature of water I use is based on the materials I'm washing. I use the coolest temperature that can be used but still achieve my cleaning goals. The amount of water I use is based on the size of the load.

Dirty Laundry
Laundry Detergent
*Plastic Storage Tub (I use an 18 Gal.)
Bathroom CD player and album "The Sign" by Ace of Base

Step One: Wash
Place the plastic tub in the bathtub. Put a bit of water (no less than 1/4 of the way full, no more than 1/2) and then add detergent. Use much less than you think you'll need. Some places I read said to use half what you would use in the washer, but I found even that was too much. You're wasting far less water and detergent. You will really be surprised at how little it takes to have fresh smelling (and feeling) clothes. Judge based on the amount of clothing and the dirtiness.

Once detergent has been added, stir it in a bit with your hand, just so it's not in a glob. Add clothing. Add the remainder of your water, ensuring that the clothes are good and covered. Some websites recommend filling to the top, but I would only do that with a full laundry basket worth of clothes. just make sure they can be covered by at least 2".

At this point, I like to push everything down and make sure the detergent water has saturated all items. Soak all items for 15-25 minutes. Never soak for longer than 30 minutes because the detergent will begin to break down and damage the fabric and color. When to add bleach? I only do so in my warm whites, which soak for 25 minutes (the longest I soak). I add the bleach 10 minutes before agitation.

This is my favorite part. I kick on my Ace of Base CD and step into the tub. Using a mix of Lucille Ball's moves in the grape-stomping episode of I Love Lucy and Usher's 2010 VMA performance (just sayin'... you should probably youtube it to see the appropriate cleaning methods). The agitation should last 10-15 minutes (or the first 3-4 songs on your chosen CD). You could use your hands to agitate, and I even read of using a NEVER BEFORE USED plunger, but I like the free workout and my back would not appreciate being bent over that long.

At this point, empty the tub of dirty water. I like to squeeze all the water out of the clothes and dump that too. On to step two!

Step Two: The Rinse
With the clothes in the bottom of the tub, fill with just enough water to cover clothing, as cool as you can stand it. Get moving! Agitate again for 3-5 minutes (or one song) and pour out dirty water. Repeat 2 more times. When the water in the tub is no longer getting dingy, you're clean. If your water is still dirty, consider doing small portions of the clothes in the rise tubs. You used too much detergent. It's okay, just keep rinsing (even use running water if necessary) because while your environmental impact is going up, you have to get that detergent out or it can deteriorate and damage your clothing.

Step Three: Dry
Squeeze out as much water as possible, then hang the items to dry. Using plastic hangers (wire hangers will rust and cause me to scream "no wire hangers! EVER!") or a dry rack, hang the wet clothing. I use hangers hung on my shower curtain rod.

When they're dry, you've succeeded. Congratulations.

Here are some helpful tips I discovered and read about along the way:
-I use the storage tub to reduce the amount of water I use, but for bulky items such as jeans, towels, and sheets, using the entire bathtub is more reasonable. 
--Do towels last so that you can use your dirty towels to cover the "splash zone" in case you get too much Lucy action and not enough Usher. I like to leave them under the clothing that's hanging to prevent water from dripping on the floor then as well.
---I have read of using a fan in the bathroom to hasten dry time. I'm patient, and just let them hang overnight. (although, for folded over pants or jeans, I do flip them right before bed.)
----To knock out the stiff hanger feel, I go over clothes with a blow dryer for just moments to warm them and make them more malleable.
-----I read that to shrink denim back to it's correct shape, you should soak in VERY HOT water for 5 minutes after your rinse is complete, before hanging. I didn't find this until after I had done my jeans though, so I'll try it out next time.

Best of luck if you choose to try this out yourselves. I would love to hear your questions, comments, or experiences.

Back to the present:  Now since I do have a washer and dryer in my current home, I decided to just toss the comforter in the dryer.  I did not feel like dealing with hanging a sopping wet comforter over some furniture, so that's just that.  This was one of my favorite posts that I wrote on the old blog.  What do you think?  I may have to get back into doing the occasional load this way.  I am constantly running across recipes to make your own detergent on blogs, which would be another great way to minimize chemical pollution and waste.  So there it is, the return of bathtub laundry.

<3 Clean Stephanie

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Giveaway Winner Announcement

Well, folks the giveaway is closed.  It was a wild ride.  I got a little nervous there for a while.... This was my first giveaway and I couldn't have asked for a better product to review. 
Now, on to the winner!  I'm proud to announce that the winner of this absolutely random selection was my very first blog-loving-friend!  She has always been super supportive of ArfullyCraft, so it is my pleasure to announce that Brandy had won this giveaway!  She took advantage of all 3 ways to win and it sure paid off! 

Brandy, I'll be in touch with the details of how to get your copy of the software.

If you didn't win, stay tuned.  You never know when there's gonna be another great giveaway!  Thanks to everyone who participated... I thought this was fun!