I love that the hot “new” trend this year has been saving money.  From extreme couponing to DIY to homemade everything, its now cool to save.  For this post, I decided to explore the world of making your own household cleaners.  I began making my own all purpose cleaner quite some time ago.  After sucking in the fumes of Fantastic, Lysol, and the like for years, I decided I wanted something more mild & natural.  I soon realized that it cost even more for the non-cough-inducing natural/organic varieties such as Green Works or Method.  I knew there had to be something else, something old school.  After all,  my Polish grandma wasn’t wiping her counters with a toxic green liquid from spray bottle during the depression.  I tried this recipe on the website Homemade Household Cleaners for something all purpose that you make right in the spray bottle and have been using it ever since.

All-Purpose Cleaner 

2T vinegar

1 t Borax

Hot water

a few drops of a mild dish detergent

10 drops of essential oil, optional 

In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and  hot water.  Swish around until borax has dissolved.  Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water.  Add the essential oil.

In my opinion, it works just as well as any store variety and literally costs pennies to make each time.  This then led to the most life-changing discovery in my young cleaning years… BORAX.

Those 20 ass-kicking mules can clean anything… laundry, dishes, counters, tile, grout, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, sinks, stainless steel, toilets, garbage cans, carpets, outdoor furniture, and will conquer anything smelly, stinky, or funky… all while leaving your hands baby soft.  This white miracle power does it all (short of food additive or contact cleaner… do not ingest, folks).  It was like a shining beacon of cleanliness.  Even better, as the box states, it is “All natural. Always has been.” Since 1891, in fact. Even, even better, after a year, I am still on the same $2.99 box. Grandma, why did you keep this secret?

So when these recipes for dishwashing detergent and laundry soap had Borax for the main ingredient, I jumped on my 20 mule team pulled wagon and was off to Wal-Mart.  I followed the instructions for Dishwasher Detergent and Homemade Laundry Soap exactly from Being Creative to keep my sanity‘s blog.  I will leave the detailed directions to her, as they are perfection.  (Side Note: I did find pink Zote soap at Wal-Mart, but my store did not have Borax (for shame) so I had to go to Target for that).  Everything went smoothly and I ended up with my very own detergent:

The letters were scrapbooking stickers that I stuck on, then went over with glue & water mod podge.  I also wrote on the date with a dry erase marker to help me keep track of how long it lasts.

And my very own laundry soap:

Accessorized with more sticker letters, ribbon, and housed in a candy jar with scoop!  The recipe made A LOT!  I have the whole jar plus 2 gallon sized baggies chalk full of powdered goodness.

Total cost of all ingredients, plus jars & scoops, and tax was $46.  ($17 for me after Christmas gift cards.  I mean, what better gift to give yourself then cleaning products???)  I will update when I run out.  Which, as it is just a “me & my husband” household, will hopefully be a long time!

So fellow bloggers, people of Pinterest, and anyone who might be reading, I leave you with this last piece of advice: When life gets messy, Borax.

UPDATE 12/12:  The dish detergent got clumpy, lumpy, and did NOT get dishes clean.  The powder would get wet  and just stick in the container.  I stopped using it after 10 loads.  The laundry soap, on the other hand, leaves clothes clean and fresh!  After a year, I am still using the same batch!  I will never buy bottle laundry soap again!



The Wreath


So I don’t know about you but wandering through Michael’s makes me to march up the cashier and gallantly announce… “One of everything, good sir!” (in an English accent of course).  The holiday seasons (yes, in my mind fall is a holiday season) makes this urge even worse.  EVEN WORSE is that pretty much everything in the store is 50% off so you feel like you are getting a deal.  Grrr.  On my last hour long, 4 lap around the store adventure, I decided that I needed a Christmas wreath more than anything else in this world.  The simple wreath and bow combo that became a must-have in my mind came with a $34 price tag, really $17 as, of course, it was half off.  Still, at $17, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Instead, I bought myself a plain one (half off for $2.99) and red wired edge ribbon ($.96) and said… “I can make that!”

(sorry… bad picture, but it was nighttime)

Perfect addition to outdoor decor.  Thank you RawBeautyGirl for the YouTube easy bow making tutorial.

Glassery (that’s not even a word)


Another successful trip to the Goodwill has left me with some new ideas in glass.  One that didn’t need any transformation was this adorable blue glass vase priced at a whopping 79 cents! Fits perfectly in the kitchen! Image

Saw this and immediately grabbed it for $1.99…

Image…replaced the putrid purple potpourri for the delicious cinnamon pine cones from Michael’s and cranberries from the dollar store. The house smells like Christmas!


Love, love, love Ball jars!  I have blue glass jars all over my kitchen, so when I found these adorable mini’s, I couldn’t pass them up, especially for 49 cents a piece…

Since I was in a holiday mood, I filled them with dollar store berries and borrowed a few strips of ribbon from the wreath… and… ta da!

Thought they were cute in the kitchen although I don’t really know what purpose they serve (any ideas?) except that they make me happy! All three projects… about $6 and that makes me even happier!



Thanks to all of the craftiness on Pinterest and a recent trip to an antique store, I have been drooling over anything antique, vintage, aged, or distressed lately.  But hitting up the local home stores, everything was too pricey or obviously faux-vintage and made out of some particle board “wood” that certainly does not look like it came from a tree.  So after an unsuccessful search at Home Goods & Pier 1 for some vintage looking candlesticks, I found these 80’s beauties at Goodwill:

At $3.99 a piece, I figured… I can make that!  I snatched them up before some other inspired shopper could.  Come to find out as I placed them on the car seat next to me, the sticker on the bottom read Target.  Ok, so not as antique as I thought.  Oh well.  Let’s Tim Gunn this and make it work!  Quick trips to Home Depot and Michael’s shrines to the great Martha Stewart,  I ended up with a pre-tinted, tester sized bottle of Martha Stewart Living paint in Cornbread ($2.94– the tester size is the best idea ever), Kilz Odorless spray primer for$5.99  (which, in fact, had no odor) and Martha Stewart Crafts Tintable Antique Effect ($3.00 after coupon at Michael’s).

Step 1: Spray primer

Step 2: Paint

Step 3: I roughed them up with sandpaper.  It took a while to figure out how aged I wanted them to look.  I loved that a little bit of the original brown came through and made them look chipped. 

Step 4: After wiping off all of the excess dust, I used the antique glaze mixed with a teeny drop of black paint.  When mixed, it was a grayish color.  It gave them some shadows and depth.  Also, when rubbed off with a cloth, more paint will peel, making it more distressed.  Finished product!



Before and after:

Looking good with some Target clearance candles!

Thanks to Pretty Handy Girl and The Speckled Dog for the tips on antiquing!



This blog is dedicated my mom and me.  When strolling through a store or shopping online, I see something cute… something awesome… something I need to have… something that would fit perfectly in that spot that I am missing something…and this is just that something I am missing! Until, that is, you turn over the price tag (or glace over to “add to cart”) and think “You have got to be kidding me?!”  Squinting harder at the desired item, I immediately call my mom and describe it in all its glory.  Then, after a dramatic pause… reveal the price.  After the letdown, I utter the only words that can possibly give us some redemption… “I CAN MAKE THAT!” Here’s to all of the projects, disastrous and successful that ensued…