Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vintage Find of the Month

Found this lovely 1950's oriental-style dress at a yard sale for $5! Not a great photo of me, but contrary to what the photo shows, the dress is very flattering in both style and color.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Sentiments: A Taste of Living Green

Do you recycle? Absolutely. Recycling is mandatory in my town, but even if it wasn't required, I'd still do my best.

Do you do you laundry with hot or cold water? Cold water. Occasionally I use warm water to deep-clean bedclothes, but only about once a month.

What kind of light bulbs are in your house? I have always used compact florescent or energy efficient bulbs. I also use LED lights whenever possible.

Do you compost? Our family composts nearly everything. We've got three composters for food waste, and at least two for garden debris. I'm sure if we measured it, our weekly compost would amount to more than our weekly garbage for the landfill.

What kind of vehicle do you drive? As a poor college graduate, I had the budget to purchase only a pre-owned car. My personal vehicle is a 1999 Subaru Outback. We live in rural New Hampshire, and unfortunately, there is no public transport. I usually walk when I need to get around town, but if I need a grocery store, a bank, or a pharmacy I have to take my car.

Do you use plastic or reusable bags when grocery shopping? We almost always bring reusable canvas bags when grocery shopping. Occasionally we will run out of bags from home, but I always ask for paper if they need to bag my groceries. That way, we can recycle the paper at home.

What are three ways you conserve energy?
-I limit the frequency of my showers, as well as the length of each shower. With five people in one tiny bathroom, it can run up an energy bill pretty quick!
-Whenever possible, I hang my clothes to dry them. In the summer, I use both the clothesline and my drying rack so that I can dry two loads at a time.
-I walk to work nearly every day. My work is only a block away, so it makes it easy to save gas and the environment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Garden Beginnings 2012

 We've barely planted all our vegetables, but the garden is going crazy already! The New Hampshire winter was so mild this year that most of our perennials are weeks ahead of themselves. The only downside is that with the mild winter, the squirrel and chipmunk population has exploded. I have to be very careful not to direct seed anything, because the chipmunks will swarm once I've left the garden. It's frustrating because half of what I've planted has been eaten before it could even sprout!
 In any case, we've got much of the same garden spread this year. Pickling cucumbers, peppermint, oregano, dill, edamame, summer squash, purple pole beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, Asian greens, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. A neighbor gave us an artichoke, which I planted near the compost. It's been in for about a month, and it seems to be doing quite well. I also transplanted some raspberry canes which were growing wild behind the garage. We'll see how things go with that experiment.
 I'm trying to diversify my herb collection, and in addition to my chamomile, mint, thyme, dill, chives, lavender, parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc, I have added yarrow, lemon balm, and bee balm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Sentiment

1) If you had the power to make one thing better, what would it be?

 If I could improve anything, I would make people more understanding. Not only would they be able to gain knowledge, but that knowledge would help them to be more tolerant and accepting of others.

2) What makes a great blog?

A great blog is colorful, eye-catching, engaging, and has a positive message.

3) What was the inspiration that brought your blog to the blogosphere?

I needed a way to express my feelings and share my life with others. Since its establishment, it has become an outlet for my emotions, blessings, and creative energy.

4) Stay at Home Daughter or Working Girl?

As I recoup from college for the summer & get ready to move to Washington DC next spring, I will be at home. I plan to work in a variety of positions over the course of the next 12 months, but I also have plenty of time to work around the house.

5) Favourite blog post that you have read over the last week?

I really liked a post from my friend Alexa, who was describing her experiences reenacting.

6) What easily ticks you off (puts you in a bad mood quickly)?

I don't like being patronized. I have a young personality, and I like to be silly with my family and friends, but I know when to get down to work. When someone tries to direct me, control my actions, or baby me, I have a hard time keeping my cool.

7) How many children do you have?

None! But in the future I want to have a few :-)

8) Is there anything you have ever regretted writing on your blog?

There are some things that I have thought long and hard about posting, but didn't. I always make sure that my posts are appropriate while still conveying the truth of my emotions or opinions. There have been a few things on my blog that may seem controversial, but my hope is that I never write in a way that might offend someone.

9) What’s your favourite blog post you have written this year so far.

I am proud of my post about tolerance. I was having a difficult semester at school, and running into a lot of moral conflict with friends. I didn't want it to escalate between us, so I decided to write out my feelings on the matter (my writing is much more eloquent than my verbalizing) and I had quite a bit of positive support from friends and family.

10) Do you ever enter other bloggers competitions, and have you ever been lucky?

I have a few times, but not with any great enthusiasm. One day I hope to enter one of my historical dresses into a competition. But that is still in the works.

11) What was your last blog post about?

Baking soda! You should read it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Wonderful World of Sodium Bicarbonate

Baking soda is an AMAZING substance. I know I have said this before, but I need to reiterate the true admiration I feel for it. Many do not understand my romance with baking soda, so I've composed a short list of all the things for which I have used it (so far!).

1. BAKING. Self-explanatory.

-Drain cleaner. Sprinkle a little down the drain & pour vinegar over it. Wash down with hot water.
-Counter cleaner. Sprinkle a little on a damp sponge or rag & wipe down your kitchen counter.
-Cleansing spray. Mix a little baking soda with a water & vinegar solution. Spray counters, toilets, windows, etc.
-Clean pots and pans. If food clings to pans after baking or cooking, sprinkle a little baking soda over the damp pan. Let sit overnight & scrub clean in the morning!
-Laundry boost. Soak clothes in a tub of hot water with at least 1/4 cup baking soda.
-Powder for the dishwasher. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Kosher salt, 1/4 cup borax. Use 1 TBL per load of dishes.
-Sink and tub cleaner. If you have tough scum or rings around the bathtub or sink, wipe area with a damp washcloth then sprinkle a little baking soda. You may need to repeat a few times to scrub away all the scum, but it is much more effective than store-bought chemical spray.
-Deodorizer. In the car: Sprinkle dry baking soda on the seats & mats, let sit for a few minutes, then vacuum away. In the fridge: keep an open box in the fridge & change every 30 days to keep the fridge fresh. In the basement, barn, shed, or garage: Sprinkle dry baking soda on areas prone to dampness or mildew, let sit for a day or so, and gently sweep away. Blow a fan on the area to dry it out & keep away other odors. In the home: Keep a bowl of baking soda in any room needing deodorizing. Add a drop or two of essential oil & mix well. Change every month or so.

-Foot bath. Add baking soda to a pan of warm water & soak feet to relieve tiredness, dry skin, and discomfort.
-Dental hygiene. Sprinkle a VERY little amount of baking soda over your toothbrush to add a little boost to your normal dental routine. Helps whiten teeth & discourage tartar buildup. It's salty, so follow up with your normal toothpaste.
-Hair rinse. Put a few tablespoons of baking soda in a water bottle & fill it up with warm water. Close the top & shake well. During bath time, pour over head & massage into scalp in place of shampoo. Helps control natural oils without the nasty chemicals or processing of commercial shampoo.
-Soothing bath. Add baking soda to bathwater to soothe an achy body or irritated skin.
-Hand soap. Grate multiple bars of soap into a large enamel pot. Cover soap with cold water & let simmer on low heat until all soap has dissolved. Add a cup of baking soda to the solution & stir on low heat until creamy & thick. Cool slightly, then pour into glass containers. The baking soda boosts cleaning power and works especially well for removing oil, pine sap, and paint from hard working hands. I add a few drops of fragrance to my hand soap, but the plain scent isn't bad either!
-Facial scrub. In place of normal face wash or face soap, sprinkle a little baking soda into a damp hand and massage over face and neck. Don't rub too hard as it may irritate skin. Rinse with cool water & follow with moisturizer.