Tag Archive | natural

Taking Natural Birch and Lighting Things Up

 

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This is a set of three which I enjoyed displaying together as a unit. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This is a set of three which I enjoyed displaying together as a unit.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Other than Oak, one of my favorite trees, regardless of season is that of White Birch.  It has character that shares strength with delicate features. I love the white that is shadowed with black from wounds created by nature.

This past spring I started to look for fallen white birch along my path, yet when I spotted any, it was rotted to the core. My husband and father’n law knew that I wanted this for some project, not quite sure what, but set in hopes to locate some in their travels as well.

Upon a visit my husband made to his dad’s house, he was gifted with some beautiful pieces of birch that had fallen along the paths that my father’n law frequented. He was not sure whether it would work for what I had envisioned, but felt it was worth picking up and carrying home. My husband told his dad that although he did not know what my plans were, he was pretty confident it included some of his help.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This piece fits nicely on a bookcase as one enters into our living room.  Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This piece fits nicely on a bookcase as one enters into our living room.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

He was correct. There are two gifts that he is working on for me, one which is completed, while the other gift item we are waiting a spell to see how the birch dries. After he completed these two gift items, there was plenty for him to  use his own creative mind to make some projects he felt I would enjoy during this season of holiday decorating.

So, with a little time to set-up, cut, and drill, these candle holders were made. I am thrilled to no end, appreciating his thoughtfulness in making me something out of nature he was sure I would enjoy. He chose to use the battery operated candles, so that I did not have to worry about making sure the candle did not burn too low, plus one would not want to put an actual burning candle in a piece of wood.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This log piece has five candles and my preference was to have it in my window sharing a more natural, flickering display. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This log piece has five candles and my preference was to have it in my window sharing a more natural, flickering display.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Using nature with added love, time and talent, a warm and inviting decor has been added to our home.  The only cost was the battery candle lights, that were purchased at a reduced price.

One can purchased fallen, cut birch at Michaels now.  My husband and I were surprised, yet we are grateful that we were able to do this with natural resources that we already have available to us. The battery tea lights can be found at a multiple of craft stores, but use your resources wisely, and take advantage of sales and coupons that your store might offer.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. Here I have the set sitting in our kitchen window. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
Here I have the set sitting in our kitchen window.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Laura – Frugal Value Lifestyle

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Homemade Household Cleansers That Work!!

Cleansers that I have personally made and used, producing non-toxic fumes while actually cleaning our home.  ~ Laura

Cleansers that I have personally made and used, producing non-toxic fumes while actually cleaning our home. ~ Laura

There are two things that are frustrating while attempting to keep a home clean.  First, the products available on the market make each of us in our family feel as though we are going to die!!  Windows must be open, fans must be running, gloves must be worn and if we have them, a mask to prevent the fumes from reaching our lungs.  After the victim who is subjected to the task of cleaning the bathroom completes the job, they leave closing the door behind them as they keep the fan running to remove the toxic fumes.  Having to run a fan for 30 minutes or more, is another waste of resources.

The second frustrating aspect of many of the store bought products is that you spend a lot to get something that does not work.  For me this is a waste of my resources in an attempt to have a product that produces a clean result.  Even if the product only cost $1.00 after using a coupon, if it does not produce a clean result, it is not worth the $1.00 I spent.

I have found a few things that I have made that work for our needs.  I am still trying to find a good floor cleaner for our old kitchen tiled floor, but after creating a solution for our tub, I think I might be closer to creating something that works.  Until I figure something out, or someone directs me to a product that actually works or possibly a manufacturer that wants to send me a sample that works without killing my lungs , I will have to hold off on sharing until I find something that works well on my tiled floors.  For now, I would like to share what I use for my windows and mirrors, an all-purpose cleanser spray, a scouring powder and my new solution to cleaning our tub.

A few of the products I have at home that I use in my homemade cleaning products.  Other tiems include rubbing alcohol, amonia (only use in my window cleaner) and Dawn Original Hand dish detergent.  ~ Laura

A few of the products I have at home that I use in my homemade cleaning products. Other tiems include rubbing alcohol, amonia (only use in my window cleaner) and Dawn Original Hand dish detergent. ~ Laura

Ingredients used in the varying solutions are things that I typically have around the house, and generally inexpensive.  Containers are 1 quart spray bottle (you can get these are hardware stores, in bulk at warehouse stores, or re-using a bottle you might already have on hand).  Make sure it is clean before using, if it is an empty container you have from emptying other products.  For my scouring powder I have been using an old peanut butter jar.  Brand of peanut butter does not matter 🙂

Window Cleaner:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 Tbsp. Amonia

Mix items together and you are ready to start cleaning your windows and mirrors and seeing your beautiful smiling reflection as you wipe it clean.

NOTE:  I personally do not, but if you are one that likes the blue color in your window cleaner, just a dab of blue food coloring works.  Personally I do not find a need for this as it does not increase the cleaning power of your window cleaner.

Scouring Powder:

  • 1 small jar, recycled from peanut butter, jam, etc.  I use a small plastic peanut butter jar.
  • Ratio is 1:1 of the following two ingredients
    • ½ baking soda
    • ½ Borax

My particular jar holds about 2 cups, so I mix 1 cup of each and mix it up in the jar.

To use:  Wet down your surface, usually your tub, sink, etc. then sprinkle over the surface and let sit to allow the cleanser to work.  Follow with some elbow grease to see some clean results.

NOTE:  For tough cleaning jobs, maybe surfaces that are used seasonally, rust stained, etc., consider spraying over this with the Tub Cleansing Spray that I have listed below, then apply  a little elbow grease (a.k.a. an idiom for hard work, effort and human energy).

 All Purpose Cleanser Spray:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 1 qt. warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. Dawn Original Dish Soap
  • ¼ cup Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. Baking Soda

Mix the vinegar and baking soda together first.  Then add remaining ingredients to bottle.  Mix (shake bottle gently) making sure there is no baking soda residue at the bottom of your bottom.  This spray has been a huge success in cleaning my kitchen counters, my stove top, doors, kitchen cupboards, bathroom sink, etc.   I always shake before using.

NOTE:  My kitchen cupboards are painted, and this has helped remove those dirt marks we do not always notice until company is in the house 🙂

Tub/Sink Cleanser Spray:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup hot vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dawn Original Dish Detergent
  • 4 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 4 Tbsp. Borax

This is a fun mix for the one in your family who always enjoyed making volcanoes as a child.  Hence, this should be made in your kitchen sink, unless of course your kitchen counter needs a good scrubbing 🙂

  1. First, put the dry items of baking soda and borax in your bottle.
  2. Follow this by adding in the warm vinegar and watch the volcanic eruption of foam that is created.  No serious harm will happen, just messy if you do this on your counter top.  How do I know?  Yes, I made my first batch on my kitchen counter.  Made for an easy cleanup and a very shiny counter after 🙂
  3. Add the Dawn dish detergent followed by the warm water.  This will neutralize the foaming action.
  4. Now, gently mix the ingredients until there is no residue of powder on the bottom of your bottle.  If your sprayer does not work, it is because you did not mix it well.  You can clean your nozzle by removing it from the bottle and spraying it while the end sits in a cup of warm water.   I make sure I shake it a bit before using, just to be sure there is no residue at the bottom of the bottle.

To use this cleanser on your tough areas in your tub or sink, spray it on and let it sit for an hour.  Do this at the beginning of your chores, so that when the hour has passed, the tub is ready for you.  I personally sprayed another time, just to get the tub wet again, I then scrubbed the tub.  Even my husband was amazed at how well this worked.  It did not leave a gritty feel to the tub as many other cleansers have done in the past.

NOTE:  If you have some hard water and rust issues, or you have a camp that you return to with a need for some “tough love” consider using the above scouring powder on a wet surface, let that sit for about 15-30 minutes, then spray over with this solution and allow it to sit before putting your elbow grease energy to work.

Enjoy housework again without the fumes that cause you to run for an inhaler or the fresh outdoors, even if the temps outdoors are below freezing 🙂 .

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor