How to make your own laundry detergent

I started making laundry detergent right after we moved to Denver and I'd used up all our pre-bought stuff. I like the powdery stuff - it's easier to measure. Plus it's easy to make, and it's cheap.

This is SO EASY and SO FAST. It can easily be doubled or tripled or whatever you want.


- 1 bar of soap (You can use special laundry soap if you want, but I've just been eating through my enormous people-soap stockpile. Ivory is my favorite because it has the greatest percentage of soap in it. When the stockpile is empty and I'm making my own soap, I'll be using that.)
- 1 cup of Borax (I've never been to a grocery store that didn't carry it in the detergent area.)
- 1 cup of Washing Soda (I get mine from Ace Hardware - you can either buy it online and ship-to-store, or you can call and ask them to order it for you if they don't stock it. There's an Ace right near the church and I haven't found any local hardware stores yet, but when I do, I will ask if the local joint carries it. Buy local, and all. But for now, Ace is easiest.)
- Jar or other container for the detergent (I use a pickle jar. It needs to be able to hold at least 2.5 cups of stuff.)
- Food processor or maybe a blender, or a cheese grate and a bowl
- An implement capable of measuring out by the tablespoon, approximately (I use a plastic measuring spoon that the dish disposal chewed up. Having something dedicated to the laundry area will make your life easiest.)
- Funnel, optional
- Dust mask, optional, if you have sensitive lungs like I do. This stuff can kick up some powder.

And that's it!


Cut the bar of soap into hunks and put it in the food processor until it's reduced to a fine powder. (Alternatively, grate the soap as finely as you can.)

Dump the borax and the washing soda into the food processor with the soap.* Or, dump everything into a bowl and mix it up by hand. You want it nice and combined and awesome.

Pour into your jar. (I fancied mine up with my label maker, so that next time Brian takes it upon himself to do some laundry, he'll know to use the powder, and not all my Woolite, to wash his yard work clothes. This might or might not have happened at some point...)

Stick your measuring scoop in the jar, and stick the jar wherever it is you like to stick your laundry detergent.

DONE! (beside cleanup, of course. And when you're done cleaning up, toss the sponge or rag straight into the wash pile. You don't want to take any chances.*) All in all, it takes me maybe 10 minutes from start to finish.

I use a tablespoon for regular loads of laundry. I'll use 2 tbsp for huge or especially dirty loads. And that's it! One jar of this stuff lasts me about 2 months or so, and I typically do 3-ish loads per week. If I had a bigger jar, I'd double the batch and be all the more awesome because of it.

*Some people are concerned about having these ingredients in their food processor. I personally am not too concerned, but I do wash everything twice, once in the sink and again in the dishwasher. I've never had anything come out of the food processor tasting like soap or borax, and (to my knowledge) I haven't become ill as a result, either. I do make sure the dogs can't get into the kitchen when I'm working, because they are very 'licky' and Borax can, in high doses, be very toxic.


more on engagements


I had some of the cutest stories in the comments on the engagement story post from last Friday.

Really, if you are at all interested in engagement stories, I'd recommend you go check out what some of these ladies wrote. (I'm pretty sure all the comments were from ladies.)

Have a loving day!


Engagement Story

Company Girl Coffee is a fun weekly link-up at Home Sanctuary

Lately I've been thinking about those days, so long ago, when Brian and I got together, got engaged, and got married. (All in the span of about 10 months. Yes, we are one of those couples.)

The year was 2007. I know. So long ago.

It's August. We'd been dating since the end of January or first of February (depending on your definition of dating) and I'd moved up to Richmond, where he was in school, that June. 

Brian's sister Kelley had been planning to attend UNC-Chapel Hill (GO HEELS!) and we'd planned to help her with moving into her dorm over the weekend of the 18th. But at some point beforehand, she'd decided to attend a nursing program in (well, near) Charlotte instead. Incidentally, I'd signed a lease on the house I was renting, and my move-in date was August 15. So of course, since we didn't need to move Kelley in, I wanted us to move ME in. Makes sense, right?

Brian protested. He'd made plans for us to go to a Japanese steakhouse with his college roommate, Barnes, (we call him Barnes) and he didn't want to bail on that since they don't get many chances to see each other. Ok, whatever. I wanted to hang out with my dog anyway, since he hadn't been able to make the move to Richmond yet. So we went to Chapel Hill that Friday. 

So it's Saturday now. We're going to hang out with Barnes. We had fun. Barnes is a funny guy. And who doesn't love hibachi chicken? I don't really remember what else we did that day. We had dinner plans with my (former) pastor Dave and his wife Angie, so we went back to my mom's place to get ready for that. At some point we stopped at a grocery store and picked up a chocolate peanut butter cake thingie to take. Somewhere along the way, I misplaced my cell phone - which is such a frequent occurrence that nobody bats an eye.

Brian insisted on wearing a suit for dinner. Here's the thing: when I'm over at Dave and Angie's, I usually end up rolling around on the carpet playing with their beagle. Ours is not really a 'dress up' kind of relationship. So I thought this was weird. Brian said that he had planned to talk to Dave about maybe doing our wedding (because we were planning to get married at some nebulous point in the future) and since that was a serious conversation, he wanted to wear a suit. Or something weird like that. By then I'd already learned not to ask questions because the answers tended to be odd. (Not much has changed.)

So he's in his suit, and I'm in some 'Sunday clothes' and only a little irritated by that. We're on the road. Brian's phone rings. He doesn't recognize the number and takes the call. It's Angie. Her son Taylor, who I think was 9 at the time, had injured himself on the trampoline and they needed to bail on dinner. So sorry. Hope you guys can have fun, maybe go to campus or something.

So we go to campus to scrounge up some fun. (In our dress clothes.)

We decide to park on Franklin Street, the north border of campus. We walk onto the upper quad, aka McCorkle place. It's an August afternoon in North Carolina, which can be translated in one word: muggy. Kids are milling around. Freshmen and their helicopter parents are overdressed and a little panicky. Folks are sitting on the grass, playing frisbee, shouting at friends they haven't seen in months. Not a bad place to be. I thought about how much I love that place and how much I miss it. (For those of you who don't know, the upper quad is the oldest part of campus. It's a big, sprawling quad with green grass, brick walkways, ancient oak trees and the occasional monument, all bordered by beautiful classroom buildings. They don't make campuses like they used to, that's for sure. The south edge of the upper quad is home to the Old Well, which might be the most well-known spot on campus. The north end is where Silent Sam stands, a monument erected in honor of students who left their studies to go fight in the Civil War. We had drumline practice by Silent Sam most days. Happy memories.)

We get approached by what apparently is a student journalist. She says she's writing a story about campus landmarks, and would we mind posing for a picture? Ok, sure, makes sense. I worked for the school magazine and I'm pretty sure I edited that story once or twice. She takes us over to the Davie Poplar bench. (Rabbit trail: the Davie Poplar is named after one of the founders of the University, William Richardson Davie. The legend is that Mr. Davie stated that as long as this tree stands, the University will stand, but when the tree falls, the University will crumble. The Class of...52? put a cement bench under the poplar, and the bench's legend is that a couple who kisses on the bench will be together forever.)

You see where this is headed. Sorta.

So the student (her name is Anna) asks us some questions and writes some stuff in her notepad, and then she asks if she can take our picture sitting on the bench. (I might have been suspicious by now.) She walks off, and I stand up, ready to go. Brian has stalled out on the bench, still holding my hand. He's fidgety. Lingering AND fidgety.

I sit back down and ask him if something is on his mind. (VERY SUSPICIOUS!)

He proposes. It was very sweet and heartfelt and made me love him so much more, and I don't remember a word of it. He wraps up by kneeling in front of me and offering an engagement ring while asking me if I would marry him.

I say yes. (Duh.)

We are...hugging? standing? sitting? I don't remember. And those students who were playing frisbee end their game, start humming, an assemble in a semi-circle in front of us, do-wopping and bee-bopping and whatever else it is that a capella groups do. I recognize some of them. Then, from behind us, out pops BARNES! Because, you see, Barnes was in an a capella group in college! And he'd been in on the whole thing.

So they sing our song and everybody is staring, and we're SO happy and it's glorious.

So there are hugs all around, phone calls, and then it's time to get dinner. Except we're too excited to eat. And then Brian calls Dave and says everything went off without a hitch, and we're on the way over with dessert. They were in on the whole thing. Which means, Taylor did not actually injure himself at all. And, the phone call from 'Angie' was actually from Kelley. She had a script. Brian wrote her a script. He had also taken my phone, so that it would make sense that 'Angie' would be calling him and not me. Over dessert, Brian said to me, 'and you even got your chocolate.' Because at some point, I had mentioned to him that maybe chocolate should be involved in our engagement. I was probably kidding. He did it anyway. He's a smart boy.

Aside: I had one of those moments - SO excited and happy, thoughts racing about what to do or say, wanting to make sure I actually say yes, wanting to make sure I look at him and not the bling, etc. etc. Actually, I didn't really even look at my ring until we'd finished our phone calls and everything. He'd designed it with a local jeweler. I love it.

Do you have a fun engagement story? What was going through your mind when your husband proposed to you?


Chugging along

This is the third installment of a sporadic series I've come to think of in my mind as the Progress Series. I've never been much of a housekeeper (just ask any of my roommates) but I am turning a corner and making some fun changes in my home. See previous progress entries here and here, if you are so inclined.

In a fun new turn of 'Something's Wrong with Ashley' events, I started having back spasms last weekend. (I kept having visions of 'turning into my dad,' who has dealt with these nasty things for quite some time now.)

There are only so many days in a row that a girl like me can lie flat on her back, hanging out with the ice pack and watching a Top Model marathon. So when I felt good enough to move around some, I decided tackle the (*ahem*) two-foot high pile of papers to file, most of which was lounging on top of my file cabinet.

There are no before photos.

But check out the result!

Oh, wait. I pulled from the wrong folder. Here...
The plant is a succulent called Chocolate Soldier. 

Seriously. Imagine a stack 2 feet high of papers, notebooks, folders, who knows what, and some other stuff there, and then look again...

Notice the bowl. I'm about to talk about it.

That silver bowl is an antique Homan silver. My former boss friend Cathy is a direct descendent of the silversmith, and she gave me that bowl (along with a tall water pitcher and creamer) as a going-away present when we moved out here. I used to keep my spools of colored thread in it, but those have been tossed in a baggie and will find a new home somewhere else. Eventually.

The candle and pinecone probably won't live there forever. The candle was necessary to clear the air after an indoor 'incident' with the puppy this morning, and the pinecone is something I picked up today on one of our morning walks because it was so oddly shaped. I don't know where it's going to live yet.

See how the pinecone is kinda bent in the middle?

The yarn is some yarn I got for like 55% off at Tuesday Morning a few weeks ago (I have big plans for that yarn, so be on the lookout) and the little jar has shells and stone and little corals I've picked up along the way. Most of them came from the shores of North Carolina, but a few are from other beaches I've visited - including a few from our honeymoon in Hawaii (See here, here, here and especially here for more on that).

So anyway. Instead of a giant stack of guilt-inducing eyesore atop my little blue cabinet right in the middle of the living room, I've got a little collection of happy memories and things I love.

And now, I'm off to find a home for that pine cone.


Fudge FAIL

I like to try new things in my kitchen. A lot of times, I come away with moderate, if not great, success.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: 

My latest FAIL. The S'mores Fudge Fail.


Company Girl Coffee 3.19.10

We are having a snow day. And it's wonderful.

Brian has the day off today (finally) and we've made it count.

I had some dog duty early this morning, but after that, Brian stepped up and let me sleep until 9. Did you see that? 9am!! I can't remember the last time I slept that late!! It was glorious.

We watched some of NCIS season 3 while Brian made some breakfast for us, and then... we went ice skating! DU has a rink that is open to the public for about an hour and a half weekday afternoons, and this afternoon we made our first of what will be many trips there.

It started snowing last night, and it has not stopped yet. It's been pretty quiet around here. Nice and slow.I love snow days. Have I mentioned that?

I think it's time for some hot chocolate, with real whipped cream on top. And later, some Tuscan-style potato soup. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Happy weekend to you!

Company Girl Coffee is a fun weekly link-up at Home Sanctuary. Check it out, and come on in!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Image from Homemade by Lisa.

by JJ Leyden

March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day.
There is a gathering of family and friends.
Traditional corn beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes.

We linger at the table and talk.
There is a catching up on news and gossip.
Drinks are shared and laughter abounds.
Old bonds are re-cemented.
There is closeness available nowhere else.

The dearly departed and their deeds are remembered.
We speak of our children and their accomplishments.
Old family stories, told time and time again,
are told once more, and relished.

A celebration of family and our Irish ethnicity.
Isn't it grand, just being part of it?

John Leyden

I'm wishing a happy St. Patrick's Day to all my friends, 
Irish or not.
How will you celebrate?

(And in case you are wondering, YES, I am very Irish. 
Sullivan on one side of the family tree, Gainer on the other.)


Finishing the entryway, or, Adventures with power tools

So, a couple of weeks ago I blogged here on making progress in my entryway. I've got more good stuff to show you now.

For quite a while now, I've wanted some kind of 'hook central' to put by the door. In the old house, we had this old mail sorter that wasn't very pretty but it worked just fine. In the apartment, though, the mail sorter landed in my office-y area (which is really more of a built-in desk between the kitchen and living room).

My temporary eyesore solution was to stick a bunch of those 3M hooks by the door, and then hang a random extra mirror for some kind of 'form' to go with all the function. That's where our dog leashes lived, but nothing of any substance or weight could go there.

WELL. The row of hooks was really bugging me. It was ugly. And I visited it several, if not a dozen or two, times a day. After finishing the trunk area, the hooks became my tip-top priority. Obviously.

I had this old board for a project from like 2 years ago that was clearly never going to happen. Good start. I decided I wanted to attach some cool wrought iron hooks to it - not realizing that cool wrought iron hooks, at least the kind I had in mind, were prohibitively expensive. Especially online, and especially out here where people are really into that kind of stuff. So I started trolling ebay.

Eventually, after enough trolling, I found some good stuff. I got two gargantuan iron hooks from an honest-to-goodness blacksmith, and I got a set of antique porcelain knobs. With that, my new project was born. What follows is a step-by-step, photos included, of my adventure. I have two words to describe the joy that was this project: power tools.

How Ashley Made Her Cool (in her eyes) Entryway Thinger

Step 1: Assemble all the parts. For me, this meant the board, the knobs, the hooks, the screws, and the picture hanger things.

Step 2: Measure the length of the board (24in.) and make marks where each of the 5 things will hang. I put them at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 inches. Nice and even.

Step 3: Get one of your husband's 5 toolboxes, the one most likely to have the screwdriver set. Tinker around until you find the right screwdriver thingie to fit the screw. Screw in the hooks where they go. Note how the hooks aren't exactly identical and aren't exactly straight either. Consider just how fun and awesome handmade stuff is.

Step 4: Realize you have no idea how to get the knobs into the wood, on account of they aren't pointy like screws. Consult your woodworking brother Marcus on iChat, because he's really good at that stuff. (PS He is a wood craftsman. If you have a project in mind or if you saw something on Etsy you want but can't afford, you should totally get up with my brother. He can do just about anything. I'll send you his info if you ask...we are in the process of building him a website.)

Step 5: Grapple with the knowledge that to complete this project, you have to play with the power drill. Get really excited about this. Try to figure out where the power drill lives, and remember that it lives in the deepest, darkest recesses of the garage. Get really bummed about this, because right now the garage isn't a happy place to be. Perform precarious acrobatic stunts that would really upset your husband, had he known you were doing them. Try not to scratch the car up in the process.

Step 6: Pick the drill bit that looks closes in size to the bolt on the knob. Lay out a garbage bag on the kitchen floor (what, go outside? Outside is like 20 feet away. No way you're going that far. Besides, you're not entirely sure power tools are allowed at your apartment complex and you'd rather not put them on display, just in case.) Try to stick the drill bit into the drill and realize you have NO idea what how this whole 'drill bit' thing works anyway.

Step 7: Google 'how to use a power drill.' Follow the steps. Congratulate yourself, because it really isn't that hard and you can TOTALLY do this. Consider the likelihood of convincing your husband that maybe you need your own power drill, in a nice shade of pink or maybe Carolina blue. Decide that this orange one is probably good enough. Apologize to your nervous papillon for what you are about to do.

Step 8: Don your most fashion-forward set of ear plugs. Consider safety goggles, remember you don't have any, and opt for nothing in the way of protective eyewear. You'll just drill really slowly. Plug in the drill, assume the drilling position of choice, making sure that nothing sharp or moving is neither near nor angled toward any body part. Drill your 3 holes.

Step 9: Do the dance of joy.

Step 10: Try to put the bolts of the knob through the holes you just drilled. Decide that you need to drill bigger holes.

Step 11: Drill the bigger holes, and attach the knobs to the board.


Step 13: Decide that the bolts are too long and sticking out too far in the back, and maybe you should saw the ends off since it's unlikely you might find a bolt cutter anywhere in any of your husband's 5 tool boxes. Perform acrobatics similar to those of Step 5, only more carefully because you have a freaking saw in your hand.

Step 14: Attempt to saw the end of the first bolt off. Decide that maybe it's ok that the bolts are so long. Mumble something about added stability against the wall or something else that sounds equally convincing.

Step 15: Attach the picture hanger thingies to the back. Since I figured this would get kinda heavy what with the wrought iron and the porcelain, I attached 2. Plan for this to take WAY longer than you expected. In fact, this is the longest step of them all.

Step 16: REMOVE THE ROW OF 3M HOOKS FROM YOUR ENTRYWAY and banish them to the bathroom, where you'll deal with them later.

Step 17: Hang up your new entryway thinger. Take lots of pictures. Maybe even do the dance of joy a third time. Exercise, after all!!

Step 18: Bask in the glory of it all, until you panic and remember you still haven't made those biscuits and you have to leave for the potluck in like an hour. Stick everything back in the right slot in the right toolbox, toss the trash bag with the sawdust all over it, and get to baking. Because you are a woman and your rightful place is in the kitchen making biscuits, not playing with power tools. Scoff at this notion.


Company Girl Coffee 3.12.10

So I have been awake for about an hour and a half now, and I have only just realized it's Friday.

This week has been endless. And not in the good way. Some good things happened and more good things are on the agenda, but I've had this overarching feeling of down for days now. And I feel bad about that.

The good: I went to knitting group. I played djembe at the Wednesday night service. I got a lot of stuff done. Last night was a fun book group meeting. This afternoon I am going to a quilt shop with one of the 'church ladies.' This evening we have dinner with friends. Tomorrow I am finally going to the mountains. I might even make it to the oil change place today!

But I couldn't help but feel like there's a grey cloud over my head this week. The problem is that there is some real discord in a relationship that is important to me. I feel like I'm drastically underestimated - I'm not getting a fair shot at being the good, caring person I know I am - I'm seen as the same person I was before I knew better. I have grown and made changes, but this person still chooses not to see that, still chooses to put me down and not to respect me. We've clashed. We've insulted. Wounds gape open. I've spent a lot of time crying and in prayer (I can't speak for the other person on this. I can only hope.)

This person is very valuable to me, and I've sacrificed a lot to keep our relationship going. I have grown a lot - especially lately. But the other person doesn't seem to see that, and I am having trouble seeing how (or even if) the other person has changed too. It's like we have hit a brick wall. I am frustrated, hurting, and so very discouraged. I don't know what to do. I want so much for things to improve, but I don't think the other person does. I think it's easier to dismiss people from your life when they challenge you to do better, be better, than it is to do the work of compromising, of self-evaluation -- of growing up. I feel like I have been dismissed - tossed aside - demeaned and belittled. Given up on. I don't like to give up on people like that. So it's hard to deal with being given up on. 

If you've made it through my doom and gloom, I'd like to ask you to pray for me today. Pray for me to find compassion. Pray for me to be strong without being aggressive. Pray for me to have discernment as I move forward. Pray that God continues to work in this person, too, that their heart be softened toward me. Pray that humility would become part of our interactions. (And maybe pray for me not to cry so gosh darn much! I'm a crier, and it has worked to my detriment. Tears are weakness, in this person's eyes.)

Thank you.


top of the wish list

So if you knew me well or if you knew much about my daily life, you would know that I tend to have my hand in a few different pies. I have myriad interests, many of which are domestically oriented.

Lately, I have taken an interest in homemade shortbread, and related shortbread (or other cookie) molds. It all started with this post by Ann Voskamp (really, if you don't read her blog, maybe you should).

Toward the bottom, Ann mentions heart-shaped shortbread as a family tradition. And right then and there, I wanted to make heart-shaped shortbread a tradition in my family, too.

Except, I didn't have the right kind of pan. I searched and scoured and I couldn't find one that would suffice, except this one, which is the one Ann mentions, and is a bit out of reach in the budget, even on ebay.

And then, another favorite blog posted something that made my heart skip. No, seriously. I coughed once or twice to get the ol' ticker back apace (which is usually a trick I must use only when I am overly tired and the mitral valve prolapse is acting up).

Behold, in all its (NOT IT'S) glory:

the Celtic Knot Shortbread Pan.

I must have this. I simply must have it. I have been 'sitting on' the idea of purchasing it for far too long, now. I have gone from 'oh I would like it' to 'I MUST HAVE THIS.'

Sadly, with a price tag of $34.95 plus shipping, it is even further out of reach than my second-favorite.

But hey, my birthday is coming up! And a girl can dream. And wish. And pine.

here's another video of the dogs to keep you from thinking this post was a complete waste of time:


Grace for today

Just for Today

Oh God, give me grace for this day.
Not for a lifetime, nor for the next week, nor
for tomorrow, just for this day.
direct my thoughts and bless them,
Direct my work and bless it.
Direct the things I say and give them blessing, too
Direct and bless everything that I think and speak
and do. So that for this one day, just this one
day, I have the gift of grace that comes from
your presence...

-Marjorie Holmes


Company Girl Coffee 3.5.10


Happy Friday, everybody. Is it just me, or is Friday feeling particularly good today?

It's probably just me.

I'd like to offer a special welcome to any Company Girls visiting today. If you don't know what Company Girls are and you'd like to know more, you can click on the button up top and learn more. Basically we're a group of women who gather each Friday to talk about what's going on in our lives and share with each other. It's pretty rad, if you ask me.

This week has been kind of a weird one for me. I've been on antibiotics for about a week now. This is - as far as I can remember - the first time I've been on antibiotics in many years, and I have to say, I am not convinced. Next time I feel a need for the drugs I am probably going to turn to holistic methods. I feel like my general condition has worsened rather than improved. Yes, my sinus infection is mostly clear, and yes, my ear infection appears to be gone. But the exhaustion, the inability to sleep, the dryness in my mouth and throat, the brain-fog, and a couple of other 'fun' side effects have made this a negative, rather than positive, experience. There's got to be a better way to clear an infection. I'm thinking massive doses of garlic.

Happily, though, I woke up this morning feeling much better than I have in a while. So here's hoping that the month of sickness has passed, never to return.

Despite being sick, I've had a pretty good week. Not much knitting has happened, but those days will be returning shortly. Remember the socks I was working on a couple of weeks ago? You know, the ones I ran of yarn while making? Well, yesterday the extra yarn I'd ordered showed up. I am a pretty strict 'knitting monogamist' which might dictate that I finish my shawl before I finish the socks, but I am considering putting aside the shawl in lieu of having a new pair of squishy warm fun colorful socks. I mean, who wouldn't?

In other news, I have made progress inside my head and inside my home. You can read more about that, and see a small pocket makeover, here. Bit by bit, my home is starting to look like actual grown-ups live in it!

Speaking of grown-ups...Brian posted a funny comic as his Facebook profile picture. I think it's hilarious. See for yourself:

In case you couldn't tell, I handle the finances in our little family. Fine by me - I like to know what's going on, and he would rather just help with goal-setting and know what he can and can't do. I am in the beginning stages of working some hard numbers for our home-buying plan. If you have any pointers, let me know! And no, we will not be buying a home with the 8,000 tax credit ending April 30. We just aren't there yet, financially.

I also managed to get my etsy shop back up and running. I'd love it if you took a look and let me know your thoughts. Y'all know I love knitting - so if you've got something in mind, I'm your gal!

That's it from me, for now. Did anything exciting happen to you this week?



For the past couple of months, I have been living with a lot of frustration, mostly over matters of my own doing. I'm not a very good decorator, you see, and I've been trying to set up our new home for a few months now. Somewhere in January, I hit a wall.

The furniture was all in its permanent homes, but questions on what to put where plagued me, in a near-continual barrage. Combine that with the challenges of a new puppy and everything that goes into building a freelance business, not to mention a lifetime's worth of 'I just don't know how to make an organized living arrangement' doubts, and maybe you can see why I got stuck.

And then I got sick, and I spent a lot more of February on the couch than I care to admit. By the third week of February, I was ready to take action. No more of this hemming and hawing and spending too much time 'thinking.' It was time to start doing. So I picked the things that were bugging me the most about the apartment, and I made a plan. (My friend Kaylene's awesome home tour might also have had something to do with my newfound motivation.)

First up: the carpets needed work. We have a little SpotBot that works great for those errant stains (and times when the puppy doesn't know she needs to go outside until about 2 seconds before it's too late). But then Rory started showing allergies to the food she was on, and one of the symptoms I will simply refer to as 'unhappy explosions.' And we were having unhappy explosions two and sometimes three times a day. The sheer volume was disturbing, and the fact that I was also ill and couldn't devote the amount of time to carpet scrubbing as was needed made things that much worse. It didn't take long for me to find a carpet shampooer on Craigslist for a doable $50 (my antibiotic drugs cost more!) and, after hunting down and then retrieving a missing part, my carpets have had a nice bath. Ah. Safe to breathe again.

So what was next? Here, I'll let you see for yourself:
Rory would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that she is, in fact, a border collie, and as such, she must be involved in anything and everything that is or might be going on.

That, my friends, is the cedar chest my dad made for me a couple of years ago. It lives in the entryway. And given its proximity to the entry/exit point and its ample flat surface, it has lived in shame. For three and a half months.

But not anymore. Its days of screaming for attention are over. Kaylene gave me some really good ideas, and off I went. (Someday I do hope to implement her lantern idea!) I raided my shelf of 'decorative items' which basically consists of various candle holders and vases, and this is what I came up with.

I still haven't figured out how to work with this hazy western light! 

The trunk is clear, and on its top I've put some candles and a little dish to catch keys and other various doodads.

It's like a breath of fresh air. You know? I feel like I'm finally making some progress on those sore spots that have bugged me for a while now.


Etsy shop is back up!

Guess what!

Well, if you read the title of this post at any point in time, you already know. But ANYWAY.

I've restocked my Etsy shop. Go have a look! And tell me what you think.

No, seriously.

There's got to be something better than 'handmade cozies for heart and home.' That needs a little help. But it's a start.

Custom orders! I love them! You want some socks, right?

Anyway. Etsy shop. Go. Now. Please.