Monday, December 5, 2011

Be Tricky- SUPERsaver Soap and the Selectively Sniffy.

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It was some time ago that I discovered that soft soap is compositionally identical to bar soap plus LOTS of water (i.e., only one bar of soap to the gallon.)  This got my little brain going. If you like, I'll post the actual recipes below but the graphic says most of what you need to know. I hope you Enjoy the spoils of my brain-battering victory, it really WAS a jr. engineer/personal victory:

 In related news, I'm particularly picky about smells especially in daily use products like soap, shampoo, cleaners, etc.  I'm the kind of weirdo that before learning these tricks I'd stand  in the soap aisle, holding a box of bar soap to my nose wishing to myself that they would make THIS stinkin' scent in liquid soap.  The scene could be comedically complete if someone were able to draw a cute little black rain cloud over my head. 

With this newly found knowledge that I can make soap smell JUST like my favorite bar soap, I can rise again as the Super Snifter of all things fresh and clean in this world! 

Most high drama aside now: As a matter of fact, My own sense of smell seems to be elevated to unprecedented highs.  I like to think that this phenomenon is evidence that when one sense is lost/diminished, the others heighten. My superpowered sniffer MUST be directly related to my hearing loss, but moreon that later.  A common example of the practical employment of my superpowers goes something like this and is actually rather common:

Dear Hubby walks through the door from work with just a laptop in hand. After a long hug with whispered wifely greetings and a lightning-quick peck on the lips he turns to put away his coat and laptop.
Me: "What IS that- peanut M&Ms?  Do you have any more? Can I have some?"
Him sheepishly: "Yeah." *reaches in pocket*

The first couple of times I pulled this one he was absolutely amazed.  The novelty has worn off.  It turns out, most junk foods smell strongly. I can informallly monitor his diet quite effectively with this method. The problem is, the day my husband decides to make vegetables a significant part of his diet I'll proudly turn my face skyward, oinking at the little piggies flying overhead.  That's one defeated role I'll gladly accede. 

I digress. A lot. 

Soap's Dirty History
A few rounds later at the google machine told me something any number of interesting things about your run-of-the-mill household soaps. I will tell you that you probably don't really want to hear about most of it, but if you're at all interested in the actual history of soap history, shout it to the rooftops and I'll happily oblige, you dirty little loons.  Soap history DOES get shockingly more dirty than what you'll find here and not for the faint of heart. 
Anyway, until relatively recently in history, everyone used bar soap. What they didn't realize was that while their love affair with soap would remain steadfast,  centuries later people got sick of the yucky goo that accumulates under a bar of soap.  
They finally decided they'd do something about it. Engineers ever among us drilled holes in soap dishes, but I have to say that in my opinion it must be the  tricky housewives of the time, like us, who found a better way.  It dispensed with much greater ease when kept as a liquid and dispensed as such.  The overall mess factor was exponentially decreased, as was the overall waste of far less concentrated product  by the average consumer. Well HOWDY DOO!
Those among us economically inclined will take note that this was a manufacturer's fantasy land.  Suddenly under demand by the consumer they're producing less product in more packaging at a higher price.  So, with a little bit of elbow grease that'll shimmy right off with your new soap, make your own soft soap! 

DIY Soft Soap short version: be careful to dissolve an entire bar of soap in a gallon of boiling water.     Let stand overnight. Fill bottles

Step by Step Soft Soap:
Get: empty softsoap containers. stockpot that holds more than a gallon
Get: hand held cheese grater or power stick blender. if you have neither,  
carefully chop small pieces with a knife.
1. Pour water into stockpot that will hold the whole gallon  
    and place it on the stove on medium.

2. Being careful not to shave off any extremities or burn  
     yourself on the pot, shred the bar of soap on the cheese 
     shredder straight into the pot, or chop all and drop all in.

3. Turn heat to high, stirring constantly. When ALL soap is
     dissolved and there are no lumps, you're done-take it off  
     the heat. It may look too runny at this point but it needs to     
     cool for at least 12 hours overnight.
4. Pour into individual bottles, or large bottles for storage. 

THIS is 21st Century Innovation?
We all have learned by practical application in MANY public rest rooms that foam soap is easy to use.  It's already lathered.While there may be some crazy folks alternate school of thought out there, I prefer my soap pre-foamed. It washes well and rinses off more quickly. Being married to an engineer as I am, I had to know how the clear liquid was so efficiently aerated into foam- 
what's so special about this liquid??  

As it turns out, nothing.  

I'm not kidding. It's actually a very simple concept that creates foam soap. In the dispenser, one chamber draws air and the other draws liquid.  As it's dispensed these are forced together (the soap is aerated) to create foam.  

 dispensed into your very own dirty little paws you'll find something indistinguishable to the original product. It may be a little bit of deja vous here, but I'll say it again:  it seems identical because compositionally, it IS identical.   The aforementioned silky foamy soapy goodness. Once again, as consumers we are demanding LESS concentrated product in more packaging for higher prices.  Let's save our money and break the cycle. 

Foam Soap Short Version: pump 4 pumps of soft soap into the foamer bottle.  Fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. Shake well.  It will get quite foamy but does not need to stay that way- subsequent uses will be aerated like I talked about above. That's it, no long version.

I'm playing nicely with others and having fun with 
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Be Tricky- Painting Tip.

There are moments in my life that I think, "I can't be the ONLY housewife who never grew out of her awkward/clumsy phase."  Most of the time I think that only to make myself feel better.

From this realization however, comes a wellspring of ingenuity (on occasion.) Think of it as being tricky, fooling your task into thinking that you are really quite adept at what you're trying to accomplish.

My small painting project recently was just such an occasion.  I was planning to paint only the kitchen-side of our half wall (more on the evolution of that project in a future post.)

As any do-it-herselfer worth her salt knows, you MUST tape for a project and put down plastic. Even the most experienced painter with the most steady hand will (*snicker, NOT me anyway...*) will experience the very best Murphy's Law has to offer.

~IF~ I were speaking from experience, I'd say it's entirely possible she'd somehow manage to dribble a cute little zig-zaggy trail of paint across the carpet in the process.

Impatient and impulsive as I am, I determined that the inspiration and motivation to do this project must not be postponed even by a quick trip to the store for plastic sheeting/dropcloths. I considered for a millisecond not putting down plastic and just cutting in by hand, then I remembered realized what I would know IF I had been speaking from experience as I mentioned above.

I figured without a handy dropcloth at my disposal, my best bet would probably be to cut a couple garbage bags apart and lay them out.  Thus began the scavenge. After pulling several things out from under the sink and wondering what that funky smell might be, I discovered that I was nearly out of garbage bags and was still too lazy to go buy more of those at the moment too.

As I sat back on my heels I came eye-to-eye (plank?) with my food storage drawer, and it suddenly dawned on me...

Have you ever been through a house that's for sale or a model home with sticky plastic sheeting on the floor to protect carpets?  It occurred to me that my Glad Press 'n' Seal wrap has nearly the same texture- would that stick to the carpet?

It WORKED!  Curious dog not required for effectiveness...  I will be using this for ALL future painting projects. I imagine I could probably use it right around the edge to affix regular plastic dropcloths to the carpet as well- I always tape the heck out of mine and somehow still manage to kick them out of place.

I suppose this entire experience makes the revelation of my new half-accent-wall pretty anticlimactic, but here that is too:

I'm playing nice in Tip Me Tuesday- What fun!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Cryday. A life where I'm not in love with you...

I'd like to state very clearly that I do not in any way agree with the action taken in remedy of the situation, though the deepest parts of my heart can identify the source of the emotion that would drive that action. 

May we live long enough to become wise but not so long that we forget our love. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Haphazard Housewife Cleans- Front Closet Edition

I discovered something a few years back:  I have great organizing skillZ.  (Mom! Quit LAUGHING.) Perhaps I should clarify- I have great organizing skills when I apply them.  Through a number of usually work- related projects I discovered my love and talent for containing/compartmentalizing, labeling, categorizing and color-coding OTHER peoples' stuff.  I've mused for some time about the fact that I'm seemingly unable (read: unwilling) to apply these principles at home.

To this end, I thus endeavor:  one project at a time, I WILL bring law (ok, peace) and order to my own home.

Let's begin.  I'm in need of the proper attire.
Too much? You wouldn't think so if you saw the disaster zone that is the rest of my house. 

Perhaps instead I'll find it more profitable to put the vest on Annie so that she's more visible as she "helps" by relocating the items I'm trying to organize.  
 That's a travel pillow she's holding.  I knew it wouldn't be too difficult to get her to comply with my photo-shoot scheme... Er, candid shots.

This is better, I feel more housewife-y already.
Don't be fooled.  The only reason I donned the apron is so that I would have a pocket in which to put my phone so I could blast my white-girl rap music while cleaning.  No, really- I do. Ask hubby- he thinks it's funny.

Ok, I think that's enough procrastinating.  Off I go.