Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Wash Your Snack Bag

The most common question I get about my sandwich bags and wraps is how to care for them. People are really only going to reuse something if it's easy to do so. So here's my mini-tutorial on How To Wash Your Snack Bags.

What you need:
Hamburke's Sandwich bag or wrap
lingerie bag
washing machine
laundry soap (so you can use any that you like but my house has sensitive skin so we don't use detergent)
Sponge/paper towels
Dish soap
clothes pins

Everyday Care: When my kids some home from school Monday through Thursday, they put their lunch boxes on the counter and get a snack. While they're eating, I empty their lunch boxes and sponge off their snack bags. I then turn them inside out and set them in the dish drying rack.

Weekly Care: On Fridays when the kids come home from school, instead of sponging off my kids' sandwich bags and wraps, I get them ready for the laundry.

First, I empty the bags and wraps and for the bags, set the Velcro askew so that the bag will stay open like this.

Second, I toss them into my lingerie bag so that the velcro doesn't stick to anything else in the laundry and zip up the bag.

Third, I wash them in hot water with the rest of my laundry - sometimes towels and sheets, sometimes white clothes without bleach.

Lastly, I hang them to dry on Mr. IKEA Octopus making sure that the Velcro is pointed away from the spendy transition toe dance tights that were washed in a separate lingerie bag.

And here's one of each for sale now:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Builder Extraordinaire!

So I make hair bows and I have ribbon EVERYWHERE! You wouldn't think it but it's actually really hard to keep it organized! I've tried several ways to get organized:

Girl Scout Cookie Boxes and Dowels

Plastic mesh basket and wooden dowels (ahem - the same dowels as above)

Best Craft Spooler and Ribbon Organizer

They all ended in a mess of tangled ribbon and laziness. Over the last 2 days, I finally created something that I hope will be a timesaver and won't leave me frustrated! I made with my own hands, a ribbon rack!

It seems like such a little thing but it took 2 years to figure out exactly what I needed and how to do it. The idea is simple - build a wooden frame, brace it and hang dowels. The tough part is how do I hang dowels? There's a couple ideas - 
1) drill holes, stick the dowel thru and cap the ends so that it can't come out - easier said than done since I've  split several dowels trying to get the 2-way screws in them (okay, this crafter figured it out - use pre-threaded bar!)
2) using a routing tool, make a path for the dowel to come in like this one.
3) use some sort of hardware to hold the dowels on the sides - the most common one I see suggested on DIY blogs is screw in brass hooks
4) last ditch - buy one but these are pricey and don't usually hold a lot of rolls of ribbon

 Yesterday, I had the best idea ever - I'd use the Closetmaid wall brackets that we had leftover from when we put shelves in our old pantry to hold the dowels! But we only had 4, not a single screw that would hold them and those suckers are a lot more expensive than I remember! I thought - well, I'll use the ones I have and then   try the hooks from my picture hanging kit that I never use.
I went to the wood area of my local home improvement store to purchase 4 48" long pieces of wood (1"x4" for the top and bottom and 0.5"x4" for the sides, 0.5"x1.5" to brace the back and 1"x1.5" to hold the hardware). I used a hand saw to cut the wood into 24" pieces, glued and used a brad nailer to make the frame, added the supports in the back and decided where my dowels would go (I decided that they needed to be 10 cm apart - I realize that I go back and forth between metric and emperial, if I can do it, the rest of the US can too).
VOILA!! I have a frame! I started to add hardware to hold the dowels and realized that I had out-thought myself - the ClosetMaid wall brackets are too wide to fit in the space I had left - oops! 

 Well, I still had the brass hooks and I found these pipe clamps (Hillman 5/8" rubber lined clamps) in the hardware section of the home improvement store but I'd only bought one pair.

A trip back to the hardware store (because no project can be completed with only one trip to the hardware store) to buy more clamps and some self drilling, attached washer screws to hold the clamps (not clamped) onto the brace. I cut the dowels to right size and sorted the ribbon on to the dowels.

YAY! It's so much easier already but I have a whole box of ribbon that isn't spooled... I may also need to build a second one... All in all, it cost me about $40 (same price as a much smaller version I've seen at craft stores) and I have lots of screws left over!

Now, to make some actual product for 2 upcoming craft fairs this weekend...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Camping...in December

I think my husband is crazy - like absolutely insane - for many reasons, most recently, while drinking more beer than usual and texting, he agreed to go camping with his friend in December. So this past weekend, he camped along the Appalachian Trail in some primitive cabin (it's just a shelter, no amenities - too primitive for me. I require a toilet - it doesn't have to flush or be attached to the shelter but it needs to have some walls and a seat). It turned out not too cold (40/day 20/night) but I was a little worried when there was snow in the forecast last week.

Camping in cold weather isn't too much different than camping in mild weather - but it takes a bit more prep. He did a lot of research - really, it occupied a vast amount of our conversation over the last 2 months. His take: It's really easy to go from cold weather camping research in the blogsphere to apocalypse prepper blogs.
cold weather camping --> good post on extreme camping --> detailed further advice on...OMG this is a prepper blog!!

New Christmas present idea proposed: a BOB for everyone, you know, in case there's a natural disaster on the East Coast.

Anyway, I think he was well prepared for his trip, except for being physically prepared to carry all the stuff. His pack list was nearly as long as our pack list for vacation...
hiking pack
day pack
"mummy" sleeping bag (borrowed)
sleeping pad
lantern/extra batteries
headlamp/extra batteries
polycord (survival macrame bracelet is non-girly colors - yes, everyone in our house can make them but I haven't found a good supplier for the clips)
2 ways to start a fire & dryer lint (tender)
clothes/sleeping clothes (one extra outfit and something warm to sleep in)
extra socks
layering elements - long underwear, fleece, vest, warm jacket
rain suit
snow pants
mess kit
aluminum foil (heavy duty)
food (they split the menu but hubby now owns a 6-egg travel carrier and a hip flask)
1 gallon/day/person water (I think this is where the real weight comes into play)
toothpaste and toothbrush
biodegradable AIO soap (wish I'd ordered some from my favorite soap people, Soap for Your Soul, but he wanted liquid)
did I mention that he grew a beard?

He got home mid-afternoon today and I immediately put him to work bagging leaves until dark because, you know, he's already grimy and I spent the day with the kids getting the leaves in piles!

Donated to the Silent Auction for the PTA:

New in my shop this week is a few ponytail holders: