DIY Drain Unclogger

Drain Unclogger, that is the official name I have selected, sounds fancy doesn’t it.  Who else has super long thick hair and/or a household of teenagers? Welcome to Mr. Maker’s least favorite chore, unclogging the drain.

You and I have probably all used a  type of clog-reducing chemical found in stores to  to flush out drains. You may have even thought of yourself as a Handyman or woman because you tackled that drain clog.   I am here to explain why there is an Easier, Better, Greener, HOMESPUN option.

Consider these four issues or concerns with regard to the use of  store bought or  similar drain cleaner products. You know what they are called.

1. Environmentally unsafe ingredients

Many commercial drain cleaners contain unsafe ingredients that can be detrimental to residential and water environments. Some contain lye and other highly toxic materials. Liquid waste that has high levels of such toxins can make its way into the sewage system and out to rivers, streams, and the ocean, and take its toll on plants and wildlife, possibly even contaminate food and water supplies.

2. Risks to children

Many cleaning agents, sport warning labels to inform consumers about physical threats the ingredients may pose. Unfortunately, children often cannot or do not read labels when they are playing and exploring. Practice good home safety tactics by removing these harmful chemicals from use altogether and replacing them with less toxic alternatives.

3. Further pipe damage

The chemicals in some of the other uncloggers may not solve all clogs, and they can lead to a worsening of pipe issues. They can build up in a clogged area, and corrode the pipe. With repeated use, these chemicals may eat their way through a pipe, and cause a leak or a collapse of the system.

4. A danger to pets

Like children, pets are susceptible to accidental poisoning by household chemicals. They are not able to read cautionary labels and cannot ask for help when they encounter and ingest harmful materials. Caring for pets should include taking proper safety precautions, such as moving cleaners to higher shelves where furry critters cannot reach the containers.

Animals can also track harmful substances around the house. Avoid pouring or spraying cleaners on surfaces over which a pet may soon walk. Otherwise, your four-legged housemates may track harmful chemicals around the house, develop irritated paws, and end up ingesting toxic substances by trying to clean themselves.

Now that I have explained all the reasons why  you should try to DIY, take a gander at how easy this recipe is. You probably have this in your house already.

Instructions:
  1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down your drain.
  2. Dump in about 1/2 c. baking soda.
  3. Then, pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and cover the drain or plug the drain.
  4. Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface) if you have one and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.

Why this works: The baking soda and hot water treatment will loosen up any grimy sludge that’s hanging out at the bottom of your drain, and the explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar will jolt it all loose. Then one final super hot-water rinse will make all the bad stuff go bye-bye.

 

DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

For those of you who know me in real life and not just blog life, you know I HATE STORE BOUGHT COFFEE CREAMER. Recently while listen to an Adam Corolla pod cast, he shared my disdain for coffee creamer, this got me thinking…..How many others share the HATE for store brand coffee creamer, and how many people don’t really know how BAD it is for you?

There are new brands and lines of coffee creamer on the market nowadays touting “natural flavors” and whatnot, but my stance hasn’t changed.

Honestly, my internal red flags go up when I buy Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and neither pumpkin nor spice is listed as ingredients.

Besides natural flavors, there are other ingredients you should be leery of too in your coffee creamer. Specifically, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.

Hydrogenated oils are also known as trans fat, and for awhile now the FDA has known trans fat is not healthy for the human body. It wasn’t until 2015 though, when the FDA finally made the decision that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer generally recognized as safe either.

Despite these rulings, there are loopholes that allow hydrogenated oils to be in your food, including your coffee creamer.

High fructose corn syrup is created in a factory using a 7-step process to convert corn into a sweetener. In the conversion process, strains of bacteria known to cause anthrax, food poisoning and used as a pesticide are added to the starch. The end results is a 90% concentration of fructose.

For comparison purposes, honey is roughly 37% fructose.

Even if you find a coffee creamer that doesn’t contain either of these two ingredients, it probably contains one of these:

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Artificial flavor (which could be anything)
  • Artificial color (again, which could be anything)

AND STILL if your coffee creamer doesn’t contain these, I’m guessing it cost an arm and a leg.

HOMESPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER

Warning- his recipe actually contains REAL pumpkin and REAL spices. 

 The key to making that happen is the combination of whole milk and cream.

Note – I did not say skim milk or half-and-half or 2% milk or all cream or anything else.

Print
HOMSPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree this can be real or from a can
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat, stirring often with a flat whisk as it cools to prevent scalding of the milk and burning of the sugars.

 

Limoncello

As you probably have figured out by now, our family is Italian. One of our favorite family dessert drinks is Limoncello.

Well with the inspiration of Mr. Maker making all the home brew and wine, I couldn’t let him be the only one making fabulous beverages.

This is what started my obsession with anything cello.  I say anything because I am working on Orangecello as we speak. Stay tuned to see how that turns out.

Limoncello is easy and basic, really being patient is the hardest part.

What you will need:

Ingredients

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 14 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature anywhere from 2-4 days. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles.

This is perfect as a sipper on the patio or I like to add to a little lemonade and some half and half for the perfect lemon meringue beverage.

This batch is called “Back to School Limoncello”  My babies are off to 11th grade and college this year and this mom needs some patio beverages!

I hope you enjoy.

 

Quick DIY Weed Killer

Quick and Easy! The Hubby is mowing the grass and says “hey can you whip up some of that weed killer for the rocks around the fire pit?”

1 Cup Vingar

1 TBSP of salt

1 Squirt of Dawn dish soap!

Done and done!  It took me longer to type this post!

Now back to my beverage on the patio!

Summer Pops

 

Print
Summer Pops
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Well it's just about the time when the kids are bored of Summer, it's brutally hot outside, and everyone starts to get on each others nerves.  I always find that when that begins, it's best to fill their loud-whiny mouths with HomeSpun Summer Pops. 

Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 strawberry sliced
  • 3-6 blueberries
  • 1 leaf mint
Instructions
  1. Start with these Summer Pop Molds , they make 6. Super easy to use.  Combine ingredients and let freeze for at least 3 hours. * If having trouble removing the plastic casing, run under hot water for a few seconds. 

  2. Combine ingredients and let freeze for at least 3 hours. 

Recipe Notes

If having trouble removing the plastic casing, run under hot water for a few seconds. 

A Shot Of Wonderful

Last year sometime in August, we had a plan to take the girls out back to school shopping. The thing about Fibromyalgia or any chronic pain is that it never flares at the right time, as if there would ever be a right time. Here I am barely able to walk with two teenagers who want to go go go.

While getting shoes, we decided to stop into Whole Foods for lunch.  In the center isle by the checkouts, there it was. KOR Turmeric Shots, know now in my house as the “shot of wonderful.”

We forked over the $2.50 and within 10 minutes I was able to tackle the mall, carrying bags, and feeling like my normal self.  No more sitting on the bench and hoping that the day would end soon.

With that, I did what anyone would do and went back in and bought a weeks worth. Almost $20.  Now, I am not saying that my health isn’t worth $20 a week, but like everything in my life, there had to be a way I could do this myself.

So with a little trial and error and the help of the smoothie counter clerk at Whole Foods, I created my own DIY Turmeric Shot….renamed A Shot Of Wonderful.

If you suffer or know someone who suffers with chronic pain, try it.

Recipe:

  • Grated Turmeric Root, approx 1 TBSP (if not available in produce section you can buy at most organic smoothie stores or use turmeric powder which is very similar.
  • 1 Whole Carrot Grated
  • 16oz of Coconut Water 
  • 1 Squirt of Honey
  • Strain to remove pulp

*optional orange or tangerine slices. (We used cucumber)

Blend until drinkable. I used our Nutribullet 

Makes enough Juice to fill 6 of the dressing sized Tupperware containers.

I will say it stains, so put something down on your counters and do not use the “guest towels” to clean up.

HomeSpun Food Wrap

Good morning Mrs. Maker again…by now you’ve probably learned or assumed that I love a project and a challenge. This next piece was a bit of both. The project itself was super easy, but making a video…that is a work in progress. We went for it, more to show a different spin on how to do this, but being a work in progress I would appreciate feedback.

Now, onto the good stuff.

Between BBQ s, Meal-prep, and Leftovers we use a lot of plastic wrap. If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen. Plastic wrap can take up to 500 years to decompose!

In our effort to create less waste and do better at green living, this HomeSpun idea was perfect for this.

Bees Wrap is the BEES KNEES!

Bees Wrap is an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to plastic wrap that hugs bowls and pans with just the right amount of cling. You can buy ready made or Homespin it yourself.

It’s perfect for wrapping snacks, fruit, veggies, cheese, bread and even bowls.

To use, just place over a bowl or container, wrap around food like cheese, or fold into a snack bag. The warmth from your hands will mold the wrap into the desired shape.

They can be washed with cold water and a mild soap

*Since they cannot be washed with hot water they are not recommended for meat or the dishwasher.

Depending on how frequently they’re used, they can last for up to a year. After that all you need to do is re-wax them in order to keep using them.

Let’s get this party started!!

Stuff you will need.

Step 1

Using scissors to reduce fraying, cut several squares from your cotton material.  I cut several different sizes you just need enough to have a bit of overhang on your bowl or pan.

Step 2

Choose a large flat work surface and make sure to cover it with something that can withstand heat. (I used an old giant cutting board.) Tear off two square sheets of parchment paper, both bigger than your largest pre-cut cloth square.

Step 3

Place one pre-cut cloth square on top of your  parchment paper. Sprinkle beeswax beads evenly over cloth square, making sure to cover all the way to edges.

Step 4

Place second sheet of parchment paper over the top. With a hot iron on the “cotton” setting, gently iron over the top of the parchment paper, going back and forth a few times.

Step 5

Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and take a look at the fabric. Areas that did not get enough beeswax will be lighter in color. Simply sprinkle a small amount of wax on those areas, cover with parchment paper, and iron again.

Step 6

Carefully remove the hot fabric from your work surface and hang to dry. Fabric will stiffen as it dries.

Viola’ you are making a difference and creating less waste. 

This project worked out very well for me, but I am curious to see how it went for you. Let me know in the comments. Please include pictures if you would like.

DIY Detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent- May use in High Efficiency Machine.
Make in 5 gallon batches
 Ingredients
  • 1 cup of Borax– (You may even have this already from the recent slime fad.)
  • 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda!)
  • 5.5oz Fels Naptha soap (you can also use Zote or castile soap – about the same amount, you don’t have to be exactly precise
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket with a lid
  • essential oil for scent (optional) Mr. Maker and I do not use.
Instructions
  1. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap. Add the soap shreds to a pot with 4 cups of hot water. Put the heat on medium-high, & stir until completely melted – about 10 minutes.
  2. Fill up a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water (I like to use the shower for this, it’s easier in my opinion). Pour in the melted soap mixture & give it a quick stir. Stir in the borax & washing soda. If your’e using essential oil, now is the time to add it. You add in ½oz to 1oz, depending on how scented you want it. Although, I never really measure it anymore – I just shake in enough drops to where I feel satisfied. Stir the contents again.
  3. Fill up the bucket with warm water, all the way to the top – and stir again. If you don’t have a utensil long enough to reach the bottom, just put on a pair of rubber dish gloves beforehand.
  4. Snap on the lid, & let it sit for 24 hours to gel up. It will have the consistency of egg noodle soup – watery with glops of gel…. This is what it should look like! If you would like a smoother consistency like the store-bought brands, you can use an immersion blender at this point to smooth it out. I don’t bother with this step though personally – the ‘glops’ dissolve just fine in the wash – and having a smoother consistency has no effect on the cleaning power or finished product.
  5. At this point, you can divide it up between different containers like empty laundry detergent containers, cleaned out milk jugs, etc. I prefer to use 1-2 empty containers, and leave the rest in the bucket to save on space – refilling my containers as necessary.

The best part is the savings. I calculated that with 1 box of Borax ($2.99) 1 box of washing soda ($3.97) and 1 bar for each batch of Fels Naptha ($.97) x 5 bars. You can make 5 – 5 gallon buckets or 3200 ounces of detergent. Each load takes about 1.5 ounces. You could wash 2,133 loads of laundry for $12.00 compared to the average price of Gain (32 Loads, 50-Ounce $6.99) apples to apples would be $465.00 for the same amount of laundry. 

What could we do with the extra $450???

We are working on editing the video- coming soon!