Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Perfect Solution To Organizing Socks Once and For All: Part One, The Need For a Perfect Solution

What do socks have to do with homesteading?  Well, nothing, really, unless you raise sheep for wool, spin the wool into yarn and then knit the socks from said yarn.  And I do intend to do that one day, but for now for me, socks really have nothing to do with homesteading.  However, before I invented my sock system, I would spend as much time folding all my other laundry as matching socks.  We are currently a family of seven, a family of seven that has 14 feet.  That means a lot of socks. 

I know it's a stretch to talk about socks on this back-to-the-land/ homesteading blog, but you'll be glad you read this... having organized socks will free up your time to do bigger and better things, like homestead.

I've read a lot about sock organization, even particularly in large families.  Most families' systems are variations of four systems:
1. They say the heck with it. They have some sort of large receptacle for socks and let their children fish out a pair or something resembling a pair when it's time to get dressed. 
2.  Each family member has some sort of special mesh bag or bucket in which he or she keeps all their own dirty socks.  They wash the socks together.
3. They use sock pros or some kind of other device to keep their socks together.
4. A certain family member, usually a tweenager, in charged with the sock matching task for the entire family.
Those four systems don't work for me and here's why:
1. The big receptacle method-  I have a pet peeve about socks that they have to match.  I also can't picture my little ones finding matching ones.  I picture them throwing the socks on the floor actually.  As the kids get older, I don't think I want them sharing socks.
2.  I also tried the mesh bags.  With my little ones, I'm lucky if I can get them to put laundry in the hamper, forget about in their own sock bag.  Plus I've had the bags open and spill out.  It just didn't work for me.
3.  Sockpros are designed for adult socks.  They don't work on baby socks.  If you stuff several pairs of baby socks into them then what's the point?  Some of those come out.  Also, it requires one to have sockpros handy when one is getting undressed.  I was never organized enough for that.
4.  I could not delegate the matching socks job.  My oldest just turned five.  I do not have a child right now old enough to have the cognitive abilities to match socks for seven people.

Little did I know that Oprah Winfrey had the perfect solution to organizing socks once and for all.  She would revolutionize everything I ever knew about sock organization.  

The mesh bag and the sockpro are sock organization
failures for our family.
The Oprah magazine held they key to the solution...

Stay tuned for my next posts where I will rock your sock world...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Toothpaste Removes Dishwasher Hard Water Soap Scum

We have hard water. Like the hardest water ever. I am always amazed at how dirty looking the dishes are coming out of the dishwasher. They say that they changed the law and the dishwasher-soap-making companies had to change their formulas to comply with some new regulations. These new formulas combined with my hard water equals the grossest dishes, especially when it comes to glass and Pyrex.

Today I decided to take on my de-soap-scumming project before I put my still-gross-looking "clean" dishes away. I used toothpaste and a sponge. I'll describe the process in pictures.

I even had scummy yuck on the pot.

My daughter insisted that I take her picture, too.

These are some scummy pans.  I even had that
scum on the outside of the crockpot crock.

Toothpaste is the key. 
This is Vanilla Mint toothpaste that I bought cheap a while back. 
I didn't like the taste, so I earmarked it for this project.

After cleaning, my pot actually reflects.

Pyrex loaf pan before...

Here are my now actually clean dishes drip drying on some dishtowels.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's a Snap: Thee Solution to Organizing Socks

Socks!  Even when I was single, they would loose their mates.  Socks are a universal problem, whether you have one child or twenty or none.  Dryers eat them.  They got lost in the washer.  Even if you don't use a dryer like me, they fall off the clothesline. 

Well I have discovered Thee Solution, and oddly enough I have Oprah Winfrey to thank for it.  For some reason, I receive the Oprah Magazine.  I have never paid for it.  I don't even think that I get every issue, but I do receive most.  Now no offense to Oprah, but Oprah and I have, um, a different philosophy.  So really I don't get much out of her magazine.  Maybe some recipes.  Well when I received the latest issue and I was flipping through it, I happened to stop on the O List page. They had profiled Snappy Socks.  Wow! What an ingenious idea!  They sell socks with snaps on them.  Your socks are always together then, right after you take them off and throughout  the wash.  Wow! 

Here is the write-up in the Oprah Magazine, a Sock Pro and a Mesh Bag.
The only problem with Snappy Socks is that they are $6.00 per pair.  As of this writing, we have twelve feet in our house.  Even to get everyone two pairs of Snappy Socks, that would cost $72.00.  Yeah, that's not in our budget. 

I have a snap press.  I got to work, using up all of my available snaps, and now we all have our own snappy socks!  Besides the cost of the actual snap press, I think each snap set is only around a nickel, maybe a dime, tops.  Yes, that's a lot cheaper than Snappy Socks. 

These are my husband's sock, snapped together!
I have tried everything from mesh bags to Sock Pros.  (The main problem with Sock Pros is that they don't fit baby and toddler socks or even Kevin's thicker socks, plus, they get weak after years of use and end up breaking.)

Jo-Ann Fabrics sells handheld snap presses and snaps in their diaper sewing section.  Kam Snaps sells snaps in bulk for a lot cheaper.  I use size 20, which is the most commonly used size for cloth diapers. 

Now I'm going to tell you how I my very talented husband Kevin made a big snap press inexpensively.  Inspired by this lady's post, after we bought an arbor press from Harbor Freight ($35.00), snap dies from Kam Snaps ($20.00) and a thread cutter from the local hardware store($5.00), Kevin cut the threads into the arbor press, and there was my snap press. 

Here is our snap press and supply of snaps.
So, yes, I am so far from Martha Stewart or Ana White, but I have discovered thee solution to keeping socks together! 

I've linked this to the Prairie Homestead.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Ugly Linoleum of the Year Award

We finally put new carpet in almost the entire house!  Yay!  We've needed it in most rooms since before we moved in.  We also replaced the mud room carpet with linoleum (or vinyl flooring to be correct).  (Who puts carpet in a mudroom anyway?)

Our kitchen hardwood floor still needs to be refinished badly and the guest bedroom hardwood floor needs refinished, too (but not as badly).  The vinyl flooring in the hallway and bathroom are decent and livable, so we're not planning on replacing them.  Once we get the kitchen floor refinished, I will be happy with all the floors in the house.

Tearing up the old carpet meant a glimpse of lots of linoleum. My house is old- 1906- a mere 20 years or less since Little House on the Prairie times.  I'm not sure what they styles were back in the day.  I'm assuming that linoleum- battleship indestructible linoleum- was all the rage at some point.  If that's the case, than this house was oh-so-trendy.  There was ugly linoleum in all the rooms- even the bedrooms.  (Of course there wasn't linoleum in the mud room, where I think it would make most sense to have it.)

I'm not sure if they offer The Ugly Linoleum of the Year Award or even who "they" are.  But, if they do, then I'm sure this house will win hands down.  (Of course, if it was back in the day, it would win The Really Trendy Linoleum of the Year Award instead.)

So without further ado, brace yourself for some really ugly linoleum...

This is not berber-type carpet- this is actually linoleum in a design to look like berber.  Notice the glitter specs in it too, and the oh-so-lovely pink and green design.

This is a zoom out of all that, um, trendy berber design linoleum.  This was in the living room/ dining room.  
I really don't have words to describe this one.  This was on the floor of the room we call the library.  
This is the kids' room, view one...

Kids' Room, view two...

My room... 

My room, a closeup view.  Notice the glittery spots...
I am thirty-something year old Jersey girl living in a little house the prairie.  I'd like to know if I'm missing something.  Is this linoleum all the rage?  There are pretty hardwood floors underneath all these... sigh...

I'd like you to let me know -if you had to pick just one- which one would be the winner of The Ugly Linoleum of the Year Award?  Or again, am I just missing something, and do you actually like these patterns?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Solving the Hanger Problem

I had a hanger problem. All of my hangers were stuffed in an old diaper box. I would pull them out and they would be tangled... it was impossible for me to pull out just one. It would be impossible for me to find the specific hanger that I needed.

I needed a quick and low-cost (free) solution.
I gathered my tools and supplies- a drill, a big drill bit, a piece of scrap wood, a rod, screws and a wire hanger.  (I had that rod laying around- not sure from where.)

I bent the hanger into a hook.

I drilled the scrap wood, but not all the way through.

I screwed the scrap wood to the wall and the hanger to the shelf above. I simply attached the rod to the hanger and inserted it in the slot.

And here it is... a new rod below the shelf...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pictures of the Ceiling

In this first picture, you can see the plaster coated ceiling tiles, flapping in the wind.

Here you can see the foundation jacks holding up the ceiling.

Here you can see how my husband fixed it... he screwed the ceiling up and coated it with spackle. We'll wait a few years for a new ceiling, although we still have to paint this one.

Laundry That Used to Be Clean

I don't care how efficient your dryer is, it isn't as efficient as hanging your clothes on the line to dry. Although this winter my husband was forced to finally hook up our dryer when we had a few weeks of cold snowy days, for the most part I avoid using our dryer.

Here in Colorado, we are blessed with low humidity and lots of sunshine. Clothes dry very quickly.

Due to my own laziness, I did not take the clothes in off the line on Saturday.

On Sunday, we had an unexpected windstorm that scattered clothes all over and buried them in dirt. Of course we weren't around for the beginning of the storm to take them in. Pictures say it best.

I don't even know where to begin as far as doing all the laundry again.