Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

A quick sewing project…

I’ve had quite a long sewing break. I was on vacation, had other things going on, etc etc… My son started preschool last week. I have to send him with a little snack when he goes, so I thought it might be fun to make him a lunch set. He loves Thomas, of course. I was at Hobby Lobby buying white Kona (never ending purchase!) for my next (current) project and came across some Thomas fabric there, so I got some. I found a green QSQ Thomas line as well at my favorite shop a few days later. Unfortunately, I didn’t take process pictures, but I followed some online tutorials. They were super easy.

IMG_1323

Tutorial for bag: http://whipup.net/category/whipup-tutorials/ (scroll all the way to the bottom)

Basically, you cut two pieces for the bag and two for the lining. I interfaced all four pieces since the HL Thomas was pretty thin, and I was using fabric, not stiff towels like the tutorial suggests. That really was the most time consuming part. After that, it went together quick and easy. I attached one of my hair bands in a matching lime and a big yellow button for the closure.

Tutorial for snack bags: http://www.sewcando.com/2013/05/super-simple-reusable-sandwichsnack-bag.html?m=1

This held me up a lot because of anxiety about food-safe coating for the inner part of the bag. I researched oilcloth (definitely not safe), laminated cotton (probably not safe, but no one will say for sure ), and fusible vinyl (they give a very non-responsive answer to if it is safe, but really, nothing vinyl is safe, right?), even PUL (nope). In the end I waffled between the laminate and vinyl (I really loved the idea of using my own). I had the Heat n Bond in my cart, and ultimately put it back. The risk is probably pretty small, but, without saying too much, we are having enough issues right now that I don’t want to take any additional or unnecessary risks with my son’s health or development. So, I just went with plain cotton and I guess I will still continue to use ziploc for anything messy. 😦 But the point is, they are cute.

Other than the research and conscience-wrestling, this was a super quick and simple project! You cut two pieces, fold it up and bind around them! I still had some problems catching the fabric in the binding, so had to go over it a couple of times. But that was the hardest part. I added snaps and it was done!

Advertisements
2 Comments »

Spring cleaning

There’s not a lot of sewing going on around here these days. In fact, I packed up my machine for my sewing class Saturday, and still haven’t even unpacked it. Here is my block for this month, though:

IMG_0555

I have also gotten some fabrics cut for some swaps. I am swamped in swaps right now. I need to cut back, seriously. I am going broke buying fabrics for swaps, and can’t buy the fabrics I want/need for my stash and projects. I have a very large cart sitting in one of the fabric shops, and I just can’t buy it. Plus, shop hop is coming up this week. I am not sure if I can participate too much. Lots of the stores are a good distance from me, and I can’t see schlepping the baby all over the city and being in the shops with him. I try not to take him places that don’t have shopping carts.

So, anyway, what I have been doing is cleaning. This weekend I tackled our refrigerator. Like, seriously. Had my husband pull it out and everything. It wasn’t quite as neglected as the oven, but it wasn’t good.

Not quite a "before", but early on in the cleaning process

Not quite a “before”, but early on in the cleaning process

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Yeah, look at the bottom of the fridge 😦  I took the shelves out, one by one, and washed them in the sink. They actually cleaned up pretty easily with dish soap and hot water. Then as they dried, I worked on the inside.

racks drying

shelves drying

Pinterest has plenty of ideas for how to deal with future messes. I went with using clear vinyl adhesive that I got at Dollar tree. It took just over one roll to do all the shelves in my fridge, and I have a couple more rolls stashed for next time.

Adding the vinyl

Adding the vinyl

It took me a good part of the day just to do what I did. My husband helped with the baby when he was up, and I worked through both naptimes. I still haven’t done the door section of the fridge, but it isn’t as bad. I don’t even know how to go about dealing with the freezer section.

All clean! (Mostly)

All clean! (Mostly)

Since then, I have been systematically going room by room and quite literally washing it from ceiling to floor. I really only get naptime to work, so I aim to get 1-2 rooms done a day. At this pace, it is going to take about 3 more weeks just to get the downstairs done. Right now I am working from ceiling to floor, then I have to go back through and do windows, then floors. Then there are always the closets and pantries and stuff to work on, but for now I am just trying to tackle what can’t be closed behind a door. My husband has invited the entire family for dinner at the end of the month, so I have a hard and fast deadline for the downstairs. Then I will head upstairs, which will be harder in some ways, since there is a lot of organizing and decluttering that needs to take place up there. I have the downstairs mostly under control in that area.

I have a lot of moldings and chairrails and ornate baseboards and wainscoting downstairs, and I do have to say, the rooms I have finished are noticeably whiter and brighter. I am really pleased. They are far from perfect, but so much nicer than I can remember being in a long time. I remember reading somewhere (flylady?) that any cleaning is a blessing. Even if not perfect or spotless, it is certainly far more than I have done in a looong time and looks far better.  I have been using the vinegar solution, but thinking about switching to the castile soap for the baseboards to help with maybe a little extra scrubbing power. I have already destroyed three magic erasers in this process. They are amazing, though. They seriously get scuffs and marks and pencil and crayon and everything off of the walls and baseboards. I washed everything down and scrubbed with the vinegar, then went back over everything with the magic eraser, then wiped down with a dry cloth because the microfiber really does leave a lot of dust blobs around. This is what I see as my immediate future. I am hoping to get most of it done before the weather starts getting really nice, though we have had a couple pretty days lately. I gotta start finding some ways to fit some sewing in again, though. I have two Modern Round Robin quilts sitting here needing my attention, as well as I think I still have 4 more 3×6 blocks to make.

The remains of my magic eraser after today's cleaning.

The remains of my magic eraser after today’s cleaning.

Leave a comment »

Natural cleaning adventure: The kitchen (part 1?)

So, contrary to the evidence outside, spring is on its way. I mean, we are in March already! The blooms and smells and itchy eyes should be coming soon. And I am inspired to do some real spring cleaning. Keeping my house in any kind of order is a never ending losing battle which has only gotten worse since having the kidlet, who takes pride in going behind me and dumping everything I have put away back onto the floor.

I am also working hard to use natural, non-toxic cleaning alternatives. My focus for the last month or so is the kitchen. The kitchen is a big and constantly dirty room, and I am continuing to focus there this month. I have been using two different “all-purpose” cleaning solutions in my everyday cleaning in the kitchen. One uses vinegar and water, which apparently people don’t like because of the smell. The smell doesn’t bother me, and dissipates rather quickly, but does leave my kitchen smelling like potato chips. Which isn’t exactly a “clean” smell in my mind. I do wipe down with water afterward. The other uses castile soap, and I actually find that smell a little more disturbing for some reason.

Do they work as well? Well….  I believe they clean. They do take a lot more scrubbing. I have tried using microfiber, sponges, and Magic Eraser (which gets a B on EWG [with very little information, though]. Which is good. I need these things). My preference depends on the specific mess. The problem comes down to my crappy easily stained laminate countertops that I hate. The commercial cleaners fight the stains better. I don’t know why but they do. My countertops, while clean, have sort of a yellow cast to them now and there are rings and stuff left from things. I have tried baking soda and magic eraser, but still not entirely satisfied. I need new countertops. Maybe someday we will scrape together the money for a kitchen update. Until then I have to tolerate these counters.

I also scrubbed down my cabinet doors with the vinegar and magic eraser. That went well overall, except for one part by the stovetop where there is some caked on stuff that I still haven’t gotten off. It’s not bad, just a little splatter, but as long as I am getting things clean, I want it clean.

Yesterday, I ventured into the oven. Confession time: I have never actually cleaned an oven. Now, to be entirely fair, we really don’t use the oven much. My husband does most of his cooking on the stovetop, and (as discussed in previous posts) I do most of mine in the microwave. But, we have been using it more since my husband has been working from his diet recipes, and we have lived here over 6 years. It was time. OK. Past time.

I forgot, in my enthusiasm, to take a before picture. It is probably just as well. You can use your imagination. I used a recipe of baking soda and hot water and a microfiber cloth and a sponge with a scrapy side. I got the information from a free kindle book on Amazon. First, I wiped out the burned food drips on the bottom. Then I slathered the baking soda paste in the oven and left it.

IMG_0533

Wiped down with baking soda paste.

IMG_0534

My cleaning tools.

 

Then later, I went back with my scrubby sponge and hot water and scrubbed and scrubbed. I didn’t get it all up; it will need another round, but I feel it was a marked improvement. Especially on the window. Then I wiped it out real well several times with clean water and mf cloth.

IMG_0535

All clean! (mostly)

 

I still need to do the racks. Next up this week: the fridge (cringe), finding a safe and non-toxic way to clean my floors, and switching out our dishes.

Leave a comment »

Reflections on a week gone by

So, I made it. This morning I awoke giddy that my diet had come to an end. First, the reveal: I lost about 5.5 pounds. I saw a tens digit on the scale that I haven’t seen in years… since I flew by it in the great weight gain after I got married. I am centimeters from buttoning jeans two sizes lower than the ones I have been wearing, which are literally falling off me. I don’t own the size in between… seems I always skip over it as my weight goes up and down. However, I am not convinced it was worth it for what I went through this past week. I feel I deserve to have lost 15 or 20 pounds!

I was good. If anything, I consumed less than I was supposed to – which is my husband’s theory why I didn’t lose more, though he does point out I have lost more in a week than he has in a month. I only had two cheats. One was the small tortilla I mentioned in another post. The other shouldn’t even count – We had to get out of the house one morning and I didn’t have the time or means to make and take a smoothie with me. I knew I needed something to get me through. I grabbed an apple and ate that on the way – something I would never choose normally. I had at best a smoothie and a half each day, but more like one a day. They just weren’t that appetizing and took forever to drink. Even the ones I liked got old quick.

I learned I would rather not eat than eat things I don’t like. I hate raw veggies. While I was never starving hungry, there was a definite underlying hunger throughout. Something that would normally send me grazing through the kitchen looking for snacks. I was shockingly easily able to resist those urges – especially when the option that faced me was raw veggies. I learned I hate tahini. That stuff stinks. I will be passing it on, though my husband seemed to like it.

I confirmed I hate cooking. I only had one bad cooking day. Most things left me plenty of leftovers to last a couple of days, and I got my husband to make a couple things for me. I hate the mess. I hate it takes so long. I hate the dishes. Etc,etc,etc.

If I were to do it again, I would cut out the caffeine first. It was especially hard going through withdrawal and diet at the same time. I would have tested some of the smoothies and things before hand, so I knew what I was getting into and the quantities it makes. I would not have bought everything on the ingredient list all at once, rather picked a few recipes and bought for those, since they lasted me a few days each, and we have a lot left. The smoothie ingredients (that I liked) went fast, though.

I had hoped to keep going. I actually liked most of the soups, though now I can’t think of having them, I am sure I will again in the future. I hoped to keep up the smoothies. I am having an aversion to the blender right now. The smoothies just weren’t what smoothies should be. Does that make sense?

A few days ago, I was out of my mind, filling my menu for today with Thin Mints, Cadburries, Ice Cream and Cheese. It didn’t quite go that way… I didn’t even eat today until about 2:30. Then, nothing really tasted the same. I know that sounds weird. But everything tastes off. Nothing is as yummy as it used to be. And of course, I filled up quickly. It was disappointing. Of course, I didn’t go though all this to just gain it all back, but I thought I deserved some rewards. And there is this weird film on my teeth (from last week). No matter how much I brush it doesn’t go away. What is up with that?

I thought long about having my diet coke. I went through hell to get off it. It is the longest I can ever remember going without it. I had one at dinner, and still haven’t finished it. It tastes funny. Maybe that is what this diet is really about. Making everything you used to love be unappetizing. I also had chicken for dinner. There goes the veggie promise. Well, at least for now. I still hope I will switch over, but I had low willpower and was craving hard the real, tough food. And I didn’t have to make it. That’s what will get me in the most trouble. I don’t want to cook, and it really isn’t economical of time, money or mess for us to be making different meals every night. If it is any consolation, it tasted funny. So, basically, as much as I have been dreaming about eating certain things all week, nothing has tasted good. How disappointing. Tomorrow I plan to get back on track – eating a little more sensibly, but eating. Food. And I hope to keep it to one diet coke a day.

In the end, I am proud of myself. There was a time when I seriously didn’t think I would make it past the first day. It wasn’t hard, I wasn’t starving, just awful. But I did it. I said I would and I stuck through it – through vomiting and gastric discomfort and cravings and all. I just don’t think I see any juice fasts in my near future, unfortunately. Glad I didn’t spend the money on a juicer.

3 Comments »

Day 2, lack of WIP

Yesterday went a bit better. I still had a horrible headache, but didn’t feel quite as badly. I started my smoothie earlier, but didn’t like it much. It was too lemony. Several hours later I gave up only halfway into it. For lunch I had my leftover minestrone, mainly because it was already made so I just had to reheat it. It was yummy. I actually had a little more. I figured since I threw up the day before and only had one smoothie, I had extra room. And it was really yummy. I will make that again. For dinner I tried another smoothie, the apple pie green smoothie. I took Becky’s advice to tone down the greens, and actually really liked it. I drank it all, though still not too quickly. I also made a quick salad and the vegan ranch. I didn’t like it. I am not sure which part – the salad or the ranch. But it was very sour, so I didn’t really eat it. I ended the day hungry. I really don’t like raw veggies. That makes this harder. I considered steaming some stuff, but it was so late by then I didn’t bother.

Oh, and look what came yesterday!

IMG_0504

 

(I am not actually sure we got any tagalongs) But I am actually not really tempted right now. I will look forward to having some in a few days. 😀 As long as the boxes stay closed, I won’t have a problem.

Here is how I started my day today:

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0503

What a mess. What a waste. I decided to make another apple pie smoothie, since I seemed to like it yesterday. I didn’t quite finish it. For lunch I made the lentil soup, which was really good. I halved the recipe, and still have a good two more servings there. I’ve been enjoying the soups. I think I am going to go ahead and try the lentil taco filling tonight. The biggest problem I am having is the cooking. I hate cooking. It takes so long. It makes such a mess. It dirties so many dishes. I spent an hour prepping my soup, while my child and my dog were running around me like unsupervised twirling dervishes just adding to the mess and chaos. Then I had to wait an hour for it to cook. And clean it all up and run more dishes. Usually, I have my lunch while he is sleeping, it takes about 5 minutes to make, including a minute and a half in the microwave. Ten minutes later, I am done, with only a dirty dish, knife and fork.

I haven’t been doing much sewing, for a few reasons… I am trying to get the house cleaned up. It is just clutter everywhere. I’ve been ill and preoccupied with this diet. I’ve been napping. I did finish the back for my twisted Ispy quilt, but it has been pouring rain for the last few days, so I can’t take photos. But it feels good to have that done. I guess I have to tackle sandwiching and quilting now… for real. I won’t til I have my table put together, but I am both nervous and excited to try the next step.

I have also been spending my time cutting my squares for my I-spy boy swap. I finished that last night and sorted and packaged them today. They should go out tomorrow.

IMG_0505

 

IMG_0506

Leave a comment »

Day 1… didn’t go well

**This is going to get gross toward the end. You’ve been warned

 

IMG_0488

So I started out with my smoothie. And by “started out” I mean it was probably about 1:30 when I finally got around to it. I don’t normally eat til the baby goes down for his nap, and that never causes me a problem normally. I made the spotted peach smoothie. At first, I wasn’t so sure about it. It didn’t taste horrible, but certainly wasn’t what you get at Smoothie King. I did finish it, though it took a couple of hours. That is a lot to drink… especially when it isn’t something you love. But in all honesty, I filled a jar with water and barely managed to finish that over many hours as well. It is just a lot! Oh, and that spout is sadly useless.

I took a picture of my packed fridge: We have a lot of stuff for this week. This is another problem I have with food. It goes bad. It doesn’t last long. And I know that all those preservatives are exactly what I want to get away from, but I hate the waste when stuff goes bad.

IMG_0490

 

 

 

IMG_0489

 

So for lunch (at about 3) I pulled out my food processor. That thing is heavy! And I wasn’t really sure how it all fit together. I was already starting to not feel great and was cranky and shaky. I almost cried over trying to put it together, but ultimately I must have figured it out because I got it to work.

 

 

IMG_0496

 

This is my lunch – Cauliflower Tubbleh and what I thought was lettuce, but I think was really cabbage. You can see my water and smoothie in the back. It wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I think I over did it on the garlic. Which usually I love garlic, but it really didn’t sit well.

Well, by this point the baby was ready for another nap, and I really wasn’t feeling well. I had a killer headache, I was shaky, cold, and just not feeling well. I took a hot shower and got in bed and slept for a couple of hours. I woke when I heard the baby. And I felt awful. Shaky, weak, cold, nauseated, I could barely lift the baby. I thought maybe I needed food and was weak from not eating so much, but honestly, I don’t eat much more than that normally, just not as healthily, and I wasn’t hungry. I felt sick. I just wanted to crawl back in bed. I sat and stared for a while while my husband made his dinner and the baby played on the floor. I finally decided I needed to get up and get some food in me, as much as I didn’t want to.

I didn’t get too far. I couldn’t stand long at the counter. I kept giving up and sitting back down. Then I started making trips to the bathroom. Lots of them. And it was gross. When my stomach still wasn’t settled, I ended up vomiting into the tub as I was on the toilet. Then I did some more. I have to be honest, that helped. I felt a little less sick after that. By this point, my husband was pretty worried, making my dinner for me, and telling me he thinks I need to back off of this. I did eat my dinner, a pretty good minestone quinoa soup, but I couldn’t even think of making another smoothie. Just the thought send me running to the bathroom. I drank water and ultimately did break down and have quite a few saltines to settle my stomach.

Now I don’t know what to do. Today I don’t feel quite as sick, but my headache is near unbearable. I did a lot of reading on juice fasts and know that this sort of reaction is common. But I wasn’t expecting it with this. It is not as strict, it isn’t like I’ve never had veggies before. I eat a lot of veggies. And, I mean, it hadn’t even been 24 hours. I was really shocked to have such a violent reaction. I am also in serious withdrawl from my only drug, and that isn’t helping any.

I don’t want to give up. I hate giving up. I am stubborn and stick through crazy things. I had reasons for doing this. I know that my body is reacting and that is the whole point, but boy it feels awful. And I have all that produce that I have to eat. So, I made my smoothie earlier this morning. But I am still not even halfway through it. It is really slow going. I think I will try a salad for lunch and see where things are by dinner. I have my minestrone leftover. I don’t want another night like last night. I didn’t get anything done yesterday. It was terrible.

I also get creeped out by coincidences… I had both of these articles in my email this morning:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800

http://www.glueandglitter.com/main/2013/02/12/what-to-do-for-lent/

Here’s hoping today goes better. I need to finish this smoothie soon though…. I am not sure I can get through two a day. I don’t know how I ever thought I was going to do a juice fast.

3 Comments »

Cleaning up the cleaning supplies…

My green focus for the year is detoxification. I want to start moving all the toxins out of our house (and my body) and start educating myself and using more natural choices. I decided I may as well start with the kitchen.

Here is what I use to clean 90% of the time:

DSC_0226

I figured it probably wasn’t perfect and was a lot of fancy labeling, but I was a little surprised to see it got an F from the EWG. I am still not entirely sure why. Most of the ingredients get A. It is the non descript “coloring, perservatives and fragrance” that give it an F. It is unknown if it is tested on animals. So, if my “good” cleaner gets an F…. time for a change. They do have better scoring cleaners, but let’s get down to basics. Then we know exactly what we are dealing with.

I have been doing a lot of research. The most recent blog I have gotten my information from is liverenewed.com, where I am currently following her green in 365 days series. But for this post, I am using 31 days to green clean. If I come across other sites I use, I will link those as well. So, my kitchen is a mess. It was errand day, and I thought no time like the present. So the kidlet and I trekked out today to a variety of places in part in search of cleaning ingredients.

Well, first I stopped at a little new thrift store that opened up down the street. We are mysteriously short on knives, and I have a sudden, inexplicable desire for mason jars. We didn’t find either of those there, but dude had a featherweight. For $5! I didn’t get it. I didn’t think it was worth carrying the item to the car. And further research has shown me that it will probably cost me more to repair this thing than to buy one in working condition. The belt was broken, the cord was frayed and covered in electrical tape, it was rusted throughout, it was missing part of the base. *sigh* He didn’t really know what it was – “an old Singer” that he got in a storage auction that he’s had for years. Ugh. Tell me I need to go back for it!

Then we checked My Favorite Fabric Store. Which has been anything but lately…. If’n they ever start selling the quilting cotton again, I will do a post about them.   But I used to drop a lot of money every week there, and I haven’t spent a dime in months. They are like a big fabric hunt hit or miss. I am actually in withdrawal. It’s been all apparel fabric lately.

Then we hit Dollar Tree. I was kind of surprised they did not have my shopping list items there. No baking soda or vinegar, etc… But what I did find were a variety of microfiber cloths, towels and bar mops.  We are in mid transition to cloth rather than paper products. I mainly use kitchen towels to clean and cloth napkins, but my husband is still pretty married to paper towels – for cooking, cleaning and napkins. I keep trying to encourage him to avoid them, but he keeps buying them. I also got some spray bottles. I have read criticism about using plastic, particularly from places like Dollar Tree, but I am taking one thing at a time. Once I have the cleaning down I will start investigating the containers. For now, we aren’t microwaving it or eating out of it, so I am not too worried.

Cloths from Dollar Tree: $1/1-3, Spray bottles: $1, Parmesan container: I am a container hoarder.

Cloths from Dollar Tree: $1/1-3, Spray bottles: $1, Parmesan container: I am a container hoarder.

Well, now we’d been doing a lot of running around, and I was getting tired of the car seat. I had wanted to go to Goodwill for knives and mason jars, but they were a lot further away (All these other stores were all in the same area) and wouldn’t have the cleaning supplies. So I opted instead to stay focused on our main purpose and stopped instead at Walmart, which we passed on the way back home. Here, I collected baking soda, washing soda, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol (both of which we probably already had, but, you know), natural dish soap, knives (2/$1), and mason jars ($10/12. I can probably do better at thrift stores and will continue to look, but it’s a start).

Vinegar (on hand), Baking Soda: $2.24, Washing Sida: $3.24, Alcohol: $.97, Peroxide: $.88 and $1.23, Dish soap: $2.97

Vinegar (on hand), Baking Soda: $2.24, Washing Sida: $3.24, Alcohol: $.97, Peroxide: $.88 and $1.23, Dish soap: $2.97

I knew we had a big jug of vinegar at home already, and I had trouble finding it at walmart. I also asked no less than THREE people where the Castile Soap is, not including Siri, and they all looked at me like I had three heads. Not only did they not know where it was, they didn’t know WHAT it was. So, I will have to keep looking for that. Once I got home, I noticed my baking soda has a huge gouge in the bottom. You can see some of the loss on the table. I have it in a ziplock now. Oh well.

Here are my new cleaning supplies (s0 far):

DSC_0229

1/2 vinegar. 1/2 water all purpose spray
Baking Soda shaker

Well, it’s too late to clean now! LOL I will let you know how it goes. 😉

1 Comment »