Homemade Laundry Detergent

That's right...I am talking about making your own laundry detergent!  Why?  Well for one reason, detergent is expensive!  For another reason, I like the idea of increasingly becoming more self- sufficient even in simple ways- such as making my own detergent.  Today, after working my 8-5, I rushed home to do my experiment.  I purchased the 4 ingredients required for the recipe I used: Borax, Washing Soda (sodium carbonate- I found it in the pool maintenance area of Home Depot), a bar of soap (I used Kirk's Original Coco Castille because I can count its ingredients on one hand), and a 5 gallon bucket.  Actually, I was given the bucket for free from a local grocery store's bakery.  The total bill came out to about $18 and can make enough detergent for over a YEAR for a couple!  My project only took me about 30 minutes total (shopping and preparation included).

Now, before you start giving me credit for my ingenuity and cleverness, I must divulge my source: The Simple Dollar Blog.  If you click the hyper link it will take you straight to the step by step article on how to make your own detergent and it even includes pictures.  Since the recipe is written out so well there, I will not include it in this post.

What I love about little projects like this is its inexpensive, simple to do at home, and gives me the ability to reduce cost and increase knowledge about the products I use everyday.  With time, I plan to try more DIY projects at home like making my own soap, candles, and even cleaning solutions for around the house.  If my concoction is a success, I will not only save "loads" of money, but feel a little bit of pride each time I go to do the mundane task of washing clothes.


Who I'm learning from...

Mother Earth News: This site is so much more than just vegetable gardening.  It is actually a magazine that covers all sorts of topics from gardening, farming, homesteading, food, and health.

  • 40 Gardening Tips to Maximize Your Harvest: I included this article from Mother Earth News mainly because I want to be able to find it again at another time but if you are reading this because, you too, are learning to garden, it should prove helpful to you as well! 

LSU Ag Center: I refer to the LSU Ag Center a lot specifically on timing and type for veggie planting for South Louisiana.  I even have the book pictured at the top of this post on order to help me a little more.

Chiot's Run Blog : An organic vegetable gardener living in N. Ohio sharing her experiences with helpful information and funny anecdotes.  She responds back to emailed questions, too!

Cold Antler Farm Blog: I started reading Jenna's blog about one year ago.  It is about her attempt to start, what is now a full blown farm, with little experience or resources.  Jenna takes on much, much more than vegetable gardening (she now raises sheep, rabbits, goats, bees, etc.). The honesty in her experiences is portrayed so wonderfully that you feel as though you are there helping her along the way.  Her blog is a place where she gives you the good, bad, and ugly of her learning experiences which is why I follow it daily! This little lamb, Ashe, was born on Cold Antler Farm a few days ago.

PRETTY SMART GIRL blog: Erica, an acquaintance of mine, has this wonderful artisty blog that really has nothing to do with veggie growing!  The post are mostly about her life including recipes, quotes, renewal exercises, DIY projects and a multitude of other interesting experiences.

Finally, I have to mention my mother- in- law who grows her own garden and has given me much advice, support, and vegetables from her garden (YUM!).  Unfortunately, for you, she is not on the world wide web (she doesn't even have a computer anymore), but she is a go- to resource for me with my beginner attempts at gardening.



We transplanted a few veggies that were begging for more space and a spot of their on.  In the picture you can see a few of our snap bean transplants (about 2.5 inches tall), squash and zucchini transplants in the background, and a rosemary plant in the furthest point in the background.  A jalapeño plant and carrot seedlings are not shown and the rest of our crops will be planted as soon as the seedlings are ready for their new, big, brave world!  

Since this is our first joint garden and our first time growing plants from seeds, I am anxious to see the results and fruits of our labor but I am also relishing in the hope offered by these mini versions.  A couple of the seedlings, particularly some of the snap beans, may not make it to production but if even one of these plants produces, the waiting and nurturing will be worth it.  It may seem silly that something as simple as a 2nd grade science project, like planting a seed in a cup, can cause a grown adult so much excitement, but it does and I'm okay with that.  Lucky for me (and my husband), I don't need expensive, fancy jewelry to get excited...just a little seed to sprout and offer its own version of hope!  


Gardening 101

Our first "real" garden: 25 by 6 ft.

Justin (my husband) and I recently decided to really try our hands at vegetable gardening.  We both are interested in living a more self- sustainable life style and recognize that one of the first ways to do that is through growing your own food.  While we have done a rather small garden once in the past, we are both pretty green to growing a larger size garden started with just seeds.  I plan to track our gardens progress on my blog so that I can learn from our mistakes and so that others trying to grow veggies in South Louisiana will be able to learn from our mistakes and successes- or at the very least point and laugh at our meager attempts. :)

The picture above is the result of many hours of work including multiple tillings of uncultivated land, shoveling yards of free compost from our local consolidated government,  and, finally forming 3 rows and covering with a weed barrier.  We are attempting to grow zucchini, squash, tomatoes, snap beans, carrots, rosemary, basil, oregano, bell peppers, and jalapeños.

After hours of hard work in the hot sun I enjoyed the cool afternoon breeze that only Spring can offer by reading a book from the library and relaxing on an outdoor blanket given to me by a friend.  

Planting the Seeds

In the past few years I've slowly unearthed what Joie De Vivre means to me:  It is a close relationship with my husband.  Time alone. Creating memories with family and friends.  Gardening. Learning new things.  Reading (a lot).  Homesteading.  Spending time outdoors.  Staying fit and eating healthy.  Cooking. Being greeted by my two labs when I get home.  Living simply. 

These are the some of the things I plan to write about here and I hope they add a little bit to your own search for what brings you joy in your life!