Thursday, December 29, 2011

Carpet Stain Remover

Oh, carpet stains. They are so much like are never really finished with either. So when I happened to come across this article I was intrigued. Could removing carpet stains really be so simple and so cheap? Just one part ammonia, one part water, and steam the stain out?

In the past I've been a sucker for carpet sprays. Like RESOLVE for example. A 22 oz. bottle of RESOLVE costs about $4.23. Now put this into perspective. One gallon = 128 oz.
That means that one gallon of RESOLVE would cost $24.61!

In contrast one gallon of this homemade stain remover costs about $1.50 to make.

That's a 94% savings folks. But does it work? Well, let me show you how it worked for us. In the spring someone walked right into the house with muddy feet and left a few lovely dirt stains.

Jillee really did a great job explaining this process, so it was simple to follow.
  1. Mix one part ammonia with one part hot water. I mixed one cup of each when I tried this.
  2. Apply mixture to the stain. You DO want to give the stain a pretty good soak, so don't be too shy about wetting the stain.
  3. Place a clean white towel (I used old baby burp cloths) over top the wetted stain.
  4. Iron over the towel on the STEAM setting. This is what I saw after just ONE time ironing over the stain.
  5. Repeat the process as desired.
A couple of notes:
  • Your house will smell like ammonia for a few hours, there's no getting around it.
  • If you have shag carpet iron in BOTH directions, otherwise you will only clean one side of the carpet fibers.
  • This same process also lifted a red piece of salt water taffy that had been ground into my carpet!
  • This creates ammonia gas (because you are evaporating the liquid ammonia), so keep the windows open and be careful about how much ammonia you are ironing up at a time.
Now, let's be honest. You can still see some of the stain in the AFTER picture, right? That's because the whole carpet really does need a professional cleaning. In fact, after I finished just this spot it was obvious how dirty my carpet really is. I mean look how CLEAN the carpet is right there in the middle of the old stain!

To sum things up, this process is amazing! It will certainly come in handy for spilled drinks, potty-training accidents, muddy footprints, and sticky food that gets caught in the carpet. I'm so grateful I came across this cleaning recipe!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Valentine's Wreath

As far as crafting on a budget, this is one of my favorite projects completed.
How to:
1. Using wire hangers or heavy-duty wire from a hardware store, make the shape of a heart. I used 0.064" wire (14 ga.) and I doubled it to make the wreath more sturdy.
2. Using 5 yards of Tulle, cut strips that are about 2 inches by 4.5 inches.
3. Tie the strips of Tulle in knots around the entire wreath.
4. Add strips of lace, fabric, or other colors of tulle to give more dimension to the wreath.
6. Add a long strip of fabric to the wreath to use for hanging.

  • 5 yards of Tulle: On sale at Hobby Lobby for $0.77/yard. I purchased 5 yards (total = $3.84) and used a 40% coupon making my total $2.30
  • Wire: FREE! We had some left over wire from a fencing project 2 years ago, but we also had wire hangers in the closet that I could have used.
  • Fabric Strips: FREE! I save a lot of my odds and ends when I sew, and I had just what I needed for this project.
Grand total: About $2.50 after taxes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Little Girl's Felt Purse

The thing I miss most about our pre-money makeover life is all of the crafting I was able to do. There's nothing quite like brand new fabric. (Sigh). So I've been using what I already have when it's time to craft. And today I present to you the little girl's felt purse.

Here's what you need:
  • Felt Squares
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Ribbon
  • Needle
  • Scissors

 1. Choose the felt you want to use for the body of the purse. I chose a tan color. Fold the felt square until you reach the size you want the purse to be.

2. Trim the excess felt from the top, and trim the folded felt until you reach the width you would like your purse to be. I like using a folded piece of felt for the purse because in the end I only have to stitch two sides together rather than three.

3. Cut flower pieces from other colors of felt. I chose to make a modern, non-symmetrical flower. I cut one set of white petals larger than the other.

4. Position your flower on the front of your purse. Using a coordinating color of embroidery floss stitch all three flower pieces and the purse together.

When you finish you should have something like this.

5. Now you can embellish however you would like. I chose to use green embroidery floss and stitch a vine around the flower. You can free-hand it like I did, or you could use a water soluble marker and draw your design first.

6. I also added a couple of teal stars to my vine. Once you have finished the front of your purse cut two pieces of ribbon to serve as handles.

7. Turn the purse over so that the right side is facing down. Use a coordinating color embroidery floss to stitch the top 1/4 of the purse under.

8. While stitching the 1/4 inch down, add the ribbon pieces where you would like the handles to be.

When you finish the length of the top of the purse you should have something like this:

9. Fold the purse right-side-out so you can see the front of the purse. Repeat the last step with the back side of the purse as shown.

10. Fold the purse together again, right sides together, and stitch up the sides.

11. Repeat with the other side and flip right-side out. I know my little one loves this purse, and I hope someone else out there will too.

Saving on Groceries

You may not believe this, because we didn't either when we did the math, but during the early fall months we got our grocery bill down to just $120/month. This is how we did it:

1. Bountiful baskets: Every other week we spent $15 on a co-op basket of fruits and vegetables. There are several options out there if you want to do this too. We use

2. Home grown: this year we had a fairly successful garden! Our harvest included tomatos, cucumbers, carrots, squash, radishes, lettuce, peas, beans, and beets. We picked our vegetables every 3-4 days and did so many things with them! We canned them, dried them, ate them raw, steamed them, and shared them with the neighbors.

3. Food Storage: It took a long while, but we finally have the "basics" in our food storage...salt, flour, sugar, oil, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, dried noodles etc. We used that during the fall to make breads, cookies, side dishes, and desserts.

 There you have it. The combination of those three things allowed us to spend just $30/week at the grocery store.