All Natural Fabric Softener | AprilNoelle.com

My All Natural Fabric Softener Solution

The essential oil revolution has brought out numerous claims. Some are completely legitimate, some are just sales tools and others are straight out lies.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a large variety of essential oils in my stash ready for many types of solutions.

One solution that has always struck me as questionable, at best, was the “a few drops of lavender oil on a washcloth is a perfect replacement for an all-natural fabric softener.”

My major question was: “How?” I wasn’t aware of softening properties of lavender.

Lavender Uses

These are the typical uses for lavender that I’ve heard over and over again (some of which I’ve used):

1. Calming
Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped palms, then use the inhalation method to draw the scent all the way into your amygdala gland (the emotional warehouse) in your brain to calm the mind. Then, rub on the feet, temples, wrists (or anywhere) for an immediate calming effect on the body. Great for use in crowded areas like planes or subways to carve out your own personal oasis.
2. Sleep aid
Again, use the cupping and inhalation method. Then, rub a drop of Lavender oil on your palms and smooth on your pillow to help you sleep.
3. Injuries/Wounds
 
Put a drop of Lavender oil to aid with the following:
  • Bee sting
  • Insect bite
  • Minor burn
  • Cuts
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Nausea or motion sickness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry/Chapped Skin
  • Chapped or sunburned lips
  • Hay fever
  • Dandruff/Cradle cap
  • Cold sores

It just didn’t make sense. I could see how the lavender scent could compete with the fabric softening scent, but actually giving you softer clothes? This was not my solution for all-natural fabric softener.

I reached to several of the sites that made the claim, just asking them for clarification, but I never heard back.

Potential Fabric Softener Issues

Then I started to do research on traditional fabric softeners and I found something in particular that was disturbing. Fabric softeners may:

  • Stain your clothes
  • Seal in previous stains
  • Prevent laundry detergent and bleach from removing stains

The above would explain why my clothes had just started looking dingier since I started using them regularly (about three years ago). So I was in search of a real solution.

For the last few months, I’ve done these steps and have been very happy with the results.

1. In the wash, I add a cup of vinegar in addition to my regular laundry detergent to the load. Especially when you have someone that wets the bed, it’s essential to have something that completely removes the smell. When you’re washing soiled clothes or bedding, an extra cup will cut that smell out.

2. Then, in the dryer, I add two dryer balls with a few lavender essential oil drops. I do appreciate the smell of lavender, but the balls do the softening work.

The start-up cost for this solution was:

Costco-sized Vinegar:  $3.69
Lavender Essential Oil: $12.99
Wool Dryer balls: $12.95

Total: $30, but after 4 months, I have only needed to purchase new vinegar. I still have 3/4 of the bottle of essential oil and of course the dryer balls are in great shape!

I’ve been cleaning my laundry this way since May and everyone in the house has been happy.

Do you use any natural solutions for your laundry? I’d love to hear them.

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The #Minions Have Invaded! (Minion Inspired Birthday Party on the Cheap)

Two months in the making, I dreamed of the perfect little birthday party for my little Butterfly. Her first birthday was perfect for me, but fell short for extended family. Determined not to repeat the same mistake, I had to mesh my desire to keep things fairly low key (and frugal) while inviting a host of family and friends.

My little Minion Butterfly has been talking Minion, asking Minion and loving Minion since seeing the movie The Minions this summer. So I decided that we’d have a Minion Inspired Birthday Party. The great thing about the Minions is that they are based on two colors: blue and yellow.

Minion Inspired Birthday Party on The Cheap
Minion Wallpaper © Copyright Richard Croft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

As always, every time I headed to Wal-Mart and Target, I checked out the clearance section. I’m not one to question, but I found napkins and plates on sale for just a dollar a pack. I figured I could stop by the Dollar Tree and fill in the gaps. Blue and yellow items are easy to find. I picked up napkins, plates, bowls, spoons, and cups.

From left to right in the graphic above:

Cup:

Yellow cup
Electrical tape
Googly eyes
Minion stickers
Black marker to write their name
Elmer’s Glue

I’m not big on goodie bags, but I big on crafts for the kids. So, I came up with customizing their own cup. The black electrical tape was the simplest way to make a solid black line around the cup without drawing or using tape. I pretaped all of the cups. At the party, the children had the options of getting one large googly eye or two small ones and up to three stickers. They also wrote their name on their cup.

I started to use a glue stick, but the eyes didn’t stick very well. Using the Elmer’s glue worked much better when there was liquid in the cup.

Pumpkin:

Pumpkin
Yellow spray paint
Black marker

The pumpkin brought a nice touch melding the birthday party with nearing Halloween. Initially, I tried to paint it with Tempura paint, giving it a matte finish, but the Tempura paint was lumpy and it was hard to make it look a uniform color. The spray paint was much quicker and easier. Tip: Let the spray paint a full 24 hours before trying to write on it. The marker worked much better when completely dry.

Silverware:

Large yellow napkin
Blue fork and knife
Black streamers
Glue stick

I took the large yellow napkin wrapped around the fork and knife (the smaller yellow napkin with the spoon for dessert). I cut the streamer in half which made the black line about 3/4 inch thick. The streamer was about 4 inches in length, just enough to tie it around the silverware. I used the glue stick to glue on the eyes on the black streamer alone.

Princess Minion Goggles:

Printable tiara (I got mine here)
Minion goggle
Modge Podge
Paint brush
Glitter

I printed and cut out the tiara, then painted the rim of the goggles and the entirety of the tiara with Modge Podge. Then I liberally applied the glitter. After drying over night, I applied a second coat of Modge Podge so the glitter wouldn’t come off.  Then I glued the two pieces together with the Modge Podge. After it dried, then taped it. I have toddlers, so I need back up on top of back up to make sure things stick.

Minion

Banner:

Paper
Color Printer

I wanted to giver her a personalized banner. I was going to send these to print at the store, but the estimated cost was about $12. I opted to print them at home from this site.

My Outfit:

Yellow shirt
Jean dress
Tulle
Minion googles
Blue Makeup (including extra eye shadow)

I figured since my girls were going to be Minions, I should be too! I had a yellow shirt and a jean dress. I added a piece of tulle as a belt to create an empire waist. I used blue eye shadow to create a blue lip. I applied the eye shadow, then coated with a light colored nude gloss.

After all of the planning and set up, cries for early costume wearing and anger that I wouldn’t cave, I was expecting elation when the day of the party came. Instead, it was met with anger, tears and sheer defiance and refusal to put on the entire outfit. Therefore, in their place, Lalaloopsy and Circo® Color Pop Doll will showcase their outfits.

Minion Inspired Birthday Party on the Cheap - Girls
After some cookie bribery, and a couple days later, I was able to get the girls in their costumes.

Minion Butterfly’s outfit:

Yellow shirt
Goggles (from above)
No-Sew Tutu

I got the shirt from H&M. The skirt is a basic elastic headband and glittery navy blue tulle that I got from Walmart. I cut the tulle in half to create a thickness of 3″, slide it through one of the holes in the headband and tie. You can opt not to cut it, and it will create a much fuller skirt. Minion Bee’s outfit was the same, except I used basic blue tulle and only went around the headband once. For a full tutorial, click here.

Price:

Of course, I mentioned that this was “on the cheap”, so check out this frugality:

Decorations:

4 Tablecloths* – $4
Birthday banner printables – exact price unknown, estimated price $6
32 Minion plates – $4 (on sale regular price – $9)
24 yellow cups* – $2
2 rolls of electrical tape* – $1
2 rolls of black streamers* – $1
16 Minion napkins – $2 (on sale regular price $4)
24 yellow napkins* – $2
48 utensils (pack of spoons, knives and forks)* – $1
6 small pumpkins – $6
2 Minion balloons – $6
6 regular balloons – $7.74
1 roll of yellow ribbon* – $1
Pack of Minion stickers* – $1
Pack of assorted googly eyes – $1.29
2 packs of Minion goggles – $2.58
Yellow spray paint – $3.49

Grand total = $41.10 for all decorations
* = found at the Dollar Tree

Costumes:

Minion Bunny – needed overalls – on sale at Old Navy: $15
Minion Bee – shirt ($4) and tutu ($3): $7
Minion Butterfly – shirt ($4) and tutu ($3): $7

Costume total: $29

Bounce house – $120

Food – $30

Party for 30 people: approximately $230. If I skipped the bounce house, obviously, this would be a lot less. 

What did you think of my decorating on the cheap? What is your last themed party? Do you have a post describing it? Let me know in the comments.

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Sewing with Ribbon: Adding a Personal Touch

I haven’t had the opportunity to sew as much as I would like. Having three little ones, lots of volunteering, and getting back into the workforce makes life a little busy. I hope this post on sewing with ribbon is first of many in the DIY and/or do it for less category. Although there are plenty of things that are much easier to buy, the uniqueness and the price might make it more appealing to jump on Pinterest! At least for me.

Sewing With Ribbon

Ribbon – it’s not just for trims and accents. Colorful, textured ribbons are as versatile as fabric or embroidery yarn, and because of all their interesting textures and patterns they can add a lot of detailed interest to your projects and designs. Ribbons can be used to create quilting blocks, craft ornate embroidery or add texture and interest to clothing and textiles.

Dimensional Embroidery

Thin silk or satin ribbons are ideal for embroidery. Because of the slight stiffness and texture, the resulting look is three dimensional and lends itself especially well to floral embroidery designs. The ribbon can be twisted to add even more texture and dimension. A larger needle that will accommodate the width of the ribbon and a loosely woven fabric to stitch on will help your embroidery project go smoothly. Be sure to not pull stitches too tightly, as a looser stitch will look more like a natural flower. Adding small beads as accents is a nice touch as well, perhaps as the center of the flower or as small accents on the petals.

SEWING WITH RIBBON (1)Prepare the Fabric

When using ribbons to add accents to quilting blocks, clothing or other textile projects, it is always important to prewash the base fabric to reduce the possibility of shrinkage and puckering. Ribbons are often made of synthetic materials such as polyester and typically will not shrink. However, they can become damaged under the heat of an iron, so if ironing ribbon keep the iron’s setting low, press only on the reverse side and use a pressing cloth if necessary.

Precise Application

A clear quilting ruler can be very helpful to position the ribbons and make sure they are precisely in place. Dressmaker’s chalk or fabric markers are helpful for marking placement locations. Basting glue or fusible web works very well to keep ribbons in place while you stitch them. Be sure that the glue or fusible web you use is appropriate for stitching; some types are designed only for no-sew applications. A temporary sewing glue is often a good choice, as it will adhere the ribbon while you sew and wash away when laundered. Be sure to test any glues or adhesives to make sure they will work well with the ribbon and fabric of your choice.

Sewing Tips

A fine, lightweight sewing machine needle is the best choice for working with ribbon as long as it is also suitable for the fabric to which you are attaching the ribbon. A heavier needle or dull needle could snag the ribbon and make large stitching holes. You can use a standard machine foot and attach the ribbon with a straight stitch, zigzag stitch or use any type of decorative stitch if you wish. Because ribbon can have the tendency to stretch, stitch both sides of the ribbon in the same direction to reduce the possibility of twisting and puckering. Matching thread or contrasting thread are both good options depending on your preferred finished look. You can also sew ribbons by hand, and add beads to your stitches for extra sparkle and interest. Very delicate ribbons should be hand stitched when possible, especially if machine stitching might compete with the design or damage the delicate edges of the ribbon.

Sewing with ribbon is as unlimited as your imagination. With so many wonderful patterns, colors and ideas, you can create many beautiful, memorable projects.

 

This guest post is courtesy of The Ribbon Retreat, an online store offering arts and crafts material for various projects. Some of these products include jacquard ribbon, grosgrain ribbon, fold over elastic and various tools and supplies needed for crafting.

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How to Repair Hardwood Floors Yourself

Once upon a time, my husband and I moved in to this gigantic house (for us) which was cheap, but had a lot of issues. Even though we were working long hours and exhausted, the flooring was in complete disrepair and something needed to be done. The wood was chipped, nails had become unhinged and the color was at best inconsistent.

Having a three year old with another on the way, my husband thought it would be a good idea for us to utilize more of the house by fixing the floors. He says it’s because of safety. I argue that it was for our sanity, since the bad flooring meant that our son spent every minute in the room with us.

When he suggested repairing the floors himself, I laughed. My husband is highly capable, but in general, I don’t think of him as the man that works with his hands. I have learned over the years that when he sets his mind to something, he gets it done. He managed to redo the living room to a gorgeous sparkle, well worth his time, and not heavy on our wallet.

How to Repair Hardwood Floors Yourself

Replacing an entire hardwood floor is a labor-intensive and expensive proposition. If your hardwood floor is only damaged in one or two spots, it’s much better to simply repair the damage. It’s surprisingly easy and relatively inexpensive to make these kinds of small repairs by replacing a board in the flooring. In addition to fixing dings and scratches, you can repair buckled areas of the floor as well.

In most cases, hardwood floors use tongue and groove construction that connects adjacent boards. While this design doesn’t make it easy to replace a single board, it is still possible. Start by looking for any nails in the board and use a nail set and a hammer to drive them through the wood. Once the nails are out of the way, you can start removing the damaged board or boards so you can install replacements. The following steps will show you how to do this:

hardwood floors

Step 1. If you’re removing the entire board, you can skip this step and go on to step 4. With a carpenter’s square, draw a line across the section you want to remove.

Step 2. Use an electric drill to drill a series of holes along the lines you drew.

Step 3. Split the board along the lines using a wood chisel. This makes removing the wood easier.

Step 4. Pry the damaged board out. If you use a pry bar to help get it out, place a piece of scrap wood on the surface you’re pressing against with the pry bar so you don’t damage another section of the floor.

If you have to cut and removed sections from multiple boards that are adjacent to each other, make sure that you draw the lines and cut them so that the joint ends don’t line up.

Step 5. Use the wood chisel to square up the ends of the cut boards. The ends have to be smooth and square to install the new flooring. Completely remove any exposed nails with a nail puller or use the nail set to drive them even further into the subfloor.

Step 6. Mark a replacement board so you can cut it to the same length as the one you just removed. Next, cut off the bottom of the groove on the board. Doing this makes it possible to put in one section of board between two others because you can insert the tongue on one side and lower the top groove into place on the other side.

Step 7. Test fit the board to ensure that it fits properly. If it doesn’t, remove it and recut it so it does.

Step 8. Before putting the board in place for the final time, make sure that you apply construction grade adhesive to the back. Then install it. Place a scrap piece of wood on the board and then gently tap it with a hammer to ensure the board underneath adheres.

 

The only thing left is the finish. While it may be very difficult to match the finish of your current floor, it’s a good idea to try this before refinishing the entire floor, which can be time consuming and labor intensive. Tape off the floor boards around the repair and try to match the stain by gradually darkening to match the other boards. Once you have found the color that matches (or is as close as you can get it), apply the finish coat and let dry. Now you have repaired your wood floor yourself and potentially saved yourself quite a lot of money!

 

This guest post is courtesy of MacDonald Hardwoods in Denver, CO. MacDonald Hardwoods features many different hardwood floor types, including bamboo, white oak, hickory, maple and many types of exotic hardwood flooring.

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No More Perky Boobs #momproblems with Turn It Up Tuesday {45}

Welcome to the 45th week of Turn It Up Tuesday!

Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

This is the last week for our July sponsor and guest hosts – so please stop by and show them some love!! We’ll be introducing some new guest hosts and a new sponsor next week!

As you may know, Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother Blog

Rhonda

Rhonda is a single mom blogger from the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. She writes on parenting and family, home gardening, and her thoughts on life.

Stop by and check out her blog…it’s definitely a great read!

Are you interested in having your blog or website featured in this spot? Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month! Click here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

 

(from the top – left to right)

TUT Hosts 7.20.04

Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | April from 100lb Countdown | Becka from Probably Craftin | Kae from Where’s My Pacifier? | Margaret from The Mother Rising | Rachel from Craving Some Creativity | Cindy from Mom Maven | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly| Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Lisa from The ‘Fix It’ Stitch | Karen from Quinton Wench | Jillian from Baby Doodah | Katy from Chaos & Kiddos | Tenns from New Mama Diaries

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for July!

TUT Jul 2014

(from the top – left to right)

Katie from View From The Fridge | Elie from Organizer By Day | Ashley from 3 Little Greenwoods | Alycia from Crazily Normal | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Victoria from Giveaways 4 Mom | Tara from Anything & Everything

Interested in being a guest host or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis. We’re now accepting guest hosts for August & September.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Victoria chose What Moms Are Really Thinking When You Want to Visit Their Newborn from Wirl Mamas. “I chose this post because it was entertaining and spoke the truth. There are some things that guests have to keep in mind when visiting a mom who has just had a baby. I especially agree that they should hold back on the lies about saying that you look good when obviously you do not after hours of being in labor.”

Katie also chose this post. “This article is hilarious … And SO TRUE!! Having recently just had our third child, I can totally relate! This should be sent as a public service announcement to all before anyone goes to see a newborn! Tell us we look good … And bring food (ha!).”

This post also received the most clicks.

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Cathy chose Lemon Sugar Scrub from Melanie Gets Married. “I love everything lemon … and I have wanted to try making my own scrub. I love the ingredients and simplicity of this scrub! Can’t wait to make some!”

Silvie also chose this post. “I chose this as my favorite post this week because I am a big believer that you must take care of your skin. When ever I find something that will allow me to pamper myself while taking care of my skin, then it’s an automatic win! I tried Melanie’s recipe and I absolutely love it, the results and the scent is amazing!”

How-to-Make-a-Giant-Water-Bed-for-just-a-few-dollars-you-can-make-a-giant-outdoor-water-bed-for-the-kids-to-play.-You-wont-believe-the-joy-this-will-bring-PERFECT-activity-for-parties-350x500

Cindy chose How to Make a Giant Outdoor Water Bed from My Frugal Adventures. “I chose this because it looks like it would be a lot of fun for kids of all ages. It is also a project that I think I could actually make!”

Christian-Pinterest-Boards

Katy chose Top 10 Christian Pinterest Boards from Satisfaction Through Christ. “I’m a big fan of roundups that help me focus my energies when I head into a time-sucking platform like Pinterest. Knowing these particular boards have the backing of a respected blogger makes me that much more excited to check out their content, knowing I am headed in the right direction and will find lots of inspiration. For as easy as it is to find just about anything on Pinterest, that sometimes makes it feel overwhelming and I like that I can use posts like this to streamline my searches.”

mom problems mom life

Rhonda chose I Got 99 Problems But Perky Boobs Ain’t One from Pig and Dac. “I found this post hilarious! We all know life changes after childbirth, but it also changes our bodies and not for the better. Accepting these changes requires a look back and a look forward, and that’s exactly what this blogger did as she tells her story.”

Natasha also chose this post. “This post is so hilariously funny! My boobs went poof too, and I only have 1 child. Our bodies definitely change after having a baby, and it is so important to accept our new bodies once they develop. Regardless, I enjoyed this post! Still laughing! Great post!”

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Rachel chose Magnolia Leaf Wreath from Canary Street Crafts. “I chose this post because I love the elegant simplicity and personalization of this wreath. It is perfect any time of year and can the monogram really adds a special touch to any front door.”

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Ashley chose DIY Rice Bag from The Crafty Side of Sarcasm. “Rice bags are one of my favorite blogging tools. I use one to right my wrist on when working on the laptop and can’t wait to make one for my office desk!”

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Jillian chose The Only Picture I Regretted Taking // iMO from Logan Can… “I love this post because I feel the exact same way as Logan. I can’t help but take every single photo possible of my son, and I love how she shares how important it is to her and why.”

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Alycia chose Let’s Start A Revolution! from B Marie Photography. “I love the message in this post. Finding the beauty in ourselves will help us to teach our children that everyone is beautiful and to find things they love about themselves. I am guilty of this for sure, but after reading this, I am going to start making a conscious effort to see the beauty!”

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Jessica chose Unplugging From Technology For Healthier Family Living from Urban Naturale. “This is sooo true!! I also liked how she refers to 3 year old’s using some sort of technology today too. That totally hit me bacause I have a 3 year old who loves youtube videos! Since health has been my number one concern these tips are spot on to get the family involved and “unplug” for a couple hours. At the same time, it promotes family time which we all want and need :).”

Honey-Wheat-Bread-Recipe

Stacey chose Homemade Honey Wheat Bread Recipe! from Thrifty NW Mom. “I have really been giving strong consideration to starting to bake my families bread from scratch. My family can really go through 6 to 8 loaves during the two weeks between grocery store trips, of store bought bread and curious if it would be cheaper to make it fresh. This recipe looks wonderful and I am looking forward to giving it a try! Thank you so much for sharing!”

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Tara chose DIY Door Frame Chalkboard from Latte Everyday. “When I saw this I thought, “what a genius idea!” I would have never thought of that. So creative how Megan turned a door frame into a chalkboard sign, I just love it! Love the message that she wrote on it too!”

Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!

If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

And the Best of the Best is…

mom problems mom life
#momproblems

I Got 99 Problems But Perky Boobs Ain’t One from Pig and Dac

IPhone-photos-2.22.14-672

What Moms Are Really Thinking When You Want to Visit Their Newborn from Wirl Mamas

 

Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!

As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!

Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details!

Epic Mommy Adventures

So now that you’ve met our sponsor of the month, our hosts and co-hosts, and the Featured and the Best of the Best…

let’s get started!

  • Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.
  • Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!
  • Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!

Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!

Epic Mommy Adventures

Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!





Interested in reading all of the Featured Posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

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