Sunday, March 30, 2014

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent

Hope everyone is excited for the warm weather coming next week!! I can't wait. I am very busy with end of semester tests, group projects, and reports, so every hour counts during the next 4 weeks. But, I wanted to write really quick and give you my recipe for laundry detergent.

I have been making this laundry detergent for well over a year. It works well, is super easy to make, and very inexpensive! I ran out of our homemade stuff during the move in January and didn't have time to make a new batch. That week we had to go to Dollar General to get detergent, and even buying the 'ALL Free and Clear' unscented laundry soap I thought the scent was way too overpowering. We finally used it up 2 weeks ago and I made a double batch of our powdered detergent so we won't run out for a long time.

 I like this homemade laundry detergent because the clothes don't have any fragrances when they come out of the dryer. They smell clean because they don't smell like anything, if that makes sense :). We are not a big fan of synthetic fragrances around here. At some point I will experiment with adding some essential oils, so that is an option. You can also buy a fragranced bar of soap if you want your clothes to have a particular scent after washing.

I didn't want to run out for a long time, so I made a double batch with 2 bars of soap. 

First I cut each bar of soap in half and grated it with my food processor. 

The result will be little flakes of soap. But, the flakes of soap still have trouble dissolving in the water. To make it finer, I add in some of the washing soda, to keep the soap flakes from clumping together, and blended it in smaller batches until it reached a fine powder. 

After blending the washing soda and soap together, I added the borax. I didn't blend the borax in food processor because I didn't want to inhale puffs of borax dust. Borax is great for washing clothes but not so good to inhale. So, I added it in at the end. 

I ended up with 7 cups of laundry detergent which will clean around 112 loads of laundry. All for less than $4.00. 

Next on the list is learning how to make soap.  Then I will be making laundry detergent with homemade soap, and it will be even cheaper! 

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent
Makes 3 1/2 cups detergent 

1 bar laundry soap (I currently use Kirk's Castile Soap)
1 1/2 cups Washing Soda
1 1/2 cups Borax

With a box grater, or grater attachment on food processor, grate the bar soap. Then blend the flakes of soap with the washing soda in the food processor with the blade until you reach a fine powder. Mix in the borax. Store in an airtight container. 

1 Tablespoon for small/medium loads
1 1/2-2 Tablespoons for large or very soiled loads

Friday, March 21, 2014

Neapolitan Birthday Cake!

Happy Spring everyone! I am thrilled that the weather seems to be getting warmer, even if just for the next couple of days. I have lots of things to do in the garden to get ready for planting season.

But today let's talk about cake!

I made this a few weeks ago for a friend's daughter's birthday party. I am so happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

I don't have pictures of the part where I baked all the cakes. But I made chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry for a neapolitan cake.

I made a small batch of regular Marshmallow fondant, colored it, and added in tylose powder to help the decorations hold their shape a little better. 

2 sticks of softened butter. Where every good frosting starts...

I made 3 different frostings to correspond to the flavors of the cakes. For the strawberry buttercream I  added in about 1/4 cup reduced strawberry puree. 

It smelled like mayfield strawberry ice cream and tasted delicious!

Then I made a chocolate buttercream for the chocolate layer.

Finally I made a large batch of regular buttercream. Some I left white for the filling and some I colored blue for the icing. 

To make the flowers, I pinched off a very small bit of fondant and rolled it into a ball and then rolled it flat into a circle. 

I put four slices into it to make 5 petals, and then I cut diagonally on both sides of each petal to make it look like a petal :).

I rounded out the edges and pinched the back so the flower would be 3-dimensional.

For the middle of the flower I took some pink fondant and rolled it into a little ball, put a dap of water onto it, and pressed it into the flower. 

The strawberries I shaped by hand and then used a pen with saran wrap on it to make the dents. 

To make the strawberry tops I just make a semi circle with a little bit of green fondant. 

Then I took 3 notches out of it and shaped it with my fingers before placing it with a dab of water on top of each strawberry. 

Decorations complete.

I torted each layer and filled with the corresponding icing flavor.

I made a 9 inch tier and a 6 inch tier.

Before smoothing.

After smoothing. 

Ready for decorations!

I am so happy with how it turned out and I heard that everyone enjoyed the cake immensely!

I made a mini cake for Chris and I out of leftovers. It wasn't valentines day. haha It was just the closest holiday I could think of at the moment. We thoroughly enjoyed our cake as well! I will post recipes soon.