ReStore – Habitat for Humanity – DIY Home projects

One of my favorite places to buy cheap discounted house materials is the ReStore – Habitat for Humanity.  If you haven’t been to one of the local locations in NOVA, I strongly suggest you do. They have a location in Alexandria, and Chantilly.

ReStore – Habitat for Humanity has donated materials that come from home owners and builders.   Materials including tile, cabinets even paint that was used once.  You can donate just about anything to them too.  Light fixtures, ovens, and dishwashers are available.   We’ve found electrical material that my hubby was looking for and couldn’t find at any other store.

Click HERE if you are interested in donating items to the ReStore.   You can even schedule a pickup.

For our current house we bought some beautiful Bruce (named brand) hardwood flooring at the ReStore several years ago that we used in our upstairs hallway.  Wow! We got it for about $1 a square foot which is a lot less than anywhere else.  I don’t recommend this project for a beginner because it is a challenge but it is an example of getting good quality materials for a fraction of the price.  It turned out great!

redberrydeals_flooring

Making My Home-Made Dishwasher Detergent

April 2013 –
As I was working on cleaning up the kitchen last week, I was thinking about the fact I was getting low on dishwasher detergent and needed to find some good deals.    I just haven’t seen or heard of any recently.     In addition, I’ve become very interested in using healthy products in the home such as Shaklee Basic H2.     I did some simple searches and found several websites offering their recipes for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent including DIYnatural.com .   This got me very excited because I have most of the ingredients at home!  Not only would this be healthy but also cheap!   Now the question was would this really work???

From Homemade Dishwasher Detergent including DIYnatural.com:

Soap recipe

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)

Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).

Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent. We recommend storing in a container you were going to dispose of anyway, like an old yogurt container or coffee can you can fit it under your kitchen sink. Feel free to double the batch, or multiply to create any amount you’d like.

I needed to find Citric Acid.  Where do you find Citric Acid?   There were suggestions the FAQ on their site such as Amazon, and Lemi-Shine , and most stores sell canning products with Citric Acid.

I headed to my local Walmart and compared the prices and what I could tell by the labels and found Dishwasher Magic Dish and Spot Remover.   It said its main ingredient is Citric Acid so I went ahead and purchased 16 oz for $3.50.  Note:  I only need 1/2 a cup for this recipe.

I came home and followed the instructions above and as you see in the picture came up with a container.  One of the suggestions is to continue to mix it by shaking it so that there are less clumps.  Clumping is a problem with this mixture especially for high humidity climates.    I did just as mentioned and so far so good.  Then I read, there are some people using the Silica-Gel packets that you get in medicines and other products to absorb moisture and add them in.   So whenever I find one I throw that in for safe keeping.

Then using it!   I put a tablespoon in the bottom of the dishwasher and then another half-tablespoon in one of the cups.   I also have solid Jet Dry that I use since our dishwasher is more than 20 years old it doesn’t have the fancy Jet Dry dispenser.

It turns out the dishes have been coming out very clean.  I’m so impressed!   I can’t seem to get them to come clean like that with any of the name brand detergents.   I know we have hard water but this recipe works great and with the solid Jet Dry it really works.

I love my old dishwasher!

September 2013 –

I wanted to update this post and say that I’ve been so happy with this recipe and even my skeptical husband really is impressed. We use 1 tablespoon in the bottom of the machine and a little less than a tablespoon in the cup that closes. The dishes come out perfect.

I have recently purchased the Citric Acid from Amazon and it works just as good as the Dishwasher magic.

Our environment is pretty humid in the woods which causes it to clump up a bit. I put several of the moisture packets (silica gel) into the mixture so that it doesn’t clump as much and I gently shake or stir it regularly.

I find this batch lasts us about 3 weeks and we do at least 1 to 2 loads a day.

LivingSocial- G Street Fabrics $25 for $50 Fabric or Classes

Lately, I’ve become even more in love with fabric and crafts.  I think I have fabric fever.  My plan is soon to create a small side business so I can sell some of my creations and hopefully earn enough to pay myself back.  If you love fabric like I do check out this awesome deal before it is gone.  LivingSocial is offering a G Street Fabrics $50 voucher for $25. The best part is you can buy as many as you want even as gifts.  Hint!  Hint!

If you use my link then I can get it for FREE, if 3 people buy it through my link. You can do it too!

Craft: Cute ABC Zipper Pocket Design

Here is my first In the Hoop (ITH) project!  I’m so excited about this.   I thought I would share this on my blog.  As you may know I love to create crafts, and sew.  Recently, I’ve become re-addicted to my fancy combo sewing and embroidery machine.   Yesterday, I made this cute Zipper Bag from a new design from DigiStitches

This is for Doodle so she can keep track of her flashcards.

Spring Into Organization 2012: Cleaning Up Our Message Board

redberrydeals_door_organization_before

Wow!  This is what our message center looks like?  I had to do something about this.

After having twins last year, my life honestly has been insane!   It has been a huge adjustment not only on me but my daughter (Doodle) too because I went from being an outside the home working Mom to staying at home full-time.    Organization 2012 is now my mission.

Over a week ago I came across Laura from Orgjunkie.org‘s post about Spring Into Organization.  I’ve become addicted looking at some of these posts.  I’ve already started on organizing my laundry room,  my family room desk, and changing table. The best part being some of the ideas are so simple you can do it in an hour or a couple hours!  Plus, some of them like this message center can be done for pennies or FREE!

redberrydeals_door_organization

On our Message Board we seem to put all of the receipts for the month on them, things that need to be done and things we don’t want to lose. It seems to be catch all for for items we don’t have time to put away right that moment. I’ve already started putting all of the receipts in the month holders and it is already proving to be an excellent system. The donate receipts are great reminders that we need to donate again soon. Then the coupons can also hold gift cards that we have available so before we leave the house we can grab what we need.

I created the envelopes by using junk mail!  We’ve gotten so many large envelopes lately so I just glued some yellow paper to the inside.  I bought the paper at the Staples FREE pastel paper after Easy rebate last week.   The clear envelope at the bottom is also from junk mail and is a great envelope so we can add our Box Top coupons for my daughter’s school.  She adds them herself.

Almost all of the posts I saw showed people using beautiful tags and shapes.   Since I have a Cricut machine, my daughter and I used the Calendar Circut card and created each month.  Then glued them on the corresponding blue paper.  The paper I already had so I didn’t spend anything.  She asked to create some more and I liked the idea so we created some circles and I did some calligraphy.  The best part is each are reusable for next year.   I just need to create new envelopes for each month and then file them away after I’m done.  Then all of my receipts are in one place!   A great project to do with my 3 year old and FREE!

redberrydeals_door_organization_after

Walmart: Fabric Clearance

walmart fabric

Around the Washington D.C. metro area several Walmart stores are being upgraded to SuperCenters. I haven’t been to Walmart in a couple weeks and I forgot how crazy the store is with the construction going on.

This weekend we stopped in at the Walmart in Woodbridge, VA and discovered that they put ALL of the fabric on Clearance by the bolt. So whatever the bolt amount per yards X $3-$4 equals the cost. There were some bolts that had 10+ yards so they cost about $30 but most were less than that. If you are need of some fabric or are like me and love fabric, you might want to check out this Walmart or other Walmarts that are going under SuperCenter remodeling. I found these ranging from $4.97 – $12 a bolt.

Organization 2012

Organization 2012

My husband and I were talking about goals that we have for ourselves this year.  Our kids are young so just having a good time while they are little is important to us.    This means we need to be better about organization.

Organization is constant with my 3 year old. Don’t forget I have identical twin boys that are starting to crawl.  Babyproofing is never ending!   I’ve learned that if one system doesn’t work right now, there will be another system that does work.  I’m still trying to figure out the right methods to get laundry done but I will find it!   I’ll be talking about that too.

This month I wanted to talk about kids crafts.   I love crafts.  We have everything to do crafts and they are all over the house.  My plan is getting them all organized.  There are crafts that are perfect for my 3 year old to get into on her own while I’m watching the twins.  However, there are crafts she should never get into until she is older.  When I get to those places in our house I will definitely share them with you.

After a wonderful Christmas my daughter got several fun kits of play-doh, markers, and paper.  Since I’ve been staying at home she has used her table, and kitchen table to color and the paper seemed to get placed on the counter, or on top of the fridge.

This weekend after talking about organization, it dawned on me that I have some cabinets that I can re-organize and provide her space for her craft supplies.  She can now get her paper, markers and play-doh and then put it away when she is done!

We didn’t spend a penny on this.  I used some metal cans for her markers  and paints.  Then my husband found this 3 drawer box that he wasn’t using and it fits her coloring books and colored paper.  The tin on top is a old cookie tin that we have used to store her crayons.  The top cabinet holds her play-doh and the red box is an art box that holds the play-doh cutters.  Perfect!

My plan is to work on all of our cabinets one at a time and re-organize each of them.  Not only will I find more space that I know I didn’t have but also find things to donate, and sell.  I’m excited.

What are your organization goals for this year?

Our Christmas Tree 2011 – Making our own decorations

This year is my first year as a stay-at-home working Mom.  Since my daughter is a bit older and the twins are still infants I thought it would be best to make ornaments for the tree.

We made stars, and snowflakes from paper.  Doodle had a great time cutting out different shapes and we talked about each of them.  We cut out diamonds, triangles,squares and circles.   We hung up some plastic icicles and wooden red garland that I had from our Christmas stash.

For years I’ve wanted to make an Avent Calender that we could use every year.  The chocolate ones are yummy and the germany ones are so sweet but the last couple of years we kept forgetting the days.  Plus Doodle would tear the paper.  Oops!  Instead I wanted to make an Avent calendar with my embroidery machine.   The best part is I found an Avent Calender Pockets embroidery file from Hang to Dry Applique.    Check out how perfect they came out as decorations for the tree.  I’ve been trying to make one or two a day.  The best part is we can use these year after year.  They have a pocket that I can put sweets, or treats in.   Or next year I can give these to someone as a gift or use it for another purpose.