Making a small drying rack from an old bike tire

I’ve go a project/anecdote for you!  My friend Tammy showed me how to make a drying rack for clothes from an old bike wheel and it is amazing.

All you need is:

  • an old bike wheel (try freecycle or just ask around)
  • three zip ties (optional but helpful)
  • ~36 clothespins
  • some rope
  • a carabiner clip or similar (see the anecdote below)
  1. Spray and scrub down the old bike wheel. It doesn’t have to be spotless, but anything dirt on the wheel may end up on your drying items!
  2. Attach the three zip ties equidistant around the wheel, loosely (larger zip ties are best)!
  3. Use three same-size lengths of rope to the zip ties and together (for this, I deconstructed a topsy-turvy tomato grower and used some of the metal hanging wires).
  4. Optional – attach three lengths to the carabiner rather than tie together
  5.  Tie more rope to the three lengths/carabiner; use enough to be able to hang from a tree or whatever you can find.
  6. Finally, attach the clothespins and you have your drying contraption!

This works GREAT for small kitchens cloths but especially for cloth tissues, like the ones I showed you in a previous email. This is something you can easily make and use in a small backyard and even inside if you have the space!

And now for the anecdote… Tuesday I did a bunch of laundry without paying attention to the weather (note to self: that wasn’t smart). When the sky darkened I ran out and carried in my drying racks and took down the clothes from the lines but it was already sprinkling and I didn’t want to take each individual tissue and cloth off of the bike wheel rack, so I did the next best thing… I covered the whole thing in a poncho! It worked! Two hours later I returned and everything was no more damp than it had been before the rain! Now I think I should install a clip so I can remove this drying rack before this happens again but in case I don’t get to it, at least I know the poncho trick works!

Homemade tissues can help break our reliance on single-use products

Sometimes breaking our reliance on single-use products can be difficult. Here is one easy way to start! For years, we have been using our own tissues at home rather than buying a box after box of paper tissues from the store. Cloth tissues are easy to make and care for. To make your own cloth tissues, you simply need a piece of flannel cloth. I like to use ripped sheets, but if I don’t have any I will run to a thrift store and look for a flannel sheet to buy. If you want to start small, a pillowcase will make quite a few!

Cut your flannel sheet into squares. I like mine to be about 8 inches square but have them in many different sizes because I didn’t want any leftover fabric. After cutting, you’re done if you want! Fold your tissues and store in a container around the house. You can also choose to bind the edges by surging or folding over and sewing. I don’t do that anymore; it takes more time and my kids prefer quantity over quality when they’ve got colds. Eventually the flannel unravels, but that’s generally about the time they’re getting stained or holey and they end up in the compost pile.
To care for your tissues; simply throw into the wash with your other laundry!

Great Cookie Debacle Part 4

We finally gave in. Ari and I walked around to all of our neighbors who bought from us and asked what they had ordered. Everybody was very nice about it and the consensus is that we will find it any day now. We are still waiting on one order – our neighbor had a friend house-sitting and he ordered two boxes. I think it is was Samoa and a Thin Mint, but I’m not 100% sure.

That does leave another problem though. I spent the last week looking for the darn order form so the other house chores didn’t really get done. Ari and Abby’s room is clean, but basically he rest of the house is a wreck (don’t believe me? Ask my Dad – he visited Thursday). So today I began to fix it. I worked on the guest bedroom, having Ari go through the stuff in there and we recycled and threw away a lot, and we have a bag of giveaways too. I have worked a bit on the rest of the house, but it is overwhelmingly disorganized and I am not so great at getting it back in order.

And it brings another problem to light. My “desk” is the dining room table. You can probably guess the problem with this now that you know I am not well organized. On good days, I occupy the far end of the table on one side, with my laptop and a pile of papers that I need to use or go through to file. On a bad day… it takes me 15 or more minutes to clear off enough room for four people to eat dinner at the table.

My “desk” today

A few weeks back I decided I needed a bookcase so I could clear off my bedside table (I had 50-60+ books on it). I scored a really nice bookcase on Freecycle and took care of that problem and now it is evident I need a desk too. It will be a place I can make various piles (my organization method of choice) and they will be left alone, rather than have to be consolidated into one pile every night for dinner. Hopefully someone can send me “desk vibes” and I can score something awesome one Freecycle in the coming weeks!

My dream desk – I can close it to hide the mess!

And yes, the “final” part of this debacle will be when I find the order form!

A Naturally Germ-Free Kitchen

How do you balance being eco-friendly and yet still keep your family safe from germs?  You’ve most likely heard about anti-microbial soaps and how some germs have become resistant.  In the kitchen, there is a solution!  In the book Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck, I read about her “dual spray program”.  She keeps two spray bottles handy – one with vinegar and a dark colored one with 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).  The dark bottle is for the hydrogen peroxide, which needs to be kept away from light so it doesn’t break down.

How does it work?

When the hydrogen peroxide is exposed to light, heat, or organic materials it releases its extra oxygen, so that pure water and oxygen are produced.  Micro-organisms find pure oxygen to be exceedingly toxic.  You can actually see the reaction as the hydrogen peroxide bubbles!   In Sandbeck’s book, she states that hydrogen peroxide kills 100x as many bacteria as vinegar, but when used in conjunction 10x more bacteria were killed as the hydrogen peroxide alone. Continue reading “A Naturally Germ-Free Kitchen”