What is a soap cozy? Simply, it is a little bag to put your bar of soap in. It can be used for:
as a washcloth, without even having to remove the soap
put your soap ends in it and tie it shut, to use them up
use the tied up soap to scrub your sink or shower. What removes soap scum the best? Soap. Just make sure you rinse it off well.
Soap cozies can vary in size. At 4″x6″, 4″x5″, 5″x6″, they make great gift bags for small items. Also a nice pouch for carrying your cell phone or spare change and lip balm. Mrs. D’s soap cozies are made with cotton or cotton blend fabric and have long 10-12″ ribbon ties.
You can sew up a dozen of these in about an hour if you’re so inclined. Any scraps of the appropriate size (you are welcome to make them larger or smaller) will work. Trim them to a large rectangle or two smaller rectangles. I make mine about 4″x6″ give or take, or fold an 8″x6″ piece in half.
First, sew the top hems. Fold the fabric down about 1/4″ at the top and iron. Fold and iron again. This is the top of your bag. Now stitch away to hold the hem in place. I use a built-in decorative stitch for this. I do not cut the thread on each piece, I just pull it out a bit and start the next one. Then I cut all the threads when I’m done.
Next, make your bags. With right sides together and top hems together, stitch one side and bottom seam (or just one seam if you are folding). Trim threads if you are sewing several bags at once like I do.
Now for the ribbon ties. You can use the bags without them, but I like to add them because I use them to close the tops. Cut 2 12″ pieces of ribbon for each bag. Hold or pin them about 1″ down from the top of the bag, with the long ends inside the bag and coming out the top. You are leaving a tiny bit on what will be the inside of the bag to hold it there. Stitch the last side of the bag. Trim all threads.
Finally, clip corners and trim seams if necessary. Turn bags right side out and poke corners with a ruler, chopstick, pen, or another corner turner. Iron if desired.
Use and enjoy your soap cozy. Give as gifts. Or sell them at your next craft fair!
Sometimes it seems like everyone has forgotten how to use bar soap. Since most people I know use liquid soap in tidy pump dispensers now. Yet bar soap is gentler, more economical, and does a better job of cleaning. Bar soap is truly a multi-purpose cleaner.
In order to make myself clear, when I speak of bar soap, I am speaking of handmade soap. Rather like the kind I make, with all natural ingredients you can actually recognize. Like coconut, palm, and olive oils, milk, water, and essential oils, herbs, etc.
Sodium hydroxide (lye) causes a chemical change in the liquids and oils that soap is made with. This saponification neutralizes the lye and, as a result produces the familiar, sudsy soap that washes away grease and grime. Grease that washes away grease.
First of all, let me debunk the antibacterial myth:
Friction kills bacteria.
That’s right. Not soap, not hot water. Friction. Rubbing your hands together when you wash them creates the friction that kills the bacteria. Soap loosens foreign particles and oils from your skin, and water washes them away. But friction kills bacteria.
Now let’s move on to the truth about bar soap:
lasts a long time as long as you keep it dry in between uses. (use a handy soap saver)
does not harbor bacteria and grunge as long as you keep it dry between uses. (don’t let it sit in a puddle of water)
can be made with ingredients you recognize and with none you don’t.
Finally, what are the advantages of bar soap?
lasts a long time as long as you keep it dry in between uses.
can also be used to wash your hair.
makes a great pet shampoo.
is an all purpose cleaner. What removes soap scum best? Soap.
makes a great laundry soap. In this case, it needs to be grated very fine and mixed with some other ingredients, but that is a whole nuther post.
is a gentle soap for hand washables.
How do you use bar soap?
Same as liquid soap, use bar soap for washing your hands. Keep a bar of soap next to your sink in a soap dish or saucer. It is best to elevate it a little to keep it dry. Many soap savers are available for this purpose.
First, wet hands and soap with water. Then rub soap between hands and replace on soap saver. Finally, rub hands together, spreading soap as desired. Continue rubbing hands together as you rinse the soap off with water.
Cloth produce bags are an old idea whose time has returned. They are simple and sanitary. You can keep a dozen on hand and they take up barely any space. Produce stays fresher and mold-free for longer. They can be used damp or dry, depending on what you are storing. They go in the fridge, on the counter, in the pantry or cupboard.
Cloth produce bags come in many sizes. You can even make them yourself and customize your size. You can use a cotton kitchen towel and forget all about the bags. But we’re focusing on bags, here. On the homestead, wherever we happen to be, we use plain muslin bags, with no ties, approximately 12″x14″.
wash bags in hot, soapy water and air or tumble dry
place in fridge or cupboard
when empty, turn inside out and wash in hot, soapy water…
That’s it! For leafy greens, you may want to keep the bag damp, depending on your storage conditions. I find that keeping greens in a damp bag makes them stay crispy longer. I usually wash them and put them in the (dry) bag, still wet. Then I dampen it under the faucet when it dries out.
What kind of produce can you keep in a produce bag?
Any kind! Okay, just about. Berries are kind of messy and should be kept in a bowl. Cut tomatoes, beets, prepared salads, and such should probably also be kept in bowls. Most whole fruits and vegetables can be kept in cloth produce bags. Unless the fruit flies are about, I keep most whole fruits in a large bowl on the counter. A basket in the pantry holds potatoes, onions, hard squash, and garlic. Greens and most other veggies go in the produce bags in the refrigerator.
Money Secrets of the Amish, by Lorilee Craker is jam-packed with practical, down-to-earth wisdom from the Plain People. Probably most of us want to stop being slaves to money and start living the good life. The Amish have a reputation for living well on less, consequently, it might help to find out how they do it.
A “worldly” woman with a Mennonite background, Lorilee Craker is in a unique position to connect with the Amish. She introduces us to Amish farmers, housewives and church leaders, coaxing their secrets from them while sharing homemade artisan cheese and fresh garden veggies. As a result, she is able to provide insight for us into how this group of people thrives without credit cards, enormous mortgages, or six-figure incomes.
With amusing anecdotes and real-life stories, the author and her friends go from over-extended to simple and satisfied, all while making it look like common sense.
My grandma and mom endured the Great Depression, so my childhood abounded in these tried and true methods of acheiving abundance with very little. These suggestions have also helped me get back on track when I have foolishly overextended myself.
de-spoiling the kids
how the best things in life really are free
Amish style gift giving
what to and not to buy in bulk
the next best thing to growing your own food
how to barter
Lorilee ends each chapter with her own Amish Money Makeover tips, especially relevant for practical application in a non-Amish life. Money Secrets of the Amish is a great resource, first for rebooting your attitude and outlook on money and possessions. In addition, it provides simple, sensible instructions for putting that reboot into practice. A useful reference for every home library, with links to helpful websites, also.
I bought the Kindle version from Amazon. No compensation was received for this review.
What do you do when water doesn’t run through the pipes? We’re getting lots of practice with that one right now. Most people on city water just turn on the faucet and are rewarded with a pressurized flow. Out in the country and on the road, however, things get a little bit different.
At the Arizona homestead, we haul water and pump it into a 2500 gallon storage tank. From there, it runs through pipes to the water pump, then the pressure tank, and ultimately, the house. Unless a pipe breaks. Or the main valve breaks. Luckily, the main valve broke in the closed position. Unfortunately, the tank was full at the time. Consequently, I have not yet replaced the valve, mainly because that would involve draining all the water. Therefore, at the moment, we are filling jugs from the tank, for use in the house. This begets a whole new, yet old, definition of running water.
Kitchen sink supply:
We have even splurged on a down-home swimming pool:
Still, the tank remains half-full. We’ll get there. Makes for good water conservation practices.
In the mobile homestead when water doesn’t run, due to a dead battery or converter, as is currently the case, we do pretty much the same thing. We just refill our water jugs from the drain valve on the fresh water tank.
Kitchen sink supply:
So all this has me thinking about what we would do at the urban homestead when water doesn’t run. First we would need a water supply. Probably 55 gallon drums. Then the rest would be just as above. We would simply have to train our city family to reuse the gray water for flushing and such. But probably, if it came to it, they would do just fine.
What will you do when water doesn’t run?
Handmade Soaps and Lotions; Simple Living, Slow Travel; Homeschooling, Roadschooling