{Make it! Monday} Bright Sky Quilt Along Progress

I’ve been a little neglectful of keeping up with my Bright Sky quilt progress for this month’s quilt along. So today, I will show you my inner star and outer star and tell you a little bit about my plan for the upcoming week.

This project can be a bit of a challenge due to bias stretching, but it pieces together quickly and is a lot of fun.

Week one-Inner Star:

inner star bright sky quilt

Week two-Outer Star:

I miscalculated my background fabric by just a smidgen, so there was a little bit of piecing scraps together to make enough to cut my final background pieces.  It actually worked out well.

I also had very poor sleep for nearly a week…reading rulers and paying attention to measurements was not a strong skill set for me this week.  Lesson of the week: quilting requires sleep.  Sleep deprivation opens up a world of possibilities for cutting fabric more than once.

bright sky inner and outer star

bright sky

Week three-Quilt Top and Backing:

I am thinking about adding a border to make this quilt top a little larger. (It is for my brother and he is quite tall.)  I have some lighter gray fabric that I think would make a lovely border, and maybe add corner squares with more of the logo fabric to balance out the center star a bit.

I haven’t purchased fabric for the backing or binding yet (someone was kind enough to hack my checking account, so the quilty funds were lacking this last week).  I definitely need to get to the quilt shop and purchase some backing fabric to keep this project on track for the quilt along.  I do have some bamboo-blend batting that I love working with that I think will create the perfect weight.

So the plan for this week…buy backing fabric and binding fabric, and probably some Floriani thread for quilting the top.

Are you doing the Bright Sky quilt along?  If so, how’s the progress on your quilt top?

{Day 20} Do Your Homework!

homework station header

Creating comfort in the home means having work spaces that work for all family members.  Creating a homework area is a project that has been on my to-do list for a while.  While I was going to school, I either worked in my home office, on my bed, or camped out on the sofa.  My son does his homework at the dining room table.  I often think he rushes to get done so that he can move on to watching t.v. or playing video games…or because it is time for dinner.

There are plenty of Pinterest boards with ideas for creating homework stations.

  • Ashley Sexton Townsend’s Homework Stations board has a lot of great ideas.
  • Jennifer Wheeler offers over 70 great homework station ideas on her board: Homework Station.
  • Nicole Hedge’s Homework Station board is also filled with great organization ideas.

For even more ideas, This Old House has 27 great homework station ideas that are pretty great.  These require a bit of planning; however, today my son and I were talking about the pros and cons of continuing to do homework at the dining table, but creating an efficient way to organize and corral office and school supplies.

I wanted to share this video from At Work With Nikki.  At first, I didn’t think that I would need an “office in a box” because my office already takes up an entire room on the main floor of my house.  After watching the video, I thought creating an “office in a box” was a great idea.  After spending upwards of 50+ hours per week in my office, it would be nice to be a little more mobile (maybe sit in front of t.v. and get things done). This is also much more attractive than the Craftsman tool box that I keep filled with office supplies and haul back and forth from work for my in-office work days.

I really would also like to create a homework “office in a box” for my son. It would be very helpful for him to easily find the supplies he needs without having to get them from my home office while I am working.  He could also quickly tidy up the dining room table after he completes his homework.  I think making one of these boxes and tucking it away in an easily accessible space in the dining room would be really helpful.

This is now definitely on my to-do list of projects.

Do you have a homework station or an area set aside just for kids to complete their homework and study?  Have you ever tried to have an office in a box?

{Day 19} Slow Cooking Comfort Food

When you enjoy cooking and baking, one of the greatest things about making a home a haven can be creating comfort through food.  Today I wanted to share a few cookbooks that have comfort foods that my family enjoys.

One of the best ways to get food on the table quickly is by using a slow cooker.  I really like being able to use my slow cooker and I have collected several cookbooks specifically focused on slow cooking.  Here are a few of my favorites!

1.  America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution contains 200 great recipes that your family will love.  One of the great secrets they share is “blooming” onions, garlic, and spices in the microwave before adding to the slow cooker.  This is a tiny trick that makes a big difference in the finished meals.

2.  Michele Scicolone’s book The Italian Slow Cooker is a great resource for preparing Italian foods and sauces.  The recipes go together quickly and easily, and taste wonderful.

3.  This is a book that I have mentioned before, and I am including it here again…my copy is well-loved.  Deborah Schneider’s The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites is a great resource for slow cooking!

4.  Another of Michele Scicolone’s cookbooks that is great to add to your slow cooking cookbook stash is The French Slow Cooker.

5.  Andrew Schloss shares 80 great slow cooking recipes in his cookbook Art of the Slow Cooker: 80 Exciting New Recipes

6. One of my very favorite cookbooks for slow cooking is 150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and More Slow Cooker Recipes.  If you like curry, this book is wonderful!

7.  Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking: Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Slow-Cooked Meals has lots of great recipes that your family will love!

The great thing about slow cooking is that the possibilities are endless.  You can make traditional comfort food dishes, or even ethnic dishes when you crave Mexican food, Thai food, Indian food, French food, and Italian food.  I have several slow cooking cookbooks, but these 7 are my favorite, go-to books that I find myself browsing, flagging, and highlighting, again and again.

Do you have a favorite cookbook that is focused on slow cooking?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

{Day 18} Creating Comfort at Home

Cozy Living Room

This week, we are going to focus on creating comfort in our homes.  Today, I included a Polyvore set that I created for a sample living room.

I have a very small collection of glassybaby tealight candle holders…a collection of 3, to be exact (not that I wouldn’t love to have plenty more!).

I have a bright yellow one that is very uplifting and cheerful:

via glassybaby

I also have this great set:

via glassybaby

The Polyvore set above is built around our Seahawks-style glassybaby candle holders.  It might seem silly to decorate around a pair of candle holders, but the set is built around a sofa that is similar to the one we already own (minus the layer of dog hair and the gray sheet we keep on our current sofa…a very lived in look at our house!).  We are definitely Seahawks fans in my household, so the colors are a fun way to acknowledge that sports are important to my fella.  I am also a fan of gray.  I find the color very relaxing and calming, so I added in touches of gray.  The other elements are a bit rustic and slightly industrial, which is a style that my family really likes.

Creating comfort in my home means that I am not only thinking about what I would like to have and wishing I had something nicer, better, newer.  It is acknowledging that comfort isn’t about having a perfectly matched living room or bedroom set.

Creating comfort is making everyone in the house feel at home in their surroundings.

When I think about creating comfort, I also try to incorporate several elements into my home.  I like to have some form of living plant in each room, and I like to have candles and nice lighting.  This is often easier said than done, but it is something that I think really creates a sense of peace, rest, and rejuvenation within the home.

Creating a Polyvore set allows me to have a simple snapshot of the elements that I want to bring into the room.  Ultimately, the room might not have all of these items, but I am able to keep a design board page in my home notebook.  (With our dog and cat, I would be very reluctant to put my lovely glassybaby candle holders on a coffee table, because I would be sweeping up green and blue shards of glass shortly after doing so!)  However, creating a design board helps me when I want to make a purchase for the room that I am working in.

I can also show the design board to my fella what I would like to do and it helps him visualize what I am rambling on about, as well as offer his suggestions on what he wants to do, or reel me back in from my crazy ideas!

Do you create design boards for the rooms in your home?

{Day 17} Window-Shopping: 10 Lovely Aprons

10 Lovely Aprons

I hate to break the news to you, but more dust always settles, the dishes have to get washed again, and the laundry will need to be washed, dried, folded, and put away.  These tasks are routine, and can be mundane, but only if you let them.

Here are some really fun aprons to make homemaking and homekeeping even more fun!

1.  I love this flocked purple half apron from Jessie Steele.  It may or may not be on my Christmas list, or wish list, or posted on the front of the refrigerator as a big hint that I would like one.  Okay, so the printer is out of ink and paper…so it isn’t on the front of the fridge (YET!)

Flocked Purple Bouquet Damask June Half Apron

Flocked Purple Bouquet Damask June Half Apron via Jessie Steele

2.  IceMilk Aprons are so beautiful.  This apron is simple and glamorous.  This is a full-wrap apron and is very chic.

IceMilk Full Apron Rollings of Cinnamon Personalized via Layla Grayce

3.  I am a big fan of the Villa Apron from Anthropologie.  The floral fabric with the solid green accents look like they would hide a multitude of spills.

  • Villa Apron via Anthropologie

4.  This one is definitely the most expensive of all the aprons included here (and at $250, it is really out of my price range), but is absolutely gorgeous so I have to share it with you!  This is the Lizette Apron from Haute Hostess Aprons.  If I ever bought this one, I would wear it all the time and feel like a million bucks.  Can I just say one more time..GORGEOUS!

Lizette Photo

via Haute Hostess Aprons-Lizette

5.  Here is another Jessie Steele apron.  This one is a full apron featuring diamonds and cherries in a sweet print.  But the best thing about this apron…the wide ric-rac.  I am a pushover for ric-rac since the 1970’s. 

Diamond Cherries Bombshell Apron

Diamond Cherries Bombshell Apron via Jessie Steele

6.  Here is another Haute Hostess Apron…the Felicity.  I am in love with the gold dots and the red ribbon embellishment.  Anyone want to feel like a princess for a day?

via Haute Hostess Aprons-Felicity

7.  Sometimes simplicity speaks for itself.  That is the case with the Brushed Chambray apron from Anthropologie.

  • Brushed Chambray Apron via Anthropologie

8.  Valcooks makes a very colorful and vibrant apron that is so much fun!  Here is the Lollipop.  Tell me that wouldn’t make you smile just a little bit, even if you were washing dishes!!

Lollipop via Valcooks!

9.  Hen House Linens makes a 20 x 26 cocktail apron with many options for the fabric.  I really am keen on this orange cocktail apron.  But at this point, I think you and I would both agree that I have said that I am in love with nearly all of these lovely aprons.  This one is definitely one of my absolute favorites of the whole bunch.

Cocktail Apron via Hen House Linens

10.  Last but not least, the Cuisine Couture Apron from Anthropologie.  Anthropologie certainly has a lot of great aprons available.

Cuisine Couture Apron via Anthropologie

Just for fun, here is a Wall Street Journal article about how aprons have inspired some fashion trends – here.

Do you like to wear an apron while you are keeping house or cooking?

{Day 16} Creating a Cleaning Routine

Creating a Cleaning Routine…Well this isn’t very colorful or engaging, but all of my images are uploading with errors this evening.  I will update the post when I figure out what on earth is going on.  However, I committed to 31 days of writing, so I am not going to let a bunch of images slow me down this evening!


So really I have a disclaimer…I am not a great housekeeper…I would really rather be quilting than scrubbing grime out of every nook and cranny in my home.  In lieu of deep cleaning, I find myself having to stop quilting (or reading…or hanging out on Pinterest) long enough to get the work that needs to be done completed as quickly as possible.

I used to have a really great homekeeping routine in place.  I was notorious for checking off tasks, like making sure that Tuesday mornings all the houseplants were watered.  (I was obsessed with checking off tasks!)

Oh boy, I absolutely LOVED my morning, afternoon, evening, daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to-do lists!

Then, one day, I had this harebrained scheme to go to graduate school.  Those tasks started piling up, because every spare minute I was trying to catch up on my reading, or studying for upcoming exams.  Fast forward two years that it took to complete my degree, and suddenly I realized that the dust piled up, the spray bottles went untouched, the broom probably had cobwebs in the corner, and I was lucky everyone had clean sheets and underwear.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as drastic as it sounds, but my routines essentially imploded.  There was not time to tend to every item on my carefully crafted list.  There would be no setting the table with cloth napkins, lighting candles, and putting on soft music in the afternoon.

In fact, the cloth napkins seem to have walked away…I think they felt abandoned because we traded them for whatever paper counterpart was in the fast food bag each evening.  I think there are some poinsettia holdouts waiting for their holiday debut, but the rest, they completely disappeared never to return again.  (Not very eco-friendly or nutritious options were common there for a while...)

So my list is quite extensive, and after breaking from routine, it doesn’t seem very manageable anymore.  I have been working on crafting a new cleaning routine for my home.

I know that everyone’s home and schedule is different, but really we all have the same tasks that need to be completed to keep our home’s clean.

I started my list by looking at a flyer that was mailed to me for a cleaning service.  Most of these chores were items that I categorized for weekly, monthly, or seasonal completion.  Here is an example of a maid service checklist…and one more just for fun, here.

I put all my routines in page protectors that I could mark off with a dry erase marker.  At the end of the night, I would wipe the pages clean with a bit of window cleaner and a rag or a paper towel.  It is very easy to keep these in a homekeeping binder.

While drafting this post, I was also trying to upload a copy of my cleaning routine, but ended up having a few issues with the file.  Isn’t that how things seem to go?  No problems at all, until you are cutting it close on a deadline…I will update this page with a link to the file as soon as I muster up some technology skills!

Until then, check out some other resources for creating a cleaning routine:

  • A great post on creating cleaning routines can be found here.  Ruth Soukup, of Living Well Spending Less, shares several great ways to create a cleaning routine that works for your and your home!
  • Flylady has some great resources for creating control journals for managing your home.
  • Clean Mama is ALWAYS a fantastic resource.  (Hint:  I really like the Modern Day Homekeeping Kit.)
  • A Bowl Full of Lemons has great ideas…and this month, you can follow along with a purge to declutter your home.  (P.S. Toni has the most wonderful pictures on her site.)

Now that I have sent you on a wild goose chase for all sorts of ways to create a cleaning routine, how do you organize your household chores and tasks?  Do you have daily routines, or do you just wing it and work on whatever needs cleaning at the moment?

{Things I love Thursday} Block of the Month Clubs

chalkboard BOM

So this might not be something I personally love, so much as it is something my son loves…that is enough to make me smile.

My son found this quilt along and asked me to join…

Now you might be thinking, “Why would her son want her to join a quilt along????”

That is a very good question and it will be readily apparent IF you just click this on over to Cora’s Quilts.  There you will find an amazing quilt from Shelley Cavanna!

Did you check???

Well, either way, the quilt along is for a Super Mario Brothers block of the month quilt along.   Here is a sneak peek if you didn’t:

Super Mario BOM Club via Cora's Quilts

Super Mario BOM Club via Cora’s Quilts

This quilt is DEFINITELY going to be an undertaking.

For one thing, it is a giant quilt (82″x100″)!

And if you need another reason why I think it will be quite a bit of work…it has more than 5,500 squares!

Seriously, what was I thinking agreeing to this???

The pattern is free on the website, but you have the option to join the block of the month club through Cora’s Quilts Etsy shop.  In the mail each month, you receive your Moda Bella Solids, and you have the option to purchase fusible backing.

Again, did I mention that there are more than 5,500 squares?  In my world that means that the optional fusible backing is looking pretty essential!

This quilt is going to be fun, because there is only one quilty thing that I can get my son to help me with…designing pixel quilt squares and dreaming up ideas for making his favorite characters.  With this quilt, he doesn’t have to get out the graph paper and colored pencils.  He can just wait patiently through the months until I finish this quilt.

It will definitely be a long project, and hopefully I finish it before a year goes by…but I think it will be special because it is centered on something he really loves:  video games!

Have you made a quilt using favorite characters, or committed to a year-long quilt along project?  I’d love to hear what you’ve started, finished, or anything in between!


Cora's Quilts Super Mario Brothers QA + BOM Club

Update:  Here is a link to see a lot of the quilts being constructed on Flickr – here.

Fons And Porter

{Day 15} Taming the Laundry

Laundry header


Monday was the start of the Style Me Pretty Fall Challenge with Alison Lumbatis of Get Your Pretty On.  Today I was linking up with some wonderful ladies to show off our outfits based on Alison’s recommendations.  Since I was already talking about clothing, I decided that it might be a good day to talk about taming the laundry!  In my house that can be quite the undertaking because I have way too many items of clothing.  Add in remaining family members, the sheets and towels, the dog’s bedding, and the list just keeps getting longer and longer.  There is definitely never a work stoppage for the washing machine!

I have seen countless ideas and systems for getting the laundry done, but really it all amounts to simply…getting the laundry washed, dried, and put away.  Seems simple, right?  It should be, but it isn’t always!

In the kitchen I use a clean rag for washing dishes and countertops and replace it daily…but I don’t like to mix those into any other load of laundry, so the kitchen rags start to get neglected until there is enough for at least a small load of laundry.  I also keep sheets and bed linens separate, and I wash the bathroom towels separately.

So since I am just a separating fool, I keep Tim’s clothes separate from my clothes…and everything and anything, and suddenly, it seems like all I have is an endless supply of laundry.

On the days that I rush and try to just keep it all together, I’ve ended up with a Merino wool sweater perfectly sized for a miniature schnauzer (we don’t have one…), or maybe the cat (I tossed it out rather than risking being attacked by her claws while attempting to dress her in a once lovely sweater).

…Certainly Miss Georgia the bull dog and I wouldn’t be fitting it anytime soon.  But that Miss GA prefers to wear a Bama Jersey in her free time…

Georgia day in the life

Speaking of laundry success in our household…there was the day that I asked Tim to do his laundry and he decided to wash everything in his closet that hadn’t been worn in a while (Who knows why???  Some form of all or nothing laundry washing tendencies.)…only to end up with a very nice wool blazer that subsequently had two different sized arms and was tiny as can be.

Wait for it…

Of course, I had to add his picture here…because being the nice mom that I am, I had him try on his wonderful handiwork and preserve it for posterity.

Tim's wool sport coat

Now clearly, I am not sure what was the more expensive mistake…buying the growing boy a wool sport coat that cost quite a few shiny pennies…or not supervising his attempt at doing the laundry!

A great resource I’ve found is of course Becky of Clean Mama.  She has an article titled, “The Right Way To Do Laundry: 5 Steps You Might Be Missing.”  You can view it by clicking here.

In all honesty, we have yet to tame the laundry monster in this household.  It is a work in progress.  Too many dark, light, fussy, dry clean only, cleaning the kitchen, wiping dog paws, slept on bed linens, and everything else under the sun waiting for a spin in the washing machine each week!

So, just for fun, here is an article from the Wall Street Journal about how a lot of us use the wrong amount of washing soap when we are doing laundry!

And if you have a hankering to check out even more references about laundry…here is a board on Pinterest devoted entirely to learning to do laundry better: Laundry School!

I don’t have a Pinterest board about how to do laundry…but I certainly have one for laundry room envy…you can check that out, here. (And yes, in case you were wondering, laundry room envy is a real thing!)

Follow quilty joyjoy’s board Home: laundry room on Pinterest.

Someday, I will tame the laundry…until then, I can just relax, have a good laugh, and enjoy the process.  Soon enough, there won’t be so many dirty clothes to wash, and the house will be more quiet, with less noise from kids and from the washing machine!  I gotta just enjoy it while it lasts!

Style Me Pretty Fall Challenge-Week One

Fall Challenge header 2014_edited-2
I signed up for another Style Me Pretty Challenge through the fabulous website Get Your Pretty On.  Alison Lumbatis gave us our shopping list about two weeks ago, so after heading to my closet to see what I already had on the list, I did some shopping online to get my key pieces.
I’ve included Polyvore sets of the items that I am including in my fall wardrobe.  The shopping list was notably shorter than what I have available, but I wanted to create a visual of items I have just in case I do decide to do a little shopping…I definitely do not need to!  (And someone was kind enough to hack my checking account recently and do some three-day weekend shopping on my dime anyhow…so it might be a while before I make any more purchases!)  Really, I just need to learn to match my wardrobe items better so that they work together in greater harmony.


The items I’ve included here are a mixture of items from my closet and things I purchased for Alison’s fall challenge.  I have quite a few more items than she recommended, but I guess I like to have a lot of options when I get dressed!  That is my story and I am sticking to it!!


Oh how I love boot season!  Yes indeed, there is such a thing as boot season.
For a gal with AFO’s (ankle-foot-orthosis) for both feet, boot season is a dream!  If I find the right boots, it definitely helps control foot drop.  MS might have stolen my ability to wear high heels, but I am trying out some wedge booties (very challenging).  I also splurged on a pair of yellow Frye Maggie Oxfords that are anything but the recommended neutral shoes for this challenge.

Jewelry and Accessories:

My jewelry and accessories for fall 2014 style me pretty challenge
I need to rethink my scarf selections that I included here.  They don’t look very big online, but when they arrived, they are quite bulky…more for outerwear/colder weather.  They are gorgeous and the texture is very soft.  They are keepers for sure!  The Stella & Dot Milana Tassel Necklace is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and I have worn it over and over again since I purchased it.  I also get a lot of use out of my Stella & Dot Cleopatra Stud Earrings.


This challenge just started on Monday, so I only have three outfits to include here this week:

Day 1:

Monday’s outfit consisted of a striped shirt, boyfriend jeans, a long necklace, booties, and a favorite purse.  I was way too fearful of leaving the house wearing a striped shirt, so I added a bright boyfriend cardigan on top.
Fall challenge Day 1
Turquoise tassel
Jeans (similar); Lucky Brand wedge booties (similar); Striped tee (Old Navy-similar); Boyfriend cardigan (Ann Taylor Factory Outlet); Necklace-BaubleBar (Turquoise Arizona Lariat)

Day 2:

Tuesday’s outfit consisted of a long-sleeved tee, a plaid scarf, black jeans, riding boots, a favorite purse, and an olive drab jacketI am a big fan of olive drab, probably due to my days in the Army…this outfit was a little easier for me to feel comfortable in!
Fall challenge Day 2
blue camo knit scarf
 Black jeans (similar); Frye Jet boots; blue camo knit scarf (Last Call-no longer available); Jacket (Eddie Bauer-no longer available); Long-sleeved tee, (similar).

Day 3:

Today’s outfit combo is perfect for a chilly fall day and consisted of a plaid shirt, dark wash jeans, booties, long necklace, an over-sized watch, and a favorite purse.
son and mum

This fella is always kind enough to take my picture in the morning…let’s just say selfies are not just awkward, but somewhat difficult with MS.

Fall challenge Day 3

I am really uncertain what is going on with the lighting and picture here!


Rebecca Taylor purse and Miss GA

Miss GA really is a big fan of this purse!

Fall day 3 selfie

Failed attempt at a selfie to try to get a more clear photo of the plaid print!

Pendleton Favorite Plaid Shirt; dark wash jeans (similar); Lucky Brand wedge boots (similar); purse (Rebecca Taylor-no longer available); and, a long necklace.


It has only been three days, and I am already loving this style challenge!  For this fall challenge, I am linking up with some wonderful ladies.  Please take a few minutes and visit their websites for their takes on the fall challenge outfits for this week.  …But be warned…you might want to do some shopping for some key fall wardrobe pieces…I am contemplating those great cognac boots from Frye!  (After that whole hacker spending my payroll deposit thing is resolved.)


Deena | Christy | Jordan | Carrie C. | Shaunacey | Danielle | Beth | Joy | Sarah |
Leslie | Katie | Jennifer | Carrie M. | LisaSheila | Lana | Lauren | Anna | Alison


Him and Her Sale: 30% Off Men's Apparel, Jewelry, Hangbags and select Ready to Wear at LastCall.com! Offer valid 10/15-10/20.

{Day 14} Keeping Floors Clean

Keeping Floors Clean

So today I am a little distracted by some road construction going on outside my front door.  I decided to go out and check with them to see if they were intending to fix my sink hole problem in the front yard, but apparently these guys weren’t with the city.  I have a feeling the city is never going to come back and fix this problem, since it has almost been a year since it was reported to them.  I really wish they would come take care of it before the rainy season really starts again.  But…this isn’t 31 Days of Making My Home-With-a-Sink-Hole a Haven…so back to the topic at hand!


October in Washington means rain, mud, and more rain and mud.  Rain and my front yard sink hole are not a great combo, but factor in a teenage boy and a dog into that rain/mud mix, and floors can begin to look very dingy.

It is much easier to keep your home tidy when you have the tools you need at hand.  I keep a broom and dustpan near the back door, which makes it very easy to sweep up any debris that comes in from outside.  Believe me…this broom is very busy in my house!

I thought bringing home a Swiffer Wet Jet would be the solution to all my muddy paw and foot print problems.  Unfortunately, the solution that came with the mop didn’t agree with my floors.  We left the mop leaned against the table and moved on to other things, only to return and find the solution stained the hardwood floors underneath where the mop had been sitting.

After those shenanigans, I turned to an all-purpose spray that my mama used to make and use on her floors every day.  It is a mixture of vinegar, alcohol, water, dish-washing soap, and some essential oils to scent it.

I have a spray bottle on the counter filled with my all-purpose spray.  The all-purpose mix is with equal parts of water, alcohol (such as a clear spirit or rubbing alcohol), and white vinegar.  I quit drinking a while back, so I am fairly certain that the mix I am using right now is Absolut or Skyy vodka  for the equal parts of alcohol.  (Shhhh…don’t tell Ray!)

I add in a few drops of dish-washing soap, or castile liquid soap, and then scent it with whatever essential oil, or combination of essential oils, can mask the scent of dog and teenager.  Note:  that can be quite a challenge! 

My mom was a big advocate for using eucalyptus and/or tea tree essential oils while cleaning, but I like orange, or other citrus scents, as well as clove.  Peppermint is also really nice.  I’ve tried lavender, but the dog isn’t a big fan!  (I have to keep her happy, too!)

I just use the spray bottle to spray the area of the floor that I am currently cleaning.  It works great and I am not scared of my floor changing colors, like the result of the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning solution.


For carpets, I use baking soda and essential oil as a deodorizing treatment.  I use a quart-sized mason jar and I punched holes in the lid using a nail and a hammer.  I can then use the jar as a shaker and put it on the carpet and leave it sitting for a few minutes before I vacuum.  I like using the mason jar with holes punched because I can leave it on the counter and it lightly scents and deodorizes the air, as well.  I also use this same baking soda and essential oil mixture for scrubbing my sink each evening, so it is definitely a multi-purpose concoction.

I’d tell you about how wonderfully I can clean the carpets, but I am still on the hunt for a wonderful vacuum to make my life easier!  At least the one I have now picks up all the baking soda I keep throwing around!


Rounding up dirt takes a bit of work, and fall and winter seem to multiply the challenge.  What do you do to keep your floors clean?  Do you have a favorite purchased or homemade product that you use for your floors?


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