Our house is very neutral. Except for the office and the laundry room, we haven't done much in the way painting. After talking to our neighbors this past weekend, we learned that the previous two owners didn't do much either. Or any, by the sounds of things. In the ten plus years our home has existed, it sounds as though nary a paint brush or roller has touched the walls since they were first painted. Is that typical? I'm not sure, to be honest. When we first looked at the house it didn't scream "Paint me!" It looked, and was, well-maintained and clean. Now that we know it hasn't been painted for so long, well, it's encouraging us to do some refreshing! Want a hint of the color we picked?
Is it worth it to wash a roller if you're out of paint and it's such a dark color? Or is it better to just let it dry out and toss it? I pondered this as I spent who knows how long working the paint out of this roller. I'd love your opinions on this question!
Back to our neutral walls. We thought we'd start reducing the amount of beige in our bedroom. Yes, the walls and the ceiling are all the same color
I get that this is an easy way for builders to get in and get 'er done. But really, it's a bit drab. And I love me a white ceiling. It makes everything feel brighter and breaks up the wall color, even if the wall color is not far off of white anyway! We'll get there some day. For now, we focused on this wall.
My apologies for the pictures. It is really difficult to get good photos in this room because there is so much natural light. Also, we tend to do much of our DIY projects after the girls are in bed, so sometimes the light is just, well, difficult.
We've got textured walls. Raise hands for a show of knock-down walls? I love it and hate it all at once. Just like our neutral paint color, our texture is everywhere. It makes painting a bit more of a project because it seems no matter how well you prep and tape, there is usually some kind of bleeding of paint under the tape. We did our best though and luckily, somehow, we ended up with some pretty crisp lines! Sigh of contentment inserted here :)
So, did you guess what color did we went with? If you read about my husband's office transformation, you know that we are big fans of Farrow and Ball. The colors are gorgeous and the paint is so thick it's like Greek yogurt. It goes on and coats really well. For our textured walls, we used a 3/4 inch nap to help fill in all the gaps and crevices. For the office we used a mammoth 18 inch roller, but for this one wall, we went with a more standard 9 inch size. We loved both the Down Pipe and the Black Blue, but ultimately went with the later. Since it was only one wall, we went dramatic.
This color is funny in that the first coat looks almost green and rather spotty. Yes, we are painting by the light of the moon. How romantic, no?
We actually managed to get the first coat done in one evening and the second coat the next afternoon. Our neighbors are fabulous and their girls kept our girls busy while we finished the wall and got everything cleaned up! Can't beat that.
Now we are in need of some trimmings. Our wish list includes:
The space is still a work in progress, but at least it's in progress! Now that we've got the wall done, the rest will come along much more easily. We are definitely open to suggestions, so please feel free to share any you have!
If you grew up in the Midwest, you probably went picking at some point. We used to go cherry picking in Door County. I'm a huge fan of pick-your-own kinds of places. We would go to pick our own cherries, apples, blueberries, and strawberries, pick the best pumpkin at the patch, and even chop down our own Christmas tree. Those memories are fabulous ones for me. I loved eating too many apples, watching them tumble through the washer/sorter machine, tasting the cider and going on wagon rides. My girls loved bundling up warm to search through the snow and pick the perfect tree, exploring the teepee, drinking hot chocolate and the smell of pine at Krueger's.
Yes, those bags are full of tart, Door County cherries. LOVE THEM! Now, cherries do not grow well here in Colorado. Nor do apples I learned last fall when I thought I'd take my girls apple picking. And Christmas trees? Those are shipped in from....Michigan! and Minnesota! and Washington state! Sigh, so it goes I guess. There's a reason we don't grow pineapples in Wisconsin, right? I am looking forward to peach season here, though. I hear the green chiles are fantastic, too, though I'm not sure about a pick-your-own pepper adventure just yet ;)
Instead of picking our own, we bought our cherries at the super market. Lush, sweet cherries, just right for baking something yummy. And, since we had some time on our hands this afternoon, that exactly what we did. I pulled my new handy dandy pitter and brought over the stool and extra chair. My littles love to help me cook. They are excellent mixers and taste-testers, as you can see.
Since moving to Colorado, I find that I have to watch my oven more closely. The main factor affecting baking here is the low pressure that results from the higher altitude. It leads to lower boiling points, faster evaporation and rapid rising. In addition, the low humidity can dry ingredients out, resulting in a dry texture and crumbly bread or muffin.
I found three basic adjustments for high-altitude baking: reduce the leavening agent (baking soda or baking powder), reduce the sugar, and increase the liquid. One or all of these things may be needed to adjust a sea level recipe successfully. Now, I'm not sure exactly what altitude most cookbooks are written for. However, since the temperature for baking above 3500 feet should be 25 degrees HIGHER than at sea level, and baking times are therefore shorter, you may want to try your oven at 375/350 and bake for 20-25 minutes if you're not in the mountains. (source)
Here's our yummy Cherry Pecan Cacao muffins for you. Kid tested, mummy approved!
Recipe adapted from Megan McBride Conte's yummy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
How do you like your cherries? Please share with us!
For the past (almost) four years I've been using a homemade powdered laundry detergent. I started using it because we went with cloth diapers for my little bird and then with our second stinkerbelle, too. Since I was using it for the diapers, I just started using it for everything. It was a blend of Superwashing Soda, Oxiclean and Borax. It worked well for us in Minnesota.
Lately I've been feeling like things aren't quite so clean. Whites aren't quite so white. Maybe it's the water here in Colorado. Perhaps I should blame the machine that came with the house. But, because of it, I've started looking into alternatives to wash our clothes. No one is in cloth diapers anymore, but we still need to wash our stuff, and I don't want to be buying commercial detergents when I don't have to.
Why? Many, because of their chemical ingredients, function as endocrine disruptors, which means that they act as synthetic estrogens, which can increase the amount of estrogen-like activity in the human body. I tend to think my hormones don't need any help at the moment! Many also have warning labels to indicate you should avoid direct skin contact. That's because they contain surfactants. Surfactants are the main agents that strip away oils, which is great if your child got some ketchup on their shirt, but they can seriously irritate the skin and aggravate skin issues. And, like so many other allergies, laundry detergent allergies are on the rise. Use too much and it doesn't rinse completely out of your clothes, which means you're just putting the chemicals directly in contact with your skin!
Another good reason to avoid commercial detergents is environmental. After our washing is done, the water goes down the drain. So, the detergents run into the water supply and have been shown to interfere with aquatic life. This stuff is not natural and many plants and animals cannot process the chemicals they contain, such as sodium triphosphate and trisodium phosphate. (source)
Many also contain "fragrance" which, according the Environmental Working Group, "The word "fragrance" or "parfum" on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system."
And, of course, the pods. If you have kids, please rethink pods or at least make sure they are completely out of reach. According to a recent study, children ingest pods at a higher rate than powdered detergents, and some of the health complaints (digestive distress, breathing difficulties, and lesions) result in ER visits. (source)
I'd like to avoid that at all costs please!
So, what's the deal with borax? Well, it's not only in cleaning products, but it can also be found in slimy toys and some nutritional supplements, which is CRAZY to me! It's got some potentially serious side-effects that are easy to avoid, such as:
And, since there are other alternatives, I thought I had best ditch the borax and go on the search for something safer. Enter HolFit. I stumbled onto Ange Peters' blog after being invited to check out her Periscopes. If you're not following her and you're into holistic living, go check her out! She had a recipe for a liquid DIY detergent that did not contain borax, so I gave it a try. The verdict? Six thumbs up! Well, maybe more like four thumbs and 2 fingers.
Her recipe calls for 1 cup liquid castille soap, 1 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup coarse salt, 7 liters of hot water and 20 drops of essential oil. Yes, liters. She's from Canada ;)
So, here's my adapted recipe, for a US, cup/gallon-centric population! I didn't want to make a ton of it at once, since I tend to vary the essential oils I use. So my adaptation is as follows:
1/4 cup liquid castille soap
1/4 cup baking soda
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 tsp coarse salt
8 cups hot water
8-10 drops essential oil
Combine all ingredients into a glass container. I bought mine from Ikea. Whisk to dissolve. That's it! When you wash, you will need about 1/4 cup for a small load, 1/3 for a medium and 1/2 for a large load. I keep measuring cups in the laundry room to make life easier.
Now, don't be scared, but if the first time you make this detergent, it will look like this.
Then, when you're ready to do laundry again, it will look like this.
Yes, it separates. But, that's an easy problem to solve. Just give it a good shake! Not only is it a good detergent, it's also much more cost effective. It's about $1.54 for 15 loads, or $.10 per load. In comparison, Tide Free and Clear is about $.62 per scoop. (source). So really, why wouldn't you use it?
I like to use a Protective Blend of essential oils in my detergent, especially when sickness is running rampant. Other oils I like are citrus-based, like the Cleansing Blend or Melaleuca and a citrus. If you are interested in the oils I use, please contact me here!
So, what are you washing your clothes with? Try this out and let us know what you think!
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!