Frugal and Fantastic Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade laundry soap. I remember the first time I made it a dozen or so years ago. I had happened upon a simple Fels Naptha based "recipe" and excitedly purchased the needed ingredients in the cleaning products aisle of our local grocery store. I mixed it up, used it, loved it... and have been making my own laundry soap in varying degrees ever since.

Over the years, I have tweaked and adjusted the ratios of the ingredients to suit my own preferences, and I often add several drops of essential oil to my finished soap. My method makes a bit more than a gallon of thick, concentrated, gel-like laundry soap that I dilute a bit before using.

My best tip, I think, is to let the soap bits rest in the warm water for awhile before melting them. Oh, the time it saves in the melting process! And it makes the melting step so much easier.

This is how I make our laundry soap.


1/2 of a five ounce bar of soap (Fels Naptha)*
3/4 cup powdered borax (I use 20 Mule Team Borax)
3/4 cup washing soda (I use Arm and Hammer Washing Soda)**
1 gallon warm water (divided usage)
essential oil of choice, for scent (optional)

*I have used homemade soap, Dial, and Ivory, too... Fels Naptha is my favorite
**Be sure that you have washing soda and not baking soda! {smile}

Step One:
Finely chop or grate the half bar of soap. Put the soap bits into a large saucepan and cover them with some of the warm water. Cover the pan and set it aside for an hour or so to allow the warm water to soften the soap.

Step Two:
Place the pan with the water and softened soap bits on the stove. Over low heat, stir with a wire whisk until soap bits are completely melted. Add the borax, washing soda, and the remaining water. Stir to completely combine and dissolve all ingredients. Remove from heat.

Optional - After removing the mixture from the heat, carefully process the warm mixture with a stick blender to ensure that all ingredients are completely smooth and blended.

Step Three:
Transfer the blended soap to a 5-quart bucket, or other suitable storage container that has a lid. Put the lid on the bucket and set it aside for 24 hours (or overnight) so the soap can completely cool and gel.

Step Four (optional):
After setting time, add a few drops of whatever essential oil you prefer and stir well to combine.

The laundry soap concentrate is now ready to use.

To Use:
Dilute the laundry soap concentrate 1:1 (equal parts) with water and use right away, or store the diluted mixture in a separate covered container. If stored, shake or stir the diluted laundry soap before use as it tends to separate. I use about 1/4 cup of diluted soap per load in my extra-large capacity washing machine.

This soap smells amazing but it is *not* edible, of course! Be sure to store it in a covered container, safely away from children and pets. Use common sense and be sure that nobody ingests it or gets it in their eyes!

I have a high-efficiency washing machine and we have very hard water where we live. I haven't had any problems using my homemade soap under these circumstances... in fact, we all prefer my own laundry soap to store-bought. {smile} I clean my washing machine monthly, regardless of what type of soap I am using. You are responsible to determine whether this homemade soap is appropriate for your circumstances and your washing machine.

There are several things I love about making my own laundry soap...
it saves us lots of money
homemade laundry soap smells so fresh and clean
the ratios I use clean our laundry well... even our chore clothes!
it is so convenient to keep the ingredients on hand and make soap whenever I need it
making laundry soap is a simple skill that increases our self-sufficiency a wee bit

I hope you like this frugal and fantastic homemade laundry soap as much as I do, friends.

Happy homeMaking!

30, 50, and a grateful heart

And the three-month-long flurry of regular birthdays and holidays to celebrate has come to its lovely end at our place this week with our thirtieth wedding anniversary on Monday and my fiftieth birthday yesterday!

Whew... all of the love and goodness and attention I have received these past few days makes me feel like a cherished queen. So grateful I am. What a week!

My fiftieth birthday was a quiet family celebration, just what I wanted. All of us stayed up until midnight on the eve of my birthday to watch Mama turn fifty... what fun it was, and a rather big deal for me. I don't see midnight very often by choice anymore.

Though my dear hubby had to work, all of our children were here in one way or another during the day for my birthday. The six of our children who live at home were here, of course, and our grown daughter who lives in a nearby town came home for the day with her dog (that I love so much) Juno.

She offered to bring birthday lunch, so we enjoyed the clam chowder and pumpkin pie that I suggested. Those things sounded good, and they were.

And... though he wasn't able to fly home for my birthday (understandably)... our grown son that lives across the country made time in his day to video chat with me. So I got to have a cup of coffee with my boy on my birthday after all, and all eight of my kids were together with me at once, in the only way possible, but all together in one place nonetheless. God is so good!

One of my girls baked me a carrot cake, complete with frosting carrots...

And though I was planning to use the rest of the candles from our recent birthdays - three others in our tribe celebrated a birthday in this past month - my dear hubby stopped by the store to pick up number candles so my cake could proudly display the half-century birthday at hand.


The gifts I received were so thoughtful. One of my teen boys got me two skeins of yarn. Several of my children bought me candy, mostly my favoritest peanut butter cups.

And two of my girls and my dear hubby each got me a lovely headcovering...

It delights me to think of my dear hubby choosing a beautiful headcovering for me. He knows I wear it to honor him and the Lord, a symbol of submission and femininity, and how much it blesses me to do so. And to think of him choosing this maroon colored one with lace, well, that just tickles me.

Lovely, lovely days they were, our anniversary and my birthday. Good times, good memories.

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list this week ~

:: 63 pounds. That is how much my Labrador Retriever "puppy" weighed when he had a checkup and vaccinations at the veterinarian this week. What a big boy my Jack is. The veterinarian pronounced him to be in excellent health and proclaimed that Jack is a solid block of muscle. I believe it.

:: Reading. This week, I finished The Four Million (O. Henry) and the book of poetry I have been reading. I am still reading The Imitation of Christ privately, and also aloud to my kids. In my Bible, I am in 1 Samuel and John. I started a book that a play I enjoy is based on... but most of my reading has been gathering information about the old-fashioned art of lace making. I am thinking about giving it a go!

:: Togetherness. Our daughter who works away from home had this whole week off from work. It was just like old times and we both loved it so much!

:: That buck. The mule deer known as "Mama's buck" has been hanging around our property all week, along with a herd of does and a couple of smaller bucks. How lovely to enjoy their company.

:: Contentedness. I would love to get more goats, but we haven't come across any that are a good match for our homestead. I'm itching to make cheese... and to get back into soapmaking. But there are only so many hours in a day. I love what I have now and while *lots* of things interest me, I don't need any of them to make me happy. The joy and contentment that lives within my heart is from Jesus the Messiah and is not affected by outward things. {smile}

Thank you for coming by my blog today, friends... and for your visits to this one, and this one too. I hope you enjoy their new looks, I had so much fun making new headers and giving each of my blogs a wee makeover as a birthday gift to myself. I am so thrilled to be fifty!

I wish for you a cup brimful of gratitude and blessings...

of the weekend

What an unusually warm weekend it was, for January. Rather springlike, actually, with patchy drifts of snow and a bit of mud about the barnyard. We spent part of Saturday in the back pasture, checking the fence and basking in the sunshine.

One of the girls found this beautiful rock filled with sparkly white crystals as the kids explored the wide open space that is dotted with many lovely rocks and natural curiosities. So pretty!

Our menfolk fixed the broken wire that we discovered on the fence and checked that all of the posts and braces along the fenceline are secure. We fenced our property with smooth wire, but this dividing fence that was already in place when we moved to our land eighteen years ago is barbed wire with smooth wire patches. {smile}

We walked to the very back of the back pasture as we checked the perimeter, where there are some low-lying bushes stubbornly hanging onto a snow drift.

I hung the day's laundry on the clothesline to dry. The wintry fresh smell can't be achieved any other way! I have been using my clothesline quite often this winter... I like using it year-round.

And my dear hubby and I went out for a special dinner - just the two of us - to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Thirty years as husband and wife! Jack knew we were getting ready to go and tried to deter me from leaving with a kiss.

Thirty years of being the wife of my best friend, the kindest and most wonderful man I have ever known. I thank God for him everyday... what a great joy it is to be this man's love, helper, and wife; and to be the parents together of the eight children we have been blessed with. There have been many ups and downs along the way, and we have experienced them all hand-in-hand. So thankful and blessed I am.

And when we got home from our special date, we were greeted with the surprise of cupcakes! Our girls baked them for us while we were away... our oldest at-home daughter said it was our youngest girl's idea. So sweet.


A Grateful Heart

"Mama, that's your buck!" was the happy announcement made by one of my boys as we paused from our homestead walkabout to view a herd of mule deer that had meandered across our back pasture and grazed in the field next to our property...

Oh my, it was the buck I watched last spring and summer! He is easily recognizable by his 3 x 4 point antlers and his split ear. The joy! I raised my hands to Heaven and thanked God for the blessing of seeing "my deer" once again. I am so thankful that he still resides upon (or visits) this mountain.

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list this week ~

:: Afternoon walks. Our January weather has been quite warm(ish) and the sun has been shining and the kids and I have been spending daily time in the out-of-doors soaking it in.

:: Using my clothesline. I love hanging the freshly laundered clothing on the line in the winter time. There is such an icy wintry blueness to the sky and a crisp freshness to the air. Today, I listened to my hens softly cackle to one another as they pecked about the barnyard nearby.

:: Fresh eggs. We have gotten three lovely large brown eggs from our chickens so far this week. Not bad at all for this time of the year, especially from my ageing flock of seven.

:: Reading... I finished My Dear Hamilton this week. I am mere pages away from finishing The Four Million (I have really enjoyed all of O. Henry's stories that I have read). And I am also nearly finished with a book of poetry that I have been savoring. Poetry thrills me; the way the words weave together in such wonderful ways. I am re-reading The Imitation of Christ and also reading that book aloud to my children, along with our other read alouds. So many books . . . {smile}

Thank you for coming by my blog today, friends. I wish you a cup brimful of gratitude where you are.


those darling ducks

It was such a warm and sunshine-y afternoon, we moved the ducks to their big pen for some waddle-time atop the drifts. They did seem to love it! And how cute are all of those webbed flappy-feet tracks in the snow? {smile}


Rigid Heddle Weaving Discovery

One of the ways I am putting into practice my focus word for the year :: present :: is by sorting through the cards and papers and pictures and keepsakes I have collected through the years. . .

I did the same thing a couple of years ago, and donated or gifted or discarded quite a bit of "stuff" and hand-me-downs and items that I have never missed. In fact, it has been so lovely to have in our midst fewer decorative and even functional items... to own only the things we truly like and want and use and enjoy having in our snug little home.

So my oldest at-home daughter and I spent a recent morning and afternoon strolling down memory lane together. We laughed and reminisced and discussed how quickly time passes. I saved the best pictures and tucked away a few meaningful trinkets, but mostly I discovered that I am not as sentimental over the past as I thought I was. That was then and this is now, and now is pretty fantastic. {smile}

It felt great to empty a bin of unneeded items, to carry out several bags of clutter. Now there is space to fill with better things, or to simply relish as empty space!

A few of the items we found, we chose to begin using and enjoying once again. I would rather use my things, even special things, than leave them packed away. A couple of my children are once again playing with the dolls and stuffed animals I had saved from their youngest days. I discovered two pairs of brand new bootlaces, which came at the perfect time since my dear hubby broke one of his bootlaces just yesterday. And I found a baby blanket that I made long ago on a rigid heddle loom for our boy who turned fifteen on Christmas Eve.

The woven blanket is just the right size to use as a rug in front of our wood stove! So I brought it out from storage and now it is a cheerful spot of homemade color on the floor, and a perfect place for Jack (or the cats, or even one of the kids) to soak up the cozy heat.

Being made of acrylic yarn, it may not be a very durable rug. Perhaps it will even be ruined, but that is okay. Loved ones (people *and* critters!) are so much more important than things. Lord willing, I intend to get back into weaving one day and I can always make another one.


Another Shawl {and a grateful heart}

Howdy and happy Friday to you, from our windy and wintry homestead! Our mountainside property is its usual January mix of towering drifts and bare spots of ground as the wind has done its job of moving and melting much of our Christmas snow.

Things are back to normal around here, after our long holiday staycation. We resumed our homeschooling activities this week, with refreshed enthusiasm all around. I am so happy to be reading aloud to the kids again each day... I have really grown to treasure those regular moments together throughout my twenty-one years (and counting...) of homeschooling our tribe.

We have several books going right now, in addition to our daily reading in the Bible. We decided to finish A Christmas Carol, though I have read it aloud before and didn't quite get through it before Christmas this year. I am re-reading the Little House series so my youngest children will experience it, and I am reading for the first time Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aloud to the kids. And my younger girls and I are savoring our way through Beautiful Girlhood, slowly.

Did I mention that I *love* reading aloud to my crew? {smile}

And, I have a finished crochet project to show you today. I am calling it *Another Shawl* because I make so many shawls, and I am quite pleased with it . . .

I didn't use a pattern, I simply started at the bottom of the triangle and increased each row until it was the size I wanted. Then, I added a half-double crochet stitch around the edge. Simple indeed.

What I especially love about this shawl is that the "fiesta" colored acrylic yarn that I used to craft it is laden with a blend of my very favorite bright and cheerful colors. It makes me happy just to look at it!

I have been wearing it lots - my preference has shifted from slipping on a jacket when I am chilly to wearing one of my many handmade shawls - and it kept me nice and warm when I wore it as a scarf and headwrap during a homestead walkabout with my little girl and Jack yesterday...

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list this week ~

:: Bible study. We got one of our boys a new study Bible for his recent birthday, and it prompted him to invite me to participate in some studies that he is putting together and leading with the help of his new Bible's notes and resources. How lovely, yes?

:: Ten. Speaking of birthdays, we have *another* one in our family this weekend. One of our girls will be ten years old. The celebrations continue!

:: Resolutions. My one and only specific New Year's Resolution for 2019 was to drink more water. My goal is to fill up my cute, big portable cup three times daily. So far, I have met my goal each day. Yay! 😇

:: Twinkly lights. We have our Christmas tree and decorations packed away until next year, but we decided to leave up for now the strands of lights that we draped around the house. I am glad we did, they do add a fun and festive touch to an ordinary day.

I wish you a cup brimful of blessings and gratitude where you are, friends. God is so good!

Happy New Year

A new year, a fresh start... and a back-to-normal day it is for us as my dear hubby returned to work after a long-and-lovely stretch of days off that flew by all too quickly, and the rest of us resumed our usual rhythm of school and our ordinary tasks and routines.

I am just back inside after a short afternoon walkabout with my youngest daughter and Jack. Jack sniffed and bounded in the snow, very interested in the plentiful magpie tracks that dot the drifts in the front pasture. My little girl and I discussed her upcoming birthday, unicorns, and llamas. And I think she giggled as much as she talked... she is a true ray of sunshine, that youngest daughter of ours.

Yesterday we celebrated another birthday at our place. Our New Year's baby turned thirteen! It was the main focus of our day; making our girl feel extra special and loved, watching a movie together, eating birthday cake... and the last day of our holiday break... and here are a few snippets from our first day of 2019 on the farm.

There was a cattle drive down on the county road. One of my favorite sights!

Jack hopped into my chair, as he likes to do when it's empty. {smile} We had planned to do some birthday sledding on New Year's Day, but it was *so* cold that not even Jack wanted to spend any more time than necessary in the out-of-doors.

I currently only have a few skeins of cotton yarn in my bin, so I am using them to make some more dishcloths for my kitchen. This one is a bit larger than I usually make (I knitted fifty rows before I began to decrease) and I am going to put a single-crochet edge around it to finish it off.

Orange is my *favorite* color so this dishcloth makes me quite happy!

And though the birthday girl chose the menu for her special day, I also made an enormous batch of blackeye pea and ham soup for New Year's Day. It was delicious! And we have lots of soup leftover for tonight's supper. {smile}

joyfully ~

Good News

Dear friends, I do hope you had a lovely Christmas! Ours was simple and quiet... we exchanged gifts, enjoyed family time, watched a few Chri...

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