Laundry Soap

I am nearly out of laundry soap so I am going to have to mix up another batch.

It is super easy to do and economical too!

In a large pot (that will hold 7 litres/two gallons).  If you don’t have a pot this big divide the recipe in half

Add:

3.5 litres of tap water (about 1 gallon)

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

Grate in a bar of soap

10 drops of essential oil (*optional and whatever scent you like)

Place on medium heat and stir occasionally.  The soap will melt and just bring it to a boil.  

Here, I am heating to melt in the shaved soap and merge the ingredients.

Here, I am heating to melt in the shaved soap and merge the ingredients.

Remove from heat and let it cool for a while.  When no longer hot, warm or cold are fine but the soap will be very gelatinous.

Now I set this in the sink to cool.

Now I set this in the sink to cool.

Add:

7 litres of cold water

Wait about a half hour and it will be sort of a semi solid gel.  

Here is the gel ready to blend up

Here is the gel ready to blend up

Stir with a blender stick.  If you don’t have a blender stick but have a blender it is slower work.  You have to take a couple of cups at a time and add equal amounts of water, blending until it is well mixed.

The last bit of blending and the soap is ready to use!

The last bit of blending and the soap is ready to use!

If you are mixing it in a blender, pour each mixed batch into your jugs.

If you are mixing it in a pot, you can either leave it in there covered and use it as you need it, or pour it into jugs.  I prefer the later because while it is a big messy getting it into the jugs there is no mess using it.  From a dripping cup.

In either case, pour the mixture into laundry soap jugs.  I got four of these from a local laundromat and have been using the same jugs for 3 years or so.

As you see I blended it nice and smooth; however after it is in the containers for a bit, what it looks like is sort of translucent, and lumpy liquid soap.  

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PS: I use lemon scented soap and add lemon essential oil to mine because this is my favourite soap scent.

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I forgot to mention that this is a low suds soap which makes it ideal for HE or regular use.  I use about a third of a cup of the finished laundry soap per load of wash.

Categories: Simple living | Tags: | 3 Comments

Another Illegal Tiny House

Jay Austin’s Illegal Tiny House is, a new 10 minute video which is very much worth the watch.

I am sure you will all agree.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Building code, Community, Open your eyes, Tiny house, View | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Changing Times: Need vs Want

My great Grandmother's kitchen

My great Grandmother’s kitchen

 

I have been working on my family tree and going through old albums.  I came across this photo of my great grandmother “Ma” in her kitchen.  This is a room she spent a lot of time in.

The reason that I am sharing the photo is because I wanted to show the readers what a real kitchen of a real person looked like in 1958.  This is the kitchen were she canned all the food that she, her husband and their ELEVEN children would need.  As a matter of fact, she has so many children that her own children has some children of their own before her last little ones were born.  Some, like my grandmother, moved her family in with Ma’s.

Every single thing that they ate came from their farm and the garden.  Every vegetable that they would eat in the winter was prepared right there in that kitchen.  She had to can everything that would not keep.  Green beans, beets, tomatoes, asparagus, leeks, cucumbers, peaches, pears, apples, plums… everything from veg to preserves was all canned.

I am not sure if you see what I am driving at?  Did you notice in the photo that there was not a little bit of counter top in that kitchen? No storage either?  The food was kept in the cellar and that little shelf above the stove was for every day dishes and cutlery.  It was also for keeping things warm, for those who were late.  All food prep and eating were done on the same table, covered in oil cloth, all the cooking was done there on the stove unless in the middle of summer when the stove was moved out into the back kitchen.  All the food prep would have to be put away and everything wiped before the table could be set and people could eat.  It was not unusual for there to be 30 people eating in this kitchen.

I will think about this photo the next time I start thinking the 6 feet of counter at THO is small.  Clearly this tiny houser has things pretty good.

I don’t mean to glorify those days.  I know that times were hard and that there was so much work to be done. Poor Ma never stopped working!  Her hands were like leather on bones.  Truthfully, I think Ma must have been pretty happy by the time 1958 came around and they were sufficiently recovered from the great depression that  times were easier and she could buy a jar of pickles instead of making everything.

The question is, do you think you could go without cupboards and countertops in your house?

Categories: Family, Laura Moreland, Ontario, Open your eyes, Simple living, Sustainable living, View | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Makita Rocks!

Anyone who reads my blog knows I don’t endorse products nor do I have any advertising.  Simply put, I think as a tiny houser, I have to walk the talk.  I am of the opinion that we tiny housers are stepping away the consumer lifestyle than we should not promote consumption.  Still, there are things we need and tools are one of these things.  I personally believe in buying the best quality so that they last for a long time.  I think if you buy a tool that lasts then you don’t create so much garbage.  I have, for this reason always trusted the Makita brand.  This is my personal choice and one I have always been happy with.

Today for the first time in almost fifty years, I nearly changed my mind… but then I was reminded why it is that I chose them in the first place.

Here is what happened:

It was mid October of last year when my old Makita cordless drill bit the dust.  It was the fourth Makita drill I have had in my lifetime and I have been using tools since I got my first job putting up drywall when I was 15. Of the four I had, one got melted on the wood stove and another was stolen when it was really new, so technically speaking I only wore out 2 drills.  This really is not bad considering that I have had 34 homes in that time.

The product line had grown a lot since the last drill so faced with so many choices, I mulled around for a while trying to decide what I wanted.  It was not just the new products that slowed my decision down but because I am off grid at Tiny House Ontario when I am doing most of my projects, this also had to play a role in my decision making.   Clearly, I wanted to have a drill that holds a long charge but I also hoped to go a little more lightweight.

Anyway, I remember being pretty happy when I went to the Home Depot and found now that Makita is not just making cordless drills but they have a whole line of other tools that are part of the system.  After a few weeks of looking on line and then talking to the sales people I decided on a set that came with a drill and a cordless driver as well as the charger, two batteries and a great little padded carry bag.  It was a major purchase for me at $249. plus tax.

This is the first set, it is a beauty, works great but it doesn't fit a number of the add on tools.

This is the first set, it is a beauty, works great but it doesn’t fit a number of the add on tools.

I brought it home, used it to built a shed and then I got sick…

Roll the calendar ahead almost ten full months to today.  I am finally recovering and decided that I felt well enough to get some shelves put up in my studio so it was time to bite the bullet and add on to the system.  Today was the day to add the Makita cordless circular saw attachment.  At $119. Again this is a major purchase for me, but I also knew that it was something that would come in super handy not just for the shelves for all the off grid DIY I do.  I came home and got my work area ready, familiarized myself with the tool, adjusted the blade depth and then tried to put the battery from my drill in and it won’t fit.  I mean, it really won’t fit.

So I pack the tool back up and bring my battery with me, I go back to Home Depot and spoke to Ron in the tool department.  He also could not figure out why it would not fit and like me was really surprised that Makita had made a system in which some of the parts don’t fit with other parts.  Like me though, he is a Makita tool worshipper and so he said he would speak to the rep about it.

I returned the saw and drove home, I was mad, but what could I do?  I mean, I already had the drill for nearly 10 months, and assumed the receipt was long gone anyway, so I resolved myself to live with it and I would manage again sawing everything by hand.

When I got home, my phone was blinking.  I was surprised to find out it was Ron from Home Depot who had left a message.  He had been on the phone with Mike from Makita and he explained some of the details and he also gave me Mike’s number and suggested that I give him a call.  So I did.

I dial the number and after a couple of rings Mike answers the phone and I tell him what I have already told you and I also added that I was annoyed because now I have a drill set that while great, doesn’t meet my needs because I purchased it expressly because of the add ons.  I also said that I was really annoyed because the drill had cost me $249 and now they have a similar set that comes with everything I have (minus the nice little carry bag) but with a flashlight and with the circular saw I need for $279.  Only thirty dollars more than I paid for mine.

He says, “bring it back and exchange it for the set you want.”

I said, but I have had it since last fall and don’t have the receipt.  And get this, he says, “you don’t need it, just go to the Home Depot and make the exchange.”

So, I get the drill set and get back into the car and head to the Home Depot again.  This is where it gets even better.  They were EXPECTING ME at the return desk.  The set that I needed was there waiting for me.  Mike, who it turns out is the National Account Representative (yes, he answers the phone on a Sunday of a long weekend), happened to be close by so he went to the store, got it all organized for me and left his card.  He said to call him if I have any problems.

My new set what a beauty

My new set what a beauty

I have to say, I am one very satisfied customer and because of this, I wanted to holler out a big thanks to Ron at the Home Depot and to Mike at Maktia.  You know, I am really going to miss that nice little tool bag, but still I have to say I got pretty sweet customer service today.

I am sharing this not just because I got such great customer service but also as a heads up to any of you who are also facing off grid situations.  There is a compatibility issue.  ***The saws need the bigger batteries, unless you buy a kit like the one I have above, or you buy the drills with the 3 AH battery.

I also wanted to share because in looking at tiny house builds, on more than one occasion I have noticed that there are a lot of Makita users among you.  I thought that I would take a minute to let perspective tiny housers know that this is a tool and a company that  you can trust.

Happy building and happy DIY!

Laura

Categories: Money, Off Grid, Stuff, Tiny House Ontario, Tools | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

What some of these terms mean…

Jason wrote to me this morning asking for some clarification on a series of questions. I am not sure if others have these questions too, so I thought I would share both his questions and my answers.

He wrote: “I am curious about the line between the definitions of a RV vs. a Mobile Home. It seems that some municipalities define them separately where-as others do not have any definition for Mobile Homes. Under what conditions do Tiny Homes built on trailers meet these definitions? Is a trailer built home considered an RV as long as it is on wheels? If the wheels are removed and it is set on a foundation or other support structure is it considered a mobile home (or even a “Dwelling” because there is no definition for “Mobile Home” on that municipalities books)? If a trailer tiny home is on a foundation and connected to a septic tank what is it considered then?”

 

I took a stab at clarifying.

I think RV or Recreational Vehicle covers several different kinds of things, such as motorhomes, snow machines, ATV’s and so on. The Motor home is simply one category of the RV.

I think that a mobile home and motor home are not the same thing. A motor home is built to move around some have motors of their own and others are towed.   Whereas, a mobile home is built to be moved to and set on a permanent or semi-permanent location. What I mean is that a mobile home is one of the houses that are brought in already built, they look similar to a trailer but set onto a foundation or a basement. I don’t believe that a mobile home is considered an RV.

Tiny houses on wheels are considered an RV, yes, but I think that the ones that are set on a foundation are not be considered a mobile home because they are not mobile.

Tiny houses that are brought in on a trailer and removed from the wheels and set on a foundation or a slab should be considered pre-fabricated.  They don’t differ greatly from my house which was built on site.

Sunshine on my tiny house makes me happy.

Sunshine on my tiny house makes me happy.

If you hook a tiny house up to a septic system or to city infrastructure, it is still a tiny house, but one with modern conveniences.

 

Do you think that my answers are correct?

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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