The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery

......Francis Bacon

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

In these tough economic times, making your own cleaning goods as well as growing your own food makes so much sense. I am going to share with you a recipe for making homemade laundry detergent. This is really easy to do and you will end up with a 10 gallon bucket of laundry soap which is all natural, with no petroleum products added. It is gentle and safe to use for babies and anyone with skin allergies.And it is also safe to use in those new fandangoed, HE, (high efficiency) washers too! The best part is, this 10 gallon bucket of laundry detergent will cost you under three bucks! Yep, you heard that right, under three dollars. This is what you will need....................

Make sure you get washing soda, not baking soda! It might be hard to find, I had to order my box online. I did find the Borax and the Fels-Naptha soap at my local grocery store. You do not have to use Fels-Naptha.  You can use a bar of Ivory soap or other mild soap instead.

You will also need a clean, 5 gallon bucket available for a couple bucks at your local hardware store.
A quart pot to heat everything up on your stove
A wooden spoon
a measuring cup
a cheese grater
and an empty commercial laundry detergent container like an old Tide container to store your detergent in.

First........grate your soap up into bits with your grater. Don't worry about using your grater for food afterwards, just wash it first. Fill your quart pot with 4 cups of water and add the soap flakes into the pot. Heat to just  melt the soap, stirring with your spoon,  DO NOT let this boil.

In the meantime, fill your 5 gallon bucket half full of plain water. No need to measure it, just "eyeball it". Once your soap is melted, add that to the water in the 5 gallon bucket.

Then to this you will add 1/2 cup of the Borax Powder and 1 cup of the Washing Soda. Mix this well with your spoon. Next, add more water to fill the bucket all the way to the top. will let this mixture "set up" over night. The next day, you will find that the mixture has become thick and jelly like, this is normal. Once again, stir it up well with your spoon and fill your old Tide or laundry detergent bottle up half full with the mixture. cover and store the unused portion still remaining in the 5 gallon bucket.  Add water to fill the container up the rest of the way. You will need to shake this well before using it. All you need is 1/4 cup added to your wash. That's it! easy peasy!

  This detergent works really well. Your clothes will come out unscented and almost completely static free. If you do like a scent to your wash, you  can add a little bit of essential oils to the mixture. Look at all the money you will save and it's great for the environment too!  Happy laundering!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whats Growing On?

Sorry, I have been away again. I don't forget that I have a blog to maintain, but I have had all my family, here in town, for the past couple weeks now. I have been able to see my grandson and he has grown so much!

  They are now back in Texas where they have just put an offer on their first home! We are so excited for them and for us too as we will probably be staying with them for a spell when we move out there ourselves.

  My youngest came in from Alaska too and her husband just arrived here last night. And as for my son, who still lives here with us, he is in Texas right now, testing for the Austin fire department again.

  I had to put my creative art time on the proverbial 'back burner" while they have all been out to visit. Chasing a 22 month old around is not easy and took a lot of my time, but I didn't mind, I just loved having him here.

  I do have some photos of my now, very large and still growing veggie garden. Besides my art, this is something I really love to do and it makes me feel good knowing I'm feeding my family this pure organically grown food just steps away from my kitchen!

These are my Tomato plants grown in 5 gallon buckets

Small decorative rock garden right outside my back door. if you look closely, you can see my friend climbing down my ficus tree, and the little mushrooms growing in my very fertile soil!

Tumbling Tom Tomatoes in a hanging basket

Yummy Yellow Squash!

This is Stevia, which is a natural sweetener. Tastes just like sugar but it isn't.

This photo is a little dark but it is the very long and deep front yard garden bed. I am growing Honeydew Melon, Zucchini, Bush Beans, Eggplant, Bell Pepper, Cucumber and Watermelon out here.

Front Yard Zucchini

  I am working on another Koi painting and I promise to get some photos of that up here soon too. One more week and my days will slow down enough to get some more art done. I hope you are all having a great summer!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Garden In The Sun

Quite a few years ago, when my kids were little, I had a beautiful backyard garden. I can still picture it and I miss it so much so I decided to start another, right here and now in my smaller, urban backyard. We are also in the process of getting ready to put our house on the market. Texas is our destination. My daughter, son-in-law and grandson are there and that's where we want to be too.

  So I decided to use containers to plant some of my veggies in. I have also been planting in my front yard. I have watermelon, zucchini and bush beans growing strong out there now. I would LOVE to get rid of my water guzzling front lawn as well and just grow food but listing the house prevents me from doing that right now.

 And whats really cool about my backyard garden is that I have my mini studio out there as well, smack dab in the middle. So while I am creating my art, I am surrounded by glorious plantings of wonderful, organic vegetables and flowers, all grown from seed by me. No poisonous insecticides and no GMO's (genetically modified organisms) are used here.

  Here are a few great reasons to grow your own organic food year round...........taken from a great website, One Green Generation, check it out! The link is on my sidebar.

Ten Reasons To Grow A Four-Season Organic Garden

  1. Growing your own food reduces the distance your food travels from the farm to you (10 feet, say, versus 250-2,500 miles). That means you’re eliminating the petroleum products used in farming equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, packaging, storage, and transportation.
  2. By reducing the distance your food travels from the farm to you, you also reduce your overall carbon output, taking a bite out of your impact on climate change.
  3. In the winter when most farmer’s markets close up shop, you’ll still have fresh, tasty produce.
  4. When you grow your own food, you also know where your food is coming from (no weird salmonella strains in your tomatoes and spinach, for instance).
  5. Home grown food tastes many times better and has more vitamins and minerals than vegetables raised in a monocultural setting.
  6. You can choose to grow various heirloom crops that you just can’t buy in a grocery store.
  7. You can choose to grow crops that aren’t genetically modified.
  8. You can save seed and create different varieties that are best suited for your little backyard microclimate.
  9. Knowing how to grow your own food makes you much more adaptable to whatever economic or environmental hardship that comes your way in the future.
  10. And lastly, it’s fun, it tastes better, and gardening nourishes your soul.

So get out there and get growing. It's creative, it's good for the earth and it's good for you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Backyard Art In The Early Summer

Over this past Memorial holiday, I decided it was high time I set up my outdoor studio space. Just a small area where I can create some pastel works. I like to work outside when I create with pastels as the dust can be very messy.

  Using a small table and a beach umbrella, I now have a beautiful area to work in. The weather is great right now and the backyard is alive with a myriad of colorful blooming foliage. I used what I had on hand around the house so this area cost me zero $ to get up and running!  I LOVE it!

  Just look at all the color surrounding me.................... 


Morning Glory

Kalanchoe and Allysum

My birdfeeder, although, Skeezer, my little squirrel friend is the one who steals all the seed.

It is a very inspiring place to create art. I have just started working on this new pastel. I am almost finished getting it blocked in...........

16X20 on Ampersand Pastel Board

And another couple shots of my outside area.............

Above is how I store my soft pastels. Works perfect for me! Well thats it for now. Enjoy the photos and I will be back with more work soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Creating Happens.....New Studio Space

I am almost finished setting up my new studio space. It's a smaller area but until the big move to Texas, it will work just fine. I never realized just how much artistic supplies I had till I had to go through them!

  But before I show a pic of the new space, here are some new paintings in the works. The first one, is another one of my crows or ravens in progress. After having shipped my Raven Tryptich to Tennessee, I really missed it so I created another smaller similar piece. Yes.......I do miss my paintings when I sell them.

This is a 10X10 mixed media on canvas.

And here is a new painting just started this morning. I haven't painted koi in awhile so I thought it might be time for a new one. So far I am sketching in the rocks. Sometimes I will complete an entire sketch, fully detailed onto the canvas before adding color. Other times, I just take the paint to the canvas with NO preliminary sketch work at all. Depends on my mood and the subject I am trying to capture.

16X20 Intial Sketch in Progress

And now, a couple pics of my new space. I am not finished putting it all together but this is what I have done so far....................

We still have to put in carpeting and the walls have to remain white so we can put it up on the market, (I do love color though on my walls). You can see my Zafu and my Zabutan (meditation cushions)  on the floor in front of the alter where I do my meditation. The small Buddha on the table in the corner is a fountain. I love the sound of water!

And here is my drafting table. I purposely want it out and away from the wall so it doesn't leave any marks. It is pretty much in the center of the room. I use my small desk top easel on the drafting table. My very big studio easel is off to the left. As you can see, the window sill is missing. You can see it leaning against the wall in the corner behind my table. I;m still trying to get my son to install it.

It has a great view of my front yard and lots of light so that is a big plus, even though I did sacrifice a lot of space. Thats it for now, back to work for me!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Student Work

This is a beautiful, large painting that a student of mine is diligently working on. Cheryl has been creating great pieces of art in my studio for over a year now. This painting is her first large one measuring 24 1/2 X 30. In the past, she has worked on much smaller canvases......

Cheryl is a great student and a very talented one. On top of painting, she also plays the piano and writes children's musicals.

  I offer private, one-on-one lessons weekly. For more information, Contact me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Work

Finally finished!.....A TRUE mixed media painting. Acrylic, Oil, Graphite and Charcoal on canvas..........

"One Crow For Sorrow"
16X20 Mixed Media

Original and Giclees available