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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

Earth Week!!!
Sunday, April 28, 2013 | By gogalyboo

 

My attempt to reuse and recycle for the garden..

Mason bees are marvelous early season pollinators of fruit trees, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, as they are more active in the cooler temperatures of spring than the naturalized honeybees. Moreover, their hairy little bodies are able to carry more of the pollen needed for fertilization of blossoms. Masons are small, cute and docile bees that rarely sting. Every gardener should have at least one starter home to increase their harvest and help support our native bee species.

A very resourceful web page about the making of housing for the bees is:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=10743

I used a 4x4x5 ½ which was left over from a porch build.

And scrap pallet wood too short to use.

And 4 screws.

This is the template for holes to drill. It will give you 25 holes from a 3/8 drill bit.

  

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | By pamphyila

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | By pamphyila

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Bling and a Book
Thursday, February 28, 2013 | By pamphyila

I have said that I hate spending LOTS of money - but I DO like BARGAINS. And I hope I have found another one - a 4 carat blue topaz cubic zirconia ring in a stainless steel setting. Not silver, but the ring is the same color and hypoallergenic, so the metal suits me fine.  Now I looked it up and 4 carats is a pretty large stone - about the size of a small prune more or less, anyway, larger than a pea - so that is a pretty flashy cocktail ring. Got it at Beyond Retail for just over $20 with shipping.  Not bad, I think.  I mean, it's not GLASS.

My mother had a large blue topaz I think my sister got - but since cubic zirconia is practically a gem,  I am fine with this! And the silver color and the blue of the stone just fit my wardrobe.  Hmm, I have been invited out to a birthday party at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, all dressed up - and I think it would be just the time to debut the ring! Then if I am wearing a dress that I have gotten out of the closet - and I think I have one that I have only worn once - then it will still feel quite special. And that's a bargain, don't you think?

The point is to live LARGE and ENJOY things. I can do that even at my increasing old age and hope to continue to do so.  I have a lot of nice costumey jewelry, all gotten at good prices, so I could always get my investment back on them by taking them to market if I had to...

Reading a book by an author of my mother's generation, Margery Wilson, which I got out of the library after having stumbled upon another of her vintage advice books in Bart's in Ojai - for $.50! Apparently she was a silent movie ingenue with D.W. Griffith in the silent days and then transformed herself  into a 40's self-help guru and wrote at least 8 books on various aspects of charm, style, and living well as a woman. The one I stumbled upon in Bart's bargain shelf is YOU'RE AS YOUNG AS YOU ACT - which has a lot of pointers that still hold up. (She's big on posture and other aspects of physicality that she became acquainted with as an actress - very valid to this day.)

The book from the library is HOW TO LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS (I just loved the title and had to read it) and while it has to do with a sort of thrift, it emphasizes a positive, expansive and glorious kind of living.  She quotes from Emerson (?) - "There is hope in extravagance, there is none in routine." and then goes on to Aristippus - "Of extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods." Now, this was written in 1945, just at the end of World War II, so this has even more meaning, being in contrast to the scrimping on the homefront that had gone on.  "So fixed is my determination to get more than I pay for that my conniving to accomplish my goal is devious and fascinating, " she says. There is nothing wrong with that, she tells us. Live life to the hilt!

I cannot agree with her more. I have always had limited means, but I must say that I am very vain of the fact that I have maximized their value through alternate routes to getting what I wanted. The ring is a case in point.  For all that I will wear it, cubic zirconia is just fine, thank you very much. The diamond versions of it (and there are a few around the big stone) are just as good as real diamonds, the price of which is help up by the diamond cartel - and you have to be a scientist to tell the difference. Is anyone going to look that closely at my ring? And again, much better quality than the cocktail ring I got at H&M, which is handsome, but I think the gem is  PLASTIC - it's black, so it looks like onyx or something - but if you scratch it, it would show....(I glammed up the setting with some metallic nail polish to "age" the metal - most inexpensive things are too darned shiny.)

And it lifts my spirits - a little extravagance to make me feel less like Cinderella in Hollywood! Diehard cheap skates may not worry about keeping up appearances - but even aging actresses, DO.

 

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Boy Do I hate Spending $
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | By pamphyila

I wrote out a check for a  nice clean little used car yesterday - and boy, was it painful.  I know that paying cash for a car is the best way to go, and that we have the money, and that this is a car re-done by our local mechanic, with whom we have a good relationship - & had to be grabbed before it disappeared, and  everything checked out - price, condition and so on. (We looked it up online.) And we really trust this guy...but boy, I hate spending money!  I think I can go up to about $100 - in a pinch a bit more - without panic - but a couple of thousand? It's very hard.

I remember that in the book THE CHEAPSKATE NEXT DOOR the author talked about an aversion to spending money - plain and simple - We thrifty types just don't like to do it! I think that's why I can spend $40 in a thrift shop without too much guilt - but to spend the equivalent in NEW clothes would make me a nervous wreck. Hey, I am the type who buys $2 bathing suits in thrift shops - I have to admit - altho I know a lot of you would disapprove.  But it's clean and washed and so what's the big deal? Who wants to spend $40-50 or more on a bathing suit? I just wear it in the hot tub & it stretches out in no time. Luckily I like plain styles & as long as it fits....

The irony of all this is that I DO like to shop. Apparently most cheapskates just don't.  I confine myself to window shopping in malls when I mall walk - & gawk at the prices - Then I know what I want when I come upon good deal in thrift shops in upscale neighborhoods.  Yes, I am glad that SOMEONE paid full price presumably for that Michael Kors top - but I am happy to land it for $4. And in the end no one knows except my readers here and my good friends....

So I work out my shopping thing in browsing around thrift shops and dollar stores and other bargain outlets like Big Lots - and it's so much fun when I SCORE and land a big thing. You can tell from my other posts! But buying a car gives me the shivers! Wish me luck everybody... 

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More Thrift?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | By pamphyila

I spend a lot of time home on my computer - and I do my shopping on the weekends when I can get out to my bargain outlets. This last weekend I lucked out at a thrift shop I normally don't go  to - or don't usually find anything - and snagged 3 nightgowns (one with a fancy lacy top) and two tops (one Michael Kors) and a blue cotton sweater (very versatile) and a black wrap jersey dress (which was cut peculiarly but looks great on) and a pair of patent clogs - all for $4 or so each! (Plus a pair of nylon knit black pants for $1 on the bargain rack) - I calculated that I got   about $200 worth of clothes for about $35! 

Then I went to another thrift shop and found a pair of sunglass clips in very good condition for $.50 for my husband who is always losing his. They cost $15 new now - if you can find them! and I also got a bright green visor hat for $1 - 

Then we went to the library store and I bought four paperback mysteries for $.50 each and hubby found Harry Potter books for the kids at school. We spent $8 in total for a value of four at $6 each = $24 - plus the 3 Potter books which were marked at $25 each! So we got approximately $100 worth of books for our $8 - and when I am finished with mine, I will recycle them for book credit at a local used bookstore....

I picked up my 2nd set of 2 pairs of glasses that had been on sale at Sears for 2 for $99 - Basic frames, but they fit just right and for the 4 pair I ended up getting on sale I paid $180 instead of at a minimum $70 each (with my own frames) or $280 - so I saved about $100.

We were then in the neighborhood of a Big Lots where i had gotten skin care at a bargain a week ago - and I found retinol eye cream ($7) - night cream ($7) tone corrector (a bit pricey $12) and dry shampoo at $1 each can - and then a spray of the old fragrance White Shoulders for $8 - I calculated that I had gotten at least $83 worth of product for $27. (The wouldn't buy TWO of those items in the drug store.) I looked on the internet and even at a discount perfume site the White Shoulders was ten dollars more, and then there would be shipping.

You can get a good deal on old established brands of fragrance. I love Grey Flannel for my husband, and you can practically get that at the drugstore cheaply - and while I was checking prices at the discount fragrance site and seeing if they had any more Intimate by Jean Phillippe (I had gotten a bunch at the 99 Cent Store!) - I ordered that old standby 4711 - one of the original unisex colognes - with an extra 15% off - so I am getting a big bottle for about $27 with shipping. That is a great everyday fragrance, and mixes well with other fragrances as well! And you won't be wearing anything that anyone else is wearing - not to mention not spending the extra for the celebrity who is touting the fragrance - see the price differences even on a discount perfume site online! 

This isn't farming thrift - as you don't need fragrance to feed the chickens - but I do do it out of conviction because I am trying to live  my life as an impecunious actress - that is, without much $ - Still without a car, so I took a taxi to my callback (2nd audition) and then hitched the bus home because I was close to a direct line back home - that's the advantage of living in Hollywood close to where they do the casting.  I don't really like using public transport all the time, but it is good to know that I can, in a pinch - and I carry change around in a little change purse to use for the bus - or to put in the parking meter if I have a Zipcar.

Now we have a bit of money, so we are looking for a used car. Our mechanic has ones which he has fixed up for sale, so that's where we are starting. It's good because it sort of guarantees the quality of the car - But I have been coping with taxis and the Zipcar car sharing (There is a Zipcar site within walking distance of my apartment.) The trouble is that when I GET a job I would have to rent a car - or at least book a Zipcar for a day - all a terrible hassle when just getting to a location is a job unto itself! 

Getting close - and will be filming the end of the skin care infomercial for which I just received another month's worth of skin care - Wish me luck! 

 

 

 

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More than a Cheapskate
Thursday, February 21, 2013 | By pamphyila

Thinking about thrift again- & I got a pile of books out of the library. (There is another vintage one that I ordered from the main branch, which I wait for with anticipation...) The most interesting one is THE CHEAPSKATE NEXT DOOR by Jeff Yeager.  I agree with many of his tenets that is it is better to be frugal than go with the next styles -  but it is all a little rustic for me - along the lines of keeping your own hens, slaughtering your own meat and such. I live in Hollywood, for heaven's sake. Yes, I am now using Zipcar car sharing to go to auditions, as I wait for a second car - but as an actress and performer, no matter how down home I get, I need to keep up to date on some levels.  I have to keep up certain appearances that some of his cheapskates can avoid. Sure,. my life is pretty basic, and I do spend a lot of time in front of my computer in jeans and tee shirts or sweat shirts - but I have a chance to go to an industry cocktail mixer at the famed Skybar - & I have to have something to wear THERE, too. 

Luckily, I am prepared - with my orange corduroy ruffled neck jacket (originally from Chico's but I snagged it at a thrift shop) which makes a splash every time I wear it - Great jackets and jeans or pants can be worn almost everywhere, so I collect them.....Looking forward to it. It's hard to live so close to all the glitz and not indulge in it every once in a while! So we have the accessories, the shoes, the jewelry and so on....all acquired at way below market prices.

Last weekend I found a great light jacket - another one in ORANGE - at Goodwill - $5!! It was marked at a VERY large size (22) but I don't know how anyone that size would wear it, as it fits me at a 14!! (Thriftshop clothes are very often sized wrong, so watch out for that.) Another mis-sized item was a pair of NEW Mozo open-toed sandals, built for the ages out of solid leather - a size SMALLER than I usually wear - but they FIT anyway - and even at $9 they were a steal - They still had the tag on them and retail for $70-100 new. (I looked it up.) But they needed some breaking in - The toe area was stiff and a bit tight - so I have been applying alcohol to wet it and stretch it out and wearing them around the house. I used to use shoe stretch, but then I found out that cheap cologne (90% alcohol) or plain rubbing alcohol will do. These sandals will be  perfect go-tos for the Spring and Summer.  I know, I am not supposed to age myself with sensible shoes - but one does have to mind one's feet, and I CAN'T wear more than kitten heels these days.

I agree with the Cheapskate that change is not always progress, but life around you is morphing anyway - I suppose I am a bit of a Luddite - and I found signing in to the audition today on a touchscreen device a bit of a pain - But I have to know how to do it & how to put a credit card into the parking meter. Ugh. And it's all in a day's work. Woody Allen was right, sometimes in life what matters is just showing up and in the process dealing with the Zipcar and its card - and the parking meter which won't take change - and the touchscreen sign in -   and then some loose cords and a computer crisis at home. (Luckily I got back online, as I couldn't remember how to sign in on the secondary laptop!) Is that progress? But I have to have a cell phone and do submissions online and sign in the way they want me to, whether I like it or not!  So, I just stay a step behind everybody where the technology is cheaper for being ever so slightly dated! It's a compromise the real cheapskates would have a hard time with - so I am just thrifty, I guess!

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Thrift Burnout?
Friday, February 15, 2013 | By pamphyila

Ok, I am not a financial saint. I try to deal reasonably with my resources and makes things out of nothing - but mid-winter has set in & I am going to admit to all of you that I have spent too much time surfing on the One Kings Lane collectibles/antiques/vintage site looking at all the old and luxury goodies. There is a suppressed longing for elegance that I have been feeling lately - & I am taking it out by looking at a lot of pix of stuff on the net.....

Although I had found a bargain high-class Valentine's Day card for hubby and since I wasn't going out to get flowers, cut him some au naturel poinsettias from a bush outside (they are RED). I am going to take advantage of my outdoor flowers more.  We usually have lots roses, mostly white - and I feel bad about picking them - but them more one does the more the bushes flower....

What I really have to do is - ugh - some spring cleaning - even though it's still mid-winter and get rid of the clutter that has accumulated. I didn't mind getting a slight case of the flu - it's this malaise AFTERWARDS that's a bummer! 

So that's the news from the front. Keep the faith!

 

 

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Jade Plants
Sunday, February 10, 2013 | By gogalyboo

on a local free cycle I answered this ad "Back quite awhile ago someone was asking for plant cuttings. I took a cutting off my Jade and it is in dirt. But she never showed. Anyone want a Jade plant? This particular Jade is both lucky and I swear a predictor of how things are going. Cuttings from the original Jade and their offspring started in 1940. Jade plant thrives, so do marriages. Jade dies, marriage does too. Given to business friends and they have thrived in business. Now it is just fun to share. My jade has bloomed every year."

I received the plant and very anxious to start it in its new home!

  

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free borax coupons
Thursday, February 07, 2013 | By gogalyboo

Spring cleaning season is upon us. And if you procrastinate like me, the house could do with a good scrubbing. Oh the blah’s of  winter.

Time to break out the cleaners and the Swiffer wet jet. Those conventional cleaners contain dangerous chemicals—not exactly the stuff you want hanging around the space you use to eat on.

Homemade cleaning recipies.

Its been in my life and household since I was born. 

The ones your grandparents and there before them used to make with natural ingredients can get the job done just as well, if not better. All you need are a few common ingredients. You probably even already have them in your pantry.

Borax has many uses in your home and if kept in a dry location, borax’s shelf life is virtually unlimited.

 

Borax is a cheap magic additive. First it makes the detergent more effective. The clothes will be cleaner and dust mites cannot live in it! Children and Adults would eliminate dust mite allergies. But the other great attribute is that it kills mold. There are two problems however utilizing Borax in Front Loaders. In the wash cycle Borax provides a great boost to the cleaning, kills mold and dust mites and other parasites. {It is about the gentle alkaline of the Borax. These bad actors just can’t survive in Borax.}

But Borax should also be added to the last rinse. Borax permeates the fabric and makes the fabric smells fresh smell, but the borax particles remaining are actually good for the skin, eliminating body odors, killing mold, parasites, and fungus and dust mites as your body contacts them. But here is the big problem. To maximize the wash Borax needs to be part of the detergent. To provide an even more protective barrier it needs to be added to the last rinse so it remains in the dry fabric after the wash.

Borax is so cheap and does so much! Why wash machine designers do not provide options to inject Borax at multiple times is something that has always perplexed me. For front loader machines Borax is an absolute “must”. It prevents all mold and mildew around the door seal and does so automatically. Instead of Chlorine –which destroys the rubber seal – Borax added to the wash and rinse would keep the frontload machine fresh and clean forever with no fuss or muss.

 

  1. Remove stains from stainless steel or porcelain sinks with this recipe: Make a paste with 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Using a sponge or cloth, rub the stain with the paste. Rinse with warm water.
  2. China (including hand painted): :Soak china in a dishpan filled with warm water and ½ cup borax; rinse well.
  3. Clean and deodorize a refrigerator. Mix one tablespoon 20 Mule Team Borax in one quart warm water. Wash spilled food with a sponge and soft cloth. Rinse with cold water.
  4. Dishwasher: If the machine is smelly, sprinkle borax in the bottom, let it sit overnight, then wipe down with a damp sponge. No need to rinse; just run the next load. 
  5. Pots and pans: Rub borax into cookware with a damp sponge; rinse well. 
  6. Urine Odor on mattress: Handy for accidents while toilet trainingdampen the area, sprinkle and rub in Borax, let dry and vacuum.
  7. Bed bugs: Get rid of them by sprinkling borax on your mattress. Let it sit and vacuum it up.
  8. Flea Killer:Sprinkle Borax on carpet, let stand overnight and vacuum well. Discard bag or empty vacuum outside.
  9. Garbage Disposerclean and sanitize:(dump 1/4 cup Borax into disposer, splash in just a little water and let stand for an hour or so, rinse with hot water)
  10. Unclog drains:with 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then run your water for a few minutes to flush it out. 
  11. Toilet rust: Pour borax in the bowl and let it sit overnight. Swish the bowl a few times with a toilet brush and flush the next day.
  12. Garbage pails: Keep clean and odor-free. Cleaning the entire pain inside and out with a cup of Borax per gallon of hot h2o. Utilize the hottest water you could stand. Rinse with cold h2o and let dry. Once the pail is dry, sprinkle a small amount of Borax on the bottom of the garbage pail prior to placing in a brand new rubbish bag. This will keep the bugs away and absorb any odor causing moisture. 
  13. Linens:Remove mildew and mustiness from by soak them in 2 cups of borax mixed with 2 quarts of water. Let the linens sit for a few hours, then rinse them clean.
  14. Ants mix: equal amounts of Borax and powdered sugar, place near ant problem area – keep away from pets and children.
  15. Laundry: Add 1/2 cup Borax to wash load for brighter, cleaner, deodorized clothesIt’s also “quite alkaline, so it kills mold and fungus and softens water.
  16. Wash diapers and baby clothes. Flush out dirty diapers and soak as soon as possible in a diaper pail filled with warm water and one-half cup 20 Mule Team Borax. Pre-soak for at least thirty minutes before washing in warm water, adding one-half cup borax with the recommended amount of detergent. Wash linens, bibs, slips, and cotton crib liners in hot water, adding one-half cup 20 Mule Team Borax and detergent. Borax helps get rid of odors, reduce staining, and make diapers more absorbent.
  17. Wash delicate hand washables. Dissolve one-quarter cup 20 Mule Team Borax and two tablespoons detergent in a basin of warm water. Soak hand washables for ten minutes, rinse in clear, cool water, blot with a towel, lay flat (woolens) or hang to dry (away from sunlight and direct heat).
  18. Carpet Powder Deodorizer:sprinkle Borax on carpet, let stand overnight and vacuum.
  19. Carpet Stains:Mix Borax with water to make paste, rub into stain, let dry and vacuum.
  20. Floor Cleaner: 1/3 cup Borax, 1 gallon warm water, squirt of dish washing detergent, splash of ammonia
  21. Window Cleaner:2/3 cup Borax, 1 gallon warm water
  22. Car Wash Cleaner:1/8 cup mixed with about 1.5 gallons of water.
  23. Clean hairbrushes and combs: Mix a quarter cup 20 Mule Team Borax and a tablespoon of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a basin of warm water. Soak hairbrushes and combs in the solution, rinse clean, and dry.
  24. Clean a metal coffee pot: Fill the percolator with water and add one teaspoon 20 Mule Team Borax and one teaspoon detergent powder. Boil the water, let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then rinse clean.
  25. Clean chocolate from clothing: Sponge the spot with a solution of one tablespoon 20 Mule Team Borax and one cup warm water. Flush with water. If that doesn't work, make a paste with borax and water, work into the stain, let set for one hour, flush well with warm water, and launder as usual.
  26. Weed Preventer:from growing in pavement cracks. Sprinkle Borax in cracks (I reuse an empty ketchup bottle to sprinkle it in).
  27. Tile and Grout Cleaner:Sprinkle Borax with just enough water to paste, scrub with brush.
  28. Baseboards, countertops, and walls: Dissolve ½ cup borax in 1 gallon hot water and pour the solution into a spray bottle (which you can store for later use). Spritz generously, wipe down with a damp cloth, and let air-dry.
  29. Clean outdoor furniture:by washing it with this mildew zapping solution: In a spray bottle, mix 1 teaspoon dish detergent, 1 teaspoon borax and 1 quart warm water.
  30. Keep the water in a humidifier free from odor. Dissolve one tablespoon 20 Mule Team Borax per gallon of water before adding to the unit. Use this treatment once or twice a year.
  31. Preserve flowers:
  •  Mix one part 20 Mule Team Borax and two parts corn meal.
  •  Fill the bottom one-inch of an empty airtight canister with the mixture.
  • Place the flower on the mixture, then gently cover the flower with more mixture, being careful not to crush the flower or distort the petals.
  • Flowers with a lot of overlapping petals, such as roses and carnations, are best treated by sprinkling mixture directly into the blossom before placing them into the box.
  •  Seal the canister and store at room temperature in a dry place for seven to ten days.
  • When the flowers are dried, pour off the mixture and dust the flowers with a soft artist's brush.

 

Borax removes the moisture from blossoms and leaves, preventing the wilting which would normally result.

 

 

 

For Fun:

A.    Snow flakes:

1.       Cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.

2.       Twist together at centers to form 3 spokes (trim if necessary).

3.       Attach a string to the end of one spoke, tying the other end to the middle of a pencil.
Fill a jar (wide enough to fit your snowflake) with boiling water.

4.       Add Borax one Tablespoon at a time to the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add up to 3 T. Borax per 1 C. Water.

5.       The solution can be tinted with food coloring if desired.

6.       Hang pipe cleaner snowflake in the solution with pencil resting on the jar. 

7.       Make sure your snowflake is completely covered and not touching the bottom or sides of the jar.
Allow to sit undisturbed over night.

8.       In the morning you’ll have a lovely crystal snowflake for your tree or window.

 

B.    Bouncing Polymer Ball:

 

1.       Start with 2 cups, one labeled “Borax” and one labeled “Ball.”

2.       In “Borax” Cup pour 2 Tablespoons warm water and ½ teaspoon Borax powder.

3.       Stir until Borax is dissolved. Add food coloring if you choose.

4.       In the “Ball” Cup, pour 1 Tablespoon of glue. 

5.       Add ½ teaspoon of the Borax solution from the “Borax” cup and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch.DO NOT STIR. Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds then stir until they’re fully mixed.

6.       When it’s impossible to stir, remove it from the jar and knead it in your hands.  It will be sticky at first but as you work it it will become less sticky.

7.       Give it a bounce!  Store your ball in an airtight container or ziploc bag when not in use.

8.       Wash up your area, your equipment and yourself to avoid dried on glue and such. 

C.    Goop: Which is a cheap alternative to Play-Doh.

1.    Mix together a half cup of water with a half cup of glue.

2.    Add a few drops of food coloring to the glue mixture.

3.    In a smaller bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of borax with another half cup of water.

4.    Mix the borax and water in with the glue mixture. It should get thick pretty fast.

5.    Dump the mixture out on a cookie sheet covered with foil, and knead the mix just like you would bread dough.

6.    Stretch and play with your flubber or use cookie cutters to create fun shapes.

7.    Goop only has one drawback: it can stain surfaces and clothes.

8.    I like to put it in gallon ziplock bags with a little extra water.

9.    Put some crazy glue on the seam of the bag and zip it shut.

10.  Give the glue a few minutes to dry.

11.  Once it’s dry, you have a play mat for your kids to trace, draw, or write on.

 

      Store in air tight container

.

It’s a great alternative to the Play-Doh version of Goop, and it won’t make a mess!

Of course, you can always skip the ziplock alternative,and just play with it like the original recipe calls for.

 

Just remember to cover your play area with plastic (plastic tablecloths are great for this!) so you don’t end up with stained furniture!


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