{charmed earth}

The Lifestyle blog of Katie Storms.: something simple, something sweet, something styled.

25 April 2010

Something Clean and Wonderful

My stove is filthy. Just filthy. There is no other word to describe it. And after about four weeks of avoiding it, I had to tackle it today. At this moment, I can proudly say the stove is sparkling clean, and it smells wonderful.

I finally got around to mixing up a bottle of "All-Purpose Household Cleaner" by the name of "Alice's Wonder Spray" from a book I borrowed from my friend Mary months ago. I was waiting on the Borax.

Now. The reason behind the book, Clean House, Clean Planet, is to take out the hazardous toxins and fumes from regular household cleaners. There's also another perk--this household cleaner is also a billion-percent better for your pocket book, a billion-percent better for mother earth, and a billion-percent better for your nose.

I've also been using flannel scraps, which I sewed together a few weeks ago, to wipe away the messes of my house--they keep me from using the kitchen towels for cleaning. The scraps were from a pillowcase I made for my Goddaughter. Oh. And I found the basket for ten-cents at the Rummage Sale on Saturday.

Part of the reason I waited so long was the need for a trigger spray-bottle. Reusing one wasn't wise, because I can't really get rid of all the bleach or whatever was in the pervious bottle. So buying one used proposed the same problems. And I searched for months for a glass one--I don't think they exist. Then I found one, in my basement, with the cleaning supplies; it had never been used. The plastic was still wrapped around it. Go figure. Lucky me.

I know. I know. You want to know how to make this wonderful "Alice's Wonder Spray." I don't mind sharing since the lady who wrote the book is not easy to reach--I tried calling all the numbers in her book and searching for her online without any luck.

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients: a clean 16-oz. trigger spray-bottle, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar (use Heinz), 1 teaspoon of Borax, hot purified water (I used tap), 1/4 cup of liquid soap or 1/8 cup of liquid detergent (like Dr. Bronner's, which I used, the peppermint smelling one), and an essential oil for extra fragrance (I used one I bought at the Soulard Farmer's Market one year--Clean House, Clean Planet suggests a lemon and lavender combination).

How to Make: Mix the vinegar and the borax (I use a funnel to get it all in). Mix it well. Then fill the bottle with the very HOT water. Mix again. Then add the liquid soap or liquid detergent. Then add the essential oils. Then spray and clean. Be sure to follow the order here when mixing ingredients. If you don't, the author suggests your bottle will clog and stuff. Just follow the order.

Note: If you want to use it to prevent mold and mildew, add 1 tablespoon of Borax.

What to Clean: your filthy stove top, hood, and oven. The handles on your fridge that are smothered with fingerprints. The faucet in your bathroom that is covered with water spots. The bathroom sink, toilet, and tub. The kitchen counters. Tiles, walls, and to deodorize the inside of your trash cans.

A word of Caution from Clean House, Clean Planet: "Borax is an eye irritant and can be harmful if swallowed. Keep this product out of reach of children. Do not use if you have open cuts on your hands and skin.

Happy Cleaning!

22 April 2010

Something New York

I know today is Earth Day. Yesterday, I celebrated by buying my summertime organic herbs at our local farmers market three minutes from my house. My favorite--chocolate mint. She's beautiful. She smells like frosting on a Magnolia Bakery cupcake fresh out of the oven. I need to discover what I can mix her with--besides with a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Ok. Deep breath here. I must write about my herbs more later this week.

I have a confession: I bought somethings. Yes. Somethings.

My friend Julie will back me up on one being a dear necessity. You see, I went to visit her in New York. Yes. New York. The shopping capital of the world. The first two days I was strong. I didn't buy the cute knitted cap, by cute, I mean the one with wolf ears or the one that looked like a lady bug. I didn't buy the Wonder Woman stationary. I didn't buy a timo! wallet (though I still really want one). I didn't buy the owl coin purse that was hot pink. And I didn't buy the blue umbrella decorated with cherries for $19. I didn't buy any of it. I didn't buy the black linen vest. I didn't buy the grey-green tank with the ruffled neck. I didn't buy a David Letterman Late Show coffee mug. I didn't even touch the incredibly real Coach purse knock-offs. I didn't buy the cupcake cookbook. I didn't buy an apron at the cupcake shop in Tribecca. I didn't buy the tote bag at the Hello Kitty store--and do you even know how long it's been since I've seen and been able to shop at the Hello Kitty store? There is no way I'd pass that place up without a pencil before this challenge. I didn't buy earrings. I didn't buy a pair of ballet flats at the Payless across the way. And I didn't even buy a single Pashmina scarf (I bought 15 of those in Italy--yes--15. True, many were gifts, but I did keep six for myself). Oh. And I didn't buy the beautiful photographs and prints of New York's central park.

Ok. Now that that's out. I have to confess. I bought two pairs of leggings at Uniqlo (the only place I've ever seen Uniqlo is New York). And I bought a jacket on mega sale at Anthropologie. Now. Julie will back me up on this--and Julie's a true inspiration for this project. I don't know of that girl ever buying anything she didn't need. I admire that about her.

So here's the deal. I packed almost perfect this time. I didn't even need to run to the Duane Reade down the block for a hair tie, toothbrush, or razor. I packed almost perfect: I even fit my bag of a purse into my small carry-on item, thus only having my true two carry-on items. But I left the seventy-degree-it's-almost-summer-I'm wearing-shorts-in-April-weather of St. Louis to a cooled down New York. And by day three my cardigan just wasn't cutting it. And did you know that the rumor about David Letterman keeping his studio at 50 degrees is true. I needed the jacket.

I didn't need the leggings. But they are darn cute.

Dear Mother Earth, please forgive me.

11 April 2010

Something Red

I'm thinking of going on a total shopping hiatus for a few weeks. There are a few bloggers out there like me that buy used and not new. But then there are some that just don't buy for a three-month-period. I haven't found anyone like me, yet. And I don't know how long I'm going to be able to last here.

One of my favorite blogs is Heart of Light. She buys flowers every Friday. And another favorite blog of mine is Jane's Apron. She always finds the best thrifts.

This week, I ran into Trader Joe's for tuna and chickpeas (I'm making a tuna, chickpea, and fresh spinach salad for lunch this week). And then I spotted the beautiful ranunculus. It took me forever to choose the red.

And then I spent a few hours at new thrift stores. This vase caught my eye. For eighty-cents, I consider it a steal. I also picked up a vintage Tupperware jello mold in pistachio green for eighty-cents. I'd call it a good day for both me and Mother Earth.

05 April 2010

Something Messy: Cloth Napkins

Johnny Depp is my exception; I have a dear crush on him. It is no surprise that I agreed to see Alice in Wonderland after it just came out at the Moolah. In case you're wondering, I can buy movie tickets: there is no waste created from buying a movie ticket, that I can tell. I bring my own water and grapes.

My close friends all know how much I love Alice. They all also know how much I enjoyed wearing my Alice in Wonderland Halloween costume more than once last October--And that whole costume was pretty much found in my house or thrifted (with the exception of the blonde wig). And my charming husband made a great White Rabbit. I wish we'd found time to dress our bulldog up like the Cheshire Cat. Maybe next year.

So it's not an overstatement to say that it's a dream come true that the talented Johnny Depp joined forces to star in my favorite classic tale. It's kind of like when I saw these cloth napkins at the Big Ass Indie Craft show in November. I just had to get them. And they are so charming. The queen is pictured, but there are six in all: the Mad Hatter, Alice, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Blue Caterpillar.

They are a treat to use whether it's celebrating for New Year's, sharing when it's my turn for treats at a work faculty meeting, or just for taco night. I am proud to say I never buy paper napkins. So these babies were, in my opinion, worth the investment. And I know Mother Earth is happy every day I reuse them.