simple non-toxic floor cleaner

Cleaning is not my favorite thing in the world. Really it’s something that I’ve fought for a long time. Stupid adult responsibility. While we’ve all got different standards of cleanliness, we all have to do it. I mean eventually you have to do laundry. Eventually you have to sweep. Eventually you have to clean dishes. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve to making cleaning “fun”. I’m motivated by activities that involve multiples senses. I like to turn on an audiobook, light a good smelling candle, have a snack in a bowl that I can grab every time I complete something, or try to get my space as bright as possible. Doing at least one of those things helps motivate me to clean.

Recently though I’ve gotten more interested in cleaning techniques, products and tricks. Often I look up new ways to clean whatever it is, which makes the whole process more enjoyable. Mopping for example. I’ve always used some chemically floor cleaner. About 3 times a year, I dump some blue super chemically smelling stuff in a bucket and mop up the floor.

I decided to try something new with the whole floor cleaning business. I found a non-toxic formula that had great feedback online and gave it a go.

IMG_8888Mix one gallon of hot water with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbs baking soda and a few drops of your favorite dish soap.

It’s that simple. You can use it on your kitchen floor and it’s great for your wood floors. After a good sweep and dust mop, I was actually excited to clean. The moment I started mopping I could tell the difference. First off it smelled amazing and fresh. Secondly, it actually got marks off the floor much more easily than my chemically store bought stuff.

Here are some “after” photos…well more like “during” photos. I had recently finished mopping and while the floors are still shiny-wet in these photos, I’m amazed at how they’ve retained a nice reflection in them after drying.

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IMG_8896 IMG_8897But I don’t know why I felt it necessary to mop the floor this particular day. Especially since we’re in a muddy after-snow transition, and without any type of entryway for said muddy stuff the floors quickly got some nice spots on them. But hey you can’t stop living. IMG_8887Maybe I’ll tell you about my laundry tricks someday. It’s seriously a little wacky. I just like trying new things to keep it interesting, which makes my laundry methods a bit intense.

And here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure. Gideon, on nicely laundered bedding. IMG_8919

Empathy wins again.

Well, it happened again. For some reason stranded/wounded animals are drawn to me like a magnet. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Long story short, this poor gosling was found severally wounded. It’s leg (which you can see there) is almost assuredly broken. It was bloody and unable to walk. IMG_3775 IMG_3777This baby’s family was desperate to keep it safe. The flock (a handful of adults and several babies) would cross the street to a nearby pond and when they realized that this one couldn’t follow, they would stand in the middle of the road honking…practically yelling at it to come with them. The whole flock would then turn around and head back to the injured bird. They were fiercely protective. Well we all know how this story would have ended. The bird would have either starved, drowned or been eaten. That and the flock was in high risk of more injuries crossing the road so many times. Another concerned animal-lover helped fend off the geese, while I gently tossed a towel over this baby and placed her in my car. Then over to the Audubon Society in NW Portland we went. While they cannot guarantee that they will release him/her back to it’s original location, their goal is always rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. They get hundreds of injured goslings a year. They group similar aged geese together, and over time they bond and create their own flock. Then they are released back into the wild with their new posse. Sounds a whole heck of a lot better then a slow painful death.

What is it with my intense empathy for animals? A couple months ago, Portland had this bizarre heat wave. Two very large and very hot looking dogs were spotted wandered around my church, where I work. A man told me they were following him around and narrowly escaped death-by-car a couple of times. My first reaction was, “Oh I’m sure they live right around here.” In my head, “Those are some huge and scary looking dogs.” The guy insisted they were really nice but didn’t want them to keep following him into the busy street. He also pointed out that the one very big and very furry black dog was struggling in the heat. Well there we had it. I was suddenly hooked and immensely worried for these pups.

So I gave them some water and called the local shelter. There are so many strays on the streets that shelters can’t pick them up unless they are aggressive (a danger to others). They just don’t have the resources. In the meantime the pups had begun wandering back into the busy street. So what do I do? I opened up the back door of my Ford Escort sedan and hollered, “Come on guys! Up! Come on! Get in!” And up/in they went. They were so huge that my car visibly sagged when they jumped in.  IMG_2774 IMG_2773So here I am suddenly with two hot, slobbery, huge dogs in my car, heading towards a dog shelter. I was so worried about dropping them off. I’ve heard horror stories about animals being mistreated in places like that. But the moment I got there, they assured me the boys would be kept as close to each other as possible (as it was obvious they were “siblings” at this point), and that if someone out there loved these dogs, they would check the local shelters and they would be going home.

The next day I got a call from the animal shelter, letting me know the owner had picked up her boys and wanted to speak with me. She was overjoyed! Her dogs had never left their backyard until that day. Huckleberry and Shadow just decided that it was the day they were going to dig out of the backyard and as it turns out, travel 20 blocks away from home. I was so thankful their momma found them. I can’t imagine losing Gideon. The shelter posted a description of the dogs on their website the same day, which the owners happened to see when looking for the shelter info online. So they knew they babies were ok!

I felt that God had opened up an opportunity for me to care for those pups and in turn to help out their owners. I went with my gut (AKA God saying, “Just throw them in your car!’) and it worked out. I’m so blessed to helped their little family. I know they were thankful too. Look what she dropped off at my work a few weeks later.

IMG_3138:)

IKEA hell.

I had a crazy dream last night. For those of you who have already read this on Facebook, I won’t be offended if you skip ahead, but I added some more detail here you might enjoy. In the dream, I was trapped in IKEA, for years. Of course that doesn’t seem unreasonable to anyone who has actually been to IKEA. I was wandering the center aisle. Walking and shopping, walking and shopping. I suddenly realized, “Whoa, I’ve been here a long time, the real world is out there!” This was all eerily similar to The Matrix. Like magic, I knew that there were cameras everywhere and it was some crazy-secret social experiment. I started trying to walk to the exit faster and faster. The rooms never ended! I tried taking shortcuts and soon chaos ensued.

It became obvious the employees would fight you if you tried to escape. After lots of flinging pans and pillows at people wearing yellow and blue shirts, I escaped into an empty white hallway where a rogue employee shouted, “Haley!! Here!!” She pointed me towards an elevator and she hit the elevator button twice. I rode it upwards for a long time. When the doors opened I was outside looking down onto a huge metal platform. I jumped out. When I looked back I saw I had jumped from a huge submarine. I watched the whole submarine dive back into the water, though it was obvious it was contained in the huge metal structure I was standing on. Anyway I guess I was “safe” because a great sense of relief came over me..

Phew! I wish I could say it meant anything to me…but I honestly I can’t think of what that would be. I like IKEA. This is the second dream I’ve had in the past month where I am escaping some “bad” entity. I try to escape, a fight of sorts ensues and there is always someone helping me along. Weird.

Anyway, for something NOT IKEA related.

I snagged this cool embroidered picture for $6. It seems pretty obvious that this is something you might still be able to find in a store, like Target (or IKEA?? Gasp!) But I thought it looked unique enough to bring home. 009 010 012 013Any interpretations of my dream? Or perhaps a recent and amazing thrift store purchase?

/Cra’ft-i-tis’/

“{Craftitis; Definition: A temporary (hopefully) mental dysfunction marked by hysteria and emotional sensitivity – specifically caused by sewing and/or crafting more than 10 hours in a day, for several days. }  ;  Symptoms include but are not limited to: Unkept appearance, misplacement of items – such as Brita water filter being placed in the pantry, Murmurings about zippers, interfacing and seam-ripping, hastily thrown supplies on every available surface, hot-glue burns on fingers and wearing pajamas all day. ;  Exacerbating factors: 1. Sewing for more than 5 straight hours. 2. Over-consumption of coffee, 3. Not cleaning up after oneself. ; Prognosis and treatment: Patient will be fine once removed from the house. A nap and Thai food will speed recovery. With each occurrence, Craftitis develops more quickly and patients are especially susceptible during the holiday months.”

Halloween, Haley Style (aka, creepy and weird)

Is it just me or did October’s end come without warning? I mean really…it’s Halloween. What? How the hay-bales did that happen?

Today I finally dug out my “Halloween” box. It’s not too hard to spot.

It consists of: 1 large pot and spoon, about a pots worth of arms, legs and torso, 1 glass jar, about a jars worth of heads, 3 crows – complete with nail polished bloody beaks and eyes, a few battery operated candles…for ambiance, and 1 creepy old birdcage. I thought about titling this post, “DIY look like a total creep and put baby heads in a jar”.

Step one: Go to a thrift store and buy a bunch of dolls. When the cashier says, “oh cute, what are you going to do with those?” Answer: “Tear them apart to cook/jar them…you know, canning is back in these days” Then laugh, expect a laugh in return…get a scowl.

Step two: Do everything outside so your neighbors and passers-by can see. Tear the dolls apart, cut off their hair, roll them in mud and toss them in a container.

Step three: Then spend a weird amount of time looking at what you’ve done, laughing about how funny it is.

Step four: Then spend even more time taking pictures of what you’ve done. Make sure passers-by get a good glimpse at you taking close-ups of fake bloody crows.

Step five: Bring out the same weird decorations, year after year.

Done.

Giveaway, baby.

Five things you probably didn’t know about me, that I don’t advertise openly:

1. I love watching videos of dance crews. I do. I love it. Every once in a while I’ll go on a dance crew craze and spend a couple of hours you-tubing them. At the present moment I’m fascinated by Keone and Mari Madrid. Less dance “crew” and more dance “duo”. This couple choreograph stunning dances. I’m in awe. Here’s a great example of their hip-hop choreography. And here’s a great video of totally different style of choreography. In it you see them team up with a singer to create a live performance to one of her songs. If you want to skip the intro, jump to 7:30. For some reason, watching that dance always makes me teary-eyed. Watch it.

2. Once a week at least, usually as I’m driving somewhere, I think about a close friend, family member or myself passing away and just cry. Some how I let myself wander into a deep painful place. Imagining, in rich detail, life without someone. All the circumstances that follow. The long dark days and the things that would remind me of their presence. It usually takes me a few minute to snap out of it because it all feels so real. One time, I had to pull over, having to remind myself that I hadn’t actually lost Matt. He happened to call a moment later and I felt relief at the sound of his voice.

3. When my dog gets sick, which he has been quite a bit recently because of some food issues, I sit next to him and pet his back. I tell him it’s all okay and ask how he’s feeling. I’ll offer him fresh water and a few bits of bread. In fact, he’s learned now to come get me. He’ll actually find me wherever I am, nudge me with his nose and then walk out to our hallway, before he gets sick. Poor puppers. I’ll admit, Gideon has been the subject of my episodes from #2. Sigh. Did I just tell you that?

4. I play video games. Well, computer games. Really. Don’t make fun of me. My favorite are “point and click adventure” games. The best are the semi-creepy or murder mystery ones. Like where I get to play Sherlock Holmes and track down Moriarty. Ha! Here is a classic semi-creepy point and click game, that encompasses all I love about these things.

5. I “read” like a mad woman. Why the quotes? Well, cause I go to my library’s online catalog and order a mystery (75% of the time) in both book and audio-book. I listen to the audio book while I’m driving, cleaning, etc. Then before I go to bed, I grab the actual book, find my spot and read for a while. Is that cheating? I “read” at least 2 books a week this way. Right now I’m on “I” is for Innocent by Sue Grafton. Starting in the 80’s she wrote detective mysteries A thru Z. They are classic detective stories without all the blood and gore of some more modern thrillers.

Okay. That’s that. Now for the giveaway. Yesterday was my 200th post. I think that is cause to celebrate. If you win, you can choose any one pair of earrings from my shop. Here’s what is currently there:

There are even more pictures of each earring on Etsy, so check them out! Here’s how to enter: Leave a comment. Yup. That’s it. Say anything. I’d be most interested in hearing if you related to any of the things I wrote above, but that’s not a requirement. The Giveaway will be open until this Friday, October 26th at 5pm pst. Eeekk! Tell your friends!