Hello friends! It’s finally sunny and dry here in Iowa, which has been in a bit of a cold and wet weather system for a while now. Hopefully it will stay sunny so my plants and grass can dry out!
Today I am bringing you a homemade recipe for natural insect repellent, which is just as necessary as sunscreen during the warmer months! I often joke the mosquito should be the state bird of Iowa! But in all seriousness, the diseases that mosquitoes and ticks carry make me cringe at just the thought, especially with a very curious 1 year old that will not accept being indoors when the weather is nice. In addition, traditional bug spray often has harsh chemicals that I would prefer to keep off of my child and pets.
So, after a bit of research and some testing (because it has to actually work!) I found a bug spray recipe that I really like. Bonus is this recipe is super budget friendly and I already had everything on hand except for the $1 spray bottle.
I have been using this recipe for about a month now, and I regularly spray the covered porch area where my child plays (deck furniture/pillows/etc) prior to her being out there and so far I have not had any issues with pests. When the whole family is outside, I apply to myself and the dog, and usually just give a spritz to my child’s clothing and that seems to work well. Since it’s all natural I don’t mind if it was on her skin, but she normally has sunscreen on and I would prefer not to have a greasy mix of the two!
Well, nap time is almost over and that means it’s time to get ready to head back outside. Thanks for stopping by the blog today and feel free to pin this recipe for future use! Hopefully you can enjoy the sunshine wherever you are located!
Sometimes there are home improvement projects that linger, for years. This would be one of those projects. Our kitchen was 95% finished for the last two years, all but for some 6 or 8 back splash tiles and decor. Well, since this winter is approximately 15 months long, we had time to finally get a few things done around here and this project was one of them!
A little background info:
the home we currently live in was designed on a piece of notebook paper by my husband. We eventually had to have an architect develop the house plans off of our drawing (because let’s face it, we know nothing about truss systems for roof structures) but the floor plan stayed the same. Now we had previously built additions to homes, and remodeled existing structures, but building the entire home from scratch was a new endeavor. Oh, and did I mention we had never designed a kitchen… (yikes!).
So off we went with our notebook paper drawing to meet a local cabinet maker and have him help us come up with something. He told us what worked logistically for wiring and plumbing, and showed us some basic layouts he had in production. I knew I wanted something different and unique and by the time we left our first meeting I am pretty certain he thought I was nuts.
Fast forward to that next summer, and we were laying tile and painting the walls in preparation for the cabinet maker to bring and assemble the cabinets. I don’t have many pictures from this point in time (maybe because we were literally building our home during the night and working during the day), but this photo below shows you the basic outline of our cabinet system (excuse the contractor lighting and pizza box).
The next step was to add counter tops and appliances, which then made this kitchen functional. We were on a time crunch, so finishing touches and decorating took the back burner. We just needed our kitchen to pass the final building inspection and we could worry about the rest later.
Originally, I was interested in concrete counter tops but my husband talked me out of it. We cook A LOT at our house, and he was afraid that we needed a stronger material that could take a beating without showing any signs of wear. I am happy to report that after three years of constant use, these quartz counter tops have held up perfectly and have zero imperfections.
We did add a stainless steel back splash behind the stove area pretty early on, and then gradually finished the rest of that wall with subway tile, as you can see pictured below.
One of the first comments people usually make when they see our kitchen for the first time is that our cabinets look ‘beat up’. Well, I think this is where our custom cabinet maker thought I was nuts, but I wasn’t going to budge on the distressed look. The material is knotty alder, and we chose all of the wood that had the greatest amount of natural knots and ‘imperfections’. Then, combined with black glaze and iron knobs and pulls, this kitchen has the appearance that the cabinets are older or re-purposed, when in fact they are brand new. I know this is a unique look, and it’s not for everyone, but it really came together in the end and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Ok, fast forward a couple of years to present time, and the last of the subway tile was installed over the kitchen sink. During the notebook paper design phase, I had pictured a window for this space but it was not feasible since the garage was on the other side of the wall. I still decided to put a window in this space, but just had to be a bit more creative.
I found an old farmhouse window at a salvage barn for $5, and I immediately knew it would work for this space. All of the glass was removed, which was perfect since it would make cleaning a breeze. This window frame is very light, and thus I was able to install it easily with command strips. Plus, I didn’t really want to drill into the fresh tile! (yikes!) And while I love our sink, I would have preferred a copper farm sink but that just wasn’t in the budget for this house (maybe next time!).
Here are a couple more photos/angles of our kitchen:
Well I could go on and on about this kitchen, it really is the focal part of our home and I am so excited that it is finished. This was a huge lingering project that I can finally cross off of our list, all thanks to our epic long winter this year. If you have any other questions about the materials or process, feel free to leave a comment here or catch me on Instagram. As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today! We really appreciate your support!
Today I have a quick post for all the cast iron cookware lovers out there. We love using this cookware at our home but find it impossible to have enough room to store all of the heavy/bulky pieces. My husband has wanted to hang up a pot rack over the island for years, but I didn’t want all the heavy cookware to block the view of the rest of the living area. Finally, during one of the 800 snow days this month, we came to an agreement on how to hang and store our cast iron pots and pans.
Our pantry was the obvious location, due to it’s proximity to the stove and vast amount of unused space. We also needed the pans out of reach of our 1 year old, so hanging them on the wall seemed to be the best choice. Adam found a barn wood 2x4 in the garage and fastened it to the wall in the pantry, and then added the gas pipe and fittings. For those of you that don’t happen to have a ton of gas pipe sitting around in your garage, you can buy them from any hardware store. We used 1/2in size, but you could use larger if desired. The only downside to working with gas pipe (besides the grease) is all the adhesive and stickers that have to be removed. If you follow us on Instagram, you saw my struggles with this the other night on stories.
Here is a close up photo of the gas pipe hardware. I had some old shower curtain hooks from a previous residence that I used to hang up the pots and pans, but I’m sure you could find something more aesthetically pleasing on Amazon. In the future I plan to hang up another identical rack below this one, and use it for hang baskets for potatoes and veggies from the garden (to get them off of the kitchen counters).
Here is the view from outside our pantry.
While this was a quick and easy project, it really has been a game changer for kitchen storage. For those of you who use cast iron cookware, you know its bulky and some sizes can be hard to fit in drawers and cabinets. This storage solution took five skillets and one large stock pot out of our cupboards, freeing up space for further organization.
I hope this post brought some inspiration to your own kitchen organization! Thanks for stopping by the blog today!
Hi friends! Today I want to share a quick post on my DIY laundry detergent. If you have been following along you know that I love all things budget friendly, and when it comes to cleaners and detergents I prefer as few chemicals as possible for my family. Now I also believe there is a time and a place for bleach, and I am not opposed to busting out the heavy duty cleaners if needed, I just prefer not to use those for laundry.
Let’s get to it! This recipe is SO simple, and makes a large amount!
Here are the ingredients:
8 cups Baking Soda
6 cups Super Washing Soda
2 bars castile soap (grated)
I like to use one bar of peppermint and one of lavender, but this time I only had lavender on hand.
Mix the baking and washing soda together in a large bucket, grate the bars of soap and mix again.
That’ts it! I use 1/8 cup per load. Not only does this clean your clothes and smell amazing, but it also cleans your washing machine! I store my detergent in a large glass jar, pictured below.
I also have been using wool dryer balls for YEARS (in place of fabric sheets) and never had to replace them! I use them with or without a drop of essential oil (for scent) and I have found that the more dryer balls I put in with my clothes, the faster they dry. This saves energy as the machine runs for a shorter amount of time.
This little DIY laundry routine has really cut down the cost of washing/drying laundry in our family, and I hope it can bring some inspiration to yours! Have you tried this homemade detergent? Let me know how you like it!
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