June 3, 2012
Ideally your compost pile will heat up enough during the decomposition process to kill most of the unwanted bugs and weed seeds that get into it. Sometimes this isn’t the case and you need a little extra help. You have a couple of options, some are more harsh than others and you want to balance your desire to kill the weed seeds and bad bugs with your desire to maintain the life of the beneficial organisms that are part of your compost.
First and foremost of course, is trying to avoid weeds seeds and bugs making it through the decomposition process in the first place. One of the ways that you can ensure weed seeds are killed, is to put them in the hottest part of the compost pile, the center. If you’ve plucked some weeds from your garden that have gone to seed, make sure you bury them in the center of the pile and not along the outer edges where it doesn’t heat up as much.
Pasteurizing in the Oven or on the Stove
Sometimes weed seeds and bad bugs make it past the decomposition process, that’s when you can turn to pasteurization. This process is similar to sterilization and solar sanitization, but it is done at a lower temperature. The idea being that you heat the compost enough to kill the weed seeds and bad bugs, but not so much that you kill the beneficial organisms that you have worked so hard to cultivate. Work in small batches using fully decomposed compost and be forewarned, this process may make your house smell. Best to do it on a day when you can open the windows and let a breeze in!
read more »
February 19, 2012
Ditch your dryer sheets and embrace the latest trend in simple, sustainable living…dryer sachets! These chemical-free, all-natural alternative to dryer sheets have been growing in popularity as people try to eliminate unnecessary chemicals from their homes, but have you ever wondered how they work? In this week’s column, I’ll tell you why they work and show you how to make your own.
What Is A Dryer Sachet And Why Does It Work?
A dryer sachet is a lot like any other sachet, it’s a bag or pouch made of porous fabric that is filled with fragrant herbs. What distinguishes dryer sachets from their culinary counterparts, is the type of herbs that are used in it. Most dryer sachets are made exclusively with lavender because it is a highly fragrant herb that eliminates static cling, and the residual smell left on clothing, repels moths. I’ve added fragrant rose petals in the custom herbal blend below, because I enjoy the light scent in combination with the lavender.
Dryer Sachet Herb Blend
The ingredients for this dryer sachet mix are gentle enough for sensitive skin and can be used when laundering children’s and infant’s clothing.
…read more (you’ll be redirected to my blog on hellogiggles.com)
February 14, 2012
It’s time to ditch your dryer sheets and embrace the latest trend in simple, sustainable living…dryer sachets! These chemical-free, all-natural alternative to dryer sheets have been growing in popularity, and this week I’m going to show you how to make your own dryer sachet, that is both reusable and refillable.
Often dryer sachets are sewn shut on all sides and are not refillable without some difficulty and it’s this ability to refill them, that makes this project unique.
These dryer sachets are an easy-sew project, perfect for beginners and can be done by hand or using a sewing machine. It’s also a great opportunity to upcycle old t-shirts, or use up old scraps of fabric from other projects.
I like to take some time on a Sunday afternoon to make a batch of these that can be kept in a basket next to my dryer. As you’re making them for yourself, remember that they also make great housewarming gifts, teacher presents or can be a unique addition to a baby shower gift basket.
Tools & Materials Needed:
- Iron and firm surface to iron on
- Measuring tape or quilter’s square
- Sewing machine or needle (if sewing by hand)
- 4 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ piece of fabric (cotton or linen) and coordinating thread
- 4″ strip of industrial strength or decor velcro*
*Make sure you are using industrial strength or decor grade velcro for this project. It has double-sided “teeth” that are strong enough to stay closed while tumbling around in the dryer. It can be sew-on or stick-on, for added security, you’ll want to sew it into the sachet, either way.
read more »
October 27, 2011
It’s officially Autumn in Florida. How do I know? Because this past weekend I adjusted my hot water heater’s temperature gauge. For those of you that don’t know, I adjust my hot water heater’s temperature gauge seasonally. When the outside temperatures drop, I turn the gauge up and when we welcome back warmer temperatures, the gauge goes down. It’s little things like this, that helped contribute to my power costs only being $35 last month.
But back to the reason for the adjustment…
For a cold weather wimp like me, the mornings are chilly (in the mid 60′s…the 60′s you guys!). So I need my shower to have lots of hot water, unlike the summer time when I only need a bit of hot water. I opened up the hot water heater panel, adjusted the gauge and voila!, more hot water.
Perhaps you don’t know how most hot water heaters work and how this can save you money. The simple explanation is this: most hot water heater temperature gauges are set between 120°F-125°F. Your hot water heater, heats water to the set temperature, then the water cools a bit and the heater, heats it back up again. It does this all day long to ensure that the moment you want hot water, it is available. If you’re not using all of the hot water in your tank, then you can turn the temperature down to save money. That’s what I do in the summer, when I set the gauge to 100°F. But now I’m cold (in the 60′s, remember?), so I adjusted it up to 115°F and as it gets colder, I’ll adjust it up to 125°F.
Want to try it yourself? It’s easy! Grab your screwdriver and I’ll show you how.
read more »