DIY Laundry Detergent

Shortly after our daughter was born, I decided to try making my own homemade laundry detergent. I realized how much more laundry I would be doing with a new baby (especially once we started cloth diapering!) and was intrigued by the idea of saving money and also just using one type of detergent for the whole family instead of shelling out for fancy baby detergent. Well? That first batch lasted me SIX MONTHS and cost less than $25 to make. I just made my second batch this weekend and figured I’d share how I make it for anyone else out there who’d like to try it!

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Ingredients

1 Box of Borax

1 Box of Washing Soda

3 Bars of Fels-Naptha

1 Container of OxiClean - optional

Some people make their homemade laundry soap without the OxiClean to keep it more natural, but I wanted the extra stain fighting boost since I’m washing cloth diapers and Anthony’s dirty work clothes. Making the detergent powder is simple enough! The hardest part is grating the Fels-Naptha bars. I use a fine cheese grater because the smaller pieces dissolve better in the wash. It takes some time and muscle, but I don’t mind since I only have to do it once every six months! You just pour all of the ingredients into the container you plan to store it in. Stir or shake the mixture until evenly distributed and you’re done!

I store mine in a 2 gallon glass jar and it lasts me 6 months. I’ve heard it recommended to use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of powdered detergent. I just use 1/4 cup every time, but you could experiment with using less to see how long a batch will last you! I’ve also read that it’s best to use warm or hot water with powdered detergents. I usually wash our laundry on warm with a cold rinse.

Another tip: You might have to do a little looking, but all the ingredients should be available in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store. For my fellow York County folks, I found that my closest Giant doesn’t carry the washing soda but the Weis across the street has everything you need to make this. I have seen the washing soda at other Giant stores around town though.

Have you ever made your own laundry detergent? Do you use the same ingredients I do, or have you had better luck with others?

I’d love to know what works for you! Comment below or join the conversation on Instagram!

My 9 Favorite Dutch Oven Recipes

I wouldn’t say recipes have ever been a big topic on this blog. But I tend to write about interior design and whatever home-related topics are capturing my interest at the present moment. And right now, home cooking is a big one. In line with the values I shared in my post on intentional living , I’ve been focusing on learning to cook more with whole foods from scratch. Anthony got me this dutch oven (affiliate) for Christmas last year and it’s become my favorite thing to cook with, although just about any of these recipes can be made in a stock pot too.

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

We don’t have any particular diet we follow, more just everything in moderation. We are trying to eat less meat, so I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian meals lately. Not all of these recipes would be considered “healthy” but in general they make healthier substitutions (like greek yogurt instead of cream, etc.). I don’t worry too much because portion control is more important and sustainable for me than eating just steamed vegetables and chicken breast all the time. But I will say I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the last couple of years and I attribute that to changing my lifestyle to cooking more nutritious meals at home instead of eating out and eating smaller portions. So whether you are trying to be healthier, save money by cooking at home or live more sustainably by eating less meat, I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes that I find myself making again and again.

Our 9 Favorite (Mostly Vegetarian) Dutch Oven Recipes

click any of the images above to go to the recipe page!

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup: This soup is so yummy and easy to make. If you use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth, it’s' vegan too! If you want to add more protein, this would be great with rotisserie chicken.

Potato Soup: This is a great recipe to have on hand when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a while and need to make dinner appear out of the dregs left in your pantry. Or you can fancy it up with bacon or ham or any of your favorite baked potato toppings for loaded potato soup.

Split Pea Soup: I’ve always loved Split Pea Soup but I didn’t realize until now just how simple and easy it is to make. You can make it with or without ham. Next time, I think I’ll try substituting potatoes for the ham to make it vegetarian but still add some texture.

Red Lentil Masala: My favorite thing about this whole vegetarian kick we’re on? I’ve been learning to make Indian food! I love the flavors of garam masala, so it’s been well worth investing in a bottle.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry: The author of this recipe describes it as a fusion of Indian and West African cuisine, but it has a lot of the same ingredients and methods of the other curry recipes I’ve been making. It’s vegan and delicious!

Indian Butter Chicken: If you only make one recipe from this list, let it be this scrumptious butter chicken. The author of this recipe was the first one to tip me off to the fact that when Indian recipes call for chili powder, they mean cayenne pepper, not what we call chili powder here in America. I don’t like things too spicy so I reduce it to 1/8 tsp of cayenne and it’s the perfect amount of flavorful but not too fiery.

Orecchiette Pasta Primavera: Ok, this is another top contender! This is a one pan pasta dish and the trick is cooking the orecchiette in broth along with the sauteed veggies instead of water. So much flavor without any sauce! This is a great technique to use with any pasta and any veggies you have on hand.

Sunday Pot Roast: What’s a round up of dutch oven recipes without traditional beef pot roast? I don’t make this very often but when I do, Anthony is one happy camper.

Tomato Soup: Tomato Soup is another thing I didn’t realize was so easy to make, especially if you have an immersion blender! (affiliate) I like to caramelize my onions first to give it the soup even more flavor.

And what goes better with soups, stews and curries than bread? I got really into cooking yeast bread while I was pregnant with Sage but since she’s been born, I’ve mostly stuck with this delicious beer bread. It’s so quick to whip up and is DELICIOUS. For Indian recipes, I’ve experimented a bit with making chapatis and naan but I’ve had the best luck with this simple flatbread recipe. It takes some time and practice to make, but is so so yummy!

click the images above to get the recipes!

If you’re interested in more recipes, you can find my favorites on my HOMEMAKING : recipes board on Pinterest! Do you have any favorite Dutch Oven recipes to share? Comment below with the link, I love trying new recipes!

10 Guest Bedroom Essentials

I remember when we lived in an apartment, I would dream about having a real guest bedroom to decorate someday. Then, when we bought our first home a few years ago, we ended up with three! One is being turned into a nursery very soon, but since we have ample room we find ourselves hosting overnight guests on a pretty regular basis. As such, I decided my 2014 post on 7 Guest Bedroom Essentials was in for a little update! Read on to see my new list of tips for how to put together a welcoming guest bedroom.

Idylwyld Project Guest Bedroom

1. Layered blankets

No matter what season it is, give your guests a variety of blankets to choose from. My go-to bed bedding combination is a duvet, a lightweight quilt and a throw blanket. Similarly, it's a good idea to have two sets of pillows to layer on a bed -- two on the softer side and two slightly firmer. I do the same thing on our bed because I like a soft pillow whereas my husband prefers something firmer. Give your guests some options to make them feel right at home!

2. Wifi password

One of the first things I want to do after spending long hours on the road is to plug my electronics in and check my email. Make it easy for your guests by sharing your home's wifi password with this cute printable I designed! It's kind of crazy, but this little printable has been repinned over 100K times on Pinterest. Can you believe it? Grab your copy below or shop my other printable designs here

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Click the buttons below to download your copy of my wifi password art print. I’m providing this digital print completely free, no email sign up required.

But if you like what we’ve created here and want to see more, I encourage you to check out my new free workbook, “My Secret to Inspired Productivity”, available as a free download exclusively for SSDC email list subscribers. Click here to learn more.

3. Cozy chair

If you have the space, it's always great to add some comfortable seating to your guest bedroom! We have a small settee across from the foot of the bed in ours, but an upholstered chair in a corner is a great option too. It gives guests a place to sit other than the bed and makes the whole room feel warmer and more inviting.

4. Spare set of house keys

We've hosted a lot of guests in the two and a half years we've owned our house. For guests staying for a longer visit or just crashing while they are in town for an event, we like to leave out a spare key. It gives our guests a little more autonomy with coming and going as they need to and just makes things easier! We have ours on a pretty leather tassel keychain I made so it's easy to spot!

5. Fresh towels

This one seems obvious, but there's nothing worse than realizing you forgot to do that load of laundry right when your guest wants to take a shower. Unfortunately, I know this from experience-- sorry, Ella! In the bustle of getting ready for houseguests, it's easy to forget something but make sure you have a couple nice, freshly laundered towels ready for when they arrive! I usually stack them in a pile on the foot of the bed or on the chair/settee.

6. Snacks

I always like to have some snack food at the ready when I have guests coming. My guests are always welcome to what's in the refrigerator, but guests feel more comfortable helping themselves to snacks that are already out and ready for munching. I keep a bowl of granola bars and crackers stocked in our kitchen but if you really want to make a good impression, a small tray with a carafe, drinking glass and a few snacks right in the guest bedroom is a really nice detail!

7. Reading material

I always have a supply of magazines like Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens, and I will usually leave a few of the current issues out when I know guests are coming over. I use hardcover and vintage books all around our house for styling, but I recently started keeping my collection of paperbacks in our guest bedroom too. This gives guests something to do if you are busy milling about the house preparing for a family gathering or celebration!

8. Wastebasket

Confession, we don't currently have a waste basket in our guest room but it's something I keep meaning to add to my shopping list! There's a lot of small trash that can be created when you're traveling and it's always more convenient when your guests don't have to go looking for a spot to throw something away. I like decorative wastebaskets with removable liners, like this one

9. Mirror

We used to have a mirror in our guest room, but things in our house are always moving around and now I'm on the hunt for a nice, affordable floor mirror to put next to the closet. Yes, there's the bathroom but it's a nice touch to give guests a spot to check their outfit or touch up their makeup before they leave the room. Plus, a pretty mirror can add so much light and energy to a space! Hang a smaller one over a dresser or desk, or lean a tall mirror up against the wall like I plan to do. 

10. Scented linen spray

In addition to washing all the bedding before I'm expecting a house guest, I like to add an extra boost of freshness when I'm making the bed with a naturally scented linen spray. You can definitely buy a premade spray, but I've started incorporating essential oils into my wellness and housekeeping routines over the last year or so and room sprays are so easy to whip up! I keep one in our room too to add some extra freshness to our bedding in between washes. I'll be sharing the DIY later this week!

What do you do to prep for house guests?

Comment below or on Instagram to share your tips! I love hosting friends and family in our home and I'm always looking for new ways to make things special for their visit!