DIY Upcycle Key Wind Chimes

key windchimes 2

I have these beautiful rainbow colored keys that don’t go to anything, and some too-small necklace chains with no charms. I had seen on Pinterest the idea to make wind chimes out of keys, and I had plans to do so with my massive collection of keys. However, I decided to just use the rainbow keys for now, and hang them on the necklace chains. I arranged them about half an inch apart from each other on a clear plastic straw I don’t use and piled on clear Hobby Glue (under the chain and on top of it). Then, using a pipe cleaner hooked onto a long, skinny ribbon, I pulled the ribbon through the straw. I tied several knots on either end of the straw to keep it as in place as possible, then tied a bow on the top to hang from an S-hook outside in my back yard.

Materials:

  • keys (pretty ones are favorable)
  • necklace chains
  • clear plastic straw
  • clear Hobby Glue
  • ribbon
  • pipe cleaner (to get the ribbon through the straw)
  • place to hang!

By the way – the sound the keys make is soft, tinkly, and beautiful! I am in love.

Inspired? 

  • If my post inspires you, and you blog about it, I ask that you credit me! Also, I’d love to see it!
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How to Clean and Care for Your Menstrual Cup

This is part 2/2 in my series on the menstrual cup. Part 1, 9 Reasons Why I Chose a Menstrual Cup, can be found here.

The Diva Cup website really has a great explanation of how to insert the Diva Cup, so rather than restating everything they said, here’s the link: http://divacup.com/how-it-works/how-it-works/. For the record, I use fold option 2, the “push down” method, as pictured:

How To Clean and Care for Your Menstrual Cup

Image courtesy of http://www.divacup.com

Now. What I really wanted to talk about was how to clean and care for your menstrual cup — hence the title of this blog post!

  • While you are menstruating, you need a quicker clean between dumping your cup out and reinserting it. Divacup.com advertises a Diva Wash, but to be honest, I haven’t felt the need for that. I use a non-fragrant soap (Ivory bar soap) and warm water to wash out my Diva Cup.
  • In between cycles, I boil my cup in a small pot that I use ONLY for this purpose! (In fact, it stays in the bathroom when not in use.) Boil for at least 10 minutes… make sure not to boil all the water away or the cup will burn.
  • If at any time there is blood in the little holes around the rim of the cup, you have to clean that out, because it is the little holes that create the suction and hold it in place. To do this: Fill the cup with water, hold in one hand, cover the large opening with other hand, turn upside down, and push down on opening. The pressure pushes water through the holes and cleans them out. Just be careful where the water squirts (I hold it down in the sink.) Do not use toothpicks or any other way to clean the holes, as those can damage the cup.

Lastly, storage of your menstrual cup. The Diva Cup comes with a cotton bag. Be sure not to store your cup in a plastic bag. It’s important because the cotton is breathable.

Have you made the switch to a menstrual cup yet? Let me know!

The opinions stated in this blog post are mine alone. Facts and photo were obtained from http://www.divacup.com.

9 Reasons Why I Chose a Menstrual Cup

If you menstruate, or know someone who does, this post is for you. I used to wear tampons and pads during my time of the month, until 3 years ago when a friend introduced me to the idea that something better was out there. In this two part series, I am going to write first on why I chose a menstrual cup, and in part 2 (HERE), I will write about how to use and care for your menstrual cup (should you choose to accept it.) First, a quick explanation: a menstrual cup is a silicone cup that you fold and insert into your vagina when you are menstruating. The cup holds the blood until you remove it, dump the contents into the toilet, wash out, and reinsert. That really is the gist of it!

Why I prefer a menstrual cup – specifically, the DivaCup.

  1. You can wear the DivaCup for up to 12 hours. The cup holds 1 oz of menstrual blood, and most women only have about 1-2 oz PER CYCLE! No worries about it not being big enough.
  2. Unlike with tampons, there is no risk for toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with the cup. Therefore:
  3. …You can wear the cup overnight.
  4. It is safe enough to wear when you think you might start your period but haven’t yet.
  5. Cost-effective. One of the main things that drew me away from tampons in the first place: The DivaCup (my cup of choice!) costs about $30 (It is $29.99 + S/H on drugstore.com) and lasts a whole year.
  6. Tampons (and pads for that matter) contain tons of chemicals to make them absorbent. Who wants chemicals up there?
  7. Environmentally friendlier, as you are not throwing away a ton of paper, cotton, etc.
  8. You can track your periods easily with the DivaCup, should you ever need to tell your doctor how much blood you put out monthly. There are measuring lines on the outside.
  9. In my experience, periods became shorter and lighter with the use of the DivaCup. (Not an FDA approved and evaluated statement, although other women have said the same thing.)

A question I received when sharing with family members about the Diva Cup was a great one – does it have to be fitted by doctor? Nope, this is a cup made of silicone that forms to your body – you can even buy it on the internet. There are 2 sizes, based on your age and whether you have given birth or not. The only things that I think people might not like about the cup is the “ick” factor, public restroom worries, and time constraints. To debunk:

  • It can be icky to dump the cup in the toilet (TIP: hold close to the bowl) (blood can be thick and I use toilet paper to clean it out fully) and wash out the cup. There’s no denying that. But, if you ask me, it’s really not that bad. I don’t think it’s much worse than the tampon stuff.
  • Public restrooms where there are stalls can be complicated. I read you can bring a bottle of water in to wash out the cup into the toilet if needed. However, given the 12 hours you can keep it in, I have literally never run into this issue.
  • Time constraints are the only thing that get to me. Some nights I wear just a pad to bed because I know I’ll be in such a rush the next morning that I won’t have time to remove, wash out, and reinsert the cup. Instead I wake up and put my clean cup in and remove the pad. I can’t debunk this. It takes less time to rip off a pad than to clean out your cup.

Would you use the DivaCup? What would be your reasoning for making the switch?

The opinions stated in this blog post are mine alone. Facts and photo were obtained from http://www.divacup.com.

Sweet, Healthy Breakfast Treat

Sweet, Healthy Breakfast Treat

Step 1: Spread natural peanut butter or other natural nut butter on one half of a whole wheat tortilla shell (in a half moon shape.)

Step 2: Slice banana and put on peanut butter. (I cut them pretty thick so I could use the entire banana. It was then messier to eat but delicious and nutritious!)

Sweet, Healthy Breakfast Treat

Step 3: Fold in half to cover toppings and cook in a skillet on medium heat.

Sweet, Healthy Breakfast Treat

Step 4: Let cook until there is browning; flip and cook other side the same way.

Step 5: Drizzle with honey and cut into easier-to-eat slices.

Sweet, Healthy Breakfast Treat

Step 6: EAT AND ENJOY!

I have seen an idea for chocolate chips inside with the peanut butter and banana; I didn’t have chocolate chips so I didn’t try that. I added honey instead for the sweetness factor.

Have you ever thought of using tortilla shells as part of a breakfast? 

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

In honor of the Buy One, Get One Free sale happening now at econutssoap.com (through 1/25/15), I want to promote them and give my tips for use.

Eco Nuts soap nuts are, in a “nutshell”, organic laundry soap. Technically, the “nuts” are berries, so they are nut allergy safe. The soap, called saponin, is naturally produced in the berries.

Something my husband has had a hard time wrapping his head around is this: Bubbles and foam do not make clothes clean. Commercial laundry soaps have artificial foaming agents. These soap nuts do not produce foam or bubbles. I am here to tell you, the clothes still get clean!!

The website recommends 4-5 soap nuts in the cloth bag. I always use 5 for more cleaning power. I don’t have to tie the bag – I used to and it got difficult to untie when wet – but the bag stays closed if you just pull it shut thanks to the cloth strings. (Disclaimer: The website recommends tying the bag shut.)

I use the bag about 7 or 8 times before checking the status of the soap nuts. When they look broken apart and just…dry, I will throw them away (you can also compost them) and replace them with a new 4-5 soap nuts (in my case, 5) in the bag. If they don’t look quite broken up yet, I’ll just add 5 new ones to the bag and have 5 new and 5 old inside. HERE is a chart and video on the Eco Nuts website to help you know when the are used up.

It is impossible for me to remember from day to day how many loads I have washed with the current bag, so I have a small dry erase board (I attached magnets to the back) and I make a tally mark when I do a load. When I add new soap nuts to the used ones, I start a new line of tallies under the old tallies just so I know how many the old soap nuts went through altogether. (SIDE NOTE: Dryer lint makes for an awesome dry erase board eraser!)

In the corner of the dry erase board I add up how many uses I got because I’m curious! The box I’m using is for 360 loads. However, I rarely use all ten because you can use it “up to” 10 times and I, wanting the ultimate clean, replace before 10 loads all the time. Plus, I always use 5 nuts instead of the also acceptable 4. I’m not worried if I don’t make it to 360 loads.

What i love about soap nuts is the cost-effectiveness. Check out this chart (link) for the price per load of Eco Nuts Soap Nuts compared to other brands. Not to mention, the various other selling points – Eco Nuts Soap Nuts are fragrance free, SLS free, no dyes or optical brighteners, and have a natural fabric softener. That chart also says that the 360 load box is 9 cents per load. Until 1/25/15 you can buy 2 boxes for the price of one, and that would be 4.5 cents per load! Pretty impressive, considering the free and gentle I used to buy is 29 cents per load according to the chart.

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

For my cold laundry, which is at least 4 loads a week, I make a soap “tea” by putting the bag into a mug filled with hot water and letting it soak for the amount of time it takes to add clothes and fill the drum up with water. Then i pour the whole thing – “tea” plus soap nut bag – into the washer. This is recommended for hand wash and heavy soil, but because I want my clothes to get the cleanest clean and the soap nuts are better activated in hot water, I go ahead and make the tea every time I use not-hot water to wash anything.

The website says you can leave the bag in for the rinse cycle, so I do. It does not leave clothes soapy, and in fact continues to provide the natural fabric softener. You can also remove the bag to get more use out of your soap nuts. I don’t usually have time for that! 🙂

Since I have been using the Eco Nuts soap nuts, my clothes smell clean but not like an artificial fragrance, and they look clean, too. I have seen some bad stains remain and my next adventure will be trying oxygen bleach sold on their site as well.

I highly recommend Eco Nuts Soap Nuts if you have sensitive skin – like me, or if you want to save money (who doesn’t?), or if you want to be more eco conscious (I do!). 

Would you switch to an organic laundry soap?