Pinterest DIY Inspiration: Homemade Laundry Soap

I’m sure y’all have realized: Pinterest is all over the place!  I’m clearly a big fan, as many of my recent posts have included photos I’ve found on the site.  I think the concept is fun, and I’m thoroughly enjoying sharing inspiration with my friends.  One thing I truly adore is how many DIY projects I’ve been able to find.  Over February break, I tried a few out, and today want to share my experience creating a batch of laundry soap.

The inspiration is here, which lead me to this post on the blog, Yellow Brick Home.  There are a mere three ingredients: Borax, Super Washing Soda, and Fels-Naptha.  Finding these isn’t difficult, although I needed to check two stores for the Super Washing Soda.  Otherwise, just grate the bar of Fels-Naptha, then mix with one cup washing soda and one cup Borax.  Stupidly simple, but leaves one feeling accomplished because 1) no more shelling out so much money for detergent, and 2) grating that Fels-Naptha bar really works the biceps!

The entire project cost less than $10 and I have plenty of Borax and Super Washing Soda for several more batches (or other projects!).

Cheap, easy, DIY!  Has anyone else seen or tried a laundry soap recipe?

good morning, Monday: Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures by Lullatone

I was looking about on Bandcamp when I stumbled onto Lullatone.  A single listen, and I was hooked.  I think they may have made their album, Songs for Everyday Adventures, just for me.  It’s sweet and pretty instrumental music, each track representing a specific moment in life.  I love all of the songs, with standout favorites being “Checking Things Off of a To-Do List Early in the Morning” and “Clapping Contest”.  I ordered their album and they sent it to me with a hand-penned thank you note, a bonus CD, and bookmark.

I have all sorts of happy flutters in my chest when I listen to this.  It’s perfect for a Monday morning, and I’m giving it a listen today as I prepare for my first day back at school after February break.

Same time next month, vacation?

February break has ended much too quickly.  I managed to accomplish a lot of my goals, but perhaps spent an unpractical amount of time playing Super Nintendo and watching Supernatural.  Well, it’s back to school tomorrow, so today I’d like to share some photos from my week of leisure:

1) Detailing on my new ASOS bag.  2) Little Bear Watermelons at Rosemont Yarmouth.  3) These giant piece of pizza became our lunch.  4) Superheroes at Coast City Comics.  5) There are at least two copies of Top Gun for Nintendo in this case and I need to procure one ASAP.  6)  Skee Ball action shot at Bayside Bowl.  7) Maine’s February skies.  8) A friend in my Russian Literature course has lent me this handy book that I was able to utilize a bunch over break.

I hope that I can kick my recently renewed NES/SNES habit and not let Super Mario get in the way of studying as I return to classes.  Not to mention, when I was in the comic shop buying games, I ran into a friend who works there and he informed me that they host a pinball tournament every Sunday!  I must investigate!

But on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel Day.

Dough recipes have always intimidated me. My pie crust skills leave much to be desired and my bread and pizza dough attempts have been so-so. I never seem to have the patience for all that waiting and rising business, so I typically avoid making dough.

Pretzels changed all of that.

Soft pretzels are one of the most delicious snacks that can be obtained at any major commercial center, sporting event, or street corner in the US.  (They’re also featured in one of my favorite episodes of The Office).

If only I had known that making pretzels from scratch was so easy! How have I been living in pretzel darkness for all of these years?! Not only are soft pretzels easy to make at home – they’re just as good as any of the store-bought varieties (and trust me, I’ve tried them all).

This morning, Josh and I were loafing around a bit and I decided to look into some baking endeavors. A pretzel recipe popped up on Pinterest, and Josh was so excited about the potential of these buttery dough-knots that I had to give them a try.  The recipe is from The Curvy Carrot, and the only adjustment I made was switching the instant yeast to active dry using a conversion I found through Google.

I feel great to have conquered the creation of one of my favorite snacks.  The difficult part will be refraining from baking and eating pretzels all day, every day.  Watch out, friends and loved ones: a basket of fresh-baked pretzels is coming to a doorstep near you!

Laika, my love.

I’ve recently developed a minor obsession with world renown dog-Cosmonaut, Laika.

Laika was the first dog – nay, the first living creature to orbit the earth.  She was also the first animal to die in space.  She was sent up onboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.  From what I’ve read, she likely died within hours of the launch due to overheating.  To be sure, plenty of controversy surrounded the decision to send an animal into space with no return plan.  Scientists argued that in order to asses the safety and feasibility of sending humans into orbit, they would first need to test the effects of space travel on smaller beings.  Laika was a stray dog, previously named Kudryvaka.  After undergoing a series of tests with two other dogs, she was chosen for the trip.  Laika was only three years old at the time of the launch.

The little dog has become somewhat of an international hero following her fatal mission.  Several nations have released stamps with Laika’s adorable face on them, and there is a monument erected in Moscow.  There are several songs about the tiny dog, a band named after her, and an entire graphic novel dedicated to her story.  There is even a Christian sect that has taken Laika as their patron saint and refer to themselves as the “Saint Laikas”.

I’ve been amassing photos of Laika in a Pinterest board, and I wanted to share the best ones with y’all:

1) Close up of the beautiful Laika.  2) Russian matchbox cover.  3) Laika stamps issued in the UAE.  4) Laika and her ship.  5) Cover of the graphic novel about Laika.  6) A company called Gelada makes these great Laika t-shirts.  I bought one for Josh – not only does it feature a dog we love, but it’s really soft!  7) Laika tattoo – something that’s certainly been on my mind.  8) Laika toy.

Click photos for sources.

This girl’s story breaks my heart.  It causes me to entertain all sorts of impossible thoughts, like what I would have to do to get my hands on a time machine and save her.  Very little knowledge was gained from Laika’s mission into space.  Her life and untimely demise are a painful reminder of the evils of animal experimentation.  In conclusion: run to the nearest companion animal and give ’em a big hug.

A Day in the Life of Theodore Roosevelt

In light of Monday’s holiday (President’s Day here in the US), I thought I would share some photos of my presidentially-named dog, Theodore Roosevelt.  Y’all have seen plenty of Teddy snapshots, but I am a crazy dog lady who cannot put her camera down.

Teddy sleeps in every day.  Seriously.  If I wake up earlier than 8am he won’t even open his eye.  Clearly, Teddy is a dog who appreciates his leisure time.  But once he wakes up…

He’s immediately ready for a walk and stares at me impatiently while I lace up my shoes.

Teddy & Josh: Men about town.

After his walk, it’s home for breakfast and a whole lot of raw-hide chewing.

Later on, Teddy takes a ride to visit his grandparents!

Back at home, the sleepy Ted snuggles in for a nap.

Teddy’s adorability aside, one of the reasons I so love sharing photos of him is to encourage others to consider animal adoption.  Shelters in the US are overcrowded and have high euthanization rates, and thus each animal adopted from such a situation is a life saved.  I’m not claiming to be a hero for adopting Teddy – no, he brings more to my life than I could ever repay him for.  What I’m saying is this: shelter dogs deserve your love.  They should be adopted, cuddled, and spoiled.  Did you look at the above photos and think, “Boy, I would love a dog like that!”?  Well, he’s a rescued mutt that was once a stray and he’s the best friend I’ve ever had.  Want to find a best friend of your very own?  Head over to or  I’m partial to Friends of Retrievers, because I can personally vouch for their adoration of the dogs they rescue, but there are plenty of fantastic groups that have animals for adoption.

Does anyone else have a rescue story?  Did you meet your best friend in a rescue or shelter?

What were you?

The university Josh and I attend has two major branches, one located in Portland, the other in Gorham.  Gorham is a 25-or-so minute drive from Portland.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Josh has class in Gorham and I find myself more and more frequently offering him rides.  I love the excuse it gives me to drive out of the city, past the suburbs, and into the increasingly rural area outside of Portland.  While experimenting with a new return route on a recent trip to retrieve Josh, I spied an abandoned building.  There was no choice other than to pull over and snap pictures.  Here are the results.

Perhaps I can inquire with a few local historians and  find some information about this one-time country store.  Do any of you readers from Maine know when this place – Cotton’s, I believe it was called – was operational?

good morning, Monday: It’s vacation, y’alls!

“Winter break” has begun!  For some reason, instead of offering the traditional two-week long spring break that many colleges do, USM allows students a single week off in February and another in March.  This momentary reprieve from academic deadlines will provide me a chance to get ahead on assignments, visit with friends, and above all allow me an opportunity for relaxation.  I’m pretty thrilled about the week-long fun that’s about to be embarked on.

Therefore, on this Monday morning, I bring you my  “vacation edition” excerpts of mood-enhancing media.

1) Similarly to last Monday’s post, this week I’m happy to report that several more dogs were adopted through Friends of Retrievers Rescue.  How better to start the week than will stories of animal adoption?!

2) Pawnee & Leslie Knope are great.

3) Josh has an amazing Thai funk album, The Sound of Siam.  Here’s my favorite track, Mae Kha Som Tam.  I challenge you to listen to this song next time you’re walking somewhere and try to keep your stride from turning into a strut (it’s impossible!).

Summertime: Are we there yet?

Around this time each winter, I decide I’m tired of the lousy weather and begin to boycott low temperatures by putting my Bean boots and parka away.  This change in wardrobe always occurs weeks before it’s reasonable to be outside in a light jacket and sneakers, but I can’t seem to help myself.  With my mind set on spring, the same temperatures that chilled my bones in November seem downright tropical.

Increasing my spring fever is the batch of photos I just retrieved from an old memory card.  I thought I would share some of them with y’all and see if anyone else has the summertime itch.

1) Falmouth’s Town Landing Market  2) Fresh Produce  3) Congress & State  4) Outdoor dining at King of the Roll  5) Upper Forest  6) Ice Cream in the night at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream on Exchange Street  7) The night belongs to us  8) Hip hop album cover?  9) Conferring with friends at State & High.

I’m so ready to traipse around after dark without a cold nose and umpteen million layers.  Maine comes alive in the summertime, and I can’t wait to enjoy another season of salty, blue-skied days.

February Photo Mashup

Ah-ha! With the assistance of a handy SD card reader, I finally managed to transplant photos from my new camera to my laptop. I’ve accrued a surplus of snapshots in the past couple of weeks, and have now chosen to share them with the internet.

1) Corvair taillights  2) I got a cake pop bouquet on Valentine’s Day!  3) Quesadilla hands  4) Decor at El Rayo  5) Recumbent Ted  6) Dinosaur arms!  7) For Feline Frolic  8) Chewing intensity  9) Upside down cookie cutter love.

To be certain, this will be the first of many photo updates featuring photos from my new camera.  Hope y’all are having a great weekend!