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Easy! 5 Steps to Clean Small Felt Toys.

Making felt toys and accessories has been a bit of an obsession for me lately. They’re cute and easily customized with my Brother embroidery machine.

Felt finger puppet toys
Dog, daughter and mother finger puppets waiting to be cut out.

I was concerned that I didn’t know the best way to clean them so I could share that information with my customers. Luckily (HA!) it didn’t take Thaddeus long to soak the finger puppet set I gave him for his birthday in a smoothie.

Washing them in the washing machine on cold and air drying was a possibility. I think that would work, but I worried about them getting distorted, fuzzy or lost with all the socks that go missing. Plus, Thadd was very anxious to see that they weren’t ruined, so the quicker I got them clean, the better.

Here’s the steps I used to clean his felt finger puppets:

  1. Fill a large bowl about halfway with lukewarm water.
  2. Add a drop of dish soap.
  3. Place the felt finger puppets into the water and gently swish. Heavily soiled items may need to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Press the excess water out between towels and lay flat to air dry.

This method should work well for any small toys without a lot of stuffing, as well as for my felt snap clip covers. I would remove the metal barrette for the snap clips first. In general, I think the keys to keeping them looking like new after washing are making sure the water isn’t hot, minimal friction and air drying.

Finger puppets

All of the finger puppets seen below can be found here: https://subearthancottage.com/?s=finger+puppets&post_type=product Felt and thread colors are customizable. Purchases of five or more come with a random print drawstring bag for storage.

Felt snap clips

All of my felt snap clips are found here: https://subearthancottage.com/?s=snap+clips&post_type=product

 

 

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Natural Furniture Polish

I have quite a bit of finished wood furniture that I love, except when it comes to polishing. There’s always some sticky fingerprints or a glob of something unidentifiable (thank you, Beckett). Most commercial polishes do okay on relatively clean surfaces, but don’t do a great job on the really messy stuff. Sometimes I’d spray some polish right on the spots, polish the rest and hope the globs loosened up enough to wipe away. Once in a while it worked. Other times it resulted in a ring around the spot while the sticky may or may not have loosened at all.

I finally did a little research on homemade furniture polish recipes. Here’s the one I use.

Ingredients:

3 parts olive oil
1 part vinegar
Splash lemon juice (optional)

Combine everything in a spray bottle and shake to mix. Some recommend storing it in the refrigerator or only making what you’ll use in a day. I make about 1-2 cups worth at a time  and keep it at room temperature. So far I haven’t had problems with it spoiling.

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For light polishing, I spray the rag and wipe. For heavier cleaning, I spray directly where needed. I have never had it leave a ring, and it buffs nicely without leaving a residue. It works equally well on furniture with a matte stain and pieces with a high gloss varnish.

I love that this recipe uses things I have around the house and costs less than even the cheap commercial polishes.  I also like knowing that it is completely nontoxic. I can let Beckett help without worrying that it might hurt him if he sprays it in his face. Or my face. Seriously, you never know with this kid.

You could probably customize it with a few drops of essential oils, too. I think something citrus-y would be nice. Also, if you don’t have olive oil, you could try swapping it with whatever you have on hand.

Give it a try and tell me what you think. If you’d like more “green” cleaning options check out my handmade laundry products at http://www.etsy.com/MySubEarthanCottage.

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Why I kind of like Mondays.

I love being home with my family. I love hanging out at home watching movies or going on adventures to exotic places like Thrift Town or WalMart together. I love watching the boys play together. I love not having to rush to go anywhere.

Except

Chris was sick this weekend *coughmanflucough*. So he needed to rest, which meant that I still had to manage the kiddos while trying to get things done. Fine, I can do that. But I also had to do things differently than I would if it was just me and the boys, since he was home. Not bad different, just slightly more work different.

For example, if Finn and Beckett and I got busy playing or if I managed to really work on cleaning while they kept each other entertained and lunch rolled around, I could throw together a pbj and carrots for Finn, some applesauce and/or toast for Beckett and any of the above for myself. Done. Breakfast could be oatmeal or cold cereal or scrambled eggs. Chris, on the other hand, requires more food. And when he’s sick, I’m cooking and entertaining the baby and fielding Finn’s 1,000 questions while he rests.

Fine. Just like in any group situation, when one person needs help, the rest have to chip in so everything keeps moving along as it should.

Even on a normal, everyone healthy weekend, though, I have Finnian, who will never ever need coffee if he maintains his energy when he’s older, and Beckett, who wants to be held or wants to get into everything. With Finn around, Beckett doesn’t nap well at all, either because B is excited that Finn is here or because Finnian is noisy. I really don’t think Finn can help it. He does try, but I think six year old boys have their own volume settings of noisy, noisier and really, really loud. The more he tries to be quiet, the louder he seems to be. Even though I try to keep the tv or radio on during the week, Finnian noise isn’t something Beckett can sleep through.

Since Chris is off on weekends, he understandably wants to work on things he can’t get done during the week. So, I try to work around his plans for meals, grocery shopping, etc. He says I don’t have to do this, but one of my biggest peeves is cooking a meal and not having everyone at the table eating together shortly after it is ready. Trying to time it so we can all sit down together is my way of trying to keep everyone happy (read “not kill someone”).

With everyone home all day, there is more mess, more laundry, more dirty dishes, and more cooking. There’s less sleep for Beckett and less time for me to do what needs to be done.

Weekdays, however, I set the schedule. Sure, there’s the morning rush to get everyone out the door on time and the afternoon pick-up, but everything in between is on my time. Beckett actually takes decent naps, even if they usually happen while I’m holding him. I get a break while he naps or I can take care of bills and anything else I can do one handed while sitting. Since he’s able to nap, he isn’t cranky later so I can be more productive. With just the two of us home, I can clean without worrying about someone making more mess behind. (Usually. Beckett is getting good at dumping things out.)

If I have the car and need to run errands, I can leave as soon as I’m ready. I don’t have to wait for Finn to put on his shoes or for Chris to stop whatever he’s working on to watch Finn. I can time the errands so we leave as soon as Beckett wakes up from a nap so I have plenty of time to get everything done before he’s tired and cranky. Meals are easier because everyone is on their weekday schedule, so everyone is ready to eat at about the same time.

Complaints aside, I do miss the time together during the week and I do look forward to the weekend. But, I do look forward to 8:30 on Monday morning when the house is calm and my coffee is ready and Beckett is starting to get sleepy and ready to nurse down for his first and usually longest nap.  That is my time to make plans for the week and relax after a busy weekend.

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Vacuuming

It’s been so long since I’ve posted that I have a tons of kiddo pictures that I could be posting. I have  new products listed at SubEarthan Cottage that I could be talking about. I have a tutorial for a drawstring backpack that I could be writing. I have an update to the Avon product reviews that I began a couple of months ago that I need to write. I have an update to my cloth diapering series and a cheap diaper “hack” that I could share.

Instead of picking one of those many on topic and semi-useful subjects expound upon, I am choosing to share this odd little fact with you.

When I vacuum the house, the most exciting thing that usually happens is that my floors get clean. Occasionally I pick up a sock and have to partially dismantle the vacuum to retrieve it.

When this man vacuums the house…

this happens.

Something about needing to move the computer and then needing to replace the electrical outlet in it’s new location and then wanting to see what was behind the paneling, etc. So, basically it was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie the home edition from hell. Or something.

I almost feel the need to go take a video of my darling sleeping hubby to prove that he is, in fact, still breathing. I’m afraid I might wake the baby, though, so I won’t. You’ll just have to take my word that I won’t kill him, at least not until the wall is replaced to my satisfaction.

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My Before Bed Routine

As promised, here is my before bed routine. Flylady has it broken down into three categories: Cleaning, Planning, and Focusing on Yourself.

For cleaning, I have
Kitchen

  • Clean cat box
  • Clear table
  • Wash dishes
  • Sweep and spot mop as needed

Living room

  • Pick up and put away things

Hotspots (flat surfaces that collect random stuff)
Laundry

  • Make sure everything is dry and folded (Basically nothing sitting in the machines or in baskets getting wrinkled.)
For Planning
  • Check Calendar
  • Make to-do list
  • Make lunches
  • Thaw meat for tomorrow’s dinner if necessary
  • Lay out clothes for tomorrow
For me
Honestly I don’t have a set routine, other than things like taking out my contacts, brushing my teeth and putting on my pjs. I try to just sit for a few minutes or read or watch a little tv. Whatever feels most relaxing. Sometimes I have something hot to drink, if I’m not holding the baby.
It sounds like a lot, but once I get into the habit, I can usually get it all done in well under an hour, especially if I’ve had a few minutes here and there throughout the evening to knock some things off the list.
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Bedtime routine

From my previous Flylady days, I remember my before bed routine was probably the most important when it came to keeping my days in order. If nothing else got done that day, I could still feel like I had things under control if I completed my before bed routine. Because of that, I decided to start with it.

My previous routine didn’t need much tweaking. The only real difference is that when I wrote it we still had a working dishwasher. In general, it sets my priorities as kitchen, living room, and morning prep.

The kitchen is the biggest, because if it’s not clean, I can’t cook without tidying up first. That eats up a TON of time, not to mention money because if we’re in a hurry, it’s easier to grab something on our way to wherever than to do what is needed in the kitchen. Plus, there’s just something about a clean kitchen that makes the whole house seem orderly. That’s probably why Flylady’s first baby step is to shine the kitchen sink.

Next is the living room. It’s the main room in the house, the first we see when we come in the door and the room where we spend most of our time. If it looks nice, it’s easy to welcome surprise guests. Since we use it so much, though, it can easily get cluttered if it doesn’t get daily attention.

Finally is morning prep. This includes things like setting out clothes, making lunches, and checking tomorrow’s to-do list.

Tomorrow I’ll share my before bed routine. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what things you do in the evenings to wrap up your day and prepare for the next.