Mother Earth Living

Your Natural Home

Creating a cozy hearth for the family

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12/22/2015

If you get ugly stains on clothing, carpeting or upholstered furniture, you need to understand the correct way to clean the various fabrics. Attempting to remove stains from certain fabrics with the wrong methods can make the discoloration worse, or completely ruin the item. Create a written list of the best methods to remove stains, from different fabrics, and keep it in your home’s laundry room for fast access. You should also keep the cleaning supplies and tools needed to remove stains, immediately, on hand.

how to remove stains 

Cotton or Polyester

When you spill a beverage or food on a shirt or slacks, do not rub at the debris with a paper or cloth napkin. Use a dabbing motion instead, while continually turning the napkin to a clean section. As soon as possible, you should remove the garment and rinse it in cold water to remove more of the stain. Smear a small amount of your usual laundry detergent on the stain and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. If the stain does not disappear completely, repeat the soaking process several times. For ink stains on clothing caused by ballpoint pens, you can dissolve the stain with hair spray before washing the garment.

Wool or Wool-Blend

Removing stains from wool and wool-blend fabrics can be more difficult because this fiber frequently requires dry-cleaning rather than washing in water. This means if you want to remove a stain with liquid, you must test an inconspicuous area such as an inside seam first. Do not place a wool item in water unless the fabric care directions say it is safe, but do avoid rubbing at the debris because it will become more embedded in the fibers. You should have a specialized wool cleansing detergent in the laundry room, and by sprinkling a small amount on a cloth, you can dab at the stain to remove the debris. This technique is appropriate for wool carpets, clothing and other household items.

Pretreat Upholstered Furniture

One of the best things you can do for many items is find ways to prevent stains. When shopping in a furniture store, like The Dump, for new upholstered couches or chairs, make sure to look for items that have pretreated fabrics, or ask about having anti-stain fabric treatments applied by technicians before delivery. A stain-resistant spray on upholstered surfaces helps repel liquids and solids to prevent unattractive discoloration as well.

With the right techniques and prevention you can avoid ugly stains on everything from your couch to your favorite sweater. Make sure you pay attention to the fabrics and use the right methods to get out your next spill!


Brooke ChaplanBrooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.



12/21/2015

It’s one thing to be “raised in a barn,” but it’s totally another thing to “live in a barn”. Well, not really. While an old barn may not be your default definition of a comfortable two-story home, it has the potential to become much more than your average-looking living space. Homeowners can take advantage of the barn’s spacious structure and design to convert an aged barn into a home that has the warmth and rustic feel you’ve always dreamed of.

converted barn to house
Photo by Oast House Archive courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Laying the Foundation

Because the barn you have is probably more than 100 years old, examining its foundation and basic structures is important for you to identify existing and potential weaknesses that may compromise not only the integrity of the building, but also your personal safety. Map out what needs to be replaced, tear them out and make repairs before getting too carried away with the design.

Metal Roofing

If you want an attractive home, then the outdated metal sheet will never do. Years of persistent innovation and engineering have transformed the style and installation process of metal roofs. Today, metal roofs are no longer installed directly on the deck. They are available in a variety of beautiful colors and styles of slates, shingles, tiles, and shakes. The end result is a high-performing and outstanding roof that is beautiful and versatile for all kinds of roof pitches.

Flooring

The flexibility of metal roofs enables you to curve or create various roof pitches to enhance your exterior design. When it comes to flooring, you want a material that reflects the overall appeal of your new home. Stone tiles offer interesting color blends and textures that make your home look luxurious, yet maintain a touch of tradition. Laminated flooring gives you a wider range of customization, allowing you to create color combinations, patterns, and a look that emulates the appearance of other flooring materials. At the end of the day, it’s the touch of a real wood floor that gives the rustic feel you so dearly miss.

Country Kitchen

While you can design your kitchen in any way you want, it’s always good to keep some of the country air of an old barn. A country kitchen offers the convenience of modern technology, yet gives you the luxury of enjoying a rustic layout. Wood cabinets, valances on the kitchen windows, and other natural materials and fine craftsmanship are some of the timeless features of a country kitchen. Install built-in shelves to display floral plates, teapots or tea sets, and other antique icons, such as a trio of milk bottles and basket of fresh fruit. If you want to further enhance your rustic flair, add a fireside in the living room and a front porch that is furnished with a couple rocking chairs.

The Grand Transformation

Converting an old barn into a home may take a lot of work, yet the result is always astounding. Whether you’re looking for vintage style, a contemporary layout, or a hybrid of the two, there’s always something in store. So find a barn and start a barn family today.


Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.



12/15/2015

What’s better than cuddling up in warm blankets and soft sheets on a cold winter’s night? Not much, except snuggling in organic blankets and sheets. Organic bedding is minimally processed, high-quality and luxurious. You can get cozy knowing that your bed is pure and free from harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin. At the same time, you’ll be supporting safer working conditions and less environmental destruction.

organic bedding in guest room
Photo by Fotolia.

Where to Find Organic Bedding?

I haven’t seen organic bedding in the mainstream stores I tend to go to, but I’m sure it will be there soon enough. Right now, it is easy to hop online and shop for your healthy bedding. I have personally tried two brands and loved them both.

Coyuchi sent me their classic sheet set in white. The color went beautifully with my tan comforter. The sheets were soft and had a slightly, but almost unnoticeably, different feel than traditional, high-quality sheets. In my opinion, that’s a good thing. They aren’t slick or flannel, but somewhere perfectly in between the two textures. Even after washing, they came out white as ever and with the same texture they had when I took them out of the package.

Coyuchi offers a wide variety of bedding and linens. If you need items for your bed, bath, nursery, table, or lounge area, they’ve got you covered…literally! The company has strict regulations that are humane and environmentally friendly. “From farm, to factory, to the store, to your home.”

The Clean Bedroom sheets have a slightly more flannel-like feel. They’re very soft and warm, which makes them awesome for winter. The color was more of a natural cream that would pair well with everything.

Feather pillows move aside, organic, shredded rubber pillows are amazing! They’re designed for optimal neck and back support. Usually, I have a slight headache in the morning, but not after using this pillow. Initially the pillow feels a little bouncy, but it contours to the body pretty quickly. They do have a rubber scent, but it fades after a few days.

The Clean Bedroom is an organic supplier, so they carry many brands, including Coyuchi. You can find bedding, bath, air cleaning and pet items on their site. They promote truly green bedrooms, nurseries and bathrooms.

Is Organic Bedding Expensive?

Compared to what I usually buy, which includes sheets from places like Target, it is expensive. However, just by touching the fabric it’s easy to tell that these products are made at the highest quality, so they will last much longer. In retrospect, you could purchase low-quality sheets every year, or buy top-quality organic sheets and buy less often.

Let’s Not Forget the Big Picture

You are also paying for purity and supporting a sustainable earth. That, in itself, is worth a lot. Every little thing that you can do to make your environment a little better, the healthier you and your family will be.

I really enjoyed learning more about organic bedding. It’s amazing to realize that, literally, everything around us could be made much better, and in a way that helps us all live a better life. I am truly excited to keep digging around to find more amazing companies that are doing amazing things to protect the future for all of us.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.




12/14/2015

Photo by Fotolia
 

Being environmentally friendly is becoming increasingly talked about as time goes on. Everything from vehicles to hair care products are being labeled as “green” or “eco-friendly,” and this trend is becoming more apparent within the household. Going green has an incredible amount of benefits for both the homeowners and the environment. Nearly every aspect of a household has a green, energy saving alternative available, and most of these changes can be implemented quite easily.

Creating a green home promotes an overall healthier environment, and also teaches individuals the importance of tending to the environment whenever possible. Plus, converting to a “green” lifestyle can help a family save large amounts of money in the long run, and a majority of the out-of-pocket expenses necessary to go green will likely be recovered in tax credits and rebates awarded for promoting eco-friendliness.

What is a Green Home?

Creating a green home means that the household is able to reduce costs, meaning that it uses less electricity than the average home, while also reducing the use of products that have a negative impact on the environment. Overall creating a green home can:

• Greatly reduce annual electricity bill expenses.
• Teach family about the importance of being environmentally friendly.
• Reduce a family’s overall carbon footprint.

These are just three of the many benefits of converting to the green lifestyle, and there are various simple green adaptations that can be implemented within the home; each having their own positive benefits. Now, let’s talk about how to implement green practices when building a home.

Use Eco-Friendly Building Materials

When building a home with sustainability in mind, using eco-friendly building supplies should be a must in the construction of the home. These products may include items like recycled plastics and glass, or utilizing reclaimed wood when available. Nearly any area of the home has opportunities for the use of eco-friendly materials to be used.

Use Energy Efficient Lighting

CFL or LED lighting options should always be utilized when building a home, since they use a significantly reduced amount of energy to operate, and exceed the average lifespan of an incandescent bulb. As these lighting sources have many green benefits, they should always be a priority in the home.

Use Non-Waste Fixtures

Ordinary faucets and showerheads are notorious for wasting large amounts of water. Converting these fixtures to their low-flow counterparts can greatly reduce the amount of water being used in the home. Ultimately cutting down on water bills, and improving the green aspect of the home. It is also worthwhile to visit other resource-efficient appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines.

Use Proper Insulation

When building a green home, finding the right insulation can be vital to a home’s energy consumption. As heating and cooling account for an enormous portion of a home’s energy usage, it is important to ensure a home is well insulated, to reduce any unnecessary energy use to keep the home at the desired climate.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Utilizing a programmable thermostat can significantly cut energy uses all year round. Simply programing the thermostat to only be set for certain times throughout the day will ensure that no excess energy is being used when it is not needed. After all, the house doesn’t mind being cold – therefore you shouldn’t worry about it while you are away.


Taylor Tomita is a creative writer and musician residing in Boise, Idaho. He loves all aspects of marketing and social media, and spends too much time researching these topics. In his free time you can find him creating music or exploring the town in search of good pizza. Follow him on twitter.



12/9/2015

Researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that too many stimuli in our visual fields can impair our ability to focus. Give your brain a break by creating a clean, uncluttered computer home screen. Many Windows-based programs automatically place “shortcut” icons on the desktop during installation. Unless you use them often, remove these buttons (you can still easily access the programs from your Start menu) by right-clicking the unwanted buttons, selecting “Delete,” and answering “Yes” to move the shortcut to the Recycle Bin.

Mac users can reduce icons by grouping similar apps or items into folders on the desktop; just select all the items you want to group, control-click one of the items, then choose “New Folder.” To delete unused folders from a Mac Favorites sidebar, right-click the icon and select “Remove from Sidebar.” If misaligned apps bother you, neatly arrange the icons on your Mac desktop by clicking on the “View” menu in “Finder” and select “Clean up” to make all icons align properly.

Avoid Electronic HoardingWoman working on laptop

Once you’ve cleaned up your computer, develop new habits to keep your machine tidy and efficient:

Create a special email address to use just for newsletters and promotional purposes, and reserve your primary email address for important communications.

The Unroll.me program can help you identify and instantly cancel unwanted email subscriptions, and condense those you do want to read in digest form.

Delete duplicate/unwanted videos and photos right after you take them. Be especially stingy about saving images of landmarks, sunsets and landscapes, which tend to be less meaningful over time compared with photos of loved ones and friends.

Eliminate Electronic Waste

Here are a few tips from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition to get rid of outdated, unused electronics in ways that are environmentally safe and privacy-protecting.

Erase your data! Before recycling a device, make sure to clear it of all files and information. Simply deleting isn’t enough—all traces of data need to be removed. Some recyclers will do this, but you can also use free downloadable software such as Active@ KillDisk or Softpedia DP Wiper.

Donate items for reuse if possible. If your electronic item is reusable, consider donating it to an organization that gives refurbished electronics to schools and charities, such as the National Cristina Foundation or the World Computer Exchange.

Recycle your Cell phone. Cell phones are easy to recycle. You can mail them back for free to some recyclers, or bring them in for recycling at a retail store. Organizations such as Call2Recycle also have a network of collection sites that will take phones and rechargeable batteries.

Find a responsible recycler. If your item is broken or too old to donate, it should be recycled. Look for recyclers who are “e-stewards,” meaning they are certified to responsibly recycle, refurbish or reuse e-waste. Otherwise, look for recycling programs via your item’s manufacturer or via retailers such as Staples and Best Buy.

Eliza Cross blogs about simple, sustainable living at Happy Simple Living and is the author of nine books about food and home design.



12/9/2015

Prices based on Habitat for Humanity ReStores.Repurposed Screen Door Organization Center

1. Reuse cabinet doors: Separated cabinet doors can be reused as side-table tops. Bodies can be turned into shelving, or even the base of a desk for a home office.
To Buy:
$10 to $20

2. Tile projects: Leftover tiles make great coasters, as well as eye-catching additions to patios and garden walkways. Broken, mismatched tiles in a color scheme make for an inexpensive mosaic floor.
To Buy:
10¢-$1 per tile

Kitchen Island made from Repurposed Shutters3. Pallet projects: The DIY applications for shipping pallets go on and on—transform them into coffee tables, planters or even bed frames. Some companies will let you take shipping pallets off their hands for free.
To Buy: free to $5

4. Door do-over: Doors can be quickly and easily upcycled. Turned sideways, they make great bases for coat hooks, or home command centers when painted with chalkboard paint. Add legs to a distressed antique door and you have an instant shabby chic coffee table.
To Buy: $10 for interior doors, $20 to $80 for exterior doors

5. Upcycle shutters: Shutters can be repurposed into cute, handy storage solutions. They can be used to hang jewelry, propped against a wall and used to display pictures, or turned into unique side tables.
To Buy: $5 to $30 depending on size, condition and material

Child's Room Furniture made from Upcycled Shipping Palettes

Kirstin Gentry shares a tutorial on making a shipping pallet reading nook on kojodesigns. Gail Wilson shares how to make a reclaimed door message center on My Repurposed Life. On her site Beyond the Picket Fence, Becky Lamb shows how she turned a pair of window shutters into a kitchen island.




12/8/2015

You would think the constant stream of water and soap running through your sink would keep it clean. However, since soap and water are not the only things you dump in your sink, it often becomes riddled with unsightly stains. Whether you need to clean your kitchen or bathroom sink, keep reading for some easy ways to get rid of ugly stains, naturally.

scrubbing sink basin

Baking Soda

Sinks that have acrylic solid surfaces and are non-porous tend to resist stains and are easier to clean. But when staining does occur, baking soda is the best cleaning option. Simply mix a bit of baking soda with some water to create a paste. Then, rub the paste around the sink with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad and rinse the sink clean. You can also mix some baking soda with a little bit of all-natural soap to create a homemade sink scrub. Use this the same way you would use the baking soda and water paste to clean your sink.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is often used to lighten dark spots on the skin, and it can do the same with your sink. To erase stubborn sink stains, mix together a half cup of powdered Borax, an all-natural laundry detergent, and the juice of half a lemon to create a paste. Then, use a sponge to rub the mixture all around your sink and rinse it clean. This method works well on all types of sinks, including porcelain and stainless steel.

Vinegar

If your sink or faucet is stainless steel or dark in color, you may notice that it has many tiny white spots. These are lime deposits that are found in hard water. They can easily be removed using vinegar. All you have to do is soak some paper towels in vinegar and place them over the white spots. If the spots are congregating on your faucet, wrap it in the vinegar soaked paper towel. Leave the paper towels on problem areas for 10 minutes. Then, buff out the stains with a dry paper towel. Do not use this method to clean fixtures that are made of brass or are colored since vinegar will cause them to become discolored over time.

No matter how dirty your sink gets, you don't have to replace the entire thing every time it becomes covered in ugly stains. With a little bit of elbow grease and these natural cleaning methods, your sink will look brand new again in no time.

According to South West Plumbing, all your house drains likely lead to the main sewer line. This makes it even more important to make sure whatever you use to clean them is natural and safe. These methods can help keep your fixtures squeaky clean and safe.


Brooke ChaplanBrooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.






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