I recently posted the article 5 Things to Start Making at Home (which included resources to help you make handsoap, compost, brooms, butter and cheese). Here are even more ideas to help you get closer to a handmade lifestyle. Whether in your kitchen, your living space, your office or your garden, you can make many of the things you need—and have a lot of fun at the same time!
1. Laundry Soap
I’ve made my own laundry soap multiple times, and the first time I was shocked at how simple it was and how well the homemade soap worked. I thought, Why isn’t everyone doing this? All you need is a big bucket, water, bar soap (I use bar soap slivers leftover from the soap dish), borax and washing soda. (You can also use a couple of drops of essential oil, but that’s optional.) For instructions on preparing the ingredients, see Happiness Is Making Your Own Laundry Detergent. (Bonus: You’ll save a lot of money by making laundry soap at home.)
The typical candles you can buy from the store are made with petroleum byproducts, and they emit some yucky stuff into the air when you burn them. One nice alternative is beeswax candles. Making beeswax candles is a fun and easy project, and the candles are perfect for your own home or to give away as gifts in any season. Beeswax is the part of honeycombs that can be melted down, filtered and used for making candles. For instructions on making beeswax candles with your favorite scents, see Making Beeswax Candles with Essential Oils.
3. Canned Food
Canning in-season fruits and vegetables is rewarding in many ways: You’ll be eating more nutritious foods, you can support local growers by purchasing produce from them in bulk during peak growing season, you’ll avoid toxic BPA found in many store-bought canned foods, and you’ll have a well-stocked pantry full of delicious goodies year-round. Some find home canning intimidating, but after you learn the basics, it’s really quite simple. Here is a guide to the two types of canning: Waterbath Canning and Pressure Canning: Explained. You can also find many helpful canning tips and recipes in the free How to Can app.
Did you know that you can make homemade paper largely using scraps from your waste and recycling bin? I love the look and feel of homemade paper—my favorite type is a thick paper with small pieces of dried leaves and/or flower petals in it. Consider trying this project with friends or family. Some useful how-to information can be found in How to Make Homemade Paper.
The smell of fresh-baked bread fills the whole house, and you bite into a piece of warm, soft bread right out of the oven … now that’s heaven! Making bread at home will save you money, and you’ll have total control over the ingredients (have you ever noticed how long the ingredients lists are on some store-bought breads?). That means you can use organic flour if you choose, add healthy seeds and nuts, and experiment with all different types of breads. For some great recipes and guides on getting started, check out Homemade Bread: Truly Easy and Delicious and 5 Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread.
Good luck with your hands-on projects!
Photo from Fotolia