Friday, May 16, 2014

Nesting Pinterest Style: DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Have you heard of wool dryer balls? They're a natural substitute for fabric softener that you can make yourself. I've read about them on Pinterest and seen them on Etsy, but the handmade versions for sale tend to be more expensive than what I'd like to pay, so I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I use Green Virgin Products Soap Nuts for most of my laundry (read my review), so I don't absolutely need fabric softener, but there are times when the loads coming out of the dryer aren't as soft and nice-smelling as I might like (soap nuts have no scent, so although you don't need to use fabric softener, you don't get any fresh-from-the-dryer scent either). And I do still use a commercial brand laundry detergent for some heavy duty loads, which necessitates fabric softener (although I'd like to get away from that eventually).

So to make your own dryer balls, you'll need a skein of 100% wool yarn and some essential oil (if you want a little scent). I consulted this pin and this one for my inspiration, but I'll tell you the steps I went through to get a finished product too.

So here's what you need:

  • a skein of 100% wool yarn
  • scissors
  • trouser sock or pantyhose
  • thread
  • essential oil (optional for scent)

One of the specifications I had trouble finding was how much wool I'd need, so I'll tell you what I did. I bought this 8 oz skein of medium yarn at Jo-Ann, and it was more than enough to make 6 dryer balls. I chose a natural color because I was worried something with a saturated dye might get onto wet clothes. I don't really know enough about yarn to know if this fear is founded.

I made six, and this is how much I had left over.

The most time-consuming part was actually wrapping the wool into the balls and keeping them secured. First, I made several symmetrical loops and then wrapped the yard around the middle.

Then I folded those at the wrap and did the same thing again.  

Then I just started wrapping the yarn over and over, turning it a little each time so I wasn't wrapping the yarn in the same place every time.

And a ball began to form.

Once I'd made six balls of about equal size, I put them in an old trouser sock, tying each ball off from the previous with thread, and then washed them and dried them with a load of towels to start the felting process. I wish I'd done this twice now to get them more felty. 

Then I added a little essential oil blend (I didn't use my more costly essential oils because I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, but I have since then, and they retain the scent longer with the pure essential oils). I waited for the oil to dry too because I didn't want it to stain any of my laundry.

I didn't wrap some of the balls securely enough, as I had a couple that came undone when I put them in the dryer with laundry. You can see the ball in the lower right has a kind of cap that came off from the rest of the ball. I ended up having to cut that off when the whole ball came apart. If I were doing this again, I might consult this pin about wet felting or at least put them through the washer several more times. After three months of use, every ball had come unraveled in the dryer at least once, and I had to start all over again. And then this happened:

I used 3-4 balls per dryer load, depending on size. I liked having the extra though because sometimes one or two got lost in the previous load, and I wanted to start drying another to take advantage of the residual heat before fishing through the load I just took out. As far as fabric softener goes, I love the balls for reducing static, softening clothes, and adding a little natural scent. I've seen several claims that using dryer balls will reduce drying time, but I haven't seen that effect at all. If anything, I think my loads were taking a little longer to dry, but that may just be because it was wintertime

Double Promos in May for Close to My Heart!

For National Scrapbooking Month, Close to My Heart has two promos you can double up on! With a $50 purchase, you can get the exclusive Free to Be Me paper pack for just $5 (retail value $11.95).

Plus that $50 purchase qualifies you for the Stamp of the Month for $5 too. May's SOTM is You've Got a Friend, a set of five stamps that retails for $17.95. I love the mustache "merci beaucoup" stamp!

Join my May Online Gathering to shop!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stella & Dot May Specials

Here are the Trunk Show Exclusive Offers for May. Make a $50 purchase through a trunk show, and you can pick up any or all of these for half off!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Stella & Dot Flash Sale and March Specials

Here are the Stella & Dot Trunk Show Exclusive Offers for March.

This is the perfect opportunity to outfit yourself for an upcoming trip or vacation! Find $50 worth of other Stella & Dot goodies and then grab your La Totale to pack your weekend togs in, the Hang On for your toiletries, and the scarf and clutch to look fabulous! (The strap on the clutch can be removed and worn as a bracelet, BTW.)

Or if you're a bride-to-be, these would be great bridesmaid gifts. And how gorgeous would the Dot Bloom Necklace be with your beautiful off-white gown?

Even better, if you shop our flash sale this weekend (good through 3/2 at 9 am PST), you can pick up some super discounted accessories AND take advantage of the half off items. Just make sure you shop through this link to make sure your order goes through a trunk show.

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Stella & Dot Valentine's Day Gift Guide

If you're looking for a sparkly Valentine's Day gift, you've come to the right place! Here are my Stella & Dot picks for the best V-Day gifts.

Rose Gold Renegade Bracelet

The Renegade Bracelet is one of our absolute bestsellers, and Stella & Dot has introduced a new color in its spring line--rose gold! Now available in three colors: silver, gold, and rose gold. This was my #1 pick from the new line, the piece I just had to have!

I'd take advantage of our Trunk Show Exclusive Offers and pick up a coordinating item at half off to make the gift extra special. I have two sets of TSEO items, one that ends tomorrow and one that's good through the end of February. You can take advantage of both through Feb. 8, but you'll have to shop through this show.

I'd pair rose gold Renegade with the Love Necklace, a super versatile mixed metal charm necklace, which you can get for half off through Feb. 8 with a $50 purchase through this show.

If you have your eye on a piece and would like me to pass it on to your sweetie for Valentine's Day, let me know!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stella & Dot January Specials

Here are the Trunk Show Exclusive Offers for Stella & Dot through the end of January, perfect for Valentine's Day gifts! With a $50 purchase, you're eligible to purchase any (or all!) of these items for half off. Shop through this show to take advantage.

January is also a great time to become a stylist--you'll get an extra $100 in product credit if you sign up by January 31! This is a great special that I took advantage of when I became a stylist last year. Visit my Stella & Dot site or contact me to find out more details.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nesting Pinterest Style: A New DIY Project for 2014

I've been pretty quiet in the blogosphere lately. One reason is that I just haven't been sure in what direction I want to go with my blog after all this time; the other is that we are expecting another baby, and generally I am the most miserable pregnant lady alive.

I'm almost at seven months now, and the nesting instinct has hit me hard. When I was pregnant with Fin, I was still pretty miserable physically at this point and was on quite a few restrictions because of placenta previa, so I didn't get much done other than setting up his room. With this pregnancy, everything appears perfectly normal, and I'm in overdrive trying to clean and organize the house from top to bottom, knowing full well I won't be able to do much in the months to come.

I've decided to start a new blog project to coincide with my nesting frenzy. I've become a pretty frenetic Pinner and have found many DIY ideas on Pinterest, so I'm going to try some of them out and show you my results (good and bad). We'll call it "Nesting Pinterest Style." So far the projects I'm working on include making dryer balls and homemade hand soap, painting a straight line where two colors meet, and cleaning tough spots like grout with green(er) cleaning methods. Posts on all of these and more will be coming soon.

In the meantime, check out my Pinterest boards and follow if you wish!

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