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The Frugal Homemaker - Reducing Electricity Consumption
As an artist I'm always fighting the need to create! I love exploring new mediums, but I need to be mindful that it's not just stuff I need to make. I'm trying really hard to focus my energy on making things that although might be art in nature, they are usable and useful to a greater degree. For years I steered away from tangible art such as sculpting and painting in lieu of using my home as a canvas.
There are many ways to use your home as a canvas. To me the most beautiful homes are the creative spaces that Ooze personality.
Reducing Hydro Consumption - The Dryer!
Whenever possible ditch the dryer and opt for hanging your laundry outside and inside. I have high ceilings and it only makes sense that heat rises and I have some valuable real estate up there. I designed a drying rack that I can hoist up into the ceiling after loading it up with wet laundry. With the wood cookstove going (or any heat source as all heat rises) the laundry will be dry in no time. My drying rack is 8' x 4' spruce 2' x2'. I used marine grade cording to weave through holes I spaced out in the smallest side of the rack. There is a pulley attached in the centre of the ceiling and another pulley attached to the wall as a guide . When I need to lower the drying rack I simply let the lead down tie it off, and hang laundry, then pull it back up into the ceiling. I designed it this way so it can be taken down and stored in the summer months. The kids have let me know that in no uncertain terms it's suppose to free of laundry in the day light hours because they don't want the laundry on rack to fall from the sky and kill them... Kids! It's safe, if you decide to create something like this make sure you construct the frame with lots of supports where the wood connects to each other. I went overboard and use “L” brackets and flat bracket in all corners. It's also very important to use the proper cord, something that's rated for the load (weight) you plan on putting on the rack, same goes for the pulleys be sure they are rated for the load you will be carrying.
Another Tip for reducing the dryer's effect on your hydro bill is to use dryer balls. Dryer balls help separate your wet laundry when tumbling, in doing so it lets the air in the dryer circulate more efficiently which speeds up drying time. You can purchase commercial plastic dryer balls or use tennis balls, but both have their draw backs. Plastic dryer balls, no matter how much they advertise non-toxic, your heating up plastic which over time breaks down and emits chemicals into your clothes and air. Tennis balls are hard on the drum of your dryer, causing dents and they can be extremely loud. Making your own dryer balls is simple and cost effective. Wool is by far the best fibre to make dryer balls. It's absorbs 30% of its own weight in moisture. It's helps reduce static and they can be scented with essentials oikls to give your laundry a fresh hint of lavender. Use roving, wind into a ball approx 9” - 10” in diameter. Stuff the balls into a nylon stocking and tie close to the ball so it will keep it's round shape. You'll need to repeat this six or more times. You should be able to put at least 6 balls into one leg of a pair of nylons. It's easier to snip the a leg at the undie part to reduce the possibility of tangling in the wash. When your ready, wash the long nylon encased roving balls in a hot water cycle then toss them into the dryer, repeat this step at least 3 times. This process felts the balls so they won't unravel. Once you think they are done, untie the stocking and release the dryer balls. From now on when you use your dryer, you probably won't use it too much because it's bad for the environment and it saves you money to line dry, but when you do, place all 6 balls in with your wet laundry and let them do their job. TIP: Leave your dryer balls in the dryer when you take the load out so they are ready for the next load.
Upcycling and Recycling
My focus is upcycling and recycling when possible, like turning old sheets and blankets into new blankets and braided throw rugs. I've taken old Pj's and expired towels and the like and turned them into reusable FBW aka reusable bum fluff for those in the home who are so inclined. I had planned a space for year round gardening and this is in the works and thriving! See the picture at the top of this Hub. I'm still excited about designing a space for herbs and small veggies plants that can tolerate indoor cultivation.
FBW's are greener than toilet paper and so inexpensive almost free to make! You don't have to use them exclusively, and having a back up stash of FBW's for those times when you forgot to pick up TP at the grocery store is a huge relief, have you ever run out of toilet paper? I have cloth diapered all my children, instead of tossing diaper wipes to the trash bin I used FBW's instead, just so you know, reusable baby wipes are really adult FBW's in disguise. With all this information, if you're still not convinced , I'm telling you that having a bag of these babies hanging by you're toilet is a great conversation started at your next party or family get together. Bigger is not always better when making FBW's. Cut two flannel squares approximately 6” x 6” out of worn out Pj's or other fabric you may have relegated to the rag pile. Surge around the edge, snip the end and voila! You have your first FBW. We have a don't ask, don't tell policy in our home, takes the pressure off.
I'll be posting some more Tips in future Hubs, don't worry the there is only one more out there idea, the rest will be fine for the faint of heart.