Eco friendly, MCS* friendly (& cheap!) washing “tabs”.

(*Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)

washing tabs

You will need:

Two or three bars of “vegetable oil based” soap – I used Palmolive olive oil soap, £1 for a pack of three, or thereabouts
Essential oils if you have a scent you want, but not essential as the soap will give a delicate scent.
Washing Soda Crystals – about a third of a 1kg bag (about £1 per bag)
A good sized (three pint or more) pan
1.5 pint jug
metal spoon, (or a wooden one specifically for this job)
A grater
A flexible plastic tub or a silicone baking pan
Storage container

Get your pan, and a silicone or metal spoon – if you use a wooden one, don’t use it for food again afterwards, as it will leech out soap and ruin your food!

Grate all your soap. Put a pint and a half of boiling water (from the kettle into the pan to save time and electricity), and put it on high enough a heat to keep it very hot, but don’t boil it.

Add a little of the grated soap at a time, sprinkle it on the top of the water so it doesn’t clump back up again, and gently stir it in. Do this until all your soap is dissolved into the water. This may take a little while. You can now turn off the heat under your pan.

Get yourself a jug, and put the soda crystals in, and make it up to a pint and a half – stir well. It likely won’t all dissolve just yet, but give it a good stir and pour it into your hot soap “soup”.

It should be a little thicker now than it was. Add your essential oils now if you are using them, and mix well.

While it’s still hot, pour or ladle out a layer into your baking pan, about half an inch thick. You don’t have to be exact. If it’s winter, you can place this outside or on a windowsill to cool quickly. When it’s set – you can test this by tipping the pan or pushing up the bottom – use a plastic knife to cut it into rectangles about the size of a dishwasher tab, no bigger. Or if you don’t have a plastic knife you can tip the whole thing out onto a chopping board and use a normal knife – just don’t use a normal knife on your silicone bakeware!

Just repeat this process until you have “set” and chopped up all your mix into chunks.

Stick these in a container or old ice cream tub, and use one of those little drawstring string bags, so for each load, put one or two chunks in, depending on the level of dirt on your washing. You don’t need to use fabric softener either, your clothing will come out soft without it.

I have been using these for months now. Give them a go – your health and your planet will thank you!


Hair Clip Revamp – easy, cheap & eco friendly!

Hair clip R (3)

I was putting one of these in one day when part of the colour layer just fell off:

Hair clip R (1)

I figured that if it could “fall” off, it could also “peel” off, and so I could reuse the clips, and put another colour on them.

This was good news since I had some in a really icky yellow colour that I never wore, so I set about peeling the colour off the other matching one, and the two yellow ones, just to try it out.

Hair clip R (2)

I figured the best thing to try first to add colour would be nail varnish. With it being acrylic, and having remover to hand if it all went a bit wrong.

I had some matt finish in black and dark purple, and having dark hair, and not wanting them to stand out too much, I figured they would work well.

All I did was clip them onto a magazine, and paint the varnish on. I had to do a couple of layers to get it to the thickness I wanted. I have a feeling had I used gloss it would have been a lot thicker.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t just buy the plain ones to do this, rather than peeling the colour off. Or paint over the top of it, even.

Hair clip R (5)

The great thing about this is that you can paint your clips to match your nails or your outfit or your jewellery, or whatever you like and can get the colour for!

It’s so cheap you could even argue that if you already have everything it’s even practically free! Especially if you use one of those varnishes that’s past its best, or there’s too little left to do a full set of nails. It’s also eco friendly since you’re saving them from being thrown away. It’s quick – you can paint them in minutes, and then you only have to wait as long as the varnish takes to dry.

Hair clip R (4)

And there’s no reason why you couldn’t embellish them with flat-backed gems or paint them with stripes or spots or whatever too.

Knitted tea cozy for Bodum teapot.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.


I’ve never made a tea cozy before. Mostly because I haven’t really used a teapot much, mostly because I am usually alone, and can’t justify making that amount of tea for myself. My large teapot is still in a box somewhere. This one is a far more manageable size, about two mugs worth, and so given my recent increase in herbal and sencha tea I figured it would be handy to have one to keep it hotter for longer. And you may have gathered, I don’t buy things if I can make them instead.

This, despite how it might appear, is a very basic, easy to make cozy. I guessed the size I needed, and (using what I *think* is double knit, and number 8 [old English] needles) cast on 100 stitches. This made it a lot easier to divide it up for hole placement, for example. It consists of a single rectangle of a 1×1 rib at the bottom, and the rest is a 5×5 rib.

Its finished shape reminds me of the dried poppy seed heads I used to see near my home at the end of summer.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.

There are two holes for the handle, simple cast off on one row, and casting the lost stitches back on in the next, as you would for a button hole. You can do this this way because unlike most teapots this Bodum one has a separate glass “bowl” that you can unclip from the plastic “holder” section – you take it off and thread the handle through the holes before popping the glass section back in.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.
Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.

And then the drawstring goes through a row of single stitch button holes, one in the middle of each of the 5×5 rib sections. It is sewn up the front just enough to part for the spout.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.

It opens right up and scrunches down so you can fill it, and then you just pull it back up, and tie the drawstring again. You don’t have to worry about it dropping off en route to the table, and you don’t have to lift it off to pour.

The cord is lucet braided, but you could just as easily use a single chain of crochet, or contrasting colour cord instead if you don’t have a lucet.

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.


I’m quite happy with how it turned out, given that I completely winged the entire thing, just holding it up against it every now and again, and trying to imagine how it would look once it was sewn up and wrapped around. I haven’t seen one like it, anyway, and I do like to be individual. 🙂

Purple poppy seed head tea cozy.