How I Do Laundry By Hand

I recently moved across the country to Kansas… it was a move that downsized me from a spacious 1,000 square feet of multiple rooms to a small studio apartment. And so, there is no washer and dryer available except at the laundromat. It might be just me, but I personally think that spending $40-$45 a month to get my underpants clean is a little exorbitant. For contrast, my monthly water bill was only $9 for dish washing, showering, laundry, etc. Big difference!

Breathing Mobile Washer


I picked myself up a Breathing Mobile Washer (this thing is amazing at agitating and washing clothes), two buckets from the dollar store, and got down to business. Luckily my bathtub is a pretty large square, so I just climb right into the tub to get everything clean.

  1. Put about 1-2 teaspoons of laundry detergent in the bucket. Shake out your dirty laundry a bit to remove large particles, then put it in and fill with water. I will use hot water for underwear and socks; if the clothes are really dirty, I will also add about 1/4 cup white vinegar to disinfect. (If there are clothing items with stains, I have a brush just for laundry that I will use to scrub and get everything clean.)
  2. Then, use the breathing mobile washer to agitate for a few seconds, just to get all the clothes soaked and wet, and let sit for about 30 minutes to loosen the grimy stuff.
  3. Come back, agitate with the washer, I usually go for about 2-5 minutes, and then pour out the dirty water. It will dirty/filthy/disgusting. I’ve found that the breathing mobile washer is incredible at getting everything clean.
  4. Add more clean water. If it’s stinky stuff, (e.g. husband socks) I will add about 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Agitate it a bit to dissolve and distribute it, and then let it soak for about 30 more minutes. Baking soda is great at taking out smells. (I’ll even sprinkle it on my carpet, let it sit, and then vacuum. Awesome.)
  5. Agitate to rinse, and then pour out the water. And then rinse it a second time. I find that the second rinse just makes everything… more excellent. The whole process doesn’t really take a lot of water, and the second rinse is worth the extra clean and softness.
  6. After dumping out the water from the second rinse, wring clothes and hang to dry. I find that either pressing the clothes against the side of the bathtub, or pressing them flat against the bottom is easier than twisting in my hands.

I hang my clothes to dry on a clothesline that I had my husband put up in the apartment. It consists of eye hooks, a carabiner, and a cleat so that it can be taken down and set up in a flash. And it only cost me under $10, including the cost of the clothesline.

Also, one of my favorite stores is Lehman’s. They provide a lot of merchandise to the Amish and non-electric community, and their products are awesome. You can grab the hand washer from them for about $20, and they sell a lot of ingredients to make your own laundry detergent.

Can you tell that I’d feel right at home in a cabin by the sea? One day… one day.

(Since moving to Kansas, the only thing I really miss is the sea!)


Plastic Stencil – DIY & Pyrography

I recently finished up some bar stool pyrography:

It was very easy! I used the Creative Woodburning Value Tool from Walnut Hollow. You screw in the tip you want to use, (I used the cone and shader), wait about 5 minutes, and go! Like anything, the temperature will fluctuate, but I found out the hard way that it’s more of an art than a science. The design will come from time, pressure, and apparently, finesse, but I don’t think I did too bad of a job!

But first, my design needed to be sketched on with a stencil, and I found a few easy ways to do it:

  • Draw your design, or print it out. Outline in black permanent, or dark marker if you drew it.
  • Grab some stencil plastic, cheap translucent binders from the office supply store… any sheet of thick plastic.
  • Trace with permanent marker!
  • Grab a craft/utility knife, and start cutting over either glass (with taped edges so you do not cut yourself, trust me!)  or a cutting mat.


Period Crochet – Long Treble (& Crochet Snood Pattern)

I’m in the process of making some snoods for the upcoming Ren-season… (Alright, crocheted snoods are more of a 1940’s thing, but snoods were cool back then, too. Just… not crocheted. But who will know? Kekeke…)

And one of the stitches I’ve encountered from 1942 is the “long treble”. What the what?

Well, thank goodness for the Godey’s Lady’s Book of January 1857 for they have been so kind to clarify it for us:

Long Treble Crochet.– Pass the thread three times, before drawing it through the stitch, thus having five loops on the needle. Draw the thread through two at a time, until all are taken off. This will require four movements.


  • Wrap the thread around your hook three times.
  • Poke your hook through wherever it is you want to be making your stitch, and draw up a loop.
  • You should now have five loops total on your hook.
  • Draw through only two loops at a time, until you are all done. (You should only be doing this four times.)

Go forth and snood yourself.

(Just a note: I don’t use a ribbon, I just crochet it right to an elastic headband thing. It’s easy. And when I’m out all day in the sun at the faire… the last thing I want to be doing is fiddling with something. To do this: don’t tie off your end, just pick up your hair elastic, and throw about two or three sc’s in each “hole” to attach it.)

Crochet Afghan – Easy Butterfly Stitch

You need:

  • 31 oz. worsted weight yarn.
  • Crochet hook J (6mm)


  • Ch. 167
  • Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and next 3 ch *ch 2, skip next 2 ch, sc in next ch, ch 2, skip next 2 ch, dc in next 5 ch; rep from * across; turn.
  • Row 2: Ch 3, skip first dc, dc in next 4 dc, *ch 3, sl st in sc, ch 3, dc in next 5 dc; rep from * across, working last dc in top of ch-3; turn.
  • Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first 5 dc, * ch 5, sc in next 5 dc; rep from * across, working last sc in top of ch-3; turn.
  • Row 4: Ch 3, skip first sc, dc in next 4 sc, * ch 2, sc in ch-5 sp, ch 2, dc in next 5 sc; rep from * across; turn.
  • Repeat from row 2 until desired length is reached. Add fringe if you’re that kind of person.

Easter Cookies

My mom and I will be tackling cookies for Easter. Holiday cookies are apparently all around holiday cookies.

You need:

2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup or 2 sticks of softened butter/margarine
1 egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl (electric mixer on medium) until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually beat in dry mixture on low until well mixed. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight until firm.

Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut. Place on greased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute. Place on wire racks and cool completely.

For the icing:
Mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 3 1/2 teaspoons of milk, 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and food coloring if you want. Mix until smooth.

Stash-Busting Shawl

Amy’s Gypsy Stash-Busting Shawl

Notes: It’s easy. Really. I had a bunch of Caron One Pound, so I used that – that’s what’s in the picture. I’m also one of those people that counts a ch3 as a dc at the beginning of a row.

Hook: 9.0 mm
Yarn: Worsted Weight (10-ply if that’s how you roll)

Begin with a magic loop or ch3 and slst in first ch to make a circle.

Row 1: ch3 (counts as first dc) 2dc, ch2, 3dc.
Row 2: ch3, turn, 2dc in first stitch, ch1, [3dc ch2 3dc] in ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in last dc(t-ch).
Row 3: ch3, turn, 2dc in first stitch, ch1, 3dc in ch1 space, ch1, [3dc ch2 3dc] in ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in ch1 space, ch1, 3dc in last dc(t-ch).
Rows 4-24: continue with above pattern.
Row 25: ch4, turn, 2tr in first dc. 1tr in each stitch until corner – then [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space, then 1tr in each stitch until last dc(t-ch). put 3tr in last dc(t-ch).
Row 26 & 27: repeat row 25.
Row 28: ch4, turn, 2tr in first stitch. skip next 3 stitches. *ch1, 3tr in next stitch* repeat until corner – (you will have one tr right before ch2 space. ignore it.) – [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space. skip the next tr, 3tr in next stitch, continue between *’s, 3tr in last tr(t-ch).
Row 29: ch4, turn, 2tr in first stitch, *ch1, 3tr in ch1 space* until corner. [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space, then continue between *’s, 3tr in last tr(t-ch).
Row 30-32: repeat row 29.

Finish off, add fringe as desired.


My mom: “Do you have that blanket thing that I could borrow to go trick-or-treating with Alexa?”
Me: “You mean… my cloak? That I use for re-enacting?”

My cloak is one of my favorite things. It’s warm, it was easy, and it was one of the first things I ever made.

  • If you’re lucky and you have a large 60″ piece of fabric – Measure how long you want it to be. I measured from the hollow of my throat between my clavicles down to where I wanted it, which happened to be my ankles. Or you could measure down your back. Use the longest measurement. When it’s all said and done, let it hang for a while, and then cut off what you don’t need. (So the bias can stretch.)
  • Cut a piece of string that long, including seam allowance at the neck (if you want to do a neckhole) and hem allowance.
  • Pin or sew it to one end of your fabric, and swing it around with a pencil or something at the end until you have a half circle. You can stop here and hem it. Or sew another half circle together with it and have a full circle cloak.
  • If you wanted a neck hole, you need to take the measurement of how long you wanted it and add the radius of your neckhole. Then pattern out the half circle or circle.
  • If it *really* doesn’t sit on your shoulders, even after a neck hole, add darts at the shoulder that end at your acromioclavicular joint. Human osteology is coming in handy, here, eh? eh?
  • So, the chances of finding a giant piece of fabric that big that is also affordable might not be as great as finding a narrower width. Sew a few widths of fabric together. Or pattern it out in fourths of the circle.
  • When lining the cloak, sew the layers together at the side seams. Do not sew the layers together at the bottom – it won’t drape in an awesome, swishy, way. Cut the lining layer(s) a little shorter than the outer so it doesn’t show. Or if it’s not swishy enough, maybe weight the hem with a wide hem allowance, facing, or something.

And now mom is going to get her own cloak.
My favorite fabrics for cloaks:

  • Wool. Warm, repels water, and classic.
  • Twill with fleece lining. Tough exterior, and warm inside.
  • Georgette. (Getting married…) I might just become good friends with basting spray…


Amy’s Low Cal Margarita’s

6 oz. diet lemon lime soda
1.5 oz. lime juice
2 shots tequila (leave it out for virgin)
1 rounded teaspoon (I use one packet of to-go) Crystal Light or whatever

Blend with ice if you like it thick.
Pour over ice if you like it cold.

Sugar Cookies!

Not only are cookies a staple of my winter holiday giving – they are delicious. Everyone loves cookies, they’re inexpensive to make, and I’m always too poor to give everyone anything else. But luckily, no one minds…

These are a little more involved than my ‘so-easy-you-could-sleep-through-it’ cookies, but easy nonetheless.

-1½ cups powdered sugar
-1 cup softened butter or margarine
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-½ teaspoon almond extract
-1 egg
-2½ cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Divide dough into halves.
Roll each half 3/16″ thick on a lightly floured board.
Cut into whatever shape you want and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake until edges are light brown – about 7 to 8 minutes.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies, if they’re small/medium.