The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Project 365: Week 12 & 13 April 1, 2013


See the box in the upper left corner? My fish somehow found a way to jump in there.


We went to Camping World and now I know my retirement plans, RV baby ūüôā


My two favorite men


I guess someones houseboat sunk in the river.


Snow in March, oh boy


Purchased a wooden Z and covered it in yarn and put some flowers and buttons on it. I love it!



Movie night



Movie Night, again



My sweet little guy



Made my spring wreaths


reupholstering my love seat


My owl book ends were wooden and I spray painted them white.



Painted one of my moms old birdhouses and hung it in the back yard


This is before


Hung my Z on the wall


Sewing Burlap Curtains with Lace March 11, 2013

Filed under: Postaday2013 — Sheena @ 12:00 pm
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I have been trying to lighting up my dining room because 2 walls are knotty pine and the other 2 are drywall. All that pine along with hardwood floors and a bamboo table I needed something to break the darkness up. I added a new rug thinking that would break the hardwoods with the table and it did but I still was not happy. I needed curtains, so I set out to make new curtains out of burlap.

This was my first time trying to make something that big but I would not let that stop me. 20130308_083304

First step: I had to purchase the burlap. I ordered a bolt online of 10 yards for about $29.00 ( I did not use all ten yards)

I also purchased a new curtain rod, threads, lace ribbon, lace, and canvas.

The canvas came from the packaging from my new comforter. It arrived from Anthropologie wrapped all fancy in a canvas roll. I seam ripped the labels off and I was good to go.


After a few days of waiting my shipment finally my burlap arrived. I cut 2 pieces of 90 inches each ( I had a 4 inch rod pocket and a 4 inch bottom seam) The width was perfect (40 inches) so I didn’t have to mess with that.

I pinned the lace to the bottom of the burlap and sew

Added one layer of canvas (ruffled) pin on the seam if the lace ribbon and sew

Added another layer of canvas pin and sew

Turnover and hot glued lace under first canvas layer and bottom canvas layer


After, I had the bottom finished I needed to make the tie backs. This small task wore on my patience because I have never sown a button or a buttonhole with my machine, or any machine before. It took me over 3 hours to get this down to a science but I never gave up. I sown around all edges and added a bit of lace via hot glue on the ends. I was very happy with the result.


I am new to sewing so it took me a lot longer than a normal seamstress. It was a total of 6 hours but I am in love with them!



How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent (HE Washer Safe) November 25, 2012

I am frugal by choice. I like to save money by making things we use everyday. This way, we can use the money we save to splurge on things that we enjoy in life.  One of the things I make is our laundry detergent. I honestly do not have any idea why we have so much laundry to do in the first place. It is just the husband and I living here and we have no human children, just our fur babies. I would say I do at least 2-3 loads/day. When I started writing this blog it was about noon and I had already done 2 loads of laundry. I know that will not be it for the day, because when my husband gets home from hunting I will have plenty more.

Maybe the problem is me. I will admit that I tend to wash anything and everything that will fit into my washer. That means rugs, shower curtains, floor mats,comforters, pillows, dog beds, etc.  If it fits, it ships gets washed. I am sure this stems from my fear of my house stinking. You know when you walk into someones house and it has its own odor? For example, if a home has pets living inside, people smoke inside, or they cook a lot it can have its own smell. Our house is older home and I fear it may develop its own scent. I know, it is an odd fear to have but still there is nothing wrong with having cleanly washed things, right?

I have had many people ask me for the recipe and I could have sworn I blogged it previously but I could not find the post. So, here it is with easy to follow directions and pictures. It is so simple, just 3 ingredients, and easy to do you will wish you have tried it sooner.

To start off, we need a bar of soap. The soap I use is called Fels Naptha.  It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle.

You may use Ivory soap. It will work just fine but I have tried both and I feel that Fels Naptha is better at stain removal than Ivory. I purchased mine at Kroger for $1/bar.


Next, you will need to grate the soap where it can be¬†easily¬†melted in boiling water. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe and it doesn’t take too long.

Tip: You can use a food processor to do the job but the soap will not be as fine.


Add 12 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the soap and stir contiguously until all the soap is dissolved.


Once the soap is dissolved, stir in 1 cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda.

Please note: Washing soda should not confused with baking soda.  They are not the same thing.  Washing soda is sodium carbonate and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

The brand I use is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.  I have no trouble finding it and the Borax in the laundry section at my local Kroger.


Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Tip: Place a wooden spoon over the pot to help it from boiling over.


Many people use a 5 gallon bucket to store it in, not me. I think it looks a bit trashy sitting in the laundry room floor. I use a Tupperware like clear container. Since it about 1/2 the size of the 5 gallon bucket, I use only 1/2 cup vs the 1 cup that the original recipe called for. Fill it 1/2 full with warm water and pour your hot mixture in. Stir and add more water until the mixture reaches the top.


You may add your own “smelly good” oils to the mix. I use 1 oz of Tea Tree oil because I have¬†sensitive¬†skin and love the smell.

This is an optional step and can be left out. Your soap will still smell great.


Let it sit overnight.

It will become a slimy gloppy substance, like a watery gel once it has settled. Mix the gel until it becomes a thick liquid. I have read different methods of doing this. Some people using a drill with a mixer attachment or a hand held kitchen mixer. Me, I use my hands. I feel childish, but it is fun breaking up the slim as it slides in-between your fingers.

As you can see, I even have laundry going in the background ūüôā


Transfer the soap into empty laundry bottles. A large kitchen spoon works well. My soap mixture is never¬†perfectly¬†smooth, it always has lumps.Once it is in the bottles, I go to shaking as hard as I can. It is like DIY “shake weights.” ¬†That helps break the lumps up even better but still there are going to be some.

I shake the bottle every time before I use it. This makes sure it is mixed well because the liquid can settle and separate while sitting on the shelf.


The soap is a low sudsing soap; if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  The suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap thus this is prefect for HE washers.

How much am I saving?

This recipe cost me about $1.21 to make and will wash about 128 loads.That is less than a penny/load!

I normally only have to make this twice a year. When I run out all I have to buy is another bar of soap. There is still plenty Washing Soda and Broax left for about 4 more batches. Super cheap to make and can save loads of cash. I have been making this for over 2 years now and it washes just as well, if not better, as Tide does. I have even compared the 2 side by side like they do on TV. This is a good way to be green and save some green. Enjoy your soap making.


Project 365: Week 44 November 4, 2012


Big Storm Sandy


After the storm passed Mt. LeConte had 32 inches of snow


I love Halloween Candy



Halloween in Market Square, Fire Dancers.


My new Snow Owl


Ready for Thanksgiving


Maya’s new bed


Make Do with What You‚Äôve Got – Dog Bed November 3, 2012

Filed under: postaday2012 — Sheena @ 6:34 pm
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The number one rule in our house is not to waste anything. We try to be¬†sustainable¬†and have as little impact on the earth as possible. I am always tiring to be “green” about my store purchases and try to make what I can instead of buying ready-to-use items. Always, back to the the reason I started writing this blog. While we were on vacation my crazy dog decided to¬†wreak havoc on our bedroom. She¬†destroyed¬†the following in the matter of hours.

  • Comforter
  • Area Rug
  • Her Dog Bed
  • The Other Dogs Bed
  • The Door
  • The Wall
  • Surge Protector
  • PJ
  • etc

I have to replace all these things due to me being anal about my bedroom being clean and organized. On a side note, if my mother reads this she is going to think I’m nuts because growing up I had a messy room,a messy car, everything messy. 10 years later, I get mad if someone leaves a candy wrapper in my car or my bed isn’t made perfectly.

While I can can buy the small dog bed for next to nothing at the store the X-Large dog bed is well over $50 and that is for a cheap one. Solution, I let my fingers do the walking to Pinterest. There I found a no-sew dog bed.

  • 2 fleece blankets (cut the ends and tie together)
  • Egg crate mattress (had extra one in the attic)

Total $5.00


The Count Down Begins to Hallows‚Äô Eve June 1, 2012

Filed under: postaday2012 — Sheena @ 11:53 am
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I know it seems a little too early to be thinking about, but I am looking for Halloween crafts for our annual Halloween party. I only have 152 days left until the big day and I don’t want it to thrown together. Halloween is one of my¬†favorite¬†holidays and I want it to be great this year. I have already planted my pumpkin patch in hopes of having a¬†heaping¬†load of Jack-O-Lanterns¬†this year. I have been searching on Pinterest crafty ideas and even been shopping on eBay for extra strop lights but the main thing I have been pondering on is my costume.

I don’t like to dress up in a pretty,¬†slutty, costume like most girls on Halloween. I like mine to be scary looking. ¬†Last year my friend and I dressed up as vampires from¬†Twilight. Not the pretty ones, the ones that have fangs and red eyes (we did put¬†glitter¬†all over us ¬†for kicks) however the fangs we got wouldn’t stay on and we ended up looking like zombies. I have been throwing around a few ideas but still not dead set on anything yet and it is¬†driving¬†me crazy.

.Halloweenhalloween makeup Halloween MakeupHalloween makeup agridulceAmazing halloween makeup.

I found some really sweet makeup ideas. I don’t know if I am that talented to be able to¬†mimic¬†them but I would love to give it a try.

I also found some pretty good craft ideas for the party on Pinterest. It’s not much but it is a start. Oh I cant wait it is going to be great!

Owl + HalloweenYou have to love scary not-scary-at-all decorations for Halloween

Adams Scary Apples29 Creepy, Spooky, Scary, Gross and Disgusting Halloween RecipesScary Halloween candles

Halloween fun fact:

The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.


Project 365: Week 51 January 2, 2012

I know I am super late but I have been out of town since before Christmas and just arrived home today. Here are the pictures from week 51.


I made this gift for my friend and couldn’t post it until I gave it to her. I love it!


Saw this recipe and I so want to try it out!


My warm drink at Calhoun’s Brewery – Liquid Snickers yummy


Mr. Mal took the wheel on the way to Nashville and let me have a break.


Mr. Z and Miss Sis


Christmas at Grandma Zarb’s House

imageSuper cute!