Category Archives: simple life

DIY household cleaners

0c6fbaabce5a1b1f55bd1bf593d64606To make a simple and effective household cleaner, you need not look outside your home!  We fight even the toughest stains on our white kitchen ceramic sink with baking soda (our wood stove coats most of our cast iron pans in a soot to be seen, when we wash them our sink becomes scarred and marked, this is a revolution for our home)!  We spray everything down with the cleaning anti-bacterial essential oils of tea tree and lemon and water.  For tough messes, simply combine all of the said ingredients with some vinegar or lemon juice and water and you have the tough action fighting cleaner!

DIY All Purpose Household Spray
10 drops essential oil of your choice (lavender is also anti-bacterial, oregano oil is extremely antimicrobial, etc.)Water to fill your spray bottle

DIY Gritty Household Scrub
5 drops essential oil
2 tablespoons of Dr. Bronners liquid soap
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
mix all ingredients in a mason jar.  It will make a thick paste.  Use on the counter, in the sink, to clean out any ceramic coffee mug with stains, all enamelware (you know we love those!)

For the living room, look in your first aid kit!  Hydrogen peroxide cleans stains on your carpet, your couch, your throw pillows, and your rugs!

And for the redwood we have all around our home, we like to polish with a simple solution of 1 cup olive oil plus the juice of one lemon (or orange, or both! it’s citrus season, after all!).  The cabinets smell so delicious and look beautiful, too.

We don’t have a single “locked” cabinet in our home.  I want to keep my children safe and having all natural home-made cleaners keeps me resting assured that they are.  It also aligns just dandy with our money budget!

What cleaner do you make yourself?

Winter Solstice

glitter and grit

Perhapsfor a moment
the typewriters will stop clicking,
the wheels stop rolling
the computers desist from computing,
and a hush will fall over the city.
For an instant, in the stillness,
the chiming of the celestial spheres
will be heard
as earth hangs poised
in the crystalline darkness, and then
Let there be a season
when holiness is heard, and
the splendor of living is revealed.
Stunned to stillness by beauty
we remember who we are and why we
are here.
There are inexplicable mysteries.
We are not alone.
In the universe there moves a Wild One
whose gestures alter the earth’s axis
toward love.
In the immense darkness
everything spins with joy.
The cosmos enfolds us.
We are caught in a web of stars,
cradled in a swaying embrace,
rocked by the holy night,
babes of the universe.

Let this be the time
we wake to life,like spring wakes, in the moment
of winter solstice.

a poem by Rebecca Parker

Building a School Bus into a Home, Structure of a Housebus

Often people are amazed when they step foot into our bus.  They can’t believe we did it in a year.  They can’t believe most of our materials were from the local landfill.  They can’t believe we lived in a three-walled structure while we built.  They can’t believe it all.  Mostly.

Often, people ask why we did it.  How we did it.

We did it for a lot of reasons.  When Cody and I first met, I told him of my dream of selling fried egg sandwiches from a school bus.  The dream was nothing like my current reality (which–honest–is far better than I could have even imagined in my wildest dreams).  He thought I was abstract.  Until a year and a half later he was working for this man named Leaf, pruning his apple trees, and saw his school bus.  His bus is parked next to his house.  He still uses it as his man cave.  His special place.  Cody came right home and said “We can do this.  I could build a house on a bus.”  If you can imagine how fast I jumped on the world wide web to find our very own school bus, then you wouldn’t imagine it fast enough.  Within a week I found our bus, within two we had purchased our sweet 1988 Carpenter (how fitting) School Bus.  It was from San Juan/Aromas school district.  Right south of our neck of the woods!  Drives like a dream over the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Drives like a dream.

We had been living for nine months in a sweet little back house two blocks from Pleasure Point beach, loving every moment of it.  We spent about $15,000 in rent in the same time it takes to gestate a baby from scratch.  I couldn’t believe it when I calculated the total.  Our lease was up in a month and we weren’t sure were we would move.  The bus sure got that ball rolling.  We knew it was radical in our time.  People don’t live in buses anymore.  And we don’t want to be rolling gypsies.  We wanted to build a home.  We wanted to plant roots.  We just weren’t sure where.  We are from different parts of the country.  The bus afforded us time to figure out where to plant ourselves.  The bus opened up our opportunity to build our very own home, to become home owners!  We were ecstatic.

And how did we do it?  With a lot of help, a lot of planning, a lot of research, a lot of just doing it.  Fast.

A frequent Glitter & Grit reader, Tim recently inquired about how we did it, structurally.  He asked for pictures of the process.  He inspired this post.  I’d love to outline the structure, the steps, the work involved behind the scenes making the bus.

Here is Cody making the first cut!  This was a huge step.  I believe that often any decision is better than indecision.  I think, too, sometimes just making the first move is the best move.  And, here’s our first big move.  The first cut, y’all.

Welding up the “ribs” which were one inch steel tubing.  The redwood beams we had locally milled at a great price were further milled by Leaf and Cody to fit snug around these one inch steel tubing “ribs”.

Attaching the beautiful arched beams from one side of ribs to the next, in order to hold the walls in place.

Filling in the roof with redwood from the local landfill, perfected with the planer.

A view from the top.  The farm and the beautiful recycled wood.  I love this view.

Overcast day.  Perfect for creating a place for the sheet metal roofing pieces to slide up into their locations.

In order to keep our bus waterproof while we built the outer membrane, we left the inner membrane on and built up.  This allowed for just enough space to weld on the one inch steel tubing and attach the redwood beams and even build the roof.  Once the new roof was waterproof we began taking off the inner membrane, no longer needed, so that we could begin building the two lofts.

Why didn’t we take off the entire roof to begin with?
So that the structure of the bus would remain in tact, on top of being waterproof while we built the exterior new roof.  If we took everything off, the walls may have fallen out, or at least they would not have been level and tight.  By waiting to take off the inner membrane of the bus, we maintained the original structural integrity of the bus.

Preparing to take off the last bit of the bus’s original structure.  We had so much help from friends and family, without which we would not have been able to complete our bus so happily!

I’d like to write the entire process and show you pictures, too.  If you have specific questions and want them included in this series, please email to glitterandgrit (at) gmail (dot) com

Lists and Bags & Bags and Lists

These are just a few bags I love right now (click on each photo to be directed to the credit/retailer). (I’m learning how to make those fancy posts where you crop the photo to just include the item, then have it floating next to a number, and below the floating images you list their sources.)  I love bags.  I have even been known to put small bags inside of bigger bags.  This system helps to keep my baskets and bags very well-organized.

When you have a toddler, you must have bags.  I have a new bag idea right now (and Stripe sells bag number one, that’s the perfect bag for this venture): an out-and-about-supplies bag.  We don’t have a lot of toys for Willa because I believe that the world provides toys in natural form–rocks, sticks, and all of the like, which ultimately harness my daughter’s imagination–and in my effort to recreate toys I end up setting my child back.  But recently I bought a garden spade and a rake (the real deal, no-nonsense, Willa needs industrial tools at the park and beach!) and right now they lay about in our daily basket, wondering if they will ever have a home.  I am going to give them a home today.

I’ve told you before that I’m a list person, I make lists for everything, really, you should see my home, and you don’t want to see my mind, it’s a library of stacks (you know, shelves in the library) of books, many of which contain lists.  I have lists on the inside of cabinet doors (my calendar, does that count as a list? it’s on the inside of my bathroom cabinet); I have a “keep eyes peeled for…” list on the cork board on the freezer; I have lists in my Glitter & Grit journal, published or soon to be, like this one; I have a 2012 bubble vision board list on my desk wall, I have a “To Do Today” list, for every day; a grocery list/menu in my food journal; a list of mothers I love by my letter supplies (the day to appreciate your mother is just around the corner, but don’t get me started on appreciation and holidays.  I told you a little about it in this post some time ago); and a wedding planning list inside the wedding binder.  When I write this, it sounds like I’m über organized, I’m not.  But without lists and bags (for systems), I’d be a basket case without the basket.  Really.

So, it’s Saturday, and I just wanted to tell you that I love bags and I love lists and they keep me very grounded.  What keeps you grounded? 

Happy weekend!

It’s May Day!

I love being my daughter’s mother, this spring.  Happy Beltane!  Spring is really here and in full swing, it’s May Day; half way between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.  Santa Cruz weather sheds layers of the morning fog by noon time feast and I’m in love.  Our life looks bright.  We are planning our summer trip to canoe camp in July in the Sierras.  We are hoping to have an intimate camping adventure where we discuss our vows.  I’ll bet you can help: what are your thoughts on marriage?  What are your spring plans?  And summer trips?  Oh May, I’m so glad you’re here!

Photo Credit: Nichole Martin, Cole Christine Photography