Green 'n clean carpet follow-up

I meant to spend some time with a few rugs this past weekend, testing out the Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo. Between Fox officially crawling (and trying to crawl up the stairs) and prepping for a 30 day detox I didn't get to all of the rugs, but I did try out the goods.

The EFP shampoo is more concentrated than the Bissell (uses 1.5 oz to Bissell's recommended 2.5 oz). It also uses essential oils for fragrance rather than artificial fragrance, which meant I didn't end up with a migraine post-use. In fact, the EFP fragrance was pretty much undetectable after the rug dried, the Bissell lingered for the next 24 hours or so.

Did it clean as well? Absolutely. I cleaned this small rug from C's and my bedroom, one that sees the most traffic in that room. Though it's relatively new, it needed some attention. For several weeks M had a nighttime cough that I approached with Hyland's Cough Syrup (disappointingly, I realized it has Sodium Benzoate, so out it goes) and raw, local honey. There were spots of gunk across the carpet thanks to the combination of those 2 sticky substances plus nighttime doses.

A quick steam and the dirty water that cycled back into the tank was a murky medium brown. I still had some clean water and shampoo in the tank, so I used it up on an area of the main rug in the den...that very same rug we'd cleaned 2 weeks ago. The 3'x5' area of that rug cycled black water back into the tank. Total yuck to the nth degree.

The visible results: The sticky mess from the bedroom rug is gone. A few of the stains on the larger carpet are significantly less visible than they were after the Bissell round. 

The short of it: I'm glad I researched and decided to try this particular carpet cleaner! While I'm pretty sure nothing can return our carpet to it's new glory, I can definitely breathe easier having little hands and feet playing on it all the time.

Under $50

I've been asking around on Twitter and Facebook a fun question just in time for the holidays:
If you bought yourself a handmade gift for under $50, what would it be? Here are a few answers so far:

POAST house wanted by Toil and Trouble (Ana) 
Suite One Studio bowls wanted by Made in Lowell (Liz)
Stone and Honey tiny triangle rings (2 at $20 each) wanted by Megan Charland 
Forged Copper Gingko Leaf wanted by  Trowel and Paintbrush (Kathleen)
Bird Brain Tile by Rob Ryan wanted by Bugs and Fishes (Laura)

So, how about you? If you bought yourself a handmade gift for under $50, what would it be? Leave a comment and include a link!

Monday Musings

A plaque I commissioned from Melissa Bridgman. As soon as the porch is finished it will find its permanent home. In the meantime, I love seeing it in our kitchen window.

Long Tom paste tomatoes (pencil for scale): Delicious, giant, and virtually seedless. I'm in love with these tomatoes, the plants are dripping with tomatoes. The harvest (below) is one day's harvest from 3 plants. I have to pick them just slightly earlier than ripe or the rabbits will taste every single one.

Independent Suppliers: Fire Escape Farms

This is going to sound like a commercial, but I promise this is a little post about an online store that I keep visiting {weekly!} for a bit of window shopping .

Have you ever visited Fire Escape Farms' website? Geared toward the apartment gardener but is packed full of high-quality tried and true products for all kinds of gardeners, the shop is packed full of beautifully designed essentials. Hard working and easy on the eye, that's what we all need more of.

This, though...These pruners are what keep me going back.
The ARS 120S-8 is the cadillac of Pruners. Made of high chrome steel it is coated with hard-chrome to resist rust and sap. A professional grade pruner, it creates smooth clean cuts and wipes clean easily. The metal handle is coated with rubber for easy ergonomic handling and is the perfect size for most hands. 

In the past 6 years I've probably been through as many pairs of pruners. Rusty blades, dirt getting into the spring mechanism, and most recently a chunk of metal fell out of the blade of my Fiskars when I opened them to prune something. I think I pretty much deserve a Cadillac, don't I? Seems it's time to stop window shopping and go in and make that purchase!

Souls and Soles

It's been a while since we did a little compare and contrast. Today we'll look at TOMS shoes vs Skechers' brand BOBS. Since the picture I put together explains most of the details I won't touch on those, except to say the curly brown haired guy on the left is Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS; the curly haired dude on the right is, as far as I can tell, just some dude they found to put on the website for BOBS.  Perhaps the obviously profit-minded Skechers could adopt a new slogan: Soulless Shoemaker.