How to Wet Block Knitted Lace

Knitting lace can be a wonderfully satisfying challenge, but it takes a good wet blocking to see the complete transformation from a bit of crumpled up loops and stitches to the full beauty of a lace design.  Wet blocking lace can be intimidating, but it’s easier than you think! Here is a full tutorial on how to do it, step by step.

Tools:

  • Eucalan in the scent of your choice
  • Water and a sink/bowl large enough to hold your knit
  • Towels
  • Foam blocking boards, or a thick blanket
  • Pins (rust proof/stainless steel)
  • Tape Measure

Step 1:

Fill your sink or bowl with tepid water, and add one capful of Eucalan in the scent of your choice.  Gently place your knit in the water, and gently swish it around, ensuring that it is completely saturated.

Step 2:

Remove your knit from the water (no need to rinse with Eucalan!) and roll it firmly in a towel to remove excess water and moisture.

Step 3:

Lay your knit out on a large surface. You can use a bed, blocking boards, some thick blankets, anything that works for you. When pinning out your project, follow the main shape before pinning out any details. This means that you will start with the basic outline and pin all the straight edges before concentrating on more specific design features. Here is where the measuring tape can be very helpful – if you have two straight sides, you can measure to make sure they are both the same length.

When pinning out scallops or lace loops, use as many pins as you want, pinning each loop into place. it takes time, but it is worth it.

Step 4:

If your project has straight edges, blocking wires can be really helpful. You insert the wires through the loops in as straight a line as you can, and pin the blocking wires into place.

Step 5: Leave it to dry. once your knit is completely dry, unpin and remove blocking wires, if used.

Tips:

  • If you have pets or small children, pin out your lace somewhere where you can close a door to keep them out, or on something you can move to a place where they can’t touch it.
  • If you like to knit lace, it might be worth investing in T-Shaped pins and blocking wires for really crisp definition and blocking. Otherwise, stainless steel sewing pins will work just fine.
  • It takes a fair bit of time to pin out something with a lot of detail, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to do a good job.
  • If you would like to get everything you need for blocking all at once, we really like this blocking kit from Cocoknits.

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Jen’s Top 10 Backyard Fun Ideas for Summer

Summer feels so short, but there are lots of great ways to make the most of the beautiful weather without leaving your backyard. Here is my top 10 list of backyard fun ideas for summer!

1.Summer is a perfect time for s’mores, but who says you need to go camping to make them? Setting up a great backyard s’mores bar is sure to be one of the most memorable nights of the summer.

2. Make your own outdoor Jenga set for backyard games that are going be a hit with both kids and adults. So easy to make!

3. Bring the indoor furniture outside and set up a drink or food station to end all food stations. Don’t forget extra napkins!

4. Host an outdoor movie night in the back yard. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and popcorn- you can project a movie onto a hanging white sheet, and be sure to bring some speakers outside! Small projectors you can use with your smartphone make the project part easy.

5. DIY your own hammock bed from wooden pallets! Easier than you would think, and as dreamy as it gets for the backyard in the summer.

6. Nighttime backyard bowling with water bottles and glow sticks just might be the most fun thing for kids and grown ups alike.

7. An outdoor pizza bar makes feeding friends and family a breeze- setting out lots of toppings and flatbreads, then grilling them on the barbecue to perfection. So easy, and perfect for warm weather when it’s too hot to cook inside.

8. Flamingo ring toss has all sorts of fun retro vibes and is sure to make everyone smile. You can even rent flamingos, if you don’t want to buy any!

9.  Like the idea of camping, but without the hassle of actually camping? Set up a tent in the backyard and experience all the fun of camping without any of the yucky bits!

10.  It doesn’t get easier than this- inflatable pool, a pile of blankets and pillows, and snacks! An outdoor lounge comes together in a snap.

If you are looking for more summer inspriation, we have a Pinterest board full of the best summer ideas!

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How to Have the Easiest Picnic Ever

Summer weather often conjurs up images of picnics on weekends, but it often seems like a lot of work to plan, pack, and do. Never fear! We’ve put together some easy-peasy tips for a no-fuss, relaxing guide to your best picnic ever.

Picnic Prep

  • Plan your location. A nearby park is always great, but maybe there is a new park you would like to try, a little further away? Whatever your choice, try to check in advance to make sure there are plenty of trees for shade.
  • Keep the food simple – sandwiches, salads, fruit and other types of food that you would enjoy cold are ideal.  Or bring the fixings for a great cheese board – assorted cheese, great bread and crackers, and some fruit.
  • Try not to bring too many disposable things- melamine plates are a great lightweight choices for picnics that are reusable, and just bring your normal cutlery from home. Don’t forget napkins!
  • Bugs are no fun at a picnic- wash your picnic blanket in advance with Eucalan in the Eucalyptus  scent to help rerepel bugs naturally.

  • Check the weather report – weather can change quickly, and even though it looked clear when you checked yesterday, the forecast might be different on the day.

What to Bring

  • If you have a little wagon, it is a great way to easily transport all your picnic goodies to a great spot deep in a park, where it might be a little quieter and more relaxed.
  • While those beautiful (and expensive!) wicker picnic baskets are adorable, you don’t need them to have a great picnic. Packing your supplies in tote bags or in the wagon will work just fine.
  • Two plastic bags – one for garbage, to be disposed in the nearest bin, and the the second for keeping the dirty dishes all together until you can get them home for a wash.
  • It’s worth mentioning again – napkins! Good quality paper napkins or cotton napkins are perfect for wiping greasy hands or even giving the plates and cutlery a quick wipe before stashing in the plastic bag.

Keeping the Fun Going

Messes happen – a bit of ketchup here, some mayonnaise there. Stop potential stains in their tracks by bringing along some of the Eucalan Stain Treating Towelettes to make clean ups a breeze. Because sticky hands happen:

Don’t forget – picnics are really about enjoying being outside, not about transforming the outside into the indoors. Leave the music at a home, but bring a frisbee, ball, or other game that would be fun in a park. It’s a great way to make the most of that glorious sunshine, and the too-short summer!

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How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you enjoy wearing makeup, washing your makeup brushes is one of those things you are supposed to do regularly, but often feels like a hassle.  However, not washing your brushes can lead to clogged pores and breakouts, which is not great. Generally, you should wash your makeup brushes at least once a week, and we can show you the quick and easy way to do it. With Eucalan’s no rinse formula, you will save time because you won’t need the extra step of rinsing them! Let us show you the 2-minute method to freshen up and clean makeup brushes.

You will need:

A note about scent- Eucalan has only small amounts of essential oils that are used for fragrance, so you don’t need to worry about it being too harsh for your delicate skin. but if you are worried, you can always go with Natural, which is our unscented variety.

Instructions:

  1. Rinse your brushes under lukewarm water, to dislodge and soften any surface residue.
  2. Fill your sink or bowl (only about 1/3 full) with lukewarm water and one capful of Eucalan, and gently swirl your brush in the water. Try to focus mainly on the bristles, and not totally submerge to the metal (hard to avoid on small brushes, of course!)  If you need a bit more power, add a bit of Eucalan straight from the bottle to the bristles, and gently swirl across your palm.
  3. If the water gets really dirty and opaque from the makeup washing out, drain the dirty water and refill the bowl/sink again. But the more frequently you wash your brushes, the faster it is to clean them, since there won’t be as much makeup to remove.
  4. When you are satisfied, use a clean towel or cloth to wipe your brush clean, gently reshaping the bristles.
  5. To dry, lay your brushes flat on a clean surface, or stand them up in an empty glass.

Ta-da! Now your brushes are clean, and the lanolin in the Eucalan formula will prevent the bristles from drying out.  The best time to wash your brushes is either in the morning after you have finished applying your makeup, or in the evening, so they will be dry by morning.

You should pin this, so you’ll remember to clean your makeup brushes later!

 

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Family Vacation Planning? The Secret to Stress-Free Travel

Short or long, vacations require a bit of planning to help ensure that they are as enjoyable as they can be. One of the biggest hassles when traveling is trying to remember everything you need to make your trip go as smoothly as possible.  And if you are traveling with kids, the complexity just multiplied – getting from point A to point B can be a lot more challenging with little ones in tow.

Last fall, we had a great guest post on the blog about traveling with kids on a two-week vacation to Europe, and we got a great response. Building on that blog post, we’ve put together a free downloadable pdf that has all sorts of great tips and tricks for traveling with kids, as well as lots of handy checklists. The checklists also have room for you to write down your own items, because while traveling with kids has a lot of similarities, every kid is different and might need a few extra things that only you know about – like their special blanket, or an extra battery pack for the tablet that they burn out every time they play games.

You can get this amazing pdf for free right here, just by signing up for our newsletter.  And if you aren’t traveling with kids this year but know someone who is, send them the link! They will thank you for it.  After all, who wouldn’t love to have packing checklists  geared to them and their family?

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Best of Eucalan: Our Top Spring Posts

Ah, spring! A time when everything feels fresh and new, or at least you want it to feel that way! Spring is indeed a great time to freshen up your home and wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all work. Here’s a round-up of our top spring posts to get you in the mood to freshen up your wardrobe, your home, and your routine!

Click here for great Tips for spring cleaning your wardrobe.

Click here for the best tips for spring cleaning your home to get it feeling airy and fresh.

With Earth Day upon us, here are 4 ways to celebrate Earth Day all year round.

But it’s not all cleaning – you have to make time for a bit of fun! Click the links below for crafts, recipes and fun decor ideas.

Washi tape tutorial to upcycle old Eucalan bottles

Think Spring – Time for a bit of fun!

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without our most recent spring post, all about the best way to shift your wardrobe from winter clothes to spring.

Happy Spring, everyone!

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Season Shift: Packing Away Winter Coats & Clothes

Ah, spring! It always feels like a relief to be switching back into lighter clothing and jackets, getting outside to watch the leaves beginning to bud and spring flowers popping up all over the place.  With the changing of seasons, much of our winter wardrobe will be set aside and our spring and summer clothes will be coming back into circulation.  Some people have their clothes in their closets year year-round regardless of the weather, while others pack things away when the seasons shift. Regardless of your storage preference, it’s worth taking some time to properly care for the winter clothes, coats, and accessories that you probably won’t wear again for another 6 months (hopefully!).

To Prep your Winter Clothes:

  1. Gather together all the clothes that you are unlikely to wear until the fall, including heavy winter coats. Consult our handy guide fo caring for your winter coat to decide if you are going to wash it yourself or take it to a dry cleaner.
  2. Wash everything. For your sweaters (either handmade or store bought), it is worth taking the time to de-pill so that when you pull them out again in the fall they look fresh and ready to wear. Washing sweaters yourself is also very easy – we have a great video to show you exactly how it’s done.
  3. Make sure everything is dry before returning it to your closet, or store in air-tight storage containers. Vacuum seal storage bags can also be great for this. If hanging items, do not hang any heavy long sleeved items like your sweaters, as the hangers will leave dents in the shoulders when hung for a long period of time.

Winter accessories like hats, mittens/gloves, and knit scarves need attention during this time to prevent stains and keep them looking their best.  We have a great overview here on caring for your winter accessories before packing them away for spring.

Moths are a harsh reality for some. Even if you have never had any, there’s always a chance they could happen, and they are more prevalent in big cities and urban centers. As it’s extremely difficult to get rid of moths once they discover your closet is full of delicious sweaters, preventative care is really worth it.  If you store out-of-season clothes somewhere outside of your home (for example:  a garage, shed, or storage locker), you will definitely want to use storage containers that are airtight and cannot easily be opened by temperature shifts or even clever critters.

As you begin to pull out your spring and summer clothes,  they may be wrinkly and looking tired. They may even show food or drink spots you never knew were there, especially if you forgot to clean them before setting them aside for winter.

To Review your Spring/Summer Clothes:

  1. Pull out anything you haven’t worn in the last 6 months from your closet or storage containers.
  2.  If there are any items that don’t fit well or you don’t love anymore, put them aside to donate to a local charity.
  3.  For the remaining items,  wash gently with your favourite scent of Eucalan, either by hand or in the washing machine, according to their care instructions. Hang items to dry, away from sunlight or strong heat sources.

Now you are ready to wear your beautiful spring clothes!

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Caring for Vintage Baby Clothes & Quilts

One of the many wonderful things that happens when a new baby comes into a family is rediscovering items that have been stored for decades in trunks or closets, often presented with stories of which now-grown people once had them (maybe it was you!). But how do you care for these treasured items?

When considering scents, Eucalan Natural (unscented) and Lavender are great choices for baby things.  Not only are both gentle on their delicate skin, but the fragrance of lavender oil promotes relaxation and is very gentle in the Eucalan formula.

Knitted Baby Items

Step 1:

Evaluate the item to determine if there are any small holes, weak spots in the fabric or stains.  Stains that have set over years are often permanent, and should be viewed as part of the history and character of the piece. Small holes could be a sign of moths, particularly in knits. Moth eggs can survive a long time, so to prevent any accidental transfer, put the item in a big ziploc bag, pop it into the freezer and leave it there for one week. take it out to thaw for another week while remaining in the bag, and then put it back in the freezer for one more week. This will kill any eggs or larvae that could be lurking.

Step 2:

Fill your sink or a bowl with cool water and add one capful or one pod of Eucalan in the scent of your choice.  Add as many knitted baby items as will comfortably fit in the sink or bowl, and let soak for about ten minutes, lightly agitating the water.  Then drain the water (no need to rinse with our no-rinse formula!) and gently squeeze out extra moisture. Roll the knits in a towel, and then lay flat to dry away from heat or direct sunlight (which could cause shrinking or discolouration).

Vintage Quilt Care

Step 1:

It’s not uncommon for some treasured quilts to get a little threadbare before any actual holes develop, so it’s worth taking a close look at that baby quilt to see if you should do some mending on any frayed bits before larger problems develop. If you aren’t comfortable with trying to reinforce or repair it yourself, bring it to a quilting shop that will be able to point you in the right direction.  If fabric markers were used (it was very popular in the 1970s to draw designs onto baby quilts!), test a small area with water and a bit of Eucalan to ensure colourfastness before washing.

Step 2:

If the baby quilt can fit in a sink, fill your sink with cool water and add one capful of Eucalan or one pod to the water. If it is too big, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle, and ensure the temperature setting is on cold and add 2-3 capfuls of Eucalan. Place the quilt gently in the sink or machine.  For the washing machine, let the delicate cycle run its course. For the sink wash, drain away the water and gently squeeze the quilt to remove excess. Roll the quilt in a towel to remove more moisture, and then hang to dry away from heat or direct sunlight. A shower rail might be a good spot for this.

Vintage Fabric Sleepers and Clothes

Step 1:

Check the inside of the clothing carefully to look for any loose threads that could catch on baby’s delicate fingers or toes. If you find any threads, snip them off. If you find any holes along the seams, it’s worth mending them before washing, to reduce the chances of the holes getting bigger.

Step 2:

For hand washing, fill your sink with cool water and add one capful or one pod of Eucalan in the scent of your choice. Add as many baby clothes, hats, or sleepers as will comfortably fit in the sink or bowl, and let soak for about ten minutes, lightly agitating the water. Then drain the water (no need to rinse with our no-rinse formula!) and gently squeeze out extra moisture. Roll the clothes in a towel, and then lay flat to dry away from heat or light (which, depending on the fabric of the clothes, could cause shrinking or discolouration). For the washing machine, set the machine to the delicate cycle and the cold temperature. Add 2-3 capfuls of Eucalan to the water, and add the baby clothes. Allow the cycle to run through, and then lay the clothes flat to dry, also away from heat and sunlight.

When the time comes to put these precious clothes and quilts away, be sure to wash them again before storing, and make sure they are completely dry.  For extra insurance, wrap each item in white tissue paper to prevent potential moisture issues that can happen in basements. One day, you will get to bestow upon a new baby these treasures that will remind you of when your own children were babies, and of the loving friends and family who made them.

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Pet Care with Eucalan

Eucalan is wonderful for all sorts of delicate washing for fine garments, knitwear, lingerie, and quilts, but it is also brilliant for pet care –  Did you know that you can wash your dog with Eucalan? It’s true! The natural formula and essential oils mean that it is non-toxic and supremely gentle on their fur and skin. Try the Eucalyptus scent to help repel bugs and ticks!

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

And of course, you can wash your cat. Sometimes cats get into sticky messes and need a bath, too.  You can use Eucalan just like you would any other pet shampoo.

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

How to Wash a Pet Bed

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

For washing a dog or cat bed, you can easily wash it at home in your washing machine with Eucalan.  Pet bed too big to fit into your washing machine? Go to a local laundromat and take advantage of the oversized machines! To wash a pet bed in the machine:

Step 1: Using a pet hair brush, lint roller, or sticky tape; remove as much pet hair from the bed as possible.

Step 2: place the pet bed into the washing machine, open end down – the bottom of the pet bed should be facing you. This is to help ensure an even wash through the machine and prevent water collecting in the bed during the spin cycle and making it overly soggy.  Add one capful of Eucalan (or one travel pod) in the scent of your choosing. Eucalyptus is great for deterring bugs, and if your pet has especially sensitive skin, go with Natural – it’s unscented.

Step 3: Once the washing machine has completed its cycle, remove the pet bed and let dry in the bathtub or shower. If the spin cycle of your washing machine has done an effective job in removing most of the water and the fabric is not at risk for shrinking, you can put your pet bed in the tumble dryer on a short, low-heat cycle.

How to Wash Pet Toys

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

Pet toys should be washed regularly, even if they have only been played with indoors. You know how gross and wet toys can get after a pet has really given it a good chew! Here’s how to wash all sorts of pet toys with Eucalan:

Step 1:  Remove as much pet hair as possible from the toy, particularly if it is a knit or fabric toy. Use a lint brush or sticky tape.

Step 2: Fill a sink with cool water, and add one capful or one packet of Eucalan in the scent of your choice. We recommend Natural for toys, which is unscented.

Step 3: Put the toys in, and let them soak for about 5 minutes, then gently agitate the water.

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

Step 4: Drain the water, and roll the toys in a clean towel. Let toys dry away from heat or light.

Pet Care with Eucalan | Eucalan.com

While the time it takes to wash your pet can vary, washing their toys and bedding is a snap. Having a regular routine for washing their bedding and toys reduces pet odors significantly and helps reduce allergens in the home as well.

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Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day With Friends

Valentine’s Day … totally overrated, right? Even if you are in a relationship, over the years February 14th starts to feel stale. So why not do something different this year and celebrate with your girlfriends instead? Our girlfriends have been there for us for years, and likely even longer than any romantic relationship. Take the day that’s meant to celebrate love by celebrating the love you and your friends share, having an adventure or spending time doing something fun! We have lots of memorable ideas for celebrating valentine’s day with friends, so read on!

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Craft Night In. Gather the supplies to make a craft or two and put those Pinterest boards to good use. Everyone chips in on supplies, and you order some take out and have a crafty night in! Hopefully, it goes a bit better than in the photo below.

Valentines Ideas With Friends | eucalan.com

Clothing Swap. Have all your girlfriends bring any great condition clothes or accessories (like purses, costume jewelry, etc.) together and see what kind of outfits appear! Anything that doesn’t go home with a friend can be donated to a local women’s shelter.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Movie Date. Go out to the movies together and see something fun! Doesn’t have to be a romantic movie, either. Decide which film you’ll see at least a couple weeks in advance, so one of you doesn’t end up seeing it ahead of time.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

A New Workout or Dance Class. Try something fun together! Adult tap, spinning, kickboxing, whatever activity would be a break from your typical exercise routine. Working out with friends is great for getting motivated, and you can laugh about how tough (or ridiculous!) it was afterward.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Zero-Stress Galentine’s Dinner Party. The secret to this idea is to divide the grocery list in advance. All guests bring their assigned items so that you can cook the meal together. Pick out a menu, make a grocery list, and then give everyone a few items from the list to bring. Chatting, having wine, and cooking as a group will be even more fun than sitting down to the meal.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Go For Coffee Somewhere New. Obviously, the restaurants will be packed- but there will be some great local cafes that you can visit for a specialty coffee or a dessert. Less busy and still a special treat!

Women Friends Enjoyment Coffee Times Concept

Old School Slumber Party. Doesn’t dancing in pajamas, watching movies, eating chips and popcorn and snuggling in sleeping bags sound like the best idea ever? You probably haven’t had a slumber party since you were kids, so why not revisit the fun – especially now that you can have all the wine and chocolate you want!

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Volunteer. Contact local food banks, soup kitchens, or a charity that you are passionate about in your area and see how you can help.  Senior citizen care homes often have a shortage of people to come in to chat or play games with the residents. Helping others to feel less lonely is a surefire way to contribute more kindness to the world.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

Don’t Forget Long Distance Friends. Schedule a Skype date, or record them a personal message to let them know how much you miss them. It will be a heartfelt gesture from you to your friend, and they are sure to appreciate it.

Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Friends | Eucalan.com

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with your friends today and make plans to have the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever! Let us know some of your plans in the comments below.

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