Back to School 2020

It’s halfway through August and students everywhere are preparing to head back to school for their autumn terms. With the pandemic, schooling this year will be quite different for many students, involving distance learning from home. We went on a Pinterest spree and added tons of great ideas to our Back to School board. Today we’ll share some of the best ideas we found on how to prepare to hit the books in 2020!

School Supplies

First we started by looking for essential supplies for students. Of course, these will vary a bit by the age of the students involved, but we love Our Must Have Supplies for Distance Learning from Mama Cheaps as a place to start. She suggests that at a minimum you have:

  • A Computer or Tablet for virtual learning sessions with teachers.
  • Headphones for each student so that they can listen to content without disturbing other students or members of the household.
  • An array of standard back to school supplies as appropriate for age level. This could include: pencils, pens, calculators, crayons/markers/colored pencils, glue sticks, paper/notebooks. If you want to keep these supplies corralled you should also think about a caddy – you can purchase one or there are tons of fun tutorials on Pinterest to make your own. We really love this Upcycled Lazy Susan School Supply Center from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary and you can even upcycle used Eucalan bottles and decorate them with washi tape (we’ve got a tutorial for that) as containers!
  • A calendar of events and activities, or a daily schedule. This can be a prominent display, an electronic calendar or checklist, or a notebook or printed sheets. Again, this will vary depending on the age of your child, but each day should have learning times as well as breaks built in. 
  • A timer to track study and break times. This can be as simple as a cell phone or an egg timer, but especially with little ones this will come in handy.
  • A printer to print out assignments, worksheets, study aids and the like. 
  • Options: A chalkboard, dry erase board, or a bulletin board for sharing ideas, explaining concepts, posting the daily schedule in a visible way, etc. and appropriate supplies (chalk, dry erase parkers, pushpins) to use those tools.

Dedicated Working Spaces

Once you have your supplies handy, you need a work space for your student. If your living space permits, it’s best to create a permanent work space. A dedicated space gives your student a place that feels comfortable and familiar, and you escape the hassle of constantly shuffling supplies. Again, we perused Pinterest and found tons of great inspiration for workspaces, including 35 Homeschool Room Ideas for Small Spaces from Homeschool Superfreak. The ones below are our favourites for repurposing small spaces into lovely learning environments.

Finding Resources

Since many are becoming “first-time teachers” to students at home, we turned to home school parents to find other resources on how to help your children learn and thrive during these uncertain times. While your school will likely provide you with assignments, virtual learning sessions and the like, we love the tips in Homeschool Resources for Parents During Social Distancing or Summer Break from Apple Slices.

In addition to specific links to learning resources, she highlights how to fold every day experiences into home learning. For example, reading is learning! It doesn’t matter what your student is reading (comic books, fiction, nonfiction, etc.) just that they ARE reading. If your local library is open and you can do so safely, build a weekly or bi-weekly trip in to gather new reading materials. Or find a little free library near you, or swap books with other families in your neighborhood or school!

Struggling to teach math skills? Cooking together involves lots of measuring ingredients. Shopping for groceries or other supplies also involves math. And you can teach simple math skills just by playing card games!

Need to encourage writing skills? Let them write anything they want! Get each student a notebook and if they’re interested, use a tutorial like this one to help them build them their own unique place to write! 

We hope we’ve given you a head start on building distance learning into your back to school routine. We’ve got tons more great ideas on our Back to School Pinterest board and we’d love to hear your favourite tips and ideas!

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Eucalan Summer Recipe Roundup

We’ve spent a lot of time at home this spring, so we’ve been cooking quite a bit more and we bet you have too! Now that we’re into summer, we’ve been looking for inspiration for delicious meals that are quick and easy to throw together. So we went to our favourite source for inspiration: Pinterest! Today we’ve rounded up some of the most enticing summer recipes that will have your family asking for seconds!

Salads

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the bounty of fruit and vegetables that are seasonally available. When the days are hot, there’s nothing better than a fresh salad. Our mouths are watering at this Blackberry Chicken Salad recipe from I am Homesteader, and the Watermelon Salad with Cucumber and Feta from Recipe Runner looks like the perfect mix of sweet and savory. If you have easy access to a farmer’s market and fresh vegetables, check out this Grilled Vegetable Salad from A Farmergirl’s Dabbles!

Light Pastas

We do love pastas, especially when they’re part of summer dishes that are lighter than your standard fare. This Summer Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata from Pure Wow uses fresh summer vegetables, and the Light Lemon Garlic Pasta with Salmon from The Cooking Jar looks like the perfect summer dinner. If it’s greens you’re after, check out these gorgeous Jade Noodles from Feasting at Home!

For the Grill

For many of us, summer means grilling! If you’re looking for new ways to skewer up your favourites, check out these recipes that can be assembled fairly quickly and thrown on the grill!

The Chipotle Honey Chicken Skewers from Skinny Ms. are blend of sweet and hot, and the Rosemary Garlic Steak Kabobs from I am Baker seem like a hearty dinner re-imagined for a summer grill. On the lighter side, these Salmon Citrus Skewers from Cooking with Mima are beautiful!

Sweet Treats

No summer meal is complete without a sweet treat. Keep it healthy and full of fresh fruit (and veggies!) with these Rainbow Popsicles from The First Year. Or try your hand at baking some of that summer bounty with this Blueberry Peach Crostata recipe by Coley Cooks. This one probably doesn’t qualify as quick or easy, but we bet it’s worth the effort: French Fruit Tart by House of Nash Eats!

We hope we’ve given you some great recipes to supplement your summer favourites. You can also check out our Pinterest board, Summer Recipe Roundup, for more inspiration!

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7 Tips for Building a Beautiful Home Office

Now that we’re mostly staying home, many of us are faced with how to both work and live (play?) in limited spaces. If you don’t already have a home office, now is the time to repurpose or create a space where you can work comfortably. Today we’ve pulled together some of our best suggestions on how to create an efficient, beautiful home office that you won’t mind spending your working hours in!

1. Find a space you can make your own. Whether it’s your own dedicated room, or a corner of another space, set up a dedicated work space. You’ll need a table and a chair, some electricity and at the very least, a few storage options. If you’re really pressed for space, it could even be a closet! We love the tutorial from Houseful of Handmade (left) and this home office in a closet from Tidy Little Tribe (right).

2. Add inspiration. Words have power and meaning, and keeping inspirational words in front of you can help you start each day in the right mindset. If you’re looking for inspiration we found ours here. Or print up your favourite sayings, add a frame, and keep them where you can see them!

life is 100%
3. Liven it up. Adding plants to your workspace have proven benefits! A UK study found bringing plants into the workplace increased productivity by 15%. Meanwhile, a US study found 10% of employee sick days could be explained by a lack of nature and natural light in the office. Why not go green? If you’re not always green-thumbed, we liked this brief article on what plants were best for workplaces.

Add plants
4. Make it fun. Decorate your desk with a few of your favorite things to give your office a piece of personal intimacy and sentiment. Photos of your family, favourite toys or craft supplies, handmade pencil cups… add a few personal touches to remind you why you’re working hard! (Combine items 3 and 4 using the Oui Yogurt Jar Cover designed by Mattie J, available on Ravelry!)

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5. Get organized. Purchase organizers, drawers, and storage bins – whatever you need from places like Ikea and Target to organize all your tools and keep them within handy reach. These can easily be ordered online and can help you keep your workspace neat and tidy.

Ikea Office
6. Invest in a good chair. If you’re going to be sitting for hours in your space, make sure you’ve got a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Going out furniture shopping may be daunting right now, but office stores are still open if you want to “test drive” your new chair. Or check out this report from Wirecutter which compiles reviews of the best-rated office chairs and order your pick online.

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7. Make it cozy. Add a plush rug, a blanket on the back of your chair, twinkle lights or candles, anything to make the space feel cozy and comfortable, something we’re all looking for right now.

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We hope we’ve given you inspiration to create or update your home work space! For more great ideas, we’ve started a Pinterest board for creating beautiful workspaces.

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7 Tips to a Beautiful Office

7 Snow Day Activities

January and February tend to be cold and long as we fight through the worst of winter. Snow days mean everyone’s at home and potentially housebound, so we’ve come up with a slew of activities to keep everyone occupied!

1. Make Snow Ice Cream

You can turn some of that snow into snow ice cream! Check out this simple recipe with just 3 ingredients (condensed milk, vanilla and snow) and whip up a sweet treat for everyone!

Snow-Ice-Cream-Recipe-3-Ingredients

2. Get inspired by a book.

If you have time to prepare before the snowstorm hits, head to the library or the book store to stock up on some new reads! Build a fire in the fireplace, grab a cozy blanket and settle in to spend the day absorbed in a great book.

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3. Head outdoors!

If everyone is going stir crazy indoors, head outside to enjoy the snow! Bundle up and go for a long snowy walk, have a snowball fight, make snow angels, build a snowman, or go sledding! You can always head indoors when you get chilly and enjoy some of the other activities we suggest!

Two Adorable Little Girls Having Fun Together In Beautiful Winte

4. Make your own snowflakes.

When flakes are falling outdoors you can make your own snowflakes indoors. Level up your crafting by using coffee filters, scissors and markers. Add a bit of water to create watercolor effects and hang your masterpieces where they’ll get the most light!

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5. Bake a cake in a mug

Make single serving mug cakes in the microwave. And if everyone has a different favourite flavour, so much the better. Try this Snickerdoodle cake recipe, or stick to classic chocolate or vanilla, get fancy with bananas and brown sugar, think of warmer days with coconut, …the options are endless!

Snickerdoodle-Mug-Cake-Recipe-1-Minute-Microwave-by-Five-Heart-Home_700pxMug
6. Host a Living Room Campout

Think of this as a big slumber party in the living room! Pitch a tent, or build blanket forts by draping blankets over furniture. Add sleeping bags and lots of pillows for soft, comfy places to hang out. Bring flashlights, books and board games. Light a fire in the fireplace and roast marshmallows or make indoor s’mores. Here are 5 tips to indoor camping success!

indoorcamping

7. Spa Day

If you’re on your own, or have littles who love pampering, set up for a spa day! Give each other manis and pedis, light a candle, relax in a warm bath (add a bath bomb for fun) and just pamper yourself. If you’re looking for more ideas here, check out thisgreat article from our archives, Spoil Yourself January: Top Tips for Self Care.

spaday

We hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to prevent full-scale mutiny on snow days. If you’re looking for more great ideas check out our Pinterest board full of inspiration for more Snow Day Activities!

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Snow Day Activities(1)

Quilting with Eucalan

For many, quilting is a year-round craft, but the cooler temperatures of autumn and the upcoming International Quilt Market have us thinking about wrapping up in cozy handmade quilts this season! Today we’ll share some of our favourite tips for quilting with Eucalan!

Preparation Of Pentagon Pieces Of Fabric For Sewing Patchwork Bl

Washing Fabric Before you Begin

Before you begin the actual cutting and sewing, you’ll need to pre-wash any fabric that you intend to use in your quilt.

First, check for colour fastness on whatever you plan to clean. How to tell if something is colourfast? Moisten a clean white cloth (100% cotton or other natural fibre). Press firmly on coloured area in an inconspicuous place. If colour is not “fast” it will transfer to cloth, so wash at your own risk or have dry cleaned. Also, use caution and be sure to wash fabric separately from lighter colours to prevent any colour transfer. Be gentle to your fabric – don’t rub too vigorously. Dark colours most prone to bleed into lighter colours are black, navy, dark green, burgundy and red. We’ve got a great video tutorial on how to do this!

Once you have checked for colour fastness, you’re ready to move on to quilting!

During Quilting

Anyone who has ever quilted knows that half of your making time is spent ironing between sewing steps! Eucalan can help here too. Mix your favourite scent of Eucalan and water in a small spray bottle (1 part Eucalan to 12 parts water). Shake to ensure the soap is incorporated into the water. Use a light misting when ironing your fabric and pay special attention to how your seams are laying.

Patchwork on the sewing machine quilted stages

Washing

Once your quilt is finished, it’s time to give it a good wash before using. If you have a washing machine big enough to handle a quilt, the good news is that you can use Eucalan in the washer!

If you have a top loading machine, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and fill the drum with cool water. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of Eucalan for a large quilt. Then submerge the item in the drum and run through the gentle or handwash cycle.

If you have a front loading machine, place your item in the drum. Set the machine to the delicate cycle and cool water. Add 2 tablespoons of Eucalan to the detergent compartment and run the cycle.

Drying

To dry your quilt, you have two options. First, you can hang it to dry – just make sure it’s away from direct sunlight which can cause whites to yellow or colours to fade. Your second option is to machine dry, provided your materials will stand up to tumble drying. Set the dryer to low or cool air and dry the quilt gently; it’s important to avoid high heat so that your items don’t shrink.

Keeping Your Quilt Clean

Any time you think your quilt needs some freshening up, you can follow the washing instructions above. If you find any problem areas, you can also spot clean with full-strength Eucalan. If you’re looking for more information about how to treat specific stains, sign up for our newsletter and get a free pdf download of our handy Guide to Stain Removal.

If you’re looking for some tips and tutorials on how to get started or some pattern inspiration, we’ve got a Pinterest board full of quilting ideas!

Eucalan Quilting INspiration
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Kids Summer Crafts

Summer is here and long, lazy days are ahead. Of course that means the kids are out of school and you’re probably in need of some summer inspiration. Today we’ve pulled together our favourite ideas for summer crafting projects suitable for the whole family! We also have a Pinterest board chock full of ideas for Kids Summer Crafts.

Multicultural group of children on a meadow in summer on vacatio

String ‘n Things

Of course our favourite crafts are those that involve yarn! We’re smitten with this Sugar Bee Crafts tutorial on Heart String Art. Or check out these Easy DIY Macrame Friendship Bracelets from Crafts Unleashed. If you’re happiest at your sewing machine, we love this Beach Towel Backpack tutorial by Craftaholics Anonymous.

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Paper Crafts and More

If you’ve got a stash full of paper, we’ve got some gorgeous crafts for you. Encourage everyone to head outside after you make these Quick ‘N Easy Giant Paper Pinwheels from KidsActivities.com. Or bring a bit of the outdoors inside with these paper plate Collage Suncatchers from Hands on as We Grow. And we can’t stop dreaming about these Rainbow Paper Dahlia Flowers created by Craftaholics Anonymous!

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Painting the Town Red

Paint projects are fun for everyone – take them outdoors on the lawn (and into the sunshine) to make cleaning up easy! Add some whimsy to your garden with these Ladybug Painted Rocks from Crafts by Amanda. Learn How to Paint with Bubbles with this tutorial from Living Well Mom. Or use items from around the house to paint towels, totes and more, using tips from this DIY Colorful Citrus Painted Tea Towels tutorial from Making Home Base.

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For the Littlest Scientist

If you’re looking to combine arts and sciences, we’ve got a few fun projects for you! Everyone loves slime, but did you know it’s possible to make it magnetic? Check out How to Make Magnetic Slime by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. Head out to the water and discover what floats with this Cork Boat Races tutorial from No Biggie. Or add a little fizz and colour to your day with this Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment from Happy Hooligans.

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We hope we’ve given you a few ideas for summer craft projects to entertain your “campers” in the long days ahead!

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Spoil Yourself January: Top Tips for Self Care

The holiday rush is over, the New Year has started and winter is here to stay. This month we’re taking a look at self-care and how to spoil ourselves with a few moments of peace, quiet and comfort. Get inspired to find a few wonderful moments for yourself this January with the ideas below!

Making Time for You

Even if you’ve got a million things to do, making time to refresh and revitalize is important. We have a Pinterest board full of great ideas for self-care that will fit into virtually any schedule. From making bath bombs in K cups (or purchasing and using them), to doing a short digital detox, to just drinking more water, we’ve got tons of ideas on how you can relax and refresh this month.

Meditation and Craft

Many people find knitting or crocheting soothing and meditative, a time to rhythmically make stitches and forget about the stresses of the day. There are plenty of beginner-friendly projects to make and use to pamper yourself (if you’re brand-new to crafting, check out VeryPink’s videos on basic knitting techniques, if you’re itching to crochet we love this post on Craftsy/Bluprint).

We love handknit (or crocheted) washcloths paired with yummy artisanal soaps for a luxurious end of the day routine – try Water Lily by Sybil R, Bodhi Leaf Washcloth by Julia Farwell-Clay, or the Jazz Age Washcloth by Jenny Catchings to get you started!


Getting Hygge With It

Hygge is a Danish concept that generally means a comfortableness or coziness with feelings of contentment and well being. Practically speaking, the Danes add things like candlelight, plush pillows and throws, and good books to their cozy home life in the winter months when days are short and nights are long. Add a scented candle wherever you linger in the house, or take time in the evening to cozy up with a blanket, a mug of your favorite steaming beverage, and a good book. Treat yourself to some quiet moments where you can feel warm and secure. Add some hygge to your life!

Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself this month – you deserve it!

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Making Rag Rugs – Tutorials and Tips

Have you ever tried making a rag rug? They are perfect for recycling old clothes and fabrics, and are easy to make. Fall is a great time to cozy up with a new crafting project like this! Here are some of our favourite tutorials and ideas to make your own rag rug this fall:

This is a great no-sew version, and reuses old t-shirts:

If you want to try a crochet version, you can make a beautiful doily floor mat rag rug:

Here’s a colourful idea that uses up lots of bright t-shirts:

Looking for a simple woven rug? This one is probably perfect:

Want a fluffier rag rug? This is a cute version for a kid’s room:

If you have a lot of old denim, you can make some amazing rag rug crafts, like this runner:

Rag rugs can also be done in a limited colour palette, and by wrapping fabric around rope, like in this great tutorial for the rug below:

And who says these techniques can only be used for rugs? Check out this great tutorial on making storage baskets, using the same process:

Looking for more rag rug ideas? We have a Pinterest board full of them! Find it here.

Caring for Your Rag Rug

When you spend time crafting a rug, it is worth taking some extra care when washing it, even with Using Eucalan in your washing machine with a rag rug, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle  and run as usual. You may need to add an extra spin cycle if the rag rug is dripping wet when you take it out. Smaller rugs can be hung to dry, but larger rugs should be laid flat to dry, turning them over regularly to ensure even drying.

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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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How to Wash a Party Dress

How to Wash a Party Dress | Eucalan.com

It’s coming – party season! It won’t be long before your evenings start to fill up with gatherings of friends, family,  work parties, and holiday parties. The next eight weeks are going to be some of the busiest all year long – so you don’t want to have your favourite party clothes stuck at the dry cleaner, or giving yourself the extra chore of taking dresses to the cleaners, waiting for them to be ready, and then picking them back up again. Not when you can take care of all your dressy clothes at home with Eucalan.

Eucalan is non-toxic, biodegradable, free of optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dye – so it’s a perfect choice for taking care of delicate fabrics or items that have some beading or sequins, which seem so appropriate for dressy winter items.   Besides, washing it yourself is easier (and faster) than you’d think! We can walk you through the whole process step by step:

  1.  Add Eucalan to your washing machine or sink with tepid water.
  2. Immerse dress in water and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Squeeze dress with your hands to incorporate soap and water through the fabric.
  4. Soak dress for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. Eucalan does not require rinsing, but if you wish to, give it a gentle rinse under fresh tepid water.
  6. Remove from water and squeeze or spin out excess water.
  7. You may roll in a towel, but go slowly and be careful not to get any beads or sequins stuck on towel fibres.
  8. Hang to dry away from direct sunlight or heat (your shower is probably a good spot).

That’s it!

When it comes to preparing for a night out, it’s worth having a Eucalan stain treating towelette in your bag. It’s brilliant for cleaning up any deodorant marks that can get on sleeveless dresses, or remove any food spots.

How to Wash a Party Dress | Eucalan.com

If you are looking for some dressier clothes for the holiday party season, or just looking for some dressing up inspiration, you should check out our Dressing Up Pinterest Board!

How to Wash a Party Dress | Eucalan.com

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