To sharpen or not?

I’m talking about the blade of my rotary cutter. (THIS is the post I meant to publish, so you’re getting 2 in one day :))

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They’re expensive! A pack of 5 runs about $50 plus taxes or more, depending upon the retailer. Fortunately, I learned I can print an online coupon for 40% off one, regular priced item at my local Michael’s craft supply store. Right now though, I can’t even afford that.

Being environmentally-friendly and trying very hard not to throw non-biodegradable items (or anything really) in the garbage, I hang on to all my old, dull blades. There has to be a way to sharpen them. Right? People sharpen scissors, kitchen knives and skates. Why not these as well?

And this morning I was finally compelled to Google it 🙂 My current blade is driving me nuts, it’s approaching the likeness of a butter knife. I prefer efficiency when I’m working and when I have to roll my blade back and forth AND back and forth to make a cut. . . . that simply isn’t time well spent. Nor is it enjoyable.

I typed in ‘how to sharpen a rotary blade’ and tried the very first trick (link at bottom of page) I clicked upon. It involves tin foil, something I don’t buy or use anymore (for environmental and health reasons), but actually have because I’ve been saving it for years in the hopes of being able to recycle it one day 🙂

This is my ‘inside’ bag. There’s 10 times more in my shed!

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I located 3 flat, folded pieces and used the 2 smaller ones to begin with. I can honestly say I was underwhelmed with the result.

SO, I employed the larger, much more layered piece. It has so many layers I couldn’t cut through them all.

 

Now, when I go to a particular website, and find a recipe or instructions on how to do something (like sharpen a rotary blade!), I always scroll through the comments. In many cases, I can’t read them all but I can glean the general idea of the success or failure. In this instance, most people said ‘great idea, I’m going to try it’ or ‘it DOES work, on scissors too’.

The author of the article claims it works as well. And I’ve no doubt it probably does. For them.

My verdict is this:

I really can’t say for sure if it’s a useful trick. I don’t notice a massive difference in the cutting ability of my blade or even a decent difference. Maybe it’s slightly better. Maybe it’s a placebo effect and there’s no improvement at all, lol. Perhaps it’s because I mainly cut denim. I don’t know. This was not the OMG, so amazing moment I was hoping for.

I was relieved to find one commenter who said ‘tried the trick, it does not work’. Someone else said it didn’t work for them either. At least I’m not alone. It didn’t hurt to give it a go though and it certainly didn’t make my blade duller. Now I’ll just do some more Googling and see what else is recommended. I have enough blades to experiment with.

http://pennyshands.blogspot.ca/2011/03/how-to-sharpen-your-rotary-cutter-blade.html

 

More soap!

I’m rather perplexed sometimes. How can I be the organic, eco-friendly, make-all-my-food-from-scratch, use-a-bare-minimum-of-beauty-products, DIY kind of person that I am and I ONLY ventured into soap making last summer?!

I simply cannot understand why it never occurred to me years ago. I love it. Even though I’ve only made soap 3 times so far 🙂

My first 2 batches of hand and body bar soap just came to an end after 5 1/2 months. I really can’t complain despite the bars being softer and disappearing quicker than the conventional soap I’d been using. My homemade soap is organic and that’s a main objective for everything I purchase in regards to the food I consume (or grow) and bath and beauty products.

By making my own soap, I avoid parabens, colors, fragrances, sulfates, phthalates, PEG’s, triclosan (a pesticide), petroleum products AND MORE. There are so many nasty ingredients out there! It takes serious research to know what you’re exposed to and what you should steer clear of.

Last night, because I’m out of shampoo, I made a different type of bar. A shampoo bar! From 100% organic, coconut oil, water and lye. I used an easy recipe from http://www.mommypotamus.com

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I was hopeful, and also apprehensive, about using shampoo made entirely of oil. I’d read reviews from other people who’ve made it and they ranged from “my hair is awful” to “my hair feels fabulous”. I’m happy to say I’m on the fabulous end of matters. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I now make my own deodorant, toothpaste, household scrub cleanser, laundry soap, hand & body bar soap AND shampoo! Dish soap is next. I have the supplies but don’t know how to make a substitution in the recipe. . . . . the woman of the blog where I found the recipe has never answered my question.

If you’ve ever considered making your own soap, I highly recommend it. The most important thing is to know all of your lye safety! I can say, from the many sites I visited, where I either read text or watched videos, there is a lot of misinformation about lye and most people don’t offer enough information. Lye can be dangerous but if you have respect for it and use proper precautions, you’ll be fine. And you’ll have awesome homemade soap 🙂