Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

M-J's Water-Wise Cacti Garden

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 2:40 PM

Cactus flowers are rare. Nobody seems to knows why some cactus buds open and others do not. These cactus flowers bloomed in my water-wise Mojave Desert garden on April 28th, 2015. I consider it a miracle!
©M-J de Mesterton 2015

Water-Wise Moss Rose

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 8:25 PM

Moss Rose, an Elegant Flowering Succulent

also Called "Portulaca"

Photo of Moss Rose/Portulaca Copyright Melody-Jeanne de Mesterton

Sun-Dried Shirts: a Low-Cost Luxury

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 10:50 AM


Washing and Drying Your Shirts

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008

A well-made shirt can cost $500.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don't use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. "A little dab'll do ya", as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Some people even wash their clothes successfully with no detergent at all. A little elbow grease goes a long way; agitating your clothes in water is so effective that store-bought laundry soaps are secondary to the process. See the Household Hints page for additional information on laundry soaps and boosters.

Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothespins. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don't want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine--doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and custom-made ones from England that are twenty years old, and in perfect condition.

An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibers that a machine robs from your clothes. You'd be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they're easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains.) The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.

Giving your precious shirts and blouses to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up squalid images in your mind? Too bad, because it is one of life's simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun--some of the best people do it. Believe me, it's not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008 and April 2010

Low-Flow, High Performance

Posted on March 23, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Conserve Vegetables in Your Refrigerator

Posted on February 9, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Instead of throwing out vegetables that you cannot use, learn how to make refrigerator pickles with them. It's easy; all you need is vinegar, salt, sugar and a sterile glass jar with a lid.

Miniature Washcloths

Posted on February 6, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Quick-drying and small, these miniature washcloths are very efficient scrubbers and dust-cloths. They may be indispensable for your survival kit. Look for "Baby" brand.

Elegant Recycling

Posted on January 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Conserving Candles

Posted on January 14, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Picturesque Colorado

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Sun-Dried Towels and Lavender

Posted on August 3, 2009 at 8:27 AM

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008

Do-It-Yourself Solar and Wind Power

Posted on May 10, 2009 at 8:03 AM

Here is an instructional series that could help a person devise his own electricity system. It seems to be on sale for less than fifty dollars.

My Recipe for Natural, Non-Toxic Household Cleaner Reprinted by McClatchy News Service

Posted on March 20, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I'm here to help people, but when an original idea of mine is used in a for-profit person's article, i think it is only right to credit me. After all, the information and original recipes I print on my Elegant Survival sites is free to readers. If you are going to use my ideas, please use old-fashioned journalistic practices and give proper attribution.

Cleaner Made with Vinegar, Water and Essential Oil--and by the way, the author disparages scent in cleaning products, and then goes on to print the recipe with essential oils for scent!