So I tried something really cool on the weekend. (Being bored and having no friends at least means I have lots of time to mess around in the kitchen and such). I read a couple of articles about making your own laundry detergent, and it sounded easy and kind of fun. So I gave it a try! I used a combination of this recipe because it was the easiest to follow, and this one, where I first saw it. (The description of making your own giant bucket of slime totally hooked me!)
I ended up sort of combining the recipes, while simultaneously getting a bit confused about the amount of water to use (silly Americans - they have these weird things called gallons that are basically 3.8 litres, but they also switch to cups occasionally. Confusing!)
So basically I used Ivory soap, washing soda and Borax. I used the cheese grater to grate the soap - it was way easier than I expected. Then melted it on the stove on low heat in about 8 cups of water (because I meant to use four cups except forgot my measuring cup actually holds two cups of liquid). Then I dumped in half a cup of Borax and about 3/4 of a cup of washing soda and stirred it. Dumped the whole works into a giant bucket and added an indeterminate amount of water - this is where I got confused about the whole gallons and cups thing. I think it ended up being about 6.5L. Stirred it really well and let it cool with the lid off, so some of the (possibly) excess water would evaporate.
The hardest part was waiting all night for it to cool, but this morning I had my promised giant bucket of slime! It's white and sort of gelatinous, but a bit liquidy. I did some laundry with it this morning and it seemed to work fine, except that the things don't smell perfume-y like they do with regular detergent. Which is fine with me. So now I have a big old bucket of detergent, plus enough to make at least three more vats of it. It was about $6 each for the washing soda and Borax, and $2 for three bars of Ivory (you're not supposed to use anything with too much colour or perfume or additives). Which is a pretty good deal for enough soap to last me for at least a year, plus the amusement of making it.
While I was hauling home my giant bucket from Home Bargains to make my detergent in, I saw the neighbour next door and said hi. He seemed very pleased to see me and invited me over to their house later. I said sure, but I don't think he believed me, because he turned up at the door an hour later and got my mobile number to go out later on. I really didn't feel like braving a bunch of new people, but sucked it up and went over and was SO glad I did. We went to a hippie bar called the Cornerstone to see live music, and then went out dancing. And it was FUN! Met tons of new people (though no contact info) and got free cake and a couple of free beers. Heck yes! Also, it is nice to know the neighbours. The one who talked to me seems to only live there part-time, but there are a bunch more of them - some combination of students and just-done-being-students, I think. Feeling much better just for having been out to socialize, and not feeling so much like a recluse.