Saturday, November 24, 2012


Are the holidays making you nuts yet?

Did shopping on Black Friday drive you nuts or were you like me and didn't venture out among them (them, being know...nuts)?

Has decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever your December holiday is started yet and either made you crazy with tangled light strands or crazed because it past Black Friday Thanksgiving and you haven't decorated yet? You slackers!

Did your dryer stop working the day before the holiday, leaving you with a load of wet towels? That would have made me nuts but fortunately both sons live nearby and the one who was here when I had my conniption fit stated the problem took the load home to dry at his house.

I haven't done any shopping yet, the projects that will become gifts aren't complete yet, the dryer has been repaired, and you know what? If you don't listen to advertisers, it isn't time to panic yet. Ahhhh.....

Take a breather and watch this

It has nothing to do with holiday madness but might make you smile. If nothing else, it is a short trip down movie (and some TV) memory lane.

If you still feel nuts, or want to hint to someone else that they are nuts, or just need an easy, edible nutty treat, make these as I did for Black Friday Eve, a.k.a. Thanksgiving.

They are cute by themselves, a tasty bite sized combo of peanut butter and chocolate.

And they looked cute surrounding a chocolate Bundt cake.

If you don't follow Pinterest and therefore haven't seen them 173 times, they are made with Nutter Butter Bites (cookies that come in a bag), Hershey Kisses and mini chocolate chips and a bit of melted chocolate to hold the Kiss and chip onto the cookie.
Hubby is talking about getting the Christmas stuff down from the attic this afternoon. Maybe I spoke too early about not feeling nuts yet. I need to turn on some tunes and get into the spirit, Gangnam about nuts!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here we are again, the day before Thanksgiving in the USA. I trust most of you remember that it really is Thanksgiving that we are prepping for today, not Black Friday.

I am getting ready for guests tomorrow but in truth, I have been busier lately working on a Christmas project that I dare not show you yet in case the recipient sees it. Darn....this is killing me!

Meanwhile, best wishes to everyone in Blogland, here in the USA, there (you know where you are) and everywhere. Click on the link below for a Jaquie Lawson greeting.  I'll see Friday when it is just me and the leftovers, and neither of us will be moving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Unspoken sarcasm saves my day

A sense of humor keeps me going. Sometimes the humor is dark, skewed and not something I'd share with everyone, but it prevents me from getting into trouble by defusing anger or saying something that might hurt someone's feelings.

A friend is going though family drama with her adult kids. I am not laughing at her pain and my observations would not be welcome so I listen and nod, but oh my....she has turned into her mother, something she vowed she would not do. She is attempting to rule with an iron fist at all that, and it isn't going well.

Perhaps I watched too many cartoons at an impressionable age, but while she was venting to me about what was going on versus what should be happening, I felt like a light bulb might have appeared above my head when I realized this was a conversation from 30 years ago with her as the mom instead of the ungrateful child. I know I don't have a poker face but thankfully, my look was interpreted as shock that her kids would be so thoughtless. Picture me with a zippered mouth, trying not to look up to see if there was, indeed, a light bulb over my head.
Do you have people in your life that you can't (to use a Facebook term) unfriend ? I'm sure we all do. Most of the time, their foibles (I love that word!) roll off my back, but occasionally those foibles get caught in clothing and annoy the heck out of me. I was getting twitchy over one such person in my life when I decided to simply adopt the Southern phrase "bless her heart" with all of its condescending connotations. I suspect this person has directions posted next to her mirror that remind her
  • Breathe In
  • Breathe Out
  • Repeat as needed, throughout the day
Notice that doesn't say Inhale and Exhale? Looking up those big words in the dictionary might take too long and she'd fall down and go boom. Bless her heart.
Yesterday I went to the Apple store because my iPad died. I suspect the inspiration for Angry Birds came from someone's iPad or iPhone failure. My appearance was much like this between iPad death and iPad resurrection.
The Apple store is in an open air mall that I seldom visit for a variety of reasons. The mall is dog friendly. This isn't why I don't go there often, but it could become a reason.

I love dogs and I have no problem with service dogs in public, but I don't see a need to take your family pet to Nordstrom or Sephora. Where this mall is located, it is highly unlikely that anyone simply strolls there from their neighborhood while walking Fido and decides to pop into a store because something in the window is so tempting.
The mall is five years old and has attractive brickwork for the walkway between stores. Of course I parked at the wrong end of the mall to be near is what I do and then pretend I meant to do that because I should exercise more. As I was hurrying to get to Apple for my 11:30 appointment, I noticed a woman seated on a bench, scrapping her shoes. She hadn't seen the deposit someone's dog left on the brick and stepped in it. A mall employee was scrubbing away at the brick with a stiff broom and water. I'm betting neither of them were happy with the mall being dog friendly.
The iPad was repaired (whew!) and as I turned from the counter at the back of the store, I noticed a woman with a small poodle near the doors. The poodle peed a puddle (I love alliteration!) and the dog owner pretended not to notice. Out she went, leaving a surprisingly large puddle for someone in the store to clean up.
On my way back to the car, I stopped to look at the Swarovski window display. A couple with a huge Boxer went inside. The dog may have been the best trained dog in the world but why does any dog need to go into a store full of crystal???

I felt myself growing agitated but what could I do? I could imagine things that would make me smile! Hmmm, does anyone have an elephant I could borrow? I could track down the dog and owner who left the deposit for the woman to step in and go visit their front porch. Maybe the back porch too, just in case they aren't front door people.

Should I take the elephant to the poodle's house or is there an animal that urinates in greater amounts? Since I need to get the animal inside the house, an elephant isn't the best choice. Research will need to be done.

I will cut the Boxer a break since I don't know that he did any harm in the store, but I may visit that couple with a preschool class that has eaten grape jelly sandwiches and chocolate covered grahams on the way to their home. The kids might not touch a thing. I'd just like to watch the couple sweat it out.
Quietly, sarcastically yours,

Bless your hearts. Mine too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My daughter-in-law (Kim) and I had our second and last class with the instructor from the gourmet apple class.  Click here for that blog entry Eighteen people in one crowded room and only one microwave for melting chocolate was not a good set up.

Here we have a snowman and a chocolate spoon for your coffee.
The snowman might be okay for kids, but isn't something we will eat nor is it that attractive.  Using Nerds for the facial features is awkward because they are small and I don't like that they aren't uniform in size. If I were going to make these again, I would use melted dark chocolate and add the features, or use an edible marking pen.

The spoon as is, is just lame in my opinion.

The instructor really thought this was La-di-dah fancy. One Twinkie is cut on an angle and placed on either side of a whole Twinkie. Canned frosting was used and a "Spoon-fork from Taco Bell" (direct quote from her directions) is to be used to make it look like a log.
It would look more like a traditional Yule log with only one limb off the main log, and it needs to be smaller. This almost looks like back to back parentheses to me )(   A friend delicately pointed out that it reminded her of something that happens when she walks her dog. 

I am not a fan of spearmint gum drops because the flavor is over powering so I would not use them for holly leaves, and the red hots she gave us were too big to look nice. I would use red and green frosting to make the holly leaves and berries, but in reality, I won't be making this again. It cannot easily be picked off the wax paper and transferred to a plate. 

Snowball anyone?
Setting a chocolate covered round object on paper to dry results in a flat edge. This was almost unavoidable last night. There was barely enough room to work much less have a rack for the snowballs.  I would have liked these as a kid, but the confectioners sugar-butter-peanut butter center was achingly sweet to me.

How about some mice?
Cute idea, but I don't like the corn flake ears. The original idea with almonds is cuter in my opinion.
She wanted the same holly berry and leaves on the side of the mouse. Kim tried one. It was huge compared to the mouse and just not attractive. Here is that idea done with piping gel.
The Oreos are were soft the following morning. They were in a covered container with the Twinkie log. I don't know if splitting the Oreo open caused that or if the frosting on the Twinkie was too much moisture in the container. If I felt that had to go on a cookie platform, a chocolate covered graham cracker might hold up better, but I think they are cuter just by themselves.
I may sound overly critical but for what we paid on the class, not to mention supplies, this was disappointing. We were each told to bring 15 Oreos, 15 Hershey Kisses, 15 Maraschino cherries and  3 T. of butter. I bought supplies for both Kim and myself, therefore doubled everything. We used a total of 16 items between the two of us and only half of the butter. Do I sound irritated that the supply list was incorrect? I am.

Last month, in the caramel and chocolate apple class, she told us that chocolate would not adhere to an apple without the caramel. I took her word for it. Kim made 15 apples this week for her co-workers without the caramel and they turned out just great. They were much easier to slice and eat, and were pleasantly sweet as opposed to the caramel ones which were too much.

She told us last night to sift confectioners sugar on the Twinkie logs to look like snow. Not a good idea.... You can do that just before serving, but not in advance. The sugar will be absorbed into the frosting. When I asked her about this happening, she said she didn't think that would happen. Huh? Oh yeah, she's a real professional... Not.

Kim and I did have fun just being together, but there is no way we would take another class at this location or from this instructor.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday moaning

The weather is like my hair in the shower. Gray, wet and messy.

My mood isn't truly gray so what am I moaning about? Some people on Facebook are still posting pot shots at the other party even though the election is over. Gloating and mud slinging aren't good for the country and aren't healthy for any individual. I am reading there less and enjoying life more.

Speaking of hair, my hair and nails seem to like the Biotin I've added to my daily regimen. I had to cut my nails yesterday after discovering I could not manipulate the release on the shoulder harness to my grandson's car seat. My thumb nails were too long to get in there and push properly. My bangs seem to have sprouted overnight and need trimming. I promise not to do that myself. Even if it is tempting. That isn't really a complaint, is it? Just a little moan?

A sock knitting project has turned into a Goldilocks story. The first pair turned out well. The second pair, using a different yarn, is a fairy tale. Size 1 needles were too big (like the too hard bed and too hot porridge). Size 0 needles were too small (like Mama Bear's mattress and grub). I am waiting the arrival of baby bear's metric size 2.25 to start them again.

The scarf that I referred to as being knit with cobwebs is doing better. Its life was in jeopardy when I had to unknit 6 rows to correct a mistake that someone made
 The pesky little fibers that make up the fuzz of mohair decided in some sections to hold hands, hanging on for dear life, as I swore at coaxed them into cooperation. I guess my knitting moan is more of a sigh. Hard to believe I do this for fun, isn't it?

I will be putting on my superwoman cape (waterproof version today) and beginning a big sewing project. Tonight I have Copic Club, also known as playing with markers, at the nearby scrapbooking store. Don't worry. I won't run with scissors.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whew! I've survived another election!  If you are happy with the election results, congratulations. If you aren't, my condolences. I am happy that a definitive conclusion came about as quickly as it did. I feared problems or protests would drag this on for days.

I hope both parties learned something about the voters during this election. My fear is that the two parties have become such big businesses, they don't truly listen to us, the voters, despite all the polling. To me, it feels like they react to a poll by attempting to put a favorable spin on things. Is either party really listening to what the majority of us wants, or are they running with their own interests and answering to lobbyists and mega bucks contributors, then attempting to tell us what we want and need?

My wish now is that both parties will realize that compromise is not defeat and that we are ALL in this together. I am not so involved in politics that I personally witness elected officials of one party immediately disregarding anything said or offered by someone of the opposite party, but I sure have seen plenty of that among voters lately. That is as political as I intend to get.

Peace, bipartisan peace, to all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Move over cobwebs and spiders....

Sometimes I need to challenge myself in a knitting project.

Sometimes I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I decided to challenge myself!

I finished a pair of socks and have more planned to knit, but need a project that I can work on while at the yarn store and my next pair of planned socks will be yarn from a different source. Stealth yarn.
I should have put them on for the picture or invest in a pair of sock forms. They look better in person than in the photo. The yarn used is Ty-Dy sock yarn by Knit One Crochet Too, color name is Arizona.

Onto the challenge project: I am working with mohair, making a scarf called the December Scarf from Sheera, available on Ravelry. This is the scarf as depicted on the pattern directions:
The designer used cashmere. I am knitting with mohair in a very pale lavender shade. Lavender is not my usual choice by a long shot. I think this is going to be a gift, but I won't be certain until it is done.
The lace design isn't a challenge for me. I'm not boasting, I've just been knitting a long time. The challenge is the yarn. Hubby looked over at me while knitting and asked if I was knitting a cobweb. The yarn does look gray from across the room without a light background.
Mohair is very fine and can be slippery on needles. The needles I am using are Harmony needles from Knit Picks. They are laminated birch needles. I might be better off using bamboo (they aren't quite as smooth) but I really like the feel of Harmony so I'm not inclined to switch. Not yet, anyway.

Yesterday, while knitting with the group at the yarn store, I had a mishap with the yarn and pulled a bunch of stitches off my needle. I said a four letter word and it wasn't "yarn" or "knit". I got back on track with only undoing a few rows before resuming the pattern. I continued to knit last night without hiccups and am further along than the photo now.

Non-knitters might not realize that some people knit with dog hair that has been worked into yarn. We don't have a dog now, but I do have cobwebs. I think I am going to quit doing housework and cultivate those cobwebs. I might not be able to knit with them at the store but my home's cobwebs might be sturdier than the mohair yarn and I could just drape them around me as an accessory. I think I'm onto something!!

Hmm, I wonder if they are dye-able?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wedding gown re-do

A friend of mine has two daughters. One of them is getting married next month. The bride has a young son (5) and groom has a slightly older son (9). My friend asked if I could make ring bearer pillows out of her wedding gown.

* Gulp *

I had no qualms about helping her out, but cutting a wedding gown was somehow intimidating. I took a deep breath, got out the scissors and started cutting....

The purple fabric is from a sample of the bridesmaids dresses. More about the lace pillow in a minute.
Both ring bearer pillows (shown on either end) have ribbon through the entwined heart charms that could hold rings. It is up the bride if that will be the case or even if the ribbon will be used. It can easily be removed if she so desires.
The pillows are 10" square. I had no idea what size to make the pillows. The purple fabric sample, the usable parts of the wedding gown and the size of the boys led me to this dimension. My friend's gown was A-line in style, something common back when she and I were married. Cutting two 11" squares for each pillow took most of the usable skirt fabric. Seams and some staining had to be avoided.
I used polyester batting, folded to make four layers, as the pillow form. Loose polyester seemed lumpy. The white ribbon has a bit of irridesence to it. The entwined heart charms are a Wilton product.

My friend asked if I could make a keepsake pillow for her other daughter. I used skirt fabric to make the pillow and lace from her bodice to cover the top of the pillow. Notice some fullness in the bottom of the lace pillow in the photo above? It is one of the darts. I cut fabric away from the lace, including trimming the darts themselves, but didn't want to open the darts in case the lace had disintegrated or had been cut during dress construction.
I am pleased with the results but more pleased that my friend is happy!

I'm thinking about my gown now. It has been packed away for 37 years. I didn't save an invitation or matchbook (common favor in 1975) from my wedding but I'm thinking about using part of my dress as the background in a shadow box with family photos added. I'm going to wait a few years though in case Colton ever has a little sister. I don't expect her to wear my dress as a bride, but what a dress up costume it would make!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Step away from housework!

First, a bit of humor:

Now, a serious warning perhaps. I have not verified this information, partly because I don't use many of these products, but you might want to look into this if you do use anything listed below. From this point on, all information in this blog post has been cut and pasted from Environmental Working Group (EWG) as seen on this site (cleaners / hall of shame)


Cleaners labeled "safe," "non-toxic" and "green" can contain hazardous ingredients. There should be a law against bogus claims, but there isn't. Some companies are willing to bend the truth - because they can. 

Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner

It's labeled "non-toxic" and "biodegradable." It contains:
  • 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that damages red blood cells and irritates eyes;
  • A secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants. Some members of this chemical family are banned in the European Union.
Worse, the company website instructs the user to dilute the product significantly for even the heaviest cleaning tasks. Yet it comes in a spray bottle that implies it should be sprayed full-strength. Such use would result in higher exposures.

Whink Rust Stain Remover

Advertised for cleaning white porcelain sinks, toilet bowls and colorfast fabrics and carpet, the fine print warns:
  • "May be fatal or cause permanent damage."
  • "Causes severe burns which may not be immediately painful or visible."
  • On technical information for workers, "will penetrate skin and attack underlying tissues and bone."
Product literature advises workers to "use only with adequate ventilation" and to wear gloves, safety goggles and a face mask. Consumers are advised only to wear rubber gloves.

Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser

These concentrated liquids and ready-to-use sprays contain d-limonene and orange oils from citrus peels. According to the company's worker safety disclosure, Citra-Solv concentrate is 85 to 95 percent d-limonene. That the oils are derived from citrus implies safety, but sprayed into the air, they can react with trace levels of ozone air pollution to form ultra-fine particles that penetrate deep into the lungs and formaldehyde, which the U.S. government classifies as a known human carcinogen. The California Air Resources Board advises people to limit the use of citrus- or pine oil-based cleaners on smoggy days to avoid exposure to particulates and formaldehyde.

EWG Green Tip:

Read labels carefully and pay special attention to warnings. Don't buy any products labeled "poison," "danger" or "fatal" if swallowed or inhaled.

Banned abroad

Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner

This product contains nonylphenol ethoxylate, which the state of California has banned in cleaning products manufactured after 2012. Products containing this chemical cannot be sold in the European Union. It breaks down to nonylphenol, which can disrupt the hormone system, is toxic to aquatic life and persists in the environment.

Scrubbing Bubbles - Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-A-Clean Mega Shower Foamer

These products contain up to 10 percent DEGBE, also called butoxydiglycol, a solvent banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent in aerosol cleaners. It can irritate and inflame the lungs.

Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner

It contains DEGME, also called methoxydiglycol, at up to 15 times the concentration allowed in cleaners sold in the European Union. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe says DEGME is "suspected of damaging the unborn child." (This product is also sold as "Mop & Glo Triple Action Floor Shine.")

DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker

It may contain up to 10 percent of a hazardous solvent called 2-butoxyethanol. Canada caps this chemical's use in non-aerosol cleaners at 6 percent. It also contains nonylphenol ethoxylate, prohibited in cleaners sold in the E.U.

EASY-OFF Fume Free Oven Cleaner

This spray contains 5 to 10 percent DEGBE. The E.U. bars concentrations of DEGBE greater than 3 percent because it can harm the lungs.

EWG Green Tip:

Check your brands' labels and websites for ingredient lists. Avoid products containing nonylphenol ethoxylates (look for "nonylphen" or "nonoxynol" within the ingredient name) and 2-butoxyethanol, butoxydiglycol, ethylene- or diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, diethylene glycol monomethyl ether or methoxydiglycol.

Drain cleaners that can burn and blind

Childproof packaging is just one clue that conventional drain cleaners are extremely dangerous.

Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover

The label says this product can severely burn eyes and skin and cause blindness or even death. Drano Kitchen Crystals may remain in the drain after use, creating an extreme hazard. Using a plunger could cause caustic splashback. Pouring any other product down the drain might trigger a dangerous chemical reaction. The label warns purchasers to "keep water out of can at all times to prevent contents from violently erupting or boiling out." Yet unsuspecting consumers have been known to store it under the sink.

EWG Green Tip:

Use a drain snake and plunger, available in hardware stores. Store drain cleaner in high secure cabinets out of reach of children and away from water.

Oven cleaners that emit toxic fumes

Conventional oven cleaners can contain substantial amounts of sodium or potassium hydroxide, meant to dissolve crusty, baked-on gunk. These chemicals can also burn skin, lungs and eyes.

Walmart Great Value Heavy Duty Oven & Grill Cleaner

The label warns: "Will burn skin and eyes. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mucous membranes and clothing. Harmful if swallowed. Avoid inhaling spray mist. Wear long rubber gloves while using…"

CVS/pharmacy Fume-Free Oven Cleaner

Though claiming to be "fume-free," the label warns: "Vapor harmful… open windows and doors or use other means to ensure fresh air entry during application and drying." The label says the product contains an unidentified substance "known to the state of California to cause cancer."

EASY-OFF Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner Aerosol Spray

The label warns: "Warning: …DANGER: CORROSIVE…WILL BURN EYES AND SKIN. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, mucous membranes and clothing. DO NOT ingest. Use only with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing spray mist. Wear long rubber gloves when using…"

EWG Green Tip:

Sprinkle baking soda liberally to cover the bottom of the oven. Spray with water. Wait 8 hours, scrape and wipe clean.

Mystery mixtures

Ingredient labels are mandatory for food, cosmetics and drugs - but not for cleaners. Bowing to pressure from customers and to the threat of federal regulation, most companies list some ingredients on labels and websites or in worker safety information. But a few companies disclose nothing. Others may list one or a few ingredients or use vague terms like "surfactant" or "solvent."

Target's Up & Up

This brand's Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Glass and Surface Wipes do not list any ingredients on the product packaging. Other products sold under the Up & Up label list only one or two ingredients or use vague terms.

LA's Totally Awesome

This brand divulges few ingredients. It lists just one ingredient for its Orange All Purpose Degreaser & Spot Remover, the hazardous solvent 2-butoxyethanol.

Walmart's Great Value

This store brand does not list ingredients in its Heavy Duty Oven & Grill Cleaner and lemon-scented Furniture Polish, despite the company's commitment "to sell products that sustain people and the environment." Other items sold under the Great Value brand list few ingredients or use general terms for them.

EWG Green Tip:

Look for products listing most or all ingredients on the label or website. No information could mean something to hide.

Fatal if inhaled

Some popular cleaning products contain addictive inhalants. Inhalants generally have been abused by 1 in 5 American teens and are considered "gateway drugs" that lead to drug and alcohol abuse ( They are potentially fatal in concentrated form. A few of the many inhalant products EWG found:

Glade Air Freshener Sprays, Air Wick automatic air fresheners, and Old English furniture polish

These products warn that "intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal."

Spot Shot Carpet Stain Remover

This product warns that "inhalation abuse of aerosol products may be harmful or fatal."

EWG Green Tip:

Talk to your kids about the risks of inhalants ( Read warning labels and keep cleaners that are potentially fatal if inhaled out of your home.

Fatal if swallowed

When is a clean house worth this risk?

Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover

This corrosive acid concoction kills bacteria but is also labeled "harmful or fatal if swallowed." The cleaner's child-proof cap is an important safety feature. The label warns not to squeeze the container when opening and to wear safety goggles. A bit of this acid in the eye can cause "irreversible damage."

2000 Flushes and X-14 toilet bowl cleaners

These chlorine-laden discs don't harm plumbing or septic systems, but according to the label they "may be fatal if swallowed." The boxes warn customers to wear rubber gloves when handling, hold the disc away from the face and avoid inhaling the fumes. A pet could confuse a disc with a plastic chew toy.

EWG Green Tip:

Don't take a chance on products that are fatal if swallowed. Pets and children are most at risk, so read the warning labels. Stock your cabinet with safer choices, but keep them, too, out of children's reach.

High-hazard ingredients

Hagerty Liquid Jewel Clean

It contains perchloroethylene, a toxic solvent classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Tarn-X Tarnish Remover

This "Wipe & Rinse" product contains up to 7 percent thiourea, a chemical classified as a carcinogen by the state of California. The company's technical information for workers says "prolonged or repeated exposure may cause reproductive and fetal effects."

Ajax, Dynamo and Fab Ultra liquid laundry detergents (Phoenix Brands)

These contain formaldehyde, also known as formalin, classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. government and World Health Organization. Formaldehyde can cause asthma and allergies. The company divulges the presence of formaldehyde in the product only on technical disclosures for workers.

EWG Green Tip:

Try safer do-it-yourself options first, before heavier duty options.

Combatting static with toxic chemicals

Dryer sheets and anti-static sprays may free clinging fabrics and stop static sparks, but they usually do it with quaternary ammonium compounds that can irritate lungs and cause asthma as well as allergic contact dermatitis.

Static Guard

This product contains the chemical DTDMAC, or ditallow dimethyl ammonium chloride, which is so persistent in the environment that it can't be used as a cleaning ingredient in the European Union.

Final Touch Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener

This brand contains quaternium-18 (dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride or DHTDMAC), which also cannot be used in cleaning products sold in the European Union because of its persistence in the environment.

EWG Green Tip:

Use a humidifier if your indoor air is dry - more water in the air means less static electricity. Add vinegar to the rinse cycle to prevent static cling or run a damp cloth over clothing.

Spray cleaners with asthma-causing ingredients

Even though 1 in 10 U.S. children suffers from asthma, some companies make spray cleaners that fill the air with asthmagens, meaning ingredients that cause asthma.

Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Easy-Off, Lysol, Mr. Clean and Spic and Span.

Many of the spray cleaners sold under these brand names are laced with quaternary ammonium compounds or ethanolamine, ingredients classified as asthmagens by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, a professional association of clinics and health experts. These chemicals can trigger asthma attacks and can cause new cases of the disease in people who are asthma-free. Ingredients classified as asthmagens don't belong in spray products.

EWG Green Tip:

Skip spray products that contain ethanolamines (MEA, DEA and TEA) and "quats." Beware of ADBAC, benzalkonium chloride or ingredients with "-monium chloride" in the name from the label or the company's website. Do not use disinfecting sprays, since most of them contain asthmagens.

100+ hidden chemicals

EWG's 2009 state-of-the-art air pollution tests of 21 common school cleaning products turned up a wide range of air contaminants linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. Some of the worst offenders are in products also commonly used in the home.

Comet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder

This product emitted 146 different chemicals, including some thought to cause cancer, asthma and reproductive disorders. The most toxic chemicals detected - formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform and toluene - are not listed on the label. Little is known about the health risks of most of the contaminants found.

Febreze Air Effects

This product released 89 air contaminants.

EWG Green Tip:

Open windows or run a fan - or both - to clear the air during and after cleaning.

Undisclosed chemicals in the air

Air fresheners do not clean or purify the air. They merely cover up odors by releasing undisclosed mixtures of fragrance chemicals. Common fragrance components include chemicals that spur allergies, trigger asthma attacks or impair reproduction.

Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatic

This product boasts that "your home will always smell fresh and clean" but cautions that the device should be placed "in well-ventilated rooms away from sleeping areas." Among the label's warnings: may be harmful if directly inhaled, may cause allergic reaction in some individuals, DO NOT spray towards face or body, DO NOT get in eyes, avoid content with skin, DO NOT spray directly onto surfaces.

Air Wick Freshmatic Compact

This product cautions to "use in well-ventilated rooms away from sleeping areas."

Febreze and Glade automatic air fresheners

These products warn, "Do not use in small confined pet areas without adequate ventilation."

EWG Green Tip:

If a room has an odor problem, track down the source and eliminate it instead of covering it up with fragrances. A bowl of baking soda in the bathroom can absorb odors.

Dead zone detergents

Most detergents claim they are "phosphate free." And that's a good thing, because phosphate compounds, formerly a mainstay for cleaning dishes and clothing, wash into waterways and spur rampant algae growth that leads to massive "Dead Zones" in the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay and other water bodies. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia prohibit phosphates in household dishwashing and laundry detergents. But some companies exploit a legal loophole by selling phosphate-laden additives that are as harmful as banned detergents.

FINISH Glass Magic Hardwater Performance Booster

This product contains up to 21 percent phosphate by weight, according to the label.

EWG Green Tip:

Skip phosphate additives for dishwashers and clothes washers. Don't use cleaners with ingredients that damage the environment.

Me again....kind of sad and scary that we might be doing so much harm while trying to keep our surroundings clean and healthy, isn't it?  I like the humor at the beginning of this post much more than the serious side. I was considering running the vacuum but I might just have a piece of chocolate instead.