Cloth for Paper

I’m always looking for little ways to save money and the environment. One of the easiest things I’ve done was removing disposable paper products from the kitchen. It was virtually painless and unnoticeable.

First I did away with paper plates. This was easy, we very rarely used them anyways so there was no need to buy them when we ran out. For eating outside we found some cheap plastic plates so if they get dropped they wont break.

Then was the paper towels. We ran out and I didn’t buy more. My husband still reminds we need more paper towels (it’s been months now). Wash rags do the same job. The really greasy or nasty jobs I have rags from old tee shirts that can be washed and stained or thrown, need be.

Napkins, I had bought in bulk when I had the bakery for an event and had a ton left over. For now we are still using them (it’s been years). I have been stock piling clothes napkins for the day we finally run out of paper ones. Cloth napkins can be bought almost anywhere they sell kitchen towels or you can make your own.

Napkin edgeMaking a napkin is as easy as can be. Cut your piece of fabric into a square. I use a medium weight cotton, preshrunk, with a tight weave. The smallest size I would cut a napkin would be 13″x13″. Once your squares are cut you can serge the edges with a tight stitch setting or fold the edge in twice so the raw seam is hidden and stitch all the way around.

Essentially it’s easy just don’t buy it. Just the same as getting rid of junk food in the cupboard, when it’s gone, don’t replace it. Things like napkins will need some sort of replacements or the kids (and husband) will use their sleeves. I’m ok with a little more laundry but changing shirts after every meal could be a bit much.

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Scrappy Stocking

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, well not here. As we decorated for Christmas this year I realized we were one short. I took out the knitting needles and some yarn I had spun previously and began knitting. In no time and had a nice Christmas stocking… that I stuffed back in my knitting basket and plan to unravel and modify the pattern after Christmas. What a disappointment!

After all that we were still one stocking short. I still had my sewing machine and scrap fabric spread over the dining room table from a fall of apron making. So a scrappy stocking was in the works. It turned in to a nice afternoon project and this one I don’t plan to take apart.

First I traced one of the stockings we already had and cut out four pieces out of muslin. Two for the outside and two for the lining.

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I gathered all red scraps I had off I went. I used the same technique to make the stocking as I do a crazy quilt.

Start with a piece of muslin to build on. I layer my scraps on the base sewing each new scrap to cover the corner of the previous piece.

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When using a square and smaller pieces you won’t end up with a “fishtail” layering. For the stocking though I wasn’t too worried. I used the green plaid for the top “cuff”. Once the pieces are sewn to the base double check to make sure all the seam ends are covered or will be sewn into the side seam. Then trim the edges even with the base piece. Do the same with the back. Helpful hint: check which direction the toe is facing or you could end up with two fronts and no back. I know from experience. 🙁

Before sewing the back to the front I used embroidery floss and primitive stitched the name.

Then it’s pretty straight forward; right sides together sew the outside together. Again checking the toe direction sew the other two pieces together, right sides together.

Now, I know there is a way to sew the lining to the shell and turn it so all the seams are in and everything looks all nice and finished. But I couldn’t seem to remember how, so I pressed the top in on both the shell and lining and topped stitched around the edge.

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Here’s the front and back of the finished stocking. A perfect afternoon project.

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Lace on the Walls

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On piece of charm that came in our little farmhouse is a built-in china hutch in the dining room. I love built-in cabinets for some reason. This one is no different; old dark stained exterior and lighter painted interior.

I had planned to paint the inside before loading it with heirloom pieces but by the time we painted two bedrooms, the dining room, the living room and a few of the old panel doors I had had enough paint for a while.  I still wanted to “dress up” the inside of the cabinet though. Lace was the perfect way to go! (and it will match the dining room light, which is a piece of work all it’s own).

I’ve put fabric on the walls like wallpaper using spray starch before. It didn’t work real great for me, kinda. It was more work than it was worth really. So I knew I didn’t want to go that route but I still needed a way to keep the lace on the wall with the option to remove it someday without too much hassle.

Elmer’s Glue! You know the kind you were taught not to eat in kindergarten. Yep! That’s the stuff. It doesn’t stain, it’s non-toxic (as glue can get anyway) and it will wash off the wall when I need to remove it!

Here’s what I did:

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First I washed the whole cabinet out, walls, shelves everything.

I then measured the height and width of each wall I wanted lace on.  I cut the lace to fit with about an extra inch or so on all sides.

I used thumb tacks starting in the middle of the wall and tacked the lace on the top. I worked my way to the outside. When you do this be sure not to pull it tight. When the glue dries it will shrink the lace a bit.

I mixed my glue with water; roughly 50/50 ratio.

Using a sponge I applied the glue to the lace on the wall. Giving a good, thick coat. Too thick and it will run, too thin and the lace sometimes pulls away from the wall.

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After letting everything dry over night, I took out the tacks and with a sharp angled scissors I trimmed the excess lace. I had planned to use a sharp razor blade to do the trimming but I didn’t have one sharp enough. Even my best fillet knife didn’t do the trick.

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There you have it! Lace wallpaper! Looks nice and easily removed with warm water and soap when the time comes!

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