Orange is the new green


I'm not one for making annual resolutions. My big life-changing movements tend to be more impulsive, a catalytic reaction of pent-up angst and self-righteousness. Like the evening I sat down to my mom's meal of beef stew and decided I would no longer be eating meat. Or when I threw out an empty box of Camel Lights and decided not to buy another. Or the day I woke up and decided to get an oil change, leave school and drive halfway across the country and be with my future husband. The ringing in of a new year hardly qualifies as impetus, so it's generally not when I suit up for any kind of change.

But I do sense a theme for the upcoming months. And it looks awfully green. Now, as an old print hack, this is a little difficult to resolve. Years ago, when someone suggested that the internet would kill print news, I scoffed at the idea, citing how much people like the tactile experience of reading the paper. I didn't realize that it was just me. I like the feel and smell of newsprint. I like paper. I like things on paper. I like making things on paper. I shop for it and stash it away and dog-ear corners and flip through pages and fold it and mark it up with ink. I carry around notebooks in all manner of sizes, some quad-lined, some unruled, some with bright covers, others with plain kraft paper. And then there's the paper we wipe our faces with and use to soften our clothes and wrap gifts and toss after emptying it of cereal. And that's just paper. It's rather exhausting and daunting just to think about reversing the role of waste and what consumer convenience has brought to my life. Which is why, I suppose, we spend so much time politicizing and bitching over Al Gore's carbon footprint instead of actually taking action.

A few weeks ago, I jettisoned my paper to-do list for this online one. A teeny tiny step, to be sure, but much of my life can be sussed out in the lists I have made since, as a wee girl, I first picked up a pencil to itemize the things in my world. So this is no insignificant change. I love this app, by the way. I've been using it as a combined daily taskmaster and crafty wish list of sorts. Editable and accessible and forgiving and superior to my paper list in many other ways. My anal retentive app-crush aside, what I've noticed about this list is how much it's dominated by things I want to make to render consumer goods obsolete in my home. Or to repair and refashion instead of replace. Like making more snack bags to replace the plastic baggies in The Boy's lunch. Or sacks to bring produce home from the store. Or reusable woolen balls instead of softener sheets to toss in the dryer. 

This all reminds me of a college friend who, with her roommate, would reuse plastic produce bags (a fairly normal practice at our liberal and liberal arts hippie school). She had some on the counter, washed out and air-drying, when her sister came to visit. The sister promptly returned home and reported to their parents that my friend was living like a savage.


Cloth napkins, though, hardly speak of savagery, and have long been on my list of things to make. In my post-holiday, in-between-projects, puttering-around-the-house malaise, I endeavored to clean and oil the sewing machine, something I've never done in the half-decade that I've owned it. Apparently, I've never taken a close look at the assortment of doodads and presser feet that occupy its accessory compartment, either, because when I pulled out the rolled hem foot, I had absolutely no idea what it was or how to use it. But judging by its description in the manual, I deemed it the perfect tool for the long elusive napkin project. 

For the fabric, I used the last of a pair of twin-sized duvet covers purchased from Ikea a few years back and previously cut up for other projects around the house. It's weave is loose, a little gauzy, very orange, perfect for napkins. All cut up, it yielded 31 squares (the fabric stash gods work in mysterious ways), plus some small scraps for some other use.


So, no more paper napkins for us. These cloth ones have supplanted their paper counterparts in the table dispenser. They're plentiful and washable and casual enough for everyday use. And cloth napkins, even slightly soiled with a baby's avocado and rice cereal mash, just seem so elegant on the dining table. But maybe a little less so on the floor where the she threw it after having gnawed on a corner between spoonfuls.

Tags: green, Ikea fabric, napkins, sewing


Those look great! Reminds me

Those look great! Reminds me the kids requested cloth napkins after having them everyday on the cruise. Maybe I should make them roll the silverware too. :)

Ooh, and napkin swans, too.

Ooh, and napkin swans, too.

I have a napkin-folding book.

I have a napkin-folding book. Origami for cloth.
I also have a book for cooking on your car engine.
And another one all about adhesives. All available for lending, I might add.

But I digress. I have to make some screens, for godsake, but now I want to scrounge through my material & recycle pile and make some door snakes/door-cold-wind-blockers. And bags. Jesus, I need to make some bags.

Oh, I'm also a veteran paper list maker. But intrigued by your to-do list app. I've tried some other online apps but this one looks a little more straightforward. Will report back...

A book on adhesives? Now

A book on adhesives? Now that's a library I've got to check out.

In Seattle I was all over the draft snakes. Here, it's all about the door stops. What is my obsession with sewing things to put by doors?

We have got to exchange

We have got to exchange emails. I have nerdy questions that hardly seem to warrant publication!