Thursday, November 3, 2011

Washable Napkins

I'm always looking for ways to save some money.  As I get older, I appreciate more and more how each of our daily efforts really add up to a lifestyle difference.  I published a post back in August about washable napkins.  Since then I've got quite a collection put together, and I can proudly say that, not only are we using these instead of paper napkins, but we've got a good supply that should last for some time to come.

Cotton Dishcloth Yarn

The kids in a pool

The first of these washable napkins started while we were vacationing with family.  My kids were swimming in the pool and I was reading a book, doing a crossword, and enjoying my time-off in the warm summer weather.  When I bored of these activities, I pulled out my knitting.  This was the perfect project!  It required no thinking, no measuring, no special stitches, no itchy wool yarn, and relatively no paying attention.  I could watch my kids as much as my knitting.  And I wasn't the only poolside knitter, there was another with a light blue affair, soft and quite lovely, so my children couldn't make fun of me..

Knitting a dishcloth - No pattern!

First Washable Dishcloths - Cotton knit

I had made maybe eight of them, maybe ten.  Not enough for our biggish-sized family.  I stopped in at a nearby garage estate sale, held at an old farm house where I knew I'd find many lovely things.  I found more than I could afford, but was able to bring home these darling vintage embroidered napkins.  They match my kitchen perfectly.  I also found this old salt bag, I could trim it up for napkins.  I haven't decided yet.  It's a fun find for me, my mom's from Minneapolis and my daddy's from Duluth!  I may choose to do something longer-lasting with this piece.

Second collection
- vintage cotton with embroidery

Old Cotton Salt Bag

We needed just a bit more.  Yes.  There are nights of spaghetti or pizza, barbecued chicken or just the occasional spilt milk.  When you have six people eating a meal coming off the grill, you need a good supply of napkins.  When you have youngsters, you don't want to run out.

I ran into another estate sale where I happened upon a quantity of bright yellow-gold napkins.  They were sold as a set, but hardly used and at a good price: one dozen for $3.  These were a nice, soft cotton, so I was happy to bring them into my kitchen.

Bright yellow-gold napkins from an estate sale
We need to have a handy place to keep these napkins, ready for sticky fingers to grab before touching anything else.  I've chosen to keep mine on the table in a basket.  With all the different ages of my children, eating times can be any time, so meals are when they're here and when they're hungry.  Go ahead, sit down with your meal, grab a napkin, and enjoy!

Napkins in a basket at table

I had grabbed a few of other things, practically for free.  I'll share these ideas with you.  If you have or find some old sheets (cleaned, of course) that are made from flannel or homespun cotton fabric, they are perfect for making napkins, even towels.  Same for shirts that you may have, or find, especially men's, as they're larger.  Again, make these flannel or homespun, and clean.  These you'll want to trim along the thick seams.  Remember, there's no pattern here, just squarish and something generally big enough to clean your hands and handsome enough to please yourself.

Cotton homespun sheeting

Cotton flannel shirting


  1. Great idea for saving money and avoiding waste! Thanks for sharing at H&H's link party!

  2. It's working wonderfully! I can't believe I didn't try this years ago! Easy peasy. :)


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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!