DIY Cloth Napkins

Hello Everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!

Okay so I love filling my home with meaningful things.

IMG_1582

I also try to be mindful of those things I’ve brought into my home, whether it’s a new shirt or a new-to-me book shelf. I am by no means a minimalist, aesthetically it’s appealing but it’s not for me, I need the 3 different frying pans 😛

So I try to be aware of what I purchase: where it comes from, the materials, or maker. But also how it impacts the environment. I wrote a post on that topic last week, read it here if you missed it.

I was needing some brighter, more summery inspired cloth napkins. I didn’t really want to just buy some, I wanted to sew some myself so they’d have more value and to work on my mediocre sewing skills.

IMG_1261

I found my fabric at MCC, a local thrift store, for $1.50 and I had enough fabric to make 9 12×9″ napkins.

Okay so jumping in…

Materials you need are:

  • Fabric
  • Something to measure with
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Iron
  • Somewhere to iron
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  1. So step one will be to measure and cut your fabric, whatever you chose. Cotton and linen are ideal, but because I bought mine second hand I don’t know the specs.

 

I cut my pieces to 12×9″ but you can adjust yours to whatever size you want.

2. Next would be to cut a little notch into the corners just under 1/2″ like this IMG_1269 (1)

3. Then you’ll want to iron down the short length side like this (for me that would be the 9″ side), remembering to press it down onto the back of the fabric.IMG_1566

4. and then trim the corner edge like this, and then iron the other edge like this

5. Next you’ll start to sew the edges down, to make it easier for yourself when you get to a corner make sure the needle is in the fabric then lift the sewing foot and turn your fabric square so the it’s straight with the hem, put the foot down and resume sewing. Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end of each napkin so it doesn’t unravel.

6. Repeat on all your napkins, and there you have it 🙂

IMG_1584

They’re not flawless because the hem isn’t rolled in but they’re perfectly imperfect. Easy and so simple. IMG_1579

You can fold them like a brochure and they fit nicely under utensils.

IMG_1585

IMG_1583 Now you can have your very own cloth napkins that you’ll hopefully treasure because you made them yourself.

Is there anything you’re sewing this summer? Tell me about it by leaving a comment!

-Dawn

More like this

IMG_0762 DIY Wreath

Why do I care so much?

Hello Everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely June so far 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve been on here but I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about recently.

Last time I shared about our slow simple life that we’ve managed to attain, and if you missed it you can go here and read it 🙂

IMG_1423

So I wanted to share about some thoughts I’ve had about “going green”, or being “eco-friendly” and why I find it important.

Why?

You’ve all heard about climate change, Earth Overshoot Day, and all the other scientific studies of our negative impact on our world. And sure maybe that’s a small bit of why I care about the impact my family creates. But the most fundamental reason I care so much is because as a Christian, we’ve been given an amazing home we call Earth. We recently just did a road trip through the Rocky Mountains and I am so in awe of how all creation works.

IMG_1449

In the documentary The Magic Pill on Netflix they explain about how grass-fed cows eat and fertilize the grass, which creates deep roots and new soil and it’s just one big circle of life. This is the way the world was intended to be. Maybe I didn’t explain it the best way, so go watch it right now. Oh no wait finish reading this first!

As Christians we need to express our gratitude by actually giving a f***. Sorry strong language, but I don’t care. I just think humans in general need to wake up and realize we have this amazing planet.

How?

Okay in our house we’re not 100% zero-wasters. It’s near impossible, especially when we don’t have the resources to make it work. BUT I make an effort to be ever so mindful of what impact we make. Some examples of what we DO do are…

  • Sustainable food packaging, like beeswax wraps and reusable ziplock bags.
  • Biodegradable cleansers, like dish soaps, laundry detergents, and body soaps.
  • Composting food waste, like using eggs shells as fertilizer or our city’s composting program.
  • Buying local because of fuel emissions.

I could keep going but I’d be here for a while.

Some areas we are unable to make it work, like my extensive effort to make our cloth diapers work for Cornelia has not worked. Or we don’t have a bulk food store in our area so lots of food gets bought prepackaged. But I’m always trying to improve and be grateful for what we’ve been given and the resources we do have.

imageToSave

It can be overwhelming at times, but then I just remind myself why I do it.

What kinds of ways do you try to be “green”?

-Dawn

Sustainable Conscious Cosmetics

A big aspect of living sustainably and traditionally is being conscious of the impact you make on the environment. How can we be stewards of the earth if we’re only hurting it?

Did you know that a lot of the ingredients and packaging used in cosmetics are pretty harmful for the environment? Palm Oil, marine life, micro-beads, polluting chemicals, plastic packaging, and general ethics are just some of the ways the cosmetic industry hurts the earth.

I may be a bit biased when I say that The Body Shop has a great range of quality sustainable products. But they really strive to be as sustainable as they can when sourcing ingredients and packaging products. In the two years I’ve worked there they’ve completely removed micro-beads for natural or biodegradable exfoliators, created a plastic packaging from recycled methane gas, started rebuilding rain forests with Bio-Bridges, changed multiple ingredient suppliers because of more sustainable options, they even changed a fair trade supplier (because fair trade doesn’t always mean sustainable), AND right now they’re petitioning to end animal testing in cosmetics globally.

IMG_3260

Last year The Body Shop had their 40th birthday and they made a commitment to become the most sustainable company ever. The founder, Anita Roddick, believed that a retailer could be a force of good. Read about their commitment HERE.

I know there’s many other companies out there that also use sustainable practices, it’s just I’ve only really used and researched The Body Shop’s products. Lush has a great package recycling program, ethical practices, and vegetarian. Also a somewhat local company, Rocky Mountain Soap Co is dedicated to making their small-batch products as natural as they can.

sustainablecosmetics1

Anyway, today I’m going to share a few of my favorites from The Body Shop with you. These are the things I really can’t live without because I love them so much!

So starting with Body Care items…

The Body Shop tries to fragrance their products as naturally as they can using real oils and extracts, and will only use synthetic fragrance if it could harm the source. For example, the musk fragrance is synthetic because its natural alternative comes from a musk deer.

  • The best body scrub I’ve ever used, seriously, I like a really rough scrub and the Cupuacu Scrub is basically just salt with a light oil that leaves your skin sooo soft and it smells like some beautiful tropical flower.
  • Body Butters are my life, I have a giant stash under my bathroom sink and I just slather this stuff on all the time. Each Body Butter is based with Cocoa Butter which comes from a women’s Co-op in Ghana, there’s a large variety scents, each one having its own benefit for the skin. My favorites are the Shea and Peach, pictured is the Pinita Colada which is a limited edition summer scent. Another fun fact about the Body Butters is that the plastic packaging is made from recycled greenhouse gases.
  • The Showers Gels are actually a “soap free cleanser” so they’re more gentle and non-drying, which is so great because I’ve got such dry sensitive skin. There’s a lot of scent options, and I like to stock up when the limited edition scents come out.

sustainablecosmetics3

Next up are my skincare favorites, I’ve got a dry dull skin type so I’ve found these work for me. Also, I regularly use more then just these products but these are the products I can’t live without.

Most of the skincare products contain Community Trade ingredients, sourced from all over the world, each ingredient having its own story.

  • My go to day cream is the Vitamin C SPF moisturizer, it has a 30 SPF and Vitamin C is good for brightening and collagen production. For me sun protection is very important and I will teach it to my children.
  • The Himalayan Charcoal mask is phenomenal, this is great for any skin type and it gives the best deep clean for your skin. It smells refreshing and I am truly impressed with how “free” my skin feels after is use it.
  • I use the Pomegranate Face Wash and I’ve never loved another facial wash more then this one. It’s a gel formula so it cleanses deeper then a cream formula but it has a creamy feeling so it’s very gentle and it doesn’t dry out my skin. I think it’s being discontinued so I will be looking for a new wash soon, unfortunately.
  • This makeup remover is the best thing ever. The Camomile Cleansing Butter, is so gentle it’s ridiculous. It’s a balm that you put on dry make up and it just melts eye makeup away, and you rinse with warm water and your makeup is all gone. Traditional eye makeup remover always stung me and so I’m thrilled to have found this. And it’s great for travelling cause it doesn’t leak and I’ve never had a problem with it melting but I wouldn’t leave it in the car on the hottest days.
  • The Drops of Youth Concentrate is a best selling skincare product and I can say I’m totally obsessed with it. It’s a serum that helps with cell renewal because it has plant stem cells. I love it because it makes my skin look so healthy and fresh, I can’t not use it because I actually notice my skin looks dull when I don’t use it, oh and it’ll help with aging 😉

sustainablecosmetics2

Lastly, my favorite Makeup products. I am certainly not a Makeup expert, I like my morning routine to be quick and easy!

The Body Shop uses Marula Oil from a Women’s Co-op in Nambia in most of their makeup, and it’s all 100% vegetarian and cruelty free. They’re also making an effort to reduce packaging by creating refillable products and wrap single eye shadow colours in paper not plastic.

  • The Matte Liquid Lipsticks are fantastic. They’re so long lasting, I used them for my brother-in-law’s wedding and they lasted till dinner time! My favorite colours are Nairobi Camellia (Nude) and Sydney Amaryllis (Red).
  • Just this year the Body Shop came out with create-your-own eye palettes, this is so great because you can customize your colours. I love eye shadow because I feel like it brightens my eyes so being able to make my own palette is great.
  • The Fresh Nude Foundation is by far the best foundation I’ve ever used. In the past I could only use BB Creams because foundations would feel heavy or drying but these ones don’t at all. They’re great for smoothing the skins appearance but not looking unnatural or cakey.
  • This Contour Kit is a huge hit for me, because I love the colours (there’s 2 options for light and dark skin). The contour isn’t too orange and the blush isn’t too pink. I also use the contour and bronze colours for a natural eye shadow look and the highlighter on the brow bone. Seriously if I was stranded on an island all I would need is this Contour Kit and mascara.
  • And then my favorite brush is this Sun Luster Brush, it’s great to use with my Contour Kit. The Body Shop has a lot of quality make up brush, all made with synthetic hairs.

sustainablecosmetics4

 

I am by no means basic (clearly) when it comes to the cosmetic products that I use, which is why I think it’s even more important for me to be using sustainable options.

I do need to find a mascara that I love and I will soon need to find a new face wash. Also I’ll eventually need to find a new hair conditioner because the one I use has been discontinued but I’ve got a stash for now haha.

I am hoping to expand the range of brands I use, keeping in mind the company’s values and supporting more local companies, so if you have some favorites please share with me!

dawn

One Thing You Absolutely Need in Your Home

Hey guys! How’s it going?! The typical BC summer has come at last, I can’t say I’m all that thrilled but I’m surviving haha. It was just Canada Day weekend, and I had a really good weekend. To celebrate Canada Day we went to a friends for a fire in the evening, we roasted hot dogs and played some hilarious minute to win it games. Then once it was dark enough we played sardines and we were all running around like kids and to end the night we had sparklers. I think the nesting bug has finally come for sure as I did some deep cleaning on Saturday morning and Sunday, which I’m very happy about, I was starting to worry it wouldn’t come haha 🙂

Anyway that’s not what I’m really sharing today! So moving on !

one thing you absolutely need in your home (1)

 

Okay so, part of learning to live traditionally and sustainably means choosing a different way to clean your home. You need to find something that’s more eco-friendly and a little more versatile. And I’ve been using this one thing for almost two years now, and now I can’t live without it. You need to have it in your home, and a big bottle of it too!

Wanna know what I’m talking about?

It’s White Vinegar!

vinegar1

Seriously guys, vinegar is the mostly magical thing ever. You don’t just eat it. It’s a fantastic antibacterial, great deodorizer, and many more uses which I’ll be sharing.

You ABSOLUTELY need to have it in your house. Vinegar is a modern-homesteader’s staple!

First off, vinegar is a mild acid that has been used in the past for industrial, medical, and domestic methods, but mostly just cooking now. You can get it at any grocery store, it’s so affordable, and it takes forever to expire. I buy a 4L jug for $5 and it takes me a few months to go through. There are many different types of vinegars but I find the white is the most versatile.

vinegar2

Okay now, the many magical uses of vinegar… (There’s actually way more but these are my everyday uses)

  1. Freshen laundry, I always pour in a bit (about 3/4 cup) when I wash a load of towels.  It helps keep my towels smelling clean.
  2. Fabric softener, having a bit in your rinse cycle will help soften clothes so you don’t need a softener which actually clogs washers and dryers.
  3. Washing machine, if you pour some in an empty washer and run it, it will actually give your washer a nice sparkle and for front loaders help with the wet dog smell.
  4. Extra dirty dishes, pour some vinegar in your “pre-rinse” compartment of your dishes if they need some extra boost. Really great if you found something growing in a tupperware and you need the extra antibacterial properties.
  5. Dishwasher, if your dishwasher is getting a bit clogged up, pour some in and run an empty cycle.
  6. Sinks, if your sinks are clogged, pour some baking soda in the drain, add 1 cup of vinegar and let it sit 10 minutes then pour boiling hot water down the drain. Also, sinks are some of the yuckiest places in the kitchen, so I like spray them down from time to time with vinegar to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
  7. Coffee pot cleaner, coffee pots will often times have bacteria hiding around somewhere so I’ll like to run some vinegar through it to be safe. I always rinse twice to be sure that the vinegar is gone and you wont taste it in your coffee!
  8. Kettle cleaner, we have fairly hard water here and sometimes I get a mineral build up in my kettle. I fill the kettle with water and about 1/2 cup vinegar, make it boil and then let it sit for 20 minutes or so. When I pour out the water the build up is usually gone, if not I scrub the inside and do it a second time. And then of course rinse after!
  9. Cleaning counter tops, I’ve made an all-purpose cleaner using vinegar (recipe for it HERE) that really is all-purpose. Some people may forget that your kitchen is actually so gross, and needs a little extra cleaning power, vinegar is a great natural way to clean your counters. Good for stoves too! We have a glass top stove so it’s easy for me to wipe the whole thing down, but it works on basically any surface.
  10. Fridge, again an area people forget about. I just use my cleaner spray and then wipe down the inside. You should especially use vinegar as an antibacterial if you have meat juice spill in your fridge or even freezer!
  11. Bathroom, I use the all-purpose cleaner in my bathroom as well to wipe down the counter and sink, but also in the shower/tub.
  12. Toilet cleaner, I use my cleaner spray and wipe down the whole toilet with it, even inside the bowl. It’s great at removing any yuckies and bacteria.
  13. Washing produce, vinegar is good if you’re worried about pesticides or any bacterial on your produce. Fill the sink with cold water and a cup of vinegar and soak the produce. Some people say it’s helped berries last longer, I have not tested this but I use this method to remove the wax from apples.
  14. Colour stay for clothes, soaking your clothes in vinegar diluted with water will actually helps your clothes hold on to their colour longer.
  15. Fruit flies, this is probably one of my best tricks with vinegar. Take a drinking glass, pour in a little vinegar, squirt some soap in, and fill the cup with water. You want the bubbles to go over the rim of the cup, the flies are attracted to the smell and then get stuck in the bubble and drown! For this one you could use apple cider vinegar as well too.

There’s my somewhat long list on how I use vinegar all the time and why I could not live without it. It’s a huge part of my weekly routine and I will actually panic a little if my jug is running low.

DSC_0010-2

There are so many different uses that I didn’t mention, like ways to cook with it or cosmetic reasons because I mostly use it as natural cleaning agent.

DSC_0013-2

For my all-purpose cleaner recipe go HERE

 

Was there a method that I missed and you use all the time? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

dawn