Cloth Napkins (an easy, eco-friendly sewing project)

I have always loved cloth napkins. Beautiful china set with shiny silverware, wine glasses, and a stark paper napkin just doesn’t work! I also do not love throwing away bleached paper napkins day after day. What a waste. And who knows where those trees used to live. Best to use cloth. If we are only dabbing our lips after a lip smacking meal, I just fold them back up and we use them again (if it’s just me and Doug, obviously one would want to use fresh, clean napkins for company!). Aesthetically they are nicer, less wasteful, and a great addition to your farmhouse table.

Cloth napkins in beautiful fabrics range from $6-$12. You can get some cheaply made China ones from Walmart for $3. I can get a whole yard of fabric and make my own for a buck a piece or less and still have leftover fabric for quilt blocks. This is a great beginning sewing project.

1) First, set up your iron! Grandma taught me this; let the iron do the work for you. I typically detest ironing, but for sewing it is a must!

2) Measure out how big you want your blocks to be. I didn’t want to waste too much fabric, so I folded the cloth in thirds and cut at the creases. Grandma also taught me that if you cut down a few inches, you can finish the cut by tearing the fabric. It will tear straight and true and save you time and crooked pieces. I did it the other way as well. I ended up with nine blocks.

3) Fold and iron a 1/4 inch hem. The hot iron holds the fold. Then fold once more 1/4 inch for a finished seam. Iron and pin. You don’t want frayed edges or unraveling strings; that is why we fold the fabric over twice.

4) Sew a straight line 1/8 of an inch from edge of hem. You could also do a second run doing a zigzag stitch on the edge of the fold to ensure sturdiness.

5) Iron and fold.

I chose this plaid fabric because with so many colors it is bound to match anything I put on the table! I think I will go get some cute ranch/farm scene fabric and make another set so that I can alternate them on the table.

These make great homemade gifts as well!

Spring Decor Farmgirl Style

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We love each season and each of their gifts.  Renewal, Sunshine, Harvest, Rest.  Each season in our house looks differently.  To switch from winter to spring a house needs but a few touches.  Trade heavy blankets and pillows for lighter ones on furniture.  A bold Indian blanket was replaced with Kat’s grandma’s beautiful quilt.  Still nice to curl up with during movies but cheery enough to emote spring.  The pillow was a Pottery Barn Christmas pillow.  Adorable.  Perhaps time to cover the Christmas stockings on it though!  A vintage pillow case does the trick.  Stacks of gardening books surround the chairs.

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A simple pair of humble galoshes can whisper springtime is approaching!  They are good for trekking through the snow to the chicken coop or standing in the garden.  I like them by the door.  An invitation for springtime to come on in! (And springtime mud indeed will.)

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Look closely at this picture!  It is easy to be distracted by the seventeen year old “farm dog” there guarding the rug.  Look at the tablecloth.  For ten dollars I was able to get two yards of vinyl for our six foot table at the craft store.  It lasts a whole lot longer than the cheap plastic tablecloths at Walmart, standing up to cat scratches, stains, and daily wear and tear.  It just washes off.  I have a vintage New Mexican tablecloth underneath it to keep it protected.  There are lady bugs all over the vinyl tablecloth creating a look of picnicking on the dining room table.  Lady bugs and bees welcome spring.

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Lanterns and warmer weather decor is replaced with bird cages and flowers.  I bought this bird cage at a thrift store for next to nothing to house vases of spring flowers (which I am yet to get) to protect them from nibbling kitties.  Pots of daffodils look great tucked inside as would a bird’s nest or Easter eggs.

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The indoor garden is still brightening the window sill to the south.  The petunias simply love it.  A package of petunias can be arranged in pots and placed throughout the house in sunny locations.  They are so easy to grow.  They love sun, water every three days, and dead head the plant so the blooms keep coming back to show off.

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This lovely peasant dress arrived in the mail early yesterday.  Something sassy to wear to Santa Fe next week (along with her four sisters I may have purchased in a spring fever frenzy.  Beautiful.  Where creamy whites and piney greens are show stoppers in winter, nothing beats bright colors to infuse the spirit in time for spring.

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Mine aren’t quite this glorious yet, my daffodils are merely peeking their arms up out of the soil, but I do hope you planted bulbs last fall!  Nothing sings spring like birds raucous and loud outside the window and fields of daffodils and tulips.

So, out with knits and winter reminiscences, and in with bright, happy decorations, clothing, and flowers.  Welcome Spring!