A couple of small household hints

This week two interesting articles in the Make It from Scratch carnival caught my attention: Tammy at Simply Beck’s Bounty ruminates on the practicality of cloth napkins relative to paper, and Beth at Fake Plastic Fish explains how to make ice packs and heating pads without benefit of plastic.

Tammy points out that you can make napkins from bath towels and face towels, among other handy sources of fabric. When I’m here alone, one of my favorite napkins is a waffle-weave dish towel. They’re very absorbent, soft on the hands, and big enough to cover your lap generously.

If you have a family and would like them to behave as though they live in civilized society, it would be very easy to snip a waffle-weave towel into napkin-sized pieces and seam the cut sides. You could get two out of a single towel, and since they only cost about three bucks apiece, this is highly cost-effective compared to buying finished napkins. They come in lots of colors and designs, making it easy to find something that goes with your decor.

Beth points out that it’s easy to make one of those microwaveable warmth bags with a sock and some rice (oatmeal works handily, too). These things are great. She also contemplates various ways to apply ice to sore muscles and bruises.

If you’re not repulsed by the presence of plastic, a convenient way to make an ice pack is to dampen a paper towel (you could use a cotton washcloth or towel, of course!), lay it flat inside a ziplock bag, zip the bag tightly shut, and freeze it flat in the freezer. The result is much less messy than a plastic bag full of ice cubes—doesn’t leak as the ice melts—and as it softens you can mold it around a sore body part. To keep from applying extreme cold directly to the skin, wrap it in a light towel (such as a cotton flour-sack towel) or a napkin.

I find these work exceptionally well for migraine headaches. Yes. Weirdly, an ice pack may ease your migraine. Whatever works, works.

:-)

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Shelley February 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

Decant some frozen peas into a ziplock and then it will contour to what ever part is injured. Can re-freeze if needed, Just don’t confuse with edible peas.

funny February 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Great idea! And it’s a use for the LIfetime Supply of Costco peas. :-)

frugalscholar February 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm

As a child, I hated napkins and loved using dish towels. Why should a dish towel (bigger, more absorbent, etc) be just for alone-time? Just because a merchant deems a dishtowel for dishes and a napkin for meals, why should we?

In my house, we all use dish towels–the big ones. Love them! So glad I’m out of the closet on this. (The linen closet?)

SimplyForties February 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I love cloth napkins. If you aren’t handy, you can always get extremely cheap ones at the change of he seasons; fall ones in Spring, pastel ones in August, etc. Before I sold all my stuff and moved away I sold most of what was a huge supply of cloth napkins. Estate and garage sales are clearly a good place to look too!

funny February 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

@ frugalscholar: My mother probably vibrates in her funeral urn every time I toss the dishcloth on the table to use it as a napkin. I’m sure she’d think it was very déclassé. Oddly, we always used paper napkins…I can’t remember ever seeing cloth napkins except when guests were invited for holiday meals. I didn’t start using cloth napkins until several years into my marriage, and then not only my mother but my friends wondered allowed why on earth I’d want to be bothered with the extra laundry.

@ SimplyForties: Darn! Wish I’d known! We could’ve bought some. M’hijito’s roommate’s girlfriend put his off-white napkins in the laundry with a red throw rug…turned them all pink!

TrudyAnn February 10, 2010 at 11:22 am

I don’t use many paper products at all…..for me, It’s never been cost effective. I purchase Bar towels and/or packages of handtowels at a discount, for napkins. I have lots of different colors….for the children, we use colored wash clothes….so much more practical, and absorbent, if there is an “accident” as there is invarriably when the kids are around….LOL. We have the terry cloth at hand, and the spills are mopped up quickly. I also give cloth diapers to new moms….if not used for baby’s bottom, they make great burp cloths! Guess I’m just oldfashioned! The fact that it is ‘eco-friendly’ is a perk!

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