Monthly Archives: March 2021

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 13, Issue 10 – March 14, 2021

Greetings, my Thirty Sisters, and Happy March! Spring is certainly in the air in my neighborhood. The Robins have returned, we had the first rumbles of thunder last week, things are greening up, and we even fired up the grill for the first time! Although, my neighborhood is also in a winter warning for tonight. Ah, Spring on the Prairie! Somehow a March storm doesn’t seem as dismal, since we all know we have arrived at the beginning of a new season.

Speaking of Spring, I am happy to report that I have my tomato and pepper seeds planted. I potted some little baby plants that were living in pint jars while they were growing new roots. And yesterday was nice enough where I could even take my dirt mess outside to the deck and gleefully toss my potting mix about, without a care. The smell of the potting dirt and getting my hands in the soil was so rewarding.

Being mindful of such small pleasures is a gift that I hope each of you may find this season. The warmth of the sun, the fresh air, hearing nature’s symphony in the birds and rustling sounds are beautiful moments to treasure. I sincerely hope you find your happy moments.

In the previous newsletter, I wrote on and on about these flannel cloths that my friend Cathy had. Seriously, this has almost become an obsession! So, I searched around, and found that there are many makers that have jumped on the flannel train (thanks, Etsy!). And the flannel products that one can find is impressive and creative. I had no idea that one could purchase tiny little flannel squares to roll onto your toilet paper rolls. Honestly, I don’t have any desire to embrace this product, but people are making them, and someone must be buying them. Maybe these became all the rage during the great TP shortage of 2020? Although, I can get behind flannel face wipes and ditch the need for cotton balls.

And down the wild rabbit hole of flannel products I went (seriously, you would be surprised what people are making out of flannel!). Until I found a maker who not only sells the flannel (un)paper towels, but also had a seconds sale rack. These are the less than perfect wipes that also need a good home, and are clearance priced. I don’t think these can arrive fast enough, since my rag pile is disintegrating quicker than I anticipated. And, Cathy, tell your Mom thanks for the sewing inspiration, as I found some clearance flannel at my local hobby store (in the remnant rack, of course!) and will be making some of that into small face wipes to fit in my cotton ball jar, and maybe more larger wipes for home and studio use.

With St. Patrick’s Day looming in our very near horizon (yay! I love this holiday!), don’t forget to get all your green clothing out for this week. Maybe the kids need a new St. Patrick’s Day themed craft? Check out this Lucky Slime recipe: https://masonjars.com/st-patrick-s-day-lucky-slime-in-a-mason-jar.html?utm_campaign=639644_St%20Patricks%20Day%20Slime%203%2F6&utm_medium=email&utm_source=MakerPlace%20Inc&dm_i=5343,DPJW,37ALX6,1FIYU,1

And while this is typically the week for corned beef, cabbage and ALL the potatoes one can stuff into their face, here are 17 other green-ed up foods to enjoy throughout the week to stay in the St. Patty’s Day theme. https://thegirlonbloor.com/17-fun-green-recipes-st-patricks-day/

Maybe when you think green, you are suddenly craving a salad? Why not try this recipe (bonus points if you dig your grill out from the snow to really amp up cooking the shrimp!): https://www.paleonewbie.com/paleo-shrimp-cobb-salad-with-garlic-vinaigrette/?utm_source=reCAP+Customers&utm_campaign=c3f0e8c2d8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc8db817d0-c3f0e8c2d8-107870733&mc_cid=c3f0e8c2d8&mc_eid=09a0c5f50e

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, have a beautiful week. Happy St. Patty’s week to you all! In a true Irish Blessing, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields, And, until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” And, as always, be kind to yourself and others and keep on keepin’ it fun and thrifty!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 13, Issue 9 – February 28, 2021

Greetings, my Thrifty Sisters! Today is the last day of February, and tomorrow is what I like to fondly call, The Most Wonderful Day of the Year. According to my Dad, March 1 is spring. While he was fully aware that the spring equinox occurs later in the month, it certainly is refreshing to know that we have made it through the hardest part of the winter. I am going to miss getting my Dad’s enthusiastic phone call declaring the arrival of March 1. It is a day to celebrate as we would eagerly talk about all the new things that we have planned for our upcoming gardens and comparing notes about the return of the Robins.

Do you have your garden books and planting planners out? I have heard from many of my friends how giddy they are to start planning their gardens and finding new seeds to plant and daydreaming of warmer days ahead. Maybe you have started some seeds already? With The Most Wonderful Day of the Year arriving, it will be safe to assume that I will be pulling out my seedling equipment and gleefully working through my seed packets this week.

Recently, my friend Cathy shared with me how she is reducing the need for paper towels in her home. And it’s brilliant! I’m just floored I have not seen more products or ideas like this. The basic concept is flannel cloth. Yeap, flannel. A lovely, not bulky fabric that sticks to itself when rolled up on a paper towel roll. Or you can fold them in a canning jar to dispense, as either wet wipes or dry wipes. I’m so fascinated and a bit obsessed!

Cathy directed me to this shop, located in Oregon, called Marley’s Monsters (https://www.marleysmonsters.com/ ) My mind is just blown with the creative ideas and resources that this web site has to offer. Which brings me back to their product called Unpaper Towels – these are the flannel wipes! Now, if you are a crafty sewer, you might just fall in love with the idea of making your own. If you don’t have a serger option on your sewing machine, I think that one could get creative with pinking shears or figure out how to tidy up the raw edges without creating a bulky hem. Marley’s Monsters has a direct link on their home page to take you to the fascinating world of flannel wipes/towels and you can see how nicely they roll up on a paper towel holder. Or if you like the handy storage option of keeping them in a glass jar, they even provide a tutorial on how to fold your wipes so they continuously dispense when you pull one out. https://www.marleysmonsters.com/blogs/tutorials/fold-store-your-cloth-in-3-ways

I might be way to excited about the concept of flannel wipes! Cathy even gave me one that her Mom had made so I could try out the cloth. With every wash the flannel gets softer and more absorbent. IT’S AMAZING! Thank you, Cathy!

So, why am I just over the top ecstatic about this idea? Well, not only is it a reusable item, and keeps trash out of our landfills, but eventually they will regain its cost by saving one from having to buy disposable items. I need wipes like this in my life. Seriously, I am wearing out my current rag supply at an alarming rate.

When I opened my studio back up to in person lessons last August, I knew I needed some cleaning rags to disinfect high tough surfaces. Everything from the doorknobs to drum sticks get wiped down every day, and several times during the day. That is a lot of cleaning rags each week. I did have some old kitchen towels that were beyond their use in the kitchen, so I trimmed those down and sewed up the raw edges (yay for my 7th grade sewing skills!) to give me a new collection of sanitizing rags. But that fabric was already a bit distressed, and while I have certainly given them a new second life, there seems to be an end to their life span.

As those rags began to disintegrate, I started looking for other options. Somehow buying rags seems like a silly expenditure, but there I was, masked up and standing in the cleaning aisle of Target. Microfiber clothes are an option, but if you have ever used those, you know that they are not really created equal. Some of those wipes are terrible. And I’m not a huge fan of microfiber material because it is a synthetic, petroleum-based product. That’s a whole new discussion for a different day.

So why not just use cut up t-shirt rags? Well, I am trying to still create a sense of professionalism in the studio, and honestly, I just want the pile of rags to at least look decent, without spending hours at my sewing machine. I did eventually land on a product that was a cotton polyester blend and were reasonably priced. But I’m not in love with these rags. They do their job, but I sure wish they were 100% cotton. Ugh, how did I not consider flannel as an option?!?! Although, thanks to Marley’s Monsters, I learned how to fold them up and get them in a jar for easy dispensing and storage!

Probably more than you ever wanted to know about cleaning rags, but this is my new thrill in life, for the moment. Hopefully, this will get you thinking about the disposables in your life and how you can make a change that accommodates your pocketbook and your life. I did ask Cathy what she does when she has kitchen messes that she does not want to run through her washing machine. She said that they have a hidden away paper towel roll for messes like bacon grease. I think that is very reasonable!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a wonderful start to spring tomorrow. Enjoy The Most Wonderful Day of the Year. Call your loved ones with excitement and pass along your love to them. And, seriously, flannel – what an amazing material, and so much creativity to find great alternatives to disposables. As always, be kind to yourself and others and until next time, keep on keepin’ it fun and thrifty!