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 ( ) 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.

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!

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