I’ve read several blogs lately about making your own cloth napkins. They all have similar techniques for doing so (cut the fabric, fold over the edges, and sew) and reasons for using cloth instead of disposable (more environmentally friendly, save money). While I agree 100% with the reasons behind using cloth over paper, I prefer a much simpler procedure for the making of the napkin. Here’s my version.
Cut out your fabric. I’ve found that flannel is the best for this particular project. It holds water better (for wiping down tables and babies) and is softer on the skin than the regular cotton quilting fabric. I made mine 12×12, but you can make them any size you like. Some people like them bigger, like 20×20. In the 12×12 size, I was able to get 18 napkins out of 2 yards of fabric.
Once you have all the squares cut out, do yourself a favor and round the corners. That’ll make the sewing of the edges much easier.
Finally, set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch. You want it as wide as it’ll go (5 millimeters on my machine) and a very short length – my machine has settings from 0 to 4, and I go about halfway between 0 and 1 for this project. Using a complimentary or contrasting thread (depending on the look you’re going for), zigzag stitch all the way around your napkins. This will keep the fabric from fraying, which flannel is especially prone to do.
That’s it! Beautiful, reusable cloth napkins with bothering with the fussiness of folding and pressing edges or stressing about super straight lines.
P.S. The procedure for cloth baby wipes is exactly the same, just with 8×8 squares of flannel.
Would you ever think you could stab an ordinary drinking straw into a potato? Neither did I. Or my kids.
Until our science experiment last week.
But here it is.
A straw in a potato.
Here’s how to do it. You know, in case you have littles at home you want to teach about inertia.
First, soak the potato in water for about 30 minutes. Don’t worry – it’ll still be raw (read: hard). Using a strong, fast thrust, push the straw into the potato.
It won’t break. The straw, that is. The potato will. Its skin, anyway.
Why it works: basic inertia. An object at rest (the potato) wants to stay at rest. An object in motion (the straw) will keep moving until it can’t anymore.
Each time we do an experiment, the kids also do a little paper. Very basic. It lists the name of the experiment, the procedure, what the kids think will happen, what actually happened, and why it worked.
When we go grocery shopping, I sometimes let the kids ride the mechanical horse afterward if they’ve behaved in the store. This day, they all rode together instead of Seahawk and Munchkin having separate rides and each taking Small Fry (I don’t trust him to ride on his own yet).
Have a great weekend!
We had a baby shower at church last weekend. I wasn’t able to go because hubby and the kids had the car in Portland (they went to a local comic-con, much smaller than the huge San Diego one hubby went to in July), and our church is 18 miles away. But I made a gift anyway.
She’s having a little girl, so I took full advantage of making pink things! Everything around my house is blue…
First, I made a hooded bath towel. We have one of these for each of our boys (even the older ones – they love them!) so I thought it would be a good gift.
It was quite easy to make. Buy a yard of terry cloth, and cut a 13×13 inch square out of one corner. Cut off three strips that are each 1.5″ times the length of your fabric (usually 43″). From the remainder, cut a square as large as you can get – probably in the 31-inch range. Round off all four corners of the large square and two opposite corners of the small one. Fold the small square in half diagonally with the rounded corners together. Stitch the raw edges together. This triangle will become the hood.
Line the raw edges of the hood up with the raw edges of one corner of the main towel piece. Sew together. Sew the reserved strips to the edge of the towel, quilt binding style. If you don’t know how to do that, click here. Vanessa from The Crafty Gemini explains it so clearly. After four years of quilting, I learned how to properly a quilt from her video tutorial – just a few months ago.
I also made this changing pad.
It’s flannel on both sides (nice and soft for baby!) with quilt batting in the middle for padding.
What’s your favorite baby shower gift to give?
Fresh from the oven cinnamon rolls are something special. Very little is as satisfying in the morning – especially when you’ve made them yourself rather than reverting to the cans. (Incidentally, I hate those things! The cans, not the prefab cinnamon rolls.)
Start with your favorite biscuit dough. I use a basic baking powder biscuit recipe that I’ll share at the end of the post.
Roll the dough out as though you were making biscuits, only thinner.
Spread softened butter over the dough. You could also use margarine. I don’t happen to buy margarine; I figure something natural (churned cream) has to be better than a bunch of chemicals formulated to taste like the natural item. Anyway.
Next, mix about 1/3 cup sugar (granulated or raw/turbinado) with about 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Or you could use the pre-mixed stuff from the spice aisle.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the buttered dough.
Roll the dough up, starting from the long side.
Cut the dough into discs.
Place in a pan, cut sides up (and down…).
Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes.
You can make a glaze to go on top if you want, but I never do. These are good enough that they don’t need one!
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in shortening until dough resembles peas in size and shape. Mix in milk until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
You can use this dough for a variety of things: drop biscuits, cut biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and pot pie topping just to name a few.
We did a science experiment in our homeschool last week – those are the boys’ favorite things to do! I looked through the book on simple experiments I’d picked up from the library and found one that didn’t require a trip to the store first. Here’s what we came up with.
Tear a paper towel into strips and put a dot of green food coloring (or marker ink) about two inches from the bottom.
I made sure to get a strip of towel that didn’t have any printing on it when we did this.
Next, place your strip in a glass of water, making sure the green dot is about an inch outside of the water (but inside the glass). Wait 10-15 minutes.
What’s supposed to happen: your green dot should disappear, leaving your water yellow and your paper towel blue as the dyes separate.
Ours didn’t work perfectly, but we did a get a bit of blue on the paper towel, so it wasn’t a total misfortune.
And the most important part was that the kids had fun learning!
Last week we celebrated the fourth birthday in our family. It belonged to Munchkin. He turned 7. Seven!! Where does the time go??? I think my favorite quote of the day from him was, “I’ve been waiting to turn 7 forever! Now I don’t have to anymore!” What a funny kid.
We’re trying something different party-wise with our kids this year. In the past, we’ve done a party for each of them, inviting mostly inviting their grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. Last year, we had a joint party for them following the same model. This year, they have more friends than they’ve ever had before. The girl who lives next door is really sweet to them (she’s 12 and in 7th grade at public school) and there’s another homeschool family just around the corner that our kids have grown attached to. They have a girl right between Seahawk and Munchkin (age wise) and a preschool age boy. Plus, there are now around 20 or 30 kids at church, whereas before, my boys were the only two (this was before Small Fry was born).
So what we’re doing is having a special grandparents only birthday dinner on or near the actual birthday for each of them independently, and between the two birthdays, a joint party for friends. For personal reasons, we opted not to go out of our way to reach out to the aunts and uncles.
Munchkin chose pizza for his grandparents dinner. This was a-okay with me! I like cooking for people, but it was pretty hot last week, so take and bake was just right. We had a lovely time celebrating a special guy with (most of) his grandparents, as well as the lady who lives across the street from us and has become a grandmother-type figure for the boys. She loves them and they love her – a good portion of the time, they’d rather hang out with her than other friends! So it was wholly appropriate to include her in the “grandparents dinner.”
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d go over my birth experience with Munchkin when his birthday came around, so I’ll go ahead and do that. But no worries – I won’t get too graphic.
He was born on a Wednesday, the same day I had a regular checkup. I woke up that morning and knew something was wrong. This was around 7. I was worried, but my doctor’s appointment was at 9-ish anyway, so I didn’t call or try to go in early. They put me on a non-stress test which came back “not perfect,” so my doctor decided to induce. I didn’t get to go home from that doctor’s visit. The doctor’s office is just on one wing of the hospital, so they admitted me right from the clinic and we went straight to The Birth Center.
Labor was progressing normally for the first four to six hours. Around that time, we (by “we” I mean the medical staff) noticed that the baby wasn’t handling the contractions very well. His heart was doing funny things with each one, but it settled out when the contractions ended. They started tossing out the idea of a c-section at that point. I was devastated. I’d never in a million years considered that I’d end up with one. I have to hand it to my doctor – she did seem hesitant about doing the surgery, especially with my disappointment at the forefront. So we rode out the labor a little longer. I got an epidural, and we kept going, waiting for the baby to come. At 7:30 p.m., I had a contraction. My doctor happened to be in the room for this one, and the fetal heart monitor went crazy. Baby’s heart rate dropped down to 30. 30! That’s too slow to be healthy even in an adult, much less so in an infant. So she hollered at the nurses to prep the OR and call in the surgeon (he’d left not long before and was about 10-15 minutes away).
My baby was born via emergency c-section at 7:55 p.m.
He’s had a whole slew of health issues (brain surgery when he was 3, a correction to some scar tissue in his boy parts when he was 4, and ear tubes when he was 5), but now he’s just perfect. And health problems or not, I wouldn’t take him any other way.
We started school last week. That’s made things quite a bit busier for me, but I must say: I don’t hate it. Summertime is nice, but I also like the structure of the school year.
Here are a few things related to the post title I wanted to share:
Before last Tuesday, the kids were dreading “back to school.” After Tuesday’s lessons, they were excited for Wednesday. That makes me happy!
Before last week, I was gung ho to teach (and learn) Spanish. After trying for 4 days, I realize/accept that I can’t teach something I don’t know. So we’re adopting French as our foreign language instead. (I took 3 years of French in my public high school and did quite well. It’s been years, but it will come back quickly. I’m sure of that.) We started with numbers 1-10 today and all 3 boys (hubby’s learning with the kids!) have it mostly down.
Before yesterday, the kids and I all desperately needed haircuts.
After yesterday afternoon, we’re all shorn.
(don’t mine the glare in the corner… that’s where the light hit the mirror and I’m too lazy to crop it right now lol)
Before August 27th, Small Fry was still crawling. It was so funny to see – he crawled like a bear, on hands and feet instead of hands and knees. After August 27th, he’s pretty much walking exclusively.
That’s about it… What have you been up to in my absence? 🙂