It’s hard zeroing in on what to update in posts like this. I’ve come to regard zero waste as a full time job, or, like, an ill-behaved pet — because you know as soon as you turn your back, the yard will be destroyed. (It’s like I’m Mad-Eye Moody, running around and yelling, “Constant vigilance!” all the time.) There’s always something going on. It’s just that some things are more exciting than others. Well, whatever, I guess. It’s all a part of the process, right?
Favorite jacket emergency surgery: I have a jacket in my P333 wardrobe that is, shall we say, an oldie but a goodie. I got that thing before my 20th high school reunion … in 2010. There’s so much I like about it, but mostly? It fits nicely, and it makes everything look good — it doesn’t matter if it’s a t-shirt or a blouse or a dress, I feel gorgeous.
Who doesn’t want to feel gorgeous?
So it’s always in my capsule. And I have a certain habit at work of leaning on my elbows as I proof pages, which, it turns out, can be hard on a jacket after six years of fairly continuous wear.
I wish I’d have taken a before shot, but anyway, I was getting ready for work one morning and about to throw on Ol’ Trusty when I noticed a hole in the left elbow. Once upon a time, I would have figured this was toast and gotten rid of it. And then purchased something new. But now that I’m a minimalist and a zero waster — and plus, this is just an awesome jacket, I don’t want a replacement! — I decided I’d save it instead.
Remember when I told you how we made Abby an Oregon pioneer outfit out of an old Goodwill dress by taking it in for alterations? I took my jacket to the same shop. And the lady was jacked that I would choose to fix it rather than buy a new one. She had a few different ideas with a few different price tags: She could simply sew up the hole ($10) or she could just patch one elbow ($15). I was like, uh, I’m kind of crazy and need symmetry, so what would it be for two patches? and she was like $20! And I was all, sold!
It actually came to $25, but she also fixed a hole that was starting to pop up in one of the front seams, so I figured that was money well spent. Plus I’d never have been able to do this myself. The color of the patches, the patches themselves — it’s perfect. Ol’ Trusty continues to be a closet staple.
It’s beginning to look a lot like the ’70s: It’s kind of weird to have physical possessions on my to-do list, but as we’ve hidden the paper towels — and haven’t missed them — I’ve been needing some cloth napkins to fill the void.
But I didn’t want to just go out and buy new cloth napkins. I had vague plans of looking at the church rummage sale in June … and then totally forgot.
I lucked out, though, because my favorite mother-in-law (hi, Joni!) called a few weeks ago to say she had some cloth napkins that were her mother’s, and did I want them? Oh, and they were probably from the ’70s.
Are you kidding me? Cloth napkins from the ’70s? That’s amazing.
And wow, are they ever. All that burnt orange. All that brown. I love these suckers! And Joni gave me about a dozen, so we are set. We mostly use them to cover dishes on the counter and in the fridge, and I pack one in my lunch every day. Sometimes I use one to wrap my sandwich, too.
Hiding the paper towels was actually Eric’s idea, and early on. I was ever so pleased with him because he’s traditionally been the biggest user. I just asked, and he said that it’s been relatively easy to make the change, although sometimes having to clean up something with a cloth instead of a paper towel seems inconvenient. (Um, I do the laundry, so who is being inconvenienced?! 😉 ) But overall, it’s been fine.
Yesssssss. That’s what I like to hear.
Anyway, cross that off the kitchen cabinets master plan.
… And that led to another sewing project: Joni gave me those napkins — which I think might actually be linen, and they’re in super good shape for being so old — and then said that she had four more, but they were starting to fray at the edges. I was all, heck yeah, bring those over! Because sometimes I am optimistic about all the wrong things, and I knew I could repurpose those things into better-sized bread bags than the ones I made at the beginning of the project. Or maybe just all-purpose bags in highly amusing colors.
Unlike my previous bread bag project attempt (I still use those things, by the way), this time I both ironed and pinned. That made it a little easier to sew. I almost tried to put in a drawstring … but I hadn’t really planned for that and didn’t have anything to use as a drawstring. I could go back and add one, but that seems like a lot of work at this point.
I haven’t had the opportunity to use them yet, but I’m pretty pleased with the result. And it makes me so happy that for less than an hour’s effort, I turned trash into something new and needed. I’m thinking one of these would make a really adorable emergency reusables work kit holder … also on the master plan, as of yet unattempted.
Next up: Haven’t decided yet. 🙂
Haha! Constant vigilance! Love it! It’s been pretty easy for us to ditch paper towels and napkins too.
Do you find yourself doing more laundry? Mine has gone up slightly, but my washing machine does huge loads, so it hasn’t been too big of an issue.
You inspire me! I now buy produce without grabbing a plastic bag. No harm done to the cucumber, pepper, cilantro sitting in the cart or cashier ringing up. I think of you when I tell the cashier “No bag please”. Every little bit counts. Great and challenging Simple Year!
Oh, thank you — I appreciate that! I’m inspired by stories like yours and by this community, too. I feel like I have a little cheering section every time I attempt something! 🙂
So I’m guessing that you don’t recognize those to be vintage Vera Neumann napkins?
Um, no, I just thought they were old. I did just Google her, though, and she sounds like a boss. Thanks for letting me know!
Love the napkins.
On another note, do you know of sugar waxing? I am thinking of giving it a try. Seems quite zero waste.
I know nothing of waxing in general, but I did just look it up (thanks, WikiHow!) and it does look like a zero waste option. I wonder how it works, though?
Love those Vera napkins!
I know! They’re so cheerful!
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