I’ve chosen to use lots of reusable cloth products over the years – cloth napkins, cloth diapers, and mama cloth. At the beginning of COVID, I had to come up with a cloth alternative for paper towels when all the regular paper towel were out of stock. I ended up using something I already had. I raided my cloth diaper bins and pulled out our cloth baby wipes. I’m so glad I did. We’ve probably cut our paper towel usage by more than half. I still keep paper towels on hand for extremely greasy or germ-filled cleanups. But for the messy faces and daily spills, these work great for us. Read on….
Many companies offer various different reusable paper towels these days to help people reduce their use of disposable paper products. I tried some of them. But, honestly, the flannel baby wipes we used when we did cloth diapers with our kids, are the best washable cloths that I’ve found.
They are small, soft, and absorbent. I keep a tissue box cover full of them on the kitchen counter with them all folded over tissue style so that the kids can pull them out easily. They are just the right size for what the kids need. I keep a bin in the Butler’s Pantry for dirty towels. The kids throw them in there and they get washed with all the kitchen laundry.
I like this Tissue Box Cover best. It works great on the kitchen counter and looks nice. I like that I can set things on top.
You could also easily make reusable wipes for this purpose using an old flannel shirt or pajama pants. I have some saved for just this purpose. I’ll get around to it someday. In the meantime, these work well for me.
Jump in and make your own. It would be a great upcycle project. Break out the scissors and sewing machine, or give some purchased wipes a try.
It certainly has saved us lots of paper towels each week.
* Note: There are no affiliate links in this post.
If you are in to babywearing you may have heard chatter amongst your babywearing friends about turning 120-inch Mahogany Cotton Tablecloths into a short wrap. Well, I decided that I would try it. I ordered the peacock, orange/red tablecloth linked above (affiliate link – Disclosures/Disclaimers here.). Cut it in half. Ironed, rolled and hemmed the cut long end. Added a middle marker. And I now have 2 short wraps. And I was able to sell the second one to a local friend and recoup 80% of the retail price that I paid to begin with. My shorty only ended up costing me $10 and some time in the end. Not too bad.
So, if you have some sewing skills, getting a nice, quality, woven wrap doesn’t have to be expensive. Any sturdy, woven, cotton tablecloth will do. Shop your local stores for clearance items (Target often has good linens on clearance). Look for tablecloths that are all cotton (cotton/linen blends will do, but avoid all synthetic fabrics). You do not want a “printed” tablecloth. You want one that does not have a wrong side. Jacquard and damask weaves are good. You should be able to see the weave and the reverse weave on the other side. The ideal length for a shorty is a 60×120″ tablecloth. Then you have an 30″ width for each wrap once you cut the tablecloth in half length-wise and you can do several shorty carries with this length. A 90″ tablecloth will allow you to make a ring sling or do rebozo carries If you want to explore DIY baby carriers further look up DIY Babywearing Advice and Support on Facebook.
Short wraps are nice for summer or for older toddlers who sometimes want to walk. You don’t have to carry yards and yards of fabric with you but you still have the convenience and comfort of a wrap. If you want to know what carries you can do with a short wrap, check out Wrap Your Baby’s “Carrying Guide for Woven Wraps.”
Rucksack, with reinforced rear, tied at shoulder. (Ruck, RR, TAS)
So, I’ve been busy sewing this week. The kids have been practicing learning embroidery and one afternoon I got inspired to turn my husband’s old pair of jeans (that I rescued from the trash) in to some cute bags and pouches for the kids.
Here’s how they turned out. It was fun to cut it up and figure out how to make the bags fit together and how to make each bag fit the individual personalities of my kids.
I used the legs for the boy bag (pictured above right) and the little girl bag (pictured above left). This was super easy since all I had to do was stitch up the bottom and add a strap. I made the flaps large so their stuff won’t fall out and didn’t use buttons or snaps so that they can get in and out of the bags themselves. For the middle bag for my oldest daughter I used the left side of the jean with one front pocket and one rear (pictured below). Used the waistband for the shoulder strap and stitched some cute floral fabric along the top to finish it of and cover the cut edge where the waistband used to be.
Bags for the girls.
One for the older girl.
One for the little girl with a little flower pocket under the flap.
I’ve been lamenting not having a babywearing bag lately. I’ve been doing more back carries which means that I can’t carry our regular go-to backpack since the baby is already back there. And most of my shoulder bags or tote bags are too little to use as a diaper bag. But, this last week I found a solution! You only need two supplies – a medium to large bag out of your closet and a scarf. Let me tell you what I did. It’s so comfortable to wear, even when jammed full of stuff.
I pulled out this bag which only has a tiny shoulder strap. I never used it because it would constantly slip off my shoulder. But, I was desperate the other day and realized that if I tied a scarf on to the rings that it would be a comfy cross-body babywearing bag. It holds the weight well, and the scarf spreads nicely across your shoulder like a wrap would. I can wear it with any type of carry front, hip or back because I just put it opposite the baby. If she’s on the front I wear the bag on the back, if she’s on my hip I wear it on my other hip and if she’s on my back I wear the back on the front. And it’s adjustable. I can make the strap longer or shorter just by re-tying the knot. It’s wonderful.
If you don’t have a bag with rings you could get some of these metal book rings to clip around the strap or loops of your bag and tie your scarf to. The scarf that I used is like these Slub Scarves. They are woven, spread nicely and I think hold the weight well. They’re pretty too.
Not the best shot I know, but not bad when taken by your 5-year-old daughter. 😉
Hip carry with a sarong. Bag is over left shoulder (same side as baby).