• Cabin Caretaker

Quarantine crusher, how to upcycle at the lake


When my mom passed years ago, I inherited dozens of linen napkins. My mom loved setting a formal table. Fine china, polished silver and sparkling crystal.


My family is a bit more pedestrian. Paper towels and napkins for spills with four kids was just easier, quicker, faster. Go through a paper towel roll in a week. We were consuming dozens of paper products a month, and the prices kept ever inching upwards.


The day came when I went for napkins, and my hand met the bottom of the bag. Empty.


Now what?


I reached for the next thing I could think of, the white linen napkins in the back of the cabinet. They had been there for several years, collecting dust. I tried to use them, but you don't have super fancy dinner parties while raising 4 kids that eat like farm animals. Things tend to fall to the side when you can't remember the last time you slept more than five hours straight. I wiped the nearest child's face free of spaghetti on my mother's pressed, lavender-linen sprayed, white. linen. napkins!


I cringed and could hear the whirring of ashes.


Fast forward five years, using the linen napkins, I saw our paper product consumption disappear. I got into a groove of tossing the napkins in with the towels and bleaching all of it.


Crisp white squares out of the dryer, a quick smoothing with my hands, and they slipped back into the drawer ready for the next meal.


Easy peasy. Paper napkins, be gone!


I got an excellent towel for the kitchen to dry dishes as a gift. Light-weight, quick-drying, and large enough to cover the counter with a single one. I looked for more at the stores to add while it was being washed. Maybe I could finally get rid of the ones from college that just kind pushed the water around and didn't really dry, but for some reason, I still hadn't thrown them out.


I found a super cute set with an appropriate embroidered message that reflected my thoughts about being in a kitchen. Perfect until I saw how much were! Heart attack!



Well then, let's skip that idea. College towels would have to do just fine. Until I stumbled on the white flour sack towels at the big box store. Large, easy-to-wash rags. No more paper towels. Cheap and plentiful!


Then they got stained. Cause kids, you know. This was quickly becoming expensive to keep cycling them down the list of jobs from dishwashing to scrubbing floors, to oil changes and garage rags. So enter my love of color. And the ever-growing list of ways to keep kids entertained. Why recycle them to another job, why not camouflage them? Yassssss. Tie-dye to the rescue.



Let's make chores fun, cheery, and colorful!


You'll see my kids' handiwork here at the cabin. They add a bit of fun to the kitchen and keep things looking bright. Let me know which colorway is your favorite.





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Lake James in Nebo, NC 28761