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European Traditions in Linens and Housewares

Our discoveries along the byways of France and Beyond

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Going Green – With Market Baskets, Napkins, Tablecloths & More

My friends and I were discussing “Going Green” one evening and I was surprised to learn that while some agreed it was a worthwhile effort to help improve the environment, they felt that it made so many things either drab or took too much effort.  It took me by surprise and I had to give that some thought.  Here’s the result of my thinking and some suggestions.  Perhaps you can add your thoughts.

 

Plastic bags—They are eating me out of house and home!  Where to put them?  They are not attractive so I can’t leave them out for people to look at.  They leak frequently so most times they are inadequate for bagging garbage.  What are the alternatives? 

 

Having lived in Europe I remembered the shopping baskets that were carried to hold purchases.  One could walk down the street and see bread or flowers peeking above the rim of a basket.  How lovely! Those, and the string bags which fit so neatly in purse or pocket until used were certainly handy things to have around. 

 

But what about garbage?   Line your garbage pail with brown paper bags and put newspaper on the bottom to absorb moisture and odors.  Roll up the paper bag at the end of the day and you have just disposed of trash in an environmentally effective way.

 

Paper towels—Oh my!  So handy and yet so hard to really scrub with.  The white flour sacking sold in packages of 6 – 12 for minimal cost work better.  They really shine windows and mirrors, dry dishes, sop up messes on the floor, serve as strainers for yogurt, citrus fruit juices and so forth.  Just toss them in the wash and they are ready to go.  Don’t want to iron them?  Don’t.  They do get stained but if you put them in the wash at the end of the day and use something like OxiClean in the laundry, the stains do come out. 

 

Worried about germs?  Those towel rolls left out on the counter aren’t really as germ free as we would like to think.  You want something more attractive?  There are all sorts of towels with very interesting prints or woven patterns and if you select some with linen in them they really make dishes and glassware shine.

 

Paper napkins—Small bits of tissue paper that disintegrate as soon as you use them for the first wipe.  And, if you are eating something that really is juicy you need a whole stack of them.  Give me a good cotton napkin any time. 

 

There is nothing that equals cotton for getting sauce, grease or other things off the fingers like cotton.  But what about all that washing and ironing?   We use napkin rings to distinguish one napkin from another so we get more than one use from a napkin, something you can not do with paper.  Or we use different color napkins for each person. This reduces the amount of washing.  As for ironing, well for those napkins we use daily, we don’t always iron them.  By the way, ironing the napkins not only makes them more attractive it is an effective way to eliminate any germs that may not have been washed away in the laundry.  The same applies to towels.

 

Heating and air conditioning—Did you know that tablecloths not only make a table look more appealing but in the winter can make you feel warmer while sitting around the table eating and chatting?  If you have a sufficient drape in the cloth your lap is coverd and draft is reduced.  So if you are wearing sweaters during the cool time of the year, think about also using a tablecloth to maintain comfort while being inactive around the table.

 

Catalogs—Autumn is the time I become inundated with them.  What in the world to do with them all?  Into the trash with them!  Yes they can be recycled but why have them at all? 

nite tales the movie movie download In this day of internet, we can find whatever we need with the touch of a button and the amount of paper used is greatly reduced.  Is it as reliable as a catalog?  I think so.  If I have any questions I can call and ask, and most on line merchants will accept returns if something is inadequate.

 

Books—If you are an avid reader and you buy books frequently you have the same problem I had.  What to do with them after you have finished with them?  Give them away?  Throw them out?  Line the walls of your basement and attic with them for insulation?  If we all donated either the books or just half the money we spend on them to the public library our libraries would be improved greatly and our homes would have much more space to be used for other things.  And please just think of the trees we are saving.

 

Disposable cups and glasses—I know that some of the alternatives can be fragile but just think of how much cleaner our streets would be without all that stuff from the various coffee shops and all would be if we had a standard insulated container we could reuse.  I know they have to be washed but it really is not a big chore.  Besides the reusable containers do not flavor beverages the way paper or plastic does.

 

Well, all the alternatives I have thought of are attractive, easily found, and easily used.  I am certain you can think of more—send us your thoughts and maybe we can get a trend going.

 

 

 

 – “The Tablecloth Lady”

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