Tutorial – How to Make Reusable Baby Wipes

I thought I’d write a quick tutorial on how to make homemade reusable baby wipes. I basically cut up 4-5 old hand towels and edged them with bias binding. Plus, I made some zipped pouches from leftover material scraps and a few pence for zips – have some unlined for clean wipes and some with waterproof lining for dirties. Let’s hope they work! I will report back in a few months.

  1. Cut up your old hand towels. I based my sizing roughly on commercially available microfibre, reusable, towelling wipes. I figured I’d make mine slightly larger, so as not to waste any material and it also meant less cutting! So, as my towels were folded in half, then into quarters and then again into eighths – I went with that and cut each towel into 8 pieces, rectangular in shape.
  2. I purchased a roll of white 25mm bias binding from my local fabric shop and pinned this around the raw edges (half each side of the edge, if you’re new to this). I didn’t need to bind every edge because the towels were already bound when whole.
  3. Then I stitched this in place using my sewing machine. You will need to use a heavy duty or jeans needle for this thickness of fabric. And that’s it – you have your wipes! They will be machine washable and tumble dryable at 60 degrees C, just like they were as towels. I plan on just chucking mine in with the reusable nappies.
  4. I decided to make these fabric cases to put mine in and they should also be very portable, when out and about or travelling. The design comes from a Cath Kidston sewing book (which I was very kindly given for Christmas). I have just made some unlined and some with a waterproof layer of PUL. I will see if I can get a tutorial up for those soon. I used fabric and ribbon scraps that I had leftover from other projects. The only items I had to purchase was a few zips for pence and the PUL fabric. I’ll report back on how they do – I may need to waterproof the seams of the wet bags. If you’re not into sewing, you can buy similar reusable wipes here and wet bags here.

Happy sewing people! Let me know how you get on in the comments.

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Upcycling a Child’s Table to Make a Board Game Table

We’re big board game fans in this house and we regularly have friends over for ‘Games Night’. We’re all feeling our age and finding it a bit hard going to sit on the floor for hours. Our dining room table is quite small, as there’s just the two of us normally and it gets used for food on these nights. So we’d been keeping an eye out in all the usual places for a suitable ‘games table’. My idea had been that we would acquire one of those retro card tables from the 1950s or earlier, which have a felt top and often fold out. However, as they’re mostly designed for Bridge – they tend to be quite small. All of the ones we saw were also in poor condition or had very high asking prices! We also looked in charity shops for some kind of gate leg table, but as minimalists – it would be a big decision to bring another large item of furniture into the house. They also require chairs and we really wanted something more like a coffee table height, so people could either remain in armchairs (or sit on the floor – more on an answer to that later).

I spotted this child’s play table in a charity shop locally and knew instantly it was a great find. I described it to my other half, but he was unconvinced (mostly because I’d shown him so many unsuitable items on eBay! lol) They were also asking £25 for it, which seemed quite steep to us. Still, he dutifully agreed to come and look at that weekend.Well guess what – the shop was closed! We then got tied up with well, life and totally forgot to go back until we were passing about a week later. Helpfully the table was still there and they’d reduced all furniture to half price, to try and clear some space in the shop. We expressed an interest in the table and asked if we would pull it out, to fully check the condition of it. The manager said we could have it for a tenner! (She obviously wanted rid of it).

It turns out that this little beauty is made of solid wood and retails for about £150 when new. You can also be lucky enough to pick up second-hand ones on eBay for around a tenner too, if you look at the right time. The legs come right off, so we can fold it down and tuck it out of sight, when not needed. The top was a little scratched and we didn’t love the green colour. So we decided to send it a little upmarket, with its own blue felt top which has the added advantage of stopping the board games from sliding all over the place. You can see in the photos above, that we are part way through our little renovation/ upcycling job. The felt cost under £3 from my local fabric shop and we already had the all purpose glue at home, from other craft projects.

My other half announced that some bean bag cushions would mean we could all sit comfortably, at the right height. You could easily pay £15-£25 each for these in the shops and I have an abundance of leftover material from other projects. So I picked out some that matched our lounge curtains, some heavyweight corduroy that I picked up in a charity shop for a song and another piece leftover from some bedroom curtains. I purchased 6 zips, at a cost of 64p each and 2 bags of beans at £6.50 each. Perhaps I will do a tutorial soon, but for now here is a picture of 2 of the cushions I have made. They take a couple of hours each, but the savings are evident.

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And lo, we are the proud owners of a custom games set-up, all for the princely sum of £20. Can’t be bad eh?

Make it Yourself- Drawstring Bags

I’m currently learning to sew- I’ve been using a mix of online tutorials and attending a sewing course. This has been a really good combination for me, as there are just some things I need to be shown. From not being able to sew – I’ve been able to make a pin cushion, make 2 pairs of lined curtains, make a simple top, a simple maxi skirt and 2 lots of bunting. I’m seriously impressed with what I’ve been able to make and I absolutely love it. I wish I’d learned when I was at school, but I was scared of how technical sewing machines seemed and teachers never have enough time to give one-to-one attention to build up your confidence. I stuck to cooking which I had more experience with, but I am learning now – almost 20 years later!

I am currently making some seat cushions for our dining chairs and making a net curtain! I will put up some more posts showing my efforts soon. But for now, here are some pictures of some drawstring bags I’ve been making. I am not going to put a whole tutorial here because I simply search for what I want to make online. I don’t think I’m quite at that level….yet…. although I am inventing my own method to recover my chair cushions, so that will be mine to share with you here very soon! Always have a read through first and make sure the method is something you feel comfortable with. I rejected a few, until I found the simplest one I could!

I got my material for free from Freecycle and I always save any old bits of ribbon that I get, so I just re-purposed this for the drawstring. So these are basically free – you can’t get better than that. They take 20-30 minutes to knock-up and are useful for SO many different things. I actually made these from an old scarf – hence the fancy tassel detail which I couldn’t bear to cut off! My top tips are to fold one side of your fabric to save yourself any unnecessary sewing and to zig-zag your edges (if you don’t have an overlocker) for additional strength.

I use these types of bags a lot at my local greengrocer to bring home my zero waste fruit and veg. What sort of things have your sewn? Any for zero waste purposes?

Frugal Living Tips

I consider myself a minimalist, starting the journey. I am also naturally very frugal which I think is helpful on this path. Today I want to share with you all, some of my tips for frugal living. I’m going to add 10 at a time, so as not to overwhelm you or I!

 

  1. Squeeze every last drop out of that tube, if necessary cut it in half. You’d be amazed how much is left at the bottom of a tube of moisturiser or toothpaste!
  2. When you get to the bottom of your liquid soap, add a tiny bit of water. That helps to get it all out and doesn’t dilute it too much.
  3. Cook from scratch- you will always pay less for raw ingredients. Please, please don’t buy ready meals- they’re full of rubbish like excess salt and sugar.
  4. Make do and mend. Learn how to sew, so you can darn that sock or glove, or sew a button back on!
  5. Use a scoop to measure out your washing powder- most companies will even send you one for free!
  6. Learn how to do basic DIY, like putting a bolt on a door or hanging shelves.
  7. Always search around for the best prices (I think I’ll do another blog post on this soon), but there are lots of internet search engines to help you
  8. Join up to coupon sites, like www.supersavvyme.co.uk
  9. Join up to www.moneysavingexpert.com
  10. Share things with others, or join a local swaps/ share group. This can really save you money on big items you might not use that often, like drills or lawnmowers.