Friday, September 19, 2008

Tikkun Olam Fridays – Repairing the World One Step at a Time

Another Friday, another post on tikkun olam – to repair the world. Remember, you don’t have to finish the job, but it is your responsibility to start.

What action did you take this week, big or little, to make a difference?

Last weekend I committed to cloth napkins. Actually I’ve been working on this transition for a month or so. I cut up some leftover fabric - the school project, the quilt that never happened, the teenager's project that never happened, those sorts of things - and started hand sewing the hems because I can never get my sewing machine tension to work right. (aka I have no patience to find out what the current glitch is.)

I’d sit and watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and pin up the hems and stitch a few napkins. I had a basket of nearly 30 little rectangles and squares to plow through, so it’s taken some time.

But I was troubled. It wasn't the thumb pricks that were a problem. I couldn’t get over that it was going to be okay to use a pretty piece of cloth for my breakfast cereal. And everyday no less. It just seemed actually more wasteful than reaching for the paper napkins. Wasn’t cloth for company?

Then last week I went out to Bed, Bath and Beyond with my handy car stash of coupons, determined to find the least expensive napkins they had, no matter what color. Well, they couldn’t be ugly, weird polka dots. Come on. I’m channeling my Sustainable Martha. I still love my kitchen.

So I go immediately to the sale shelves and lo and behold, before my very eyes, are stacks of napkins. Now my favorite color has always been green - olive, lime, hunter - even in my previous wasteful life. And there, unbelievably, were sage green damask napkins. 21 of them.

I scooped them up. Not only were they on some kind of ridiculous sale. But I had a $5 off coupon. Go me! The checker threw in the 21st one for free, because of a packaging mistake, and the price came to about 60¢ each. For that price, I could add a touch of elegance to my life and be frugally chic.

My husband complimented me several times on my purchase. (an added bonus and also a correct move on his part).

So now we have breakfast/lunch/office coffee mug mini napkins and lovely family/company dinner napkins.

And I broke them in with a spaghetti tomato sauce dinner with nary a qualm.


Alissa said...

Congratulations! They sound pretty =)

I was just reading the Sustainable Cities 2008 list on the Dot Eart Blog on the NYTimes website...have you been there yet? If not, I think you'd LOVE to get your hands on the looks really interesting.

Bobbi said...

Thanks for the comment, Alissa! I'll check out the site. Think I saw the list somewhere else today. Portland, Seattle, NYC, Boston!!! Check back again soon. :)

Karen Winters said...

Cloth napkins are goooood ... and so are teatowels. I have a hard time using a paper towel unless it's really necessary - like to wipe up something the dog left behind, or a bad spill. But for usual hand and dish drying - hand me the teatowel. I am perpetually shocked in other houses to see people pulling off a long roll of towels for miniscule tasks. Shame on them!