February 25, 2009

Environmentalism, Swistle-Style

This post gets really LONG because I wanted to show you something and also give away a giftie, but in order to show something I had to explain it, and then I had to explain why I was explaining it, and then I had to explain why I was giving a giftie, and before I knew it it was one of those posts where you can scroll and Scroll and SCROLL. Maybe go potty before you start reading, or go get a sustaining snack.

I've been wanting to write about ENVIRONMENTAL STUFF for awhile, but I've felt shy about talking about it with you. My efforts are likely to be eye-rollingly pitiful to some of you, and teeth-grindingly self-righteous to others of you.

But then I thought, well, isn't that true for ALL of us and our efforts? We're ALL of us somewhere on the Environmental Righteousness Spectrum, with some people doing better than us and some people not doing as well. We all have some areas where we're all exemplary and awesome, and other areas that could get us shot by an environmental extremist.

Plus, different things make sense for different people. It makes sense for me to use handkerchiefs: I'm not grossed out by them, I prefer the feel of them on my poor little nose, I like the durability of them (hate kleenex shreddies. hate.), and I have year-round environmental allergies that give me a box-a-week tissue habit otherwise. For me, handkerchiefs are easier, cheaper, and preferable---and that's before we even get into any environmental benefits. But that doesn't mean it makes sense for YOU to use handkerchiefs. I don't even think of it for you!

In fact, I'm GREAT about other people's environmental stuff. Like, you might feel shy about discussing the way you use the backs of your kids' old school papers as scrap paper, because you're worried someone will say, "Um, yes, but you drive to Target every other day just to buy plastic stuff. You're hardly the Mother Teresa of the environment." You won't hear that from ME, though. I have several thoughts about that kind of thing:

1. "Driving and buying plastic and reusing paper" is better than "Driving and buying plastic and NOT reusing paper."

2. Reusing paper helps to cancel out some of the driving and buying plastic. Even if it doesn't make a huge impact, see #1.

3. Doing some things can lead to doing other things. If you get in the habit of reusing paper and notice it's easy and satisfying, it may have a positive impact on other behaviors. You might start CARPOOLING to Target, for example. Whereas if you think, "I drive and buy plastic, so I might as well not bother to reuse paper," you might after awhile start thinking you might as well not recycle milk jugs either.

4. People get discouraged if nothing is ever good enough. If nothing counts except Perfection, why do anything less? And yet, see #1. SOME action is better than ZERO action or ANTI-action.


So! This is all to explain why I bought cloth napkins at Target this past weekend. I don't know if it's going to work out, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'm always more willing to do environmental stuff when it's (1) fun and (2) pretty and (3) involves shopping.

I'd been thinking I shouldn't bother with cloth napkins because they need to be ironed, and suddenly I thought, "....Wait. I don't HAVE to iron them if I don't mind them being wrinkly." And I really don't mind them being wrinkly. Plus, Target had a bunch of pretty ones on 75% off, and you know how I feel about 75% off ("It's free; take whatever you want"). Some of them were the exact color of spaghetti/pizza stains, which seems perfect!

I'd also been worried that maybe cloth napkins were in the category of "Things that cancel out their own positive environmental impact." I know a lot of people use paper plates because their feeling is that the impact of the manufacture and use of paper plates is less serious than the impact of the dishwashing. It could definitely be the same with napkins, and I have no idea which is better, and I'm not motivated to research it because I don't have strong feelings about it either way, and also because I have a feeling there are strong arguments for both sides of this. I come down on the side of washing things and reusing them, but that's partly because that's my preference (pretty ceramic plates! pretty embroidered hankies! and now pretty fabric napkins!). If it turned out I was wrong and actually it was better to use paper plates and paper tissues (and now paper napkins), I wouldn't have any crow to eat: I could just be like, "Oh! Neat!" After all, I use disposable diapers and I've been known to THROW AWAY underwear that has had a Disheartening Accident in it, so I'd be a fine one to try to act like I was standing solidly on the reusability platform.

Where was I? Oh, yes! Don't you want to see the pretty pretty napkins??


Only the vertical items are napkins; the horizontal items are dishtowels I bought because, uh. Because they were 75% off, and pretty. Don't those little orange clearance tags just make your heart LEAP UP?

Notice I got TWO identical piles of the cloth napkins. I bought four 2-packs of the embroidered orange ones (aren't those EXACTLY the color of pizza/spaghetti stains??), two 4-packs of the pretty light yellow ones that are my favorite shade of yellow and will almost certainly be covered in ugly stains within a week, and two 4-packs of the green shiny ones that don't seem like they could possibly be absorbent enough but might be better at repelling stains because of it.

This is because I'm going to SHARE. I was standing there dithering and dithering about the napkins ("WANT! ...But good? Or not? And WHICH ones?"), and then I got the idea of getting TWO batches and doing a giveaway so I could do this with a BUDDY. A cloth napkin buddy!

Giveaways make me feel shy, because I know a lot of people see them as cheap tricks to get comments, but I don't see comments that way (as currency or something), and I love giving presents and I love shopping and I love getting other people to do the same thing I'm doing. Plus, I get a little money for that ad over there to the right, and I like to spend it on doing fun stuff like giving presents.

So if you don't want to enter, you can still leave a comment if you want to---just say you're "not entering, but...". And if you want to be my cloth napkin buddy, say so, and if you want to you can say why. And this weekend or maybe Friday night, yeah probably Friday night, why don't we just say Friday night?, I'll pick one random person and mail them....um, a box of clearance cloth napkins that match mine (but not, er, each other). Woooooo!

[Edited to add: And of course Mr. Pickles the Chicken will be included with the napkins.]

120 comments:

melissa c said...

I would LOVE to be your cloth napkin buddy! :) great idea!

Dr. Maureen said...

I will absolutely be your cloth napkin buddy. I like to consider myself towards the more extreme hippie end of the environmentalist spectrum (hybrid car, cloth diapers, recycling recycling recycling), but I use paper napkins. And then I feel guilty as a result, so sometimes I use dishtowels, but dishtowels are ugly and scratchy. (Well, mine are.)

So count me in!

Also, you are better at finding 75% off at Target than I am; I went yesterday and found hardly any clearance at all. Sob.

St said...

Not entering but...
I'm totally going to Target this afternoon to combat this withdrawal for lack of orange clearance stickers!

Nowheymama said...

So I'm going to be one of the first commenters. Which is too bad because I've been thinking about using cloth napkins for a couple weeks (Using them has to save money over time, right?), but I'm a big chicken and haven't tried it yet.

What I'm saying is:
I love this post.
I want to be your cloth napkin buddy.
I will be your cloth napkin buddy even if I don't win.
Please write more posts on Swistle Environmentalism.

beyond said...

not sure i have ever commented here before, i have been following your blog for a few months and i am liking it.
sure! i'll be your cloth napkin buddy.
i personally think using paper plates is environmentally wrong, but i have never done the research to prove i am right.

Kim said...

I'm TOTALLY entering because:
(A) Those napkins are gorge.
(B) I care about the environment too and try to do what I can to help.
(C) Friday night is when I take my first Follistim shot, so why not take a chance on both making healthy follicles AND winning a contest!

Smiling Mama said...

First, I am not entering the contest.

Second, this is FABULOUS! I've also recently converted to cloth napkins and am loving it. Without even meaning to (from gifts and thrift store finds and clearnace purchses over the years) I have a TON of cloth napkins already so it was so easy to make the switch (that's why I'm not entering!).

I hardly notice the extra laundry and therefore think that the extra washing does not cancel out the good environmental impact. Also, I definitely leave a barely used (rare but it does happen) napkin at someone's place for more than one meal, just FYI.

And, finally, I've also stopped using paper towels--we use more dish clothes and a ton of rags in the kitchen but that was an easy move to make, too.

Whew. Was my comment as long as your entire post! :)

Jen said...

I could totally use these. We hae a little one on the way in about 2 weeks and now I'm looking to save money/save the environment, yada yada.

vague said...

I'm not entering because I just bought a bunch of cloth napkins myself -- so I can be a cloth napkin buddy anyhow!

I am with you on everything you've said here. I've been quietly doing a bunch of environmental stuff myself, but I haven't written about it for the same reasons you describe. I didn't want to seem sanctimonious, but I thought I didn't have much to brag about anyway. But you make a good point: some action is always better than none! Thanks for pointing that out.

Anyway, good luck with your cloth napkin quest! (And BTW I refuse to iron mine, too. Wrinkly is just fine, I say!)

Hillary said...

I'll be your napkin buddy. I've been trying to talk the husband into cloth napkins for awhile -- I have some which are used for holiday meals now -- and maybe this will be the whine I can use to win that argument.

"But SWISTLE sent them to me ...."

Clarabella said...

I am trying to make the switch from paper to cloth products MYSELF, if I can just convince my partner to quit buying paper towels. He has some unnatural need for them. Anyways, I haven't found any cloth napkins yet that I like and/or thought were affordable yet, so . . . please pick me randomly!

Kristine said...

We use cloth napkins.

I stand firm in my non-researchyness that they HAVE to be better for the environment, because the washing does not count - you were going to wash your towels, baby clothes, something, anyway, and the cloth napkins are an addition to that load, not a load of their own. Therefore since you do not throw them away to fill up a landfill, they are better. (We only wash ours every few uses - just like you would with towels.)

Shari said...

I love the idea of cloth napkins, but have always been afraid to actually try them with a very messy husband and toddler. But, with a buddy...fun! And I totally agree about the spaghetti sauce-colored ones. Genius.

MoMMY said...

I am already your cloth napkin buddy (no need to enter). I started using them a couple of months ago. I had quite the collection from relatives,ones I bought over the years for fancy dinners, gifts, etc. I do not iron them. That might kill me. And wastes electricity - HA! I'm with Smiling Mama, I totally don't notice the extra laundry and we reuse gently used napkins. (family, guests get freshly washed) I also gave up paper plates and cut WAY back on paper towels. Can't give up my Kleenex though.

Shelly Overlook said...

My hubby's family have always been cloth napkin people, a concept that was completely foreign to me until we married. I mean, sure, I used them in restaurants, but home meant paper napkins.

Now that I'm converted, I sort of like cloth napkins. They make every day meals feel fancier. I have a few different sets I rotate so I don't get tired of the same ones all the time. There is also an "everyday" category that get stained and I don't care, and ones I hold out just for company use that aren't fancy, but aren't stained. Unless they get grossly dirty, I wash them every few uses.

I also find that after a couple year's use, it's time for new napkins. The old ones become cleaning rags and I get to buy new ones and it's almost like getting new dishes because the napkins really spiff the place setting up.

SP said...

I love those yellow ones. So pretty. I'm all for trying the cloth napkin thing. I'm glad you talked about ironing though. Because I hate hate hate to iron. Anyway, if I win, will you send me a chicken too? My craft store is out of chickens and I'm so sad.

In short, yes to the napkins with a side of feathers please.

FattyLumpa said...

Yessssss! I WANT to be your cloth napkin BUDDY.
For reasons as follows:

1) Current obsession with homegoods is not waning, merely getting stronger. Aided by the fact that we recently registered for wedding stuff, and are thisclose to buying a house. HAI. AM NESTING.

2) For some inexplicable reason I really really really want cloth napkins and tablecloths to put in the drawer of the hutch my Gramma handed down to me. Maybe because it's what she and my Mom always did??

3) We're already shower curtain twinsies, and I think this is a natural evolution. Next up: Placemat twins? Cozy blanket twins? Who knows, THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER.

4) I super super ADORE those pizza stain ones. The little embroidered flowers are so PRETTY.

The end. I love you. Goodbye.

Jen said...

hey! you're so timely, as usual. :)

we've been thinking about making the switch from paper towels to cloth. we go through paper towels quickly and, even though we buy them in bulk, it's still money, right? plus, we already do cloth diapers for goodness sake - why NOT use cloth napkins too?

plus, they're pretty.
pick me!

d e v a n said...

OK, I'm not entering but it's NOT because I don't WANT to be your cloth napkin buddy. It's just because we already have and use cloth napkins! Woo! Except mine are white and tan. Not the best colors...
Anywho. Love your points about the environmental righteousness. I use cloth diapers, but also disposable diapers when we go out and at night. I have a compost pile, but I also don't always buy organic. I recycle plastic, and cans, but not glass or cardboard because it takes a separate trip and blahdeblah, you get the point...
I'm just sayin' - good post!

chroniclesofraw said...

Great idea, I love using cloth napkins, and would TOTALLY be your napkin buddy. Good idea on buying colors that match stains too, LOVE it!!

Lora said...

this is an awesome post!

that invite to you to post at Terminally Pretty still stands.
Someone has got to post on that thing. It's getting dusty...

Amanda said...

I'm not entering BECAUSE I totally bought a whole bunch of cloth napkins this week at TJ Maxx and last night was our first night using them. It was ooh la la fancy! Seriously though, the kids got a kick out of it and the napkins didn't even get dirty from a few finger wipes which ordinarily would have been at least one paper napkin per person so there.

I love your give aways and see them as generosity and FUN not as comment whoring. Keep it up! Oh and I totally sent you a picture of the chickie on my desk last night.

MaggieO said...

But...will there be a Mr. Pickles in it? I really, really want a Mr. Pickles of my very own.

Sally said...

We use cloth napkins, partly because they make me feel fancy, like I'm in an expensive restaurant. BUT we are always losing them (how does that happen between the kitchen and the laundry room), so I would LOVE more. Especially spaghetti-colored ones.

Snoopyfan said...

I would love to be napkin twins! It will irritate my in-laws to no end if I start using cloth napkins. They already think I am a crazy tree hugger because I recycle every thing I can, I use reusable shopping bags (even made some of my own!), I carry my own reusable water bottle and I reuse the backs of school papers either in my printer or to let the kids draw on.

Pick me! Pick me! :)

Dr. Maureen said...

Oh! I forgot to suggest something. If you want to be EVEN MORE environmentally responsible, you could buy seven different napkin rings and that way, everyone can use their same napkin for a whole day. My housemates and I did that in college. (The same housemates who originally played The Chicken Game with me!) Less laundry that way, and therefore more water and energy saved!

Although... perhaps that works better for college students than for a a family with five small children. Our cloth napkins were less covered in spaghetti sauce than yours are likely to be. But still! You'd get to do more shopping!

(Note: Since I already left a comment, this comment should not count if the Random Number Generator should happen to choose it. Which it probably will, now. If it does, don't tell me.)

Rolling Off The Edge... Together said...

Oh me me me! I have been meaning to do this for some time but never find those bad boys on clearance. Come to think of it I hardly visit that section of Target. I am usually lurking around the post holidays sales (90% off little girl heart clothes - a shirt and sweatshirt for $1.50 Weeee!)

Any who, PICK ME PICK ME!

Elizabeth said...

Dude, you so should not feel bad because you are giving away presents! It's such a nice thing to do.
I am not entering the contest because I already own my fair share of cloth napkins, but as a cloth napkin aficionado, I just wanted to let you know that now you're obviously going to have to shop for napkin RINGS. On clearance at Target, of course.

Elizabeth said...

I would like cloth napkins! It might cancel out a bit of the ridiculous quantity of paper towels we use.

Swistle said...

YES! Mr. Pickles the Chicken will be traveling with the napkins to his/their new home.

Dr. Maureen & Elizabeth- I am TOTALLY on the prowl for napkin rings! Target even had several kinds at 75% off, but each set was of all-identical rings with no place for writing a name. Buh? So I'm still looking. Because we are not organized (or, um, eating-at-the-table-ish enough) to keep our napkins at the right place at the table as our code.

Mama Bub said...

First of all, I have Target envy. I need you to come be my personal Target shopping buddy and guide me in the way of all things clearance.

Secondly, yes please! I am desperately trying to make small changes that add up to big changes and this would be a good (and pretty!) addition to my list.

Michelle said...

Not entering, but commenting to say we stopped using paper napkins years ago. We have close to 75 of them and I just toss them in with our regular laundry so the environmental impact of washing them is zero.

Good for you!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, and yes, everyone in my family totally each had our own different napkin ring growing up (and at my house we still do). So if you're napkin wasn't dirty after dinner, back it went into the cupboard, and you knew which one was yours next time because of your napkin ring.
And you also knew where you were sitting at the table because voila! there was your napkin and napkin ring.

Mimi said...

Those napkins are cute as can be, and I agree... if we all do a little something to be more environmentally friendly than it is way better than doing nothing.

Shelly said...

This is wonderful and I would LOVE to be your cloth napkin buddy (and get a chicken, because I really want to play the chicken game).

Little-Bit said...

The way I see it is that it is no different than baby socks or toddler underwear: there is Always Room to put them in the washer with Other Clothes. So, how can they not be Environmentally Friendly? And the Pretty Factor? Dude, I'm in!

gingermaxim said...

you are just too cute! you just made me smile and I can't even tell you how much I needed it.
Such pretty colors!

Christina said...

I got a pretty new kitchen table over the weekend. It would like some cloth napkins, I'm sure.

jen said...

I loved this post! I am the same way. I have tried using cloth napkins but my husband keeps giving the kids paper towels and they like him better so I'm the lonely schmuck at the table using a dish towel as a napkin. But like you said, better to throw away 4 paper towels than 5. I have been looking all over our rotten small town for cloth napkins and forgot to look while I was at Target over Christmas! DOH. I'd love to be napkin buddies! But whether I get to be or not I am totally sure I'll be buying MORE. If I remember. heh.

I read some fascinating (not) stuff awhile ago about monogrammed napkin rings and how they were re-used for several days at a time. Now I don't feel too bad about using the same dishtowel until it's really dirty. And I think cloth/towels work better than paper, so there.

Stormin' said...

I love cloth napkins, it's what we always used growing up so I'm addicted. Unfortunately the hubby is more of a paper towel kind of guy. But I bet if we had these gorgeous napkins, I could swing him around!

Erin said...

Our current napkin status is: we don't use any. (Lest you think we're gross, we wash hands after dinner and wipe kids down with a washcloth)

BUT, if I had a napkin buddy, I think I could get on the napkin train. I think cloth napkins are a great idea! :)

katethegr8 said...

I would LOVE to be your napkin buddy!! I wash bibs all the time, couldnt hurt to throw a few Swistle napkins :)

DCMomma said...

Ok im not entering but I love this post! This is all stuff I think about!I think cloth napkins have to be better for the environment. Paper plates may be easier, but have to end up in a landfill so from my point of view doesn't seem environmentally friendly. We have energy star appliances so that always makes me feel better. I also limit trips but it is nice with gas not costing an arm and a leg anymore. I recycle and try to reuse paper since we use disposable diapers. I try to do my part, which makes me feel better even if it's little by little! This was neat thanks!

Leah said...

I've never entered one of these things before, but I really like the idea of cloth napkins. I'm like a lot of others here. I use cloth diapers on my 2 littlest ones (but not at night or long trips), I hang dry all my laundry (but not in the winter), and I recycle what I can (which isn't much in this small town), and i try to only use non-toxic biodegradable cleaning products (but only because there are people in my house who sometimes lick the windows-Yuck!- and put crazy random things in their mouths).So there you go. Cloth napkins seems like another step in the right direction.

Miss Grace said...

I use cloth napkins (because my mom uses cloth napkins) and those are gorgeous! And mine are all old and stained and largely more like RAGS than NAPKINS, so if I won, that would be handy.

Mama DB said...

My thoughts are (and I hope I don't ignite a firestorm here) that the people that feel you should think "I drive and buy plastic, so I might as well not bother to reuse paper..." are the same that think it is ridiculous to order a diet coke with a Big Mac as if ordering a full sugared coke is the thing people are supposed to do if they are going to go ahead and get that fatty Big Mac anyway. Okay, /rant.

I love the cloth napkins. Never thought of using them everyday, because of the dark stains. I love the red ones, brilliant!

Oh, and Target and I are old buddies...

Jody said...

I've been considering doing this myself and just haven't made the trip to Target. I was going to stop there today but my car bettery decided today would be the day to stop working. No worries though I do have a spare battery (odd, I know) and will be able to hit up target later this week. 75% off is almost free in my book. If you have a meijer in your area sometimes they do 50% off already 50% marked off itmes. I got $70 winter boots for $10.22 and they are super cute!!!

Today Wendy said...

So, I'm not entering because I've already got cloth napkins (they're awesome), but I wanted to mention something (which will give you more shopping opportunities). Apparently back when cloth napkins were a big thing, and all laundry was done by hand, the napkins were obviously not laundered after every use. And so each individual had their own napkin ring, to which the napkin was returned following the meal, so that they would get the same napkin back next time (who wants to use someone else's dirty napkin...that's gross...your own? hopefully less gross).

So now you can go shopping for funky napkin rings.

desperate housewife said...

I'm not entering since we already do cloth napkins (one of our VERY few concessions to the environment, unfortunately) but I just wanted to be encouraging about it. I never iron mine either, and one set of them looks just fine anyways. The other set gets a wee bit wrinkly, but we just fold them and use them anyways. It's not like we're using fine china and tablecloths, so who cares if the napkins are wrinkled?

The Gori Wife said...

I would like to be your cloth napkin buddy because I heart the embroidered ones; also, I want Mr. Pickles. Plus, I recently saw one of my 2-year-old's playmates wipe her mouth with a cloth napkin and it was heart-breakingly cute.

Misty said...

You're awesome. And I would be over the moon THRILLED if you sent me a box. I don't care what is in it, but those pretty pizza stain colored napkins and a cute little chickie would suit me perfectly.

Angella said...

I'm entering. Because cloth napkins are SO SMART.

So is Target, WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE IN CANADA.

Ahem.

jird said...

I'll be your cloth napkin buddy! And I so agree with you on the something is better than nothing end. Also, I could be wrong, but I don't think the environmental impact cancels out -- I don't wash my napkins each time we use them (sometimes we get a couple of days out of them), and I don't do a separate load of napkins, I just toss them in with laundry I was already doing anyway, because they don't take up much room. Now I'm all finished blathering.

Anonymous said...

I'll be your buddy! We registered for white cloth napkins when we got married. They don't get used much!

Jennifer
jennanndavis at gmail dot com

may said...

We use cloth napkins! But only because a friend made them for us...and they're always wrinkly...and we only have eight of them, and somehow we only ever have about two of them hanging around...but we love to use them, and would love to have more! Not to mention a Mr. Pickles of our very own. Fun giveaway!

Catherine said...

I love cloth napkins! Cute and (in my opinion) eco-friendly. Plus, it always felt so fancy when I'd go to someone's house who used cloth napkins. And don't we all deserve a little fancy?

Jessica Kok said...

Hurray! Great post. Every single little itty bitty thing we do counts!

Marie Green said...

I've been thinking of getting cloth napkins for around here... because of the earth-friendly-ness, but also because it seems CHEAPER in the long run- it seems I'm constantly shelling out for the paper ones.

Actually, that's what I love about so many of the "enviromentally friendly" things we do: many of them also save cash. Also, I tend to pick a new env. trend, like say, NOT buying any more plastic than I absoultely have to, and when that seems comfortable and easy, I move on to another habit, like using earth-friendly dish soap, and when THAT seems like a easy, no brainer, I move onto say CLOTH NAPKINS. It's less overwhelming that way... just doing one baby step at a time, and letting that baby step become a "regular" thing before adding another.

Anyway, love your giveaways, even though I never win! =)

jess said...

I like the non-judgy style of enviromental reasoning. Cloth napkins seem like a good idea, after all you can just throw them in with laundry you were doing anyway, right? It's not like they take up that much space.

I want a Mr. Pickles but I'll opt out of the napkin contest since I don't have a family to use them on.

kelli said...

OOH! I would enter just to get the Mr. Pickles, but I really do want some cloth napkins! I have a daycare, and the kids are constantly wanting wipes. I think they would really dig using cloth napkins, and even if I had to wash a lot of them, it's got to be cheaper even if that uses water. :)

Melospiza said...

I love cloth napkins. Currently I have a slight difficulty using them, though: my youngest seems UNABLE to not use them as blankets for her dolls. So when you want to use napkins, they're all gone, or they've been So Obviously Used you feel embarrassed getting them out of the drawer and putting them on the table. Especially if there are guests present.

However, does this mean I don't want to be your cloth napkin buddy? No way! Count me in!

Chrissy said...

I want those! I've been meaning to try them. Plus I really really want the chicken.

caleyadams said...

I'd love to give cloth napkins a try! We go through an EMBARRASSING amount of paper napkins every week, and I like the positive spin you put on it- that maybe this one little step would lead to another little step.

Shannon said...

I've been meaning to sew some napkins but my laziness is interfering. Drat.

Janice said...

Now since you are adding in Mr. Pickles...I'm so entering!

A trick I learned from my MIL. If you add some cascade to your laundry, it will help get those food stains out of your napkins, and you table cloths.
(I hear it works, I myself, don't use cloth napkins, or table cloths. I have toddlers!) =)

Jewels said...

I started using cloth napkins this summer, taking a stab at environmental(ish)ism after realizing I was going through, like, a LOT of paper towels. The ones you got are so cute!

Astarte said...

I've been thinking for awhile now that I'd like to try cloth napkins, but something was holding me back. Maybe it was the idea of the laundry, maybe it was just worry that they'd be gross-looking after awhile (it never occurred to me that they wouldn't have to be white! duh!), I don't know. But I'd love to try!

Melinda said...

I would really like to be your cloth napkin buddy because it would make me feel all warm and fuzzy. And I could use that right now. Also, my heart does totally leap when I see the little orange clearance sticker.

~ T ~ said...

The orange clearance tag *does* make my heart LEAP UP!

I think your green efforts are great - some is always better than none.

I'd love to be your napkin buddy.

Amyella@gmail.com said...

Oh I would LOVE to be your cloth napkin buddy!

angeleffect said...

I'm your girl. I will be your cloth napkin buddy. I use cloth napkins but I always need more.

Jessica (Bug-N-Bee) said...

I would love to be your buddy. Because you make me laugh. And every single time I used one of said Swistle napkins, I would chuckle to myself because of this post. And I want a chicken. I'm in desperate need of a chicken. Isn't everyone?

ColorCodedC said...

Swistle, I heart you! This whole post was so cute; I loved it. I totally agree with all of your environmental points. My boyfriend is a HARDCORE recycler, and I have to admit that I was not (at! all!) until I moved in with him. He has a whole elaborate setup in the kitchen. It includes numerous bins that hold plastic thingies, glass thing-um-a-bobs, and aluminum hoo-dickies. AND, there are MORE bins in the garage that house newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. Whew. I did poke fun at the beginning, but it's amazing to see how nearly nonexistent our garbage is now that we recycle pretty much everything else. That said, occasionally I do (secretly) resent the bins for taking up all that glorious kitchen space. Sorry, but I do. ANYWAY, I'd love to be your cloth napkin buddy. My boyfriend would be so psyched not to be using paper napkins anymore!! And, the orange pizza sauce-colored ones would go so well with my tablecloth...

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

We use cloth napkins and love them! You can get a batch of 12 for real cheap at Sam's- they're the plain white faux linen ones in their catering section. Yours are way cuter! And I would love to carpool to Target! Especially because mine had none of the cute sales stuff yours has.

Mairzy said...

If you send them to me, it would make Baby very happy. How can you resist that?

Stacie said...

I love cloth napkins. I don't actually want to enter the giveaway because I (blush) already have quite the pile and like to shop for them.

Hey - when I gave up cloth diapers because of the kid's GI issues I had to go to something cute. And (if we are being honest) a lot of cloth diapering is about about cute diapers, not about the environmental impact or the theoretical cost savings.

bouncyczech said...

oooh, I want to give cloth a try...

Swiggy said...

I've been meaning to start using cloth napkins more, maybe this is just the push that I needed, so - I'll be your cloth napkin buddy!

Kelsey said...

I do not feel ready for cloth napkins at this point - although we do use baby washcloths when Michael eats, instead of the wet paper towel we used to use with Harper - so we are moving in the right direction. And we are doing other things...

I like the non-pushy approach you've taken here. I think people would bristle less about environmentalists if there wasn't an all or nothing feel about it, you know?

bluedaisy said...

I would love to be your napkin buddy and I totally agree with the idea that doing something is better than doing nothing. I just got myself to use reusable grocery bags on a regular basis (I actually LOVE them), so cloth napkins would fit in with our efforts too ...and of course, it would be fun! I hope I win :)

Extraordinary_hope said...

Napkins. So. Pretty. Must. Have. LOL, I'd love to be your napkin buddy.

Laura D. said...

I'd love to be your cloth napkin buddy. I sure hope they're environmentally friendly - that's my excuse when I hand people stained, crumpled, just out of the laundry basket napkins!

Cherish said...

I love using cloth napkins but I've never even considered brining them out for the kids! ack! Still though, you make everything sound fun

Jodi said...

I have often thought about buying cloth napkins because we always run out of paper and then I forget to buy more for months on end. And with 7 kids, we go through a lot of napkins.

And I luuuuuuuurve Target clearance stickers. Lurrrrrrrrrrve them!

Monique said...

Oooo, you had me at the Mr. Pickles! I will love him, and hug him, and call him George, and hide him for people I love to find. Plus, I've wanted to do the cloth napkin thing for a while, but haven't been able to find something I like in a price I can afford, so this will be a great start!

ya ya's mom said...

we started using cloth napkins in january....i would LOVE to be your buddy!!! (and i need some more napkins)

and that mr. pickles...oh my!

qwanty said...

You know, I recycle and make homemade cleaning goo and such, yet it's never occurred to me to use cloth napkins -- all this time I've just been wiping my hands off on my children, and encouraging them to wipe their hands off on each other. I want to be your cloth napkin buddy!

Kate said...

I'd love to be your cloth napkin buddy (although to be honest, the real reason I'm entering is for the chicken). In my family growing up, cloth napkins were for special occasions and we used paper towels for everything else. Which is bad. But oh so easy...

Alison said...

Love this giveaway... would love to attempt the cloth napkin effort. I think my kids would LOVE it!

DomestiKook said...

Cloth napikis buddies sounds awesome! I have always hated waste and have often wondered if cloth napkins would be the better way to go. But it seems to be one of those things that I ALWAYS forget to look for when I go shopping! And, yes...orange tags ARE entrancing.
Have been thinking about making reusable laundry fabric/scent sheets as well. Wanna trade? :)

jac said...

I am not entering because a) I already own heaps of cloth napkins and yet b) we hardly ever eat at the table so we don't use them. Irony.

Anyway, the whole point of cloth napkins = NAPKIN RINGS. I had a bit of an ebay fad buying silver & silver-plate ones with old names and dates on them (eg. Florence 1912). The theory was that everyone could be someone different at dinner. Of course, this would require us having dinner parties. Um, yeah. I like to be Gregory, for the record.

marilyn c. cole said...

I want! I love you and your place in the Environmental Righteousness Spectrum! I save and reuse a heck of a lot of stuff, but there's no way I'm giving up Target. I got some shorts there the other day for 6 bucks by THAKOON! He makes clothes for Michelle O-freakin-bama!

Emblita said...

Love the napkins- would love to be your buddy in napkins :)
And they are from Target- the nearest Target for me is several thousand miles and an ocean away :(
So Targety goodness would be a godsend!

Black Sheeped said...

I got a few cloth napkins but they are dark red and satiny and fancy, and I don't pull them out for things like a cheese sandwich or a bowl of leftover Chinese takeout.

I love every thing that people do to help. Hooray!

Swistle said...

jac- OMG I WANT OLD NAPKIN RINGS!!! Going to look at eBay RIGHT NOW.

Heather C. said...

I would love to give it a shot with you. With three young children, we go through napkins faster than anything else in the house.

Thia said...

I love using cloth napkins! They're fantastic. I think you'll find them to be wonderful. Then it becomes an addiction b/c more is better. The more you have, the better! At one point, I had a lot. Now, it doesn't seem so much b/c the family has grown.

SarahO said...

I would love to be your cloth napkin buddy!

Bethtastic said...

I like your view on environmentalism. Thanks for that.

And put my name in the napkin hat. I'd be your buddy. :)

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I started using cloth napkins in 1989, when my kids were little and we tried then to re-cycle and GO GREEN. We got used to them quickly, reduced the amount of paper products we bought monthly and then we just included them in our washloads.

I keep a basket on my kitchen table with a large assortment of napkins in it and we use them for every meal, even snacks.
Got everybody spoiled. Now paper is so crass. ha!

Raisin'Cookies said...

Cloth napkins are great. I would love to enter, and even if I don't win, I will be buying some for my family soon! Thanks for the idea.

raisin3cookies AHT yahoo DAWT co DAWT uk

CAQuincy said...

Count me in! I'm intrigued. I mean, why should we only use the pretty cloth napkins for the holidays? And frankly, I do so much laundry, anyway, what's a couple of napkins?

BDS said...

The day I found myself ironing cloth napkins was one of those i'm old epiphanies. You know, right up there with the first time you complain about teenagers at the mall or someone calls you mam.
I'm glad you don't care about the wrinkles. After that day, neither do I!

Megan said...

I'd like to win. Not sure if I want Mr. Pickles or Napkins more but luckily I don't have to choose.

nicole said...

I'm not entering. Why? Because I already use cloth napkins and have lots of them, although not pretty ones. I have brown and beige. I wanted to support you in your cloth napkin endeavors. I bought 24, we have six people using napkins in our family, and it is working great for us. I just toss them in the wash when they look too gross (we use them more than once) and get some clean ones out. They are so small that they don't add to my laundry, so I really do think they are better than using paper napkins. So go you!

Felicia said...

Oooh, pick me, please! We just started using cloth napkins but we only have a few and could definitely use some more. Thanks for posting about this!

Sheena said...

Swistle, I would love to be your cloth napkin buddy. This is an interesting topic to me. Perhaps, even if I don't win, I will take a jaunt to Target and get me some cloth napkins to try it out. But then again I hate the laundry... hum. I guess after you announce the winner on Friday, I'll have to see if I jaunt to Target or not.

arbee said...

Pick me! Pick me! I am trying to be more "green" and I sure could use some fabulous cloth napkins. :)

Love your take on environmentalism...it really isn't all or nothing! Every little bit helps.

Joanne said...

I use cloth napkins because I got some for my wedding and I really liked them and then I thought - hey! - this might be better than using paper. Now I've received two other sets as gifts and I'm set. BUT I would still like to be your cloth napkin buddy. I keep typing cloth diaper instead of cloth napkin, ugh!

deb said...

Just the right colors to brighten up the last weeks of winter.

Di said...

I love those colors!! I currently hate the cloth napkins I have - which are a sort of purplish with a blue and white plaid.

And I would love a Mr. Pickles of my own - think of the fun he could have here in New York!

Kristi said...

I may be more excited about Mr. Pickles than the napkins. But, GLEE all around, if I win (or should it be WHEN I win, I wonder if the power of positive thinking is applicable in this scenario...?)!

Kris said...

I would love to be your cloth napkin buddy. I admit - I've thought about making the switch often, but i haven't actually, you know, gone out and bought any cloth napkins. So free cloth napkins delivered to my doorstep would be exactly the incentive I need! Plus they are pretty.

AlienBea said...

Cloth napkin buddy! I love the idea. And I could use the napkins, too -- my Target had tablecloths and placemats on clearance, but, woe! No napkins (and I love cloth napkins). I did get a tablecloth and some placemats, though. They make our $60 IKEA table look like a million bucks. :)

melanie said...

we used cloth napkins and then stopped. maybe this would be a good excuse to start up again!

melanie(dot)myatt(at)gmail(dot)com

Laura said...

ooh, cute napkins, i hope i'm not too late! i'm looking forward to scrolling through the comments to see if anyone weighed in as to whether cloth or paper are more eco-friendly.

juliannabelle said...

not entering, as i already have a plethora of cloth napkins. i'm a fan, too. they're pretty, and i like old-fashioned things. environmentally speaking, not entirely sure the having-to-wash them trumps the wastefulness of throwing away multiples of paper napkins, but i'm thinking it probably does. 'back in the day' families didn't wash the cloth napkins daily (i think they used them for a week or so, if i'm remembering correctly), but i just can't go there. if it has a stain, it's going in the washer...
have fun with your contest!

Kira said...

Love your environmental stance. Perfection is the enemy of the good, or something like that.
Pretty napkins.

Michelle said...

Ok I am SO with you on the cloth napkins. I've been wanting to go down that route, but that means a LOT of napkins to buy and then to store somewhere, but I HATE using paper towels so often and so much, but I've never tried cloth napkins with the wee ones so I've been dithering. Totally want to see how it goes for you ... and willing to try it out on your ummm dime ;)

I am SO going to Target tomorrow.

Magpie said...

Funny - I wrote about cloth napkins last week = http://www.magpiemusing.com/2009/03/eco-monograms-in-lunchbox.html