February 14, 2021

How to Make DIY "Un-paper" Towels

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

It's been a million and one years since I've blogged on here or have done anything La Ti Doe related...but I'm back!

I put La Ti Doe on the back burner for a new business I was working on - Espinache - maybe you have heard of it? A spinach-infused hair and skin care line. But after a spinach love affair that lasted several years...I had to close that chapter for a bunch of different logistical reasons. 

So long story short, after New York, to Princeton, and then to Philadelphia...I am now in Miami! And loving the sunshine. Will be launching my La Ti Doe etsy shop back up again soon where I'm going to offer a bunch of different hand made textile goodies that bring joy the home. 

Anyways...for this past Christmas I was trying to think of something I could gift my sister who is very environmentally conscious. She really hates getting "stuff" from people. She is very minimalistic and tries to live as waste-free as possible. So I thought about making her a giant set of "un-paper" towels, made of soft absorbent cotton that she can reuse and reuse and wash (by machine or by hand!) and reuse again.

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

And I think it was a successful gift because I didn't get yelled at! Hehe. 

It seemed like a no brainer to make some for myself too. I live with 2 dogs and 2 men (my husband and his brother) and me myself, who am probably the mess-equivalent of a few 8 year olds, so you can imagine we go through a lot of paper towels and a lot of trash.

What I love about these "un-paper" towels:

  • They are 100% cotton flannel - super soft and absorbent 
  • They are machine washable 
  • They are super simple to make
  • They are super cute
  • They are waste-free
  • They can double as napkins or even as little bibs
  • They are soft enough for any surface without leaving a scratch
  • They are much stronger than the normal paper-made paper towel 
  • They 'cling' together easily so you can roll them up and store them on any regular paper towel holder
  • They would make a great house warming or hostess gift! 

Materials You'll Need to Make DIY "Un-Paper" Towels:

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

  • 1-2 yards of 100% cotton flannel (1 yard will make about 16) -- I got these from Joann Fabrics
  • Serger / overlocking machine (for the trim)*  
  • Matching thread 
  • Sharp fabric scissors and/or pinking shears

*If you don't have a serger/overlocking machine, you can use a regular sewing machine. Just cut the edges with pinking shears and fold over all of the edges to make a clean seam 

How to Sew DIY "Un-Paper" Towels:

Step 1: Fold & Cut

Fold the yard of fabric in half about 4x to form equal sized rectangles. Depending on the width of your fabric, the shape might be a bit more square or a bit more rectangle. 

My squares turned out to be roughly 10 inches x 11 inches. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

With your sharp fabric scissors, cut along the folds on all 4 sides. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

Step 2: Iron Flat

This step is a little extra, so you can skip this if you don't feel like going all out. But I like to run my iron over each square just so they are all flat, smooth and easier to work with on the machine. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

If you do not have a serger/overlocking machine, you can cut the edges with pinking shears, and then fold along out the outer edges and iron those down to make a clean edge that won't fray as much. 

Step 3: Serge Along the Seams 

Simply sew along all for sides with your serger (or sewing machine). If you're sewing with a sewing machine, you can pivot for crisp square corners. With a serger, I just sewed along all in 1 continuous stitch, curving along the edges for curved corners. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

Repeat for all of your squares! Then cut off any excess / loose strings. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

Step 4: Stack & Roll

Overlay one square on top of the next into a long line. The slight soft and fuzziness of flannel creates enough static for its own natural Velcro effectso these will all 'stick', or more like cling, together on their own. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

Then roll these up! You can roll them directly on an empty paper towel roll or directly on a storage rod. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

They should stand up on their own - or you can store them on a cute paper towel holder wherever you use them most. I HIGHLY recommend making separate towels for the bathroom / unsanitary areas and making them different distinct colors so you're not accidentally cleaning toilet (barf) with the same cloth unpaper towels as your kitchen countertops!!! 


And that's it! Having a serger makes this so much faster / easier. But you can definitely make these with a regular sewing machine, no problem. 

diy unpaper towels - paper free paper towels - reusable paper towels - cloth paper towels

I think I might sell these in my etsy shop - COMING SOON! - so you can also get them from there if you don't feel like making them yourself!

Enjoy - 

July 20, 2015

Burt's Bees Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner

Last time I went to buy a refill on conditioner, I only thought I was, but when I got home, realized I actually bought shampoo. So instead of turning around to buy conditioner like I meant to, I instead decided to stretch the little conditioner that I had left as far as I could.

And my hair did not like that.

So when I finally did go to buy more, this tube of Burt's Bees caught my eye. I liked that it was a '2 minute' deep conditioner as opposed to 10 min or more because it's short enough that I don't have to step out to of the shower or wait forever for the full effect (yeah, 10 min = forever).

I guess, to get straight to the point, I LIKE this product, I don't LOVE it. It made my hair feel stronger but not necessarily more soft or moisturized. But I feel like at the core, it did work. And often times the 'smooth soft' feel of conditioners is only surface level anyway. Whereas this product seems to work more like a keratin treatment...stronger hair, as opposed to silkier hair. And my hair has been breaking off like crazy since going blonde a year ago...I'm going through hair rehab at the moment since dying it back to black again.

As to be expected with Burt's products, this has a very simple and shameless ingredient list full of botanical extracts with natural hair repair abilities...and in total is over 98% natural.

It's not cheap, as you only get 5oz of product but it's not ridiculously expensive either at a little under $7 at Target. I only wash my hair once or twice a week so this will last me over a month.

The texture is rich, thick and creamy like Greek yogurt. So a little goes a long way.

This was my hair beforehand...actually, this picture is deceiving because it looks soft and moisturized. It wasn't. And you can sort of see heat damage in a few straight strands that won't curl anymore. I'm thinking I need another hair cut soon...

And this was my hair actually the next day (I forgot to take a picture of the result the day I conditioned...oops). But it was basically the same, just a bit softer and more defined. 

I'll definitely continue to use this product until I run out, but I don't know if I'd necessarily repurchase. I also think that may be because my hair is so damaged that it may just be damaged beyond repair...that if you use this product on undyed undamaged hair the results would be far better I'm sure! Overall, I do like it. If you're looking for high slip detangling ability this isn't for you. If you're looking for strength from the inside out, then I recommend!

May 27, 2015

That One Time I Dyed My Hair 6A Light Ash Brown

It's been exactly a year since the first time that I dyed my hair blonde...I suppose no huge regrets...but maybe little ones. It's definitely been a challenge. This post is actually a bit old news since I have since dyed it back to black. But I ended up really loving how this color turned out, and when it faded, I debated dying it back this color one more time before going black again. But, I was feeling antsy and black sounded more exciting at the time.

The reason I dyed it an ash brown was because I wanted to keep it light, without covering up all of the blonde entirely, but I wanted there to be more of a transition from my natural black roots to the blond ends and I wanted to especially tone out the brassy orange.

The biggest challenge of going blonde is definitely battling brass, orange and yellow tones. If you want warm colors, then it's easy...but I wanted a cool/ash blonde, which I'm discovering is near impossible...even with purple shampoo and toners. Sigh. Luckily, like I said, I really liked how the ash blonde turned out.

The Products: 
L'Oreal Superior Preference in 6A Light Ash Brown
L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Conditioner 

The directions are very basic...mix, apply, wait for 25 minutes, rinse, condition (no shampoo). The challenge is getting the dye on your hair evenly. Since I have multiple hair colors to begin with, I wasn't too worried. Also, the box dye is around $10...verses going to a salon and paying 10x that amount. So even it isn't perfect, it's worth the $10. Last time I dyed my hair at a salon, I regretted it immediately after. I don't remember ever regretting box dye.
Mix the color and developer.

This is the hair I stared with. Orange ends. Black roots.

To make applying easier, I section my hair and start applying first to areas that are most visible like around my part, edges, crown...etc. Then I do the hairs underneath that are less visible. This way, the more noticeable areas will have more time for the dye to set.

My hair is fairly short, so one box is enough. If your hair is super long, then you might want two boxes so that you can completely saturate your entire head. Then, once the dye is evenly applied, wait 20-25 minutes. 

When time is up, rinse out all of the dye with cool/lukewarm water until the water runs clear. When all of the dye is mixed out, condition. I used the conditioner that came with the box and then some of my own L'Oreal conditioner. Just don't use shampoo on this wash (or maybe the next couple depending on how often you wash your hair) because it could cause the color to fade more quickly and is also extra drying on top of recently dyed hair.
Once my hair was washed, moisturized, blow dried...and straightened, this was my result. It's less noticeable in pictures, probably because of my lighting, but the results were pretty true to the box. My roots were lifted a couple shades lighter and my orange ends were toned down about a shade darker and were less brassy. 
Even with my bad lighting, you can see my results were pretty close--just a bit less drastic. So it felt more like a toner than dye...or somewhere in the middle
So I got the results I wanted -- slightly lighter roots, slightly darker and more toned ends, and a more gradual transition in between.
I'm going to hold off on dying my hair again for a long time, I hope. If my impulse control permits. At least, if I do dye it, I won't be lifting color, just depositing. 

So...next up is another  growth journey. Wish me luck!