Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New purse!

I love what I make.  But one of the curses of being a creative type is that there is always more.more.more to make!  Last week I finally attacked a project that I actually needed: a new handbag.

I've been needing a new purse for a while and I just didn't feel right spending a ton on something that I didn't love and that didn't make me happy.  So I found some fabulous fabrics, spent less than $20 and 2 hours on it and voila! a purse!

This is what creating is all about.  Taking some raw materials and filling a need in someone's life.

I'll probably be making bags on a trial basis for the store.  If you are interested in working with me on creating one to suit your individual needs and tastes, send me a message and we'll start the process.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The History of Clean

When I was a child I was not in the "neat and tidy" category.  Piles abounded (although I knew what was in the piles!), my bed was never made (unless my sister made it), clothes were everywhere and it was like pulling teeth to get me to help with the dishes or laundry.

When I moved to college, I discovered that there were people far messier than me.  One roommate in particular did not have stuff, so much as she had one giant pile.  We had lofted her bed, and underneath it was a desk and a dresser, supposedly.  Really, all you could see was clothes.  I was still prone to piles, but I improved a bit from my younger days.

After dorm life, I moved into the "apartment life" stage, as a hip single chick.  Things were still pretty messy, but my apartment was never "dirty", just cluttered.  No cleaning routines to speak of either.

Then I got married and discovered that living with a man is twice as much mess.  My dear husband and I share many of the same faults when it comes to issues of cleanliness. We're both more prone to put our dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher and neither of us likes folding and putting away laundry.  The first two years of our marriage were full of struggle in this area.

Then, after I spent a year getting used to being a mother and I had an urchin who was down THERE, down there with all that MESS!  Then I started improving.  I figured out some tricks and tips and started making sure laundry and dishes were kept up on.

Life got better.

Then, as it usually does, life got crazy and I got into a bad place.  I think it takes me a year after having a baby to get back to "normal", or to find that new normal.  I've passed that one year mark and while I still struggle, things are looking up!

Two tips for you today, from my many many years of wisdom.

1. Laundry Baskets are your best friends.  If you have a disaster of epic proportions use a laundry basket to sort and put away.  When I was living on my own, the first thing I'd pull out of the chaos was laundry.  Get that all in a basket, then taken care of and all of a sudden you can see the floor.  Now I usually pull the toys up first, then any trash that's found it's way to the floor, then anything else.  It's a magnificently simple system that is a life saver.

2.  Checklists are your second best friend.  There's plenty of options of things to buy if you don't want to make your own, but I highly suggest using a checklist.  This week I picked up the Confident Mom planner and I'm liking it so far!  There's also Motivated Moms and plenty of other options!  And don't forget the Fly Lady!  Going through her website definitely put me on the path to routines and keeping things clean!

If you were to give a tip to a person just moving out of their parents house, what would it be?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Useful or not?


Today, I threw up my hands, yelled out my frustrations and then finally decluttered a bunch of junk from my laundry/storage room.  

Let me explain a bit.

I live in a ranch style house.  I love it dearly, especially since I don't have to worry about stairs for the urchins.  Especially nice is our laundry room.  Growing up we had a hole-in-the-wall laundry room that you could hardly open the doors of the machines in.  My laundry room now is huge, we use it as a storage room as well.  Currently we have the washer and dryer, a stand-up freezer, a big shelf on the wall with a 6' table underneath and three metal shelves from Ikea.  There's also my fabric bins hanging out in there.  

There is some level of organization in this room. The shelves are really organized and I actually didn't need to declutter them.  The bigger problem was under the table and the big shelf on the wall.  Under the table was just a bunch of junk, the shelves had a lot of bakeware and such on it.

So I had Chris grab me a big box and I just started pulling stuff off the shelf.  The problem with bridal showers is that you register for EVERYTHING and then you get EVERYTHING and then four years later you go "Huh.  Guess I didn't need a springform pan after all".  Because I am all about recycling and reusing, I'm gifting all these wonderful items to my brother who is getting married this year.  He's about to buy a house, so all my junk can go over there.  You're welcome brother.  ;)

Seriously though, it is SUCH a weight to get all that stuff out of there.  Most of it was stuff I used once a year at most.  Some of it had never been used, or maybe once in the last four years.  

Try it soon!  Get a big box, pick a room where you know there's a concentration of clutter and clean it out!  Storage room, laundry room, garage, linen closet or a bedroom closet are all great places to start.

Happy cleaning!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Announcing: a Spring Cleaning Series

I'm so excited to announce a series I'll be starting now, Spring Cleaning for the Lazy/Busy/Procrastinating Mom.  I'll be sharing some tips and tricks that I've learned that help me get my house clean!  And I'll be cleaning right along with you!  Let's get started!

First step for you to do today: gather your supplies.  My list:

  • Unpaper towels/dish cloths/paper towels- make sure you have some clean rags or a full roll of paper towel
  • Cleaner of choice.  I use a solution of half vinegar, half water.  But just make sure you have some of your favorite!  
  • Broom and dustpan.  I know someone who's broom recently broke in half.  If you have needed to replace yours for whatever reason, do it now!
  • Mop and bucket.  Make sure your mop head is good to go, replace it if you need to do so!
  • A good attitude!  
Next, get ready to get to work!  Prepare yourself by one simple task: washing, drying and putting away ALL your dishes.  If you have a build up, take the time to get through it earlier in the day or before dinner.  That way after dinner you just have the dinner dishes to do.  By the time you go to bed tonight, try and have everything put away.  This means that tomorrow, when you get really started you will have one task done.  

It's also important to keep up on the dishes throughout spring cleaning!  So make a pact with yourself that you will take 5 minutes after every meal to handle any dishes from that meal, and that you'll take 10 minutes before bed to finish things up.  25 minutes out of your day and I can promise you that you'll have a clean sink at the end of the day!  Set the timer when it comes time to do your dishes and you'll be surprised at how much you can get done when you focus.  Anyone can focus for 5 minutes!

Bonus task: laundry.  Get as much laundry washed, dryed, folded and put away as you can today!  If you have a backlog, at least try to get everything that's already clean folded and put away.  During this process, we're only going to do one load at a time from start to finish to help make sure we don't have any piles of clean clothes cluttering things up!

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Happy First Day of Spring!  I've been spending my days outside with the kids.  They play in the backyard and I sit in my Adirondack chair and read L.M. Montgomery novels on my kindle.  It's pretty idyllic.

As the weather has been ridiculously warm (over 80 today!) I've really been in a spring cleaning mood.  This has been very good for the children's new playroom.  It's also been good for the state of my home in general!

One thing I've noticed though, is how much I use my unpaper towels in a day.  I easily go through 3, 4 or even 5, and currently I use them only in the kitchen and for wiping up random spills in the house.  I don't currently use them in the bathroom or for mirrors (although I'm planning on starting to do so when I get around to cleaning those, lol).  A deep clean of my kitchen used 2 unpaper towels.

But how many paper ones would I have used?  10, 20?  How many rolls would I go through during spring cleaning?  2, 3, 4?  More?

Here's my challenge for you.  Pick one room in your house, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room or the bathroom, that you will only use cloth in.  Maybe you can only commit to using a cloth dusting rag instead of paper towel with pledge.  Maybe you're ready to cut paper towels in the kitchen.  And maybe you're ready to get over your fear of the germs lurking on your rag after you clean the bathroom.  Whatever it is, for spring cleaning, use cloth!

To help you out, I'm giving you two things!  For the next week (until 3/27) unpaper towels are 10% off, and there's a coupon code for free shipping on anything in the shop (Code: SPRING2012)!  Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Greenify your window cleaning

When I started using vinegar and water to clean, one of the hardest places to let go of chemicals was windows.  Somehow, Windex seems like it does the job right.  I still have "issues" with my system, and I was excited to see this post at Simple Organic about several different systems.
The Experiment
  1. A vinegar and water mix
  2.  – I chose to use 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar, which seemed to be the most commonly used ratio.
  3. Alcohol
  4.  – Many actually said they used vodka, but like others, I used 70% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol since it’s much cheaper.
  5. Cleaning mix
  6.  – 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol.
  7. Norwex polishing cloth
  8.  – granted, this isn’t a homemade option, but you only use water with the cloth.
  9. Newspaper and vinegar
  10.  – I’ve always been told that newspaper does a great job and had never tried it.
 Read More
 Currently, I don't use any of those mixes!  I use a microfiber cloth with a mix of water, vinegar and a dash of Castille Soap.  Typically it doesn't cause too many problems, but it seems to take FOREVER to wipe it clean without streaks.  I'm thinking I'll try one of the better options that she found.  Can't hurt, right?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Moving forward!

I'm so excited that my kickstarter project was sucessful!  This means that I'll really be able to get things going in a good direction with This Cloth House!

Some of you may be wondering exactly where your money is going to go!  I'll be using this blog to share the journey, of course, but let me break down some of the plans right now.

  • Fees.  Part of the money, unfortunately, does need to go towards fees to Kickstarter and Amazon.  Not a huge amount, but that's part of it!
  • Fulfilling rewards.  Those of you who get rewards will be getting them soon!  You should have already gotten a short survey to fill out.  That will start the process of getting you your reward!
  • Marketing materials.  I'm going to be getting some marketing materials... brochures, a banner for craft shows, small things like that.
  • Lighting.  Right now, I work from a desk in my family room.  During the day I've got some great daylight coming in, but if I want to work at night I'm currently using two broken lamps.  It's kind of funny when you look at my lopsided lamp!  But I'll be getting some good "daylight" type lights.
  • Fabric.  First fabric order is going to be a bulk order of the cotton birdseye I use for unpaper towels!  I'll also be getting various other fabrics.
And from there, we will see how the needs pan out and what needs to be gotten!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A product dear to my heart

I'm so excited to tell you about the newest product coming to This Cloth House: handkerchiefs.

These simple cotton muslin hankies are perfect for every day use.  They are lightweight, which means they are easy to stick in your purse or pocket.  They feature a simple rolled hem and will be perfect for drying noses or eyes.

They also feature the tiniest little heart in one of the corners.  It measures about a half an inch and is hand embroidered in "This Cloth House blue" (the same blue as the logo).

Why a heart?  Well, because these hankies are not just another product.  Part of the proceeds from the sale of these hankies will be donated to Children's Hospital of Michigan.

I'd like to introduce you to my sister, Celeste Marie.  Celeste was born in March of 2005 with a congenital heart defect, and she spent the entire 4 1/2 months of her life inside Children's Hospital.  Part of that time was spent waiting for a heart transplant that wasn't to be.  Celeste has had a huge impact in my life, particularly when it comes to supporting transplant donor drives and children's health issues.  That's why I decided that part of the proceeds from these hankies are going to Children's Hospital.

Hankies are also the perfect symbol of Celeste's life.  She was the first sister after four brothers, and we cried tears of joy to know that.  And of course, there were many tears as we dealt with her birth defect and her eventual passing.  Any life, no matter the length, is full of moments that require a hanky to wipe your eyes.

The Celeste Handkerchiefs will soon be available in the shop.  Pricing and other details will be available soon.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why I do this

I've shared about how I firmly believe in this movement towards green living. But there's a different reason as to "why" I have this venture.

Yep, those two.  Ultimately, why I've started this business is to help provide for my family.

Things have not been easy in our household.  My husband has had an extremely hard time finding a job that doesn't require years of experience, and all the truly "starter" jobs have lots of competition.  I have my degree, but we've chosen for me to be the primary person at home with the kids.  When your whole paycheck would go toward day care costs, it doesn't make sense for both parents to work outside the home.  Plus, since I breastfeed my babies, it'd be much harder and cost more for me to work outside the home.  Breastfeeding is not only best nutritionally, it's free!

So, since I have an entrepreneurial spirit, I started This Cloth House.  So far, I've been wise enough with my funds that I haven't lost any money, but I want it to go so much further.  I'm double invested emotionally.  I've got my philosophical reasons, and my family reasons.

And both of them make the journey SO worth it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Announcing: 15 days, 15 Hundred

I'm so excited to announce the start of my kickstarter project. First, let me tell you a little bit about what kickstarter is! is an amazing website that helps fund creative projects. Here's how the process works.

-An artist/creator sets a goal. They offer rewards based on the amount a backer donates.

-A backer pledges a certain amount of money.

-A lot of other backers pledge enough to hit the goal

-Once the goal is hit, if time remains before the project closes, the project can continue receiving pledges.

-If the goal is NOT hit, then none of the pledges go through.

-If the goal is hit, the backers pay their pledge amount.

-The artist then creates the rewards and sends them out to the backers.

-Then the artist takes their money and creates!

My project is very important to me. My goal is this:

To develop This Cloth House into a leader in education about using cloth products in the home. I'm raising funds to develop initial inventory and sample products as well as to get marketing materials.

One of my big goals is to put together a party kit, so that I can go to people homes and teach them about cloth and sustainable living. Yes, I'd be your cloth house "Mary Kay lady".

I look at my products not as just something to sell. Cloth inspires me. The feel of a piece of fabric, its weight, its colors and patterns... there's something magical about it. These items are pieces of beauty, that not only bring frugality into fashion, but truly help a family express their personal style.

Right now, there's 200 facebook fans. In order to hit my goal of $1500 you would only have to each donate $7.50. That's a meal at McDonalds, or maybe a coffee and pastry at Starbucks. Do you think you can help me out?

I've come up with some amazing awards. There's anything from a handwritten thank you note, up to Two Clean Kitchen Sets, that contain a dishwashing apron, 20 unpaper towels, 6 napkins and 2 hand towels for you and a friend. I'm not just in this to meet my goal, I'm also in it to help bring my vision into your home.

Please consider helping me meet my goal at my kickstarter page. We've only got 15 days to meet this goal! If you can help THANK YOU so much. If you don't have the funds at this time, THANK YOU for reading this and supporting me in spirit. Please share this with your friends. I'm going to need all the help I can get! And if we get past the goal and exceed it, man oh MAN will I have some sort of fantastic something for all you loyal fans!

And here's the link, one more time:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'm getting so excited!

Don't forget, there's going to be a big big big announcement tomorrow morning at 8am!  I'm so excited and I can hardly hold it in, but this is a huge endeavor and I'm going to need your support!  Thanks in advance, everyone!

One last time: 50% off!

This is the final day of deals, look for a BIG announcement tomorrow!

One more time, Half Off anything!  If you want a custom item, please email me and I'll get a listing up for you.


Offer valid only on 1/31/2012 on any item at

Monday, January 30, 2012

Deal day 6: Free Shipping again!

This is day 6 of 7 days of deals.

Free shipping again!  Use code "BUYLOCAL"

Valid only on 1/30/2012 on any item at

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Deal Day 5: 25%!

This is Day 5 of 7 days of deals

That's right, 25 percent, but only for the first 25 people who use it!  So order quickly!


Code is valid only on 1/29/2012 for the first 25 people who use it.  Valid on any item at  If you are interested in a custom listing, message me and we'll set up a listing so you can use the coupon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 4 deal! Double Prizes!

This is the Day 4 deal, leading up to a big announcement on Feb. 1

Today's deal: with every order placed today you get a BONUS set of 2 white cloth napkins, 12" size.  No code is needed, it will just be added to your order when I pack it up for shipping!

Deal is only valid on 1/28/2012.  Limit of one set of napkins per person.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 3 deal: 1/2 off!

This is day 3 of 7 days of deals.

WOW!  Thank you so much to all of you wonderful fans!  We hit well over 150 "likes" on facebook, and that has gotten you a well earned half off code!

Here's the rules and whatnot:
Only live from 8am 1/27/2012 until 8pm 1/27/2012.
If you want a CUSTOM order, please message me ASAP so we can arrange it.
This coupon is valid only on items in the shop currently, or custom orders for napkins, wipes, or flannel unpaper towels.  This coupon is not valid towards any custom orders of other items (aprons, birdseye unpaper towels, etc).  This coupon is valid on one order per person.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

New blog to check out!

My good friend Beth has started up a new blog: The Frugal Mom's Nom Noms.  She's writing about a lot of things that I love too!  Right now she's got a couple posts up about the basics of paleo and budgeting your grocery bill, but she's going to have TONS of great content.  Check her out!

Deal Day 2- 5% off!

Today is day 2 of the 7 Days of Deals!

Today get 5% off your order with code: 5PERCENT

Coupon is valid on 1/26/2012 on any order from

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Deal Day 1! Buy Local!

Starting today we're doing 7 Days of Deals!  
This is all leading up to a HUGE announcement on February 1,
 so keep your eyes on the blog for some exciting stuff!

Today's deal of the day has a special element for those who are local to me in the Metro Detroit area.

Use code "BuyLocal" and receive free shipping!  Anyone in the US can use this code.  However, if you are local to me in the Dearborn, MI area, you'll also get a special hand delievery!

Code is valid through 1/25/2012 on any order through

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New product launch!

I'm so excited to announce a new line of products: Hopsack Linen Napkins.  These napkins are my absolute favorite and they are what I use in my home every day.  

Soft, supple, absorbant.  These have a simple design that is really just the best for everyday and for a strong statement when you have a special occasion.

They come in three colors, natural, white and papyrus.  The natural is darker, more "brown", the papyrus is an off white that has a slight yellowish tone when compared to the other two.

A simple white thread is perfect for anyone, but they come in pretty much whatever color you want!  Just ask and I'll see what I can do!

The 12 inch napkins are perfect for everyday.  Not too big, not too small. You can easily keep one for all day use.  

These are the ones I use.  Honestly I am so glad to be done with paper napkins.  These free up my day and are so much more useful than paper.  Not only can I use them as a napkin, but if I need a handy washcloth to wipe down my son it's perfect for that too.  A little spill during dinner?  Now I don't have to rush for a dishcloth or paper towels, my napkin can take care of it without me getting up.

The 16 inch napkins are great for special occasions or a messy dinner!  The larger size is still comfortable in your hand.

Check out the full line in my shop.  

Tell me, what color thread would you pick for your napkins?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inspiration: Ma Ingalls

Growing up I read a lot of different books.  One of my absolute favorite series was the Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The stories she told of growing up in small towns across the Midwest were amazing to me.  It seemed impossible that anyone could have lived without our modern luxuries, but at the same time there was something so romantic about it all.

Some of my favorite stories in those books were the ones that talked of their every day life.  Butchering a pig was a big to-do, but the little things that Ma Ingalls did in the house have stuck with me.  She was the ideal home maker, managing her home efficiently and getting it all done.

Nowadays, we need to remember that things are pretty easy now.  We don't have to worry about a "Long Winter" with no food.  We can still learn something though from the "olden times".

Learn canning and preserving.  Invest in a side of beef and support a local farmer.  Shop locally.  Grow your own produce.  Wear your apron proudly and get it dirty every day!  Get inspired by some country living!

Did you read the Little House books?  What story has stuck with you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make the switch: clean with cloth!

It's a new year and everyone's making resolutions on ways to improve themselves.  Maybe you're hitting the gym, eating better or implementing a consistent "me time".  Have you thought about switching to using cloth in your cleaning routine?

This was one of the first things I did as I switched to a more green home life.  It started off simply enough by registering for dish and hand towels when I got married.  It was a no brainer to have hand towels to dry my hands with and it made perfect sense to get the matching dish cloths, even if I didn't plan to use them to wash dishes.   Now though, those dish cloths are getting pretty ratty from use!

If you have cloths sitting in a drawer or closet, pull them out.  Evaluate them and decide how you are going to use them.  Are they cotton?  Microfiber?  Did you know that microfiber cloths are perfect for cleaning windows and mirrrors, you don't even need Windex!  Maybe you can start using the dish cloths as dish cloths instead of buying sponges.  Cloth gets better with use, it will become softer, more absorbent.  And you got those to use them, not have them sit where no one can see them!

So tell me, what is your favorite way to use cloth as you clean?  Bonus points if you share a picture of your favorite old rag on the facebook page!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Inspirational Blogs

In my journey to a more natural lifestyle, I've really been encouraged by some great blogs who really inspired me.  In a particular way, they really helped to educate me about natural living and WHY we should do it.  I'd love for you to check out these blogs and learn some things yourself!

Heavenly Homemakers
Laura mainly taught me about making my own vanilla!  It's something I've wanted to do for a while, and still have yet to try it.  She's also got lots of great tips on pretty much any homemaking subject.  She's also a great resource on baking/cooking topics.

Keeper of the Home
Stephanie covers a lot of really great topics with some good coverage of some sort of "out there" diets that have become very normal to me.

Kitchen Stewardship
Katie has probably been my biggest influence, especially with her Monday Missions.  From easy things that anyone can do, to hard  things that I haven't attempted yet, she really helps push you towards a natural home.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Welcome to the This Cloth House blog!

I'm Rachel and I'm excited!  Please, do not be surprised if there are a ton of exclamation points in this post.

Let me introduce myself.  I'm a middle 20's mom and housewife, who also runs an etsy shop and works out of the house at a Banquet Hall.  I am an epic reader, I've always been one to read anything and everything and the last few years I've read a lot of "housewife" blogs.  It started as a kick in the butt to do more in my own home after getting married, and over the past few years I've gleaned a lot of knowledge! All that know how has turned into a huge passion for natural home making, especially using beautiful fabrics in your everyday life.

A little swatch of fabric is something that can bring beauty and joy into something as mundane as wiping the kitchen counter or a babies butt.  And now, with my etsy shop, I'm hoping to bring some of that beauty into lots of other lives!

So join me on my blog.  I'll be talking about different products in my shop, some different tips and techniques that you can use around your home, and I'll be pointing you in the direction of some of my favorite blogs.  I'll probably talk about my home and kids in there too!

I can't wait to travel with you on this journey!  See you next time!