Vanilla-Scented Linens

Everything you’ll need to keep linens fresh and bug-free.

We have a wooden dresser that I use to store guest linens. Despite fresh laundering, things consistently smell of wood on the way out. Not a soft pine scent either, more of a musty pile of sticks smell. These simple bundles now impart a light, sweet odor to our guest towels.

What you’ll need to make four
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
4 cotton balls
1 plastic sandwich bag, cut into four pieces
4 twist ties
1 toothpick

image 2
How the little packets will look.

What to do
Mix the vanilla and water in a small bowl. Flatten or open your plastic bag pieces on a countertop. Dip the cotton balls into the vanilla mix and place each in the center of a piece of plastic. Gather the plastic edges, keeping the cotton ball in the center, and use a twist tie to bind. When all four bags are sealed, poke three or four times with the toothpick to let the scent out slowly.
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Retooled Vintage Chairs

old chairs
The old and new chair seats.

At the local antique store, I found a set of tall, swivel chairs for my kitchen island for $12.50 each. They were previously recovered in a ’60s oilcloth print of roosters, trees and farm scenes. It was a stained and discolored, so I decided to reupholster it with an oilcloth print fragment that I purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics in the leftover bin for $3. I sliced the fabric into a large circle, stretched it over a thin piece of polyester batting, and used a staple gun to hold it in place, pulling each side taut as I stapled around the edge. When finished stapling, I cut off extra fabric and reattached the chair backs.

For a professional finish, you can use a round of cardboard that laps over the fabric edge and nail it down with upholstery tacks. This finish offers a nice hand feel, if you’ll be touching your recovered surface often and need to minimize sharp edges. Store co-owner Robin said to polish the chrome up with that stuff you rub onto your hubcaps to buff the imperfections and get back the metal’s sheen. I still haven’t done this, since it wasn’t available at our small-town grocer. I plan to pick some up on my next trip to Kansas City.

The entire reupholstery project took me about 45 minutes to complete, and now I have two cute stools at my breakfast nook for $28.
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The Sort Story

Being an environmentalist is as easy as paying attention. It’s the thoughtful approach to life that most of us are already honing. The trick is to find what works for you, making small changes you can stick with. I know, I know, it sounds like a diet plan to save the world. In a way it probably is—sans tights.

Recycling was my first big step. In Denver, the switch to piling plastics, glass, and paper products into the appropriate green bins took very little of my time. Then last July, my husband George and I moved to rural Kansas, where the recycling program is entirely DIY. I now make a weekly trip to the drop off center, where I spend at least 30 minutes sorting the recyclables into more than 15 specific categories. Sigh.

But it’s easier to buy local here, where farmers make up 60% of the population in our county. So I trade some of the extra time I used to spend foraging for produce on my recycling commitment. This is a small change for me with a big impact.
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