and now for something completely different

This is a different sort of tutorial. It’s not food-related, but as most vegans seem to be at least somewhat concerned about the environment and our human impact upon it, I figured I’d push my pro-handkerchief, anti-tissue agenda on you. I must confess that although Mark is in general very supportive of everything I do, he hates this aspect of me. He finds it disgusting and unsanitary, although I put forth the notion that it is actually more sanitary to use handkerchiefs than tissues. For example, most people sneeze into their hands rather than hunt around for and then “waste” a tissue to sneeze into. But then they end up wiping their hands on their pants or something. And a lot of tissues are so thin I’m sure they’re not really protecting you or the rest of the world from all your germs. Anyway, handkerchiefs are softer, sturdier, cheaper, and all-around just better. They are also hard to find these days, so I just make my own. Here’s how:

Snot Rags

flannel – This can be purchased from a sale bin at the fabric store or scavenged from worn-out pajamas. “Gen-Xers” can use also use their old flannel shirts from the ’90s, but don’t tell Mark because he’s planning to single-handedly bring back grunge.

First, cut the flannel into handkerchief shapes. I find a rotary cutter makes this job particularly easy, but just use regular shears if you don’t have one.

I made 8″ squares, but you can adjust this to whatever surface area you feel you may need to contain your snot. I didn’t even bother making sure the squares were perfectly straight because, jeez, I’m just going to be blowing my nose on it.

Choose the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine.

Line up one of the flannel squares under the presser foot so that as it zig-zags, the needle will go from piercing the fabric on the left to just hitting the right edge of the fabric:

Continue zig-zagging all four edges.

Repeat for each of your flannel squares.

Trim the dangling threads from each.

Now just keep one in your pocket or purse, use when necessary, and toss in with your laundry to clean!

And I’ll be back with a food post hopefully later this weekend. I’ve been in the kitchen for a few hours today but haven’t managed to make anything that qualifies for the blog. Mark and I drove up to Pangea today and purchased a ton of Cheezly, then Mark requested I try a deep-dish pizza (as opposed to the Neopolitan and New York-style crusts I usually make), so I’m about to stick that in the oven, but it’s pretty experimental. We’ll see how that goes.


  1. Mark Said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 9:22 pm


  2. Mark Said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

    yeah I admit it, this disgusts me to no end.

  3. Melissa Said,

    November 2, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    Go Renae! I’m with you on this one… an ungodly proportion of the tissues people use in this country are coming from lumber procured from clear cutting old-growth forests. So sad!

  4. Lenora Said,

    November 2, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

    Super reminder and idea on another way to go green 😀 … flannel, huh? That would be way soft this winter! Thanks!

  5. Cindy Said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

    Why did you buy Cheezly instead of Teese? I prefer Sheese, myself, but hadn’t heard anything about Cheezly.

  6. renae Said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

    I’m glad to hear from some supporters since Mark is so against it!

    Cindy, we just like Cheezly better than Teese. I think their mozzarella is near-perfect on pizza and the other flavors are good enough to eat plain on crackers. Teese doesn’t even have flavors other than mozzarella (yet; I think they are working on a cheddar), and it’s actually TOO melty on pizza. I should have bought some Sheese while we were there, as I’ve never tried that one. But once I tried Cheezly, I was happy!

  7. mark Said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

    I think the way I eject my snot is far better than anything you all could pull off. These rags still consume resources while my method simply uses the earth.


    Snot Rocket 1, Snot Rag 0

  8. Mom Said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 9:45 am

    My grandmother used handkerchiefs (dainty ones), and your father always had one in his pocket when he went to work. I seem to recall that I had tiny ones in my purse when I was little, although I don’t know if I ever used them. But now that I think about it, handkerchiefs are kind of yucky, so I have to agree with Mark. Like how many times would you be using it before you washed it up?

  9. Cindy Said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 11:43 am

    I’ll have to get me some Cheezly then. I couldn’t get my Teese to melt like everyone says it will.

    Also, team Mark on the handkerchief issue.

  10. renae Said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    Mark, your method of dealing with snot is more gross than mine AND would be “grossly” inappropriate at work or in any social setting!

    Mom, you can be using the handkerchief any number of times you deemed appropriate before washing it up. I just made a bunch more so I don’t have to worry about running out between laundry loads. How often did people use them each time before washing before tissues were invented? I guess until they decided it was gross enough to move onto a clean one.

    Cindy, I’m curious how you tried to melt the Teese. I think I read somewhere that you do have to use pretty high temperatures. I bake pizzas at 550 degrees F and Teese practically becomes a pool of liquid! Mozzarella Cheezly melts “just right”, in my opinion, although I should mention that the mozzarella is labeled as “super-melting” and is actually a different consistency (softer) than the other flavors, which don’t melt as well.

  11. Cindy Said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 9:19 am

    I’ve never cranked my oven above 475 degrees. I didn’t try putting it under the broiler either. Perhaps if I tried those things the Teese would melt but I think I’ve moved on. Cheddar Sheese is my current favorite. I’ll pick up the Cheezly next time I’m at MOM’s.

  12. renae Said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

    By MOM’s, do you mean My Organic Market? Do you live near me?! (I’m in Fairfax, VA.) Does MOM’s have Cheezly?!? I’ve heard MOM’s is great, but none of the locations are particularly convenient for me. But the Alexandria location would be closer than Pangea and if they have Cheezly, I’m definitely checking it out!

  13. Cindy Said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

    I work in Reston and live out past Leesburg. I’m pretty sure MOM’s has Cheezly (they definitely have Sheese) and if you went to Pangea, you were just about a mile or two away from the MOM’s in Rockville. I usually go to the MOM’s in Frederick, MD.

  14. Cindy Said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    Although that doesn’t make sense. If you went to Pangea for Cheezly, you wouldn’t need to go to MOM’s for it too. I’m so confused.

  15. renae Said,

    November 9, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

    Well, we’re neighbors…sort of! It’s cool to have someone local reading!

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