Monday, July 07, 2008

ants welcome

This is my set of Place Mats and Mixy-Matchy Napkins for the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Swap. Took me about two days of on and off sewing to get these done. If I had them to do again, I'd hem the napkins another way, because Blanche, fine old sewing girl that she is, did not like sewing over the lumps where each of the two corners meet on the last go-'round, and I'd much rather change the way I do something than put stress on my sewing machine. Some people made their napkins reversible. I think that's a better idea.

What you're seeing here is my attempt at designing something specific to someone's taste. Here's how my swap partner described her kitchen and family life:

My kitchen table was salvaged from a tiny Kansas college's home ec department that had used the same furniture since the 1940s--it's a pristine mustard yellow Formica top and chrome set with all of the matching vinyl chairs. I use vintage hostess aprons for cafe curtains, and when I use a tablecloth (not so often lately due to a toddler joining us at the table) it's from the dozens of novelty printed cotton and linen cloths I inherited from my grandma. I do put a vegetable print oilcloth "rug" underneath the table for the highchair goo that the dog doesn't get.

I'm a big fan of all "everyday" handmade items in all their possible creative interpretations. I would caution a crafter from sending me a very fancy/fine dining sort of set--I would probably love it and covet it but also hoard it--thinking it too nice to use for our busy family and casual guests (right now I make our own cloth napkins from large leftover fabric scraps that I back with salvaged terry from old towels).

Doesn't she sound really fun and interesting? I think so. From her description, I couldn't help but think "kitsch." I mean, c'mon, yellow Formica? LOVE that. In making this set, I wanted to A) be kitschy, and B) do it using stash fabrics. As for kitsch, I'm not sure I got there, but I tried. The stash goal I achieved. I only bought the twill tape and the flannel that I used as facing. The white fabric with the fruit is a birthday gift from Ellen, who rocked my stash by giving me ten yards of it. Shut up. Oh, and the buttons I got on sale for 63 cents at the last Jo-Ann's button sale. It seems I don't believe anything is complete until it's got a button floating somewhere on it. To my eye, the center fabric needed a focal point, so button time it was. (Given the chance, I'd solve all manner of crises, great and small, with buttons.) What I enjoy about this set is how summery it is. It makes me want to have a backyard picnic.

10 comments:

Adrienne said...

Oh oh oh ohohohohohoh...love those fabrics!!!

Lori said...

Those are terrific! Great colors--makes me yearn for something citrusy!

yaiAnn said...

KA-yoooot! What are those buttons for?

normanack said...

"Given the chance, I'd solve all manner of crises, great and small, with buttons." That makes my day. I think I'll write it on my wall. :-)

And I want to be best friends with you and your yellow-table swapping pal. :-) :-)

Stacy said...

Absolutely lovely! And, I agree with the fact that buttons complete items. Your swap partner should be completely happy!

Lilia said...

Inspiring.

Ellen Bloom said...

Lovely work! Glad to see your using all that fruity b-day fabric!

Lisa said...

Your swap gift will make for one fun table! Love the fabric combos.

woolanthropy said...

I can see myself eating a flaking croissant with apricot jam, fresh squeezed orange juice, and nice cup of tea on those fresh & fruity placemats. Now I have to finish mine.

ellemabelle said...

Look at all this stuff you do!!! Jeez Louise... you rock. I am working on your poem its about pigeons