Pursuits of the Fabric Variety

August 18, 2009
From Sublime Stitching's Scooter Babe set

From Sublime Stitching's Scooter Babe set

Over the last few weeks, I have set aside the knitting to take up a couple of crafty pursuits that I haven’t touched in ages, like embroidery.  I made these kitchen towels from Jenny Hart sets.  There’s something really satisfying about stitching these patterns.  It’s like a more absorbing version of coloring books.  I have wasted spent many hours looking for free patterns on the Web and have plans for more towels and napkins. 

From the Tiki Freak set
From the Tiki Freak set

Speaking of kitchen linens, I have a wee bit of an obsession with them.  When I go to an antique or thrift store, the very first things I look for are tablecloths.  I will happily buy linens with holes and stains, if I like the pattern, and pay little to no attention to whether it is the right size.  I always, always have a cloth on my kitchen table, partly to protect it from the Awesome Destructive Power of Small Boys, but mostly because I think they look cheerful and homey.  I tend to go for light colored ones (so very practical with little boys), and if there are food or kitchen motifs, all the better.  I really like ones from the 1950s and 1960s, with patterns that remind me of the illustrations from the old Betty Crocker cookbooks.

Some of My Tablecloths

I recently saw The Kitchen Linens Book by EllynAnne Geisel mentioned somewhere on the Interwebs, and I basically raced to the bookstore to pick it up.  Geisel is also the author of The Apron Book, which I also have and love.   I have been slowing flipping through it, enjoying the text, numerous pictures, and recipes.  It also comes with some super-cute transfer patternsThe Kitchen Linens Book featuring anthropomorphized dishes.  Dish motifs = good.  Dishes with cute faces = very good.  Dishes with faces AND stick limbs = very, very good.

Embroidery and collecting old linens are really satisfying to me right now; both seem like the very definition of “cheap and cheerful.”  Combining the two allows me to feel successful at something I find really valuable and important — bringing a little beauty and charm to a very utilitarian object.  I gave these towels to a friend, who promptly stated that they may not be used because they are so pretty.  Heaven forbid!  I pride myself on being a maker and giver of Useful Items which are also (hopefully) beautiful.  And used, and loved.


And apropos of nothing, or rather everything in my life anyway, here’s a little quote that I saw on a calendar and has stuck with me:

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.

That will be the beginning.

– Louis L’Amour


Lunch Break

August 7, 2009

I sat on the plaza outside my office today for lunch, and for once, I had my camera. 

IMG_0754 There was a band playing for everyone.  Their name is Uncanny Xela and they played a kind of psychedelic-funk-soul-60s pop-type music.  Covering “Never Can Say Goodbye” was a good call.  Covering the Muppets Show theme was even better.

Cornhole!As usual, there were people playing cornhole on the sidewalk.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this game, it involves throwing beanbags into holes cut into wooden platforms.  It’s a lot like horseshoes, from what I can gather.  This is so Ohio.

I had a very colorful lunch.

Primary Colors

I always enjoy seeing a bicycle leaning against a tree.  So pretty.  For some reason, it makes me really happy.


And, with that, I feel the weekend has begun.  Happy Friday!

Stiff Upper Lip, and All That

August 6, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry OnThis poster’s (and t-shirt’s, and coffee mug’s, and lunchbox’s, etc., etc.) message has become pretty cliched, I guess.  But I still like it. 

Wartime Britain has figured largely in my summer.  I have been enjoying the “Make Do and Mend” series on Cast On, for starters.  It’s been my favorite series yet.  London during the Blitz is the setting for a mystery novel I’m reading — Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler.  And the occupied Channel Islands are the setting for the book I just finished and really adored, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Funnily enough, I’ve now the occasion to be inspired and guided by this dedication to thrift and ingenuity and pluck and whatnot.  A couple of weeks ago, I learned that I’ll be out of a job at the end of the month.  The capital markets are still in a crisis, and now is definitely not the time to sell your company.  Which means that there is precious little need in my small investment banking firm for this associate. 

So I’m trying to Keep Calm, Etc., with varying degrees of success.  But I have very supportive parents and family and very dear friends who are helping me.  Over the next few months, I’ll be moving, and hopefully finding a new and better job.  And in the meantime, I’ll have plenty of time to document the whole process.

Carry on!