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.
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.
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 patterns 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