April 19, 2009

French Style Tablecloth

Yesterday, I finally tackled sewing a new tablecloth for the kitchen. The old one which I loved was a quilted French style cloth from Williams Sonoma. I bought two of them on sale a few years ago. The green one is still in great shape and I use it on the porch table. The other one, has been washed a lot and is showing its age. It was a beautiful shade of soft terracotta and cream and I always placed it on the table diagonally. You can spot a little of it here

A few weeks ago I purchased some home dec fabric on sale in cotton, that I have had great success with, using for dishcloths, aprons, and pot holders. The fabric washes and dries without wrinkles and has a nice soft hand. I especially love the aprons. I picked out five different patterns that coordinated nicely. When I had measured the old cloth I was very surprised at how much yardage this was going to take. Now, I was beginning to understand why these tablecloths are $150+ at Williams Sonoma!  In total I bought about nine yards! Of course there is some left over, but in order to get continuous strips I needed the length. I will probably need to purchase more of the strip for the backing, since I am using it for the binding as well. Did I mention that it has mitered corners? Mr B. as always helped with the "high" math. Something about the pythagorean theory, blah, blah, blah,  just tell me how long I need to cut these strips. This is exactly why we are such a great team. I draw it out on a cocktail napkin when we are out to dinner, and he makes engineering plans later! Many times I hear, it won't work that way...but he always finds a way. 

Anyhow, now I have nine yards of fabric, measurements and a plan. My tablecloth will be a square (unlike the old one which was a rectangle) of 78 inches. I chose a square because I want it to lay diagonally (just like my limestone tile, that I love!). Here is the completed top. The mitered corners were a challenge, but I got the hang of it. They don't look too bad! I spent two days on the project because I have learned to stop when I get tired. It is so much better to finish up on a fresh day.

Today, I will making the binding...yards and yards of it. I will use this tutorial from Pink Chalk Studio on double french binding. Oh boy, more "high" math...Mr B.? I will also piece the backing.

Next comes the quilting, no, I am not completely out of my mind. My daughter has a friend who is willing to do this part for me on a long arm machine. Phew! It will then be ready for me to bind, by machine and hand. Ready to plunk down your $150 yet?
I am! 

April 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary! And other flower stories...

Today is our wedding anniversary...these are the beautiful flowers my husband sent to me. They are from my very favorite florist, Arena's. I love having fresh flowers around me.
Alas, a gardener, I am not. My reputation is very bad in this regard, I prefer not to go into it...(someone said something about houseplants reaching out and grabbing me as I walk by, "water...please", totally untrue they just don't like me...too much water, too little they are never happy!) I have come to accept this limitation and believe in the old Persian proverb (I paraphrase, please forgive), "If of thy worldly goods, thou art bereft, and to thy store, two loaves alone are left, sell one and with the dole, buy a hyacinth for your soul." So, into the grocery cart and into the tote at the farmers market on Saturdays, there will go flowers. I love them all equally, each in their season.

The houseplants dead or dying are whisked away to compost garden (I know you gardening types probably don't like this either, fungus, bugs, whatnot) and replaced with new ones. There, all better. Mr. B. is always in denial on this, he insists there is still life and hope despite the dry crackling sound of all leaves and stems present. Take a peek at this beauty in his office and...I don't think this little guy has a prayer of propagating again either!

Maybe you can tell I'm a little miffed about this "black" thumb thing, but it is spring again. This means I will be sucked into that vortex known as the "backyard". Here is where my skills really excel...not! I manage a very odd looking herb garden, only by sheer will. I love to cook, and I AM good at that, so I need fresh herbs. So, off we go to the nurseries (yes, plural) when it is finally planting season, here in the northeast, sometime in August (only kidding) er, May.

Mr. B. poor guy, used to try and please me and buy every plant I oohed and ahhed at. Consequently, there is no rhyme or reason to our planting beds. We just sort of put things we liked here and there. Let's just say it has an eclectic feel. Now, he ignores me when I tell him, this or that plant is great for arrangements and can't we just plant it next to the curly willow, lilac, black raspberry and strawberry garden? "Are you going to take care of it like the amaryllis, hydrangea, peony, garlic garden?", this usually shuts me up. For a little while.

The truth is, he does work very hard in the yard (hey, there's a rhyme!), green, soft grass, pretty container annuals, hanging baskets for the porches, an "interesting" vegetable garden (the grandchildren are afraid to go in it) that grows giant sunflowers next to lettuce, grape and berry trellises. (Phew...if I could only grow plants the way I do run on sentences!) Somehow it all works and it really says...us!

Thank goodness we live in a place with a short growing season.

Happy Anniversary, honey!

April 9, 2009

The Bright Side Project

 I am sharing with you today a great site that is devoted to designer giveaways.  Project four is about to begin. It was the "bright idea" of  stationary designer Tristan Shout Brando. A little bright sunshine for these darkened days. Each designer with a gift, poses a provocative question for you to answer in the comments section. The best answer chosen by the designer, wins the prize...and there are some amazing prizes.  Jewelry, clothing, home goods, art, stationary, services...check it out for yourself, and visit daily.  Spread the word to all your friends. Hope you are a winner!