We have a saying at our house we call, "Mexican Hot Plate Syndrome." It refers to doing something you know is bad, but you just can't help yourself. I'm sure you've encountered the syndrome at your local Mexican restaurant. It occurs when they deliver a hot-out-of-the-oven plate to your table. The waiter is wearing huge oven mitts and implores you, "Don't touch the plate; it is very hot." So what do you do as soon as he sets it down and turns his back? You sneak out one finger and touch the edge of plate. Yikes! He was right! Dang! This story was all to set up our pretty Tea Time oven mitts project. They contain a hidden layer of Insul-Bright thermal batting between their linen front and lining, so they could certainly pick up a hot plate of enchiladas. However, they would be even more perfect to lift a whistling tea kettle from the stove.
No tea party is complete without tea towels. Ours are made of a beautiful natural linen, keeping true to the tea towel's heritage, which comes to us by way of Great Britain where it originated as a special drying cloth for expensive tea services. Linen was the fabric of choice because its smooth, simple weave was unlikely to scratch fine china or glass. Our towel set is a perfect match for the other appliquéd members of our Tea Time team. And although quite similar to our napkins project, we show you a slightly different method for hemming and applying the bottom border accent.
We love placemats, because they are such a versatile table setting option. You don't need nearly as much fabric as you do for an entire tablecloth. In fact, with their smaller proportions, they're a great way to bring together a number of colors, patterns and textures. Our table for two includes lovely quilted and appliquéd placemats. Their accent bands feature a diamond quilting pattern, while the main place-setting panels have repeating rows of parallel quilted stitch lines. Picking different styles of quilting within one project is a simple yet striking way to add a little spice. As with our other Tea Time projects, this one has a bold, double-layer appliqué highlight.
Do you remember the first cup of tea you had as a child? I do, and I recall how charmed I was by the little cups and saucers, how delighted I was with the tiny sandwiches and pretty cookies. What a wonderful world of grace and gentility. That's the world of our S4H Tea Time Collection. Today, we're making napkins, which are a perfect beginner project and a great way to practice hemming and corners. Our Tea Time set finishes at a generous 20" x 20" and includes both a lovely border accent and a sweet appliquéd teacup. We made just two napkins, but you could whip up a whole tea party's worth in an afternoon. It's fun to choose mix-and-match fabrics for the appliqués so each guest gets his/her own unique teacup and saucer.
"If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you."
–William Gladstone, British Prime Minister 1868-1894.
Mr. Gladstone has it right, tea time is always a good time. That's why we chose it as the theme of our latest kitchen series; a beautiful set of five projects with elegant teapot, teacup and teaspoon appliqué accents... everything you need for a lovely tea party. Linen base fabric ties everything together as do the delicate prints from Bunny Hill by Lily & Will and the splash of bright contrast fabric from Riley Blake Designs. So easy to do; let's make tea for two!
I'm of the opinion you can never have too many kitchen towels. It's an extra bonus when they are so pretty they actually make you want to clean up! We started with plain white store-bought towels, then added fabric and ribbon strips to build a band of beauty along the bottom. Tie up three or more with a bow and a sweet handmade tag, and you have a bundle of lovely linens for Mom.
Hot pads are a great project for scraps because they are small, simple shapes that cry out for mixing and matching. We 'stretched' our possibilities by making a long, two-handed version. Kind of like those 'idiot mittens' you used to have as a kid; one mitten on the each end of a string that ran through the arms of your coat. However, we didn't think 'idiot hot pads' sounded very good. I don't know about you, but I always set down my pot holders on opposite sides of the kitchen so when I need both to pull something out of the oven or off the stove, I never seem to have two within reach. Problem solved, and a very pretty solution to boot!