Sunday, March 17, 2019

Making Vintage Kitchen Towels

Several weeks ago I came across a large bolt of vintage fabric that I knew I had to have.  The linen was new-old stock from the 1950s with a lovely green-striped pattern along the edges.  In my mind I was already turning this fabric into something for my kitchen, because the cream colored background and the green-striped edging of the linen looked like it would be an exceptional match with some of the green kitchenalia that I collect.


I love how creative some people can get with their hand stitching, embroidery and various sewing creations.  Unfortunately I don't fall into the category of being adept with a needle and thread, so I rely on knowing people who are.  


After approaching a local seamstress about what I had in mind, she quickly walked me through what she was going to do.  The 10 yards of fabric would be cut into 1 yard pieces, and each piece would then get a stitched hem to create the kitchen towels of my dreams.  Since I specifically asked for a 1/4" seam (above), the seamstress told me that she would take 1/2" from each edge, and fold that extra 1/4" inward to give the towel a sturdy, crisp edge.


You can see the extra 1/4" fold that was given to each edge.  Once they were stitched with a cream colored thread, each towel was then pressed with a professional steam iron.  Done!


My "vintage" 1950s tea/kitchen towels are ready for duty.  They are in such perfect condition that I won't hesitate to gently use them however I see fit throughout the kitchen.  At almost 36" in length, the towels are large enough and undeniably sturdy to use as "lapkins" for an informal lunch.

They look great with my yellowware, my enamelware, and, of course, my jadeite.



Keep an eye out for large pieces of fabric from yesteryear at vintage shops, online and at yard sales.  If you ever come across any that speak to you, buy the fabric and either make placemats, table runners, napkins or tea towels with them.  Your new-old kitchen towels are going to look fantastic in the kitchen.


Happy Collecting! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

St. Paddy's Day Sugar Cookies

The easiest, quickest way to ice sugar cookies for St. Patrick's Day is to make them in shapes of four leaf clovers.  By keeping the designs simple, and by using only two shades of green, you're St. Paddy's day cookies can be made in no time at all.  As much as I would like to dedicate several days to make very intricate designs on my cookies, I always end up keeping them pretty straightforward.

Let's jump right into the designs I made for the people of my town.


Start by cutting out some cookie dough with a large 4-5" four-leaf clover cutter (you can use smaller cutters if you feel like it) and baking them until they are done. Make a double batch of my perfect royal icing and have gel food coloring in 'Kelly Green' and 'Leaf Green' at the ready.  

Once the cookies have cooled completely, tint the royal icing in two shades of green and get it to the right flowing consistency for piping.  Whether you use squeeze bottles or pastry bags, fit each with either a #3 or a #4 plain piping tip.  


Begin by outlining the clover cookie with a bead of green icing (in either shade).  Immediately flock it in either fine sanding sugar or in dark green edible glitter (add the glitter with a paint brush and do so delicately).  Let the icing and sugar/glitter dry completely.  Shake off the excess.

Add another bead of royal icing in either the opposite color or in the corresponding color along the edge of the dried icing, and then immediately flood the entire cookie with the royal icing.  While the icing is wet, add 3 dots of the opposite color on each petal of the clover.  Add the dots in the form of a triangle.  Working quickly and while the icing is still wet, drag the icing with a decorating pick (or a toothpick) and create a shamrock design as shown.  Add a gold shamrock candy in the center of the cookie.  Let it dry completely.

Using gold cake decorating highlighter thinned out with a flavorless alcohol, apply small dots of gold on each petal of the 3 leaf clovers and along the stems of the large 4 leaf clover as shown.  Done!


In my decorating frenzy I realized this cookie had a flaw in it.  Do you see it?  I completely forgot to add 3 gold dots on the bottom left clover design!!!  Arrrrrgggg.

I do have to say that I am all of a sudden addicted to adding edible glitter to my decorated cookies.  I think it makes cookies look very unique, special and dazzling.  



There you have it folks.  Easy peasy cookie decorating for St. Paddy's day.  Get those cookie cutters out and start making some sugar cookies for your neighbors, friends and family.  If you want to give some to your coworkers, make extra and slip some into clear cellophane bags.  

Cheers!