Not forgetting, a special day of the year is looming, so it was out with the dried fruits, the oranges and lemons for zest, and the booze!
When I'm not cooking or eating in the kitchen, I'm enjoying the pretty things on display. Most of the items have come from thrifty charity or house clearance shops, flea markets and the odd, more splurgey, Ebay item. I am predisposed towards candy colours, as you can tell. It sometimes strikes me as not entirely appropriate for this time of year, I suppose it is a Spring/Summer-like kitchen, but in just a couple of weeks time, I'll be changing things for bright reds and greens. I will love that for a while but I will be happy to be back to my customary palette. I would be quite happy to have Spring and Summer all year round, though I do appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons.
It's not just a display, to be fair. I tried hard when we renovated the kitchen last year, to have things in it which I could and would actually use. There are a few things which don't get used, I'll be honest, and are too precious and pretty, but the vintage Pyrex, glassware, tins and so on, are regularly used. I recently found the pretty frosted lemonade glasses in a house clearance shop. Glasses do not last long in our home so I fear they should stay out of harm's way, up on the shelves, save for high days and holidays. Ironically, they were probably cheaper than going out and buying new drinking glasses but they're infinitely more precious, of course. It's the colours, the daintyness of them (there's nothing nicer than drinking from a vessel made of thin glass), and of course, the FROSTING! I like to imagine it is sugar.
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, in the kitchen. May we talk pot holders? Oh I do so love a good pot holder. I spent an inordinate amount of time while the kitchen revamp was underway, scouring Etsy for the perfect combination of vintage crocheted pot holders. I am very proud of my pot holder wall, if I may be so bold to say so.
And you know, they are jolly useful little items. Well, I say that on the basis that no way would I put one of these vintage beauties to a hot dish, but I do have a sad little blue silicon pair which are very practical but well, rather dispiritingly ugly. They hide away in a drawer which is not very handy when I need to grab one.
I decided what I needed to do was make some fabric pot holders I could actually use. I am not short of fabric, right?
I took up a lovely book I bought a few weeks ago, one "Patchwork Please" by Ayumi Takahashi. It has some very pretty projects in it, in true Japanese Zakka style, which appeals to me for its precision and attention to detail, cute fabrics and all-round gorgeousness. It just so happened that I recalled there was a pot holder project in it. This uses a technique called foundation paper piecing which I have employed before in my favourite "Spangled Star" quilt. You print the basic pattern onto copy paper. Then, starting in the centre, you lay an individual piece of fabric onto the reverse side of the paper (a light box or sunny window comes in handy), and stitch the relevant seam lines on the other, printed side. You then flip it over, press, add another and so on. Quite time consuming. Quite addictive. It takes a little to get your head round but once you have it, you're off. The advantage of this technique is that it gives you perfect precision.
Before long, my first pot holder was hot off the needle.
They'd be nice in vintage fabrics, thought I. Out came the scrap drawer to piece the front, and thereafter, my pretty toffee tin in which I keep all my leftover bits of bindings from my large quilts. Waste not, want not. The leftovers often prove perfect for these little scrappy projects.
(So many dark photos now the sun has gone and the dark descended shortly after 4pm.)
By now, (we know each other quite well, you and I, don't we, reader), there was no chance of me making just one or even two pot holders, was there?
Toadstools, roses, polka dots, gingham. In modern cottons and pretty colours, bright or candy.
Pretty vintage fabrics from around 1930 to the 1950s, of course. Rescued vintage embroidered linen in the centre and fabulous candy-stripes to hand bind, just like a mini quilt.
You will not have needed a crystal ball to know that I have a few to offer you should you find yourself desirous; as a pretty and practical treat for your good self maybe, or a beautiful and useful Christmas gift for another (lovely and light, so inexpensive to post). You shall find them in my Etsy shop.
Thanks for reading along. Xxx