Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little list update and a table for two

#90. Needlepoint tablecloths made by my grandmother

When we were younger, my grandmother began making tablecloths for each of her grandchildren. We would thumb through her little book of patterns and choose the style and color scheme that we wanted. When it was our turn, she would make it. In 1982, I chose mine; it was a forget- me- not pattern. That year, Grama was diagnosed with colon cancer. By the time they found it, it was too late to save her. She died just a few months later, never finishing the tablecloth that she had intended for me.

My forget-me-not still sits in a box, unfinished. I would consider finishing it myself were it not for the fact that I am the uncontested world’s worst hand stitcher. Oh, I’ve tried -repeatedly- to master that art, but either because I’m predominantly left handed or (likely) because I’m expedient and careless, my handiwork never quite follows the desired pattern and ends looking somewhat like those self- interpretive little ink blots on a rorschach test. And that's the front of the piece, not the back.

Being the baby of the family and the only tableclothless grandchild, everyone took pity on me. For Christmas that year, my brother gave me his own table cloth. Mom gave me one of hers as well, and when Grandpa died a few years later, I got the only one that Grama had ever made for herself. It’s my favorite.

I love my made~with~ love tablecloths, but I have never- not a single time - used one until Saturday.

Aside from the obvious fear that I would stain or ruin them in some way, the main reason that I haven’t used them is that, frankly, I have never been able to set a pretty table with them. I may not be the world’s best cook, but I do love to set a pretty table. Since Grama’s table cloths were made in the 70s, they tend to be those quirky colors from that era, colors like orange and avocado and turquoise.

My eighties era dishes have colors like colonial blue, sage, and rose. I’ve tried using my simple white dishes, but they just look drab and pathetic against those tablecloths.

And that’s how Grama’s linens ended up on THE LIST.

Saturday, when the husband and I were home alone for the evening, I decided to try a table for two with Grama's tablecloths…my favorite one, the one (of course) with all the orange in it.

I tried setting off the white plates with gold chargers, but I still didn't like it. Since my chargers are just cheapo ones that I scored for a dollar apiece when junking at Big Lots, I decided to sacrifice two of them for the cause. I thought about painting or decoupage but chose instead to make them semi- reusable by applying the same principle that I would use if starching fabric to a wall.

So I after I traced a little pattern, cut some fabric, painted a few coats of Kilz and some gold paint, and starched some orange fabric to the inside ring, I ended up with a bright orange and gold charger to set off those plain white dishes.

I think I like this. When I want to remove or change the fabric, all I have to do is peel it off and apply a new one. I just may have found one way to use some of the other fabric on THE LIST too, especially all of those seasonal fabrics of good intention which sit unused… in a box… behind a door in innie paradise.

So I set the table.

And then, the husband helped me out 
with a little Scottish tablescaping.

Oh yes, he did. Bright yellow butter wannabe and store brand parmesan pretender… right on my whimsical orange table for two…. with candles no less…

Sometimes, they just don’t get it.


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