Sunday, November 20, 2011


We had our first appreciable snowfall this weekend.

Which means I have officially entered the "I Hate Winter" Zone.

I need a plan to get through the next six months.

Plan A: Pull on my ratty gray sweatpants, retreat to the basement, assume The Fetal Position and watch Food Network 24/7 while my battery-operated candles flicker warmly in the background.

Or Plan B: Get crafty.

Domestic Goddess that I am, I'm going with Plan B.

Because I need to make a set of place mats.

See, a couple months ago, the Wonderfully Patient Spouse and I were skittering through the Housewares department at Macy's in search of a good serrated knife, and somehow managed to leave with said serrated knife. . . plus six place settings of Fiestaware (lemongrass and peacock, thank you very much).

What can I say? They were on sale.

This was quite the paradigm shift in dishes for us. For years, we've been using a set of Franciscan dinnerware that belonged to my grandmother. I love them. Each time I pull a plate or bowl down off the shelf, I remember wonderful childhood days in her kitchen in Vancouver, Wash., sampling warm applesauce doused in cream or home-canned Queen Anne cherries sprinkled over vanilla ice cream.

But there comes a time when you realize these lovely dishes are showing signs of a little too much love. Chips and stains compete with the comforting apple pattern, and it's increasingly difficult to set a table that doesn't redefine the style movement Shabby Chic.

Enter the Fiestaware. I have to say, I'm totally digging it.

As you can see, not all the Franciscanware has been
banished to the basement.
Just couldn't do it.
But lemongrass and peacock -- let's face it, there's not much out there in the world of place mats, table clothes and napkins that lends itself to this color combination. So I'm going to make my own.

I know my way around a sewing machine. Sort of.

Like 35 years ago, when I made about 25 zillion stuffed holiday wreathes as Christmas presents.
See? I still have the pattern!
The bow was a bitch.
And I pull it out now and then for minor seam and hem repairs.

So now it's time to get crafty.

And the first step? Finding a pattern and fabric. So off I went to Joann's Fabrics.

A trip to Joann's around the holidays is not for the faint-hearted. An accidental diversion into one of Joann's legion 50 percent-off aisles of holiday decorations is a little bit like accidentally dropping in on the sacking of Rome. Fortunately, I made it to the fabric section and pattern book table largely unscathed and nutcracker-free.

The pattern selection was surprisingly simple. The fabric selection a little more complicated. It involves math, for pete's sake! Like fractions and stuff. But my 4-H sewing classes, taken some 45 years ago, kicked in and I managed to get fabric and interfacing for six place mats and napkins.

The Mom Unit would be so proud.

Pretty snappy, eh?

The fabric is in the wash as I write. And I'm doing a crash course in sewing terminology. You know, words like "selvage" and "nape."

And, oh, there's the small matter of my sewing machine. I need to find it.

Details. Details.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! I had the same Franciscan dishes (etc.) that I used for years! And, yes, they were hand-me-downs. Before the economy tanked, you could get a pretty penny for them if they were in good condition. My dishes and bowls did start to look worse for wear, so I replaced them a few years back. I don't think the Franciscan stuff was made to take the rigors of dishwashers and microwaves.

    I think your fabric choice for the new dishes is perfect! Love it!