June 22, 2010

For the Table.....a terrific borrowed idea

Another update: The stamp set I used for the napkin tags is called Kitchen Classics from Crafty Secrets. Link is here. It's a set I dearly love.

And don't worry about cloth napkins being too pretty to use. Hey I spill food on my shirts almost daily and they wash up just fine. If you're doing something like a BBQ, give everyone a tea dowel or dish cloth for the evening. I collected cloth napkins and place mats for years..rarely used them except for special occasions. And then we were too fearful of messing up Mom's nice stuff. Get over that.....it's just fabric. It will wash. :)

Something I forgot to add: I'm so glad for the lovely comments so far. I know I digress here on the blogaroonie sometimes but all these little stories matter so much to me. Here's a tip: If your dining table or bar area (like we use for meal times) is a mess.....CLEAN IT UP. You will be doing yourself and your family such a huge favor. I know so many families that have crap piled everywhere and they end up eating in front of the tv because there's no room at the kitchen table. Take back family meal times. It's so important...so many great conversations take place at the dinner table. And have the kids set the table. Make it a ritual. If you have your utensil tray front and center (like a decoration), it might even be a fun little event. Hope you give it a try.

I have something so fun to share with you today. Amanda Soule from Soule Mama posted a fun idea that she does with her family. Thank you Amanda for letting me post your photo and share you wonderful idea. Be sure to check out Amanda's blog, she's got lots of wonderful ideas.
photo courtesy of Soule Mama Blog

She has been making her own place mats out of re-purposed curtains and fabrics that are simply adorable. There are little applique patterns on them too. They're the ones shown in the photo above. Then she has this wonderful old box that sits on her counter top that holds jars of her mixy-matchy silverware along with mixy-matchy white napkins. Each family member has their own signature napkin ring. They use the napkins for a few days or until dirty and then she washes them all up....dries in the sunshine to remove stains. I am so in love with this idea....everything from switching to cloth napkins, making place mats, purchasing some mixy-matchy old silverware....and definitely showcasing it all in an old re-purposed box of some sort.

Amanda has two posts about her table wares. You can read them here:

PART ONE


Here's my version of a tabletop place setting box.I am finding myself more and more inspired by handmade items and re-purposed items.
I used a wooden tray that I got at Nell Hill's a few years ago. It was sitting outside so it's been naturally weathering. It was the perfect size for my table setting pieces.
On the left I nestled three pint size mason jars into my wooden tray. Another great use for the jars!! One for forks, one for knives and one for spoons. Next up I did some experimenting and found that two old bread tins fit perfectly into my wooden tray. I was jumping up and down from this awesome discovery. One bread tin holds my hand sewn cloth napkins and the other tin is displaying some vintage silverware I found at a garage sale. I just like the look of it in there. When we have company, I sometimes put some paper napkins in there too.
I have been sewing up a storm with my vintage fabric. I've been making us sets of cloth napkins that are so much prettier than you'll find in any store. I am on the search for four different napkins rings that are unique to my family. But in the meantime I found these pewter napkin rings on Ebay. They are from Pottery Barn. I haven't figured out to put an initial on these yet so that we each know which one is our own napkin.
I keep the tray right on my counter and pull it out a bit when meal time comes around. Eric is not the most thrilled about the entire idea. He's so used to getting the silverware out of the drawer that he gets lost in the kitchen now. I simply put half the silverware back in the drawer to appease him. We're all happy now. I think if he had some camo napkins instead of pink, flowery napkins he'd like that too. I have to say it was quite a change to switch to the cloth napkins. I think Eric felt like he was wiping his dirty mouth on the curtains or something. But we're all adjusting and I love this concept!
Here's a few photos from Heather Bullard's blog that were inspiring also. I love her old wooden box that is nestled in the white serving platter. Just think outside the box as to what you can use for your utensil tray.
And here she had a great idea for giving vintage napkins as gifts....tied up with an old spoon and a nifty tag.
Speaking of napkins, I got a little napkin crazy and was sewing many more napkins that we could ever use or need. I decided that I will keep four of a kind on the napkins. I have some very nice vintage white linens that I got at an auction that I keep on hand if we have extra company. So what that means for you is that I'll be putting some of my vintage napkins up in my Etsy shop. Some are just vintage napkins that I find and most are ones that I have sewn up myself. Check them out at my Etsy shop....(very soon). Enjoy! You can see a sampling below.

These pretty ones are my faves.....they are double layered with another pink pattern on the reverse side.
These black and cream gingham napkins are so striking when paired with creamy lace and doilies. Or keep them plain for a more masculine look.
The little blue flowers on these white background napkins are so pretty. Mix and match...I love that look too. Napkins will be sold in sets of two.
So let me know what you think about this concept. It is quite a big change but to me every little piece that we can save from going in the trash makes a huge difference. I have also stopped buying paper plates. I love my glass dishes so much better anyway. I only break down and get the paper plates when we're having a huge party. Would love to hear your thoughts and if you think you might give this idea a try.

Okay....the napkins will be up in my shop later this morning along with a few other treasures. Then I'm heading to my Artsy Studio to do some creative paper crafting for some upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned. :)

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are my morning cup of coffee! I LOVE your blog. Great idea, I'm going to try it! I love to sew so I think I'll get busy. (Got some neat fabric on from Etsy yesterday)Have a wonderful day.
Cheryl P. in Texas

Lin said...

Wonderful post today, I so enjoyed seeing all the pictures. Your utensils in the mason jars reminded me of an old blue footed glass that I have; it was always on my DH's grandmas table, filled with spoons. Now I have it filled with cinnamon sticks, sitting on my kitchen desk. I love fabric, too, and all of your napkins are lovely!

Heather Jensen said...

Love the idea Michelle. All is beautifully displayed in a cute little box. Love your napkins. I tried doing the same at Christmas and make some napkins but they didn't turn out so great. Now that I have a machine that works maybe I can try again. :)

Patti J said...

I just can't wait each day for your post! I love seeing what fabulous ideas and creations you have for us. This is so much fun! My DH would be lost too, if I took the silverware out of the drawer, but I may try it anyway! Thanks for the smiles this a.m.! Hugs...

Diane Jaquay said...

LOVE this idea Mish!! Even though I'm not much of a sewer I think I could manage some napkins; I think I'll give this a try ;)

Anonymous said...

I've have a heavy old wooden box with wonderful chippy blue paint which I picked up in a garage sale "free" pile. It's like an old soda crate except that it has a divider in the middle. I cleaned it up and have been using it on our picnic table to hold paper plates, silverware, napkins,and salt and pepper shakers. It's so convenient and nice not to have to carry everything from the house every time we eat outside. C. Burke

kinderdi said...

Loved your post today. I spent some time reading Soule Mama--my favorite posts were about her vintage fabrics from the Salvation Army sale. Awesome! Your auction finds are fun to see, too, and your table decorations so pretty. Thanks for sharing!

Anne said...

Love all your ideas! Reading your blog is like reading a book for me on great ideas. I keep checking to see when I can "turn the next page" and keep on reading!! I'm right with you on limiting my use of paper goods. It would be hard to use such pretty napkins, but I think I could get used to the idea:)

Kristy Hansenwi said...

What a lovely way to set a table. Love your blog each morning. Thank you for sharing. I wish I could sew! I have some napkins i have found on my journeys, I will have pull them out. It will shock my daughters that is for sure. kh

milkshake007 said...

Finally.....I was able to purchase something from your etsy shop!
You have such wonderful ideas. Now I am on the hunt for vintage items!

Kathy said...

You could tie one of your cute little tags to each napkin ring. Make a medallion and put it on with pop-up glue dots (those suckers stick to anything!). Or, use Versamark to gently stamp on a letter )start at one side and roll the stamp surface slightly to follow the curvature of the ring) and then emboss. Not sure if the application of this heat would change the color of the pewter, so might want to do a test on something. Alternately, each of you could learn a different napkin fold to differentiate... Eric's could be simply stuffing it back into the ring :0) Kathy in Lawrence

Diana said...

Good for you, switching to cloth napkins! Napkins are the only thing that I know how to sew, and I've been making them for about 4 years now. It is so much fun, especially making season-appropriate sets (red-white-& blue for summer, Santa for winter, flowers for spring, etc). Although, our sets never stay together...there are 6 of us, and when we sit down for dinner, there is a rainbow of napkins at the table!

Chris said...

We are a in front of the TV family and I HATE it... :( You are so right about the importance of the dinner table, especially as I see the years racing by...what am I missing?! sigh... Thanks for the inspiration (not only in stamping! tee hee...)

Lisa F. said...

Love this idea! You got me wanting to go to auctions now!!

Wendi said...

Oh what a great idea. I love this concept. I have just the sweet white wooden box to use too! I do not sew but my grandmother has been making me napkins for years and I rarely use them. I am all over this. Can't wait to stop using paper! Thank you for yet another amazing idea. Your blog is the best!!!!

Sharon P. said...

Temporarily you could use some of your tiny tags tied onto the napkin rings to identify whose they are! :)

The Wired Angel said...

Love your post today Michelle. I'm a bit of a 'greenie' too. I gave up paper napkins years ago. I figure I'm going to do laundry any way and there will always be room to throw in a few cloth napkins. Peggy x

Katie Skiff said...

I love it!! My mom made me some cloth napkins and they are handy. I need to make some new ones tho...update my colors to matchy! lol However I still am using paper plates..esp on ball nights. I just don't want to waste time doing dishes when I get home. I know...lazy me! You are inspiring me tho!

Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law always had special napkin rings for everyone and my children knew the routine --to replace the napkin in their own ring. She often used fingertip towels in place of napkins for "messy" meals. We have continued her traditions.

Instead of putting initial on your napkin rings, how about charms or other findings for each family member. They can be attached with jewelry glue to the ring.

Cathy Weber said...

Such cute ideas today. Makes me ashamed of my plastic utensils I use day to day.

Where did you get the stamp for the knife, fork and spoon on the tags? The tags are adorable.

wanda50 said...

You are totally the best bloggeroo friend I have. All I can say is OUCH!!!! My kitchen table is a disaster area. However, my DH and I still make room to eat there to watch the evening news. Everyday at 6:00 p.m. it's a date for us. We have made ourselves not eat in the den in front of the TV. We do enjoy watching the news together while we eat dinner. I will work on making my table setting pretty as well. You are so right I do need to CLEAN IT UP!!! Thanks for the gentle spanking and reminder. I love the ideas you have shared from you and others.
Hugs...Wanda

Michie B said...

Love your blog. You mentioned about not getting paper plates unless you need them for a huge party...the last BBQ that we went to, we were able to purchase biodegradable plates. It made me feel just that much better about getting them. My parents and I were just talking on Sunday about going back to fabric napkins...great minds!! Cheers!

LindaC said...

You sew inspire me!!

Elle Kasban said...

Gosh, we think so much alike that it is scary! I,too,make my own napkins but only for special occasions. Who is to say that my family doesn't deserve a special occasion at every meal? Great ideas and great post today. I like the silverware, napkins, etc. displayed in your wooden box. Elle Kasban

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

WOW! Can you read my mind??? I have been collecting fabric to make place mats. My g'ma always used place mats and I've been missing her something fierce and decided to make some placemats like she used to.

I've been picking up some reds and blues and am going to make some this week to use for July. I plan to look for some vintage fabrics tomorrow, but if I don't find any I will just use what I have and tea dye it.

I collect Fiesta (ivory and med green) and also have my other g'ma's first dishes that are Currier and Ives. We use them as I refuse to have things that just sit or collect. I only purchase antiques that get used. (well the antique phone doesn't work but is hanging on the wall in DH's office for decor) Ü

I love your ideas and am amazed at how much we like the same things. Maybe comes from farm living??

Thank you for all you share with us. You inspire me with each post.

christy compton hall said...

Good for you! What a great change. We use cloth napkins, and dish cloths instead of paper towels. It saves so much money and makes less garbage! (We used cloth diapers too, but that's another story). I love the napkins you made - beautiful! What a great addition to your store ;)

Lavinia said...

Oh great fab idea & yes I totally support your idea of dining as a family!Me & Mr Lavinia dine together at the table every night, we have a tablecloth, place mats & wine glases the works every night! I also have napkins too.I go to Paris & the South of France every year & visit a few Flea markets. I got an amazing Tablecloth from one of the last Palace's to close in France in Nice Cour Saleya Market & I love it! But hey its get's spillage too, & then go's right in the washer!! Can't be too precious about things. I do see loads of vintage Monogramed napkins but they cost around £60 for a set of 4don't know what that in $$ is! I get lots of ribbon too & other great finds! I am going in August & this time plan to go to the Flea Market in St Topez as I have heard its a cracker!! Keep going with napkins, spread the word!!! Your doing great with them!

patriciad said...

It's amazing how the 2 tins and 3 cute lil jars fit just perfectly into that tray - it was truly meant to be. I've been using fabric napkins since Easter. When I went to put the "good" linens away the light bulb went off and I decided it was just plain dumb to use them one day a year (Easter's the only holiday I have at my house)...so I decided to put that tablecloth back on the dining room table and use the napkins. Before you know it I'll be breaking out great-grandma's china to use for my everyday dishes! HA.

Michelle Gilmore said...

You are so right about reclaiming the table. We generally do sit around ours, if occasionally we don't it is due to too much vintage fabric or patterns or trims... Not only do we communicate more with our families but we eat better too (as well as enjoy gorgeous table linens!)Love your banner.

Cindy said...

Ahhh, I am becoming more and more addicted to your blog as the days go by! Please keep it up!

Diane said...

I loved reading your blog this morning with my cup of "coffee"...I have quite a collection of vintage napkins myself, a bin full to be exact.....and I just bought 4 more beautiful pink damask ones at a sale last week for 75 cents.....and a wonderful find of a round tablecloth with fringe at the edge, it has yellow roses all over it, it was $3 and NEW...I love "finds" like that.....wondering what I do with all those napkins...well I use some, sew with some, and sell some on Ebay.....I also collect napkin rings, though I don't have many, but you could maybe put a wine charm around yours so each knows whose is whose...a great post...thanks for sharing!!

Sarah O. said...

Okay, at first the thought of each person re-using their own cloth napkins seemed kinda grodie. But then, when I think of it more, it's actually not a bad idea. I have 2 kids (7 and 10) and it about KILLS me to throw away their little paper napkins that they swipe across their lips once. I've even saved THEIR napkins aside and used them again later myself!! NOT KIDDING! So now I'm thinking that having our own little cloth napkins that we can reuse, is BRILLIANT!! Seriously, I can't believe this hasn't crossed my mind before...I'm a total recycler and thrifter. Don't think I'll set my silverware out though...I'm with Eric on that one. But I could put a cute little jar out (oooh...or an ironstone pitcher!) with my cloth napkins in it. I'll go total mismatch on the napkin rings. GOOD IDEA! And "hooray" for the shout-out for eating at the table! It's the only way we eat except for pizza night...then it's totally fun for the kids to get to eat in the family room. Okay...I'll stop.

Michelle said...

Mish,
Your so making me desperate to learn how to sew! The things you make here are simply gorgeous! I LOVE our family mealtimes around the table. Although my oldest sons summer job keeps him away from family dinners 6 days a week:(
Mishy

Pat said...

Hi Michelle,

You are not only a stamping inspiration, but a great promoter (if that's a word?) of family life. I love to use cloth napkins and am making it a habit everyday now. Think of all the money I will save on napkins and can spend on crafts...

Stampin' Jen said...

Are you sure you aren't my secret sister??? We are SO much alike - I can't believe it! We do sit and eat every meal together as a family, unless is planting or harvest, then more than likely DH isn't home in time. I think I'm gonna put cloth napkins on my to do list. Maybe they'll be done in a couple of years!

daisykl said...

I love that you are loving cloth napkins. I've been using them for years - many I made with leftover fabric from clothing I made. These are probably 10 years old, they are so soft. Many guests have a problem actually using them, but I think they are the best. When I have a whole load of cloth napkins I know that we've been having a lot of family meals and it makes me oh so happy!

Aura said...

I laughed reading the line about your husband saying that he felt like he was wiping his mouth on the curtains. It's an excellent concept but I can see how my husband too would resist. I do use a basket with dividers to keep my utensils out of the drawers. I love your reading your blog and you are truly an inspiration.

Kathleen said...

I have been using cloth napkins since I was first married (25 years now)---it was a cheap and easy way to decorate my table on a student budget when I first married---my kids think it's strange to use paper! LOVE cloth napkins---and yours are beautiful---as usual!

Andrea said...

Mish - I've done the cloth napkins for years - my hubs thinks it's a waste to use paper so we never do. But the napkin rings for each person is a stroke of GENIUS that I never thought of. I can't even imagine how many unused napkins I've washed and folded. I can not WAIT to find some lovely rings like you guys have posted. I need to get me into some antique shops. I've never been interested until I "met" you! I would LOVE to live in your house surrounded by all of the beautiful things. I hope to start gathering a collection of my own. Thanks for the constant inspiration! xo

Sue Plote said...

Michelle - As always, I loved your post. I, too, an an avid auctioner, and heaven forbid the poor soul who tries to outbid me! I have a particular auctioneer that I tend to follow, and he always laughs when I show up. He says I have a good eye, too! Uh, yeah! Anyway, I have recently picked up a couple of really awesome old boxes that I would like to use in my kitchen. I was also lucky enough to pick up an antique oak ice box and antique dry sink. Both need to be well cleaned before I will even think about bringing them into my home. I'd like to know how you clean and, I guess, disinfect wood products so that I can feel that they are clean enough for my home. I'd be thrilled with any perspective that you might have. I'm also thrilled that I'll be seeing you at CHA in just a few short weeks! God Bless!

Anne said...

You've probably been informed by now that you can have a jeweler/jewelry store send them to an engraver for monograming!

Normally you are given choices of font & size given an estimate $.

Enjoy your blog,
{-A-}

Related Posts with Thumbnails