Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The January tea towel post...

 Every year in January I replace all my kitchen tea towels and if you've followed along here for a while that will not be news to you.

It's also when I share a free tea towel stitchery or project, and why should 2021 be any different?

This year I have the 'Flourish' stitchery for you; a simple and quick embroidery that would be just as sweet sewn onto a variety of different displays but I love it sitting pretty on one of my favoured flour-sack towels and edged in soft florals. 

One very important tip which has helped many of my readers and fellow stitchers over the years is to choose your feature fabric first, and then choose thread colours to blend in with it. Can you see in the photo how my thread choice matches the fabric colours? 

It's also fun to throw in one colour that causes the stitchery to pop. For 'Flourish' I chose yellow and just that one small addition has brought the design into it's own so that it blends with the fabric but is also separate to the fabric.

In this free pattern I have also included a link to my tutorial for basic fabric trimming of tea towels. Use the download link below to access the Flourish pattern.


Most years I buy many of my new tea towels at Bed, Bath & Table during their after Christmas sale because the quality is gorgeous and the designs lend themselves to becoming beautiful backgrounds for contrasting trims, and can even be made into the sweetest aprons. Sadly, with all the import issues since Covid our local store had not been able to replenish their usual stock in time so I had to look elsewhere. 

After a bit of thought and three days pacing the kitchen to think, I decided to purchase a few thick and inexpensive blue striped tea towels from Best & Less instead. I have this idea you see, to make over the kitchen in blues and lemons (think French Country?) and whilst that may not work given the rather drab caramel brown cabinet doors (they cannot be painted) I surged forward anyhow and finished one new blue tea towel.

The idea for a patchwork fabric trim across the bottom came about after an afternoon spent sewing a number of different snowball blocks for a project I'm including in The Homemakers Heart digital magazine.

I had made extra snowball blocks so that I could play around with their placement in the project and once that had been decided and the layout sewn together I had six blocks left three became a feature on this blue striped tea towel along with a length of lovely white cotton lace for old country charm.

(Aren't the wooden spoons just delightful? They were a gift from my friend Margaret.)

It was only afterwards that I realised this is not going to blend with my dream blue/lemon country kitchen makeover during 2021, but it is just right for a friend.

I took some photos as I made the snowball blocks, just in case you'd like to make a few yourself.

To make one block you will need a -

One, 5.5" square of floral fabric

Four, 2" squares of contrast tonal fabric

Draw a diagonal line across the back of the four 2" squares and pin them into each corner of the floral square.

Sew along the drawn line and trim 1/4" outside that seam.

Press the corners away from the floral fabric to create a snowball block!

Make a few and sew them together for a larger project, or make one and it can become a mug rug or pincushion. You can also alter the size to suit your needs.

They are fabulous for scrap busting because they only use small amounts of fabric.

I also enjoyed the process of choosing two fabrics which blended so nicely together and knowing that I was reducing my stash of small leftover pieces gave me great satisfaction.

Below - hand quilting the project for my new magazine. I am thrilled that I got to use the last piece of my Tilda bunny fabric on something which will eventually be displayed in our home.

Now, something often asked over the years -

Question: "What do you do with all your smaller scraps of fabric?"

Answer: I keep them for applique.

I never waste my fabric scraps and leftovers. If the piece is still sizeable (a bit smaller than a fat 16th but larger than a charm square) it goes into a box labelled 'large scraps', but if it's smaller than a charm square it goes into one of six colour-coded jars in my sewing room. I display them along my shelving because they're so pretty to look at but also near at hand for new designs (because you know I love tiny pieces of applique!)...

Here's a peek at one new Homemakers Heart design in the making that has lots of little applique pieces sourced from those jars...

Now about The Homemakers Heart.
Because my email inbox overflows with questions about when it starts I thought it best to update you in today's blog post.

It's a monthly digital magazine which will be emailed to all subscribers.
I am launching it next week and that's when subscriptions open so you need to be patient just a little bit longer.

Inside the magazine are articles to encourage women in many aspects of the homemaker life such as - health, gardening, homemaking tips, sewing patterns, stitchery patterns, decorating, faith, recipes, gift ideas, plus a NEW block of the month!

Next week I'll give you a peek at what's inside the first issue so stay subscribed to the blog (there's a little box in my sidebar which says "never miss a blog post" which you just need to pop your email address in) or -

Follow along on Bloglovin' HERE

I shall sign off on this very wet (hasn't stopped raining since Christmas) Wednesday morning with a picture that may melt your heart almost as much as it melts mine...

Cully May, Charlie David and Rafaella Lucy. 
My little treasures. 

Blossom and the children all came down with head colds late last week and though the two girls are now much improved our sweet Mama Blossom and little Charlie are still snuffly so I've not seen them for over a week. 
Mr E started his new job last week and we can't take the risk of spreading that head cold around the family...but goodness, we miss them so. How blessed we are to have phones where the children pop in and out of the conversations between me and my girl. "I miss you Nana" and "I love you Nana" are the sweetest of words to hear, aren't they.

Oh, one more thing...I mentioned turning tea towels into aprons. If that idea sounds like something you'd like to try HERE is a tutorial I did last year - very, very simple. And now I want to make more aprons too! 

God bless all you lovely ones!
May you never feel alone, never feel hopeless, and always be assured that God loves you and will never leave you nor forsake you. Put your trust in Him, take a deep breath and embrace each new day.

Loving hugs

PS: lovely lady who joined my Let's Stitch Again Club has an invalid email address. If you joined the Club and have still not received an email from me would you please use my contact details (here) and get in touch. Thank you. xx


Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Cheery tutorials, a sneak peak and home and family! A lovely blog post :) Thank you !
hugs, take care

Janene said...

Thanks for sharing your beautifull family they are so cute Janene

Tammy said...

Love your new tea towel and thank you for the snowball block as well. Import issues abound here in the states too. I often wonder if things will ever be as abundant as they once were before COVID and I have a nagging feeling they will not . Hope Mr. E has a fabulous week of work at his new place of employment. .Wishing you both nothing but the best . Those darling babes are beautiful.... Hope they are all over their head colds very soon.

Allie said...

Wow gorgeous towels, dear Jenny! Thank you for the Flourish design! Such a sweet picture of your grandbabies - praying they are all well soon, and that it doesn't make its way to your house. Praying too for Mr. E!!!! Can't wait for your new magazine!!!!!!!

Lin said...

Lovely teatowels Jenny and such a gorgeous picture of the little ones. xx

Nancy in IN said...

Love the towels. Now to go find some or maybe find in my stash.
Grands are so precious. I haven't seen mine for a while.
Is Mr. E teaching again? Best wishes to him and you.
Bless you
Stay safe.

Pilarín said...

Muchas gracias por compartir tu creatividad. Eres muy generosa!!!
Los niños están preciosos. ¡Qué alegría verlos! Disfruta mucho de la familia!!
Besos desde España,

Julie said...

A gorgeous post dear Jenny - I always think of you at the start of a fresh New Year with your new teatowels & also Rhonda (Down to Earth) makes new knitted dishcloths. Such wonderful homemaking traditions. Gosh that photo of the 3 little ones is just gorgeous Jenny - one for a frame I think. Now you did mention that Mr E was to start a new job ... is he going back to the vehicle industry again I think you said? Have a lovely week my dear friend xx

Patti said...

Thank you for sharing patterns and wonderful ideas! Take care.

Susan said...

The one quilt I have from my mother is a snowball with yellow corners. It's tied, but I do love it. It's always fun to see what you do with the tea towels. If anything matched in my kitchen, it would be a miracle! LOL Thank you so much for the little flower design. I'm waiting (im)patiently for the magazine subscription information. LOL Thanks for the update. The picture of the girls with David is simply beautiful. I can imagine those phone calls and how much they keep you all together during these tough times. I hope Mr. E's job is going well and his cohorts are friendly and amenable. Love you, thanks for your constant encouragement. xoxoxo

Susan said...

They will. Our country and the world survived the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago, and that killed 50 million or more people world wide. We WILL have a normal and healthy world again. In God's time.

JES said...

I love this idea of fresh towels each January! I can’t wait to doll up some 💞

Ondrea said...

New tea towels is a great idea to freshen up the kitchen but I tend to keep the hand embellished ones as decoration incase they get ruined with so many washes. The snowballs look great. Love your jars of scraps. I kept all the scraps from my ( still unfinished) Insanity quilt so I can put them in a jar representing that quilt because they are all pretty small florals. Gorgeous pic of your beautiful grand chikdren. Such joy. Hope Blossom has now recovered from her cold.

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