Thursday, January 31, 2013

In The Middle

I had an idea a few weeks ago to replace my old kitchen curtains with vintage tea towels hung on a cafe rod.  My mom and I went looking at antique shops for tea towels, but we couldn't find anything just right--everything we found was too long or too short or the wrong color or there was only one and I needed two.  Then I decided to start in on the laundry room and forgot about the tea towels.

Until my mom called me today when I was in the middle of papering the laundry room to say, "You know, I think I made you a set of tea towels when you were little."  That sent me to my cedar chest to dig around and see what I could find.  Sure enough, folded neatly and wrapped in tissue paper in a plastic bag (a Harzfeld's Petticoat Lane bag, for those of you who know Kansas City) was a set of six linen tea towels.

When I saw them, I suddenly remembered being about ten years old and going to an old general store out in the boonies somewhere with my mom.  (I can remember the plain wood floor without stain or varnish, and I also remember the tin ceiling, the big storefront windows and the way everything smelled of cinnamon and tea, but I can't remember where the store was.)  Mom bought six yards of Irish linen toweling, and I still recall how beautiful I thought that linen was when the store clerk rolled it off the bolt to measure it.

I read someplace that anything more than 25 years old is considered vintage, so these tea towels qualify, since Mom made them about 36 years ago.  Choosing which two to use for curtains was a big decision, made easier when I realized that since I'm using clips to attach them to the cafe rod, I can switch out the towels whenever I want.  I settled on Parsley and Sage for now.

As luck would have it, the tea towels are the perfect length and width and the perfect color to go with my red and yellow kitchen.  Best of all, they're out where I can see them and enjoy my mom's neat handiwork every day.  

11 comments:

  1. Wow, that's nice. Your Mom does beautiful work.

    I had to look up tea towel. That's what around my area is called a dish towel, not to be confused with a dish rag.

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    1. I'm always interested in the regionalism of speech. One of my friends who's from New York also said, "What the heck is a tea towel?" I say "pop" instead of "soda", too. ;)

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  2. If it would not block too much light, go to the nearest fabric store and obtain some "light blocking " fabric (you can usually find it in the bulk section (upholstery) section) at Jo-ann's). Cut a piece the right size to protect the back of the tea towel and just baste the corners and maybe a couple of places along the long side. It should help keep yellowing and fading of the embroidery thread to a minimum. What a sweet thing to have... and what it must mean to her to have you using them!

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  3. I love it when that happens! They were sitting right there all the time.

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  4. How perfect! They look great!

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  5. It's as if she had a premonition that one day you would need kitchen curtains. Moms are like that. They are lovely.

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    1. I told her today, "It's like you knew that when I grew up I would have a red and yellow kitchen." She thought that was funny.

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  6. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your "curtains."

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  7. Oh, perfect, perfect! I do agree with Anonymous, about protecting them from fading. You'll want those tea towel curtains looking nice for a long time.

    And talk about nostalgia. Heck yes I remember the Harzfeld's in Petticoat Lane. I still have a gray tweed jacket I bought there, though it doesn't exactly button anymore . . .

    Planter's in River Market looks and smells like the general store in the boonies you remember from your childhood. At least, it did when I left KC in 2003. Is it still there?

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    1. Kate, I can't believe that I never knew about Planter's until you posted this comment! I googled it and it's still there, and nearly all the reviews on Yelp say how wonderful it smells. I am definitely making a trip up there soon to check it out in person!

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