Tea Towel Gift Pairings

Bottle gift wrapped with Orange, Orange, Lemon, Lime tea towel by Lellobird

Spoonflower has 50% off on fat quarters for the next week (through November 8) – which means this is the perfect time to scoop up some tea towels for holiday gifting.

Better yet, pair your tea towels with a book, plant, baked goods or another item and use the towel as an eco-friendly wrapping – you’ll save the paper, and it’s like getting two gifts in one. Plus, if you start now, you might actually have time to sew up the towels before the holidays (unless you’re a really champion procrastinator like me, and then you’ll be hemming the night before your gift exchange).

With all the tea towel choices out there, you can find something that pairs with almost any gift idea or recipient – the hardest part may be choosing which one to use! (Or giving it away!)

Tea towels pair naturally with food- and kitchen-themed gifts, but anything small-ish will fit – here are some of my favorite ideas:

Plant gift wrapped with Windowsill tea towel by Lellobird

Bottle gift wrapped with Orange, Orange, Lemon, Lime tea towel by Lellobird

Cookbook gift wrapped with Bakers Gonna Bake tea towel by Lellobird

Jar of honey gift wrapped with Honeycomb tea towel by Lellobird

Book gift wrapped with Jane's Words tea towel by Lellobird

Speaking of furoshiki, there are a ton more furoshiki ideas, plus instructions for hemming your towels, on the My Poppet website.

I put together a Pinterest board with examples of all the above uses plus a few more – check it out here.

Happy gifting!

Take a seat

Lovely Chairs tea towel by Lellobird

For tea towel season (they make great gifts!), I’ve turned the chairs from my Take a Seat fabric into the Lovely Chairs Tea Towel, available now at Spoonflower.

As a fan of art, design and architecture, I love chairs – chairs from all eras (but especially mid-century) have such great lines, even in simple silhouettes like these.

Lovely Chairs tea towel by Lellobird

Family recipes

Grandma's Sugar Cookies tea towel by Lellobird at Spoonflower

I’m pleased to announce that my entry in Spoonflower’s “Grandma’s Kitchen” tea towel design challenge made the top 10 this week! This was such a fun theme to work on — starting with going through recipe cards with my mom to pick out a few family favorites.

We settled on my grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe, for which she was mildly famous (at least within our extended family). She used to press the cookies flat with the cut-glass bottom of a drinking glass before baking them, leaving a pretty flower pattern on the cookies. When she passed away, each of her kids got one of the glasses so they could carry on the tradition. Pretty cool.

Of course, my grandmother knew her recipes so well she never had to write anything down, so this recipe card is actually written in my mom’s handwriting, and carries the marks of many years of vanilla extract and buttery fingers.

Grandma's Sugar Cookies tea towel by Lellobird at Spoonflower
I decided to play against the vintage scanned recipe card with more modern accents, like a stylized drinking glass and cookies and simplified lace doilies in the background.

You can buy the Grandma’s Sugar Cookies fabric at Spoonflower, or have Roostery sew up a set of their Orpington Tea Towels (it prints the right way round, even though the preview may be sideways).

If you’d like to give the recipe a try, here’s the slightly modified version (replacing shortening with butter) we made this week to celebrate:

Sugar Cookies
Makes: 6 dozen cookies

2 c. butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
4 c. flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Sift together baking soda, cream of tartar and flour. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Beat in flour mixture.
  6. Chill in refrigerator (at least 1/2 hour or up to overnight). Or, if you’re lazy like me, skip this step entirely…
  7. Roll dough into small balls. Place on greased or silicone-mat-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Press dough balls flat with fork or bottom of glass, dipped in sugar.
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes or until firm and golden.

It’s the Bee’s Knees

The Bee's Knees tea towel by Lellobird

Last week’s Spoonflower theme was Prohibition Cocktails – it turns out that America’s ban on alcohol in the 1920s gave rise to some clever mixed drinks, most of them designed to conceal the less-than-ideal flavor of bathtub gin.

After considering the Whiskey Sour (with fun-to-draw cherry garnish), the Sidecar (with its whiff of Jazz Age elegance) and the Gin Rickey (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s drink of choice), I settled on the Bee’s Knees, because it sounded good (gin, honey and lemon juice), and because I like to draw bees. (Nobody said artists were entirely logical creatures.)

I studied up on Art Deco style, picked the honey-est yellows and dug out some vintage-looking fonts, then ran the whole thing through the excellent Mister Retro Permanent Press filter to give it a vintage printed look.

The end result was The Bee’s Knees Tea Towel, available now at Spoonflower and Roostery.

My design just squeaked into the top 25 in Spoonflower’s contest, coming in at #24.

Tea (towel) time

Fiesta Calendar by Lellobird, available at Spoonflower

It’s that time of year again: Fall is ramping up, the year is winding down, and you need a tea towel calendar to help brighten up your kitchen in 2016!

Spoonflower is running their annual 2-for-1 Fat Quarter sale today through Thursday, November 12, which means you can stock up on half-price tea towels that just need a quick hem to become beautiful, practical, sort-of-handmade gifts. Chilly fall days are perfect for sewing!

I have six tea towels for sale this year, or you can turn any fat quarter of fabric into a towel, too.

Bee Towel Calendar
Bird Talk Original
Bird Talk Autumn
Bird Talk Summer (coming soon)
Folk Tree Tea Towel
Fiesta Calendar (coming soon)

Calendar time

Photo detail of Bee Towel tea towel calendar by Lellobird

Up until a year or two ago, I’d never heard of a tea towel calendar – a calendar with a pretty design printed on fabric. Thanks to Spoonflower’s annual tea towel calendar contest, I’m now in the know.  The idea of something that marks the year and helps dry the dishes appeals to my practical side!

This year I have three 2015 tea towel calendars available at Spoonflower: Bee Towel (pictured), Bird Talk and Bird Talk Original. There are a lot of fun calendar designs by other designers available, too – I’ll bet you can find one that matches your interests and your kitchen.

Matching kitchens reminds me of one of my most interesting requests on Spoonflower: A woman who was designing a steampunk time travel themed kitchen and wanted a sepia-toned version of my popular Time Travel Map fabric for curtains. I love the amount of time they put into coming up with a vision and a backstory for their kitchen — awesome!

Other special requests have come from people making quilts, custom lampshades, curtains for vintage Airstream trailers — it’s always a kick to see what people make with my designs.