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.

More tropical quilts

Tropical quilt

My last post about the Matisse’s Seaweed quilt reminded me about some super-simple tropical quilts I made a few years ago. Inspired by the high-end versions at Pottery Barn Kids, we chose a bunch of coordinating tropical and shirting fabrics (from the fabric store, my stash and even some cut-up clothes), cut them into 8″ squares and sewed them together.

It’s a really basic quilt (I’m not entirely sure the machine sewing-in-the-ditch stitching I did to hold the layers together even technically counts as quilting, although I love that term), and I am definitely not precise or patient enough to make it perfect, but I like the way they turned out, they came together quickly and the kids were pleased to get to pick their own fabrics.

Tropical quilt

In the wild: Tiny rhino cuteness

Baby shoes made from Lellobird fabric by Casey Dumadag

Casey Dumadag (@littlecaycam on Instagram) shared a photo the other day of the adorable baby shoes she made from my Rhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric. Casey had asked me to scale down my original Rhinoce-Roses fabric to baby-size for this project, and it worked out beautifully.

Both fabrics are available at Spoonflower, and at least 10% of proceeds from sales of these two fabrics goes to the International Rhino Foundation, a nonprofit which works to help save the world’s rhinos through conservation and research. And speaking of babies, IRF is currently fundraising to support the birth of a new Sumatran Rhino calf at their sanctuary in Indonesia – you can read all about it on their blog and even host your own “baby shower” for Ratu the mama rhino.

Rhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric by LellobirdRhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric by Lellobird

What goes around

Pinterest suggestions

I finally set up some Lellobird Pinterest boards yesterday (more to come; stay tuned), one of which features all manner of arrows (signs, patterns, graffiti, etc.) which I found when researching a design project and thought might be useful to someone else.

Today, Pinterest sent me a “we found some more pins you might be interested in” email about the Arrows board – and it included one of my fabrics, pinned to someone else’s board. The internet really is a smaller world than we think sometimes…

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)