Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Recycled 4th of July

Recycling is the Theme this 4th of July

We're going to finally start our compost bin so we can recycle much of our kitchen garbage - Yuck!

We're going to work on a big housecleaning project that will result in a big donation drop-off - Yay!

We're going to re-use our favorite summertime menu:  Pulled Pork, BBQ Beans and Coleslaw - Yum!

And we are going to decorate and set the table re-using napkins and crafts we've made for prior occasions...

Medallion napkin rings that we made for Memorial Day.

Whimsical red, white and blue bunting that we made for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate.  Though the fork, knife and spoon fabric seems much more appropriate for the 4th.

A rediscovered bistro tablecloth that inspired us to start making new ones from our wonderful Picking Daisies's fabrics.

Table-top American flags purchased for last year's 4th of July celebration.

These have no place being here because they are new fabrics.  But go ahead, have a peek at these red, white and blue napkins...

Have fun celebrating the 4th in your own recycled tradition.

Inspiration:  Medallion Napkin RingsBunting for the Royal Wedding, Bistro Tablecloths, Red, White & Blue Napkins

Monday, June 13, 2011

Father's Day Table Setting

A Necktie for Dad - No Wearing Allowed

The table is set for dad's special day.... there's a necktie at each place.

No, not really.  It's just one of our beautiful cloth napkins creatively folded into a necktie.  You can read our napkin folding tutorial right here.

We printed some free downloadable labels, and used them to spruce up some old tins and bags filled with favorite treats for dads.

The box from the case of Dad's Root Beer made a perfect centerpiece "basket" to hold even more goodies.

If you find yourself in downtown San Luis Obispo this week, stop by and see this fun table setting.

Happy Fathers Day to all the great dads we know and love!

Inspiration:  cloth napkins from the new Loulouthi line by Anna Maria Horner, necktie napkin folding tutorial, free printable labels from MarthaStewart.com, Dad's Root Beer

Wouldn't this be the most exquisitely beautiful tie?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Best Fabric Marker

Fabric marking pen magic trick!*

*I'm quite easily impressed by magic things.

Ready to draw on the back of a favorite Spotted Owl fabric...

Ready to draw

Drawing a curlicue

Iron over the mark with a hot iron

It vanishes COMPLETELY!

Magic Pen

Most of the disappearing or washable fabric markers I have used will leave a permanent mark if ironed over while the mark is still visable, which is often quite inconvenient when working on a project. 

But not this pen.... my newest favorite sewing tool:  FriXion ball by Pilot

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Napkin Stacking 101

A Day in the Life of a Napkin Stacker
Guest Blogger: Annie Bruington

A napkin stack

I love working at Picking Daisies. Really. I get to play with and organize beautiful fabric all day, make the store look neat and tidy all day long, ogle at the newest fabric shipments, and tie scrap pieces of fabric in my hair. Can you think of a better way to spend your summer? I certainly can't.

My usual task when I come into work is to stack the napkins that are on display. Being the perfectionist that I am, I have developed a technique to optimally arrange these napkins to make them look their best. I (quite dorkily) take great pride in my napkin stacks. An organized, neat display makes me feel proud and allows me to work on other projects around the store.

I should not be so attached to these napkin stacks, for it is extremely helpful for customers to lay out the different napkins they are interested in to pick out their perfect napkin set. It's what I do when I pick out napkin sets for gifts. This means that I occasionally come in to work and find that my napkin piles have been searched through. Some napkins have been tied up with a ribbon and taken home. Other napkins were not right for a set and were put back.

A mess
These careful searches for the perfect napkins leave the display looking a little less than perfect.

A mess indeed

Oh, my heart. I should not be so invested in the stacking of napkins. I'm doomed from the start. Arriving to work every day, I tend to hold my breath in the nervous anticipation of how each stack could possibly look. If only I wasn't quite so emotionally invested. Most would recommend that I find myself a hobby to distract me from the emotional roller coaster that arises from the responsibility of stacking cloth napkins. However, being in Picking Daisies is one of my favorite hobbies; I love reorganizing and straightening up.

The first trick to making a beautiful napkin stack is to lay out all napkins that will be in the stack.

All laid out
Finding out how many of each pattern is available will help me place the right number of napkins in each stack.

Careful placement is key

By alternating which way the seam goes when stacking, the napkin pile won't be extremely lopsided. Placing each napkin carefully upon the next is truly the key to making each stack look perfect.

Coordinating nail polish is a bonus!

And voila, a close-to-perfect napkin stack.

Give that stack a little pat

Here is the final result of my hard day's work...

Wow - beautiful napkin display!

Now, don't be shy about taking apart a napkin stack to see our many different patterns next time you visit Picking Daisies; think of it as your way to finding your favorite napkins and my favorite job to complete.

My mom and I

If you like the napkins that I used in my stacking sample, they are from the fabulous new fabric line by Anna Maria Horner  The line is called "Loulouthi", and you can see the napkins and fabric here.

Bye - thanks for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Napkin Folding Tutorial - Necktie

A Father's Day Tie Surprise

We are working on our Father's Day celebration table setting, and thought it would be fun to fold our cloth dinner napkins into a tie for Dad.  And we've created this little tutorial to share with you.

So.... grab a cloth napkin and a ruler, get to your ironing board, and follow along!

Start with a square cloth napkin and iron it flat.
(Our napkins are 20" square.  If yours differ by more than a few inches,
you might need to adjust some of the following measurements.)

Fold one corner across,  landing 3" below it's opposite corner.  Moving the ruler to the "base of the tie", fold the opposite corner leaving 3" to match, as pictured above.

Maintaining the point at the small end, begin an accordion fold....
1.  away from you and iron
2.  towards you and iron
3.  away from you and iron
4.  Give it one final iron to flatten it

1.  Lay your ruler along the length of the tie
2.  Place the 12" mark as pictured above
3.  At the 1" mark, tuck the point under at a right angle
4.  Iron flat

1. Wrap over and iron
2.  Turn the tie over
3.  Again wrap over and iron
4.  Fold the remaining tip down the back of the tie

Iron so that the tip lays flat down the back of the tie

Turn the tie over and give it one final ironing

You've made a tie for dad!

We're working on our table setting to celebrate Father's Day using these ties.  It's going to be such fun - watch for our blog about it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fabric Art - Round Two

But not so Easy Peasy this time!

I've been feeling so pleased with myself for making the lovely piece that I blogged about last month, that I though I'd try my hand a similar little fabric art piece to sit at our front counter.  I could just imagine how cute it would look there.

I used two fabric scraps - cutting one out in an oval shape, though a square or rectangle would be equally cute.  I sewed the two pieces together, one atop the other, stitching the top piece 1/4" inside its edge. Then using little scissors, I snipped the top fabric piece all around the edge.  To give it a frayed look, I tossed it in the washer and dryer with my next load of clothes.  You can see all those details  and the final result in this picture:

That was the easy-peasy part! 

The hard part was using a staple gun to attach it to the small 4" by 6" canvas.  Apparently stretching and stapling fabric to a large canvas is considerably easier that stapling it to a tiny, light as a feather canvas.  Ugh! What a mess I made of the back.  Look - No! Don't Look!

Do look at the front though 'cause it's adorable with it's frayed frame.
Yay fabric art!

 Tomorrow my new serger arrives..... loads of fun is in store for me.