Monday, December 16, 2013

Instant Gratification

My husband and I were once serial remodelers.  Before we were married, we took turns remodeling my condo and his townhouse.  Within the first year of our marriage, we rented out those properties and bought an older single family home that was rather run-down, but in a great neighborhood.  After long, drawn-out, exhausting projects, such as ripping out carpet and refinishing the hardwood floors, we spent a few hours one weekend on a quick project: cleaning a fireplace surround and tiling the hearth.  It was straightforward, simple and very quick.  We were surprised at how gratifying a weekend project could be. We were so happy with it, we even took our Christmas card picture in front of the fireplace that year.

My new place mats remind me of that fireplace project.  Although I was looking forward to starting a field jacket for myself, we really needed some place mats.  My husband had complained about the old ones so often, that I felt guilty starting anything else before place mats.

I ordered some fabric on the internet (Fat Quarter Shop), not expecting them to be so "bright."  Some wine may have been consumed during my online shopping, so it should be no surprise that I was a little surprised when the fabric arrived.  I pictured a little girl's quilt, not elegant place mats for my table.  But I moved forward with my plan, nonetheless.
Lily Ashbury "High Street"

They were a simple, straightforward project and despite the bright colors, I really like the outcome.  Orange on one side, Green on the other, with a coordinating yellow bias binding tying the two fabrics together. The floral pattern has a diagonal line, which gave me an easy pattern to quilt.

They don't perfectly match my decor, but I they add a refreshing burst of color in a room that is mostly muted earth tones. They also coordinate nicely with my white porcelain.  The table in our "breakfast nook" is a small round table, and this size and shape work perfectly for it.

The only thing I wasn't happy with, was the fusible batting.  It was a great help during the construction and quilting, but I swear it shrunk.  The manufacturer's website stated that it didn't need to be pre-washed because polyester batting doesn't shrink, but it seems otherwise to me.  Not a huge deal, but they do require a quick press after laundering to lay flat.

I had so much fun with this project, I decided that place mats would make a great Christmas gift, so I made another set right away.  What a refreshing change from multiple pattern pieces, fitting, and what not.  I was also reminded how nice it is to sew with quilter's cotton.  In addition to the instant gratification, I get continued daily gratification, as we use them for every meal.  And they are so cheery!

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