Thursday, January 16, 2014

From Pinterest to my Dining Room Table

I can't be the only person who spends time browsing through Pinterest and saving pins that I'd like to try someday.  But I wonder how many people go back to their pin boards and actually try a recipe, recreate a craft or re-purpose a piece of furniture that inspired them.  When I'm looking for something fun to do, I open my Pinterest board and pick something.  Here's what I finished today:

A vintage doily table runner with my mother-in-law's antique aluminum tea pot filled with pink tea roses.
A similar doily table runner has been on Pinterest since 2010.  An article appeared on the Country Living website about how to use vintage doilies for decorating, and the original pinner thought was neat -- and I do, too!

I have been collecting vintage linens and laces for about 20 years, so I knew I had the materials on hand to make one myself.  But you can find vintage linens just about thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales.  Most are not too expensive, but larger pieces can run several dollars.  

I pulled out my bin of vintage lines and began to dig through it for some doilies that could work for this project.  Some of my stuff is stained, cut into small pieces or lengths of lace trim, so I had to be selective.  I found nine that would make up a nice runner.

My stash has a large variety of lace, linen and trim.
Over time, vintage linens will discolor or stains will mysteriously appear.  I found a product at a quilt show that does a wonderful job cleaning vintage linens.  It's called "Restoration" and is a powder that you mix with water.  Restoration is color safe, fabric safe, environmentally safe and an excellent deodorizer. To remove most stains, yellowing and restore brightness and freshness, mix it with water according to the directions and soak the linens for a few hours.  After soaking, remove the linens and rinse thoroughly under cool water, then lay them flat to dry.  It also helps remove stains and yellowing to let linens dry in bright sunshine.  Just spread a clean, white sheet or towel outside, and lay the doilies flat on top for several hours.  Take the time to 'block' them into the shape they should be...round, oval, neatly as possible.  This will eliminate the need to iron most of the doilies later.
Restoration is available at
After cleaning my doilies, I did a rough layout, moving things around until I had a pleasing arrangement.  I did measure my table first for the proper length.  I didn't want the doilies to hang over the edges.

Move the doilies around until you get a nice arrangement, then pin the pieces together.
I pinned the pieces and used white thread to baste the doilies together.  If I ever want to use them in a different way, they can be cut apart easily.

I tried to find doilies in my stash that were different -- included in this runner are examples of crochet, Irish crochet, netting, tenerife, and bobbin lace.  The color palette ranges from bright white to ivory.  

This runner make a distinctive foundation for a small floral arrangement, candles, or a bowl of fruit.  It looks especially sweet with vintage furniture, like my 1930's Duncan Fife dining room table.

On to the next project!

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