Set The Table

First, I think it goes without saying that we could all use a distraction right now. Who would have know when we started 2020, so full of promise as new years often are, that we would go from devastating fires in Australia to a full on world wide pandemic. The virus has ripped through the very center of every culture across the globe and left us all with a feeling of fear as our futures are unfolding with much uncertainty.

After months of sheltering in place at home, I have gone through many stages, as I am sure you have. The first was a bit of shock, then fear, depression, along with a feeling of resilience and hope as well. On any given day these feelings can be all jumbled together as I watch my family, friends and neighbors struggle with the uncertainty of their livelihoods.

When we first were in lockdown I felt completely at loose ends. I am so used to running nonstop that having nowhere to be was freeing, and frightening. I also needed the rest, something I didn't realize until I was forced to slow down. I needed a break from all of it and everyone, all the noise, competition, narcissism, and misplaced importance that was at the edges of my world. Not that I didn't love writing about style, but I think that what mattered got lost, not just for me but for a lot of people. I needed to step back.

But I can only be idle for so long. I need to create, and baking every day was not cutting it. I dug out my old sewing machine and remembered we had a bin of fabric of my late mother's in storage. My Mom taught me how to sew, and although she was an amazing quilter, I have no patience for long projects. When I was in my 20s she showed me how to hand sew and then machine sew cloth napkins. It is literally the only thing I sew and my family has used them every night for all our lives. I have them stored by season and switch out them out with each changing season. Halloween? Got it covered. Spring? Yep. Christmas? You better believe it. ;)

I have given many napkin sets away as gifts, more than I realized. I began sewing them again and giving them as gifts, but when my friend Monica asked me to make a set for her MIL for Mother's Day an idea was born. Then my friend Patricia asked me to make a set for a dear friend as part of a gift package. Suddenly I am in the textiles business and I am loving it.

I roared through my Mom's fabric fairly quickly and went on Etsy to start looking for great new prints. I never make any print I wouldn't love at my own table. I learned who shipped quickly and who made you wait a month. Some company's aren't equipped to handle orders as well during the pandemic, so even though I love them I will swing back around later to purchase their products. By buying from small businesses on Etsy I also know I am supporting small business in other communities.

Locally, I have geared up and stood in line at a far away Joann Fabrics, but they really don't have a lot of what I love at the moment. Then I ordered from Dry Goods Design in Pioneer Square, a local company that delivers to your doorstep for orders over $25 and hit the jackpot! They have beautiful fabric, organic cottons, and the fabric order arrives in a fabric bag with no contact in 48 hours. Another way to support small local business.

I am learning about a whole new world of textile design, artists and sources and it has been amazing. I killed off my old machine and now am buzzing away on my daughter's simple Brother sewing machine for the moment. I started an Instagram where I sell my sets online and designed a embossed label, plus packaging. I cannot tell you how happy and fulfilled it makes me to make other people happy. And I am never, ever bored. Don't even understand the concept.

The inspiration behind Set The Table is of course, my mother. She used to ask me to set the table every night when I was young, and even though it took all of five minutes, I hated it! So it is ironic that now I am starting a textiles adventure named after the very request that used to make me cringe.

This week I had the opportunity to write again. I haven't been on this blog for awhile and I haven't written for Vanguard Seattle, where I am the style and fashion writer, during this time either. I just didn't feel inspired. But creativity has renewed me. The chance to share an amazing project was inspiring. And my Editor and friend Sarah Caples, who has always really understood me, let me do what I needed to and then made me feel like what I do matters. I am lucky to know her.

Right now, for so many reasons, we need to come together. To take this time and set the table, enjoy a meal, talk to each other, and take the time. It's a gift really.

I hope I inspire you to set the table with your own loved ones.

Be well, friends.