Reversible Oilcloth Placemats
I consider my work on the Pink of Perfection to be about a deep desire to create beautiful days. The reason why I embroider and bake and love having people over is to add sparkle to a 24 hour period that more often than not includes work, commuting, and other daily drudgeries. But the one piece of the puzzle that I haven’t quite gotten my arms around yet is supper.
If I have just stumbled through the door, sometimes in sweaty workout clothes and sometimes just with the musty shroud of the day on my back, I am tired. And I’d put my life savings on the fact that you are tired, too. In those moments, even if I know in my heart of hearts that pouring myself a glass of wine and throwing something quick together will give my day a sense of meaning, no matter how small, sometimes all I want is for someone else to do the work.
If I were to be totally honest (and you seem to like it when I am), I would have to tell you that at least once a week, and often frightfully more frequently than that, we order take-out. Even worse, when the food arrives, we clear off the coffee table and unpack the hot and sour soup right there in front of the television. And yes, when I was sick yesterday, I did eat that Cup of Noodles.
Are you still reading?
One of the things on my list is to do this less often. If I were honest with myself I would admit it’s an indulgence that feels good only until I am sitting in front of a stack of gnawed rib bones and the coffee table is scattered with empty soy sauce packets and stray grains of rice. “God isn’t finished with me yet,” as my mom says, and I’m working on making sitting at the table a more regular part of our weeknight meals and not something that just sounds good in my head.
At the same time, I can’t deny reality. I will probably always be someone who wants the feeling of being cared for every now and then. That means me changing into my pajamas while someone else cooks my dinner and brings it to my door. It also means watching Dr. Katz and not having to make conversation while I slurp down my noodles. I hope to do it less, sure, but to not do it at all? I tend to believe that would be cutting out a certain kind of sparkle a particular kind of day needs.
These reversible placemats will make eating at the coffee table a cheerier — and neater — practice. They will catch those errant grains of rice and splatters of sauce and a quick shake-down over the trash can will leave them clean again. Bet you didn’t think post-take-out clean up could be even easier, did ya?
Reversible Oilcloth Placemats
makes 4 placemats
1/2 yard of oilcloth (1/4 yard of each print)
sewing glue or sewing machine
ruler or a box lid or book to trace
When sewing fast and loose like this without a pattern, I think the best thing is to find an object you can trace directly on the fabric. I used a box lid that was 15″ x 12″. Find an object around that house that works for you, or just measure out the shape with a ruler.
Iron wrong side of the oilcloth on a low setting if it has deep crinkles from being folded. Trace or measure out shapes on the wrong sides of both pieces of oilcloth. Cut out with scissors. Put one cut-out shape on a flat surface, wrong side up. Place the other pattern of oilcloth on top, wrong sides together and printed side facing you. Pin if sewing and stitch along all four edges, or carefully run sewing glue along the edges between the two pieces of oilcloth, press and smooth. Let dry. Cut along all four edges with pinking shears. Eat! [Edited thanks to Juliann's helpful feedback to this sewing novice.]