comments: 29

Towels2 Here's me, last Sunday, standing at the cash register at the antique mall, to myself, out loud: "Oh, I don't know what to do! I really want these! But they're $45! But I want them. But I shouldn't have them. They're in perfect condition. I want them! How cute are these! They go with my kitchen! But of course I'd never use them. That's just wrong. I can't have them! But I want them! Oh no what do I do!"

This little performance was accompanied by me sort of marching in place anxiously and flinging my hands to my cheeks dramatically and the salesgirl staring at me with pure loathing and impatience. She betrayed not one hint of advice or encouragement. She was wearing a black corset that actually looked very cool in a not-too-Victorian way. I thought about complimenting her but she didn't like me and I could see that only getting my hiney out of there would change that. Occasionally she looked past me hopefully, to see if anyone else was waiting to check out. They were not. I could not be rushed or intimidated; I stood there for ten solid minutes. Eventually someone else did want to check out and I said, "Okay fine! These too!" and shoved them toward her. My sister gave me a set of day-of-the-week dishtowels once and I got really weird about using the towels only on the day indicated; like, if it was a Tuesday but the only towel in the drawer said "Friday" I would become sort of twitchy and worried that I shouldn't use it, and grab a big handful of paper towels. I have some weird ticks. Another is standing and watching the blinking stoplight four blocks away from my upstairs bathroom window; if I see it blink once, I have to stand there and wait for it to blink three times before I move. It sucks. I love these towels a whole lot; I could save myself the OCD moment and just not use them -- they would get so trashed here. They're all hand done.

Anyhoo, you're sick of me now, too, no doubt. I know. I'm even driving myself crazy lately. Kitchen spaces are not my natural territory, but every couple of months I seem to make a push to reclaim them, somehow, in the hopes that I can figure it out; there is no single exchange that makes me want to scream like "What should we do for dinner?"-"I don't know, what do you want?"-"I don't know" does.  Thank you to everyone who commented on the pantry stuff, and to Meggiecat, who always knows where the good stuff is, including new shelf edging (dare I go to Wal-Mart?), and to Donna for the Martha pantry list, am ambitious array of provisions to be sure! As Donna says, "I would feel triumphant if I had a fourth of the ingredients on hand at any given time." Me too. Here's hoping.

Oh -- and Fred Flare just announced the call for entries for the Next Big Thing 2006, if you can stand the heat in that kitchen. I'm also so loving their interview with MS Kids editor-in-chief Jodi Levine. I love her.


Oh, those towels are BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL. The price actually doesn't even seem that extravagant, at least by my local (Southern California) standards.

Oh I would have been doing the same thing with those towels, they are so cute! I think you made the right decision. In a few months you won't even remember what you paid, just that they are perfect and make you happy!

Drat, now I'm going to have to go and get some shelf edging. I can't live without it now!

i´m so glad i´m not the only one who does this while shopping! and i know what you mean about the days of the week...i did the same thing when i was little and had day of the week panties.

those towels are absolutely fabulous and worth every penny!

So, you have the "What's for dinner? I don't know." conversation in your house too, huh? Well, at least I'm not the only one. My husband and I want to open a restaurant called "I Don't Know"! He he. Love, love, love those towels! Sooo purdy! I would be so afraid to use them and get 'em stained and that would be just too heartbreaking...

I hate to see what happens to you when you are faced with the day-of-the-week panties!
Lovin' my Spokandy ...

The dish towels are wonderful. I suggest you break out of the mold and actually use them... not worrying about which day you are on.
Too often we buy beautiful things and never use them... it puts a smile on my face when I actually use things like this because I feel that I am honoring the person who made them.

For a minute there, I was getting all flushed. I thought perhaps you had caught me standing in line at the _____shop (fill in the blank...antique, yarn, fabric)and were doing a mocking narrative of the whole scene!
(Love the towels. Good decision!)

I've just beeen catching up with your recent posts. What an offering of visual loveliness and great writing! I particularly like your edition of Love in a Cold Climate - the most perfect book design.

A. Nonny Mouse says: February 17, 2006 at 12:20 PM

I just want you to know that you can make your own shelf edging from paper doilies or just paper. Go to MSL: . It is basically an accordion fold and paper punch affair - inexpensive and you probably have the supplies. You can use printer paper or whatever pretty paper you like, or paint a strip of adding machine paper... Skip Wally World unless you must have fabric lace.
And about the towels: You could display them as a tiered curtain or a handkerchief hem style curtain. Then you could look at them all every day. Don't try this with underwear in the kitchen, please!

Those towels are perfect. They match everything you've posted here so perfectly that I imagine you might find your initials secretly monogrammed in the corners -- they were made for you! (You could also use them as quilt blocks if you don't want to use them as towels.)

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who talks to myself when I'm out shopping for things I don't really need ;-)

You can always hang those adorable tea towels in your kitchen for decoration. Like on the oven's handle or a pretty peg somewhere. And change them everyday.

I don't think that I would have the heart to use the towels. But, like Cindie suggests, sometimes it is good just to use nice things we buy for what they were intended.

One more shelf edging resource (though you've gotten such great ideas already) is to check out under "Miscellaneous Hangers." There are a couple cute fabric? printed ones. The rest of the site has some hidden vintage-inspired treasures as well, and the prices are pretty reasonable (not 5 cents and 10 cents anymore, unfortunately).

If you make your own edging, it may be good to use glassine paper, which may last longer than regular paper.

I'm with you on the OCD thing, I always make sure I've unplugged my iron after using it, but I still have to go back and check- twice- and then I'm happy. Utter madness.
We don't have that sort of dinner conversation anymore, now my husband says 'Is there any dinner?' and I say 'Ummm - no,- What about fish and chips from the chippie?'
I am solely responsible for keeping the British Fish Industry afloat.
It's true.

Almost two Sundays I came upon this woman at our local farmer's market. She sells vintage linens and tablecloths, many with California themes. She held up her prized possession, which was way too expensive for me, but it was amazing to see. She's going to be back on Sunday. Let's see if I can manage to just say hi and resist buying something.

Like they say, you always regret the things you don't do more than the things you do do.

I too am no kitchen expert but at Christmas I got an unquenchable desire to make truffles as gifts and discovered a fabulous site -

It's not a pretty site but it has so much great information about all kinds of cooking stuff that even I got excited and made gifts that people loved!

we need to go to the antique mall together and support each other in our purchasing. and i am not sick of you yet. so keep yapping about your kitchen.

Congratulations for NOT letting yourself be disturbed by a snotty shop attendant!
And who on earth wouldn't want those napkins/towels, I for one would frame them, not being able to use them on any day I think. Super find.

Those tea towels are beautiful, similar to a new fabric by Designer´s Guild, I´d need to rob a bank to buy some.

I, also, am not sick of you yet. Although I have always joked that day-of-the-week kids underwear is just one way they slowly drive us moms crazy ("well, Mom, what day does this say? Why?? Why is it not today??") Those undies swore me off of day of the week I leave all the good stuff at the store for you. And...I heart Jodie Levine.

oh, jodi levine is my hero! thanks for the link. i would totally be seen mopping up tuesday's mess with friday's towel, no problem (although i do have my own share of ticks).

Lovely towels, I would have done the same thing.

You are so funny :) I always put my car keys in my purse before I leave, then before I shut the door I check for them again, sometimes twice. If anything interupts this ritual, I'll surely lock myself out. My husband rescued me from the Costco parking lot just a couple of months ago, something interupted me. Ho-hum...

The towels are impeccable!

haha! You'd fit right into my family. funny.. :) pretty towels, too!

Those are very beautiful. My great grandmother embroidered a set for me with cute squirrels gathering nuts. They have been completely ruined thanks to a roommate who cleaned up a jar of spilled spaghetti sauce with them, and I'm not completely guilt-free myself. I saw a segment of the old (and actually worthwhile) Martha on these types of dishtowels. She said these were made -- once upon a time - to go in a girl's hope chest, not to be used, and to be passed down. Whoops! Although, I think my great grandmother would be displeased if she thought I wasn't using them.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at