Saturday, December 11, 2010

A big shout out to my tea-towel scouts

This week in my letterbox I received a parcel. Lovingly hand-wrapped, with a bird stuck to the front, I knew it'd be good. Upon opening, I was DELIGHTED to reveal a wondrous haul of immaculate vintage linen and a handful of thoughtfully selected CDs.

The sender of this most lovely and timely parcel was my friend Genna: Lismore resident, crafty lady and super-duper primo diligent vintage linen scout. Seriously, sometimes I feel like she should be on my payroll. Every time I see her she arrives, looking beautiful, with tea-towels and tablecloths in hand. And when I don't see her, they arrive in the post. Amazing!

The thing about using a LOT of vintage linen is that, even with my own diligent op-shopping, I can't usually find the amount of linen I need, especially given the (slightly upsetting) 'picked over' nature of Sydney's op-shops. This is where my scouts come in. People who know me know that I love linen. I love tea-towels, I love tablecloths, and I love brightly coloured sheets. Some people, like Genna and the ever-wondrous Jay, bring me fabric-related treats in a constant, sunshiny trickle. A little fix whenever I lay my lucky eyes on them.

Others, like my mum and Nana, tend towards the bulk haul: A shopping bag or garbage bag full of treats gathered all at once or in little snippets. Clare, purveyor of the Eudyptula Minor tea-towel, is a scout who provides her finds in the post, given the infrequency of our visits (alas). My little sister Meg brings me tea-towels from her travels in rural Australia (a veritable treasure trove, I assure you) and recently recruited scout Dave is also a holiday op-shopper. He spends time in the linen section while his wife Jan looks for green depression glass. Glad to provide a pastime for the reluctant op-shopper.

Then there's the tea-towel 'wrapping paper'. This is a personal favourite of mine, as I have problems with the disposable nature of wrapping paper (yes, I know you can save it, but there are only so may drawers of carefully folded, yet inevitably wrinkled, wrapping paper one household can service). The tea-towel or tablecloth solves this conundrum, providing beautiful, but easily reusable wrapping media for a vast range of gift items. Just today I received a Christmas gift from first-time tea-towel scout Niki, who presented me with a set of green glass Pernod glasses (yes, she is a winner) lovingly and carefully wrapped in a mint-condition Norfolk Island tea-towel. Crazy good.

I find it especially touching when friends who craft give me linen which I know they could use perfectly well themselves. Sometimes, as in the case of the Lyrebird tea-towel, the generosity is overwhelming.

So, to linen scouts of all kinds, I salute you. I could not do what I do without many helping eyes and hands at op-shops across the nation.


  1. I feel it only fair to give voice to all the gasping I do when I read your blog Annie.

    Awh, Jeff come and look at this!
    etc. etc.

    I too am a lover of vintage linen but not because I do such creative stuff with it. I have a thing for calendar tea towels and tourist tea towels and beautiful tablecloths. I will scout you some for sure.

    Your doily bunting made my heart skip a beat!

    Yay for craft!!!

  2. and those pillowcases. Oh my!!!