Friday, February 26, 2010

Place Mats

There's something about taking photos that makes me want to live a better life.

Last year, when Loreal got me into scrapbooking, it really pushed us to go out and explore Arizona so that I had more photos to add to the scrapbook. If it wasn't for the urge to do things worthy of taking photos of, we might never have tasted the best of Arizona's wines, eaten pizza at the funky Velvet Elvis, or hiked Madera Canyon in the snow.

Now, in the same way, this project to take a photo every day is inspiring me to do more, to create more, to see more in the world around me. I'm starting to see photo opportunities on the drive home. I'm bringing my camera when I walk the dog.

One thing, though, that I've sort of been restraining myself from photographing is food, mostly because our kitchen table can be so boring, I've never felt the urge to remember it!

Partly, this problem was due to our hideous place mats. Well, not my taste, at least!

Yes, this really is the only set we owned! We had bamboo ones at one time, but they started to rot! And we have ones that say "Happy Thanksgiving," but they're packed away (and really wouldn't be much better).

So, in the interests of being able to feel proud of any food photos I might want to take, I set out to make some more photogenic place mats! And since it was so easy, I thought I'd write a simple tutorial in case you're in need of a new set, too.

Most of the fabrics are ones I used in Matilda's play mat, as I loved the colour combination so much. (And now, if we ever change her on the kitchen table, it'll match nicely!!!!)

All I did was cut 3 inch wide strips of each fabric, about 19 inches long. Six place mats, then, needs 30 strips total.

I pinned them together, right sides facing, five strips to a mat, and sewed them, allowing a 1/4 seam allowance. (Approximately... I'm terrible at even seam allowances, but they turned out okay!)

Once sewed, I ironed the seams flat... my favourite bit!

Then, I pinned the top, right side down, to a big piece of red felt, which would serve as a backing. I cut around the place mat, and sewed the top and the felt together, leaving an opening for turning. I then top-stitched all the way around, which closed the opening-gap, and held it all together.

Finished! Ready for dinner... and photos!

When I showed them to Justin, he frowned and said "You know I'm just going to spill stuff on them, right?"

Yes, well, luckily we have six of them, and so there'll always be another clean one ready waiting!


Loreal said...

Awe, I'm happy that the scrapbooking project got you motivated to take more pictures and therefor get out and do more things, and it's terrific that you have a new photography project to inspire you in the same way! (So will you PLEASE relocate to Georgia so you can inspire me, too?!) I love your gorgeous new placemats, they will look beautiful with your dishes! (And I also love Justin's comment... hahaha... I can just picture him saying that!)