recycling lunch and dinner and fabric

January 29, 2014



This post is all about recycling:  recycling a dinner party into a luncheon and after that, recycling fabric.

We had friends over for a casual dinner on Sunday night.  We had just come back from spending the night in the city so I set my table the day before and had a simple menu planned.  We pretended it was winter (California is experiencing unwinterlike warm dry weather so it wasn't easy) and made soup.  Then I remembered that I was also having my book club over for lunch the next day so I doubled the recipe.  The next morning I emptied the dishwasher and put it all right back on the table.  The only change was to remove the candles and replace the wine glasses for iced tea glasses.  I then served exactly the same menu as the night before.  Nice 'n easy!

Endive with hummus and honeyed almonds, sliced apples and white cheddar grilled sandwiches were perfect with soup.


Roasted Tomato Soup with Wild Rice
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Hummus in Endive with Honeyed Almonds

Every guest said, "I haven't had a grilled cheese sandwich in years"!  I know, me neither!  But the cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery were too tempting and thought a gourmet grilled cheese would be perfect with the soup.  The hummus was from Trader Joe's; I just put a dab at the end of a endive leaf, sprinkled some slivered honeyed almonds and snipped Italian parsley on the top.  It was really popular so I'm bringing that to a Superbowl party on Sunday.  A bit of a departure from typical Superbowl food!  I passed chocolate candies for dessert.

I love the paper pine cone place mats from Belle Banquet
Arte Italica dinnerware, discontinued Portofino pattern

On the table I'm using the napkins I made from discontinued sample fabrics.  About 5 years ago I made 4 dozen or so large dinner napkins in shades of creams and whites in different tone on tone patterns and jacquards.  They are made from discontinued fabric samples and are either silk, linen, cotton or a blend.  Most of the fabrics were milled in Italy and they're ALL simply beautiful.  When I worked in a linen shop we had numerous large samples of fabric for our customers to choose for their custom made sheets, etc.  The fabrics were so lovely, but when they were discontinued, hold on, they were (please sit down for this) thrown out.  I did warn you to sit down.  That was their fate before I arrived on the scene.  For the 5 years I worked there I took home every single solitary unwanted scrap no matter how tiny.  Over the years I made quilts, purses, guest towels, pillows, doll clothes, tablecloths and napkins.  Here are samples of my recycled goodies that came out of my sewing room.

I made a big market bag.

This quilt was a gift for a new born baby boy.

Here is one for a baby girl.  I love to quilt.  These are both machine pieced and hand quilted.

I made some beautiful napkins.
The napkin rings are vintage sterling silver that I've collected over the years,
before they got too expensive!

Two stacks of guest towels.

I cut stacks and stacks and stacks of quilt squares and gave them to everyone I knew who would have them!

A stack of Kindle cases to hand out.

a stack of napkins.

I love to make dolly clothes.  Looking at this picture makes me want to make some more.

This lime green scrap was perfect for clothespin dolls for my granddaughter's room.

I recovered all my pillows too!

I admit to being a total lover and scrounger of fabric.  I really do hate to see any of it go to waste.  When I had my two living room sofas recovered recently I asked the upholsterer to save the fabric and I made two dozen napkins we use for our every day napkins.  He said that he'd never heard of making napkins out of used sofa fabric.  Why not?  Seems perfectly normal to me.

Since it was book club I should tell you what we read.  We just finished reading A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous and our next book is The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I really like this author.  I've read two of her previous books and they remain favorites.  I'm also listening to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt just because it seems to be on everyone's list.  I belong to and get a book a month.  I am usually pretty behind and right now I know I have a few book credits that I need to use.  I think Audible is great if you like to listen to books.  I put them on my phone and listen to them when I walk and when I knit.  The Kindle is also great for knitting and reading.  If I have a project I can knit by touch I like to read from the Kindle.

Between the library, my Kindle and audible books, I rarely buy a book anymore.  I borrowed A Woman in Berlin from a friend and I'll put The Lowlands on my Kindle. I know a lot of people prefer books, but I don't have much of a preference.  I really love the convenience of a Kindle.  As for newspapers, we still get the Wall St. Journal, that is something I still like to hold in my hand.  We don't subscribe to any magazines. Oh wait, I take that back, I am getting Bon Appetit and my husband, Golf.  We ordered them from our granddaughter for a school fundraiser but I really don't want magazines that much anymore, I prefer my blogs now.  Our library has a very nice magazine reading area so sometimes I'll go there and browse through magazines if I'm missing them.  It's funny how the way we read has changed in such a short time.  I like having so many options.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great week.


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  1. Love that you saved all the fabrics and recycled them!! Can't believe people would just throw them out!! Also love your idea of repeating your menu the next day! I am always so intimidated by what to serve guests, and make it way too difficult! I really enjoy all your party posts! Thanks for all the great inspiration and ideas. I need to start sewing again. Really miss it!

  2. Those baby quilts are very special. And of course, beautiful! You are so talented, Kristen. Delighted to find you.
    Cheers from DC,
    PS - Love your dinner to lunch menu tip! I'd rather enjoy time with guests than cooking twice!!

  3. Amazing what you were able to do with all those scrap fabrics! Lindy

  4. You are just my creativity idol right now! I used to haunt a local upholstery shop for beautiful remnants, and now I want to go back. Keep showing us your ideas/projects, please. BTW, I adore that one of your photos included dogs playing in the background!

  5. Aah all that sumptious fabric is calling to me big time....wonderful that you have made such great use of what would have been thrown out...glad I was sitting down when I read that....
    I've come over to your blog from the Rowan group on Ravelry and I won't be leaving what I've read.
    Greetings from Northern Ireland where we have more rain than we ever need or want

  6. Fabulous fabric recycling, you did an amazing job and your table and accessories are stunning! I love it all!

  7. THROWN OUT??!?!??!! I don't even sew, and I know that's got to be a criminal offense or mortal sin or SOMETHING!!! My goodness! I am SO GLAD you came to the rescue! would think they would have at least donated it to a senior center for the residents to do quilting or something like that. You have created so much beautiful stuff with the pieces over the years...I just can't believe it was all being tossed!!!!!!!!! :-(

    I'm a big believer in recycling tables. Do it all the time because it's prudent in every single way. Also a big believer in soup and grilled cheese sandwiches! :-)

    Enjoy your warm weather, although I saw on the news this evening that the unusually dry weather is causing escalating problems with the water source. I think they said the government actually PAID people to have their lawns removed in Arizona!!! Wow...that's deep! I think I also heard that the governor went on TV asking that people conserve as much water as possible, even to limit flushing!!! Now you KNOW it's serious when they ask THAT of you!!!

    Take care, and have a great Super Bowl weekend!

  8. Wow, I think I will look at these photographs over and over again for inspiration! it is just phenomenal how many beautiful things you have created with those unwanted fabric scraps! I am in awe!

  9. Man, what treasures your house holds. I'd love to visit and root around.... even better, each item seems to have a story!

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