Dirty Tea Towels

dirty tea towel by warbeck and cox1

Whilst we spend much of our time lovingly designing and producing tea towels here at Warbeck & Cox there are others in our house that don’t seem to hold them in such high esteem.

Often I discover them in a dirty, soggy pile by the washing machine, in a damp, stinky bucket under the stairs or simply left where a foot has used them to mop up a spillage on the floor somewhere. It has, I’m afraid to report also been known to find them lurking in the garage having been used to wash the car wheels!

At the very start of W&C I felt slightly saddened that no one seemed to care about my ‘special’ textiles until I realised that there are some things that are just not worth stressing about.  Tea towels are for using.  Full stop.

The long faces now gone, I have set about learning how to launder them effectively.  With an almost ban on almost all domestic chemical cleaners in our house I have practised with all sorts of products and thought I would share my discovery with you.

What you need.

  • A pile of smelly, dirty, stained tea towels and napkins
  • A large saucepan
  • A scoop of vanish stain remover
  • A lemon
  • A wooden spoon

So, every now and again, when I get a whiff of kipper from my tea towel or something equally revolting or we’ve had a BBQ and some little rascal has left spare rib juice and BBQ sauce all over a napkin I gather them up and head for the cleaning cupboard.  Filling my saucepan with luke warm water and a spoon or 2 of vanish I chuck them in and leave for a couple of days giving them the odd stir.  I should mention that I have been known to forget about them completely and remember my soaking cloths a week or 2 later with no negative results! When I feel that they’ve had long enough to soak I halve the lemon, pop it in the pan and straight onto the Aga where I will gently simmer for anything between half an hour and an hour.

tea towel cleaning

Taking the pan off the heat I leave it to cool before bunging them in the washing machine along with my other whites.   REMEMBER NOT TO BURN YOURSELF WHEN TRANSFERRING THE CLOTHS – THE WATER WILL STAY HOT FOR LONGER THAN YOU THINK.

Pouring the remaining yuckie liquid (and it is truly disgusting) down the sink and chucking the lemons in the bin I give the saucepan a REALLY good wash so that my bolognaise doesn’t taste of vanish and lemons the next time I use it!   Once out of the machine the your hard efforts should pay off with delicious, bright, clean and fresh smelling tea towels and if there are any stubborn remaining stains then why not hang the tea towels out on the washing line and let the sun bleach them?

The observant of you may ask why we therefore have care labels that say to wash our products at 50 degrees? Well, as with all printed natural fabrics high laundry temperatures will eventually fade the print but as we said before, we think that tea towels are for using, so if they fade a little, then so be it.  We’d rather they were clean, odourless and free from bacteria.

Happy Domesticity Folks!

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Frances Watts Illustration

Last night we came across a blog post by the incredibly talented illustrator, Frances Watts.  So impressed with what we saw we went straight onto her fab and very unusual website and was not disappointed!  What set her apart for so many other illustrators was her subject matter, which quite frankly is right up our street.

Take a look for yourself……..

Alexander Beetle by Frances Watts Illustration

Dickinson Beetle by Frances Watts illustration

Alexander Beetles By Frances Watts Illustration

Hummingbird by Frances Watts Illustration

Bees Be Kind by Frances Watts Illustration

Nice day to be a frog by Frances Watt Illustration

Butterfly by Frances Watts Illustration

Butterfly by Frances Watts Illustration

Our favourite, of course have to be the beetles, but we’re pretty partial the the ‘Be kind to Bees’ too.

Frances, (not to be confused with the Australian Children’s Book Illustrator) or Franny to her friends lives in deepest Somerset with her photographer husband (also not to be confused with the wildlife photographer with the same name), her little son and lovable hound which is obviously where she gets much of her inspiration.  However, she is happy to take commissions too.

Check out her website and latest blog post for more examples of her work, ways to contact her and the chance to buy one off prints. We’re busy trying to think of an excuse for a party (not such a difficult task) for her to design an invitation for us!


Twitter Friends (and not the social media ones)

Some of my followers may have seen my tweet earlier today about my current ornithological death toll due to window collisions.  That is to say birds flying into my windows rather than my windows crashing into the garden birds.

Unfortunately, we have had 3 such deaths in 24 hours and whilst one lovely follower suggested that my windows were too clean (if only) I started doing a bit of googling as to what it means and more importantly, what if anything I should do if and when this happens again.

The first website I came up with was the mother nature network  which gives pretty fool proof advice should you hear the thump and find a non dead bird.  Admittedly, it is for North American birds but I think we can probably assume that the advice is transferable to sunny old England.

More concerningly however, was the discovery on a blog site called cosmic world that birds flying into windows has superstitious folk trembling in their boots!  Did you know that such an occurrence is supposed to foretell death (yikes)!  Or if the bird eventually flies off it is a sign of impending doom!….

Not overly thrilled with this discovery I searched on.  Thankfully, schelly16 has written a post saying perhaps that they are guardian angels which maybe ties into the American Indian belief that birds are messengers and for both good and bad things.

However, I think with all the birds busy trying to catch food for their nests they are more susceptible of misjudging spaces and distances and seeing reflections  – well that’s what I’m telling myself right now!

P.S – apologies for a pictureless post but I didn’t really think you guys would appreciate photos of our fatalities.