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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Kitty the Christmas Fairy Helper

If you ‘like’ us on facebook, the chances are that you are already familiar with Kitty.  For those of you who have however missed our latest office addition, super camera shy Kitty has arrived to help out with everything in our busiest time of the year. I have started calling her my Christmas Fairy….

In real life Kitty isn’t a fairy, but a textile designer who has recently graduated from Leeds School of Art.  She’s rather talented too check out her blog which shows lots of different water colour paintings that she applies to silk scarves – we like a lot.

Keen to make suggestions and use a bit of nounce, Kitty has set about re-designing packaging for various bits and pieces – namely our handbag mirrors which frankly looked a little bit miserable before but which now look super smart and have been packed up and are off on their journey to Waddesdon Mannor.

As well as mastering the art of making peg bags, lavender bags and cushions.

Kitty has helped style and organise our photo shoot 

The only thing Kitty hasn’t done is make any tea…. might have to rectify that one! 🙂


Moths

Moths are a nuisance.  There are not two ways about it, and if you have been one of the unfortunate many this year to experience the plague that has descended upon the country then you will know only too well about the devastation moths can bring.

I’m sure that many of you can’t quite work out why on earth we should therefore choose to base a whole design on the little devils then?

Well, until I found this book below at an antique fair I too thought that they were miserable clothes munchers or dull fluttery things that always found themselves at the nearest lightbulb.

But not a bit of it is true.  Page after page in Richard South’s gem of a book show colourful, highly decorative little creatures and with my observation skills clearly heightened,  I happened to spy my very own cinnebar moth several days later.

Unable to resist the temptation to get my sketch book and pencils out, I set to…. learning about Umbers, Emeralds, Tigers, Burnets and Ghost Moths and so many more.

And now we have a whole range of products featuring my moths.

Tea Towels….

Napkins….

Lavender bags

Notecards….

Gift Tags…..

& Hand Bag Mirrors.

So you see… there’s a lot more to a moth than meets the eye!


Dead Beetle

This morning I spied a dead beetle.

I was sad to see that it was dead but it made me think about that AA Milne poem and also reminded me about the initial stages of setting up Warbeck & Cox and a trip that involved other dead beetles, inspired furious sketching and the creation of our most popular design.

Ten years ago or so, I found myself with the task of entertaining a young cousin and was told to take him to Tring Zooililogical Museum (now part of the Natural History Museum).  A firm favourite as a child I was not convinced that well over a decade later I would feel quite the same way about this venue.  How wrong I was.

On opening that first drawer and rediscovering the rows and rows of little creatures pinned and labelled so neatly, I was hooked.  So hooked infact that I had to shoot off to the gift shop and buy a sketch pad and get scribbling.

Fascinated by the delicate, intricate shapes, patterns and irridescent colours I had to get drawing ….which is exactly what I did.

Beetle to buffalo and alligator to zebra, the collection has it all.  Thankfully for us, the Rothschild family decided to give the entire collection to the nation in 1937 and here are just a few of the amazing treasures I discovered.

Interestingly, Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild’s fascination and subsequent gargantuan collection began as a small boy when he discovered a dead beetle –  a present he promptly gave it to his nanny!

Funny what comes about from finding a beetle isn’t it?


The Wedding Season is Most Definitely Upon Us

If like us, you leave wedding lists until the very last minute – only to discover that everything has been snapped up by the all the other guests (apart from the toaster or hoover bags), then panic not!

Due to popular demand, here at Warbeck & Cox we have decided to put together bundles of napkins and tea towels as a sort of home starter pack – perfect for a new home owner or new bride and groom too…

Wedding Kit

Each kit includes 2 sets of napkins, so that’s 8 in total and 2 of our linen union tea towels all for the price of  £50 (usual RRP is £57). And because moving house or getting married is such an exciting time for your friends or loved ones, we’ve decided to throw in the gift wrap for free saving you an extra £5 – a total saving of £12!  The gift wrapping by the way, includes 100% recycled tissue paper, tied up in a pretty pink ribbon and one of our hand printed gift tags for you to write a little message… Seriously, what’s not to like?

So if you have a wedding or know of someone moving into their new home… why not take a peek at our designs?  And remember, you’re more than welcome to mix and match.. just specify on the website when placing your order!

Talking of weddings… we’re off to one tomorrow, so no surprises what the bride and groom have in store!

Happy weekends folks    xxxxxx


Tea Towels, Tea Towels everywhere – oh, and new Napkins

I just love it when large boxes arrive in the office – must be some strange nostalgic thing linking back to my early years sitting beside the Christmas tree a couple of days before the 25th looking longingly at all the exciting parcels & packages. I was ‘allowed to look but not touch’ and would sit for considerable lengths of time dreaming of what they might contain…  25 years later I’m still just as excited when I unpack 15 realms of A4 printer paper!  Anyway, I digress…….

Today, we have received some lovely big boxes containing more of our latest design – the Games Kit in winning gold & sleek black.  Obviously, we were thinking about all the exciting sports events that will be taking place later this year at the London 2012 Olympic Games when we designed them and they feature footballs, boxing gloves, cycling helmets, tennis balls, fencing swords, volley balls, riding whips, ping pong paddles, shuttlecocks, hockey sticks, swimming goggles and trophies! Phew.. I think we’ve mentioned them all!

They are absolutely perfect for any sports mad friend or family member…. and particularly brill for a sporty Dad this Father’s Day (next month).. perhaps giving him asubtle hint to help with the washing up after Sunday lunch!

games kit tea towel

Also to arrive were lots more napkins. We are particularly thrilled with the latest colourway – vibrant pink which has been asked for so many times that we have lost count!  Great for picnics and parties don’t you think?

So, our plans for the bank holiday?  Looks like we’re going to be doing an awful lot of folding, packing and finding somewhere in our small office to store them!

Hope you all have a wonderful break & avoid the sporadic downpours!

Xxxx