A simple Thing; an ironing board bringing Joy

A simple thing which brings a smile to every day tasks.

Finished article
something simple to give pleasure in use

William Morris (British textile designer, associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement.) said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Well I have a number of things in my house which while useful, do not bring me joy.

Simple things
the starting point

One such is my tabletop ironing board that I use for craft projects; I had been aware for a while that when ironing I could feel and sometimes see the wire base imprinting on the fabric. It needed a make over. So I took it apart and then realised I didn’t have the wadding I needed to repair it. Rats!   Being on lockdown due to Covid 19 there was no bobbing out to buy more. 

new wadding
a little pieceing needed

 Finding a couple of small pieces, which I thought would be suitable, I needed to piece it to fit the frame. A simple zigzag stitch keeps it together. I’d taken the cover off and so took the decision to wash it while I sorted the lining.

 The new wadding was stuck to the original wadding with spray glue to stop the two layers moving against each other. The two layers together gave a much more substantial padding, which I hope will improve the pressing of my craft projects.

ugly cover fabric
Grubby, faded, not giving me joy

Putting the old cover back on didn’t fill me with joy, its boring, white and still stained, and to make matters worse when trying to get it off I snapped the draw string which fits it to the ironing board. I thought I might use elastic to replace it but again due to Covid19 I had no elastic. Well I did but I had another far more important use for it, of which more later ( see blog post “worldwide pandemic” )

Trawling through my haberdashery stash I found a cone of black polyester ribbon about .5cm wide, normally I wouldn’t dream of using black ribbon as a drawstring on a white project but needs must. It threaded well with a bodkin and it did the job.

Mis-printed Libery lawn
even misprints have their uses.

Before putting it back on I used it as an approximate pattern for another cover. I’d seen on another blog somewhere, sometime, can’t remember when,  a new cover made with a gorgeous Liberty fabric.  I have some Liberty fabric, bought many years ago again can’t remember where or when but it’s mis-printed so over the space of several yards there are many different misprints, from almost perfect, to completely unrecognisable. Consequently I’ve never found a purpose for it. So I reckoned I could spare a half yard piece from one end.

A thing of beauty....
the finished article, a joy to use.

The result is another cover, over the original, and with a similar black poly ribbon drawstring. It fills me with joy. Such a simple change, no money spent, everything came from my stash. A pleasure to use, and I don’t have to hide it or stow it away when we have visitors. A simple thing which brings a smile to every day tasks.

The Button Jar

as a button jar mine was hardly a thing of beauty

 cut up and ready for use
cut up and ready for use

So, having cut up all my charity shop shirts I have a satisfactory pile of checked fabrics which make the beginnings of a potential new plaid quilt. I think I need some more greens and also some more deep saturated colours. I’m going to keep collecting till I have a mix I like, and then start cutting.

mostly shirt buttons
mostly shirt buttons

One secondary benefit of all those shirts is a healthy supply of shirt buttons to add to my button jar. Pictured are my shirt buttons and a selection of buttons which were orphaned and hanging about the house in drawers and on surfaces waiting to be re-homed.
Being a practical person, when I come home from a shopping trip with a new garment I always cut off the little plastic bag with the spare buttons in and put them carefully aside in case I ever lose a button… but I’m also a great believer of that old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” or in this case “a stitch in time saves having to replace a button” so if I see a loose button I re-stitch it, consequently I rarely lose my buttons. Those many little plastic bags containing buttons remain long after the garment they came with has long since departed my wardrobe.

button jar
button jar

These buttons in bags have mostly gravitated to my button jar, but they do not have much to recommend aesthetically, in fact as a button jar mine was hardly a thing of beauty. Plastic has its place and I would not be without it, but it is not pleasing to the eye.

no more plastic bags
no more plastic bags

Taking as my guide William Morris, who said “Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” I want my button jar to be both useful and beautiful. I have ejected all the plastic and added the shirt buttons. It is only a small jar, and not very full but time will take care of that, grandma’s always have the most well stocked button collections and I have a few years to go yet before I will qualify, age wise. I wonder how many plaid shirt quilts I would have to make to fill the jar? But then if I use the buttons to tie the quilt I might end up buying buttons.

That's better.
That’s better.