For this new Featured Project, stitcher Bonnie has gone above and beyond the call of duty for her daughter and created a whole set of stunning accessories for a slightly witchy, apothecary themed kitchen!
What started out as a simple sachet soon turned into a roman shade, and then a whole set of apothecary towels that helped transform this kitchen into a space fit for cooking up some grand mischief.
Bonnie joins us today to talk about the inspiration behind the kitchen and how the whole thing came together…
Talk about what inspired this. How did the idea for this kitchen get started?
The kitchen belongs to my daughter, who is Velma Nightshade, hostess of the pagan podcast WitchesBrewHaHa. That fact is only one part of the inspiration. For her, the kitchen began at a Hallmark store at Halloween some years ago when they had a selection of apothecary jars listing various sinister contents and a spider infused covered apothecary glass candle. It was a great and unfortunately unique inspiration on their part.
Since then she has added large glass canisters of various shapes in place of traditional kitchen canisters. Her love of the old, eclectic, and slightly witchy is evident and quite suitable. (The black stemware was from a friend’s failed marriage, the stained glass witch, from a trip to Salem, MA. and several items were found in an antique store she frequents looking for inspiration.)
What make you choose the Apothecary series?
When she came to visit in May last year, I had only shortly before discovered your site through a mention on Embroidery Library. We took a look and were so excited that the wish list I had started became a must have list. She fell in love with the Paris items, since that has been one of her dream destinations for years, and the Nightshade connection became a requirement. That led to the Apothecary set, and we were off. It seemed only appropriate since the kitchen was already headed in that direction.
Which designs did you use? How long did it all take?
I had already made the Raven’s Claw Tea as a towel, but I purchased the original six Apothecary designs in May and went on a cyber hunt for towels to embroider. I finally gave up on that, but I did not buy the fabric until mid September. I used three yards of Kona Cotton in ivory from Hancock Fabrics for the towels, and Baby Lock Ellageo for the embroidery and a Baby Lock Grace for the sewing and leafy hem design.
The designs I started with were from the small Apothecary Design Pack. I had finished these six by Christmas when my daughter came to visit. By then I had purchased the two new small sized Apothecary designs, Witch Hazel and Poison which came out in October, along with Dark Elegance Border and Cobweb Corner and the largest Apothecary Sign. I bought more fabric for the window valence to get the length needed, since the width was too short.
I work full time, make crafts and edit the monthly newsletter for Dogwood Crafters in Dillsboro, NC, and also made a pillow for my grandson and granddaughter for Christmas, so my time for this project was intermittent. I shipped the entire set in mid-March, which for me was amazing! I think the decision making took the longest, since we were not both in the same state. Several fabric samples and photos of the layout of the valence went back and forth.
Talk about all the towels on the cabinets. How are they attached?
Once Velma received the set, she did not want to use them for fear of possibly messing them up. She could not figure out how to display all eight towels at once with only one oven handle. I was delighted with the cabinet door solution. All of the towels are the same finished size: 12 ¾ X 23 ¾ (pre-washed), and they are just folded in different ways and then attached using loops of strong tape with the sticky side out.
The loop is made around the top fold around the back of the towel, which, since the sticky side is facing the front on this side, supports the fold and weight and holds down the front a bit, and then the sticky side continues around the back facing the cabinet door. The two towels above the microwave are done the same way, but they are secured at the top and then under the embroidery to mimic the shape of the cabinet door. The Witch Hazel label to the right of the microwave is simply folded to be narrower, again to mimic the shape of the door. This one, since it is bulkier because of the narrowness, is also secured at the very bottom. The Apothecary sign above the Roman shade is tacked along the top to the support for the actual shade.
What did you put on your roman shade, including all the fun stuff hanging down from it?
Before starting the Apothecary towels, I had made her the Madame Nightshade’s Beauty Emporium Bag, which is in her bathroom. I made the smaller size as a surprise for her for Christmas, which is the one on her roman shade. The Antique Key I made in many copies for myself, for her, and for her friends. I put two side by side in the hoop to reduce “travel” time. The key specifically was put up as a representation of security and safety in the house.
There are several other items collected over the years, including a sign on which Velma wrote out a simple meal blessing, a corn dolly made during an Autumn Equinox celebration several years ago, a little silver piggy bank ornament to represent prosperity, a pentacle pendant as a sign of her spiritual path, a Ganesha charm – the elephant-headed Hindu god of removing obstacles (put up in an attempt to help keep Velma’s cats from being underfoot in the kitchen) and several other witchy decorations. Things are added to the shade frequently and this is the thing that changes in the kitchen most consistently.
Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying a similar project?
I did have some difficulty getting the fabric hooped tightly enough that the designs did not pull (a common problem I have.) The large Apothecary sign gave me trouble, so I cut it out like a patch and then appliquéd it onto the valance fabric once the other designs were finished. I might suggest that solution for any of the larger sizes of these designs, since the edges are so well finished that they do not come loose when cut out.
Had we planned to put the individual designs onto cabinet doors, I would have cut and sewn the sizes accordingly. However, if she ever wants to change their use, she has a matched set of towels. A more permanent attachment process might happen in the future, but without harming the door itself, the strong tape seems to be the best solution at this point.
Any comments on your new apothecary kitchen from visitors?
Since it is such a recent addition, very few people have seen it. The entire house has a rather witchy esthetic, so the kitchen fits in well with its surroundings. Most comments have been about how the towels look like they belong on the cabinets and how they fill out the apothecary feel of the kitchen.
What’s your next project going to be?
The Tarot cards are waiting for a good deal of ambition and perhaps retirement in a year or so. In the mean time, probably something from Celtic Majesty or maybe the Crazy Cat Lady head the list. Maybe I’ll try sewing out Pi in a variegated color thread. There are so many wonderfully fun designs that I will keep myself plenty busy and my daughters and grandchildren well supplied.
I just might make something for myself next….
Thanks so much for sharing Bonnie! You’re a fantastic mum for helping your daughter create such a cool kitchen, and the results really speak for themselves. That’s a whole lot of stitching in one place, and it’s so great to see the designs come together like that. I do also hope you get time to stitch some stuff for yourself, I’m sure it will be equally amazing.
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