I was cleaning out a box of fabric samples recently, and I found these lovely pieces of linen and cotton that I ordered from Textile Arts a while ago. They were a decent size, so I decided to turn them into cocktail napkins. At first I felt guilty about this, like I was stealing. But then I remembered I had paid for the samples (something like 50¢ plus shipping), and I felt better. Still, when you consider that one of these fabrics sells for $165 a yard, it does feel like a bit of a steal.
These are Stig Lindberg designs from the 1950s, produced by the Ljungbergs Factory. You can see a nice representation of Lindberg’s work on the Fishink blog here. The black background square and round (Melodi) are 100% linen; the green background square (Garden) is a cotton and linen blend. Melodi is the more expensive of the two. Garden sells for $120 a yard, although it is currently on sale for $95 at Textile Arts.
The fabrics are such a nice, heavy weight that I didn’t want to finish them with any kind of folded edge, so I just cut them to the size I wanted and ran a line of straight machine stitching all the way around each piece, about 1/8″ in from the edge. Then I used three strands of cotton embroidery floss to create a blanket stitch around the edges, making sure with every stitch to place my needle just inside (i.e., the center of the napkin side) of the machine stitching.
I found the cocktail recipe in one of my late sister-in-law Carol’s copies of Real Simple magazine while visiting with her not all that long ago. I’ve been very fond of vermouth ever since my husband and I first tasted it at an Italian restaurant in Mountain View that is long gone now, Two Guys from Italy. They used to welcome us (well everyone who looked old enough to drink really) with a little glass of sweet vermouth. It made us feel warm and welcome and a bit continental. I have also enjoyed a little vermouth in Manhattans, but I’m afraid those are too strong for me these days. So I was very happy to find this lighter idea. It’s just vermouth and club soda and a cherry (with a spoonful of syrup from the jar). I like to add a couple of dashes of bitters to give it a little more complexity. It’s very nice. You could even mix up a pitcher if you’d like. You’ll find the Real Simple article here.
p.s. Do you like those cocktail glasses? They’re from Crate & Barrel; see Emilio, Lewis and Ray on this page. They not only look good, they feel good in the hand too.