Fall has fallen here at the Fairegarden. Gardening chores will wind down drastically once the final bulbs are planted and the leaves from the maples and dogwoods, among others that need to be dealt with are composted or spread on the beds. This is the time when our thoughts turn to inside endeavors.
Besides cooking and decorating for the upcoming family fun holidays, the days are usually filled with indoor projects. Sewing and knitting are planned, but it was the online pinboard, Pinterest, (I am there as Faire Garden, clever, eh?), that has lit the candle of creativity to try something entirely new and different. It has been over a year now since the switch was made for the morning brew from coffee to tea. The tea bags were previously tossed nonchalantly into the compost bin. Now, they are hung to dry and saved, to be used in some kind of crafty way.
Searching for and looking at the photos of tea bag art, they were added to the Pinterest board entitled Crafts, quilts and wall hangings seemed to be a good match for my skills and desires. The accumulation of tea bags was speeded up with the purchase of a box of one hundred stringless bags in sets of two, the price of $1.79 thrilled my tightwad heart. First they were steeped in a large pot of boiling water, a very strong tea was produced from so many bags. It could have been saved to make sweet tea, an iced southern favorite beverage, or used to dye fabric or weaving material. Both of those have been done in the past. After being allowed to cool, they were squeezed out by hand and laid out to dry on the dining room table on bubblewrap that happened to be lying around.
After a couple of weeks of turning and rearranging for better drying, the tea bags seemed ready. They were sort of wrinkly so they were ironed on the number four setting, labeled *blends of cotton* on my iron.
A roll of some kind of raffia material was found when I was looking for something to use as a backing in my craft/fabric stash. I was thinking of using non-woven interfacing but this seemed right. Eight tea bags, very slightly overlapped went across the width of nineteen inches.
They were pinned in place and sewn on my old featherweight Singer sewing machine using the longest stitch setting. This is the only machine I have ever owned. My dad bought it for me when I was ten years old. I guess he wanted me to learn how to sew. I did take three successful years of sewing in high school after a miserable failing at it during one semester in seventh grade home-ec. I was better at cooking and cleaning the kitchen sink when younger.
Buttonhole craft thread was used to sew the tea bags to the raffia backing, but any type of thread would probably be fine. The executive decision was made to let the bags hang freely, only attached along the top. After the first row was sewn and looked satisfactory, a tape measure was used to mark where the next row of tea bags would be placed. The bags are five inches long so we marked off four and three-quarters inches on each side with pins, then used electrical tape to make the sewing line. Electrical tape was used because it is the first tape I found in the utility closet, any type of tape would probably work just as well.
The finished size is nineteen inches across and twenty-eight inches long. It looks like the vision in my mind and smells divine, like tea. This could be considered finished or there could be embellishment of embroidery or drawing on the tea bags. At one point in my life, everything that came within arm’s reach of me was gussied up in some way. But now, my eyes and psyche crave simplicity, so this project will be left as is. It might be hung in a window to let the light through. That would be nice.
There will be another tea bag craft when many more tea bags are accumulated and dried. There are strings and some staples that must be considered. There may be some hand sewing involved. There is plenty of time to cogitate on it. One cup of tea per day means this will be a lesson in patient persistence. I am good with that.
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