If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a set of serviette rings from a cardboard tube like these then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Lies, lies, lies…’
‘Morning Beryl, you look happy to be in work today,’ I said. She’d arrived more than 15 minutes ahead of her official start time and was bursting with cheer and vitality. In the past few days I’d swear she’d pulled her height up a full two inches above normal (up to about 5’ 2”) and her slender frame was managing to hold her Teacups apron in its correct position for a change. I even thought she might have put a bit of make-up on.
‘Yes, I’m happy to be here,’ she said and cracked straight on with sorting out a bundle of cutlery she’d retrieved from the dishwasher.
‘We’re both early,’ I said, ‘how about we have a cup of tea to get the morning off to a good start?’
‘Right you are, Jenny love,’ she said and I hardly had time to blink before two steaming cups of tea were ready.
‘How amazing that Tommy’s made a reappearance,’ I ventured.
‘Never thought I’d see him again when he emigrated all them years ago. Devastated I was but it was probably for the best.’
‘Really? Why?’ I asked.
‘The teachers said Gary was doing really well at school so I didn’t want to risk moving him to Australia – we’d never had a brainbox in the family before! Anyway, what could I really offer Tommy?’
‘Lots!’ I said immediately, ‘and you’re obviously enjoying seeing one another again.’
‘Yes,’ she said with a wistful smile and then looked at me with a cheeky grin. ‘I think his eyesight must be going, though, ’cos he doesn’t seem to have noticed my wrinkles and grey roots. Don’t you go carting him off to Specsavers!’
‘He’s taking me to Villa Italia on Saturday and he’s asked Gary and Kim to come along too. He’s such a lovely man.’
She was besotted. And I was delighted for her – it even put a spring in my step as I got on with the day’s work.
When Kim arrived she came straight over and asked me (quietly) whether I’d like to join her and Gary at their house on Saturday evening for a meal. ‘If the weather holds we’ll eat outside and use our new terrace furniture.’
‘But you’re going to Villa Italia with Beryl and Tommy, aren’t you?’
‘Oh, I didn’t know you knew that. I was hoping this could be a prior engagement.’
‘Why don’t you want to go?’
‘It’s not me it’s Gary. He refuses to go and wants us to make excuses for the next couple of weeks or so until it’s time for Tommy to go back. He’s left it to me to decline the invitation. Please help me out Jen.’
‘I don’t know-’
‘Hi Beryl,’ Kim said breezily over my shoulder. ‘Sorry we won’t be able to join you on Saturday but we’d already asked Jenny to dinner. And you know how difficult it is to pin her down with her busy social life.’
Me? Busy social life? I could see Beryl was crestfallen so I opened my mouth to protest but Kim beat me to it.
‘Er, actually, she wants Gary to look at some proposals for an extension before the planning committee deadline. Don’t you Jen?’
‘Thought your house was perfect, Jenny. Why do you want an extension?’ Beryl asked, but before I could say anything Kim cut in again.
‘It’d make a lot more money when she comes to sell….’ And so it went on, Kim telling lies, me feeling terrible about it, but Beryl accepting defeat.
So on Saturday evening I reluctantly went round to Kim and Gary’s armed with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a set of serviette rings that I’d boxed up and didn’t crack on I’d made myself. They were a bit rustic for Kim but I thought they were perfect for al fresco dining.
‘Jenny, my saviour,’ gushed Gary.
‘I’m not happy about it, though, Gary. It would have meant so much to your mum for you to go out with them tonight.’
‘Villa Italia? That’s typically tight-fisted of Tommy,’ he said. ‘I might have been tempted if he was taking us to that decent restaurant next door.’
‘Gary! That one has two Michelin stars!’ cried Kim in disbelief.
‘Yes, he probably doesn’t have that kind of money,’ I added.
‘I’ll bet he doesn’t,’ Gary whipped back. ‘He didn’t have any prospects while he was here so why would he have made anything of his life in Australia? Thank goodness he’s going back soon.’
Kim had prepared a lovely meal but the evening was marred by Gary’s petulant attitude towards Tommy. The icing on the cake was when he said to me, ‘My mum should take a leaf out of your book Jenny and stay single.’
I made my excuses to leave, earlier than usual. His parting shot was, ‘if he asks us again Jenny, then we might just need to review that ‘planning application’ of yours again.’
No you won’t, I thought, and sped off back to the sanctuary of home – a perfectly sized home whether I’m single or not. ◊
How to Make a Set of Serviette Rings from a Cardboard Tube
The main components of these serviette rings are the cardboard tube from a roll of kitchen paper and lots of twine.
I decided to make my rings 4cm each so I put my ruler along the length of the tube and marked it at 4cm intervals. A small section at each end was crumpled so I discarded those by starting my measurements 1cm in from one end and ending when I’d got my last full 4cm section. This happened to give me five rings so that’s what I stuck with. I repeated the markings lots of times around the tube.
I tried with scissors but found the craft knife to be more effective. For safety reasons, though, you do need to concentrate more when using the craft knife! You can see that I had a continuous line to follow because I’d joined up my markings.
You’ll use about 5-6 metres of twine for each one but you don’t need to cut it all in one strip because it’s fairly easy to join. I used about three pieces for each ring. A glue gun is the best thing for attaching the twine.
First you need to secure the end inside. This is the point where you’re most likely to burn your fingers!
Add some glue to a section of the outside of the tube and start wrapping the twine round, pulling it through the middle and keeping it taut each time. Make sure each vertical line lies neatly next to the previous one. Continue in sections, adding glue then winding it round. When you run out of twine, start another piece but make sure your join is in the inside of the tube.
You’ll finish where you started, again on the inside of the tube where it’s less noticeable. Make sure the end is securely glued down.
Now it’s time to add your embellishment. Because I wanted these rings for summer dining outside I chose a selection of wooden butterfly buttons. Instead you could add a strip of ribbon, some raffia with beads, some different buttons – whatever you fancy to brighten them up.
My glue gun was ready so I could have just glued them on but I like to stitch things on whenever I can because I think it’s more secure.
My inspiration was from a video by Cassie Morris (Little Things) that I can’t find now, sorry. Cute aren’t they? So simple to make and really effective. What do you think?
- This project was really easy – just watch your fingers with the craft knife and the glue gun.
- If you’re stitching buttons on then make sure you do it gently so you don’t distort your nice straight lines of twine.
- Cardboard tube from kitchen roll
Join me again next week for another instalment of life at Teacups & Tulips and another crafty project using something that’s been salvaged.
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