It’s getting steamy around here

Do you ever get stuck on a project because you can’t do it “right”? No? Well then you’re way more adjusted than I am.


Most of the Christmas tablecloths have gone to storage, but now I’m stuck looking at the mess I’ve made. Ugh.

I’ve had piles and heaps of tablecloths sitting in my dining room for a few weeks now. (Yes, I am the house slob. ManRay never makes messes like this in the house. His tragedies are confined to his garage.)

I sorted through most of my tablecloths before heading to Sage Farm’s show the first week of April. (“Most” because I found another tote stuffed with tablecloths in storage this morning.) And there they sat. And sat.


Tablecloths everywhere except for being used on a table. This must be a definition of insanity. Or procrastination. Or both!

I didn’t put them away because most of them really ought to be ironed first. They’re too crumpled to use on my tables. And if I’m not going to use them why bother keeping them? Aaargh!


They multiply when I put them in boxes. That has to be the only reason I own so many. I’m afraid to count!

I used to love ironing. No kidding! A can of spray starch, a pile of tablecloths, and I was in domestic heaven.

At some point it got overwhelming. I got tired of drippy, spitty irons, blobs of starch, giant spray bottles of water and having to manhandle creases out of linen and heavy cotton twill. I have enough to do (cruddy shower grout, anyone?) without inflicting voluntary misery on myself.

A couple linen tablecloths I took to sell at Sage never even made it to the show because I didn’t want to be bothered ironing them. I used a PLASTIC TABLECLOTH at my last two dinners for family and friends because I didn’t want to iron. THE SHAME! Next thing you know I’ll be using paper plates!

I realized it was time to make a choice. Was I done with using my vintage tablecloths, or just done with the misery of ironing?

The tablecloths won.

After years of wishing and waiting, I finally bought my dream iron. A European iron. An iron that makes steam like you’ve never seen, unless you happen to work for a drycleaner or have been to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful.


The amazing Rowenta DG8430 Prince of Steam! Made in France, not China!

So last night after dinner I picked out all the tablecloths I’ve been avoiding: the enormous, textured damask that’s 120″ long, the two linen tablecloths with all-over embroidery, the printed linens with obstinate wrinkles, the extra heavy cottons, the rumpled rayons.


The Doom of Wrinkles! Worth. Every. Penny.

They met their match and then some. I kept thinking, “Wow! This is amazing!” I got 17 tablecloths pressed before the reservoir ran dry. It was easy. Painless. Almost fun! Sheeting-weight tablecloths iron so fast it seems wrong. You start and then you’re done. Poof! Just like that! I had to continually stop myself from ironing over the same spot like in the bad old days.

So that’s 17 down, 217 to go, give or take a couple dozen.

Who knows, when I get through all the tablecloths I might even start ironing ManRay’s shirts again!

What have you been avoiding? What could you do to get unstuck?


9 Comments on “It’s getting steamy around here”

  1. I broke down and bought my Rowenta last year and it was the best $100 I ever spent! I would LOVE to see all of your vintage tablecloths! Love the blog, you both do a great job!

    • janeray says:

      Thank you! I’m happy to know you enjoy reading because I’m certainly having fun writing! (I hope Luray is, too!)

      We’ll have to come up with a scheme for showing off our tablecloths. I’ve been highlighting one a day on my new Instagram feed, but I’m sure we can come up with another way to showcase them here, too.

  2. I would like to see your pressed linens also. Thanks for sharing the information on the iron. I also love to iron my vintage linens but need a new iron. I will definitely check it out!

  3. luray says:

    Well, *I* love all your creamy white cabinets & shelves. They really let your tablecloths & dishes shine.

    • janeray says:

      They’re like clouds of calm in a color riot. Good thing you said that, because I was halfway thinking of painting them another color. Your yellow sideboard is pretty cool…

  4. luray says:

    Oooh, not the dreaded paper plates!
    Actually, why doesn’t somebody manufacture paper plates printed to look like vintage china? Wouldn’t that be awesome for an outdoor party?

    • janeray says:

      They probably do, I’ve just never looked. I know some manufacturer is doing modern melmac printed to look exactly like glazed pottery. I almost bought a stack of them in a consignment shop, but heaven knows I’ve got too many dishes already.

  5. machinegunmama says:

    All I can think about is all of your beautiful tablecloths now! So jealous of your strife lol šŸ˜‰