I really wish I’d taken before and after photos. But I didn’t - mostly because the before was so bad I didn’t believe there would be a satisfactory after.
I’m talking about tablecloths, small, vintage, embroidered or lacy tablecloths. I spent most of last month sourcing them from car boot sales and junk shops. Most were so stained or torn that even the hard bitten dealers gave them to me for pennies because they looked beyond redemption. But there is a magic I know – I learnt it from my mother in a recent visit when I literally couldn’t understand why her whites were so much whiter than mine! (At 85 she knows a thing or two about doing the washing!!) The secret, I found was a small pink pot of white powder added to the wash. I came home and bought a pot. I won’t advertise the brand but I’ll just tell you that with a spoonful of this added to a hot wash all the stains just vanished!
That’s what got me started on the vintage tablecloths. I’ve always liked those hand – embroidered white tea table cloths but oh how easily they stain! Tea, coffee, chocolate cake, wine, damp and soon they look like old rags and lie discarded on the back shelves of charity shops, creased and filthy. One in particular had obviously been used to cover a table under a large plant pot. Oh yes, the edges were deceptively pretty as they hung down in full view with swags of colourful flowers, but the middle was permanently ringed with large black rings where the plant pot had been standing for years, and to make matters worse the water had leaked from the bottom of the pot making spreading brown water marks, ugly on the white linen. Then of course there was the black mould. The cloth was ruined beyond redemption….or so I thought. I bought it because it cost virtually nothing. Picked it up off the floor. Took it home and thought, “Well I’ve not lost a lot if it doesn’t work.” In it went into my washing machine on a hot wash with a spoonful of innocuous white powder. Innocuous! How could I have ignored this special stuff for so long!
When I took the tablecloth out I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had thought in my mind that I’d give it two goes, maybe three before I gave up, but after just one wash it was gleaming white and beautiful. I literally danced around the kitchen holding it. I was so pleased! I pegged it on the line to dance in the wind and then out came the iron! Soon it was as good as new! Not a spot, not a stain, just lovely smooth white linen and beautiful hand-embroidered flowers. I was so pleased with it! I thought about selling it on ebay - people would pay a fortune for such unique vintage pieces - but I couldn’t bear to part with it, not after I’d found it unwanted, not after all the work I’d done to restore it, not after seeing it in its full beauty. So I folded it carefully and put it in my own drawer. And I smiled. I could see the future – the select friends I’d show it too, the delight of my daughter when she saw it, (she’d would want to take it home immediately), the special occasions and birthdays when it’d come out and grace the table and be admired.
So that one became the first of an ever-increasing collection – all unique, all different. And will I worry if they get stained again? Not me! I have the answer! I have the Power! Stain removal is my specialty and I can keep them looking good forever!
I think I know how God feels.
For the first time I can hear the excitement in this verse: ‘Come let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow” (or tablecloths) Isaiah 1:18