How To Look Manly In An Apron (or: Impress Your Friends With a Tea Towel DIY)

DIY Tea-Towel Cafe Apron

Successful marriage requires compromise, as we all know.  The hurly-burly of give and take is what bonds you as a couple and cements your union.  Sometimes it means making sacrifices for the other, such as when your wife whips up a homemade apron and then realises that she has no-one to model it, and sabotages your restful weekend breakfast with the request that you put down your toast and newspaper, don the aforementioned apron and adopt a stylish, manly pose right this minute so that she can take a picture before the sun goes behind a cloud.

Gotta love him.  Not least because living with creative souls can be a very messy business.

Cafe apron DIY

When we were in Provence recently I did the classic tourist thing of buying a handful of beautiful tea-towels, thinking they were almost too lovely to use, but sure I would think of something I could do with them later.  There were these vibrant, colourful trio, a bargain at 10 Euro for the three;

Provencal tea towels

And then these gorgeous heavyweight rough linen monogram tea-towels, for just 5 Euro each (I bought a bagful, I confess…)

French linen monogram tea towel

Linen aprons

Once home, I decided to turn one of the linen tea-towels into a cafe-style half apron with pockets.  It’s not a no-sew project, I cannot tell a lie, but it’s certainly a low-sew one, and required very little skill or tiresome things like measuring or tacking or the re-threading of needles until puncture wounds drive you towards that unopened bottle of wine.  The monogramming and stripes on my linen towel obviously complement the style, but you could do this with any tea-towel of a reasonable weight.  Here’s how I made it, step by step…

DIY Cafe Apron from a Tea-Towel

Locating my sewing machine, finding that the cable was missing, buying a replacement, returning to the store to buy the right colour cotton and clearing the kitchen table in readiness took about 2 days.  Making the apron took approximately 30 minutes; pleasingly short.  And it’s just the right length to wipe your hands on when in the midst of a flamboyant culinary endeavour, with pockets big enough for your phone, recipe, ladle, and anything else you might need…

DIy Cafe Apron with Pockets

And finally, if aprons and tea-towels aren’t your thing, how about these gorgeous local soaps in every scent and colour under the sun, the other souvenir we brought home from our travels in France; I spent ages choosing which ones to buy, aided by Harry in doing the sniff test (we still sneeze when we think about it).  Simple purchases, and simple pleasures; the very best kind…

Provencal soap


olive oil soap

beautiful Provencal soap

Have a great week!

handbag logo

DIY Cafe Apron


Outside in.

As we restore our crumbling, ancient home I’m continually drawn to natural materials and a muted palette, be it the newly laid wooden floors, the kiln-dried accent logs we’ve stacked high around our wood-burning stove, or the stone fireplaces we’ve sourced from reclamation yards.  I recently papered Harry’s room in this beautiful winter Woods wallpaper from Cole & Son, aiming to create the aura of a nighttime forest, with a soft canopy of fairy lights. This week’s project was to create a tree stump bedside table (finished article above) on which toys, storybooks and a glass of water can perch whilst he sleeps.

Image courtesy of Cole & Son

To make the table I ventured down to the log pile at the end of our garden, home to every invertebrate known to man (including – mortifyingly – some which jump…) I’d love to boast that I fearlessly hefted a few likely logs into my wagon and strolled casually back, but in truth I wimped out and rustled up my husband to do the dirty work whilst I mutely pointed at the logs I wanted with a trembling finger, from the safety of the patio.

I chose a couple of level, even logs and let them dry out in the sunshine for a couple of days before chipping off loose bark and sanding until smooth.  This latter stage sounds deceptively swift; in reality it’s relentless and dull and likely to cause your arm to go numb and induce temporary deafness. Still, it’s worth it (sort of).  Once your log is really smooth, the final stage was to wax it; I mixed up 3 parts natural liquid wax (wood oil will work fine) to 1 part white emulsion, and applied two coats to give it this soft warm glow.

So now my first log project is complete and has pride of place by Harry’s bed, and his room is almost complete.  The memory of the spiders, sanding, paint fumes and the sheer weight of the finished table as I dragged it upstairs are rapidly beginning to fade, and I’m already pondering what to attempt next… here are 3 gorgeous projects from elsewhere around the web which caught my eye; hmmm, which to choose?

Log pencil holder from

amazing log sofa from

Log candles from