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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicken Tortellini Soup......and a Christmas Towel Tutorial

I have not ever found a vintage Christmas tablecloth that I didn't want to take home with me.

The fabric! The graphics!  The colors! 

Though the tops may be covered with faded stains,

the good stuff remains along the sides.

Waiting for me to frame in a pillow

or embellish towels for my kitchen.

Fifteen minutes from start to finish.

Wanna know how I make them?

First, just like when you're cooking, you gather your ingredients.

You will need:

-An image, cut from a vintage tablecloth.  
-Coordinating rick rack
-Iron-on adhesive (double sided, like HeatnBond)
-Wonder tape (1/8" wide)
-a kitchen towel

You will also need your iron and a sewing machine.

First, I decided on an image.

Should I pick the candy cane?

Or perhaps a wreath, tree or band of merry musicians?

The musicians and the wreath were too big for my towel.  The tree is too similar to the one I used on a towel I made last week.

I'm going with the candy cane.

I cut the image of the candy cane from the tablecloth.  I decided to go with a simple rectangular shape.  No crazy angles or curves.

I did a quick mock-up, placing the image where I thought it should go, and deciding which trims I would use.

If the tablecloth has a coordinating border, I usually cut a strip of the border for the bottom of the towel.  

I did not like the border on this tablecloth, so I decided to trim the bottom of the towel with rick rack.

And I took the rick rack away, just to see what the towel would look like without it.

I decided I liked the way the rick rack looked.

Cut a piece of the iron-on adhesive to iron onto the back of the image.  It does not have to be a perfect shape, you just want to use it to hold the image in place.

See?  Not perfect.

Iron it on, paper side up on wrong side of image.

Peel the paper off, and now the adhesive will be on the fabric.

Do the same with the Wonder tape, adhere it right down the center of your rick rack.

Carefully peel the paper off, and the adhesive has transferred onto the rick rack.

I like to use iron-on adhesive to hold my images and embellishments in place before I sew them.  No pins involved.

Arrange your rick rack and image on your towel.

Iron it into place.  The adhesive bonds almost immediately.  Just quickly glide the iron over the image and rick rack without stopping.

Once the transferring is done, you are ready to sew your image and trims into place.

First, just do a quick straight stitch around the border of the image.

After the towel has been washed, you'll get some really cool texture going on with the stitching around the border of the image.

Then, straight stitch right down the middle of the rick rack.  You could do a zig-zag stitch instead, but I don't want to scare you.  A straight stitch will also get the job done.

And stitch right down the center of the rick rack that borders the image.

And you're done!

No lie, it took me 17 minutes to embellish this towel, and that included the time it took me to take the pictures.

Including this picture of Gus.  I didn't want him to feel left out.

Today's Playlist
  • "All I Want For Christmas Is You"...........Mariah Carey
  • "Winter Wonderland".........The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • "Elf's Lament".........Barenaked Ladies
  • "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"..........Frank Sinatra & Cindy Lauper
  • "Sleigh Ride".........Debbie Gibson
  • "The Christmas Song"........Johnnie Mathis
  • "Jingle Bell Rock".........Hall & Oates
  • "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"..........Rockapella

I know you've been wondering what I did with the leftover rotisserie chicken from my Pasta with chicken, mushrooms and sun dried tomato/cream sauce .

I made soup!

Chicken Tortellini Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 ribs celery)
  • 3/4 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot (2 small carrots)
  • 64 ounces chicken broth
  • 8 ounces of water
  • dash of poultry seasoning
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 8 oz tortellini (or other small, cheese-filled pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed

Gather your ingredients.

Heat the olive oil in a large (6 to 8 quart) sauce pan over medium/high heat.

Add the onions, celery and carrots and saute just until the onions begin to brown.

This should take about 6 or 7 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and water.

Add a tiny sprinkle of poultry seasoning.  My poultry seasoning is in a grinder, I didn't measure it but     I would guess I added about 1/4 teaspoon.  Not a lot, just enough to give it a touch of flavor.

Add some freshly ground pepper, to taste.  I don't think salt is needed; there is enough sodium in the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil.

When the soup boils, add the tortellini.  You are not seeing things.  I did not use tortellini, I used mezzaluna pasta.  Half-moons.

Any tiny cheese-filled pasta will work.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Since I used dried pasta, it took about 12 minutes to cook.

If you use a fresh or refrigerated pasta, it will take much less time to cook.

When the tortellini has cooked, add the chicken.

When the chicken has heated through--this should only take about a minute--turn off the heat.  Your soup is done.

Grab a great big handful of baby spinach leaves, about 1 1/2 cups' worth.

Very roughly chop the spinach.

Add the spinach to the soup.

I like to add the spinach because it adds such a nice color, and it's just full of vitamins.

Add it at the very end, because you don't want to boil it into oblivion.

Stir it in and serve immediately.



  1. The soup look yummy!! LOVE the towel. I love jazzing up everyday stuff.

  2. I love soup and this is easy. I will try this tomorrow but don't have chicken can I do it with turkey? I still have left over ^_^


  3. Yes, Mary (Rose?), use your turkey.........yum!! :)

  4. Oh wow, do I ever love that towel! I've got so many old stained tablecloths, but not the courage to cut them up. I think you've just convinced me to go get my scissors!
    Happy REDnesday,

  5. I love the towels! Thanks so much for sharing how you have made them..I am going to have to keep my eyes peeled for some vintage Christmas tablecloths now.
    Your Gus looks super cute and festive as well :)
    The soup sounds delicious, I will have to give it a go...

  6. Those towels are so clever--and cheery! Merry Christmas!

    Sing a song of scarlet—
    Red on Christmas morn!
    Sing a song of scarlet—
    Blue is so forlorn!
    Sing a song of scarlet—
    Red for girls and boys!
    Sing a song of scarlet—
    Look at all those toys!

    © 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

    Red Leaf and Red Mary


I love to hear what you think!