Roses, of course, should be the floral decoration with these ribbons, and for a dinner-party a rose should float in the finger-bowl of every guest - a truly pretty conceit borrowed from the Continent.
Charming and dainty, these embroidered ribbons must appeal to all those who are interested in their table decorations. They are very decorative, and their simplicity adds to their charm. Malmaison carnations, with their gorgeous pinks and creamy petals, will be the choice of many. Embroidered in satin-stitch, their soft leaves in shades of green are among the most loved of flowers. The hostess whose favourite flower it is will add some embroidered carnation ribbons to her store of table embellishments.
" Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying."
As we wander through the rose-garden, even when it is a mass of luxuriant colour, a feeling of regret creeps over us as we note the too full-blown rose. It is heavy with crystal dewdrops, waiting, as it were, for the first breath of the west wind to blow it to atoms. A tassel tossed about in shreds. On the soft earth a riot of wonderfully tinted petals lie - red, white, yellow, and the palest of pink - wasting their sweetness on the ground.
However, these rose-leaves, although no longer sun-kissed and glistening with dew, may give of their sweetness and softness all through the long winter days.
A brilliant and warm day is the one on which to cull the rose-petals for future use. After they have been collected in a basket, each petal should be separated, and put to dry in the sunshine. Choose a room which is little used for this purpose. Some large lids from cardboard boxes may be placed on the table. As the full-blown roses and petals are collected on every succeeding fine day, they should be placed on the lids of the boxes and dried. Before this process is completed, a square bag of muslin, large enough to form a good-sized cushion, should be made, and as the petals dry, they can be dropped into it without further handling.
When the bag appears full, the rose-leaves should be thoroughly shaken up, and more leaves added if necessary, as it must be well filled to make a soft and attractive cushion.
But such a cushion requires a dainty covering. Perhaps a soft, rose-coloured satin would be the most suitable, a yard and a quarter of satin making a good square. This must be folded in half, and then one half rolled up to keep it clean, whilst the other half is pinned on to a drawing-board.
Sketch or trace some roses on to the satin. It may also please the artist to sketch in a favourite motto or verse, such as, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," in quaintly shaped letters, to add a pretty, decorative finish.
The design having been sketched or traced, we now come 'to its treatment. It is very effective to tint the rose-leaves in shades of pink, using water-colours. The stems and leaves are tinted green in the same manner.
When the design is quite dry, the satin may be unpinned from the drawing-board, and the brush laid aside for the embroidery needle. The petals are worked thickly all round their edges in satin-stitch. If care is taken, a beautiful sheen shows itself upon the silk when this stitch is used. The stems are outlined in stem-stitch, which may be carried each side of the tinting if desired, so that the tinted satin stems show in the centre. The leaves are worked in shades of green round the edges like the petals of the roses.
An effective touch may be added by working the stem-stitch round the outside edges of the roses in black or green filoselle or mallard floss. This will show up the roses to their best advantage. The fancy lettering can be treated effectively if "square chain open-stitch " is employed. It is a charming stitch for this form of ornamental embroidery.
The edges look well when finished off with a good silk cord to match the satin.
To return to the muslin bag or cushion which contains the rose-petals. Several packets of "petal-dust" may be emptied into this, which will add a delightfully aromatic perfume to the leaves. Another idea for further accentuating the sweetness of the rose-leaves is to add some Chinese pot-pourri.
Firmly stitch the muslin bag along the top, so that neither rose-petals nor pot-pourri ran escape.
Slip the satin cover over the muslin bag, and a delightfully dainty cushion is complete, so soft that one thinks regretfully of the much-lauded charm of the mythical bed of roses.
Should pink satin not tone with the colouring of the room, white satin is effective, but, unfortunately, it quickly soils.
Another pretty idea is a satin in a soft shade of green; dark red velvety roses look excellent on such a ground. Work the roses solidly in crewel-stitch, which is certainly a more economical method of using silk than the favourite satin-stitch.
Lavender cushions are also dainty and exquisite additions to the boudoir or drawing-room. Pale rose satin cushions, and those of lavender, make a delightful combination of colouring, where the decorative scheme of the room is carried out in one soft pastel shade.
The lavender is dried and dropped into the muslin bag, which must also contain some lightly shredded cotton-wool. If preferred, the cotton-wool may be used in the bag in sheet form if it is first shaken before the fire, which will have the effect of making it treble its thickness. Then it should be sprinkled with oil of lavender, and placed in the mus-lin case. The lavender alone will hardly be sufficiently soft for the cushion.
Choose a pale mauve or lavender colour for the outer cover, and either sketch a design of lavender, or trace a design on to the satin. The words, "Lavender, sweet lavender," may be embroidered in quaint letters on the centre of the cushion in open chain-stitch, or the letters may be simply outlined. The lavender design should be worked in satin-stitch in various shades of lavender-coloured silks. The cushion should be finished off with a good silk cord.
Either or both of these cushions are charming, each containing the petals of old-world flowers and the distinctive perfumes which one instinctively associates with this country.
A rose-leaf cushion. Within the dainty satin cover is a muslin bag filled with thoroughly dried rose'petals. An appropriate design and motto should be embroidered on the cover, and a silk cord should finish the sides and corners
The hobby of collecting rose-petals as they fall is a fascinating one during the summer months - all the more delightful when a practical use can be found for their sweetness, although they no longer blossom in the garden.
Another practical adaptation of the rose-leaf cushion idea may not be amiss in this connection. It might take the form of one of those pretty triangular cushions that are so eminently restful when fixed on a high-backed chair so that they support the nape of the neck of the sitter. Their construction is so exceedingly simple that a detailed description seems almost superfluous.
The form should be that of a triangle of which the base is longer than the two sides; as the point of the triangle will hang down-wards, the base should be exactly the width of the chair on which the cushion is to be used. A rose-coloured sateen would do very well for the actual case, and this should be then covered with a clear muslin that can be washed. A dainty goffered frill of the muslin forms a good finish to the muslin cover, and the cushion itself should be suspended from the top of the chair by wide rose-coloured ribbons. A bow of this ribbon should be sewn on to each corner. If such a cushion is destined to receive hard wear, it will be better not to embroider or paint the muslin cover.
A flower "stuffing," if it may be so termed of rose-leaves, lavender, etc., will also be found suitable for a handkerchief-sachet; and in this case, of course, more costly and fragile materials can be employed than for the more useful cushion described above. Sachets, too, lend themselves very well to artistic treatment in the shape of either painting or embroidery. Their form and size depends upon the individual preference of the maker.