I wish we had a bigger kitchen. I try not to make it a habit of wishing for material things, but in this case, I allow myself to wallow. If we had a larger kitchen, we’d have more room to entertain and every July we would be able to host a Tour de France party like some of our friends do. But not this year…maybe next July. Anyway, I am getting off track here.

Today, a good friend, and fellow cyclist, we’ll call her Heidi…duh…because that’s her name…is hosting a Tour de France party at her house. These parties have become somewhat of a tradition with our biking group. We meet at someone’s house early Saturday or Sunday morning, the DVR is set to record the Tour coverage on TV, and off we go on a group bike ride. When we return from the ride, we watch the Tour and eat awesome potluck food and drink Bloody Mary’s or Mimosa’s, or whatever we want. It is a great time with friends to celebrate all things biking and eating.

Since I like to combine my love of biking and my love of crafting, I have made it a habit to bring some sort of biking favor to all party attendees. Past gifts have included earrings made of bike chain, drink coasters adorned with vintage bicycle advertisements, and chocolate bars in the shape of bicycles. After some thought and fretting about this year’s gift (it’s what I do – fret), I finally came up with an idea. Dish towels. Plain white dish towels are a perfect canvas for creativity.

pack of towels

I needed to bling quite a few towels, and I wanted to keep it fairly simple, so I purchased the towels at Wally world in a pack of 5. I liked the idea of putting grain sack stripes on them, it seemed very French. And, I have a nice selection of rubber stamps with bikes, so I went about putting all my ideas together and designing the towels.

Ironing – yuck- but a necessity with these very wrinkled towels. I ended up dragging the ironing board into the living room so I could iron while watching Ray Donovan (guilty pleasure) because 15 towels is alot of ironing.

Towels with tape

Towel and tape

Once the towels were a little less wrinkled, I applied thin masking tape in 4 rows leaving about 1/2 inch between the strips. Now my favorite part…I used my inks mixed with shaving cream to apply the color to the exposed fabric between the tape lines. It’s really simple – trust me. Simply mix the ink with the shaving cream, drag it across the towel with a plastic card and voila…ink dying made easy. No need to rinse, just let dry and heat set later.

Ink with shaving cream

finished stripes

Once all the stripes were on the towels, I got out my rubber stamps and stamp pads and went to work. I created a variety of designs, also incorporating my Eiffel Tower stamps (for you non-cyclists – the Tour de France ends in Paris so the Eiffel Tower makes sense).

bike Stamp assortment

stamping bicycles

In the corner of each towel I used my “handmade by” and “Kendra” stamps to sign them, also including a little heart. I covered my workspace with paper because the ink would easily bleed through the open weave of the towels.

Handmade by me

Once all the stamping was done, I unfortunately had to make a date with the iron again as heat setting the dye and stamp ink was necessary to make sure my designs were permanent. To protect my iron and ironing board pad from wayward ink and other crafty goos, I use teflon sheets that can withstand up to 500 degrees. They are great for crafting and available on Amazon pretty cheap. Trust me, well worth the investment. I have ruined more than one iron by using it to heat set ink and glue.

teflon sheets for ironing

The towels are done! I really like them and I am sure my friends will like them too! Can’t wait to give them away at the party this morning! Cheers!

finished towels with bike stamps