I love tea towels. Especially anything colourful and fun or any made from beautiful linen. And, being both pretty and practical, I think they make great gifts.
I made this cute tea towel below by simply hemming the edges of a piece of cotton fabric, sewing a decorative edging along the bottom and then printing the bottom section using halves of an apple and pear and some lime green and bright red fabric paint.
You may recall in your early school days dipping potatoes and fruit into bowls of paint. However, I think a more economical and effective way is to paint the fabric paint onto the fruit using a brush before stamping onto the tea towel. To finish the design, I hand painted on the stems in dark brown. To fix the fabric paint, cover the painted design with a cloth (that you don't mind getting dirty) and iron over for a few minutes.
Be sure to let your apple and pear halves dry out for a few hours before printing with them. Although I did this, I still found that the colour changed the more prints I did (although I quite liked that effect). I think this was to do with the fruit juices mixing with the paint, so if you want to keep your colours consistent, wipe the fruit with a piece of kitchen towel in between each stamp.
This is a great one to get kids involved in during the holidays. And, of course you can experiment with other fruit and veg - pineapple rings or broccoli trees for example. It works well to use a paint colour the same as the fruit/veg that you are printing with.
If you want to skip the sewing bit, just buy a plain or striped tea towel and apply your fruit stamps to that.
p.s. for Part 1 of Sewn-up Christmas, see my post on Hand Painted Linen Coasters