July/August 2001

Dress Up Your Table
Linens can be fancy or fun

While many people might consider table linens to be rather ordinary household items, they often can be quite extraordinary. Enchanting island-inspired themes adorn these tablecloths, place mats, and napkins. You’ll find them on Sanibel and Captiva in shops ranging from boutiques to hardware stores.

For a Tasteful Table
Eye-catching seashells dance across yellow-gold or greenish-striped place mats, napkins, and tablecloths that can be purchased at The Golden Pear. Or perhaps the faux bamboo design strikes your fancy? All of the styles are made of cotton from India and come from a New Mexico-based company called Xochi. 2407 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, 941/472-5681.

Delicate Designs
Majolique, of the Marais district in Paris, is known throughout the world as a designer of exquisite hand-embroidered linens for the kitchen, bedroom, and bath. Its “Coquillages” line of brilliant blue-and-white seashells includes tablecloths, place mats, dinner napkins, cocktail napkins, and even aprons for the chef. You’ll find them at The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum Store, which also has matching bath towels and sachets. 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, 941/395-2233 or 888/679-6450.

Fun and Functional
Washable place mats with navigation chart designs make for lively conversation at the dinner table, especially when they feature drawings of Sanibel, Captiva, Pine Island, North Captiva, and Cayo Costa. The practical place mats are available at Bailey’s True Value Hardware Store. Their Ft. Myers manufacturer does caution, however, that they are “not intended for navigation.” Bailey’s Shopping Center, corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, 941/472-1516.

Signature Style
A new boutique specializing in French country accessories, The Banyan Tree carries a wide selection of April Cornell’s colorful cotton tablecloths, table runners, place mats, and napkins. The line’s signature flowered and checkered patterns are individually hand-screened using French dyes. And, “as nature’s own, no two pieces are quite the same.” Unit #10, Periwinkle Place, 2075, Sanibel, 941/472-6400.
    April Cornell linens are also available at Captiva Cottage, a flower and gift shop run by Jesse Gulnac inside the Island Store. 11500 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 941/395-0354.

Lighthearted Touch
Green-and-pink striped and polka-dot bathing trunks or a stuffed beach tote inscribed “Captiva” are just a few of the original decorations on natural fiber, hemstitched napkins made especially for the South Seas Shoppe. They are created by Betsy Cooley of Cynthia Hulbert Linens. Cooley’s designs also include nautical flags in yellows, blues, and reds, or bright-colored fish. Matching cocktail napkins are available, too. 5400 Plantation Road, Captiva, 941/472-5111, ext. 3325.

Appealing Alternatives
Sometimes paper napkins come in handy, particularly if you are entertaining children or when you want to save time on laundry and ironing. The Shell Net offers a selection of such familiar Floridian themes as manatees, dolphins, a basket of seashells, and “The Legend of the Sand Dollar.” Bailey’s Shopping Center, corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, 941/472-1702.