Whenever I have friends over for dinner, I always set the table with cloth napkins. They add a level of formality to the meal while providing color to the tablescape. The one downside of cloth napkins is that after dinner they have to be washed and ironed. Do you use cloth napkins?
When it comes to the Thanksgiving table, how you dress it is often as important to the hostess as what food sits upon it. Over the years, I've seen family members fuss over table settings, switching out placemats, rethinking china sets, and shifting floral arrangements.
I admit that I'm known to fuss over my Thanksgiving table as well. The first year that my hubby and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family, I stayed up late into the night sewing a dozen napkins, pressing tablecloths, and arranging flowers. In the end though, it was all worth it. Not only did the food turn out wonderfully, but the table looked spectacular as well. Plus, as far as I'm concerned, deciding on color schemes and flower arrangements is all part of the fun.
So tell me, how do you dress your Thanksgiving table? Do you keep things casual? Is your feast a buffet-style affair? Or do you get formal with placecards and calligraphied names? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Source: Flickr User thedabble
I'm a big enthusiast of white table linens. With a basic backdrop, you can be flexible with your other dinner party décor, changing up your palettes and patterns to make each party special. That said, you'll need to bring in color and flair with napkins, napkin rings, flowers, and serving dishes. So, I thought I'd share a few colorful and sophisticated cloth napkins to get you started on your quest for the perfect party.
If you were tempted by the customized wedding ring bowl from artist Paloma's Nest, chances are that you'll also fall for these Table Talk Napkin Rings ($48 for four). Made from reclaimed wood, the rings are stamped with a message of your choice. Need a wedding present for a newlywed couple? These, stamped with their wedding date, would be a great choice. Want to commemorate a special occasion or gathering? These rings can do just that. Since each ring is only two inches in diameter, the text is limited to 30 characters and spaces. The text is printed in uppercase letters in black ink, and the wood is sanded to a smooth finish to accommodate your favorite linens.
If a cactus could ever look cute, JackRabbit has devised a means to that end with the Cactus Picnic Napkin Set, a set of four 10-by-12-inch handmade napkins screen printed with a grid of perky green cacti. I can't think of a better occasion to debut these prickly succulents than a backyard barbecue — or perhaps a Park(ing) Day picnic. While the weather is still warming up here in San Francisco, temperatures are turning chilly elsewhere, so you'd better snatch these babies up fast and throw some T-bones on the grill. But if you're located in the Lone Star State or other arid environments, these linens won't ever go out of style . . . and you know that cloth napkins are always an eco-fashionable statement.
Tired of buying paper towels every week? Sick of all the extra paper waste you're generating? With some very basic sewing skills you can make a bunch of homemade cloth napkins out of extra sheets, bandannas, or other random fabric you have lying around. These could also be custom made for your Thanksgiving festivities by choosing some Thanksgiving-centric fabric, like that of these festive batiked napkins I found on Etsy.
Here's what you need:
- cloth cut into squares around 12–18 inches wide
- a sewing machine
- thread that matches your fabric
To learn the steps to make these napkins, read more
Even some of my more grown-up friends are still using paper napkins (or — gasp — paper towels) for everyday dining. If you're among them, it's time to upgrade to some real table linens, which are both more sophisticated and better for the environment.
For weeknight dinners, don't worry about buying anything fancy. Just some simple, machine-washable cotton will do the trick, such as these Cotton Candy Napkins ($11.95) woven by the Cakchiquel people of Guatemala on looms made from recycled building materials. It would be a pain to wash a bunch of napkins every night, so don't. Instead, use your napkin for a few days in a row, and encourage the other members of your household to do the same. When the napkins are officially dirty, just toss 'em in the wash.