I realize this is my second post in several weeks on napkins. I must be hungry. Or perhaps obsessive-compulsive?
Even so, I think it also has to do with the fact that cloth napkins are the perfect little canvases for quick, easy, and creative embellishing. Which makes them perfect gifts, too. They’re like candles, or bottles of wine. Who couldn’t use another (or another set of four)? And if they’ve been embroidered, stitched, stamped, or otherwise customized by hand, all the better.
And finally, cloth napkins (and their close relative, the cloth coaster) are the ideal raw material for getting kids involved in crafting—a topic relevant to my life and one I plan to touch on here regularly. Let little ones loose with stencils, natural stamps, or, in my case, fabric paints, and you’ll have one-of-a-kind collections in no time.
Pictured above and all wrapped up below are napkin and coaster sets my five-year-old and I made for my mother for Mother’s Day. Those are apples falling from an apple tree on the dark-brown coaster on the right, in case you’re not quite sure (Grandma admitted she wasn’t, but loved everything anyway, of course).
Dharma Trading Company has wonderful linen napkin blanks (and also placemats and table runners), plus coasters blanks that are like mini mouse pads.
My daughter’s teachers are also getting specially embellished napkins as their end-of-year gift this year. I wish I could tell you that I’m hand-embroidering them myself, but I’m doing the next best thing: commissioning them from a local crafter. (On days when you don’t have time to teach your child to DIY, teach her how to buy handmade!)
Our new friend Carrie has a booth at the Saturday morning tailgate market just down the street from our house and had these sweet hand-stitched napkins on display a couple of weeks ago.
For our teacher gifts, she’s found an adorable vintage drawing of a little girl holding an apple, and is transforming it into an embroidery design she’s stitching in the corner of each napkin. I’ll post a pic soon to show you how they turned out.
Meantime, see more of her work on her blog.