Thanksgiving weekend is here and many are preparing to have family and friends over to celebrate in the spirit of thanksgiving. Several years ago, I saw this Martha Stewart idea for a “Thankful” tablecloth. If I remember correctly, she recommended using a painter’s drop cloth and I wish I had taken her advice. I had some muslin on hand at the time and decided to go ahead and use it instead. It works okay, but is very wrinkly after being washed and difficult to press. In the original idea, she suggested using fabric paint and having everyone add something that they are thankful for. I thought it was a brilliant idea and we started our own “thankful” tablecloth. It is a great family tradition and nice to look back and see what we wrote in previous years. We actually write the year and our name beside each entry. Our cloth isn’t very “pretty”, but it holds lots of great memories. There are other great examples of how this type of tablecloth can be made to look a bit more formal . I wanted ours to reflect our family, values and the stages we were at in each given year.
Things to Consider:
Here are a few things that you should consider, if you would like to begin this family tradition and start your own tablecloth:
- Use a heavier fabric that washes well and will not be a nightmare to press (or purchase an actual tablecloth to use). It is worth spending a little more if you intend to use this for years to come. In order to stand the test of time, get a good quality fabric to work with.
- Don’t use fabric paint, use fabric markers. I used fabric paint and wish I would have used markers. With fabric paint there is often more dimension in the application and therefore, you need ample dry time. You may even get little puckers in your cloth when it dries. It also makes it difficult to press the tablecloth. The other issue with fabric paint is that it is messy and difficult for most people, especially children, to print neatly. Stick with fabric markers.
- Some people suggest using regular Sharpie markers, but in my experience, they can bleed and cause a big mess. I think there are tricks to avoiding that, but I just wouldn’t risk it.
- Take some time to plan how you want this to look. I am a perfectionist and generally would want something like this to have perfect printing that is all done by the same person. I like uniformity and the idea of having many colours does not appeal to me. However, for this project, I really wanted to have everyone’s individual “mark” on the cloth with each person’s handwriting and thoughts. So, for me, controlling the colour is what kept it somewhat uniform.
Traditionally, my immediate family has not always had a big Thanksgiving dinner. My dad often goes “home” to the home town where I was raised and spends the weekend with his siblings and their families. We used to go “home” as well, but find it difficult with the kid’s activities and such now. My brother’s family works shift work as does my husband, so it is very difficult to find a time that works. We often make a turkey so that we can enjoy the leftovers (and have an easy week of cooking) in September because it is so busy around our house. Regardless of whether we are hosting a big turkey dinner or not, it is great to take out the tablecloth and take time to formally give thanks.
Having said that, we work really hard to instill a spirit of Thanksgiving every day of the year. There are so many people who are less fortunate than we are. I am so thankful that I don’t have a family member battling cancer – I’ve been there and it is not an easy road to travel. Everyday, I feel so fortunate to have a healthy family and great friends. It is easy to get caught up in thoughts about what we want or don’t have and unfortunately it is sometimes the news of someone else’s loss or difficulties that brings us back to reality and helps us to “get real” and recognize what is important in life and to just be thankful!
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