Oh Give Thanks...with a DIY table runner

Table Runner CollageI barely decorated for Halloween. We didn't even carve pumpkins. And we all know my youngest didn't even wear a costume (though that was her choice). I was determined to make Thanksgiving different. I wanted to cover our wall with a big tree and add leaves with things we're thankful for, but I knew I would never have time for the leaves. Plus, I wanted something that we could incorporate into our decorations year after year. I sewed a table runner that we are using to capture our thanks every night.

I got the idea of a Thanksgiving table runner from my lack of fall table decor and my desire to want to talk about and write down our thanks every day at dinner.

Here are the directions so you can make your own.

2 yards muslin
2 packages double-folded bias tape
coordinating thread
fabric pens

I measured the length of my table and then figured out how large I wanted the runner to be when it was on the table. With two hairy dogs (despite a high-top table) I hate anything that hangs down off the sides. I decided to make it 48 inches long by 14 inches wide. I measured the muslin to 28 inches so that I could fold it in half and make it two layers thick so the fabric pens wouldn't bleed through.

Since I was using bias tape as the border, it didn't matter if the edges were clean. One side was the folded edge while the other was the two ends together. I carefully pinned the bias tape around the entire length of the cut muslin. I ran a tight stitch all the way around the runner using a dark brown thread.

That was it. I mean, you could use the iron-on hemming tape that I see mentioned on a lot of blogs. You would probably even use fabric glue or hot glue to secure it instead of sewing.

I ironed it out to make sure that none of the creases were obvious. I put it on my kitchen table and I was so happy with the way it coordinated with my fall placemats.

Every night during dinner, when we talk about our day, we talk about what we are thankful for. Sometimes I write it all, sometimes I let my five-year-old do some of the writing and once, I let the three-year-old leave her mark. That was the day I learned she can almost completely write her name. And now that memory is marked in the tablecloth for years to come.

We just get out a fabric pen and I slide a small piece of cardboard under the fabric to protect the table. When I write, I just control the pressure of the pen and it doesn't even bleed through. However, I know the kids can get a little overzealous.

I'm using red, black and gold pens to keep the fall theme going.

So far, we have lots of items to be thankful for:

  • Lazy Sunday afternoons
  • The ability to vote
  • Our dogs
  • People who care for our kids when we can't
  • Our jobs
  • and my husband wrote "For a hard working, dedicated wife."

We like the conversation this table-runner has sparked during our dinners. We hope to use the same one for years to come. Our hope is that the words will take over the placemat and we'll be able to read our favorites for years to come.

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