I’ve been working on a project for my new house for the past couple of weeks which I had hoped to get done before I had my Christmas party, but due to all the festivities of the season, that didn’t happen. So now my new goal is to have it done before the fam gets here for Christmas.Here it is: it’s what I call the Guest Tablecloth. I know, the title is super-creative. The concept is simple. When you have guests in your home for a dinner party or even just some snacks, you cover your table with this cloth. It’s embroidered with a quote about friendship or even a monogram. At your party, you ask each guest to sign their name & date with a ballpoint pen. Then, later, before washing off the spilled cheese dip, you embroider over each guest’s name to make it a lasting memory.PLEASE DON’T LET ME LOSE YOU HERE. Some of you just read the word embroider & almost took off running like your hair was on fire to the next post on your list of favorite blogs. You CAN embroider. Even without a machine. It’s actually really easy & I think you’ll love the results if you just give it a try. This tablecloth makes a great wedding gift or housewarming gift or a gift for anyone who likes to entertain. If I had thought of it sooner, I would have posted this several weeks ago so some of you might have been able to make one for someone for Christmas. However, this is kind-of a lengthy project, so unless you do have an awesome embroidery machine or you’re snowed in somewhere with nothing to do between now & Christmas, I’d recommend giving your BFF something that takes less time.So here’s all you need:*A white bed sheet big enough to cover your table (You can even choose to make a table runner or a table “scarf” to just cover part of your table). And yes, it needs to be white. Or at least ivory.*A sharp pencil*A sewing needle (not too small of an eye)*A large embroidery hoop*Several skeins of embroidery floss (You know the kind they sell at Wal-mart. It comes in a blue million colors for like .25 each)* A pattern of your chosen quote that you print from your computer.The first step will be to choose your favorite quote about friends. The ones I’ve done in the past are:

“Make new friends, Keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”

“The ornaments of a house are the friends who frequent it.”

“May our house always be too small to hold all our friends”

Once you’ve chosen your favorite, pick a font you like on your computer & type out the phrase you want to embroider. Then print it out to make your pattern. Keep in mind that fonts with thicker lines tend to turn out a little better than fonts with really thin lines.

Next, you’ll need to trim & hem the edges of the sheet to make it your desired size for your tablecloth.

Then, place your pattern under your cloth in the position you want it. With a sharp pencil, carefully trace the phrase onto your cloth. This is why it’s important to use a white or ivory sheet. You’ll need to be able see through it to trace on it.

Now you’re ready to start the embroidery. I use a satin stitch for this project. Here is a diagram I borrowed from Martha Stewart with some simple instructions.

Satin Stitch

Made at an angle or straight across, these side-by-side stitches known as the satin stitch fill in the outlines of a design that incorporates shape or width. Insert needle from wrong to right side, coming out at 1. Insert needle at 2, and pull it back through at 3, right next to 1. Keep the stitches tight and flat to ensure a smooth finish.

When preparing to do this stitch, I recommend cutting a length of embroidery floss approximately 18″ long. First, separate each of the 6 strands, then take 3 of the strands, line them up, smooth them together & thread them through the needle.Whew! Still with me? Typing all this out makes it seem hard, but seriously, it’s not. To begin, you need to place your embroidery hoop over the area where you plan to start. Doing this will make you feel a little Grandma-esque, but keep going. It’ll be fine.Now you can start embroidering your phrase, following the simple guide above. As you finish one section, move your hoop to another until you’re done! The instructions for the backstitch are below. I use this stitch for the names & dates.


The backstitch is the easiest embroidery stitch. Insert needle from wrong side of fabric, coming out at 1. Insert needle at 2, pull back out at 3, and pull thread tight. Insert needle again at 1, and pull it out past 3 at a distance equal to length of the previous stitches. This is the first step for the next stitch; insert needle into 3, and continue.

Here are a few pics of my old tablecloth from my previous house. On this one, I used a lot of different colors for the different names.You’ll be amazed at how the embroidery stays true to the original writing!Here’s the signature of John Phillips, the Bible Commentary author, when he came to our house for dinner:And here’s the one of President George Bush. What? You can’t see it on this pic?I should have waited until mine was finished to post this, but I thought someone out there may be looking for a project to do over the holidays. And now I’m going to go sit by the tree & listen to Christmas music & see if I can finish mine!