Star Napkin Ties
A quick paint job on sweetgum fruits adds a pretty touch to napkins.
These easy-to-make ties -- satin cord trimmed with starlike dried sweetgum fruits -- are an elegant accompaniment to hemstitched napkins embellished with silver or lavender fabric paint. The "stars" are spray-painted white and attached to the cord's ends with a hot-glue gun.
Tools and Materials
Hemstitched napkins, made of cotton or linen
Fabric paint (one 2 1/4-ounce bottle covers about 3 napkins)
White spray paint, Design Master, available at crafts stores
Dried sweetgum fruits, from Dry Nature Designs
Metallic cord, (No. 9512), width S, color 3, from Shindo
1. Wash and dry napkins to remove sizing, which can cause paint to adhere poorly.
2. Paint napkin edges using brush. Let dry completely, 2 to 3 hours. Flip napkins, and paint other side.
3. Heat-set paint (ironing is the most common method) according to manufacturer's instructions.
Napkin Ties How-To
1. Lightly spray-paint sweetgum fruits; let dry.
2. Cut cord into 12-inch lengths. Dab hot glue into openings of 2 sweetgum fruits, and insert end of a cord into each. Repeat to make additional ties. Let dry.
3. Wrap cords around folded napkins.
Embellishing store-bought metallic napkins is the perfect excuse to experiment with your sewing machine's programmed decorative stitches. If you can't decide on just one stitch, mix and match them.
Corkboard Leaf Trivets
This accent can be completed in less time than it takes to make gravy.
Trace a leaf design from our online templates onto a square piece of corkboard (available at most office-supply stores) with permanent marker. Place corkboard on a cutting mat, and cut along the outline with a craft knife. Turn over to display.
Forage for centerpiece materials like twigs and branches in your own backyard and scatter across the table for a surprising alternative to flowers.
Look to Nature
Forage for centerpiece materials in your own backyard. Sculptural twigs and branches provide a surprising alternative to flowers and convey a natural beauty that's in keeping with the season.
Make It Casual
An important occasion can be both chic and casual. It's perfectly okay, for instance, to use beautiful but everyday earthenware and forgo a tablecloth or place mats. Napkins don't even have to match -- just use related colors or fabrics.
Displaying mementos and gifts from friends and family, especially if they've made the objects themselves, affords another way to give thanks on that day.
Shimmery Corn Table Ornaments
Strike the perfect balance between sparkly and elegant with silver-sprayed corn husks that unfurl at each place setting.
Ears of dried miniature corn
Metallic floral spray paint
1. Wrap tape around kernels, covering completely.
2. To soften husks, hold them over a steaming kettle for about 15 seconds. Pull husks over kernels, curling a few back and removing some as desired. Let dry, 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Coat husks with spray paint, turning to cover completely; let dry.
4. Remove tape, and knot ribbon around stems.
Stitched Name Cards
Bust out your sewing machine to craft place cards with an embellished edge. Trim metallic paper to desired place-card size, and then run cards individually through the machine.
Anchor gold candles in shot glasses (with Stick-Um candle adhesive), and place them in hurricane lanterns. Then line the length of a table with them.
More from Martha Stewart Living:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
20 Super-Efficient, Super-Effective Ways to Clean All the Things
47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen
Now that your table is ready to go, let's move on to your kitchen.