Bon Appétit: French Script Napkin Tutorial


My favorite job as a child was setting the table for a holiday meal.  It was an opportunity to go into my mom’s linen closet and pick out the pretty things reserved for special occasions.  I can actually still remember the smells of the table cloths, napkins, pillow cases, and sheets mingled with candles and other decor items tucked carefully away.  In 17 years of marriage, I have only once hosted Thanksgiving, as cooking isn’t my strong suit and so fortunately our tradition is to share a beautiful meal around a splendidly adorned table prepared by my mother-in-law.  So I find myself making an occasion out of none to prepare a simpler meal, with a lovely place setting, and invite a family over to bless with a spirit of welcome hospitality that says, “You are appreciated, loved, and valuable enough for extraordinary effort and attention to detail.”  It is one of the ways I express love.  The pitfall, is sometimes I set up a standard or expectation for myself that is too high, and because I see an event so over the top in my imagination (think David Tutara’s  $50,000+ “My Fair Wedding” type events) and want to go all Martha Stewart on it, I don’t invite people over as often as I would if I had a less ambitious imagination. In my mind, once I have the table scape designed, I am motivated to create the meal to showcase the table setting.  I realize that this is exactly opposite of all my gourmet cooking friends for whom the food is the focal point, and therefore, I truly appreciate any opportunity to dine at their homes where I don’t have to think about what to cook, but can just marvel at the artistry of their flavorful combinations. Regardless of our motivations, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the countless things we have to be grateful for.  Gratitude inspires the fabric design of this french script, which is translated from the scripture found in Psalm 95:2-3: “Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.”

This tutorial is for those who would love to make something to infuse their table with a spirit of thankfulness this holiday season.  (For those who need a shortcut, Pier One has a similar napkin available with English words of gratitude…it just needed to be improved by pointing to the One to whom we owe all praise!)
Supplies needed to complete this project:

  • Scissors or olfa cutter
  • Ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Iron
  • 1 or more yards of French Script fabric in the linen cotton canvas available from Spoonflower
  • Sewing machine
  • Black crochet thread
  • Steel crochet hook (I used size 1.30 mil)
  • Pencil (a fabric pencil or pen is best, but any pencil should work.  I used one like the blue one here this)
  • Needle (optional for making hole in fabric for easier crochet hook insertion)

1. Prewash the fabric.  All my store bought napkins look beautiful the first time I use them and then when I wash them, they shrink and are no longer square.  The best way I know to have square napkins, is to prewash the fabric and dry it in the dryer.

2. Cut out your square.  For this particular set of napkins, I was trying to get 6 napkins out of one yard of fabric, so that made my cut 17.5 inches square.  If I was to do this again, I would order more fabric and do a slightly larger square so that the finished napkin could be more like 18-19″ square instead of 15.5″

3. I found a fabulous tutorial for sewing mitered corners on YouTube.  I highly recommend watching it before continuing.  Check it out here.  I have photographed my process for mitering the corners below.  Turn over the raw edge of the fabric about .25″ and iron.  Turn over another .25″ and iron again.

4. Open up the creased fabric and mark the folds with a pencil

5. Cut the tip of the diagonal corner off.

6. Fold down the corner to the bottom point.  I played with this fold until I got it to meet properly and look right when the edges were folded back under.


7. Iron the corner.

8. Top stitch the edge.  At this point you could stop and call the napkin finished.

9. I wanted to add a little crochet edging.  Place a mark with your pencil every 10 cm along each edge.

10.  Start in a corner and chain (ch) 7, then single crochet (sc) in a mark and then ch 5, sc in the next mark, then ch 5 and repeat around the napkin until you come back to the starting corner.  I joined in about the 2 ch spot of my first chain of 7 and did a final sc to finish it off.  Then I tied a square knot and wove in the ends of the crochet thread.  I found it difficult to puncture the fabric so I used a needle to make a small hole in each mark before doing my single crochet.  This added some time to the whole process, so what you decide to do will probably depend on your personal preference and the strength of your crochet hook and weight of fabric you purchase from Spoonflower.




11.  Invite someone over for a meal or cup of tea and use your new beautiful napkins, or give a set away as a gift to bless a friend.

Inspirational Scripture:
“Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.”
Psalm 95:2-3 (NLT)

Coffee Break!

When the circumstances of life push against us, it can take a concerted effort to remain in a peaceful state. This last week was a perfect opportunity to walk in peace in spite of the craziness all around. Although it took a week longer than I had expected, the Coffee Break fabric collection is available on Spoonflower at last! Staying peaceful is always a good idea.

Inspirational Scripture:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'”
Isaiah 30:15

La Petite Maison (The Little House)

LaPetiteMaisonBlogMy son loves Lego® and we build things a lot. I mean a lot. As an example, this week we built the Lego® Creator Transport Ferry #4997, (1279 pieces) [click here for a stop gap animation by Madaboutlego], the Lego® Creator Highway Transport #6753 (1294 pieces), and the smaller Lego® Creator Ferocious Creatures #5868 (416 pieces). This wouldn’t necessarily be a lot for an experienced builder, but my son is only 5 (as of the publishing of this post)!

After “shopping” (which is what he calls it when I help sort out the pieces for each step) so he can assemble, I get a little crazy and just want to have the satisfaction of putting a few pieces together myself! I didn’t ever get to play with Lego® as a child (I know, I was totally deprived!) but as an aesthetic child, the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, must not have called to me from the store shelves. So as a grown up, I decided to build my own model inspired by a vintage set (Lego 560 Town House) resurrected from my husband’s Lego® collection. Only, of course I had to redesign it to be more appealing to the little girl of long ago that liked more feminine colors.

VintageLegoThis project has taken a few months of the middle of the night hours. It was a bigger challenge than I anticipated, because I was building virtually and have no background in 3d software or code of any kind. I’m not gonna lie, the learning curve is not for the faint of heart!

Lego® has a section on their website that lets a novice user design their own creation by downloading their free Digital Designer software, but I soon discovered that you couldn’t control how your instructions were going to look, and were limited only to standard pieces that are available on their sight for the moment. So I researched other options and discovered LpubLdrawBricksmithLdGliteLDview, and Brickstore, all programs that could help me with the challenge at hand.

I should pause here to mention that there is a very large and brilliant Lego® community in this world, that I had never encountered before, and these devoted souls are creating amazing things, both in terms of models, and programs, and videos of their creations. My little 621 piece model with its step by step instruction book, and xml file that automatically fills your Lego® wish list at Bricklink is merely an attempt to put a little something within the reach of the girl who might enjoy building, but wouldn’t have considered it before.

I am excited to report that I was able to purchase most of the pieces from Lego® and the rest from Bricklink and build an actual physical model to test out the instructions. I have found that many people outside the serious Lego® community, are unaware of the Pick a Brick section on the Lego® website where you can individual pieces for your own building projects.

LaPetiteMaisonInstructionBookFor fun, a listing for a PDF of the Instructions, parts list with part numbers, color quantity and description, and a Bricklink XML file is available for purchase on, just in case someone else wants to build La Petite Maison. Interestingly, in January 2012, Lego® did finally introduce a line of product for girls!

Inspirational Scripture:
“For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.” Hebrews 3:4

Mirrored Moss

IronMirrorAt one time this piece was most likely a mirror. But with the glass missing, it was begging to once again frame beauty. It could have easily showcased a vintage portrait or a new piece of glass, yet it somehow called for something more.

Textural qualities, and wonderful color variances made moss a perfect choice. I find myself drawn to it in nature and awestruck when I consider all the life to which it is home. It presented the long-awaited solution to the mirror’s dilemma. Now it encourages one to change their focus and reflect upon the beauty and mystery found in life.

Inspirational Scripture:
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12

The Nature of Love


TheNatureofLoveThe Nature of Love
Think I perhaps too much of myself,
A glass full of love and not much more?
Is love even love kept unto itself
Or be it true only poured on the floor?
Surrendered would I be void of love’s wealth
Or giving life’s drink end thirst evermore?
© 2005 Jolene R. BalyeatThis image was created many years ago in response to a picture that came to mind when I was struggling with the concept of giving love, receiving love, surrendering to love, and whether it was possible to run out of love, be destroyed by it, or loose yourself in the midst of it. The art is very abstract, and doesn’t come close to capturing the image that flashed through my mind to illustrate the truth I believe God shared with me. Honestly, this piece doesn’t reflect my “style” or preferences in any way, but the point behind it valuable enough to risk criticism on its amateurish composition.

Because, I knew that love was an overwhelming force, I was worried that if I opened myself up to it I would be undone, emptied, and destroyed in the process. I was concerned that my feelings would be too great to control, and that I would shatter, and all that I was would spill out leaving nothing left.

In a momentary flash of revelation, I saw myself as a glass full of water, with the ground under me a parched dessert, thirsting for a drink that could restore life. I saw many other glasses, equally selfish, refusing to surrender life giving drink to a desperate world. Then I saw myself surrendering and an eternal supply of water from heaven, pouring on, in, over, around, and under me. Life sprung up wherever the water fell. A flower, representing fruit, joy, life, and beauty bloomed. I was not lost, or destroyed in the process at all…just surrendered and surrounded in God’s supply. Now it seems foolish to have been so afraid. But I was. I suppose I share this because in the picture there were other glasses too, not just mine. Some of these glasses are symbolic of people in churches, some may be people reading this blog. I don’t know. I do know this, the lesson I learned was: take the risk. It is worth it; and once one surrenders to love, one is not only open to give, but also to receive.

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14

For further reflection see: Revelation 22:1-2 & Psalm 145:16