I should know better than to flip through a copy of Martha Stewart Living this time of year — there's already enough crafting and cooking to be done, no additional projects necessary. But then I saw them: cloth napkins embroidered with guests' names, place cards and welcoming gesture all in one. All other projects have been postponed while I search for cheap napkins to stitch...
Many of the projects in MSL strike me as both incredibly time-consuming and prohibitively expensive, but this one strikes me as quite doable. I'm a pretty fast embroiderer, and a few upcoming holiday car trips will give me some time to kill. As for the expensive part... the thing about so many Martha Stewart projects is that they almost always use the best and most beautiful materials. I can't say for sure, but the napkins featured appear similar to these from Terrain. They are beautiful, they'll get better with age, and they're $12/each. I need to embroider a dozen of them and I definitely do not have a $144 napkin budget. (I should note that I've scoped out local thrift stores in hopes of scoring some on the cheap, to no avail.)
My current plan is to order white flour sack towels (approximately $15/dozen) and then dye them using Apartment Therapy's How To Make Tea-Stained Towels tutorial. The plot thickens! Now, not only do I plan on embroidering twelve tea towels in the next few days, apparently I plan on dying, drying, and ironing them, too.
It sounds like a lot of mess, a lot of rigamarole, an extra $15 to spend, and a lot of extra work... but it also sounds so, so fun! What projects are you simply giddy to do, practicality be damned?