Napkins {tutorial}

Disclaimer : I may have made more than one sweeping generalization in the writing of this post.

When I first moved to the US 7 and 1/2 years ago, I was surprised at how ferociously the Americans celebrate their holidays and festivals. It was mid September and of course, many people already had some Halloween decorations up; pumpkins sat on porch steps and straw bales propped up grocery store displays of squash and unusual looking gourds. Being used to a more understated way of celebrating Halloween (and by understated, I mean turning off all the lights in the house and pretending no-one was home so that the two drunk teenagers dressed up as two drunk teenagers would pass our house without knocking), I admit to being more than a little scathing of the US over exuberance.

However, in the time that I have lived here I have come to think much differently. For a start, the Americans are very good at including children in their celebrations. I mean, how fun would a 5 hour July 4th parade REALLY be if there weren’t people throwing out candy or little plastics parachuting men or handing out flags? (or maybe that’s just me?) And Valentine’s Day in England always seemed to be about lovers exclusively, whereas here it’s about lovers, friends, extended family, teachers, neighbors and your pet lizard (we don’t have a lizard).

Which brings me on to St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just for the Irish. You’re not just invited to the party, you are the party, whether you are Irish, Italian, Asian or Scandinavian.

My English stiff upper lip has softened. I’ve let my hair down. Life is too short and I’m wearing green on St Patrick’s Day.

My 7yr old likes to watch that cartoon called Phineas and Ferb, which is quite funny because from what I can tell, it’s about an American family with an English dad. The dad makes some observant remarks about the Americans every now and then, and yes I am about to quote a cartoon character. In my opinion, Phineas and Ferb’s dad is right up there with Simone de Beauvoir and errr….Charlie Brown.

Dad : ‘That’s what I love about you Americans, you’re like big fun children’
Mum : ‘Yes, yes we are’.

To make your own napkins, you will need 1/4 yard of two different fabrics. I made 4 napkins. Cut 8 squares (4 in each fabric) measuring 10″ x 10″.
Take 2 squares and lay on top of each other with right sides facing. Pin all the way around the edge. See my two yellow pins at the top? Don’t sew between them. This will be your turning hole.
Close up of turning hole. Don’t sew between the yellow pins!
Sew the two pieces of fabric together with a straight line. I used red here so you can see it in the photos. Ideally you will use a coordinating color. Or not. Whatever makes you happy.

Take a small pair of scissors and clip the points off all four corners. This will help the corners poke out nicely when you turn the napkins the right way.

Turn the napkin the right way and press the seams with an iron folding the edges in where you left the turning hole.

Make sure you poke out the corners to a nice point. You can use a wooden kebab stick or stuffing tool. I don’t recommend using scissors.

Topstitch all the way around the napkin making sure to close up the turning hole.
And repeat for all napkins.
Ok, so what fun things are you doing/making for St. Patricks Day, you big kids, you.

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