Dinner is my favorite, most treasured time of day. It's such an everyday celebration of family life - a moment when we are all together, in one space, and of one mind. I like putting a little bit of energy into that daily celebration - creating a space in which I know we will want to all gather and linger. In recent years, that job has been completely taken over by my boys, who love creating the 'scene' now themselves (complete with a daily rock-paper-scissors for who lights the candles). I love thinking about how our evening meal has changed and will continue to change as our family grows. From the early days of just trying to get through it without someone crawling on top of the table, to today's gatherings that include conversation and crawling on the table, to gatherings way into the future - who knows what they might hold.
I recently finishing these placemats for our spring table. All made from one vintage print (formerly a curtain, I do believe). But I mixed them up a little bit with embellishment - some have a bit of doily love, some have freezer paper stencils, and others have fabric appliqued pieces (with help from a few of the books on my shelves: the squirrel is from Sew Liberated, the birds and chick from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby). There's a layer of quilt batting in the middle, and a piece of linen for the back. Easy, peasy. Ready for spring (and hopefully a whole lot of fresh green on that table soon!).
There are, of course, days where it feels laborious to make such a fuss about an everyday thing such as setting the table for an evening meal. And there are also, of course, days when a box of pizza is plopped down in the center of that table (or more accurately, a bowl of popcorn). But even on those days, we try to keep some elements of our daily ritual. Our breath, a blessing, the place settings. The effort is always worth it in the end, as the flurry of our day settles down for a few minutes...or an hour. Stories from the day are told. Dreams are shared. And family plans are made. All over the yumminess of the meal we've prepared. My favorite time of day, for certain.