DIY Grace Before Meals Table Runner- the easy version!

Last year I made a bunch of table runners with the Catholic dinner prayer on them and I gave them out as Christmas presents. I used a faux batik technique, and they were beautiful, and I love them, but they were a lot of work. I got a lot of suggestions from my readers to try doing the same thing with a bleach pen, and I wanted to make a harvest colored one for Thanksgiving, so I gave it a whirl. It came out beautifully with a fraction of the work!

Last time I actually sewed my own runner. This time I bought an already-made table runner at Dollar General. It cost about $7. Then I got a bleach pen at the grocery store for about $3.

The bleach pen squeezed a lot easier and smoother than glue, making it a lot easier to control the look of my letters. I was surprised how thick the bleach pen squeezed out. Definitely squeeze some out on a paper towel before starting.

Use chalk or a pencil to write on your table runner so you know where to put the bleach. I read a lot of tutorials on how to make things with bleach pens online before starting. The consensus was to leave the bleach pen on for 10-15 minutes, which is exactly what I did. I had read to wait until you could see the fabric changing color, but the bleach pen was too thick to see if it was turning or not.

I washed it in the washing machine by itself. I filled the machine with water before putting it in, and dropped it in carefully so the bleach didn’t touch places I didn’t want it to. The machine did the rest, and when it was dry I ironed it flat again. :-)

I’m really happy with how this turned out! It was so easy, I’m just itching to think of another use for my new bleach pen!

This is the perfect table runner for Thanksgiving dinner! Of course, you could make them in any color for any time.

My table runner said it was cotton on the front, and polyester on the back. I would try to get something cotton on top to make sure the bleach works. You could also sew your own like I did before, but use the bleach pen and pick your own fabric. I’m telling you- this project was painfully easy! It was a little more costly than sewing my own out of old sheets, but I still think it’s  a lot of bang for the buck!

I hope this looks good in our new house we’re buying tomorrow!!! So excited! :-)

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Grace before Meals Craft for Kids

This is a great craft to do when you are teaching kids about saying grace before meals. We used the classic Catholic Dinner prayer for this craft. I found this craft idea over on the Catholic Toolbox along with other grace before meals activities for kids. Thanksgiving is a good time to do this craft, but it’s always good to be thankful for your food. :-)

Catholic Dinner Prayer:

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Supplies Needed:

  • Large paper for placemat (we used cut up paper bags) and assorted construction paper.
  • Disposable plates, silverware, and cups
  • White paper (for “napkins”. Don’t use real napkins because they’re nearly impossible to glue down.)
  • White glue
  • Catholic Dinner Prayer print out
  • Scissors

Start by crafting a placemat. We wove some placemats for ours. Here are  some great directions on how to weave placemats with kids.


I thought I would do something a little easier than weaving for with my preschool class, so we did apple stamping to decorate the placemats. I told them all about how the Trinity is like an apple before we started.

For easy apple printing, cut your apple in half, squeeze some paint on a paper plate (we used tempera paint) and put your half-apple in the paint. To make an easy handle, stick a corn-on-the-cob-holder into the apple. (be careful that the children don’t remove the holder from the apple because it’s very sharp)

As long as kids are still having fun with this, let them stamp as much paper as they want. :-)

After you’ve made or decorated your placemat however you like, glue on a disposable place setting. We used white glue. You need to be generous with the glue. Hot glue will probably stick more long term.

Don’t forget to glue on the before dinner prayer! It fits right on your plate. :-)

When the glue dries, these can hang right on the wall so your kids will always remember to say grace before meals!

Even though kids pick up on the dinner prayer pretty quickly if you’re praying it before all your meals, it’s good to take the time to talk to them about it, what it means, why we say it, and about being thankful in general. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the habit of saying it and never bother actually teaching about it. How do you make sure your kids understand grace before meals? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Give Thanks Banner- A DIY Bunting for Thanksgiving

Here is a Thanksgiving craft from my past- a Thanksgiving banner that I made when I was a young.

Isn’t it cute? It has held up exceptionally well in my mom’s attic! I asked her to share her secret for storing this Thanksgiving banner craft. She said she carefully folds is back and forth, then puts it inside a sealed freezer bag. That’s it!

The basic idea is that you spell out “Give Thanks” using things found in nature.

Supplies Needed:

  • A Collection of things found in nature
  • Assorted colors of card stock or paper (we also used paper bags)
  • Twine
  • White glue

Walking around outside and collecting things for this project is a big part of the fun. Depending on what you find, you can fill in with some cheaters from inside as well.

Fold your paper to the desired shape and size. You’ll need one piece for each letter. Glue on the assortment of objects you’ve collected in the shape of the letters you need. Allow to dry. Fold the top of the paper over, and glue over your piece of  twine.

Here’s what we used:


G- Glue in the shape of “G” sprinkled with Oregano.

I- Cinnamon stick dotted with tiny pine cone (acorn would also be cute)

V- 2 pieces of wheat-looking grass

E- tiny little twigs tied together (pine needles would also be adorable)

 

T-Turkey feathers (my dad is a hunter so we had them on hand, but packaged feathers would also work)

H- Pieces of potpourri- lol! I think they are some kind of dried flower petal.

A- Cinnamon sticks

N- Dried grass

K- Corn Husks

S- Glue in shape of “S” sprinkled with paprika

You can also use larger sticks, dried beans, small rocks, leaves, nuts, or anything else you find outside, in your potpourri bowl, in the spice cabinet, or in the Fall section of your craft store. ;-)

Whenever I see the banner hanging, I can’t help but sing Psalm 136 in my head: “Give  thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting”.

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St. Kateri Activity for Kids

Today, we have a guest post from my friend over at Catholic Deals, Liz. She made an adorable snack with her kids to celebrate Saint Kateri!

St. Kateri’s Native American Village

 

Materials needed:
- Sugar or waffle ice cream cones
- Chocolate candy melts
- Pretzel sticks
- Large tray
- Frosting
- Green and brown sugar
- Dried papaya or orange candy for fire
- Candies for decoration (optional)

 

 My family and I were so excited by getting a new American saint with the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha on Sunday, that we decided to hold a family party in her honor.  We prepared a Native American-inspired dinner of fish, corn, and pumpkin mashed potatoes, and finished it off with this Native American village scene for dessert.

 

I got the idea for the tepees and fire from Family Fun, but their instructions were to bake cupcakes inside the ice cream cones.  That seemed a little more complicated than I wanted to get, especially since I thought my kids might just prefer the cones on their own.

 

I used waffle cones because I thought that the opening on them would look good for the door of the tepee, but then I realized that unlike sugar cones they would not stand up on their own!  Undeterred, I just broke off pieces along the bottom until they were relatively stable.  Then I had to cut a bit off the top of each cone to widen the opening for the sticks at the top.

 

 

Candy melts worked well to stabilize the pretzel sticks, because the candy is thicker and dries much more quickly than frosting.  We had to hold or prop the sticks for a couple of minutes until they dried, so that they would stay apart at the top.  They dried in just a few minutes.

 

 

While the tepees dried, we spread a waxed-paper lined tray with vanilla frosting, and then we placed the finished tepees.  Next was the fun part – creating the scene!  We used green sugar for grass and brown sugar for dirt or sand.  We built the fire out of pretzel sticks and dried papaya cut into triangular shapes for the flames and stuck them together with some more candy melts.  We used some root beer flavored hard candies as the stones around the fire, since I could not find small candy rocks.  Finally, I had a mellowcreme autumn mix that worked great for accessories to the scene and to create a little table with a harvest feast.

 

 

This delicious craft would work well for Thanksgiving as well as for celebrations of St. Kateri’s life.  My children had so much fun creating and eating it, and they won’t soon forget about our new American saint!

 

Liz McGuirk is a wife and mom living in Northern Virginia.  She blogs about products and good deals of interest to Catholics at Catholic Deals.  In order to keep informed about great upcoming holiday deals on Catholic and Christian products, follow her blog or follow her here on Facebook.

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