Oftentimes I see a good idea and I figure out a way of adjusting it for my own use. I do that a lot in cooking. Having been blessed with a good palette, I can usually deconstruct a recipe to determine its various ingredients. From there it is easy to rebuild a similar recipe in the comfort of my own kitchen.
The other night while I was fighting yet another bout of insomnia, I flipped through the television channels trying to find something to watch. I stopped on QVC when something caught my eye. It was a table runner that was lit from the inside.
It intrigued me because there are times when simple candlelight is insufficient but I still don’t want the harshness of overhead lighting. The table runner offered just the right amount of extra light for a perfect romantic setting.
However, there was a problem. I didn’t particularly want to pay the $30 (including shipping and handling) to purchase the item. That seemed a bit steep to me. So, instead, I set about thinking of a way to make my own.
With an idea in mind, I went to Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree to purchase the following:
A table runner ($9 at Wal-Mart);
One set of 50 Christmas tree lights ($1 at Dollar Tree);
Thread ($1 at Wal-Mart) and
A spool of 3″ transparent ribbon with a pattern and/or glitter or metallic accent ($1 at Dollar Tree).
From home, I pulled out:
A sewing needle and
Since my table runner was red, I settled on matching red lights and chose a simple transparent white ribbon with red glitter accent.
Once I was back home, I set about putting my creation together. The results were absolutely stunning. Before I give you step by step instructions, let me offer a word of warning. If you do not want to plug the lights into a socket, you can purchase a battery-operated version at any arts and crafts store. However, these will be considerably more expensive.
Here is how to make my version of the table runner:
Step 1. Measure the ribbon to match the length of the table runner and cut.
Step 2. Center the ribbon down the length of the runner and pin one side of it onto the runner.
Step 3. Begin threading the lights underneath the ribbon, pinning the remaining open side of the ribbon to the runner once the lights are in place. Continue this step until you have worked the lights down the entire length of the runner.
As you pin the ribbon pocket into place, make sure the lights point different directions (east, west, north and south) rather than all one direction. This can be achieved by looping the lights in circles or by merely manipulating them into any desired pattern.
Make sure the lights start and end at opposites of the runner. Leave your cord loose at one end if the lights are to be plugged in. If they are battery operated, you can opt to leave the battery pack inside or outside the ribbon pocket. Obviously, leaving the pack on the outside makes it easier to change batteries when necessary.
Step 4. Thread your needle and begin sewing down one side of your ribbon. If your runner is double faced, you can catch the thread between the two layers to keep it from showing on the underneath side. If it isn’t; however, be aware that you will have visible stitching on the under side of your runner.
Be sure to take tiny stitches so that the lights can’t poke through the ribbon. Double stitch, if necessary to provide maximum support.
Step 5. Once one side of the ribbon is sewn down, do the other side in the same manner, making sure that both the lights and their cord remain inside the ribbon pocket. Then remove your straight pins.
Step 6. Stitch the ends of the ribbon down as well. Position the cord in the center of the end pocket and stitch it into place to prevent it from sliding and tearing open the ribbon pocket.
Step 7. Place your runner where you want it and plug it in or turn on the battery pack. Now you have a creative, fun, and beautiful table runner to use wherever you please.
While the runner I made was for my bedroom bureau, rather than a table, I intend to make holiday runners for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This unique gift will be one of my Christmas gifts this year rather than the floral centerpieces I normally make for family and friends. With a little luck, they will be even more popular.