Napkins.

With so much wedding preparation going on (exactly 1 month to go as of yesterday, yikes!), I have been thinking heaps about entertaining, decorating, and beauty. A close friend of mine suggested to me to write a post about folding napkins into aquatic animals, particularly walrus, because the walrus happens to me my favorite, rivaled only by the octopus and nautilus.

However, this got me to thinking, what other shapes, symbols, or creatures could be represented as a folded napkin? This opened up a whole new world for me, not only because I love learning, but also because I love crafts and decorating. Goths are definitely among the few who appreciate going through a lot of trouble to make something beautiful, even a napkin.  Sprucing up the old dining table always makes things feel festive, and sparks a mood of enjoyment and mirth. Most Goths need a lot of positive reinforcement in this area, especially me, so I decided to dedicate this post to napkins and all of the wonderful ways they can be decorative.

First of all, there are several rules of etiquette involving napkins that many people are unaware of in this day and age, so I figured that I would go over the pointers for everyone who is interested. Those of you who are mannered and elegant may skip this section if you so desire.

  • Whether a napkin is paper or cloth,  it still serves the same purpose. Just because the napkin is made out of paper does not mean you have any excuse not to lay it across your lap, unless it is a tiny,  thin paper napkin at a diner.
  •  If you are given a napkin at a meal you are attending, even fast food at a friend’s apartment, use it. Leaving it next to your plate is not only a waste, it is also rude. Not using your napkin and letting it sit beside your plate marks you as an uncouth slob.
  • Wait for your host or hostess to open their napkin first before you open yours.  (While we are on the subject, make sure you do not begin to eat until your host or hostess takes their first bite.)
  • Never tuck your napkin into your pants, shirt, or elsewhere. The appropriate place for it is your lap, unless you are in the South of Italy, where tucking into the shirt is acceptable.
  • You do not have to wait until the food is served to unfold your napkin. It is best to do it before, so that the napkin is not in the way when everything is served.
  • Do not shake your napkin to open it. Unfold it as nonchalantly as possible. Wildly flapping a napkin about is very unattractive and embarrassing if everyone stops to see what in the world you are doing.
  • If you need to leave the table during a meal, fold your napkin and set it down on the left side of your plate until you get back.

These pointers being stated, I would like to move on to napkin rings, which are used on cloth napkins. Paper napkins are fine, but just make sure they are thick and/or weighted.  High quality paper napkins are almost like cloth ones. You can purchase them here.

Silverware Napkin rings

Silverware Napkin Rings

Back to the napkin rings. First of all, Bed Bath & Beyond has a large selection of napkin rings in many styles, but you can also get great napkin rings from Amazon or Target. Amazon has a ton of Gothic style napkin rings to suit your own needs, as well as vintage, Victorian,  or Medieval themed napkin ring sets for affordable prices.

Many stores that sell housewares also have holiday themed napkin rings, so you can always wait until after the holiday for them to go on sale.  A good piece of advice to follow decoration-wise is to try to match the napkin rings to compliment your dinnerware pattern or place mats.  If you are having a themed party, try to get napkin rings to go with your theme, or coordinating colors of the decorations for a party.  Getting attractive napkin rings will always make things look great, and is a good way to get out of having to fold the napkins.

Speaking of folding napkins, many people may not want napkin rings because they do not have cloth napkins. Or it is possible that they prefer to roll silverware in the napkin in a certain way instead. some people are also crazy and enjoy doing menial but crafty things such as folding napkins into shapes, animals, or designs (myself included).  If you count yourself as one that would enjoy making your napkins into Gothy folds, then here are some great napkin folding how-to sites:

Napkin Folding Guide

About Napkins

Napkin Folded into Tuxedo

Napkin Folded into Tuxedo

I have yet to figure out how to fold a napkin into a skull ,  but when I do I will definitely be posting it here.  If you’re the type that likes to have a reference, or needs a diagram or lots of practice,  there are also a ton of books on napkin folding. The best one that I have seen contains instructions for 94 different napkin folds,  and I am thinking of purchasing it. Here is a link to it on Amazon for less than 15 US dollars: The Simple Art of Napkin Folding .  I particularly like the animal folds, flower folds, or ones that are silverware pouches. There is also a simple Fleur-de-Lis napkin fold that you can do inside of a goblet or wine glass on the websites above as well as in the book I believe, as well as several folds shaped like crowns.

If you are looking to purchase inexpensive cloth napkins, I would certainly recommend Bed, Bath & Beyond because they have an excellent array of colors, as well as real silk napkins for less than $10 US dollars each. Places like Target or Kohl’s do not really have quite as good of a selection as they do, but they do have reasonable prices for their cloth napkins.

I certainly hope that this post was informative for all of you dark ones to get ready to get folding!  Until next time, fold on.

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~ by Israfel on September 3, 2011.

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