Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Embroidered Signature Tablecloth

When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.

Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…

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I’ve begun embroidering the saved signatures – we need to have more parties to gather family signings.

The Embroidered Signature Tablecloth

A big “Thank You” to Cathy Meder-Dempsey in reminding me about my signature tablecloth that had been shelved since 2007. It was her story – Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Mom’s Signature Tablecloth – that has given me my first Heirloom Story in 2016; technically it is a new heirloom in process.

It took a bit of searching, but I finally found my tablecloths that had been shelved since, well… as I unfolded the tablecloth I found dates of 2007 and 2008 – my first thoughts – why did I never finish this? Nine long years, what happened? I’ve missed out on so many signatures… but better late than never.

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You can see we began this at Christmas!

I quickly dragged out my embroidery hoop, opened my box of embroidery threads and threaded my needle; have to say it is not a fast process and I’ll have to be pushing myself as I not only have one to work on, I have two tablecloths to work on yearly. My granddaughter McKinley was eager to be the first one and let me trace her handprints for the tablecloth; she’s 3 1/2 and quite inquisitive. Now to  work on gathering the other four little hand tracings.

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     First ones embroidered were of my daughter in laws parents –  Mom & Dad P. – with many more to come this year.

As I sat there embroidering, I began to wonder who taught me how to embroidery, so what do I do – I call my mother. After first wishing her a Happy New Year and mentioning my project, she told me. “My mother taught me how to embroidery, I’d sit next to her in the evening and watch, then I would try. When you were young, I taught you how. I embroidered on many of your dresses I sewed for you. I even knitted when I was young, but I taught myself as my mama didn’t knit, she crocheted. Daddy wasn’t going to buy me needles so I made my own out of sticks; I skinned off the bark making them all smooth and shaved points on one end. I used thread that mama had unraveled from feed sacks.  Mama saved everything!”

Thanks to Dawn Kogutkiewicz, who recently shared a photo of painted handprints around a Christmas tree skirt from Pinterest – a lightbulb went off! This photo gave me the idea to include embroidered handprints of all my grandchildren on the tablecloth. Their handprint would be their first signing on the new family heirloom signature tablecloth!


By the end of 2016, I hope to have embroidered many more names on both tablecloths; I Just might need to teach my daughter and daughter-in-law how to embroidery, so I have a little help on this project. In making this my first heirloom story on Week 1 new year, check back on Week 52 as I’ve already planned on making it my last heirloom story in December to show its progress. That should motivate me not to let everyone down…

Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to read more stories…

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco


Family Heirloom Bloggers:

I started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join me in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Writing the stories of the family heirlooms I’ve been entrusted with, has been on my mind for a long time; the time is now and I plan to write their stories on a weekly basis.

Please check out the weekly Family Heirloom stories of…

Blogger: Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Blogger: Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Blogger: Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Blogger: Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Blogger:  Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
Blogger: True Lewis at Notes to Myself
Blogger: Vera Marie Badertscher at Ancestors in Aprons                              Blogger: Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Blogger: Kathy Rice at
Blogger: Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog
Blogger: Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Check out her Blog at –  52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap  for links to more Heirloom posts.



About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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2 Responses to Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Embroidered Signature Tablecloth

  1. Thank you for the mention Jeanne. It was wonderful to read how my Mom’s signature tablecloth reminded you of your own, almost forgotten, tablecloth. I’m happy you’ll be adding to yours and I’m sure you’ll be very busy embroidering. You definitely need to get help. Are those little hands too young to be taught? They could try embroidering their hands on your tablecloth. It would make it even more precious to see a missed or messed up stitch. Happy New Year and all the best wishes for you and yours.


    • Cathy
      I thought too about teaching my 5 year old, and maybe I’ll begin giving her lessons. Hard to keep attention levels as her siblings, age 3, will want to sew also. Might have to come up with another craft to keep their hands busy. I couldn’t believe I’ve had this tablecloth put away for so long. It actually was 90 inches long, so I’ve cut it in half to make two smaller ones, now I have to learn how to miter the edge hem – another project. LOL. I’m having fun embroidering. Maybe I’ll add updated here on my post.

      Liked by 1 person

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