Our home altar has been a long time in the making. By “making,” of course, I mean “procrastinating and working on veeeery slowly,” which is obvious when you consider that we’ve lived here for a year and a half and have just now finished it. While I hope to always put some thought and care into changing it each season, I’m glad that there are so many reusable, one-time-effort pieces involved.
The first thing to settle on was the table itself. After looking around for something that would be just right, we went to Ikea for one thing and ended up with a model that I’d overlooked on the website. I love the half-circle shape, though it does make sewing a little tricky (more on that later). It also has a shelf halfway down for storing pieces that have been rotated out for the season.
The next thing to accomplish was the linen for the top. No, we’re not actually planning to have Mass said here or anything, but a simple white linen adds an appropriate, classic touch. I haven’t decided whether or not one of the linens will get some surface embroidery, and I do plan to wash them occasionally, so I decided to do the right thing and thoroughly prepare them (using this great tutorial). I spent most of Saturday afternoon doing this hot water/cold water/hot water waltz, and the process was as interesting as it was tedious.
Tracing the half circle onto the fabric is where things got a little dicey. We measured properly (so many times), and I sewed it with a precise hem all around, but it still managed to fit not *quite* perfectly on the top. You can see it a little in the photo below, but it’s not really noticeable from eye level when the table is covered with stuff.
The frontal was so easy that the hardest part was finding a thread to match. The cloth came from a local fabric warehouse (where I also scored a great green). It’s just a rectangle with mitered corners (instructions here, and many other places). It’s attached to the table by a strip of adhesive velcro running across the top.
As for the other pieces we’re using this Advent:
- Wreath: Trader Joe’s, sitting on a large plate
- Candles & holders: Hobby Lobby, and blessed at Candlemas a couple years ago
- White doily, crocheted by yours truly many years ago
- St. Nicholas statue: a Confirmation gift (available here)
- Crucifix: Purchased at a local Catholic book store on our trip to MN last week. I’m having trouble finding the exact same one, but the link is very close to it.
- Annunciation diptych: Handmade, from Mom several years ago. The art is Fra Angelico.