A Boatload of Thanks

With Thanksgiving three days away, we thought it was time to share a simple table setting.  Several weeks ago, while at a thrift store, I found a beautiful gold ringed glass and pitcher set.  My sister and I both wanted it, so she took four of the six glasses and the pitcher.  Those two glasses I got sparked this place setting.  Not one to like warm colors like red, I decided on a color scheme of blue and gold.

While at HoLo (Hobby Lobby), I spied bandannas for 99 cents each.  I bought one in an aqua color to see if it washed well.  If it did, I thought it would make a perfect napkin.  Luckily, after one wash cycle, it softened enough.

Then I started thinking about seating cards.  I didn’t want to do the same turkey idea we did last year and I wanted something multi purpose.  Something sparked.  A vessel to hold bread.  Like a boat!  Yes, that’s just what I needed.  Only I didn’t want it to scream, “I’m a boat!”  Incorporating leaves seemed like a perfect sail.  That’s what I did.  See, a little bread boat.

To make each boat, I cut each sheet of 25 cent felt in half, then folded that half in half.

I pinned the short ends to keep things in place and folded it in half width wise.  With sharp scissors, I cut an angle through all four layers, wider part at the top.

Blanket stitch (or whatever hand stitch you prefer) the short ends.  Now it’s time to make the mast and sail.  Start by printing this template on colored card stock.

I found the easiest way to make the leaves even was to print half of the design, fold it over, then cut each leaf.  Don’t worry about being too precise with cutting on the line.  When you’re done cutting, flip the leaf so the printed part is on the inside.  Repeat until you’ve finished cutting two leaves per place card.  Then, cut a bamboo skewer to about 5 or six inches long and wire each guest’s name on a leaf.

Spread a little glue stick over the inside of each leaf, including a little in the middle.

Fold the leaf over and press firmly.

Repeat with the named leaf.

Poke the stick into a roll.  Pop the roll in the felt boat and you’re done.

Here’s another cheap and festive idea.  Pour dried beans or peas in a small juice glass, toss in a tea light and you’ve got a cute candle holder.

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, you’re probably stressed enough worrying about the food.  Keep the centerpiece simple by corralling various candles.  Keep it cohesive with similar colors.  I even added a small brass owl for fun.

If you’re anything like I am, you’re unreasonably attracted to miniature dishes.  Put these to good use when hosting a large dinner group.  Fill with butter or even salt and pepper to cut waiting and passing.

Usually we don’t use table cloths.  Two crazy boys + table-cloth + tons of dishes = pile of food and broken plates on the floor.  No, it’s never actually happened, but I can see it.  This year, we’re having more people than we have in the past and our table doesn’t expand.  Which means we’ll have to use a folding table for extra seating.  Therefore, we’ll need a table-cloth to cover the ugly table.  I found this shower curtain on clearance for $3.74 at Target and thought it would be a perfect table-cloth.

How about a budget breakdown?

Tablecloth: $3.74

Bandanna napkins: $.99 each

Felt boat place cards: $.15 each

We already had the gold charger, white plates, glasses, salt and pepper shakers, leaf dishes for butter, and candle holders.    Oh, here’s a thrifty tip.  If you’re looking for cheap chargers, check out the dollar store.  I saw some there a month or so ago.

There it is.  Our Thanksgiving table setting.  It’s nothing too fancy, but it glitters and sparkles, which makes me happy.

What’s your favorite turkey day color scheme?  Do you prefer something more traditional or do you like to mix it up?

Thanksgiving Table Settings

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I decided today would be the perfect day to show you fine folks a few table settings I whipped up.  Most of the items used I had lying around the house. 

First up, we have a turkey day snack setting featuring an abundance of leaf bowls.  I like to call this one “Just Leaf It.”

This is a really simple setting complete with all sorts of snacks, napkins and a sparkling drink.  Of course the main part to this setting are assorted leaf bowls.  To duplicate this look, you can buy various leaf bowls to fill with snacky goodness.  I have two sets in my Etsy shop and saw ceramic versions recently at Pier 1 and TJ Maxx.

For the main show, I kept everything simple.  I used our everyday plain white dishes and splashed Thanksgiving color in the form of place mats, napkins, place cards, nuts and a pine cone wreath.

Here’s a closer look:

I scored the metallic gold place mats for $.98 each on a recent Pier 1 trip.  I love the bit of sparkle they add to the setting.  Brown floral napkins that I sewed rest on each plate while a walnut turkey place card watches nearby.  A few leaf-shaped bowls are also nearby for any individual portions.  I think it would be cute to have salt and pepper in the small leaf bowl, also from Pier 1 clearance.

The centerpiece is super simple, consisting of a silver Pier 1 charger, though I should have gotten a gold one, too.  On top of the charger, a bird and branch candle holder rests, surrounded by nuts. 

What are your plans for the big day?  Hosting Thanksgiving or traveling?  We’re feasting on Sunday, not Thursday because my sister will be here.  Any favorite Thanksgiving traditions?  Funny thoughts about turkey day?  My favorite comes from a Friends episode where Joey wears Phoebe’s maternity pants to accommodate his huge stomach because he eats so much.

How To: Pinecone Wreath

By now, I bet you’ve learned two things about me.  Number 1: I like to make a lot of things myself.  Number 2:  I’m cheap.  I like to make things because I’m cheap.  One item I’ve been working on is a pine cone wreath. 

What I love about this wreath is that it can easily transition from autumn, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to winter, just by adding a few accessories.  That means, one wreath to store, but two seasons and two holidays of decoration.  Sweet, huh?  Yeah, I think so.  What’s even better?  It’s practically free!

To make a pine cone wreath, start with a wire wreath form, available at craft stores, pinecones, wire, and wire cutters or scissors if your wire is thin enough. 

Cut a length of wire between 9 and 12 inches long.  Wrap the wire around the base of the pine cone, tucking under the petals. 

After wiring a few to the form, I learned that the cones flop around less if you keep part of the wire on each side, rather than twisting like the picture above.

Once your cone is wired, wrap around the wreath form, pulling tightly to keep it firmly in place.  Wrap the wires of the next cone to the previous wiring.  Again, this will keep the pinecones in a tight formation and prevent flopping. 

Group the pinecones as closely together as possible.  The back will look something like this. 

Twist the wires together and cut the ends off.  Continue this process until you re covered the entire wreath form.

If you used large pinecones like I did, you’ll have to find smaller ones to fill in the gaps where the wreath form is visible. 

I bought some golden pine cone picks from Hobby Lobby for $.50 each, after a 50% discount. 

I cut the pinecones off the pick and followed the same wiring process to fill in the gaps.  Add the small filler pinecones and the wreath is finished. 

The way you choose to hang the wreath will depend on your situation.  You can add a few lengths of fishing line or hang from a hook.  You might be wondering why my wreath is on m dining room window.  Well, friends, that’s because it’s friggin’ freezing in Montana.  I literally have not left our house in days due to the cold.  Cold like a high of 5°.  Which means, the suction cup hook I bought won’t work on the outside of our front door.  It requires a minimum of 40° to stick.  So, it’s hanging in our dining room. 

I will share details on how to add decorative items to add some seasonal pizzaz.  What are you doing to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving?

Turkey Day

Now that Halloween is over, I am officially in Thanksgiving decorating mode.  To kick things off, I created cute turkey place cards. 

If you would like to make some for yourself, you’ll need:

One bag of mixed nuts, in the shells.  Pull out the walnuts and hazelnuts.

Hot glue gun

Dried, pressed leaves.  If you don’t have pretty leaves to dry, fake leaves or paper would work, too. 

A black pen

Oogly eyes or cardstock circles with black dots drawn in

Colored cardstock for beak and feet.  I used an old cereal box for the feet. 

To start, glue the hazelnut, pretty, slightly pointed side forward, to the top front of the walnut.  Again, the walnut should have the slightly pointed area to the front.  Then, write each guest’s name on one leaf.  Find similar sized leaves (4 more) for each turkey.  Glue the name leaf to the back at the center of the walnut.  Glue the remaining leaves and cover the glue from the previous leaves.

Cut ‘feet’ out of cardstock or thin cardboard.  First, make a slightly rounded ‘V’ shape about 1 inch long.

Cut toes by making another rounded ‘V’ in the center.  Then cut two more ‘V’s, totaling four toes.  Add a dollop of glue to the back of the V and place the walnut on top, making the turkey stand.

To make the face, use an all purpose glue to attach the eyes.  For the beak, cut a small piece of cardstock, fold in half, and cut again into a triangle.  Add glue to the V of the triangle and glue to the hazelnut.  Then, you’re done!

Top each place setting with a turkey and get ready to feast. 

Isn’t he cute?  And, when you’re done, you can eat him.  Sort of like eating the chocolate Easter bunnies.

Oh, here’s another cute idea.  Well, I think it’s cute.  Remember these felt leaf bowls I made?  Well, why not create a few more and use them as individual bread baskets?  We always have so much food on the table and so little room for each person.  This can limit the large platters on the table, and it’s something cute for guests to take home. 

If you don’t want to take the time to use tweed, you could just cut out several felt leaves, stitch the darts together and use a felt only bowl.  The leaf bowl above used a 6 inch, from top to bottom, excluding the stem, template.