It’s very hard for me to do anything simple and modern looking. It just is. I love to look at trendy simple things: clothes, home decor, scrapbooking pages, patterns….anything. And I love it. But when it comes right down to it, it’s impossible for me to duplicate that look in anything I touch. It starts out simple, but very soon another element creeps in, an extra detail here or there, some brighter color sneaks in….and soon whatever I’m working on is full right up with all sorts of visual junk! Yes, I am a messy person, and it usual shows up even in my “designing” (art, decorating, crafting, junk making, whatever you want to call it). It’s hard to stop myself. I know, I know, I’ve heard: Art is knowing when to stop. And I agree. And I guess that’s where the line between crafty and artist is drawn. All this to say, I felt rather proud of myself for creating (in my mind) a simple modern-looking Thanksgiving table setting this year. It was excruciatingly hard to hold back and not add more and more, but I forced myself and getting some new simple dishes from Ikea helped (and a time crunch helped, too).
Last year’s Thanksgiving table here was more like what I usually do. This year I tried a new color scheme, and I must say I liked it. I just loved the bright colors (that is normal for me) what wasn’t normal was the more simple decorations.A plain white cake stand, a dried gourd (from Guatemala), a couple of small pumpkins and pomegranates, a few candles, a bunch of purplish carnations and a few green flowers. Yes, it did involve a shopping trip to IKEA for a few things: new blue dishes, a couple of blue candles, purple table runner, purple juice jug and purple serviettes. I had lots of orange things already in my stash 🙂 No time for place-cards this year, just a few plain wooden leaves from Walmart. I did print out some Thanksgiving things on kraft paper, but we didn’t really use them…..they were to make a thankful paper chain. We were thankful without the craft. The rest of the photos were taken under the dining room lighting so the color looks kind of weird…. I quickly crammed all the flowers into an orange bowl (and left the other non-color-coordinated flowers in the kitchen).simple but pretty, I thought. And yes, that is an old fashioned jello mold!For that old fashioned, traditional touch. I enjoyed it, even if few others did! I had made one awhile ago, from an old recipe, then totally lost the recipe!! So this was kinda made from my memory: grated carrot, crushed pineapple, orange gelatin (jello), and a cup of plain yogurt. Does anyone have a recipe like that? It would be nice to have the exact amounts!
My daughter the turkey,I mean, my daughter cooked the turkey this year! She did a good job, though we had a few nervous moments 😉
There was a kids’ table this year, with a few Snoopy treats…very simple (not like the other Peanuts kids’ table)When the younger kids couldn’t take the wait for supper, we gave them a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal. It’s what Charlie Brown and Snoopy served in the classic cartoon: buttered toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans! (It’s starting to be a tradition!)Another food that is now a Thanksgiving tradition around here is Guatemalan enchiladas! I think this was the day after Thanksgiving, though traditionally they are served on Nov. 1st in Guate. (It was a short weekend with family, so we had to cram a lot of food into it) Mmmmm good!! I’ll have to post the recipe someday…. 🙂 And so that was our little Canadian, American, Guatemalan Thanksgiving!!
There are lots of easy things you can do to decorate your home for fall, autumn, Thanksgiving, all the fun October and November times! Look around to see what you have on hand, hidden away somewhere, like baskets and birdcages, then add some nature and raffia 🙂 Here are some of the things I came up with for this year….without really buying anything new except the hens and the moose….A few years ago I invested in a wicker cornucopia basket, so that always comes out of storage, to be filled with flowers or fruit for our Thanksgiving table. Started with some fake flowers, then added some small red lights, some dollar store grapes and free picked nature!I loved the green vine flower things that I found on one of my walks, they really dried nicely…Baskets stuffed with nature:
This next photo isn’t home made, but could be….little stuffed hens on a beaded cord….our newest Fall decor addition to hang by the window and by our chore chalkboards in the kitchen:Also in the kitchen, a little gnome who doesn’t want to freeze outside (he’s also afraid of being gnome-napped), an old apple basket and our avocado plant, also afraid of freezing….
And if you can’t find real pumpkins, make some chubby stuffed pumpkins, no sew! Tiny colored frames from Michaels can be filled with black cardstock, then written on with chalk for a chalkboard look, add a big-eyed owl…
Some table decor:
Fruit and veggies always make colorful decorations. This year’s splurge: a pomegranate! And how about some fresh cranberries floating with some apples stuffed with candles….this was a combination of ideas that I pinned on my Fall Ideas Pinterest board.My Guatemalan textiles always come out for fall….ok, they’re always out, all year around! And Pies are a great fall decor idea!! And they are good for so many things….
Pumpkin, a tradition.My first cherry pie and dollar store ceramic pumpkins.A very old painted Canadian flag made by one of my kids a long long time ago. Something else made by my kids: a clothespin wreath hanging on a chalkboard!My last DIY Fall Decor Idea: plant sunflower seeds in the spring and transfer them to your backyard for super Natural fall decor! 🙂 Doesn’t seem like ours bloomed early enough to get the seeds for eating, though…
Have a great rest-of-the-fall!! Looks like it could snow in a couple of days around here…..so soon I’ll be packing up and disassembling my fall decor…..Christmas is coming!!! 🙂
I love squirrels!! The icon that is, I don’t want to pet a real squirrel or anything like that, though I do find them fascinating to watch…anyways, here’s a super cute place card idea for your next fall event or Thanksgiving. We assembled and used them for Canadian Thanksgiving this year. Beside our little brown friend is a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing and a little fondant pumpkin topper. First a word about the pumpkin toppers, then about the friendly picketing squirrels….The cupcake toppers turned out so cute! They were really fast and easy to make. I found the idea and tutorial by Nikki here on Catch My Party. I just mixed up some marshmallow fondant (melted marshmallows, icing sugar, water and vanilla) and rolled out little balls, scored them with a knife and popped a clove in the top…..that’s all!After I baked a pumpkin pie, I had a cup of pumpkin puree left, so I made up my traditional pumpkin and cream cheese recipes. They were easy cupcakes and baked while the pumpkin pie baked, then just added the icing and fondant pumpkins at the last minute before serving.So I found the pumpkin topper idea on Pinterest, but this next idea was my own idea (I have to make a distinction because my kids are always asking if it’s a Pinterest idea or my own idea! heh heh). Ikea has a cute set of woodland cookie cutters that includes this little squirrel. A batch of The End-All for Chocolate Cookies Recipe from Lilaloa was perfect for little brown fall squirrels. I was in a rush when I was making them, so I don’t have step by step photos. But it’s easy, just cut out squirrels, and for every squirrel cut out a circle (plain or scalloped) for a base. Before baking, add a toothpick to each squirrel, sliding it under the head and poking it through the little hand, so it looks like the squirrel is holding the toothpick on his shoulder. Bake them up, and when they are totally cool, use some melted chocolate candy melts to ice the squirrel to the base. It’s probably a good idea to add the signs to the toothpicks before “gluing” the squirrel to the base. You can just tape the place card to the top of the toothpick. Then it only took a line of melted chocolate on the bottom edge of the squirrel, then a few moments of slight pressure holding it onto the base to assemble. Here they are, being assembled by my sister….The squirrels were my idea, but I did see another fun idea on Pinterest that I really wanted to try….chocolate acorns! I found a great tutorial here on Once Upon a Pedestal for these candy acorns. They looked so cute! But I couldn’t find the same kind of peanut M&Ms that she used….and I didn’t have Tootsie Rolls, so I used chocolate covered almonds and brown fondant (another idea to add to my Chocolate Almond Ideas!!). And I asked my daughters to make them while I was working on Thanksgiving dinner! (remember, everything’s done last minute around here….)The table settings looked really cute with a cookie squirrel, a chocolate acorn and a fall leaf doily at each place….I used the same set of cookie cutters and same idea to make a stand up chocolate moose, too….kinda hard to see, but he’s in the middle by the cornucopia.Mr. Squirrel and his friends were a hit!! But he didn’t stick around very long…..Any squirrels that did linger around too long, and Mac the Moose, were sadly (or more like, deliciously) turned into another dessert with the leftover real whipped cream from the pie….leave overnight in the fridge, and voila!Who knew squirrels and moose could taste so wonderful?? 😉
So I’ve been rushing around, cleaning and decorating. But this year I decided to try and only decorate with things that I already had….to squeeze my brain for budget-friendly decorating! Ok, I admit, that I did buy a few very small things for Thanksgiving before I decided to try out this plan. But they were very few, heh heh. For this rather awesome crafty decoration, I used some nested baskets that I bought at Ikea about 8 years ago. The the larger ones usually hold fruit and the smaller ones lurk in dark corners of the basement “holding things”. So I dug up a nested set. And then I went for a walk to “gather things”. They say the best things in life are free, and my autumn walk was a best thing for sure! I found a few small pine branches, some little black berries of some sort, and some orange berries, which I should know the name of the tree they are from, but am hopeless at tree-knowledge.
I found this idea on Better Homes and Gardens for this basket tower. They used mismatched baskets, which looked cute. They also used lots of expensive floral foam, which I don’t have. A temporary tower sounded good to me. Since it was looking rather large, I decided it wouldn’t be a table centerpiece, but just a decoration, that will be up out of the reach of little hands….so I didn’t do much to anchor it. It’s another one of my “temporary” ideas.These baskets dip down in on one side, so that would be the front. I found things to stack in between, cans, jars, stuff like that. I just left the heavy things as is, but duct taped some of the lighter things for a bit of stability. Ta da, my not too wobbly tower!Now to fill it with nature….start with the pine branches, just some small ones. Then clumps of berries. Then a few pine cones.Shove everything in….I’m not sure how long this arrangement will last, but it will just turn into a dried fall arrangement! The example I was following had some really cute kumquats (whatever those are) and some lovely cloved oranges, that I did want to add, but the baskets were full! No room for oranges. No prob Bob. I think it looks nice just like this….Ugh, except for the color of that wall!!! The wall is not supposed to be pink, it’s orange, but for some reason my photos never show the right color!! I like orange stuff….. 🙂
Anyways, I hope that this little post gives you some ideas for using stuff that’s sitting around your house, and some bits of nature (real or otherwise) to decorate for Thanksgiving or fall in general. I know not everyone has berries popping up everywhere at this time of year……use lots of pinecones and clove some oranges!! Some ribbon would be nice, too….oh, and you can put a candle in the top like the Better Homes and Gardens version….but then it would have to be a stable tower…..I could go on and on. But maybe you should go decorate something….
Thanksgiving is almost here for us Canadians, are you ready? I’m still housecleaning and baking like a crazy. Kind of. I keep getting distracted by little fun things, like decorating or going through boxes that I haven’t seen for a while. I saw a list yesterday that said countdown to Thanksgiving, and shows you what to do each week, for 4 weeks before the event!! Things like start baking, send out invitations, etc. And it says 4 weeks before: finish major housecleaning! I figure that if I changed weeks to days, I’d be right on schedule.
Decorating is so much more fun than cleaning and de-cluttering. I have a frame in my living room that is for changing, with the seasons, or with the birthdays, whatever. It’s easy to pop out the picture and add something new. I was looking around for a “free Thanksgiving printable” to print and frame, and I found lots of nice ones, but they were in color. And even if I switched them to black and white, they’d be all grey and use up tons of ink. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m down to only black ink, so I made up something myself to print out for my frame, and thought I’d post it here, in case anyone else with a black-ink-only printer problem would like to have one for their Thanksgiving decor. All the fonts I used are by Kimberly Geswein, I really like her stuff! Ooh, I just saw some new ones on her blog that I want, nice very nice! There are links on her blog to download all her fonts, and she has examples, so you can see what the fonts look like in a paragraph form. The border is artwork by the Gypsy Chick, that I had for commercial use. (warning: blurry photos ahead!)
The printable is for a 8 1/2 by 11″ page, but my frame takes 12×12″, so I printed off 2 and cut one up to go behind the other. My printer also didn’t print to the edge of the page, so I had to shave some off. The printable should go to the edge of your page, if you can set your printer to do that. So this is what I did:
I don’t like the placement of the red leaf, but am trying to tell myself to just leave it, to not take everything down to rearrange!!! grrrrr. Oh well. So this is what it looks like, and you can click on the folder below to download a zipped folder. Unzip and print! Let me know if it’s not working, since, ahem, it’s been awhile since I’ve uploaded a printable…. This photo below is just the example, and somehow one of the words is cut off and there’s a watermark that says personal use only, so that means it’s just for you to use in your home, y’know, no copying or selling or that kind of thing!
Easy as pumpkin pie….actually, much easier and faster than that! Fasy, easy, temporary decor: I’m all about these three this year. These pudgy pumpkins are so easy to make, you can have a pumpkin patch in your living room in 10 minutes. The “ingredients” for the pumpkins are materials that you probably have around your house….and if you don’t happen to have cinnamon sticks, maybe you could substitute something else….like small rolls of cardstock or cardboard. And the best part is that you don’t have to sew anything!Materials: (new or clean) dish towels, rubber bands or hair elastics, plastic shopping bags, some sort of string or yarn and/or raffia and whole cinnamon sticks.I was so happy to find a use for these tea-towels (that’s what I call dish towels, is that Canadian, eh?) that I bought for a fun Christmas project last year. I had meant to use them for drying dishes after Christmas, but they ended up downstairs in the craft basement….and didn’t come to light until recently….hmmm, they’d make cute pumpkins!!! Find the rest of the ingredients:Now grab the narrower end of a dish towel and accordion pleat it, but not perfectly, remember this is supposed to be fast.Pleat the other end, too, and fold in half. You might have to hold one pleated end, while pleating the other end with one hand. Don’t be perfectionist, it will all be fixable in the end.Lay the pleated ends out in a heart shape. The idea is that the ends will be rubber-banded together, with the ends inside the pumpkin. Now add a rubber band or hair elastic.You can vary how much of the end pleats are going to be inside the pumpkin, and so vary the size of the pumpkins. Now pull the bottom of the “heart” down….And tie with some string, yarn or raffia. Just a couple of regular knots will do to hold it.Start fluffing out the sides of the dish towel a bit. You can add the stem of the pumpkin now, or later, it doesn’t really matter too much. Grab a couple of sticks for a larger pumpkin, or just one stick for a smaller pumpkin, and insert them into the top, in the middle of the rubber-band “knot”. Now stuff the pumpkin with loosely balled-up plastic bags, opening up the pleats a bit, and arranging them to cover any plastic bag that peeks out through the side cracks. And that’s it!!Later, I decided to tie some raffia around the cinnamon stick stem, to give the look of leaves and vine tendrils.It took about 10 to 15 minutes to make 7 pumpkins for my “patch”. The yellow pumpkin is a table runner, folded in half. The two smaller brown pumpkins were bits of fabric from Walmart, those ones that are smaller than a fat quarter, something like 18″ by 21″ or whatever. They were from last year’s project, too. I had been looking at fabric pumpkins, but didn’t want to sew, or permanently use up my small stash of fabric, so this worked out perfectly. I can pull them apart and use my tea-towels for drying dishes (if I want, ha) or anything else.
It’s Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!! Our holiday is on Monday, but many people are celebrating today. We ended up having a busy schedule this weekend, but that’s fine…we’ll maybe roast a turkey on Monday! I haven’t been doing much decorating for Thanksgiving yet…still have 1 or 2 days, though!
I thought I’d post a few easy ideas to do or make for Thanksgiving, that we’ve done over the years.
Whip up some sweet treats:These strawberries were dipped in orange melted candy melts, then when they hardened up, the stripes were piped on with melted candy melt in a plastic bag with a small corner snipped off. It works well if the strawberries are cold. Pipe the middle stripes on while the strawberry is sitting on the wax/parchement paper, then carefully pick it up to pipe a few stripes going up the sides….don’t worry about the backside! 🙂 These were really fast, really! Only ingredients are candy melts and strawberries.No pumpkin flavor in these strawberries!! But if you love pumpkin, how about baking some pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, topped with a fresh cranberry! Yum!How about trying a thankful leaves craft: (I’m pretty sure this was my sister’s idea!)Help the kids cut out leaf shapes from colored paper, then have everyone write out things that they are thankful for, one per leaf. Then find a spot to tape them up (green painter’s tape). We taped them to the inside of the basement door and going down the walls to the basement…they have been there for years now!!Make a pumpkin scarecrow:This is easy if you have a fresh little pumkin and some hay around (a plastic pumkin would work fine, too!). Fill a pop bottle with sand or rocks, for the body, and make a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin that will fit over the bottle top. The clothes we used were my daughter’s clothes from when she was about 1 year old. We stuffed them with cotton stuffing, then just added some hay coming out the arms and legs and tied them with some string or ribbon. Two buttons pinned on with straight pins for eyes, and some crocheted curls for hair (they were left over from a Raggedy-Ann wig that my mom made a loooonnnggg time ago!)
And my personal favorite tradition, a fresh flower/fruit centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table:
No matter what else goes on the table, I just love having some fresh flowers!! One year I hollowed out a little pumpkin and filled it with carnations, so cute! Another year the arrangement had burgundy carnations, green limes, brussels sprouts and an artichoke. I loved that one! I like using carnations because they are sturdy and last for a long time, and I love the look of real fruit (limes, lemons, etc). Hmm, still hoping to get some flowers or something for Monday…. 🙂 I think last year we had a cornucopia basket spilling out fresh fruit and veggies, and one year the cornucopia had those cool real flowers that are paperlike and dry perfectly…(siemprevivas we call them in Spanish)…What decorating ideas and/or crafts does your family do for Thanksgiving? Maybe you haven’t had time to do anything, but how about taking just a few moments to make some little thing….or get the kids to do it! Look around your house and see what you already have that you can use. The kids will (probably!) enjoy it and it will be a Thanksgiving memory for them. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! (my dear Canadian friends and family!)