Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Setting Your Holiday Table

Holiday Table SettingsWhile I'm normally not opposed to breaking out a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner something about cooking a full roast bird in my oven makes me want to ditch the plastic Elmo placemats and set a table that my mother would be proud of.

So over the years I've tried various things to spruce up the table and give it that little touch of fun that can make the Thanksgiving meal all the more enjoyable.

Placecards are a great way to do that, not only does it save some confusion when everyone actually sets down to eat it always pleases the little children to have their names on a card and a little something they can take home from the evening. Can you tell we're used to feeding a crowd over here? I think the record is 27 bodies.

Holiday Table SettingsSome of my favorite ideas from past years include:

Pinecone turkeys. With a pipecleaner for a head I've made big turkeys for the adults and small ones for the children--each propping up a little name card under his beak.

Beaded placecards. Stringing seed beads on wire then bending the wire into guests' names can give a table an elegant finish. Pardon my picture, I didn't have one that said "Happy Thanksgiving."

Chestnut card holders. Buy some fresh chestnuts then with the flat side down cut a slash crosswise across the top half-way down through the soft shell wide enough to fit a little card. Very simple, inexpensive and quick.

Ribboned fruit. One year I used bunches of plastic grapes (sugared grapes are particularly pretty), strung a hole-punched placecard on a piece of matching organza ribbon then tied the bunch around the chair back at each guest's seat. Loved the look.

Tiny truffles. Perhaps the most appreciated decoration was one where I made chocolate truffles then wrapped them up in tiny boxes made from earth-toned cardstock. I tied each box up with ribbon and a placecard then set it on the guests' plates--very popular. For instructions on making the boxes see "How to Make Tiny Gift Boxes."


And finally, if you're looking for ways to bring out the entertainment see "Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas" which has some good ideas our family has used in past years.

This year? I 'spect we'll be playing some heavy games of Settlers of Catan and watching Kung Fu Panda in between sampling raspberry and pumpkin pies. Maybe some football if we're really feeling wild. But whatever we're doing we'll be enjoying OUR BRAND NEW HOUSE. Yes, folks, the addition is (practically) completed.

The outside is done, the wood floor is being varnished even as you read this, the walls of cabinetry will be finished by Friday (thanks to my new favorite buddy Hans) which is also the day the carpeting goes in. It's set in STONE I tell you. We can start moving things back into place this weekend for sure and our children can finally have beds to sleep in. For absolute sure--and I mean that because if something happens to that "absolute" part there will be blood. Oh yes, there will be blood.

By Thanksgiving Day we should be all moved back in with only the last little teensy things like closet doors, baseboards and the last of the light fixtures for them to install which, after all we've been through, seems like nothing.

It's taken FOREVER for those light fixtures to get here and we've had to order them--what? Three times? And don't even get me started on our front doorknob. But I have to say that the light fixtures worth the wait because they are completely the coolest things I have ever beheld. They've got this hovering disc thingie and this big Star Trekkian arm that comes out like so and shines the light up into the dome like so and the light reflects into the room like this . . .

Well, let's just say you will love it.

Which is why after--what?--like sixty-five million months I am happy to report that the Big Reveal will be Monday December 1st. Barring unforeseen interruptions such as nuclear holocaust or a electricians' strike. By then I will have pictures and a complete video tour with such notable features as our Funky Eye Doorbell, our Most Excellent Sand-blasted Windows (big enough that we're going to have to watch out for aircraft flying into them accidentally) and--last but not least--our Infamous Black Carpet. Yup, black carpet. Have you ever known anyone stupid imaginative enough to install black carpeting throughout their home? If we're crazy enough to go with French Beret for the outside why not "Tempest" for the carpeting?

You'll want to see it.

Anyway, as we've worked on this the past four months we've had more gawkers than we can count, all wanting to know what we're doing and how on earth it's all going to look at the end and now you, my friends, will get to see what they cannot---the inside.

Pray for me! If it doesn't go off according to schedule then I don't know what I'll be capable of.

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Technorati tags: crafts, Thanksgiving


Robin said...

Ooh, the home stretch! You're finally well into the fun part. Yay! I can't wait to see how it's all come together.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I love those beaded name things that you do! So cute! Just saying "hello" from Chile :)

Anonymous said...

Those are awesome ideas. We always do Thankful Turkeys. This is made entirely of candy. You take a cookie, like the white whole brand version of oreos, the you put a gum drop with extra frosting on top of one cookie piece and then you put the other cookie piece against the back. Three candy corns on the back of the cookie for feathers and a chocolate chip and a red hot (small) cut in half on the face and volia you have a thankful turkey.

patty w said...

Can't wait to see it!

I'll say a prayer for everything to be completed on time!

Hugs hon!

Annette Lyon said...

Can't wait for the pictures! So great you get it all done by Thanksgiving. It's got to have been rough with the weather cooling off. Renovation any time is difficult, but when it's nearing winter? (And in ALASKA?) Brave souls, you are.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

Oh gosh - preparing well. The holiday season is almst upon us.

CountessLaurie said...

"There will be blood." You crack me up! I will say a little prayer for youuu!

Cool Thanksgiving ideas. Thanks for sharing!

janeywan said...

The turkey idea is great. I made reindeer one year out of devils claw. Will dig one out and send you a photo. You probably don't have devils claw in Alaska, but if I get a chance to gather some I'd be happy to send them to you.

Michemily said...

Apparently my grandpa just paid for my little sister finally to get a room of her own in my parent's house, and she was allowed to pick everything out. (I guess at age 18, agency is important.) She picked the truest red you can get for the walls and black carpet. Despite begging, no one has yet sent me pictures of this crazy room (my brother-in-law called it "the stronghold" long before it had its makeover). My sister reported to me that Grandpa asked if she liked her room, and when she said yes, he replied, "Good, because I hate it!" Ha ha.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Ooooo, Tempest....sounds interesting. I can't wait until the big reveal. We are in the process of getting the proper clearances from the building department to start a new addition to our house so I'm all into seeing what others have done to get ideas.

Love the truffle and gift box idea for the place settings. SOunds like a great project for my older daughters to help with.

Munchkins and Music said...

I'm excited to see how your house turns out!
I love truffles, I've never made them though, I'll need to try it this year.

tjhirst said...

Can't wait to see the black carpet! Oh, and about decorating the holiday table. I got the bug early in my married years to dress up my mom's Thanksgiving table with some prickly ball things of a tree from her patio. I brought them in and watched all the ants crawl all over her tablecloth. She was not happy.

Janet said...

I love that pine cone turkey. And I already have Christmas plans that include the truffles and tiny boxes (though not necessarily together.)

And I eagerly await the Tempest in the French Beret.

Shannon said...

How exciting for your whole family to be nearing the end of the remodeling journey! I'm exciting for the big reveal and hope it all goes according to plan ( :

crazy working mom said...

Those turkey pine cones are awesome! Great ideas. :)

Heather said...

Oooo. I'm excited for the big reveal. I bet it's wonderful.

cndymkr / jean said...

Yah!! I'm doing the happy dance for you. I'm also crossing my fingers and praying for the workmen = cause I know you are going to hurt them if this doesn't come together.

Duke, Kathryn, & Seamus said...

Those turkey pinecones are cute but the truffles really caught my attention. Yummy! I'm glad your remodel is mostly done. From your description it's going to look awesome! Can't wait to see it!

all over the map said...

I can hardly wait.
If you saw the way I was living right now you'd die. We are in the middle of a complete rebuild and living in it. It's ugly and nasty.
Getting to see someone else's finished project is exciting. I can live vicariously through you.
I should send you pictures. You would think your living chaos was mild after seeing mine here. I'm pretty certain of that. Especially as organised and neat as you are.
Let's just say if I had my way I'd be living at a hotel, or even a neighbour's house perhaps but my husband has different ideas.
A video tour and everything. Giddy here!

Melissa said...

Can't wait for the big reveal! I am intrigued by the black, I must say.

I liked the placecard ideas, too. Thanks for sharing them!

Gray Matters said...

Yeah! I'm so excited for you and your family. It's great you'll be able to be in your new space for Thanksgiving - can't wait to see the pictures!

Patois said...

I would love to have black carpet in my house. I can't wait to see what it looks like so I can nudge my husband.

Marianne Thomas said...

Phew! Four kids + massive renovation + approaching holiday season. You are one brave mama!

I'm sure it will look delightful! And black carpet sounds intriguing.

Looking forward to .... looking!

Nicole said...

I am so going to use the Chestnut card holder idea!!! And thanks for the link to the tiny gift boxes!!!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I remember making those pine cone turkeys in girl scouts! There's probably one still around if I look hard enough!