Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations: Decor

We are hosting a big Thanksgiving meal this year, and we could not be more excited!  We have hosted Thanksgiving for the last 3 years, and we so enjoy celebrating family and togetherness in our home.  We are lucky enough to have both sides of our family present for the big meal, so Lucky and Charm get to have all of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins over at the same time  (Except for Texan Uncle D.B. Sad Face Here.)  It is AWESOME!  

After two years of preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the fixings in our home, we decided to try out a catered 'home cooked' meal last year, and we're not going back to all the planning, stress and mess of preparing the meal ourselves.  At least we're not going back anytime soon.  So in terms of meal preparation, there isn't much.  We always make extra potatoes from Opa's crop, and we also have Oma's famous Pumpkin Torte every year as well.  Bill's family brings the appetizers.  I spoon the hot out of the oven food into ceramic dishes.  It is so easy.  (And not that expensive all things considered.)

Instead of major cooking, I get to focus my attention on other stocking our pantry and fridge for the weekend company and...decorating, of course.

Here are a few things I've done for our Thanksgiving celebration this year:

Front Door Wreath
We still have lots of pumpkins and gourds by our front door from Halloween, and we have the tiny, but cute dried corn stalks that we grew in our garden this year, as well, but I wanted a wreath.  I didn't want to spend much on a wreath though, so I worked with a wreath I owned already:

I picked up this wreath last year on super clearance from Michael's.  It was 90% off and then I had a 20% off entire purchase coupon, so I think I paid $3 for it.  I liked the wreath, but it looked horrible on my front door...something about the yellow with our house color or something.  Instead of picking up a new grapevine wreath, I just stripped this one of the yellow flowers and added some 80% off fall clearance flowers from Michael's:

It's hard to see, but there are 4 stems here and the total was about $3.

I've never made an arrangement like this before, so be nice to me:).  I cut the pieces I wanted to work with using a wire nipper (or clipper?  I don't know the terminology, but it reminds me of the time I was working in the pharmacy and an older gentleman asked me where the 'super duper nail nippers' were.  I'll never forget that.  I had no idea what he was talking about.)

Back to the wreath.  I laid out the floral pieces in a pattern I liked and then got to work with a glue gun.  Here's a progress shot:


It's very neutral, but I like it.  And for $3, it doesn't have to be perfect, right?

Dining Room Decor
Moving on to the dining room table.  We're having 12 adults and 5 kiddos, so we'll be sitting at our dining room table, the breakfast bar and we'll have a kiddo table for the toddlers, which means we'll be having the food presented buffet style and which also means that I'll be able to have a table centerpiece this year.  I like table centerpieces, especially practical ones that allow you to actually see people you're sitting across the table from:), so with that in mind, here is what I came up with:

The twiggy pumpkins were from the dollar section at Target, but were actually $2.50 each full price.  I purchased them at 50% off for $1.25 each.  I purchased the green leaf place ments at Walmart last year, although I did pick up a few more this year for $1 each on clearance this past weekend.  The corks we had on hand already, as well as the green and blue candles.  The only things I needed were two candle holders.  

Inspired by the displays at West Elm, I went to the back yard and took a saw to a log to come up with this:

It's not totally level, so I used some felt furniture protectors under the 'candle holder' to even things out a bit.

Here is how my candle holders started out:

My only word of caution when doing this is to check out your log thoroughly.  The logs I used had been sitting by our fire pit for awhile, and the first one had tons of gross, icky white stuff hanging out under the bark.  Yuckers.  The second one was pretty wood, waiting to be turned into candle holders.

 Here is the another view with bad lighting...daylight savings changes are throwing me for a loop:

Next up, were changes to my bushel baskets from this image:

I decided I wanted to add Granny Smith apples to the baskets to add a punch of green to my green and blue Thanksgiving Room, and this is what I realized:

$10 worth of Granny Smith apples barely fills one basket, even with substantial newspaper filling.  I thought for sure I had purchased enough to fill both baskets, but nope.  We love apples around here and all, but I'm not spending $20 on perishable fruit for a holiday display.  Not this year anyway:).  We'll eat those apples up, but I had to come up with a Plan B.  Ironically, I ended up spending more than the additional $10 I would have had I gone the apple route, but I'll be able to use my alternative for Halloween and Thanksgiving for years to come.  

I found several of these pumpkins on 75% off clearance at Target two weeks ago:
The big one was $3.74 and the smaller ones were $2.48 each.  I spent $11.25 on 4 pumpkins and $4 on 4 Walmart green leaf place ments (which I needed after discovering that the pumpkins were the exact color of the buffet:)).  Total: $15.25

And in case you're curious, here's what we had for dinner this week:).  I just love my menu chalkboard!

So, I've got a wreath on the front door and the dining room up, our mantle.  Well, sort of our mantle.  It's a work in progress still, but here's a wreath I picked up guessed it, Target.  75% off.  $9.98.  It's made of anise and smells like licorice.  I just love the texture, the color and the smell.  (In case you're wondering why it's not on our front door, the reasons are three-fold.  1. Hanging it with the attached ribbon would have been trickier than you'd think.  2.  It's a somewhat fragile wreath.  3.  I love it too much to leave it outside.)

We just duct taped it to the paint chip art piece I made.  (Oh, and staple gun happy Bill added one staple in the ribbon too.)  I wish the chip art was in a bigger frame, but we're working with what we have!  I think the candles are going to go, but this is what our mantle looks like now.  Actually, that's not true.  I changed it already, but let's focus on the wreath.  Can you believe it was less than $10 buckaroos?

Kitchen Counter Decor
Our kitchen counter will largely be full of food and drinks on Thanksgiving, but I did sneak in one corner arrangement using my favorite apothecary-esque glass jars that I've had for a couple years:

The front jar has a container of ginger snaps in it from IKEA.  Yummers.

This jar has slips of green paper in it.  Every night after dinner we're having the kids (and us) write one thing that we are thankful for.  After Thanksgiving, we'll open the slips of paper as a family and read them to each other.  I can't wait to read them!

This last jar is completely random.  It started out with only stickballs in it, but they looked too brown with the brown ginger snaps.  Since my house is all about blue and green these days and the paper slips are green, I decided I wanted to add some blue to the jar, so I tossed in some eggs we made in April.  I told the kids they are turkey eggs, so that's why they are out for Thanksgiving.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

We've been busy around here, and tomorrow, I'll have a short post with an update to our bar area.  One week until Turkey Day!  Woo-Hoo!

Turkey Day Decor Costs:
$3 Wreath
$3.75 Table Centerpiece
$15.25 Buffet Pumpkins and Place Mats
$10 Mantle Wreath
Total: $32

Linking up to Finding Fabulous.


  1. I just love all your fall decor! the granny smith apples in the basket were so colorful and pretty, great job!

  2. Absolutely delightful!I love rustic decor and all these are so cute!Following you now!:)