Monday, November 21, 2016

Easy Holiday Place Setting

The holidays are upon us once again. Bloggers and designers everywhere are buzzing like bees preparing for the festivities - cooking, decorating, shopping, fa la la la la.

In that spirit I, too, am busy planning ahead for our Christmas dinner table. Because we only sit down to a meal with extended family once or twice a year, I like to personalize the table settings as much as possible. Often, I add quotes that reflect each family member's personality. In past years, we've read our quotes aloud as a blessing before the meal.


This year, I'm starting with these simple balsa wood words that I picked up at Michael's. With a quick coat of spray paint, they now coordinate with our d├ęcor. These words, alone, make a sweet statement, but I may still find quotes that relate to each of the words to personalize each place setting even more (stay tuned as we get closer to Christmas.)


Snowflakes are my favorite holiday theme. These napkin rings were plain when I bought them, but the embellisher in me just had to bling them up a little! Craft store adornments gave them just the sparkle they needed. I mean, can you have too much glitz at Christmas?


Here are the words for each of the seven of us. These could be taken along as favors after our gathering and reused as gift ties, bookmarks, inspirational desk accessories, etc. It's such a simple and inexpensive way to spread a little extra joy and love, don't you think?

Julie

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Turkey Day Tablescape

It's finally feeling like November here in the Midwest, although temps are still a bit above normal and I'm not complaining.  Today it's cool, damp, and overcast, and the leaves are tumbling off the trees, laying carpets of emblazoned color on the ground.

In just over two weeks, we'll be sitting down to that iconic November feast and counting our blessings. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year...I just love the tastes, smells, warmth, and festivity of the season.  And setting a beautiful table is part of creating memorable family traditions.


Turkeys are an obvious theme for the holiday, and I have a small (but growing) collection of them.  There is a large ceramic bird, a clear glass antique candy dish, and another antique ceramic bird with an opening, which I've filled with flowers from our yard.




And turkey votive holders add a personal touch and a little glow to each place setting.  Aren't these cute?  They were the first purchase that started this whole flock :)


I've grounded this vignette with an old European tapestry. It doesn't necessarily say "pilgrim" or "America," but it does add to the timeworn feel, and the colors work well here.  Nor is the capital pedestal a typical Thanksgiving decor piece, but it helps to elevate the larger turkey for visual interest.

Clear acrylic and iron candlesticks add height, and they also echo the clear glass of the turkey candy dish.  



A teal vase with faux olive branches was already part of the dining room decor.  Autumn Joy Sedum and dried hydrangeas tucked into the arrangement pull colors from the turkeys and give the tablescape texture and a natural element.  Foraging from the yard is an easy and inexpensive way to add color and foliage to your centerpieces this time of year.

These versatile drinking glasses in a teal tint have multi-colored hand-painted dots, which also pull from the harvest color scheme.  And plaid napkins in red, green, orange, and butter yellow bring in a masculine, geometric pattern to offset the more feminine china pattern.  Our glass tabletop certainly makes this whole setting sparkle, doesn't it?


If you'd like to see my Thanksgiving decor from previous years, you can find it here, here, here, here, and here.  Wow, is it obvious how much I enjoy this holiday? Haha!

We'll be having a very small group for Thanksgiving dinner this year, which will make for an intimate setting. Luckily, my hubby likes to do the cooking, so my main role is to fluff the house.  Since I have this much completed, it looks like all that's left to do is get my appetite ready!

Are you preparing your table and menu for the big day?

Julie


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Club -The Things We Wish Were True


Note:  The theme for the book "The Things We Wish Were True" by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is in no way reflected in the food, decor, and wine I chose for the evening as host for this month's gathering.  One of our members had planned to be moving to Australia shortly after this meeting, so that's why you see boomerangs, Yellow Tail wine, etc.  Funny thing is, by the time the meeting was held, she had made the decision to move to Colorado instead, haha :)  But it was fun putting everything together, anyway.  Our son had actually traveled to Australia with People to People Student Ambassadors when he was in middle school, so it was easy for me to come up with items to decorate with!  Several boomerangs, a hand-painted leather canvas, and a didgeridoo (the painted, wooden black and red tube "thingy", which is a wind instrument used by indigenous Australian people) are just a few of the souvenirs that Sam brought back with him from that special trip.


The food I served was pretty typical for our very casual book club group.  We just love to get together to chat (often not about the book) and enjoy a little wine and some easy appetizers.  Of course, the wine had to be Australian!  Even though Yellow Tail isn't a high-end selection by any stretch of the imagination, most of our members thought it was at least drinkable ;)  


Veggies & hummus and crackers & cheese are always no-fail options for every taste. And have you ever tried Trader Joe's salted pecans?  Oh my word, if you like pecans, these are decadent and absolutely addictive!  I thought the napkins had a hint of Australian style to them.  


I love to serve these Spicy Pretzels from The Cookin' Chicks, which are simple to make and always a crowd-pleaser.  I also served ginger cookies with Pumpkin Dip from Carolina Charm but, unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a good picture of that.  It was delicious and super easy to make!  If you want to see more recipes for non-cooks like myself ;) head on over to my Pinterest boards, "Tasty," "Tasty Holiday," and "Clean Eating."   




Oh yeah, in case you were wondering about the book, it's a story that is set in North Carolina about several families who are intertwined by secrets.  There are old and dear friends, nosy neighbors, new lovers, children, and even a couple of deeply disturbed cast members.  This book is both easy to read and thought-provoking. The characters and setting are relatable and may remind you of long-ago parts of your life.  And a couple of twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.


Book Club is always the highlight of my month!  Here we are trying to capture years worth of friendship and love in a couple of quick iPhone photos before one of us moves on to her new adventure.  These ladies are so special to me.  Aren't girlfriends the best?  Do you belong to a book club?

Julie


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