Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful dinner with loved ones.
In my second year hosting, I felt inspired to deck the house a bit. First, I made this bunting.
I created a triangle template from a regular sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper (the tallest isocoles triangle you can get from those dimensions), cut two layers of calico for each letter of yellow/orange/red "autumnal" prints, cut letters from dark brown felt using templates from Your Printable PDF (though I had to shrink the letters down by ~33%, to fit comfortably onto my triangles). The bunting says "Thankful" in both directions as this is visible from both living and dining rooms. I probably should have interfaced between the layers for opacity, but oh well. I affixed the letters to the fabric with a bit of liquid stitch, then topstitched to applique. I stitched the triangles, WS together in a narrow 1/4" seam, and pinked the edges. For the connecting piece, I turned a fat quarter of dark brown print calico into double fold 1/2" bias tape, sandwiched the tops of the triangles between the folded layers, basted to secure the triangles in position with the tape folded open, then seamed along the whole shebang with the bias tape folded closed. I folded the tape at both ends to make little hanging loops.
Next, I worked on a pinecone wreath, following this tutorial more or less. I cut from wreath form from black foamcore, so no need to paint. For the pages, I picked up a few books on the cheap from a used bookstore (including a book of sheet music). Beware, this project takes a TON of hot glue. The glitter, I found at Michaels', "pirates booty" pack in several different gold/silver/copper tones. The ribbon hanger is wired, gold, and glittery, I made a 6 loop bow to add some pizazz. We hung it from a clear command hook mounted right above the mirror.
I also made a grapevine wreath to hang on the front door. I got all the leaves/foliage a few months ago at Michaels' so it was high time. I hacked up all the pieces and just wove the stems between the grapevines to secure. Easy peasy. Good thing I had the foliage stashed, because 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, the only foliage available in the local craft stores was Christmas-related. Ridiculously premature, if you ask me.
I hand-sewed and stuffed a turkey softie to pose on the mantle, with this pattern, using felt and fiber fill. I blew the pattern up 150%; my turkey is about 6" seated. This little project took considerably longer than a few hours to sew together in blanket stitch, and some of the pieces didn't fit together so well. I don't want to knock a free pattern, though. With a little tweaking, it came out cute in the end, I think. The eyes are faceted black jewels, affixed by hot glue.
Next I made the "Gobble" blocks, using materials from Michaels'. I purchased 6 2-inch wood blocks and wood letters that would fit onto a face of the cube. Using Martha Stewart paint, I painted the blocks dark brown in a satin finish and the letters sparkly gold. Both took 2 coats. With an orange leather cord as reference for bit size, I drilled holes all the way through the side of each block. I affixed the letters to the front of each block with hot glue- be aware the hold is instantaneous so letters must be positioned carefully. Then I ran a long length of cord through each block, starting at the end, and used knots to secure the blocks on each side along the cord.
The other stuff on the mantle includes a gold glittery pear, two fall candles and a silk floral arrangement in a rusted watering can, that I made last year.
My table settings are only a bit crafted, but I am proud of how it all came together. The runner I had from last year; it is the Montvale pattern (sorry no longer available it seems). I arranged three sparkly pumpkins along the runner (purchased from a craft store) and set 2 dark wood candleholders with pillar candles in between (from World Market). The gold placemats and napkins are from Bed Bath and Beyond; the chargers are from World Market. The china is from my wedding registry, Mikasa "Gothic Platinum". Now for the crafted bit- beaded napkin rings, following this tutorial. The tutorial calls for 0.8 mm wire, or 20 gauge. I was only able to find a sufficient quantity of the copper color in 22 gauge at a rather poorly stocked AC Moore. Perhaps that was the determining factor, but my napkin rings are not exactly stable, you have to reshape them a bit when you slip them around the napkins. Also, the beaded "stems" at both ends are easily knocked askew (and easily fixed, I suppose). It is fairly time consuming, wrapping the wire tightly around for 12 cm for each napkin ring. So, I'd say the project is a mixed success- pretty but too delicate.
For the breakfast room (where I set up the buffet), I made 2 leaf-shaped trivets from a roll of cork.The template is from Martha Stewart; I traced and cut out with an Exacto knife. Also for the breakfast room, I sewed some drapes for a huge (120") window that faces my backyard. More on that later, as I also working on a valance treatment for the other window in that room.
All this stuff was basically completed in the 7 days leading up to Thanksgiving week. That Monday evening after work, I grocery shopped and picked up the (fresh free range) turkey. Tuesday I had the doctors' appointment from hell (1 hr glucose test plus TDAP and Rhogam injections) and did a little additional shopping. Wednesday I had off work, and spent all day in the kitchen preparing the food for Thursday, also dealing with fairly severe pain in my left bicep from the TDAP shot. The big dinner on Thursday went a bit smoother compared to last year; I guess practice does make perfect (and having all day to cook on Wednesday was a boon). Here is my menu, which is pretty similar to last years'.
For Appetizer- Brie En Croute
Dinner included Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, brined and basted Roasted Turkey, Best Gravy Ever, Sausage/Cranberry/Apple Stuffing, Green Beans with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Classic Cranberry Sauce, and Parker House Rolls. It's worth noting that I tweaked a few of these recipes to make them healthier, but it's by no means a light meal. If there's ever a day to indulge, it's Thanksgiving.
For dessert: Apple Pie; there is no need to buy the boiled cider from KA, it is easy enough to simmer down 1 c of apple cider into 1/4 c of syrupy goodness on the stove. I also made Mamie Eisenhower's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie on a Gingersnap Crust (using Trader Joe's gingersnaps). I really like this pie, it is way better than regular pumpkin pie in my opinion (much lighter and more flavorful), but it takes a LONG time to chill and I think it is best assembled at least 6 hrs prior to serving.
Cooking such a big dinner is a challenging task, especially being 28 weeks preggo with the sore back, etc. But I really enjoy having Thanksgiving at my house. And I think all the work is worth it in the end, to serve a nice homeade feast to my loved ones.