Hello, my lovelies! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and there’s been a flurry of activity, so there’s lots to discuss (including Thanksgiving, which is sneaking up!). The fall is passing by so quickly, and it has been a busy fall at that. My family has readjusted to juggling the schedule of school, sports, and other extracurricular activities, while squeezing in as much fun and adventure as we can. We actually just got back from a wonderful family trip up to the rugged and scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire. We had a couple of brisk fall days permeated with that bracing alpine scent of pine and rustling foliage in the breeze–sweater weather, if you will.
And then on the last day of our trip, boom–we woke up to snow! It was the kind of fluffy snow that clings to every tree branch and evergreen bough like frosting, and makes the air sparkle.
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I took advantage of the unexpected weather to take some perfect photos of the kids in their cute Nordic sweaters with a winter wonderland as a backdrop for our holiday cards (which I usually order from Minted). What luck! It was like autumn had abruptly skipped town over night and winter moved in to replace it. Well, Jack Frost was just stopping by for a brief visit, but the snow reminded me that the seasons are a-changin’ and that Thanksgiving is almost upon us. While our dining room is still not completely decorated (we still need a couple pieces of furniture and a few more accessories), it’s certainly worthy of hosting Thanksgiving. This year, I want to create a distinctive table for the holiday, and got to thinking of how to make that happen.
Where we live, further south in New England, there is no snow on the ground, and the fall foliage is only just passing its brilliant peak. My favorite fall foliage color is bright, deep reddish-orange–that particular fiery shade that in certain lights makes a tree appear almost as if it’s lit from within.
In general, I have a penchant for orange, as I mentioned back in my Color Pops post. It’s an unabashedly bold color to be sure, but using orange accents or accessories feels playful and fresh. A couple years ago I bought orange placemats from Pottery Barn (similar), so Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to use them. But since I wanted this table setting to be a statement, this time I decided not to use orange as an accent, but to commit fully to the color and make it the star–not the muted burnt orange often prevalent in Thanksgiving decor, but a vibrant hue accented with other equally saturated colors.
First I got to thinking about the centerpiece. I wanted something that felt organic and not overly formal for the focal point of the table, as that would set the tone for the whole dining experience. I thought incorporating gourds would be a good way to achieve this nature-inspired and relaxed feel. And what evokes the bountiful splendor of the autumn harvest better than a bunch of colorful, weirdly-shaped gourds? I went to the garden center with the idea of buying an assortment of miniature gourds, but when I saw these really cool large gourds in that same bright, deep reddish-orange (my favorite foliage color!) with zebra stripes of white and green, I knew I wanted to highlight them on my table.
Since they would be a big component of the centerpiece, I wondered if I could fashion them into taper candle holders, so they would serve a function as well as look pretty. I brought them home, and briefly considered going down to the basement to get proper tools to create a hole in each of the stems for the candles…but I am not exactly handy with tools and wasn’t feeling inclined to fumble around in the toolbox trying to figure out what to use and how to use it. Then I had a brilliant moment! I pulled out my good old-fashioned corkscrew, screwed right down into the stem, popped out a chunk, and repeated a few times until there was a large enough spot for a taper candle. Then I cleaned up the edges of the hole with a knife and slid the candle right in. Corkscrews: not just for opening wine!
Next up I put out my everyday stainless flatware, which is more kid-friendly than silver (and doesn’t need to be polished!), but is still elegant. I also opted to forgo fine china in favor of something more rustic and durable. I love the casual shape and versatility of these white plates (similar), but I needed to jazz them up with these gorgeous napkins with a folk-floral print (here and here are some other colorful options), and adorable, festive pumpkin napkin rings (here is another festive option).
These details really gave the setting more personality and color. In fact, the plum color in the napkins helped inspire the rest of my table. I love orange and plum together, so I wanted to incorporate more of that shade into the table design. I brought out my multicolored tulip-shaped wine glasses, and selected just the plum and amber ones, which looked perfect with the napkins. Then I went out to our yard and cut a few hydrangeas from the plants which had been relocated to our garden earlier this fall after spending the summer in my front door planters. As I had explained in my Autumn Planters post, the blooms had changed color from blue to a combination of several colors, including green and plum, which was just what the centerpiece needed to round out the color scheme. I placed the hydrangeas in our beautiful Simon Pearce celebration bowl, which permanently resides on our dining room table, and added some deep purple snapdragons which I pulled from a grocery store bouquet. The table was looking good, but in order to give it a more organic, nature-inspired, rustic look, I decided to add some greens right on the table. I went to Home Depot and bought a brocade willow shrub from the garden department for half price. It has very bendy, vine-like branches, which I wound around base of the gourd candle holders and floral centerpiece, giving the look of laurel wreathes, and added some stems of the willow to the floral arrangement as well. Done!
I tied things up by arranging a setting for the buffet, including a lovely Simon Pearce water pitcher and one of my favorite hand-painted platters (which I got at One Kings Lane, but is also available at Overstock). Finally, I decorated with miniature gourds and additional willow stems, a vase of hydrangeas, and a bowl of beautiful red apples.
This dining room is looking ready for a feast! Now on to meal planning. Speaking of which, I’d like to share with you the recipe for my favorite dish to make on Thanksgiving–maple pumpkin pie with pecan streusel. YUM!
I love how my Thanksgiving table turned out, and think it will be a warm and inviting space where we can gather together to give thanks and stuff ourselves silly. Now, who’s hungry?
- I believe that a home and a life can be not only functional and family friendly, but also beautiful and stylish. I love vivid colors and energetic prints, and infusing classic design with contemporary personality, global influences, and coastal elements. I'm so excited to share my thoughts, tips, and ideas, from my nest to yours!