Friday, November 10, 2017

Thanksgiving Tablescaping 101

     Who couldn't use a few Tablescaping tips!?  After all,  you don't want to end up like Mother Goose where "the Dish runs away with the Spoon"...what the heck is going on in that house anyway. (...if you are a Millennial that reference may be lost on you, but trust me...I'm funny)  I digress, whatever your motif, (unlike Christmas) Thanksgiving colors and decor remain relatively constant.  Cornucopias of earth tones, plaids, produce, nuts, leaves, and pumpkins can all be found covering your special eating surface come November, which leads into our first tip:

1) Tablecloth. To cover or not to cover, that is the question!?  What do you typically do at Holidays and special gatherings?  If you are having trouble making that decision, here is something to think about, the first rule is there are no rules, it's your house so do what you love.  That being said there are a few things to consider.  In most cases, it depends on the state of the Table.  A long tablecloth instantly improves a less-than-perfect table and adds a note of elegance for a special event, like a dinner party.  Exceptional tabletops require no dressing at all.  For instance, Grandpa Alley carved and built our Dining Room Table by hand and I rarely feel the need to cover it's beautiful top.  Last thought,  even if the surface is nothing to brag about, but the legs are to die for, then opt for a cloth with shorter sides.  Bottom line, if you have a stunning table, then exercise your luxury to go "nakie", but if a cloth would enhance the look and celebration then GFI (#goforit).  They say nothing beats a crisp white table cloth, but, plaid, patterned, or floral can add interest to any seasonal table decor.  If you do choose a solid color, you can always add some panache by placing a themed and colorful table runner down the center.  Nuff said!

2) Charging forward.  Who uses Chargers, raise your hand!?  You know how a mat can enhance any picture, making the perfect segway to "just the right" frame!?   I know you do.  The same goes for a Charger, it adds richness to any Holiday Table and is an invaluable accent to any plate.  Let's just call it the co-star, and as we know those actors are what really make the play.  These don't have to be expensive, you can find them relatively inexpensively at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning, Bed, Bath and Beyond or a TJ Max type store.  I say "Charge On"...

3) Placemats.  Just say no and slowly back away...unless you disagree with me, then we can refer back to rule number one that there are no rules and it's your house and if you want to put ugly Placemats on your special Table then GFI (go for it, remember!?)

4) Plates.  You don't have to break the bank on special plates, if this is not in your budget, no worries, you can use your colored Chargers that will hold the theme, and tie in a co-ordinating cloth napkin with a pretty ring.  Even if you have to mix and match plates, not to worry, if you can keep your Chargers constant.  But of course, if Thanksgiving plates are available to you, by all means use them, they are such fun and I would go as far to say they make the food taste even better.  It's a real occasion when the themed plates come out!

5) Napkins.  Cloth is King when it comes to dinner party mouth wipers, don't skimp on this step PLEASE!!!  If your table cloth is a pattern, go with a solid napkin and if your table cloth is a solid then feel free to go with a fun patterned napkin.  A note about where to set the napkin, if your plates are plain then display the napkin inside a pretty ring atop the plate, but if you have invested into patterned dinnerware, fold the napkin to the side underneath the silverware, the official spot is to the left of the forks.  A note about Rings, peruse Pinterest for plenty DIY projects for homemade Rings, otherwise there are ample store bought options to choose from.  But I like the idea of making my own out of burlap, twine, twigs, pine cones, berries, etc.  This can be very simple, but please avoid a shiny metal.

6) Silverware.  I have an awesome tip that you will thank me for later,...actually you can thank me now.  Here's how to remember where each piece goes and a easy trick to teach your kiddos (then you can make them set the table hence forth) ~ fork has four letters and so does the word left, so we know that the fork is always on the left with the fork you use first the farthest from the plate, that being the smaller salad fork, with the larger fork directly next to the plate.  Knife and spoon have 5 letters as well as the word right, so we know that those always go on the right hand side, with the knife blade turned into the plate and closest to the plate, while the spoon sits next to the knife.  How fun is that tip!?

7) Drinking glass.  It goes to the top right of the plate.  Glasses can be fun, formal, simple, colored or long as you keep them full, that is the only rule.

8) Place Cards.  Thanksgiving dinner often involves large numbers of family members, friends and neighbors.  If you like prearranging seating accomodations, place cards are the easiest way to accomplish this without any fuss.  Store-bought place cards come in a variety of designs, styles, colors, and prices.  Select the ones that go with your table-setting theme.  Better yet, design and craft your own using colored paper, stamps, markers, or whatever you like.  Pinterest has about a million craft ideas for Place Cards, the options are only limited by your creativity.

9) Centerpieces.  Thanksgiving centerpieces can be simple or complex.  It's a question of personal preference.  You can use something you already have, something store-bought, or a combination of the two.  Candles, Leaves, Twigs, Berries, Produce, Pumpkins, Corn, Flowers, Gourds, Greenery...just make sure to leave room for the food!  The other big tip is to make sure the height is less than 12 inches, I think less than that is even better, you just don't want to block the visual pattern of the guest across the table.  Truly, less is more when it comes to sprucing up the middle, KISS (keep it simple silly).

10) TIMING.  After the last piece of candy has been handed out and the porch light goes dark, it is time to start thinking about setting the Thanksgiving Table.  It is a festive display to enjoy thru out the month, so why not take advantage of your efforts and fill your home with beauty for as much time as possible.

All this being said, the real focus is to remember all of our blessings and express gratitude for the sacrifice of those who went before us, because of them we have the opportunity to celebrate by sharing our bounty.  What a wonderful Holiday!  In good health~paige

Please enjoy one of my favorite Side Dishes~

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