The pool just closed and school has barely begun, but it is already THAT time of year. Because I’m a tried and true procrastinator, Christmas is not even on my radar yet. I’ve got a Thanksgiving post today, and this is beat-the-crowd early by my standards.
I enjoy making place settings for holidays. I’m not a master but I have a few tips I’ve picked up for a casual affair. Of course, these are bring the kids- messy hands and all- celebrations. The livelier the better.
What is a fun table without a few handmade elements? I picked up a wood tree slab from Michael’s for a easy little stamping project. It was in the neighborhood of $5 plus a package of alphabet stamps that you can also find for $3.99. Is it just me or has Michael’s upped the ante as of late? Pretty good bargains.
For a strong homemade look, the more imperfect the better. Rather than bundle the letters with a rubber band, stamp one at the time for more of a haphazard vintage vibe. Once your letters are stamped, go for your sanding block and don’t be afraid to go to town. I sanded it until it was downright faded.
I love the rustic element the wood adds! I think two or even three on a table would look wonderful. There are many autumn words that would fit the bill perfectly. I don’t recommend staining the wood, fyi, as it is very porous and will not wipe off as evidenced by the other side of the project.
I also grabbed a leaf stamp at Michael’s from the dollar bin. I’m even more tempted by that aisle than I am by Target’s dollar section. Michael’s also has a large selection of gift tags which are perfect for place cards. Instead of stamping with ink, I used gold paint left over from the gold-dipped lamp project which saved me a couple bucks.
I applied the same philosophy for the leaf as I did the stamps. The goal was not a professional-looking stamped leaf, but a hand-painted beauty with variations. Think snowflakes, where one is not like the other. Don’t worry if the dog chews on your foam brush- you can still use it as evidenced above.
Cover the stamp with paint but be careful not to glob on too much. Practicing on a piece of paper might help you get the look you want. The best part? It is up to you. Maybe you want a faded leaf or something more even. Both are easy to accomplish.
I used the back for names and an “I am thankful for you because…” sentence or two regarding that person. Personalized warm & fuzzy messages are a great sentiment for Thanksgiving.
Grocery store flowers are my favorite. Those were $3.99 and I actually got 2+ containers filled with them. Short glass vases are great for making a small bunch go a long way.
Did you notice the cotton gift bag in the teacup? I think it is fun to have little presents at the children’s place settings. A holiday ornament is perfect for the occasion. Of course, grown-ups like gifts too, so spread the love if you want.
For a casual table, use a variety of elements. I dressed down our fine china by including cream salad plates that are less fancy. The stemware went out the window, although I do like to use it at Christmas. The table runner is a fabric remnant, ironed but not sewn. Bundles of wheat add a little texture.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to lose the traditional look this Thanksgiving. Embrace the old but incorporate more modern elements. Add a touch of handmade. Keep it casual, fun, and simple.
This holiday season I hope you find less stress and more joy. Relaxing the rules a little can help achieve that balance!