Thanksgiving Food Staging and Centerpieces


Last year my husband and I celebrated big time because we knew it was our last Thanksgiving with just us and our kids. We are a blended family, so we only get the opportunity to have Thanksgiving with our kids every other year when they're not at their other parent's homes.

I hope you enjoy my pics and ideas for how to stage your food tables! 

As always, should you have questions or want to comment, please feel free to do so!

Before dinner, everyone enjoyed the Cracker and Cheese Buffet. This gave me time to finish up the main meal for about an hour! Throughout the tables, I used numerous Wood Slices and stumps for raising items up. It gave it a lot of texture, dimension and interest to the displays and serving areas.

After dinner, I cleared away the Appetizers and brought out the Desserts! I kept the decor the same, but just added the dessert items.

So here's the eating table. I went with an Aqua and Brown color scheme and used some of my vintage dishes and serving pieces, along with the wood stumps under the bowls and platters. A big display at the end of the table created a festive feel, and I was able to use my rattan chargers that I found at a thrift store the week prior for $1.00 each! Score!

One of the things I wanted to was document the event in pictures that I had everyone draw using the cute wood colored pencils that I found at World Market. So I gave everyone a piece of cardstock and just told them I wanted their version of a Thanksgiving Turkey. Oh man, did we get some funny pics! I have them saved for future years to display. My husband's was the funniest...he's rather irreverent! 

For place cards, I saved some oak leaves that blew into my yard a few weeks prior, pressed them in a book and then added everyone's names with a metallic aqua paint pen. I love them.

And just for one last fun decorative photo, here's what I did to my newly-installed Chandelier!

Cute Vintage Christmas Cowboy Graphic!

A friend of mine is planning a "Cowboy Christmas" party for the 

family church group event that she's in charge of, 

(about 300 people y' Mormons do BIG parties *grin*)

so I volunteered to make her graphics for the event (invites, signage, decor, etc).

She sent me an image she found on Flicker of a vintage Christmas card, and I ran with it! 

The final image I made will be table tents decor for the eating tables, along with various decorations like Christmas greenery inside of Cowboy Boots (I am loaning her 12 pairs of mine..TWELVE! I kinda sorta love Cowboy boots. 4 of the pairs were my sons when he was little and they are SO cute!)  

I'm providing the link for all of my readers because it's just too adorable to not share! I cropped out the background from the original image and then added a Bandana layer along with a Denim backdrop that I made to match, and then edged with rope swirls. I also added in a greeting to the front of the card because an original greeting was likely on the inside.

Enjoy! I'd love to see how you used it if you incorporate it into your Holiday decor! I'll be printing a copy for myself and making a little vignette with some of those little cowboy boots of my sons! 

The link provides a .png file in 4x6 size

Vintage Pink Christmas Display

Okay I have to admit, I really love, LOVE pastels at Christmas. 

What's not to love though, right?

Let's suffice it to say that I have a FEW (hahaha...biggest understatement E-VER) collections. And I really have an obsession with Vintage Christmas Items.....Postcards, baubles, porcelain trees and figurines, etc. All came together in lovely fashion for this display. So without further ado...I'll let the pics speak for themselves.

But, should you happen to have questions about anything in the display, or just want to leave a comment (which are ALWAYS welcomed and appreciated), please do so!

Neighbor Gifts

I'm aware of some neighborhoods that do a Charity Drive to discourage the
practice of "Neighbor Gifts".

My own neighborhood is one of them!

But, I choose to continue giving gifts to my immediate neighbors at least. 
Most of my neighbors do the same! So much for the discouragement! haha. 
The charity gift still happens, but I think for the most part people really want to 
acknowledge their individual neighbors with a little treat of some kind.

So, today I presented a segment on my local News Morning Show
for easy, last-minute and inexpensive "Neighbor Gifts"!
This was a last minute request from the reported I hosted in my home,
so I really was forced to make sure that the items I presented were fast and easy to do!
In all, I gave 6 ideas and suggestions.

I'll highlight each of them here, 
and then provide the links for the Printables and the Recipes.

(you can see my fun Woodland Tree behind the table, and part of my vintage collection to the side,
with my village just barely visible in the background!)

The photo above was the first set up for my segment this morning.  
We filmed it in my kitchen with the table in front of my island. You can see my cute Kitchen Christmas tree and vignettes behind the table! You can also see my oven which needed a 
good cleaning and didn't get it. Please don't look too closely! ;) 

Shown here are all of the gifts I created...
Epsom Salt Mason Jar Candle Holders,
Bread Pudding Ornament Tin, 
Vintage Santa Christmas Oranges,
Gingerbread House Kit,
Berry Basket Cookie Holder,
and Homemade Jingle Bell Ornaments.

Here's a closeup of the Vintage Santa Oranges printable and bags,

This is the Bread Pudding Ornament Tin. 
and the printable is here if you want to use this one that I designed on PicMonkey.
I used a hole punch to make a hole to thread the silver pipe cleaner through at the top,
and then I tied a simple bow to the top. Though you're not really going to be hanging this,
it gives a fun look to the whole presentation.

These are the Epsom Salt Mason Jar Candle Holders. These require just a couple of items:
Jar of choice,
Epsom Salt,
Mod Podge,
Accessories and Embellishments 

Simply apply the Mod Podge where you want the Epsom Salt to be, and then sprinkle or roll it on.
It could not be easier! Let them sit for 3 hours before touching, and then embellish
to your liking. I even glued a candlestick from the Dollar Store onto the base of 
one of the jars using E-6000. Super cute and easy.
You can add more Epsom Salt inside the jar for more snow effect.
In the jar with the ribbon and the acorn, there are 5 little real acorns nestled on top of the snow. CUTE!

This is the printable that I created (go HERE for the link) for the
"Build your own Gingerbread House" Kit.
I made the house shapes (walls, etc), and included a packet of Meringue Powder in the bag.
It's pretty self-explanatory to put together a Gingerbread House, right?

I also created quick little cookie holders out of Red Paper Berry Baskets that
I found at Michaels. On the front I used a kraft paper doily and wrapped it with Bakers twine,
and then I attached some cute tags, one from a paper stack, and another
that I created with our family name on PicMonkey. I filled them both with Gourmet Cookies,
which I BOUGHT (gasp!), and they look darling! Sometimes, in the interest of time, you just
have to rely on the goods at your favorite specialty stores.
In my case, that would be HomeGoods and Big Lots.

And finally, the last item I shared for an easy gift is a handmade ornament.
I happen to have a gazillion Christmas ornaments in my stash (I'm literally not kidding)
and some of them are just perfect for dressing up to create a whole new look.
That's what I showed in my segment...a sweet little rustic Jingle Bell that I
dressed up with some greenery, holly leaves and a candy-cane striped yarn bow.

So there are my Quick and Easy, AND Inexpensive, Neighbor Gift Ideas.
Of course, any of them would also work for friend gifts.
Hope you enjoy creating your own!

Temple Square Christmas Lights

This past weekend, my husband and I were lucky enough to receive tickets to watch the Christmas Special performed live at the LDS Conference Center....just us and 20,000 or so other people. 
You know, just a little small crowd. Haha!

Before the concert, we walked over to Temple Square to see the lights and get some photos.

It was very lovely, as usual. Such a special feeling there all year long, 
but particularly so at this time of year.

I'm torn about my favorite part of Temple Square at Christmas,
 but it's really amazing to gaze across the reflection pool to see the Salt Lake Temple standing stately 
behind the statues of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.

Around the plaza, as well as on the Temple Square grounds,
trees are lit meticulously with thousands of bright lights. Some are colored, and some are white.
All of them are beautiful. 

The photo above is looking across the reflection pong towards the Giant Tree structure
that presides at the front of the plaza. You can see it from everywhere around the square. 
Surrounding it are many trees of different colors. I was particularly fond of the small trees that are lit with a combination of bright green and blue lights on the same tree. 
I really liked how that looked, both from a distance and up close.

(It was almost impossible to get any photos without people in gets very crowded 
in the evenings, especially on the weekends).

I am including this photo of the large tree from the other side. Isn't it just so pretty? SO many lights!


The 2nd photo is from lower looking towards the left to show the Temple.
I decided to make this one with no color to show the grandeur of both structures.
That's the moon you can see in the lower half of the tree, between it and the Temple.

On the square near the Tabernacle, hangs this giant Compass. It has the look of a snowflake,
and I love how it just floats above the flower beds. It's quite stunning.

My final photo is of a tree near the Assembly Hall. Like several around the square and plaza, 
it was VERY full of reddish orange lights. 
With a lawn full of snow reflecting below it, 
it takes on a glow that is rather sunset-like. Simply beautiful.

If you've never been to Temple Square at Christmas time, you are missing out!
Go. Soon. Really, go soon!
The lights, Nativity Displays, Decorated Trees and Free Musical Programs
last through New Years Eve.

Temple Square is the perfect place to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ
and reflect on the gift of his life, and light, to all the world.

For more info about Temple Square and the LDS church, you can visit this link.