This past year my husband and I were drafted to host Thanksgiving, which was coincidentally our first Thanksgiving in our new house. With a guest list of about 20 and having never prepared a turkey, I started to feel a little anxious. But, rather than freaking out, I decided to calm my nerves by planning some crafts for the big day to make things fun!
Invitations. Although my guest list was pre-defined by the ‘regular crew’ for Thanksgiving each year, I decided this would still be a nice way to set the mood for the day. I used 5 simple materials: plain yellow and orange printer paper, dark brown card stock, silk leaves (I bought mine at the Dollar Tree for $1), some string or ribbon, and some permanent markers. First, I cut the brown card stock in half so that each invitation would be 5.5″ x 8″. I used my paper cutter, but you can easily fold in half to cut a nice edge. Then I cut the yellow and orange sheets to be a little bit smaller than the card stock. If you don’t have a paper cutter and aren’t good at cutting straight edges, try using some wavy scissors. These are a lot more cost effective than a paper cutter and will hide the fact that you’re edges aren’t perfectly straight. Finally, I hole punched two holes at the top of each invitation. With a little glue between the card stock and paper and paper and leaves, plus the string or ribbon tied through the holes, the whole thing comes together very quickly. After mocking up what I wanted to write on a scrap piece of paper (event, date, time, address, R.S.V.P.), I proceeded to knock out all the invitations by hand. I did use a straight edge to keep my dots in a (relatively) straight line. See below for the finished product:
Place Settings. Because of my guest list, I needed to have more than one table in a not huge area. So, I decided to dress them up to add to the cozy and inviting dining area. For the ‘adults’ table (aka, our parents and grandparents), I used a white table cloth I bought on Amazon for $10. This was a great find for me because I have a 5′ square wood table that is pretty challenging to find linens for. Anyhow, I also picked up some silk fall flowers from the Dollar Tree (at the same time as the leaves above) for around $4 and made a little arrangement in a glass jar I had. (Jars also available at the Dollar Tree for…you guessed it…$1). Sorry, this picture came out a little blurry 😦 I’ll do better next time.
To identify the seating assignments, I grabbed some twigs from my backyard (well, my husband did), cut them down and hot glued them together with some small name slips to make super cute place cards. Simple, yet charming.
For the ‘kids’ table, I was contending with a 6′ folding table, so I decided to get a little funky. I have a huge roll of brown paper that I found in the attic of my old house (it’s a long story) so decided to use that to make a brown paper table cloth like they used to (and maybe still) do at Macaroni Grill. To spice it up, I used a paper plate to trace circles in front of each chair and wrote the seat assignments in the center of each ‘plate.’ The great thing about using the brown paper as a table cloth was that it made cleanup a cinch! Finally, I finished both tables off with cutlery wrapped in fall napkins and tied with string.
Banner. Since I had all my supplies out for the invitations and place cards, I decided to also make a nice banner to hang over my fireplace. We don’t have a mantle over it (yet – hopefully I will have a post on this in the not too distant future) so I couldn’t put up candles or a swag of some kind, but I figured a banner would do quite nicely. Using the brown card stock, yellow and orange plain printer paper, and my permanent markers, I cut my paper, drew my letters, punched my holes and added some leaves. This one took a little longer because I tried pretty hard, and I think it came out just fine. Once I finished with the paper crafts, I took some 1/2″ white ribbon and strung through the holes to make a cheap, easy, and pretty banner.
To learn more about the centerpiece from the photo above, read Dead Tree Centerpiece with Candles.