What About Table Settings, Centerpieces & Placeholders?

Seriously. Those are some damn good responses to my turkey-and-stuffing inquiry. I'm tickled, and will absolutely be using one of the suggestions. Probably the one with whiskey because hi.

This leads me to the next item on my "Hmmmm" list. And that is figuring out how to make the table(s) look beautiful. I mean, I can probably figure something out, but if you have fantastic, pretty ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Of note(?): My table is dark wood, almost black, and I'm not planning to use a tablecloth. My plates are plain white. I have chargers in red. I have a table runner (also red) but I don't think it runs the length of the table while the table is fully extended, which it will be.

So I guess mostly I'm looking for ideas for napkin rings, table decor -- like unobtrusive centerpieces -- place holders, that sort of thing. I'm picturing like, twigs with red berries. Except I don't know where to get twigs with red berries. Napa doesn't have a Michael's or Jo-Ann's and it certainly doesn't have a Twigs With Red Berries store. (Napa DOES have enough wine that it probably thinks you won't notice the table decor, though.)


  1. I, being in Ohio, cannot help in anyway with finding twigs and berries. I did, however, laugh for like 10 minutes after typing twigs and berries. I am mature like that.

    If they have them out there...Flower Factory will definitely have them. Or Michaels. Target also has a lot of really cool stuff like that. You have Target, right?

    I may have actually been negative on the assistance here...

  2. Also...I read well...you mentioned Michaels...just wow on my ability to help.

  3. Since your table will probably be stuffed with food (like mine will be) I would definitely be minimal on the "table clutter". The chargers will be pretty and you can always get assorted small and decorative squash. In my house we always draw faces on them after the 2-3rd glass of wine before we eat and those are our place settings. But we're kooky people.

    I've found wine and lots of plates being passed makes for a bad combination with candles, no matter how pretty they are.

    I guess it depends on how elegant you want it to be. I've always gotten a nice arrangement from a flower shop - usually a cornucopia. But I'm simple. I always let my food take the center stage over an intricate table.

  4. put twigs down the middle of the table, and assorted squash, apples, etc, and scoop the tops out of the fruit and put in a votive candle. Keeps things low but candle-y.

    Or you can pile a bunch of apples into a circular wreath, and do the candle thing to the top three apples.

    hard to describe, how it makes sense.

  5. Great story as for me. I'd like to read more concerning that matter.
    BTW check the design I've made myself Young escort

  6. Completely unhelpful but...if you can locate a Jo-ann's nearby, I am positive they have the twigs & berries[heh heh] you're looking for. I just bought some in garland form from there for my bathroom & it's so. so. pretty. Love.

    I agree with the food being front & center, though. Elegant tables always look good, but never seem to be functional with the 2 tons of food my family cooks all day, then consumes in 20 minutes flat. Doing pretty things with the food itself, like garnishes & such, make the table look decorated & put together.

  7. When in doubt, go to the do-it-yourself master: http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/thanksgiving-table-settings?lnc=6f79cf380e1dd010VgnVCM1000005b09a00aRCRD&rsc=lpg_entertaining&lpgStart=1&currentslide=3&currentChapter=1

  8. OK, having LOOKED at the martha site, there are some eyebrow raising ideas (a feather "headdress" napkin ring? Martha, really, this is 2009!)

    I like the idea of cutting out large leaves of felt in different colors, which you can use as trivets for hot dishes. If you do red, orange, yellow, it will set off the dark wood well, and can stay "modern," as it seems your decor might be (guessing from black and red theme). Hancock Fabrics (of which there is one in or near Napa, if I recall correctly) will have felt for something like 70 cents a sheet--pretty cost effective and easy. And you can save for next year, too!

  9. What about going au-natural? Do you or one of your neighbors have a holly bush/tree? Or maybe just a vase filled with fall leaves? Use nature!

  10. One time I just brought in leaves from outside and put them on the table and even stuck them on the walls for my 'decor'. Also since this is the baby's first TurkeyDay, perhaps making 'hand print' turkey's (when you outline your hands and make a turkey out of it, like in kindergarten) you can date them and put in the baby book. Have fun!

  11. chiming in with the others who said simple is best. people are going to be eating and talking,etc. a lot of crap in the middle of the table can end up looking cluttery, even if it starts out looking pretty before everyone sits down.

    a runner with a few candles (i think the fat short ones are prettier than those old-timey tall tapers) and then we scatter actual fall leaves between the candles with red and green apples and decorative corn or small gourds here and there down the center.

    make it your own, you ARE in Napa. after the second bottle, no one's gonna give a shit anyway!

    have fun !!! happy thanksgiving.

  12. What my SIL does when she has a lot of people over is, she uses cloth napkins (probably from Crate & Barrel), no napkin holders, and she has a long rectangular dinner table, and puts only drinks on the table, but no food. Every few feet along the middle of the table is a vase of flowers, kept short so people can see over them.

    All the food is on the counters.

    You can get your Twigs & Berries (hee) from flower shops. Or Target - there's a Target in Napa.

  13. Pyracantha is bursting with red berries here in Sonoma county along with persimmons also on the trees right now. A small centerpiece of persimmons and pomergranites surronded by small branches of pryacantha.

  14. Second the pillar candles on a fall-colored platter/dish. No scent. Plain twigs with no berries look nice around them, or leaves, or pine needles/branches. Easy!

  15. I saw a table setting the other day where they used runners across the table..not up and down the table. One runner took care of two table settings.

    Forks on the left, knives on the right, dessert fork/spoon above the plate.

    I liked the twigs, etc up and down the table, but how about grape leaves and some grapes or cranberries. I've made napkin holders from silk flowers before, but you don't have any craft stores.

    Hope it works out for you.

    We are having a pre-Thanksgiving get together with a bunch of friends at the YMCA camp. We have gotten together with them for about 15 years now...rain, snow, or sun and heat. We have a really good time...use paper tablecloths, turkey with the honeycomb tail for the center piece, pot luck Thanksgiving is the best way to go. The host provides the meat and we fill in and bring our own drinks. No whiskey so far. But we have had some really good times, and that is what I'm really grateful for.

  16. Go sleek and chic. Spray paint a few small gourds either silver or gold (match the silverware or gold flatware) and a few red to match the chargers. core three or four red apples and stick in a votive. Use the red runner. Skip the twigs and berries. Plain silver or goldtone napkin rings. Red cloth napkins.


  17. Crap... I wish I knew how to embed a link that looks better than this... but I don't.


    Isn't that exactly what you're looking for? And on etsy.

    Lovin' etsy.

    Happy Thanksgiving, IIF.

  18. I feel certain that the Internet has more quick-delivery twigs and berries than you can shake a twig or berry at.

    Also, just saw this through a friend of a friend and loved it as an idea I could never execute. But you could.

  19. A couple of years ago I got fake twigs with red berries at target which I used to run down the center of my thanksgiving table. I also got little clear glass votives with red tea lights and I can't remember if I put one at everyone's place or just kind of set them (breezily)among the twigs and berries. Either way. It was my first time hosting thanksgiving and it was a homerun. My Aunt cried when she saw the table. FTW!!

  20. Pottery Barn has some really pretty ideas, I think. Last year I used this vase: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/florists-vase/?pkey=call-vases with a small (3-4") ivory pillar candle and this filler surrounding it: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/acorn-vase-filler/?pkey=cvase-fillers. While there aren't any PB stores in Napa, there is one in Walnut Creek or Emeryville, and several in San Francisco.

    I'm not really trying to plug PB, I just think their stuff is pretty. Here's a link to some more of their Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas: http://www.potterybarn.com/shop/dinnerware-entertaining/centerpiece-ideas/harvest-centerpieces/?page=viewall.

    Hope that helps!

  21. I say go simple with candles - various heights and glass holders or hurricanes. The glow would be lovely and candles are an affordable and reusable decoration.

    Also, it's a good idea to NOT have an "open" flame. Make sure your candles are in deeper holders.

    You might catch your hair on fire. Or a napkin. Or both. Not like I would know or anything though.


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