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November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 4 | Pumpkin + Flowers Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Countdown, Day 4 : The Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is special, and the centerpiece of the holiday is the table (ok, maybe the turkey, but really the table).  Fresh centerpieces can be a big part of making the day and meal feel special.  They provide a sense of "this moment is special."  Did you know that flowers stir and intrinsic emotional response from humans reminding us to celebrate the moment, as it is fleeting, as flowers are only fresh and beautiful for a short time.  When you sit around that table, taking in that moment, enjoying the company and being in awe of the feast, the fresh centerpiece will help your guests feel that, too.

See the rest of the Thanksgiving Countdown, here >

Of course, I'm a fan of the homemade versions.  While florists centerpieces can be wonderful and beautiful, we enjoy making them ourselves.  This is the Pumpkin Floral we created for our Thanksgiving last year.  I loved the soft pinks and orange mixed with the deep brown, purpler and rust colors.

Emma loves to help make floral arrangements and I love watching how she carefully and thoughtfully places each stem and gathers things from around the house and yard to decorate the table.  For family holidays, I'm not as interested in perfection as you might think.  In fact "perfection" is one of the words I loathe the most!  Ugh.  When I watch her create something that she thinks will be beautiful and make the holiday special, I know we're doing it right.  As long as she sticks with my color scheme.  Joking!  Sort of : )  

These flowers can easily be found at a good grocery store or Trader Joe's.  The small spray roses are very easy to work with and stay fresh longer than large roses.  Here are the florals we used : 

Spray Roses : Blush & Orange
Berries : Hypericum Berries in a Deep Red/Rust
Dark Purple & Green Leaves
Broom Cob

I LOVED this so much.  It was giant!  It made quite the statement on our table.

Below, is a version we made a couple of years ago, along with Step-by-Step instructions for how to make the centerpiece in a pumpkin :

I started by selecting my flowers and colors - getting a feel for what the colors will look like with the table setting, in the room.

I chose these apricot roses with burnt orange and deep red mums.  I needed something that would drape downward in the arrangement, so I selected the wheat-looking stems.

As you can see (and you might remember), we received a large collection of Spode Woodland china that I always use during the Fall and Winter holidays.  I have admired them for years and am so glad to have them - and I still LOVE them every year when I get them out.

I will use this glass vase set inside the pumpkin to make the arrangement in, so I cut the top to be sure it would fit into my opening.

I cut the opening, then scooped out the insides with an ice cream scoop.

I put the vase in with a square of oasis foam, then filled it with water.

I started by putting in the best roses, trying to achieve the shape.

And then, because flowers look best in groups of the same, I bunched 2-3 flowers next to each of those roses.  I like to use different sizes of roses in these groups to add interest - and it looks more natural.

Then, I started plugging in groupings of mums in the same fashion.

It is starting to take shape.  At this point, I realized it was a little 'tight,' so I pulled the bottom roses out by an inch or so, so it didn't look so much like a ball of flowers on a pumpkin.

To soften the entire arrangement and to add some drape, I placed the broom cob around the collar.

Done!  You can see the groupings of flowers look more appealing than if it were homogeneously arranged - it would look polk-a-dotted!

To keep it fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (or in the garage, if your garage is really cold like mine!).

See the rest of my Thanksgiving Countdown Tips, here, along with Recipes, Table Settings and Planning for Guests >

November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 3 | Tips for Getting Ready for House Guests

There is an extra level of prep required for overnight guests.  Not only does your living room, kitchen and dining room need to feel festive (and clean!), but now the rest of your house (even the nooks and crannies... and closets) are up for grabs. 

I try to think of all of the things they might need and have them ready in their room.  Guests don't want to feel like a burden, so saving them from having to ask for a phone charger or the wifi password will make them more comfortable.  Also, it is better being prepared than having to go searching for these items while you're trying to make Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip 1 : A Warm Welcome

A warm and festive welcome is always important.  I go an extra mile when we have family staying with us for the holidays.  I like for them to be completely enveloped in the holiday spirit.

Here, I've filled my hanging basket with bittersweet.  You can use fake or real - they both look good from outside.  After Thanksgiving, I'll swap it for red berries or really big and full evergreen cuttings.

Tip 2 : Clean Counters & Fresh Bottles

Now is the time to declutter those spaces (like kitchen counters) that we get used to, but can be areas that collect things.

I'm introducing some new bottles today - The Amber Bottle Collection.  I still love my clear, but this time of year I really like things that add a warmer feel.  These amber colored bottles really warm up our kitchen sink, powder room and shower.

Tip 3 : Add Seasonal Touches to the Guest Room

The Guest Room is the obvious place that needs the most care.  You can see our entire Guest Room Tour, here.  I've updated it for the season with a scented candle and some orange and rust colored roses. I try not to go overboard with "stuff" but I like a couple of considered items so make it feel cozy and homey.

This little creamer is part of my Cream & Sugar set (also one of my favorite gifts to give) but mostly gets used for flowers : )

Tip 4 : Wifi Password Ready

I like to write the Wifi Password on a tablet for them so they don't have to ask, and then I have to rummage around the junk drawer to find it.  It is easier to just always have it written in the room and I get it out when we are getting ready for guests.

Tip 5 : Chargers!

Every single time I travel, I forget my charger.  I'm going to assume our guests do the same.  Again, it saves them from having to ask and feel like a burden - so an extra goes in the room.

A big stack of fluffy towels is essential, too.  But the charger is probably more important ; )

Tip 6 : Add some Cozy Pillows & Throws

When you own a pillow store, your guests will likely expect to see some seasonal pillows spiffing up the room.  I warmed up our all pale blue guest room with some velvet and print pillows.  This is the Cashew Velvet Pillow + Red Berry Sprig Pillow.  

I actually love the combination of light blue and red - unexpected and chic.  The grey-brown of the cashew makes the room feel much warmer.

I have this light-weight herringbone throw ($68) on our bed and on the guest bed.  It is the perfect weight to use while curled up reading.  I've also been putting mine over my shoulders when I come down for breakfast in the morning - very cozy and soft.

Tip 7 : Stock the Shower 

I keep a set of Shower Bottles stocked in the guest shower with Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash & Lotion.

I love how uniform they are.  Also, since they aren't clear like my other bottles, they color of product doesn't show up - which is nice if you have products you like that are colorful.

Tip 8 : Extra Toiletries 

I also keep general toiletries in the guest room bathroom, too.

Tip 9 : Clean the Closet

One of the bigger tasks for me is making sure there is plenty of room in the closet.  This is our only spare closet so it is usually full of out of season things.

Tip 10 : Create a Relaxing Spot

If you have room in your guest room, it is really nice to be able to offer a private space for them to relax - instead of always being on the living room sofa.

One of the best things about our guest room is the view of fall colors out of the window.

Which are only visible in the photo when I lower the exposure.  Now you can see what I see.  Sort of : )

Tip 11 : To-Go Cups

Another Guest staple at our house is Paper To-Go Cups.  It is so nice to offer a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or cider when you set out on a walk in the morning or after the feast.

Tip 12 : Wraps for Walks & The Fire Pit

 Also, make sure you have an extra stash of cozy wraps for those chilly walks or gathering around the fire pit.


Wraps, $30-36 >

Thanks for continuing to follow along the Thanksgiving Countdown.  Read the rest of the countdown, here >

November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 2 | Table Inspiration + 30% Off Linens

The Thanksgiving Countdown Continues.  Day 2 is all about The Table - the fun part.  Today is the day to decide what linens you'll use (if you have enough, if not, see my tips below), the candles, and the centerpiece.  Of course, the flower shopping won't start until next week, but having a good idea of the plan today will save you from running around next week.

Really, besides making sure your home is cozy and comfortable, setting the table really is the centerpiece for the Thanksgiving (and the food).  I have created seven individual schemes based on Napkins and Table Linens I have available.  By combining a print with a velvet ribbon, coordinating candle and little sprig of this or that, each scheme is the essence season.  I've included some ideas for making your table feel extra cozy, too, like adding a velvet cushion in a seat or a warm plaid throw over a chair.
To help you get ready for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season, we're having a 30% off Linen Sale today.  Yes, that even includes the new Holiday linens we introduced last week.  Hurry!

use code : LinenSale30

Bring the pumpkins in from the front porch (they're getting ready to freeze!) and put them on display for your table.  I love these soft orange pumpkins mixed with the soft finish of the pewter.

6" Maize Candles

Mix & Match Silverware

Lately I've kept my eye out for silver plate flatware at estate sales and 'treasure shops' as Emma and I call them.  I mix and match them with our own silver from our wedding.  I don't mind that it is a little tarnished (I never polish!) and everything goes through the dishwasher in our house.  Mixing my collections helps me expand my sets for the entire table.  For example at one setting, I'll use the forks from one collection and the knives from another.  In the next seat, I'll use the knives from one and the forks from the other.  They go together, but they don't match exactly.

I do the same with napkins & plates.  If I only have so many matching plates, I'll mix in white plates every other seat, and use the coordinating salad plates on top of the white plate, then matching pattern salad plate on top of the white dinner plate.  It stretches the collections.

And definitely mix and match chairs.  These new windsor chairs were a steal at a local antique shop.  They match our table perfectly in a dark cherry wood.

I love adding a sprig of something to a setting.  They aren't too bulky and they smell delish.  

A thyme sprig above.  Rosemary below.  Both perfectly Thanksgiving.

I added a little hand-stitched H to these Hemstitched Napkins (says that two times fast...) to make these coordinate with my Green Hydrangea Table Linens.  I alternated each seat with a block print napkin, and a hemstitch napkin - see above.  Again, stretching each collection of 4.


use code : LinenSale30

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