Thanksgiving Table

November 24, 2008

I must confess that since we usually stay home for Thanksgiving, I don’t go nuts (ha! You’ll get the joke later in the blog) with table decorations. I use the good china, but generally stick with everyday silverware. Cloth napkins, maybe. This year, in my ongoing Martha makeover, I knew I had to kick it up a notch or two.

Candy Caper

First, I printed out the turkey candy bar wrapper template from Martha’s site that is shown on page 110 of the November issue of Living. I thought this was going to be slam dunk easy. Silly me. On 3 different trips to the store, I bought three different candy bars. None were the right size for this. The directions say to buy a 3 by 6 inch candy bar. Apparently all my efforts to estimate this size did not work! I have no idea why this was so complicated. The only way to make this one work is to take the wrapper to the store and find a candy bar that fits it. I gave up finally. No candy bars on my table. Sorry, Martha.

Going Nuts

Next I decided I wanted to make the cute acorn napkin decoration from page 54 of November Living. I couldn’t find any faux acorns, and we don’t have any real ones around here. Instead, I decided to use chestnuts! My mom always used to take me to pick them up when I was kid and she would tell me to put one in my pocket for luck. Once I had kids, she would take them to pick up chestnuts too. I have a basket of chestnuts in the family room that comes out with the fall decorations, so I just stole a few from it to do this.

Drill in action

Drill in action

Mr. MarthaAndMe got

Ready to use

Ready to use

out the drill and we drilled a hole in each chestnut. It wasn’t too hard to do at all! Then I pushed ribbon through (I used the end of a paper clip to shove it through) and tied a knot under each chestnut. Next, I just wrapped the ribbon around the napkin and tied it into a knot.

I think these are adorable and the added bonus is that they would work for a woodsy kind of Christmas setting too. This was so easy! I am proud of myself for attempting and succeeding at another craft (ok, so it was a minor one!).

Getting Centered

Martha had a “Good Things to Save Money” tip on her show recommending you just fill a bowl with apples for your Thanksgiving centerpiece. There’s also a section in the Nov. Living about making centerpieces from cabbages (trust me here, the cabbages in my grocery store do not look like the pretty ones Martha used).

I have a really cute faux pumpkin with flowers in it that I actually bought at the grocery store, which is my fall centerpiece. But to please Martha, I attempted to make my own from apples and pears. It looks kind of lame I think.

Placecards

Table setting a la Martha

Table setting a la Martha

On Page 54 of November Living, Martha also has leaf placecards. You take a plain card (she used black but I chose green) and cut a diagonal slit in one corner and insert a leaf there. Great, except all of our leaves have turned brown, crumpled into nothing, and been covered with snow by now. So I used a faux leaf instead. I think it’s actually kind of cute.


Oak-Leaf Bowl

November 20, 2008

It was time to buckle down and do some crafting with Martha. I decided to make the oak-leaf bowl from p. 95-96 of Nov. Living, which Martha also made on the show. It looked not too complicated.

First off, I hit the craft store. This was actually a cheap project for me. I bought a piece of felt for 79 cents and got a remnant of some tweed for $2.17. The fusing material was  $3.99 (I think there are 3 or 5 in the bag and I used only one).

Come fuse with me

Come fuse with me

Ok, so I started off

Totally fusionary

Totally fusionary

fusing the two fabrics together. This was easy. The hardest part was finding the iron! We never use it and it was stuffed away somewhere.

Next I cut out the leaf template that Mr. MarthaAndMe brilliantly enlarged for me on the computer. I’m not sure who has a copier at home that will enlarge things, but I sure don’t have one. Martha was pretty casual about this – “Now just blow it up on your printer or copier”. Umm, ok.

Martha says to trace the template on the material using a disappearing ink pen. I don’t have one of those (or if I did, it must have disappeared). Mr. MarthaAndMe suggested I trace it with chalk. He’s just as cute

Template time

Template time

as he is smart, folks! This worked well. Next, I cut out the material. This was hard on the hands, but doable.

Martha then wanted me to “create darts” by sewing closed the V-shaped notches on the fabric with a “zigzag stitch”. First problem, I don’t have a sewing machine. Second problem, I really am not sure what a dart is. Third problem – no clue what a zigzag stitch is. Those are some big problems, gang.

Chalk it up

Chalk it up

The cut out

The cut out

I hand sewed this and did it so that I stuck the needle in one side and pulled it out the other. Instead of making it go back in the side it just came out of, I looped it over the top of the seam so it went back in the first side (I’m you sewing geniuses know what this is called, but I don’t). This kind of covered up the bare edges of the fabric. It took a while and my fingers are pretty mangled.

Once it was done, I was pretty impressed by it. It really looks like a leaf. Not sure what I would put in it though.  And I’m not really a big lover of fall type colors. Mr. MarthaAndMe suggested I give it as a gift and maybe I’ll end up doing that. I’m not sure it’s exactly perfect enough to do that with though (some of the edges are a tiny bit frayed).

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

So now for the deeper questions. How did this project make me feel? I have to say that I have always somewhat enjoyed hand sewing. I once hand sewed a cushioned seat and back for a child’s rocking chair and I also hand sewed some doll house things – curtains, tablecloths, sheets, blankets, and pillows. I’m not too bad at mending holes and I can sew a button on, so I’m not a total loser. There is something very relaxing about sitting still and doing something like this with your hands. It’s a nice brain-free activity – something that does not require higher thought. I don’t like messing things up though and get frustrated when the needle goes the wrong way,  the thread gets knotted or I sew it crooked. This one was pretty idiot proof though I have to say, if I was able to make it turn out looking this good.

This project took me a couple of hours. I don’t know if the time put into it equals the result. I know it is supposed to be about the process and the joy of creating something with your own hands. I get that, but I think I might rather go shopping and buy something I like that is really well-made.


%d bloggers like this: