Special table linens, home-sewn placemats, and an abundant harvest centerpiece set a layered table for a Thanksgiving feast with the family.
A Special Thanksgiving
We have been fortunate that all three of our kids have gotten married in the last several years. I love that our family is growing again! There is nothing I treasure more than time spent with family.
The downside to having married kids, though, is that we have to share holidays. Last year we celebrated Christmas here in Maine with everyone. This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving together, and the kids will be with their in-laws for Christmas.
On Thanksgiving we spend the day cooking together, then in the evening we sit down around the table to enjoy the feast we have prepared. I like the table setting to be as warm and festive as the food. For me, it is all part of a whole. I have been planning our Thanksgiving table for a while now, and today I am excited today to share it with all of you!
I don’t know what Christmas will look like for my husband and I this year. But for now, I am looking forward to a special Thanksgiving here in Maine. Let’s get started with the table!
Picking a Theme
You might have figured out that I like a good theme. I am not talking, for example, about covering every surface of my home here in coastal Maine with lobsters. But I do love a collection of like objects. Especially if they tell a story about a person, place, or time. Having a theme can pull together different objects so that they make sense. From a purely visual perspective, a theme helps to make your eyes read individual pieces as one. This is important for someone like me, who likes to collect. It helps to keep my home from looking “cluttered” by creating order.
This is a long way of explaining that for my seasonal tables, I always start with a theme. Sometimes the inspiration comes from a set of dishes. A color. Nature. Or a decor piece. Last year’s reindeer Christmas table was inspired by a cool vintage candle holder I found in an antiques store.
This year’s Thanksgiving table started with a gorgeous embroidered table runner and coordinating napkins.
Coral and Tusk
This is the third time I have had the amazing opportunity to partner with Coral and Tusk, though I have been a fan of their elegantly whimsical products for a long while. Several years ago they sent me a fun pillow cover embroidered with seaweed. A couple Christmases ago, I received a table runner with beautifully stitched greenery and pinecones. That sure made for a gorgeous table setting!
In anticipation of Thanksgiving with the family this year, I chose Coral and Tusk’s “Abundance” table runner and coordinating “Three Sisters” napkins. When I opened up the package, I literally exclaimed out loud! The intricately embroidered design of corn stalks, nuts, squash, mussels, legumes, and feathers is truly a work of art. And the colors — browns, greens, gold, and orange with blue highlights on a neutral base — are perfect for this season. These pieces certainly lay the foundation for the most special family celebration!
In creating these products, Coral and Tusk actually researched the historical farming practices of our country’s Indigenous peoples. “Three Sisters” refers to the agricultural staples corn, beans, and squash. These foods not only provided a nutritious diet for the native people, but the three crops, planted together, help each other thrive. The corn acts as a kind of trellis for the beans. The beans in turn support the corn and add vital nutrients into the soil. And the large leaves of the squash help the ground retain moisture and guard the roots of the other plants against pests and weeds.
I loved the idea of honoring the “Three Sisters” Indigenous peoples’ farming practice at a holiday with its origin as a celebration of the bountiful harvest. Corn, beans, and squash also seemed like an easy, inexpensive, and festive decoration for the table — a fresh take on the traditional cornucopia!
Shopping for Materials
I was able to get just about everything for my centerpiece at the grocery store and farm stand. There are so many interesting and colorful varieties of squash. I had fun picking them out! I also spent a lot of time rifling through the dried flint corn to find just the right color combinations, haha!
Choosing a Container
Putting together the centerpiece was a snap once I settled on a container for it. I tried several baskets, trays, and wooden boxes. They were bulky, though, and covered up too much of the gorgeous embroidery on the runner. Then I remembered a beautiful footed glass bowl I scored at an auction a couple years ago. The sparkling glass and elevated shape add an elegance that contrasts with its humble contents. I also like that you can see the beautiful colors of the corn, squash, and beans through the glass.
Putting Together the Centerpiece
I started with a base of dried beans on the bottom — just a couple bags of mixed-bean soup from the grocery store! Then I layered squash and corn on top. (This sounds like a recipe for a Thanksgiving dish, not decor! Speaking of layered Thanksgiving dishes, do any of you Friends fans remember Rachel’s trifle??!! One of my favorite episodes! Okay, focus, Molly!) I decided the arrangement needed something wispy to break up all the bulk, so I added in a few faux stems. You could use foraged grasses or leaves instead.
And that is it! I will definitely be making some bean soup and squash dishes once Thanksgiving is over!
The table runner and napkins called for placemats to complement and highlight their gorgeous design. The embroidered pattern is subtle, so a pattern, not a solid, was what I was going for. (You know I love to mix patterns!) I looked at many different placemats online, but couldn’t find what I wanted.
Fortunately, a college friend of mine was coming for the weekend, and she is an accomplished quilter. So, off to the fabric store we went! I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but as fate would have it, this owl print was sitting right in front of me when I walked in the door. I love the bold pattern with its fall vibe. And the colors pick up all those in the runner. I also don’t hate that the owls on the fabric just happen to echo the owl theme from the living room mantel . (Read more about that here!) We chose a few coordinating fabrics and that was it! I am grateful that I am able to make quick decorating decisions.
We spent Saturday stitching away. I even learned how to use a roller cutter. That sure is a game changer! I have to say, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out! It is always special to have something homemade at the table!
Choosing the finishing touches was easy. Since there is already plenty going on, I kept the dishes and glassware simple. (I am capable of doing that sometimes!) My everyday white dinner plates layered with dark green stoneware salad plates form the perfect base for the beautiful napkins. Stemless Caskata Quinn tumblers are perfect for every occasion. And brown pillar candles in glass hurricanes that match the footed centerpiece bowl add just enough warmth and sparkle to the table when lit.
Pulling It All Together
I love the design process — coming up with an idea and then finding all the pieces. But nothing compares to that moment when it all comes together! When what I imagined in my mind becomes a reality. I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out!
I hope that I have inspired you to get creative with your table setting for Thanksgiving, another special occasion, or even just every day! Pick a theme! Find a piece that speaks to your heart! Mix some patterns! Use a little color (or a lot)! Throw in some natural elements! Add something homemade! But most of all, enjoy!
Now I, personally, am looking forward to the best part — when all my family gathers around this table I have lovingly set to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal we cooked together.
Later this week I will be sharing our menu! With three vegetarians in our family of eight, we definitely go heavy on the veggie dishes, with a side of turkey! There are favorites we cook every year and always a few new things to try. My daughter Leah handles the turkey, so don’t be asking me about that!
One last thing! As a special Thanksgiving gift, Coral and Tusk is offering 20% off your purchase through November 16th! Use code Molly20 at checkout, or just click on this link!
As always, thank you for stopping by! I will see you in a few days!
Have a good one!