Thanksgiving Mantel Decorations

I came across this beautiful fall mantel decor on the blog It’s the Little Things. What a neat way to decorate your fireplace for Thanksgiving!

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A big detail that sets it off are these cutesy letters that spell “Happy Thanksgiving.” I probably would have used a uniform font and it wouldn’t be as cute as hers!

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I love how she spares no attention to details.

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Even the wood is incorporated into the design!

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I think another favorite is this whimsical grapevine that wisps across the mantel. And the family has tied paper leaves that display what they’re thankful for.

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Very cute! Check out her blog for more ideas.

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Jenny

Fall Celebration with Table Settings for Autumn

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The following fall festival took place at our church in celebration of our 10th Annivesary. And I’m not joking, the actual date was Oct. 10, making the theme 10-10-10. We were blessed to have Matthew West lead in us worship that morning before celebrating with an outdoor lunch, planned by yours truly and a few other gals from the church. I was able to snap these photos minutes before everything let loose.

 

I designed invitations with matching posters and had an RSVP system of taking a ticket from a table in the foyer, and we kept count of how many were taken.

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The table was decorated with actual decor we’d be using at the party, including mini bales of straw, split green peas, galvanized tins, ball jars with votives, sunflowers with pear picks, and burlap. Very country and rustic, right?

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This system worked pretty well – we had almost 150 tickets taken, but we served lunch to around 200 that day. I think some people invited family members at the last second when they heard Matthew West would be singing!

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We set up a tent right outside the church front doors, and spilled the party out onto the patio. We were lucky because most items were borrowed or donated, including the tent, tables, chairs, linens, vases, galvinized tins, pumpkins, bales of straw, and corn stalks. Everyone just kind of came together with the items we needed for the decor!

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We kept the drinks simple, serving iced tea and lemonade from pretty drink dispensers and offered bottles of water in a large galvanized tin.

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There was a buffet-style serving line featuring BBQ from a local favorite, T.C. Memphis BBQ. Even though his storefront shut down, most don’t know he still caters. And when he does, people go crazy! He still has so many fans of his menu–surely he’ll reopen someday! The line started with plates held upright by an old crate and plasticware wrapped in yellow napkins and finished with a bow of twine.

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Of course we offered PBJs for the pickier eaters.

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There was a carmel apple bar, with dipping carmel kept warm in crockpots and a few choices of toppings to sprinkle.

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And then the beautiful dessert bar, filled with crunchy pumpkin bars and brownies from scratch that several ladies made for the festival.

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I made all the food labels and tags the morning of (eek!). There weren’t that many so I handcut them all the secured them with double-sided tape to ribbons.

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We created the centerpieces using a bulk order of sunflowers from Sam’s Club combined with greenery from my backyard, including fresh sage and evergreen arranged in floral foam. We also had some artificial pear picks that really helped fill in holes! Everything was accented with burlap, mini-pumpkins, and ball jars holding split peas and tealights.

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There were some other fun features at the party, like this couch and chair we built from bales of straw. I threw a quilt on top with some toss pillows.

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We also set up a photo booth by stapling a vintage sheet background to an outdoor wall, defined the space with some bales of straw, and set up a camera and remote with easy instructions. I also bought a few frames from Goodwill and spray painted them orange and green. We handwrote some signs and made mustaches to complete the ensemble.

Some of the photos:

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Me and my hubby.

The event couldn’t have gone better. We even had enough food for everyone! This would make such a cute Thankgiving tablesetting as well. I attribute the success to the many loving volunteers who worked their tails off setting up the event and to be well organized. I had created a large packet of setup instructions, complete with diagrams, layouts, and photo mock-ups. I’m so glad I did because my partner in crime with 37 weeks pregnant and went into labor the night before setup. It pays to be organized! I love fall festivals, and this one was my favorite.

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Jenny

For more Thanksgiving ideas and to see where I partied:

Keeping It Simple The Girl Creative Making

Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free Peppermint Hot Chocolate

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In attempt to fight off a sore throat, I stopped and bought some peppermint tea on my way home. I’m not a big fan of teas, even one as plain as peppermint tea, so I started thinking of a way to doctor it up.

Since I’m also on a no-sugar no-dairy no-gluten fast right now, it requires being content with simple ingredients in order to enjoy something indulgent. Well, this one really hit the spot!

I created this peppermint hot chocolate by adding unsweetened cocoa to the steeped peppermint tea. Then I added a fair amount of agave nectar to taste. I topped off with a splash of unsweetened soy milk. Okay, I have to admit that the marshmallows aren’t sugar free but if it makes it any better, I didn’t eat them!!

To others I’m sure this drink would be bland in comparison to Starbuck’s, but for me and my special diet, it was yummo!

Jenny

Handmade Halloween Treats

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I decided at the last second that I didn’t want to give out just candy to my loved little ones for Halloween, and took on the challenge of crafting some handmade gifts over night. I decided I couldn’t mess up too much on plush monsters so I headed to Joann’s for some fuzzy fabric.

I drew a monster shape on piece of paper as a pattern. I cut two pieces of plush fabric and found some felt for the eyes. Two oblong circles in each black and white did the trick. The best part is that the messier, the better with these monsters. Before sewing the two main pieces of fabric together, I ironed my felt shapes to the monster using fusing web. Next, I recalled some embroidering stiches from my grandmother’s lessons and used them to add some quick details. I think these monsters look better with fewer embroidered details, but do think the tiny knot that adds a gleam to the eyeballs adds a lot.

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Once finishing the embroidery details, I sewed my monster, right sides facing together, leaving a 3-inch opening on one side. I stuffed with polyfill and a few tablespoons of lavendar I had leftover from my flax seed pillows. I handstiched the side closed and wallah, Halloween monsters for the little ones!

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We wanted to get something special for the boys across the street. So besides their favorite candy and pop, I also bought dollar stocking caps from Walmart and embellished them by hand. I created a design on my computer, then transfered the pattern to a plastic sheet. I cut out the shapes from the plastic sheet, leaving me with a stencil. Next, I watered down some white acrylic paint and used a foam brush to roughly paint directly on the cap (don’t forget a piece of cardboard to keep the paint from soaking through!). It took about 30 minutes to dry (faster with the help of my hair dryer, as recommended on the bottle to set the paint). I cut shapes out of white felt that already had fusing on the back, peeled off the paper backing, and hand-stiched some details. Then I ironed the patch to the hat on top of the painted graphic, giving it a screen-printed feel straight from the ads.

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My nephew Beau went as a pea pod.

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He lit up when he saw his monster, then spent the next five minutes trying to eat it.

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My niece Annabelle looked very sweet this year in a butterfly/fairy costume.

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Jenny

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