Growing up, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving. It meant oysters, pumpkin pie and lots of storytelling.
Dinner was served on an early 19th century pine table, set with my mother's mid-century Danish silver, hand thrown Japanese plates she bought while living in Taiwan and candlelight. There were always masses of candles on the table and all around the dining room. It made for a magical evening. As I started to create my own Thanksgiving traditions, candlelight and using the family silver and china were a must.
However, I wanted to bring a bit of the outdoors in and celebrate the changing of the seasons. Gathering the décor for the table also gave me an excuse to disappear for an hour on Thanksgiving morning and collect my thoughts. Over the years I've developed a few short cuts to set a lovely table and still have time to enjoy the day with family and friends. I'm thrilled to share them with you, as well as a delicious pumpkin martini recipe, and hope they might inspire you as you plan your Thanksgiving celebration.
The week before Thanksgiving, I do an inventory of plates, glasses, silver, napkins and linens. That’s my time to polish silver, check the linens for stains and do any ironing (what can I say, I’m old school and still buy spray starch). This advance inventory helps me not lose my mind on Thanksgiving day so I am not doing the wash while trying to make that oyster stuffing recipe for the first time.
Simple is always better and chicer! I am a huge fan of terra cotta in all shapes and sizes from the simple pots you pick up at the garden center to beautiful vintage pieces - the more patina the better. I love potting up miniature ferns in small clay pots and placing at the top of each place setting. I write each person’s name on a wooden plant marker and place in the plant - place cards are done!
Candles, branches and dried flowers are a match made in heaven! Depending on the weather leading up to Thanksgiving, I can still find a few branches that still have leaves on them. Cut a few branches, looking for interesting shapes, to lay in the center of the table. The branches create spaces to tuck in foraged items (think pods, dried blooms, leaves) as well as the candles. This year I will pull out my mismatched collection of bronze candlesticks (even the ones coated with wax) and fill with black tapers for a bit of drama. Add small votives, dim the lights and your table will glow.
Take advantage of the quiet time in the garden whether it is just you or you and your family/friends. There is something magic about this time of year as the garden begins its winter sleep.
As always, thank you for being a flower friend!
What's better than a pumpkin spice latte? A pumpkin martini! This is one of our favorite drink recipes, which we served for the first time at a party years ago to reveal our newly renovated kitchen. After a frantic afternoon of prepping and cleaning, we thought we should try the recipe before we served it to our guests. The first batch ended up all over the brand new kitchen (the cocktail shaker top was NOT firmly in place). We always laugh when we drink these!
Recipe courtesy of Southern Living.
1 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1 1/2 oz pumpkin liqueur
1 1/2 oz Irish cram
Combine ingredients with a cup of ice in a cocktail shaker
Shake until the outside of the shaker gets frosty
Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or nutmeg
Perfect before or after dinner
Photo credit @thealiciabruce