Simple Thanksgiving crafts; or, Tom(foolery) Turkey Day crafts


We were hosting our first small Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  Every year up to this point, Thanksgiving is usually a pretty predictable affair.  With the exception of the not one but two years we contracted the stomach flu.  All since I met Dave.  Coincidence?  I don’t know.  But we almost turned into a couple of Chandler Bings who could not stomach Thanksgiving food after associating it with ..  well you know.  I won’t ruin your Thanksgiving.  Anyway, I wanted to do a little something different with a minimum of clean up and expense.  Seeing as how my butler Jeeves had absconded with our vast amounts of family wealth and crown jewels, a minimum of expense and clean up seemed like a good idea.

Brown Craft Paper Stamped Tablecloth

For some reason I got it in my head I did not want to deal with washing a tablecloth, or that was my excuse for trying to make something crafty.  “Here lemme whip out that weaving loom I’ve been waiting to use . . .”.  I turned to what appears to be my favorite medium, brown craft paper.  Or maybe just because I have a lot of it hanging around.  After measuring the table, I cut off two lengths of paper.  I had intended to do a runner, but the paper was too wide for a runner and I did not feel like trying to cut a straight edge.  So table cloth it was.  I cut a potato in half, and then carved the outline of a leaf into it about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch deep.  I then cut around the edge of it to result in a raised stamp.  I then carved the details of the leaf into the face of the stamp.  Then I started dippin’ and stampin’ red leaves all over the “cloth”.  Perhaps if I had more time, I could have done smaller and medium sized leaves in orange or yellow, but I was fine with the way just one color came out.  After this tablecloth it was apparent I needed to keep going with a rustic sort of theme.

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Corn Husk Napkin Rings

I had a bunch of corn husks from a short-lived attempt to make tamales.  Since I had a lot of them left over, I decided to “make something” since they tied in with the rustic theme.  After exploring a lot of ideas, I decided to make napkin rings out of corn husks.  I could have just done a simple ring but somehow I got this 3-D sculptural idea in my head.  I am still not totally convinced this was successful, but I still liked it.  I tore the husks lengthwise to the right width.  According to the internet, you can use a curling iron on low heat to smooth out a corn husk (Now how the hell do you put “smooth corn husk” and “curling iron” together?  I ask you).  And for once the internet is true, you can.  I started curling the husk and trying to see if a shape worked.  I did produce a curl, but it had to be held together with a red wooden clothespin.  Yeah it was a little weird but a clothespin is rustic, right?  I was going to glam up the husk with gold paint, but I ended up not liking the effect, so I kept the husk au natural.  I decided to write “thanks” in different languages on the husks with a Sharpie.  It so happens we are rather a multi-cultural family, so we had Gracias for Dad since my step mom is from Mexico, Merci for my brother since he studied French, Köszönöm in Hungarian for my sister in law because she is Hungarian (and I of course screwed up the spelling of this on the husk, dammit), Danke for Dave because of his German heritage, Grazie for me because I was running out of languages,  and Thanks for the kids.

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As far as the centerpiece, I kept it very simple.  I had some glass jars I covered with scrapbook paper and a piece of twine tied in a bow (Twine.  Another of my go to’s.  Because I have a lot of it.  I often wonder if I had a lot of bling lying around would that be my aesthetic instead?) around the middle as vases for flowers.  On my way home from work the day before Thanksgiving I picked up some fall flowers from the farmer’s market.  I had a Christmas table runner that when flipped over only had a plain red fabric, so that became the runner.  I decided to go with no place mats for the adult settings, but for the kids I thought placemats would be nice.  So I took a piece of construction paper and glued a piece of scrapbook paper (I could NOT find any fall scrapbook paper!!  So I bought popcorn paper which strangely seemed to work.) in the middle.  I then printed each child’s name and glued that in the center, then I laminated the mat with clear contact paper.  That was it.  I mean you have to save room on the table for the food, right?

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For the kids, I set up a craft table with coloring books, stickers, paper puppets and crayons.  The kids later put on a puppet show for us at the urging of my niece.


It was really a no frills affair, but for a family gathering I thought it was nice.  That’s the best thing about family, right?  Sure, I could have tried to have that flock of wild turkeys that often come in our backyard do some sort of dance like the penguins do in Mary Poppins, but with no Jeeves there to coordinate that . . . well anyway enough tomfoolery.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kathyann
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 21:32:39

    I love the festiveness and almost disposable table settings as it really gives the boys freedom to be as messy and tomfooleryish (?) as turkey day can be. I can’t wait to see what you do for Christmas.



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