I know that we haven't even celebrated Halloween yet, but since I no longer have a little one to plan a costume for or treats to make, when the autumn leaves start to fall, my mind goes straight to thoughts of Thanksgiving . Years ago, when my mom moved to a small apartment, the task of hosting the family Thanksgiving Dinner was passed on to me. At first I felt intimidated, not about the food, I knew even before my catering business that I could cook for a crowd. I was worried about my dishes. Unlike my two sisters who had complete matching services for 12 (this included the salt & pepper, the butter dish and gravy boat, all identical pattern and boring), my loosely called "set" was made up of a variety of plates, cups and saucers, all pretty much lawn sale finds. There was an underlying theme of color and design but otherwise quite a mix. This however, allowed for me to put together a table for 15, unlike my sisters' sets limited to the 12 place settings.
As that first Thanksgiving Day approached, I was downright nervous that my guests would make comments, my mother perhaps worrying that maybe my financial situation prevented me from obtaining a proper set of china. She would have been partially correct in her assessment; however, the real reason was I could not stand everything being all "matchy matchy". It must be the artist rebel in me. Just when I thought I would give in and purchase a set of china, divine inspiration rescued me in the form of a PBS special on preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. The host of the special was the soon-to-be multi-media lifestyle mogul, Martha Stewart. I had never seen anything like her. She certainly wasn't Julia Child. I watched as she set her table with different patterns from the turkey shaped candy dishes that would be used for the first course of soup, the fall leaf pattern salad plates and the "flying turkey" design dinner plates. Her table looked amazing! As they say, a star was born when that show first aired and as for me, I learned an important lesson that day. Anyone can buy a matching set of dishes and instantaneously set a a complete table . However, my tablescapes are constantly evolving as new pieces are lovingly culled from lawn sale finds and thrift store surprises, and are a true expression of me, my creativity, my love of flea market finds and my sense of individuality that money just can't buy. When you sit at my table, you feel comfortable and welcomed. Needless to say my first Thanksgiving dinner was a resounding success thereby ensuring my hosting the dinner for the last 20 years. Each year has been a different theme and combination of plates, not to mention a new place card holder/guest favor. You may or may not be a fan of Martha Stewart, but she showed that it was acceptable and good decorating design to bring your own unique sense of style to the table.....and as she always says "It's a good thing".
This year I am going with an amber color theme. Here is a picture of what I have collected so far for the table design. The cake stand with its amber glass pedestal was a recent Goodwill find at $4.99, the glasses at $.29 each will be used as votive holders, the pair of candlesticks were a $1.00 lawn sale find and the bag of amber glass stones came from Wal-Mart. More pictures will be coming of my completed table decor. I look forward to showing you. By the way, the photo beneath my blog title is from last year's Thanksgiving. I painted pumpkins, gourds, oak leaves and acorns a cream color for the look I wanted...to match the cream dishes. When my family arrived, they just chuckled and exclaimed "Oh Martha".