Friendsgiving Brainstorm

With the advent of Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving is no longer reserved for simply time with the 'rents. If it is your turn to host the annual event or if you are just an attendee, we have listed below some tricks of the trade to make this year's get-together your best one yet! 

Entryway Etiquette

Image via  Homey Oh My  

Image via Homey Oh My 

Nothing beats an elaborate and bright entryway to let all your guests know it is party time! Whether you grab some gourds and pumpkins, paint them up in various shades á la Homey Oh My, or hang a few dried corn cobs on your front door, either way, a little extra care when it comes to the entryway adds a classic holiday touch to any home.

Garland Central

Image via  Alice & Lois

Image via Alice & Lois

If you are a little light on extra cash - who isn't this time of year?! - but still want to get your house looking party-ready, hang a few homemade garland options on the wall to keep spirits high and your money in your wallet. Alice & Lois feature quite a few distinct and modern garland signs as a starting point for your decorative theme and, best of all, they are free! Just click and print. 

Ditch the Tech

Image via  The Pretty Blog

Image via The Pretty Blog

Though the dinner spread may be aching for an Insta post or your FB feed may be blowing up with everyone's own Friendsgiving highlights, we love this creative and, dare we say, necessary, sign from The Pretty Blog declaring "Take a Drink. Leave your phone." Nothing beats a self-serve cocktail bar stocked with all the fixings and when you finally get all your friends to put down their phones, what better a time to let the games and turkey-fueled debauchery begin?

Image via  The Pretty Blog

Paper Table Runner

Not only does a kraft paper table runner make for easy after dinner cleanup but also allows for you and your guests to get creative. Draw names above plates for quick and simple name cards or take last week's tablescape inspiration and save space for guests to write down what they are thankful for this year.

Time Saver Big Batch Cocktails

Image via  Saveur

Image via Saveur

If your Friendsgiving has grown to a sizable amount, you may want to think about making a big batch cocktail to save time. This recipe from Saveur for Chilled Cider Punch is seasonal, light and refreshing. Just what all of us need on a day when we stuff ourselves silly with food. Otherwise, as a guest, always bring a bottle of wine or libation just to be safe. Trust us, your host will be most grateful.

Consider a Buffet Style Meal

Image via  Bon Appétit

Image via Bon Appétit

Though my mother would have a fit if the words buffet were even uttered on Thanksgiving, for Friendsgiving, a buffet style meal might be the easiest and best option. No need to worry about passing plates or having a grand dining room table. The buffet style - broken down in Bon Appétit step by step here - allows for guests to mange at their own pace and takes the pressure of cooking down a notch for the host. Buffet style for the win in our opinion. Just don't tell mom!

Takeout Boxes

Image via  The TomKat Studio

After the food has come and gone, be sure to have a few boxes for leftovers on hand in case anyone wants to lighten your turkey load. For the detail-oriented, add a classy touch of ribbon and a handwritten note. Better than giving away all your tupperware, these to-go boxes are a sweet and delicate finale to a successful evening.

The Ultimate Checklist

Image via  Buzzfeed

Image via Buzzfeed

And finally, this hosting checklist, compiled by Buzzfeed of all places, has all the little details so often overlooked. Helpful as can be, for those who are hosting especially, we recommend printing this puppy out and hanging it on the fridge.

Gobble gobble! Happy Friendsgiving!

Image via  NBC

Image via NBC


Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspo

If you ask us, it's never too early to start gathering ideas for Thanksgiving - especially if you are hosting this year. The perfect table setting really ties the entire experience together in a unique and inviting way. Add high glamour centerpieces or subtle yet thoughtful accents to create the perfect holiday dinner ambience. Check out this list for a few key details not to miss when dressing up your dining room this Thanksgiving.

Old World Glamour

Nothing heightens the drama and glamorous side of Thanksgiving quite like a candle filled centerpiece. Play with dimension and height by utilizing small pedestals and various sized candles, i.e votive to candlestick, to keep the eye moving. We love the natural fabric table runner and how the green pumpkins play against the purple cabbage. But, as always, safety first and be sure to blow those candles out after the meal!

Handwritten Declarations

Image via  Ella Claire

Image via Ella Claire

If you're in need of a conversation starter, this quick handwritten accent is sure to get people talking about what is most important this time of year. Tucked under a plate or beneath a napkin holder, channel your inner creative and choose a punchy font. Either during, before or after dinner, get to scribbling or just talking. A perfect activity for a Friendsgiving or family get-together, you might just be surprised by what people say.

Rustic Lavish

Image via  Apartment 34

Image via Apartment 34

With how popular country rustic styling has become for home decor why not get your table setting into the game as well? This tablescape is lush and lavish with green ferns and rich column candles and vintage place settings. Mix and match glassware and plates for a more one-of-a-kind feel. 

Blue Holiday

Image via  Martha Moments

Image via Martha Moments

The usual color palette for Thanksgiving generally relies heavily on red, orange and brown, but if you are looking to mix things up this holiday season, why not try ice blue and silver as a way to set your table apart from the rest? An unexpected, classy splash of blue tones works quite well against the rustic hues of comfort food as well.

Fall Harvest Centerpiece

Image via  The Daily Basics

Pumpkins, gourds and dried barley evoke the classic Thanksgiving vibe. Monochromatic centerpieces truly stand out and this beige and gold inflected selection is sure to be a knockout on a neutral heavy table design. We love the white birch wood pieces and envision someone being able to create this centerpiece from a few items laying around their house or worst case scenario a quick trip to the craft store for one last pumpkin before the season is officially over.

Pattern Play

Image via  Nancy's Daily Dish

If there was ever a time to play with mixed patterns, Thanksgiving is it! Keep the collective hues near the same shade or throw complimentary colors together for a more consistent feel. Either way, be sure to pay attention to the varied pattern sizes, mixing smaller, more delicate shapes with bigger and bolder options to create a whimsical and full tablescape.

'Til next time, cheers!


Handmade Holiday Crafts!

Happy Handmade Holidays!  Here is one of many great Holiday Craft Projects we have created to spread holiday cheer.  We will be releasing craft tutorials throughout the whole month of December.  If you are in Chicago, check out our holiday class page and come visit us to craft in our inspirational studio.  These beautiful photographs were taken by the lovely Madeline Northway Photography. Here are some lovely holiday themed terrariums Nicole Northway created.  These are great center pieces for your table or wonderful on your fireplace mantle! These specific ones are for sale at One Strange Bird at 2124 W. Division Street in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

Christmas Terrarium

Here are the ingredients: Vintage holiday toys, bottle brush trees (new or vintage), white, blue, and natural colored sand, pebbles, glitter, Christmas themed floral picks, and glass containers.

I got all of my supplies from JoAnne fabric.  It is my favorite go-to place for inspiration.  To make the terrariums follow these easy steps below:

Christmas Terrariums

1. Choose your glass container.  You can find them really cheap at the Dollar Tree or at local Thrift Stores.

2. Begin with a layer of sand.  Shake your sand to one side of the other to create unique angled patterns.  After about an inch or two, change sand colors.  You can use just blue and white or more natural colors like the first picture.

3. Leave about 1-3 inches at the top of your container.  This will depend on how tall your "trees" are.

4. Start to sculpt your Winter Wonderland by placing your bottle brush trees under the top layer of sand.

5. Cut up your holiday floral elements and stick them into the sand to add some pops of color, add in your vintage figurines, and add any other little elements.

6. Sprinkle a little glitter to be your "snow" and you have your winter wonderland!

Stay tuned for next week's post: Terrarium Ornaments!