/ 8.11.11 / 14 Comments / Holidays
Creative Holiday Centerpieces by the Women of Grace
Hello friends! It's been a month since the holiday decor competition (all in a spirit of fun ) and the ladies at my church, Grace Community, really out did themselves, I think. :o)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were challenged to come up with a centerpiece for Thanksgiving or Christmas and decide whether to make it elegant, family-friendly, or traditional as we saw fit. Our team chose Thanksgiving..and traditional.
All of the photos for today's post were taken by my good friend, Shona Cole. You may recognize her name as the author of The Artistic Mother. She also writes a blog called The Artistic Life but due to the demands of family and art (actually, she's writing a fantasy book--and it's fascinating!), she has not been blogging regularly either.
However, if you have never visited her website, you are in for a treat. Shona's poetry, stamping, altered art, and photography are all captivating. You will find plenty of intriguing material to peruse from her archives.
Her 'team' and Millicent's (I was on her team) ran neck and neck in competition for the Most Creative category. I think we won by exactly one vote. Certainly, Shona's creation here was the most artistic..hands down! Artists just think so far outside the box that everything they do is amazing. Her centerpiece was elegant, natural, and exquisite. How could anything so simple be so stunning?
Millicent, pictured on the right, Ann, and I represented our team and we won the 'Most Creative' award. Millicent borrowed her ideas, the horse apples in hurricane lamps and the magnolia leaf chargers from a post at Between Naps on the Porch. Millicent is one of my most faithful readers, and closest neighbors. She's one of those wonderful people, like you, who read blogs but don't actually write them. Some of my best support and feedback comes from her. I think she's pretty much been reading since day one. Thanks for being such a great friend, Millicent! You are special. :o)
Jo Beth and Johnnie contributed the leaves and beautiful wine glasses, and Millicent brought the plates. The linens were my grandmother's and are VERY old. Our team took the 'traditional' route. As Ann put it, if the pilgrim and his wife aren't on the table..it's not Thanksgiving! LOL! She couldn't find hers, but I put out the ones I inherited from my father who ADORED the holidays. We sure will be missing him this Thanksgiving.
One reason we won the most creative category was our use of natural items you could easily find. We also aimed for frugal and DIY friendly. (Of course! What would you expect from me?) So the napkins I made were from cheap quilting cotton fabric cut in squares and hemmed. The video for how to do the Turkey napkin fold from Better Homes and Gardens makes this an easy way to spruce up your holiday table. I'm so in love with napkin folding now!! It's an addicting past-time!
I also made the charming mini-pumpkin candle holders. This was another inexpensive and simple idea for making your table look gorgeous! Here's a How-to Video from BHG. The Carmelized Upside-down Ginger-Pear Cake was another contribution of mine. I found that recipe at BHG too. Can you believe this is just a doctored up box cake? If you follow their recipe, don't forget to use real butter and milk instead of oil and water. That's the secret to making a boxed cake mix taste homemade.
My friends, Suzanne, Debbie, Janis and their team won the 'family-friendly' category. Suzanne is a former public school teacher and now homeschool mother of five. We thought this table should be re-named as the Teacher-friendliest. My kids would just have died of heavenly fits if I had ever done this for them. Too cute!!!
These friends did not win in the three categories..but frankly, considering the number of children represented by them, I say this one should win the 'Mommy-friendly" award. It's simple beauty makes it the perfect solution for those of you who want to do something special without spending a whole bunch of time.
How many kids do Heather, Nikki, and Erin have collectively you ask? I'm not sure if I have the count right but it's something like 20-22. Heather has ten boys (I think one may be a girl), Nikki has five or six kids, and I believe Erin has seven. Sometimes it's hard to keep track! They are some of the sweetest moms I know. Such a beautiful and elegant centerpiece! I'm pretty sure I'm going to do this for our Christmas table. :o)
Speaking of Mommy-friendly centerpieces, Christi, my other good friend and long time reader, came up with a Thanksgiving day idea that I thought was really nice. (It looks lovely Christi!) It doesn't take a lot of work, but is much nicer than anything I've done over the years.
She and her darling children have been featured in my posts before. :o) She helped me quilt a beautiful wall hanging last fall. And we had a great time working on a ministry project using Sergers. (Should I call it an adventure? LOL!) We even managed to have tea! Her kids are just too precious...such sweet friendly personalities. I love reading about their anctics on her family blog, LachPach Pics.
For you busy moms that need a quick and simple idea for a centerpiece, I think this pretty arrangement fits the bill perfectly! You could even use branches from the outdoors to make this an even more frugal option. (Here in Houston we have to buy fake fall leaves as our leaves often don't turn color until Christmas!)
Our lovely hostess and the wonderful friend who came up with the idea for our competition is Laurie, pictured on the right, with another good friend,Terri. I've posted photos of her lovely home in the past. She is the decorating friend that I've mentioned several times. She is not a professional like Maria, but she and her husband have actually done restoration work on antique buildings. Her flower arranging is in high demand, but like me, home schooling and family come first. Laurie is also the cookie queen. I regularly
It would be hard to recreate her centerpiece unless you were a talented flower arranger too, but what I love best, besides the dried flowers, is the little fans you see tucked in the holes of the dried seed pods. Those tiny accordion folded fans are hand-written blessings meant to be pulled out at the dinner table and read aloud by family members. Terri and Laurie did such a good job with this centerpiece!
Photo by Donna
My friend Joyce and Pam and their team won the 'Most Elegant' table award. I think you can see why. Joyce has a strikingly elegant home in the colonial style and this table setting would look perfect in it. George Washington and his wife, Martha, would feel right at home. She's pretty savvy too about furnishing this 'southern-style' home. Most of her exquisite antiques are bought at bargain prices. What a great idea...Feather 'fans' glued to dried corn! She also did the beautiful candle holders pictured at the top of today's post.
Well, I hope you enjoyed our little competition and get some good ideas for ways to decorate for the holidays. It's a great way to bless our families.
Have a great week. I look forward to visiting you and hearing from you too.
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