/ 8.11.11 / 14 Comments /

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 steal  borrow her recipes when I want to impress company.

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.



Linking with My Romantic Home 
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14 comments:

Trudy Callan said...

Hi, Donna. Nice to see you here. I am posing a video of Samantha at 7 weeks of age at 7:00 a.m., Nov. 8th, Hope to see you this Sunday at my shower.

Rayanne said...

Hello Donna...I've missed you too. Seems like we both have had some busy time going on!! Your blog looks great, and your post today was lovely! Have a happy week friend.

claudia b said...

Wow, everyone did such a great job! I'm definitely going to steal some of these ideas :D

Needled Mom said...

Those are all fabulous! I love all of the ideas and with lots of Thanksgiving tables to set, I think I will be refering back to some of these ideas.

Trish - Sweetology101 said...

Amazing tables!

Deb said...

What beautiful ideas. You're looking good, Ms. Donna!!! Sorry I haven't been by much lately...I am very busy with Mom since her heart attack! HOPE you have a blessed THANKSgiving!!!

Gloria said...

Fabulous looking tables says dizzy gloria. :) Yes I am typing feeling these dizzy spells. These look really good. Great idea for the holidays. Have a great week Donna. thx for stopping by my blog.

Caroline said...

These are really fun. ... I'm missing the home decorating gene but have done something like the "mom friendly" one before, -- a large platter with pinecones, ribbons, acorns and candles. Gideon helped me last year. Ours didn't look quite this nice but it served as our advent wreath. Which is coming up soon! I need to find those glitter pinecones.

I love DIY and frugal, one of the reasons I love your blog, things aren't out of reach :)

Glad to see you briefly in blog land! I haven't been blogging as much either lately.

Donna said...

You know I'll be there Trudy! :o) Can you believe it? We have family with the stomach flu. That makes two colds/flus in one month.

Ah well.. :o) It's great to hear from you all! I'm glad you enjoyed our 'creations'.

xo
Donna

Maria Killam said...

How fun of course you won! And I love that picture of you in that top, so pretty!
xo
Maria

Christi L. said...

Those all turned out so awesome. My little throw together was pretty sad next to ya'lls beauty. A good example of season of life, lol.

You got close on the kids. Heather has 10, Erin has 8 and Nikki is pregnant with #6, I think it might be 7 for her actually. Either way. They are amazing Mommas.

And we are all blessed to have TItus 2 women sticking around to help us out at GCC! Thank you!

Donna said...

Christi, I felt so bad not including yours! I'm learning how to use a Mac and am having a hard time downloading and uploading photos...and figuring out where things get saved. It is NOT intuitive to a Windows user--I don't care what my dear hubby claims.

I did hunt them down, and though they are yellowed I was able to include your table, plus my full photo of Joyce's table which I had wanted to add too.

I thought your center piece was perfect..another Mommy-friendly solution, but for Thanksgiving. :o)

Thanks for being such a faithful follower and reader, Christi. I'm so glad we have a few bloggers and blog readers at church. It's nice to get some good feedback now and then in person. :o)

xo
Donna

Maria Killam said...

What a fun post, and I love the photo of you with your friends, stunning!
xoxo
Maria

Gayle Page-Robak said...

Such gorgeous centerpieces...so beautiful! I have joined your followers list and would love to have you to join me as well. Hugs, Gayle
http://atastefultouch.blogspot.com

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster
Welcome to Comin' Home! If you lived nearby, I'd invite you over to my neck of the woods for a nice long chat and a cup of tea out on the deck. But since we can't do that, I hope you'll stay and look around. I love learning new things and sharing what I learn with friends. Comin' Home is where I share tips from my many projects. Let's have some fun together! XO Donna

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