Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving centerpiece

I've had a few requests for frugal Thankgiving centerpieces. To me, that means a project that doesn't entail a trip to Michaels!

I wanted to make a cornucopia with the kids. You can do this with a brown paper shopping bag and a clay pot. Only, since going to cloth bags, I no longer had any paper on hand!

I substituted the last of a wrapping paper roll instead.

Unfold your shopping bag or square of paper and roll it around the pot.

This naturally makes a cone shape at the end, which you can bend and twist for a more basket-like texture. You may find it easier to wrinkle a brown paper bag if you scrunch it before wrapping.

Gather all your materials. How I wish I hadn't thrown away those miniature gourds! I had to raid the refrigerator for a few apples, an orange, and a handful of old limes.

The kids gathered clusters of fall leaves in red, yellow, and brown. I may add a few roses from Aldi, so I jammed two blocks of wet floral foam in the pot. Dollar General sells 3 bricks for $1.

If you're using only leaves and produce, substitute styrofoam or twist a "nest" of twigs and branches for framework.

The fun part! Insert branches, making a lion's mane of leaves around the opening. Add some long trailing pieces on the bottom.

You don't need floral picks or wire to add fruit or vegetables to an arrangement. Have the kids bring you a few sticks, break in half for a sharp point, then push into the bottom of the fruit.

Leave the sticks longer if you want the fruit to stick out farther, for instance, at the base. See the brown stick from the apple poking into the foam?

I prefer a large scale arrangement, since we serve food from a buffet. Careful not too make your centerpiece taller than the eye level of a sitting guest.

I was going to have Andrew sponge paint the wrapping paper brown, but now I like the contrast of the gold paper against the table.

Those of you in Florida will have to cut paper leaves, unless you do a tropical cornucopia with beautiful citrus and palm fronds! You might also enjoy Home Ec 101's paper pumpkin centerpiece--it's filled with dinner mints.

Readers make their own:

22 comments:

Jane said...

Keep the paper as it is, it's very pretty!

You have inspired me with an idea for a kiddie version. I will post pictures soon!

Meredith said...

You can make the centerpiece smaller or larger--it all depends on the size of your pot. Tiny clay pots can be placed at each place setting, while the large one that I used would be appropriate for a buffet.

Amy said...

That's gorgeous- and I agree, the gold paper is a great contrast. I'm going to play around with this idea for next year at the nursing home where I work. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I picked up a 'real' basket like that a few years ago at a tag sale. I have used it in the center of our large round table every year. Your home made 'basket' looks better than my 'real thing' I do use artificial goards and pumpkins, leaves, pine cones, and Indian corn in mine. I love to colors...on my blue table cloth. Thanks for sharing the ideas..Roxie

Pennies In My Pocket AKA Melody said...

I LOVE this for a few reasons ...
1. Its beautiful
2. It does NOT require a trip to Michaels
3. Great craft for the kids, too
4. So creative!!

Love it...thank you!!

Melody

Kimi Harris said...

Wow! That is beautiful! You have inspired me!

GranMarty said...

Here's another amazing idea for a cornucopia. I'm not sure which to try first! I found it at Juggling Frogs a few days ago.


http://blog.jugglingfrogs.com/2007/11/bread-cornucopia.html

Jackie said...

Very nice Meredith. I will have to try this at our next Canadian Thanksgiving.

TJ said...

Thanks for sharing! That looks like a fun craft.

Lu said...

Wow! I wouldn't have ever thought about that! Too cute! Thanks for the idea!

Jen said...

Lovely!!! You are amazing, to take such simple "ingredients" and make something so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Devin said...

That is just too cute! I love your resourcefulness.

Christi said...

Meredith, your cornucopia is lovely! Thanks for sharing the step-by-step instructions.

Cyndi Lewis said...

Lovely! Thank you for the height comment about center pieces. Nothing bothers me more than to have to lean around a center piece to talk to the person on the other side of the table. Thank you for the time you take to inspire your readers. I think you should have your own HGTV show! Simple Beauty with Meredith!

Cyndi Lewis said...

On a down note... I just learned a couple of days ago that the cornucopia has its origins in Greek/Roman mythology. It seems everywhere I turn, our culture and traditions are permiated with paganism and false gods. Sigh. In studying vikings with the kids last week even the days of the week are influenced by Norse gods. Thursday... Thor's day. Wednesday had some reference to Norse gods too but I can't recall it.

TracyMichele said...

I have said it once and will say it again.. you are unbelievable! That is fabulous! I just might have to try this one! Oh, and a tip for Floridians and their paper leaves, spray them with water and crumple them up. Then place them on cardboard to dry. They will have a more aged look to them. :)

tara said...

Beautiful! I am bringing centerpieces to our friend's Thanksgiving get together. My orginal plan was to cut out pumpkins & put a small potted Mum in them. However, I cannot find a small potted mum anywhere now that it has snowed, nor are there any fresh small pumpkins available anymore.

I have everything I need to make a couple of these and I don't have to spend a dime!!

THANK YOU!!

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

This is beautiful! I'm going to try it today, as a fall craft with my daughter, and to have a table centerpiece for the tea that I am hosting on Friday. I'm going to try it with some mini gourds that I have, and hope I can find some leaves outside that are actually dry!

I'll try to post a picture later today of how it turned out!

Stephanie
http://www.keeperofthehome.org

artgirlATL said...

ok, you knocked that little project out of the park. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Love the cornucopia AND the shot of your dining room! By the way, have you seen the cover of this month's Traditional Home magazine? It's a photo of a dining room featuring chairs that are strikingly similar to your garage sale Brown Jordans.

Susan in San Antonio

chickadee said...

cute, cute idea!

Beth said...

Lovely centerpiece! These are the kinds of ideas I have, but I don't have the genius of implementation that you have. :)

To the commenter who mention the pagan roots of the cornucopia...my take is that there is nothing at all inherently evil about the elements of the cornucopia. Any more than there is anything inherently evil in an evergreen tree decorated with lights and ornaments.

Pagans and other non-Christians may have used these as symbols but if we can use the items and reclaim them as a symbol of God's grace and bounty we should. In fact, I would think that most people in America already see the cornucopia merely as a sign of abundant harvest--with Christians being thankful to God for that harvest, and others being grateful to the earth or whatever.

This is probably one of those matters of conscience things and if you or someone in your family would feel you are promoting paganism by using a cornucopia you shouldn't use one! Just trying to suggest a different side of it for you to think about...