Blogger Thanksgiving


At this time of year, I usually post an article about being thankful for the many blessings in my life.  I would like to send a big thank you to the bloggers who inspire me.  I apologize if I miss a name or two and will update this post as needed. 

Wordpress New Blog Post

In the blogroll below, you will see the blog title and a few descriptive words for each.  I hope you find something that piques your interest. 

Hassentidoque – fictional stories with illustrative photos
Chambers on the Road – RV travel & retirement
Surf Kawela Hawaii – Hawaii photography & adorable animals
Jeweled Again by Jessica – jewelry art
One for the Money Two for the Road – travel info & photography
Npchumordotcom – comics
FunWritings – protecting the oceans & environment
Senioren um die Welt – world travel info and photography
Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art – abstract art & photography
Beauty and More – beauty & lifestyle
Scuba Hank NYC – sea life photography and videos
Wildonline – British wildlife photography
Our Right to Write – photos and quotes
5thGeneration Girl – family and second chances
El Espacio de Chus – photography
Fun with Philosophy – self-discovery
My Book Eyes – children’s book reviews
Cheryl’s Blog – travel & lifestyle
Miss Val’s Findings – jewelry components
Helene Brennan – Ireland photography & paintings

Blogging Community

Thank you for sharing your extraordinary talents.  I also want to thank my readers, followers, and those taking the time to comment.  I appreciate every one of you.  Together, we form an online community for sharing, inspiring, supporting, and encouraging each other. 

Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes to Everyone!

Thanksgiving Décor Made Easy

Colors of the Season
Fall Leaves
Just about every family in the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. When you are the host of this annual feast, a lot of planning and preparation is required to ensure it will be a delicious and enjoyable occasion for all. The party starts upon arrival and ends when the last hugs are exchanged and tearful waving as the cars pull away with promises to come back again next year.

What kind of atmosphere do you want to create for this celebration? A few decorative items can really set the stage for your family feast. Let autumn’s colors, red, orange, green, and yellow, inspire your Thanksgiving décor.

Outdoor Decorations
Outdoor Fall Display
Seasonal gourds, corn and apples can be artfully arranged by the front door, or in a corner of your deck or patio. To ensure longevity, be sure to keep produce out of direct sun and away from fire pits.

Autumn’s Bountiful Harvest
Autumn’s Bountiful Harvest
Give those left-over Halloween pumpkins new life in a Thanksgiving display. Mother Nature provides the fallen leaves, or substitute with handfuls of straw for a festive look.

A Colorful Welcoming Entrance
Thanksgiving Outdoor Display
Don’t miss an opportunity to create a festive entryway to your home. Decorate an existing bench or cozy front porch with attractive chrysanthemums, pumpkins, and an adorable, feathered friend.

Seasonal Fall Wreath
Gourds Pumpkins Wreath
Greet your guests at the door with a lovely fall wreath. To make one, start with a grapevine wreath base. Tie or glue on gourds, pinecones and berries. As an added burst of color, glue red and green silk leaves on poster board and secure it to the back of the wreath.

Holiday décor differs based upon many factors: geographic location – beachside versus mountaintop; venue – urban loft apartment versus rural farmhouse; your personal style: traditional versus contemporary or something in between, etc. Below are several design ideas to spark your creativity.

Traditional Thanksgiving Cornucopia Centerpiece
Traditional Thanksgiving Cornucopia Centerpiece
A few candles and a set of mini lights add sparkle and ambiance to this festive centerpiece. If burning candles makes you nervous, you can opt for the flameless variety. New technological advances have produced a very realistic appearance of flickering flames. Many are made with scented wax, have been molded with lines of “dripping” wax down the sides, and operate via remote control.

Farmhouse Chic Centerpiece
Farmhouse Chic Centerpiece
This display creates a more casual atmosphere. The wicker basket and two hammered metal tankards set amongst a mixture of fruit and veggies are the focal point on a picnic table with plenty of room for the extended family and friends.

Fruitful Harvest
Fruitful Harvest
A sculptural glass bowl of fruit serves as an artful centerpiece and it’s edible.

Elegant Traditional Place Setting
Elegant Traditional Place Setting
Place settings can impress even the most discriminating family members. If you have a metallic gold sharpie marker, you could write each person’s name on the tiny white pumpkins, which become party favors for your guests to take home after enjoying a delicious meal.

Chargers, such as the gold one shown in the photo above, are decorative plates typically used as colorful accents for laying dishes. There are two types of chargers sold at craft stores. The first tends to be round plates in solid colors, metallic finishes, or vintage prints. The second type is very decorative, including embellishments such as rhinestones and hammered metal finishes. Food Safety Tip: Chargers are for decorative use only – they are Not Food Safe.

From Vineyard to Table Decor
From Vineyard to Table Decor
If being non traditional is more your style, choose a different color scheme to celebrate the bounty of the season. How about blues, purples, and greens from the vineyard? Wine is typically a part of every big celebration. Why not use it as the inspiration for your holiday décor? Knock tradition off its feet with this colorful twist.

Contemporary Urban Glam
Contemporary Urban Glam
Are you passionate about having a lot of bling in your holiday decor? How about this sequined tablecloth, deep orchid napkins, silver plates, and bejeweled napkin rings? The table cover could be an expensive item, but a trip to the fabric store will save you a bundle. Little details make such a difference. Embellish plain napkin rings with rhinestones, beads, berries or flowers. If time is short, Pier 1 has a large selection of ornate napkin rings.

Exotic Blue Peacock
Exotic Blue Peacock Place Setting
Using peacock feathers for inspiration, this table setting features a matching runner and chair sashes. If you are comfortable with sewing, both items can be easily made for use with an existing white tablecloth and dining chairs. The sashes are tied to the seat backs in simple bows, turning standard folding chairs into fashionable seating. Brown wicker chargers beautifully offset the bright blue napkins. Green glassware and a few well-placed peacock feathers complete the design.

Combining Old & New
Combining Old & New
Transitional is a blending of traditional elements, such as the floral arrangement and orange-rimmed dishes, with a contemporary flair – maroon napkins creatively folded to create an exotic flower and wrapped in gold leaf-shaped napkin rings; matching placemats; and coordinating gold and maroon glass beads scattered upon the table.

Beachside Centerpiece
Beach Centerpiece
If you live at the beach, the bountiful harvest focuses upon the ocean, and your celebration may look something like this. Fire and water is always a mesmerizing combo. Place floating candles in clear glass containers with attractive pebbles or sea glass in the bottom. Set in a tray with sand and a few seashells for a lovely seaside centerpiece.

Traditional Thanksgiving Table with Wine & Flowers
Traditional Thanksgiving Table with Wine & Flowers
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, may it bring you and yours a very happy, and love filled holiday to be remembered fondly for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Everyone across the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, however this holiday experience varies depending upon geographic location, climate, local customs, and food specialties.

Hawaii & New England
Sometimes it’s nice to see how other people celebrate. It gives you a chance to see the holiday from a fresh perspective. Below is a side-by-side comparison of two Thanksgiving celebrations: Hawaii is on the left and New England is on the right.

Sandy Shores Rocky Coast
Landscapes: Sandy Beaches versus Rugged Rocky Coastline

Rain on Petals Frosty Leaf
Weather: Warm Tropical Showers versus Cool Crisp Air & Snow

Pineapples Gourds
Decorations: Pineapples versus Pumpkins & Gourds

Plumeria & Chrysanthemums
Flowers: Wild Plumeria versus Potted Chrysanthemums

Torchlight & Candle Light
Lighting: Outdoor Torchlight versus Indoor Candlelight

Bird of Paradise & Cornucopia
Centerpieces: Exotic Flowers versus Harvest Cornucopia

Tropical Cocktail & Hot Beverage
Drinks: Cool Tropical Cocktails versus Hot Beverages

Fresh Fruit & Hot Soup
Appetizers: Tropical Fruit versus Hot Hearty Soups

Roast Pork & Roast Turkey
Entrées: Roast Pork versus Roast Turkey

Vegetables: Pacific Rim Blend versus Roast Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie
Desserts: Chocolate Kona Coffee Cheesecake versus Pumpkin Pie

Fire Dance & Fireplace
After Dinner: Fire Dancing versus Relaxing by the Fire

I hope these celebrations will inspire and enrich your next family gathering. You might want to consider a change of venue or a change of décor to shake things up a bit. Whatever you decide, there are two constants you can always count on: Love and Gratitude shared with Family and Friends

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

Giving Thanks

Busy Airport
We used to take so many things for granted – the ability to travel; gathering with family and friends, being entertained in stadiums & movie theaters; and walking around wherever we please without the need for a mask or social distancing. The arrival of Covid-19 has changed all of that.

Thanksgiving Family Dinner
Here in the United States, Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. Historically, the day before Thanksgiving has been the most heavily traveled day of the year. Celebrations include family and friends.

Dinner for Two
Due to the pandemic, our Thanksgiving celebrations will be on a much smaller scale, with most people simply staying at home.

Holding Hands
Visiting usually means reconnecting and sharing…

Virtual Kissing
But this year many will have to settle for phone calls and video feeds.

And yet there are still many things to be grateful for. Obviously we all depend upon local resources for food, gasoline, utilities, etc. One thing I hadn’t considered was the origin of many of the items I use on a daily basis, and I was surprised to discover that it really requires a worldwide effort.

World Map on Hands
In the margins of the above photo is a partial list of the items I use and their countries of origin.  It’s astounding! Each of these items connects me to people all over the world.

World Flags
This year on Thanksgiving I’m going to be thankful for everyone everywhere – people I may never meet, but whose presence in my daily life will be forever appreciated. Take a closer look at your own life and you will discover how truly connected we are like one big family.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Food Presentation

Raw Food
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends? As you know, it’s one of the most stressful holidays of the year. The house needs to be cleaned, guest rooms prepared, and recipes tested for side dishes, hors d’oeuvres, entrees and desserts.

Turkey Dinner
It is said presentation is everything. Once the food is prepared, how will it be served? Are you planning to have a sit down dinner or buffet style? Is one main table enough or do you need a separate table for the kids? Do you have enough serving platters, bowls, and utensils? Food should not only taste good, but it needs to look appealing as well. Capture your guests’ attention and stimulate their appetites with these food presentation ideas.

Dining with an Incredible View
Dining with an Incredible View
If your home has an outstanding view – ocean, lake, mountains, forest, garden, cityscape, etc. – seize the opportunity to showcase the view and your fabulous food by placing your table accordingly.

Dual Purpose Decor
Ceramic Pumpkins
This dining table centerpiece features a trio of ceramic pumpkins with matching leaf-shaped appetizer plates. Be sure to have plenty of coordinating coasters on hand to protect your fine wood surfaces.

Happy Hour – Beer & Cocktails
Happy Hour – Beer & Cocktails

Food Becomes Art
Food Becomes Art
These acorns, berries, and leaves have been artfully arranged upon the beautiful wood grain of a large cutting board. This would be a perfect setting to serve a dish of appetizers in the center.

Finger Foods

Fancy Appetizers
Fancy Appetizers

Natural Serving Pieces
Natural Serving Pieces
Everyone knows you can eat pumpkins, but why not use them to serve soups and dips?

Make Your Own Salad Bar
Salad Bar

Store-Bought Salad Platter
Store-Bought Salad Platter
With so many dishes to make, sometimes it’s just easier to let your local grocery store prepare a few items to save you time, while still making an impressive dish. If you want your guests to think it’s homemade, place the plastic store plate on top of a larger serving platter, and conceal the plastic rim with a vegetable garnish as shown.

Casual & Stylish Family Buffet
Casual & Stylish Family Buffet

Meat & Potatoes with a Twist
Meat & Potatoes with a Twist
Thick cuts of beef are layered over sprigs of green herbs and topped with baby golden potatoes on this hearty platter.

Food Safety for Chargers
Food Safety for Chargers
You’ll notice in this photo that a charger is mistakenly being used as a serving platter for a chicken dinner. Food Safety Tip: These resin or metal plates are for decorative use only – they are NOT FOOD SAFE. Food should not come into direct contact with the charger. Instead, set another smaller plate on top to hold the food (especially hot items), or line it with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, a paper doily, or wax paper.

Veggies Galore
Veggies Galore

And let’s not forget the most anticipated part of the meal…

The Desserts
The Dessert Table
Besides the delicious choices, there’s a lot going on in this set up. Chocolate truffles have been placed in the center of cheerful yellow silk flowers. Chocolate mousse and vanilla bean custard are adorned with confectionary sprinkles and topped with tiny yellow bows tied to spoons. Cake stands have been used to achieve varying heights. Autumn flowers in a mixture of glass jars and bowls create the perfect balance in this inviting and delectable presentation.

Multi-Tiered Dessert Display
Multi-Tiered Dessert Display
Dilemma: Which confection to try first? Solution: I’ll have one of each please!

Desserts by Mother Nature
Desserts by Mother Nature
Carved fruit is a real attention getter. Carving kits or the right knife make it easier to create a breathtaking display that’s almost too pretty to eat…almost.

Dining by Candle Light
Dining by Candle Light
Don’t forget to consider the lighting for your guests’ dining pleasure. There’s a reason why many restaurants have dimmed lighting and lit candles upon the tables. The warm, cozy ambiance stimulates your appetite and invites you to relax and enjoy.

Traditional Holiday Fare
Traditional Holiday Fare
We eat with our eyes first. With creative planning, having a dinner party can be an enjoyable and successful event for everyone, including the hosts. Choose your menu, set the stage, and let the curtain rise on a spectacular meal to the resounding cheers of your guests. You’ve got this!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

A Kid Friendly Thanksgiving

Kids Playing
From a child’s point of view, Thanksgiving dinners can be really dull. All that hugging and kissing from relatives they never knew they had, and then they have to sit at the dreaded “Kids’ Table.” Borrrring! With a few creative changes, even the kids will be thankful at your next holiday meal.

Friendly Competition – Hunting for Treasure
Speckled Eggs
For those living in warmer climates, fresh air, a little exercise, and some friendly competition could be just the right combo to entertain the kids. Everyone has heard of an Easter egg hunt. Start a new tradition by having a Turkey egg hunt. Plastic eggs are easy to come by, and tiny toys or candies can be hidden inside. If you can’t find eggs, write numbers on brightly colored rubber balls, where each number corresponds to a prize.

Children Love Coloring
A Child Coloring
Coloring Option 1: Instead of using a standard tablecloth, cover the kid’s table with a thick sheet of paper. Banner paper, which is sold in 24” x 75 ft rolls, can be spread across the tabletop and secured in place. Sharpened, soft-lead, colored pencils will enable young guests to doodle to their hearts’ content.

Coloring Books – Staying in the Lines…or not
Coloring Book
Coloring Option 2: Coloring books come in many themes and sizes, with age-appropriate challenges, and perforated pages for easy tear out. Crayons are great for the younger kids, while the older ones will appreciate colored pencils or markers. The finished drawings can be presented to all the guests. Prizes are optional. Crafter Tip: To ensure markers do not damage your table, use a vinyl table cover.

Video Games
Video Games
If your kids love video games, this will keep them occupied for hours. You might have to pry them away for dinner. Adults are hooked on gaming as well, so this could be an activity for guests of all ages.

In terms of food that will appeal to children, you may want to consider the following suggestions as either appetizers or as the kids’ main course.

Chicken Nuggets are a Food Favorite
Chicken Nuggets
Finger foods are so much easier to handle and no utensils are required.

Creatively Wrapped Mini Hot Dogs
Pigs in Blanket
Also known as Pigs in a Blanket, these mini hot dogs have been wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent rolls. Note the bottom row is decorated as mummies, which you may have seen on television. With a few minor adjustments – add a ketchup beak and a jagged edge above and below the face – the top row resembles baby turkeys hatching from eggs. See photo below for a simpler wrap. (Crafter Tip: Use mayonnaise for the eyeballs. The pupils can be made with pepper or mustard.)

Simply Wrapped Mini Hot Dogs
Pigs in Blanket
Pigs in a Blanket are easy to make and easy to eat.

Macaroni & Cheese
Mac And Cheese
Any kid’s menu would be incomplete without Mac & Cheese. Better make extra because as you know adults love it too!

Making dessert a memorable occasion requires very little effort… and don’t be surprised if the adults want to join in the fun.

Fanciful Ice Cream
 Ice Cream
This dessert is sure to make everyone smile, and it’s incredibly easy. All you need is a sugar cone, a single scoop of ice cream, sliced fruit and a few M &M’s chocolate candies. Mint leaves and a flower are optional garnishes, or use additional pieces of candy instead.

Decorate Your Own Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Kids are naturally creative. Feed their artistic ability with a basket of plain cookies, tubes of icing and candies like the ones shown below.

Mini Candies, Marsh Mallows & Rainbow Colored Sprinkles
Sweet confections, perfect for cookie decorating, are “glued” in place with icing.

Cookie Party Favors
Cookie Bag
Decorated cookies can be eaten then and there, or wrapped in plastic bags to take home. Wilton sells special bags as party favors, but simple zip lock bags will work just as well.

Dinner parties require a lot of planning, great food, and our family and friends. Don’t forget to include a few perks for the little ones. When the kids are happy, everyone is happy.

Happy Crafting!