Celebrate the season by gathering family and friends around a delectably decorated harvest table.
Make all your guests feel special: Tie each buffet napkin with a beautiful ribbon. Search in fabric store remnant baskets for short lengths of unusual decorative ribbons, such as (from left) printed linen, velvet embellished with beaded starbursts, embossed or punched designs, and delicate daisy chains. Tuck in a sprig of berries as a finishing touch.
Layer pretty plaid wool with handmade felt leaves for a warm, autumnal table.
Fill an assortment of glasses with water and float mini pumpkin gourds inside. A big sunflower head sits in the center vessel for a striking accent. Keep an all-yellow color scheme or add splashes of orange and green to boost the impact.
Use permanent marker to hand-write names on dried or fresh leaves for place cards. Give napkins a personal touch with ribbon printed with a seasonal message.
Cut a camel-color flannel runner to fit your table using pinking shears. Lay coordinating ribbons along the center of the runner and secure with double-stick tape or a dab of glue. Cut ribbons to runner length and notch the ends. Set a compote or cake plate in the center and scatter leaves, miniature pumpkins, and pears on and around the dish.
Hollowed-out butternut and acorn squash make perfect serving pieces for a medley of olives or nuts. Cut each squash in half, and carve out seeds and strings. Place them on a long serving dish surrounded by leaves for a yummy display.
Serve up a festive tone with overflowing flower arrangements in burgundy, orange, and yellow. Fill a serving bowl with well-soaked floral foam and amass a luxuriant mix of blooms and berries in the palette -- wide-open roses, miniature calla lilies, cockscomb, alstroemeria, and bittersweet berries, for example.
Cut cardstock with pinking shears and decorate with rubber-stamp designs and handwritten messages. Choose tone-on-tone or metallic ink for a sophisticated look. Use the cards as place cards or thank-you notes, or for guests to share seasonal wishes.
Leftovers are synonymous with holiday meals. Send home midnight snacks packed in something more stylish than foil, such as plastic containers tucked into inexpensive jute bags. Or stuff them with dessert bars for a delicious reminder of the wonderful meal. Label the bags with simple paper squares with a handwritten message.
Let your guests know what's on the buffet with a simple menu typed on the computer and popped into a ready-made frame. Embellish with a few stalks of millet, wheat, or other seasonal grasses tied with ribbon and taped or glued to the frame.
Detail-oriented guests will appreciate this extra touch. Flatten chilled butter with your hands or a rolling pin to about 1-inch thick, then cut with a cookie cutter. Drizzle with maple syrup just before serving. The combo is especially yummy on corn bread, rolls, or yams.
Let centerpieces be inspiration for the rest of your table. A copper pipe coupler holds purple fountain grass, horsetail, and maiden grass in a freestanding centerpiece. Mini versions with canary grass hold place cards for a natural look.
The humble cornucopia takes a Cinderella turn when a pumpkin turns to gold. Fill a cornucopia basket with an assortment of pears, oranges, apples, nuts, and mini pumpkins. Paint a few of the pumpkins gold for a fashionable fall look.
Acorns become table jewelry when wired together to make a napkin ring. Drill tiny holes through the sides of nine or 10 acorns. Alternate acorns top-to-bottom as you string them onto wire so they nestle together easily. Twist the wire ends together and slip the loop over a rolled napkin.
Let your kids take part in the Thanksgiving preparation by putting them in charge of place mats. Have the kiddos write everything they're thankful for on orange and green paper using stamps and crayons. This is a fun and touching reminder of what the holiday season is all about.
Wrap a bottle of wine with a deep purple band of linen. Tie it with a leather cord and use a dab of hot glue on the seams to hold the linen bands in place. Hot-glue a sprig of wheat for a harvest accent.
Turn a metal pendant frame from a crafts stores into a combo napkin ring and place card. Print names on decorative paper, cut to size and shape of the pendant frames, and glue in place. Tie the name tags with leather cords or twine, and slip in sprigs of wheat for beautiful natural touches.