Bonus column: Martha Stewart
Good things: How to make Thanksgiving place cards, trivets and more.
DO-IT-YOURSELF DECOR: FALL INTO PLACE
Guide Thanksgiving guests to their seats — and give little hands a fun project in the days beforehand — with easy embroidered table cards. Stitch each name onto a sturdy leaf (these are magnolia), and let nature’s paper spruce up the feast.
LEAF PLACE CARDS
The thick thread and plastic needle used in this project make it great for kids; with a little parental guidance, they’ll sew like pros.
1. PREP: Set leaves upside down on a work surface, with their midribs and veins facing up. Write guests’ names (in simple block letters) on the leaves in gold marker.
2. SEW: Thread a plastic needle, and go over the names in a basic back-stitch (with the stitches overlapping slightly). Let the leaves dry for a few days so they get crisp.
DMC Light Effects floss, in Golden Oak, $2.50 for 8.7 yards; and Susan Bates plastic yarn needles, $2 for 2, michaels.com.
MAKE & GIVE: HOT KNOTS
Shorter days often lead to longer gatherings over hearty roasts and pots of chili. Wow any host with this stylish woven trivet, crafted out of wire and metallic knotting rope. With a basic cow hitch (one of the easiest techniques in making-a-come-back macramé), you can bring the kitchen staple full circle in minutes.
1. Cut a ring of wire (it comes in a coil) for each trivet you want to make. Large trivets should be 7 inches in diameter, with ends overlapping 1 inch; small trivets should be 5 inches in diameter, with ends overlapping 1 inch.)
2. Cut proper lengths of twist ropes for each trivet: 3 yards for large, 2 yards for small.
3. Do a cow-hitch stitch around ring: Fold rope in half, with one end long and the other short. Place it under wire, with folded part at bottom and ends on top.
4. Bring both ends over wire ring and pass them under folded area, then pull to tighten. Bring long end under wire ring, then back over ring and through the loop formed; pull to tighten. Repeat all the way around ring.
5. Secure rope with an overhand knot and tuck ends into knots on each side. Secure with dabs of glue.
EASY ENTERTAINING: DO A PLANK
Having a bunch of people over? Keep appetizers stress-free and minimize the number of dishes piling up in the sink with this genius trick: Simply arrange charcuterie, cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives — you get the picture — on a board cut to the length of your buffet or coffee table. Add votives and sprigs of fresh herbs to jazz it up. To create the board, have your lumberyard cut a slab, then sand it and treat it with a food-safe oil. Rub it before each use with a wood-treatment cream to prevent stains. Check that board is thoroughly dry before using.
John Boos Block board cream, $8 for 5 ounces, amazon.com.
RECIPE REMIX: A SCRAPPY IDEA
If you have crust trimmings from your holiday pies, bake them into breakfast bites. Gather the scraps and roll them out 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Use a ring mold or glass to cut out 4-inch rounds. Place them in Mason-jar lids and crimp the edges. Then make them into mini quiches, or teensy tarts with ricotta and dollops of strawberry jam. Get the recipes at marthastewart.com/breakfast-bites.
PROVISIONS: TURKEY-DAY GIVEAWAY
To leave them even more thankful (and save your fridge from overstuffing), send guests home with sandwich fixings and a slice of something sweet. All it takes is a few bucks and a little forethought to distribute leftovers with style.
THE BEST PARTS: Spoon cranberry sauce and stuffing into small Mason jars. Ball Quilted Crystal glass Mason jars, 4 ounces, $10 for 12, freshpreserving.com.
CARE PACKAGES: Order coated-Kraft-paper to-go boxes in advance. Easy Fold & Close Box #4 takeout containers, $37 for 40, amazon.com.
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