Felt Napkin Holder DIY

About a year and a half ago I had an “aha” moment and made some ribbon napkin rings .  I made more a couple of weeks later for my brother’s graduation party .  Last week I remembered them and thought that it would be so easy to make some for the holidays.  It’s such a quick and inexpensive way to do something new.  This embroidered ribbon would be so beautiful for Christmas, I think:

I was about to make a whole bunch of them when another idea struck.  I have a bunch of felt laying around from other projects… why not put it to use?  And so I went to work, and soon this was what I had:

Lots of brown felt flowers!  And on the backs:

To make the flowers you can find a felt rosette tutorial here .

After I’d made the flowers I whipped up some simple napkin rings using more brown felt.  I cut strips about 5 1/2 inches long and used pinking shears to cut the sides.  They’re about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Simply fold them in half lengthwise and sew the ends together (right sides together, of course):

After sewing, trip threads and turn right side out.  It should look something like this:

Insert a napkin in the ring…

Then you just clip the flower onto the napkin ring and you’re done!

It’s also easy to add a tag to the clip.  You can assign seats this way or simply express a sentiment.

Why did I put the felt flowers on a clip instead of gluing them to the napkin ring?  I’m not sure, exactly, except that I thought it would be fun.  I guess it sounded like a fun surprise to be able to re-use the flowers, or send them home with our Thanksgiving guests as a little favor.  Doing it this way certainly got the attention of my girls, and one little helper in particular!

I love the way the various shades of brown work together and am excited to see them on our Thanksgiving table.  I also wouldn’t mind it if I see some of this after our meal:

And so, using materials I had on hand I was able to make two dozen new napkin rings for Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m enjoying the less-traditional shape (a flower) with more traditional fall colors.  I hope our guests enjoy them, and I particularly hope my nieces are happy with them.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow?  Where did November go?  I’ve still got SO MUCH work to do… I’m crossing my fingers I’ll get it all done.


Spice Drop Turkeys: Build your own

For as long as I can remember we’ve made spice drop turkeys on Thanksgiving day.  It’s a tradition I’ve continued with my family.  Usually we place a small bowl on each plate filled with toothpicks and spice drops but this year I decided to try something different.  I created a build your own turkey table.

I borrowed my vintage desk from my bedroom to use in the dining room and put the candy in glass vases.

The candy and the turquoise desk was so colorful that I opted to run with the color instead of sticking with a traditional Thanksgiving palate.  I gathered my velvet pumpkins from around the house and made a couple of turkeys to put on display.

Finally, a tiny silver urn for holding toothpicks.

Maybe it’s our gray skies, but I’m loving the colors of these candies:

It takes only a few dollars to provide spice drops in two sizes, some fruit slice candy and toothpicks.  It’s a great way to keep the children occupied while the final dinner preparations are made and some adults really get into it as well.

I’m hoping this format will be fun for everyone on Thursday.  It’s nice to know I’ve got something ready to go!

Do you have a fun Thanksgiving craft or activity you do every year?  Please share!

Gratitude Tree

Every November I try to provide a place for our family to write down the blessings we’re thankful for.  This year’s version is definitely the biggest one yet.

Using branches from one of our cherry trees (which is dying), I built a mini-tree in the kitchen.  It sits between the two windows near our table.  {This also makes it difficult to photograph because of all the lighting behind it.  Sorry!}

Standing over eight feet tall, our gratitude tree is actually one really big branch with two smaller branches attached.  I spray painted them all white, but didn’t go for total coverage.  They almost look like aspen branches now.

I placed the tree in an urn, weighted it with rocks, and wrapped it in some creamy burlap I had in my stash.

I wanted to hide the spot where I attached all the branches to each other, so a burlap ribbon and vintage dictionary page “flower” was added.  In its center I attached a glitter-covered rose I had sitting around and a tag declaring this our “Harrison family gratitude tree.”

When I started this project I intended to take down the white mirror that hangs between the windows, but once it was up I loved the reflection of the branches so much that I left it in place.  It adds more dimension to the tree.

In keeping with the color scheme I chose to cut our leaves out of the same dictionary pages.  I cut them in a variety of shapes ( found here ) and I love the way they look.  Because they lack color their shape is emphasized.

To hang each leaf we simply punch a tiny hole and use a wire ornament hanger (purchased at the dollar store) which is then hung on a branch.  We’ve also started using a Sharpie to write on the leaves which makes it easier to read with all the dictionary text.

Last night we had a family discussion about gratitude in which my older children shared thoughts and insights that were very encouraging.   I am grateful for brief moments when I discover that we just might be getting through to them, after all.  We also talked about how Thanksgiving is the perfect prelude to the Christmas season.  I have also been pleased with the enthusiasm with which they’ve welcomed the tree to our kitchen.  It’s big enough that we can’t help but notice it and I’m excited to have it for the holidays.

So there you have it:  our 2011 gratitude tree, created entirely with materials on hand and not a single penny spent.    And for the record, I am grateful for it because it provided me with a creative outlet on a busy day, which motivated me to get my work done and which brings me joy each time I see it.  It is beautiful to me.

What do you think?  Do you do something to record your blessings and grateful thoughts during this wonderful season?  I’d love to hear.  If you’d like a peek at another adorable gratitude tree, check this out!
Jennifer *Don’t forget:  today is the last day to enter my 2nd giveaway for some velvet pumpkins in non-traditional colors!

Leave a comment here to enter.

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