Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Friendsgiving!

Happy Friendsgiving, everyone!

If you aren't familiar with the sentiment, let me give you a quick history. For the last couple of years, Scott and I have loved being able to share a Thanksgiving meal with our friends before the official Thanksgiving. This is usually due to our love of cooking, delicious leftovers, and our friends themselves.

It's a pot luck, keeping it from being stressful or financially burdening for any one person. Scott and I are always in charge of the turkey, using the same recipe that Alton Brown uses, which has never failed us. This year, just to mix it up a bit, we purchased two turkey breasts and roasted one in the oven and smoked the other. They were wonderful!

Since I had some time on my hands the week before the dinner, I decided to make the table a little extra special, too. Since it looks a lot more expensive than what I spent to make it happen, I figured I'd share the rundown of where I got what and how much everything cost.

First, check out the spread!

Let's start from the bottom. The tablecloth (which I couldn't get to un-wrinkle. So frustrating!) is one that we had from last Thanksgiving. Win! Unfortunately, we had to put a card table at the other end of the table, so I had to get a white table cloth from the dollar store to cover just that smaller section. It looked as seamless as a shorter table next to a taller table can look.

The burlap table runner is actually from our wedding, so it was no cost to us. The chargers for the plates are from the dollar store. They only had gold, so that chose the color scheme for the whole table.

The candle holders are from the dollar store. I decided that since it was Fall, floating pine cones in them would be the way to go.

Things I Discovered About Pine Cones:
1. Pine cones smell when you bake them to get them ready for crafts.
2. When pine cones get wet, they close up so they look like poo instead of pine cones.
3. Pine cones seep a red liquid that looks like they are bleeding to death when submerged in water.

Thankfully, we filled our candles with water before anyone showed up, so we were able to cycle out the water. It looked like a pine cone sacrifice without the water change, though.

The gold pumpkins and leaves were a lucky find. I was walking through Home Depot when I spied two clearance carts out near the paint section. They held two larger gold pumpkins and two small bags of foam bright orange smaller pumpkins. All were only $1 each! I grabbed all of them and headed next to Michaels. There, I managed to get my hands on the last fake Fall leaves in ALLLLLLL of Lexington. Thankfully, these were also a dollar. Score!

The larger pumpkins were already gold, so they went directly to the table. The leaves were "natural" Fall colors, though. Reds, oranges, yellow colors with a little bit of gold glitter on them. I ended up laying them out in the garage floor and giving them each a good spray with my favorite gold spray paint (Rustoleum Metallic Gold has the best luster and is more mirrored than the others). They turned out really well for $2 worth of leaves ($1 per package)!

The bright orange little pumpkins got some special treatment. They were each spray painted white. The white spray paint mixed with their original orange color, making them look a little odd. I ended up hand painting them all white with regular craft paint (which is why they are matte and not shiny). I then turned them upside down and sprayed all of the bottoms gold. Once they had dried, I just painted over all of the drips and gold paint that I didn't want to see with more white paint. This whole process makes them look dipped without having to pay for a ton of gold paint or use painters tape (which I was afraid would peel off the paint that had already been applied).

I used just regular paper plates, napkins, and plasticware that we already had. I could have used real plates, but that would have been a lot more clean up that I just didn't want to do. This way, the only things left after dinner were things that could be stashed for my next dinner table arrangement, but no dirty dishes.

My favorite little touch was the little wreath of rosemary that I made for each seat. They were made from the fresh rosemary that you can buy from any Kroger or Publix and were very simple to make. Simply take a sprig, bend it into a circle and use small gauge/ floral wire to keep it together. I designed and printed some cute tags and then just tied them on with some twine that I had. They were an easy way of making it feel like a more personal dinner, especially with there being 14 of us. They also made the tale smell amazing!

Here's a price rundown:

Chargers: $14 (for 14)
Rosemary: $5
Pumpkins: $4 (for all of the large and small ones)
Leaves: $2
Card Table Tablecloth: $1
Tablecloth: $0
Table runner: $0
Plates: $0
Napkins: $0
Silverware: $0
Wreath Tags: $0

Cost: $26 for 14 place settings. Not bad! And it's all reusable! Huzzah!

It turned out so well, I am looking forward to doing more table settings in the future. For right now, though, we are just loving the leftovers from our fun little dinner with friends. Nothing like a large pot of (freezable) gumbo stew made with the leftover turkey to keep you warm!

Nom nom nom. If you're interested, you can find the recipe for this stew here.

Fancy or not, we hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!