Fast and Fabulous Thanksgiving Centerpiece

From boring to BEAUTIFUL ~ How to easily create a Thanksgiving centerpiece as scrumptious as the feast itself!

DSC_0882  Thanksgiving is upon us and if you want to set a beautiful table that will rival all that delicious food, just follow these step-by-step instructions. I mean it when I tell you that creating a memorable still life like this one is easy and fun, and it can be sized to any table. 


Here’s how: After deciding on my tablecloth and the glasses and dishes (everything needs to harmonize), I start by placing the largest element of the centerpiece in the middle of the table.  


Here, I chose a rich dark basket that I lined with plastic, packed it full of potted flowering chrysanthemums in brown and rust, and tucked in some green moss to cover any soil that might show.

Most people would stop here, but I’m going to show you how you can create a gorgeous still life that will bring rave reviews ~ simply by assembling together a variety of materials that evoke abundance and thanksgiving ~ and placing them down the center of your dining table, layer on layer. 


After placing your main focal point on the table (a simple basket or bowl full of flowers is perfect), I’ve added wooden candlesticks with orange candles. Next, working down the length of the table from the center point, I place two matching objects that are somewhat smaller than the main piece ~ the ones I used here are two beautiful orange faux pumpkins.



Note: When I’m creating any composition, I search for a variety of materials and objects that blend together and give me the effect I want ~ sometimes fresh, sometimes fake. The “look” is always the most important thing, and there’s no rule against mixing! The faux products available now are so real-looking that they blend beautifully with any fresh materials you use. (Grocery stores, craft stores and plant nurseries are my best resources.)

Next: After I have arranged more candles and smaller pumpkins down the center line of the table, it’s time to create a “runner” that will tie all the separate elements together.

DSC_0906This is where I love to use live greenery; there’s nothing like it for bringing a beautiful freshness to my composition, and it serves as a foundation for everything else I will be layering over it. (Fresh-cut greens should last several days on the table.)


As the composition unfolds, I just keep adding more and more elements iconic of Thanksgiving and harvest. Here, I’m placing sheaves of dried wheat with its wonderful bristly texture that contrasts with the smoothness of the pumpkins. I lay the sheaves in several places down the table (you will probably need to shorten the ends of the sheaves a bit). 

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Then I tuck in some ears of brightly-colored Indian corn with their beautiful white husks (easy to find this time of year at local markets). I always snap off the husks and use both parts of the corn separately because I’ve found it’s much easier to work them into the arrangement that way.

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There’s still plenty of room to pile on more elements and tuck them into the empty spaces, to give that feeling of over-the-top abundance the season demands. So I fill in more spaces with a variety of fruits and vegetables (mixing fresh and fake for a wonderful effect). Pictured here are fresh and fake pumpkins and gourds, fresh mums in votive pots (cut right off of a flowering bush like the ones in the big basket), fresh fig leaves and artificial grapes and autumn leaves.


DSC_0925    100_3720-001 And finally, your beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece is finished and it’s time to set the table with your most beautiful china and glassware and bring on the celebration! 



PS:  When I teach my demonstration classes, one of my favorite outcomes is having class members go home and create their own unique interpretations of the ideas and underlying principles I’ve shown them. For example, here’s a photo one friend sent me of a gorgeous centerpiece she created after attending my class. It just took my breath away!

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