Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Table

We don't cook or entertain much, so when I set the table, I consider it a photo-worthy event:

I don't use special dishes or glasses; I just add a gold plastic charger underneath our everyday stuff and swap out our all-metal silverware for this fake wood set I found on Ebay. (It looks warmer, I think.)

I also don't decorate for any holiday other than Christmas, so this is essentially my Christmas spread with a few glittery pumpkins thrown in.

Fortunately soft greens and orangey-reds work great for both holidays. :)

Now, you can't tell from that photo, but I happen to have a napkin-folding fetish. It started on a Caribbean cruise, where they offer - no lie - napkin folding classes in order to drive the few remaining sober people on board to drink.

So, I got out my napkin folding book (which sounds awesome but is filled with ancient photocopied monstrosities so ugly you'll wonder why the author hated square bits of cloth with such a terrible, terrible passion) and tried a few patterns.

One thing led to another, I realized my napkins were way too small, I kept going anyway, then made some stuff up, and finally I ended up with this:

Kinda cute, right? Like a giant cabbage head. Which, no, I wouldn't normally describe as cute...

Anyway, I didn't use it because it covered the entire salad plate, but it might be nice on a single plate setting sometime.

Now, this is my usual set-up using a napkin ring:

But my lovely daisies clash with my new(ish) holiday centerpiece. Boo.

So, simple it is:

Oh, and John would like me to inform you that my silverware placement here is, as he calls it, "wrong." Which is why the final table shots have them rearranged. Hmph. The guy takes ONE "etiquette" course in college and thinks he's Emily Post. HMPH, I say.

Pretty view with our old radio cabinet in the background:

The cabinet is now wired for sound again - AND has bonus fun colored lights inside - but it's still not completely finished. (Yes, STILL.) I'm looking for a vintage double-sided brass cigarette holder to fashion into an iPod holder and mount to the side of the cabinet. Trouble is, those things are pricey! So, until my Ebay quest is complete, the cabinet remains unfinished.

Speaking of which, check out this fun addition on top of the cabinet:

Isn't that a perfect frame for John's steampunk pic? Gotta love Ross; it was only $6! The vintage gun came from my grandfather who recently passed. It's a reproduction, but still quite old.

Thanks for letting me share my Thanksgiving pics with you, everyone! I hope you each had a fabulous Turkey Day, made lists of everything you're grateful for, and did something extra geeky besides. (I watched Blues Brothers on Netflix. Did you know Pee Wee Herman played the waiter in it? Crazy!)


  1. Thank you, John for the silverware etiquette OCD senses were tingling! But either way, the end result was awesome! :-D

  2. Sorry to break it to you, but I gotta side with John on the silverware. ;-) But I agree with you about the wood-handled stuff! It does add a little extra something. Very nice with the gold and warm colors.

  3. When I was a kid, my mom made sure I wouldn't forget where the silverware went...
    "The fork got mad and *left*, because the knife and the spoon were *right*.

    oh, and, wv...
    wortida; "Wotida napkin go?"

  4. Since most people are right handed, and cutting takes the most dexterity, I tend to believe that is why the knife goes on the right. Same thing with the spoon. Harder to bring soup to your mouth with your non-dominant hand without spilling it everywhere.
    Fork stabbing takes little effort at all hence being on the left.

    None of this works for lefties like me, but alas, we are unnatural and must conform.

  5. But isn't the straight edge of the knife supposed to go next to the plate? That was how I was taught.

    Regardless, your table looks lovely!

  6. Ooh. I checked and it turns out I was taught the wrong way all those years ago! John, I humbly offer my apologies at calling you on it!

  7. I get a bit stressed when I have to figure out which fork to start with. I think that cutlery looks really festive when it's placed upright in the water glass. (No, I'm not trying to be funny...I actually DO like how cutlery looks in glasses! Unfortunately, no one else agrees with me.)

    I love the new picture frame! I went to my first convention a few weeks ago and my husband and I dressed steampunk. I kind of want to dress like that all the time.

  8. Fork and Left = four letters.
    Knife, Spoon and Right = five letters. :)

  9. Wow! And here I thought I was doing good just throwing together a centerpiece for once haha!

  10. You have such taste! What a beautiful set up, but that old radio cabinet is just gorgeous! Can I live at your house? I'm perfectly happy living under a desk. (Especially because I'm sure you'd turn that into a project and post the tutorials on the blog. Which, oh hey, that reminds me of that one Seinfeld episode...)

  11. I have an ancient radio/record cabinet also! Did you rewire yours yourself or did you hire someone? I'd love to get ours working again(before my mom decides it takes up too much room and gives it away)

    Love your table setups also!

  12. Your table looks prettier than ours did: we had more people than would fit around said table, so we went buffet-style with paper plates and plasticware. Not that anyone was complaining.
    Love the fancy napkin folding. I keep telling myself I should try it sometime.
    I think the only geeky thing I did on Thanksgiving was watch a couple episodes of Mythbusters.

  13. "Left" and "Fork" both have four letters.

    "Right," "Spoon," and "Knife" all have five letters.

    Now, hold up your hands in front of your face and make circles with your pointers and thumbs.

    Your left hand makes a 'b' so put the Bread plate on the left.

    Your right hand makes a 'd' so that's where the Drinks go.

    There you go... all set!

  14. I never knew which went where! Ah well.

    JRose: There are three lefties in my family, so the fork always goes on the dominant side anyway. We're weird. Or not very fancy.

  15. Cool radio!

    For people who "don't entertain much," you two certainly know a thing or six about how it ought to be done. (I would imagine the tour audiences would say they were well-entertained, too.)

    So let's recap: John is one of these guys who can remodel a house in a week (probably with only one trip to the hardware store, to boot) and clean up after himself with a damp rag and a Dustbuster. He also knows where stuff goes on a table and keeps two blogs going.

    Meanwhile, Jen is one of these McGuyverish people who can make anything out of anything else, while writing books and keeping two blogs supplied with material.

    If you ask them about their exploits, it's all 'no big deal'. I feel so inadequate...

  16. I'll make you food, if you make my house pretty.

  17. That looks so the 'cabbagey' napkin...that was gorgeous.

    I'll be glad when we have a dining room and table again so I can do pretties...I have to make do with the LR mantel.

  18. @ Maggie - we *kind of* re-wired the radio ourselves, by which I mean we sat next to my Dad the electrical engineer while he showed us how to do it - also did most of the work. :D

    I documented everything for my eventual post on how we did it, so you'll see pictures at some point.

  19. Never let a man tell you where to put your cutlery, they will get ideas and try to point out when you are wrong again.

  20. I like Amanda's way of remembering. The one I was taught is that there are five letters in spoon and Knife and there are five letters in right so that's where they go. Four letters in fork and four letters in left so that's where it goes. Also the knife needs to face in towards the plate so it doesn't look hostile...I guess.

  21. I love it! Those little pumpkins are adorable.

  22. I'm sorry, guys, but I had quite a laugh at your cute rules of how to remember where the silverware goes.

    Knife on the right, fork on the left, because that's how you hold them when you eat (regardles of your handedness). Or maybe you yanks don't? ;)
    It's because, when you're at a large party, if everyone cuts with their right hand and eats with their left, noone bumps elbows (cutting takes more room)

    And the spoon goes on the outside, because that's what you'll use first :)
    (if it's a dessert-spoon it goes along the top of the plate... mmm... dessert)

    @JRose: My dad is also a leftie and he *always* complains when we have cake, because the cutting-part of the cake-forks are on the wrong side - but he's also the one who insists we use the nice silverware instead of just our hands! :)

  23. I approve of spending your time in a geeky fashion on Thanksgiving. My husband & I spent most of the day with him playing Assassin's Creed Revelations, and me calling out "sparkly thing!" whenever I spotted an important object. (If you've never played the AC games, the treasure chests and other collectable objects sparkle)

    Anyway, your table looks beautiful. Welcome home from your tour!

  24. I'm so glad John changed the silverware was making me itchy! I noticed it correct in the first picture, then it was all very neatly and very backwards placed in the following pictures. It was like someone with OCD and dislexia. But a beautiful table!!! I'm lucky if everyone brings a glass to the table!

  25. Love the framed art on the wall above the beautiful cabinet - I'd love to hear about that :-)

  26. Thanks for sharing! Your table looks fabulous - but you should have included one with all the food on it. That's what Thanksgiving is all about, right? Sharing food, food, and more food. We had a terrific Thanksgiving this year.

  27. Here's my weird & geekish way of remembering the silverware's like a little story:

    The plate is a bridge. On the left side of the bridge is a dragon (the fork with the "teeth"). On the right side of the bridge is a princess (the curvy spoon). The knight with his sword (knife) stands next to the princess to protect her with his sword facing towards the dragon ("sharp" side of knife facing left).
    Believe it or not, that's the one way that helped me to remember how to set it up when I was younger. I've never forgotten since!

  28. Oh...I forgot to add that if you have two forks (a big one & a small one), just remember that the bigger dragon would be protecting the little dragon from the knight, so the little dragon stands behind the big one.
    Yeah, I know...pretty geeky.

  29. Gotta chime in here... If it makes you feel any better, we had a similar "What side of the plate does the fork go on?" um, ahem, "discussion" on Thanksgiving as well.. that is, until we hit up Google. (each side was unrelenting, and well, we're geeks)

    we found this link.

    short, sweet, and to the point!

    Beautiful table, btw!

  30. @Amanda - That's how I'm going to remember my place setting from now on! :D

    Lovely table, Jen! The Mouse Pilgrims are super cute.

  31. Blues Brothers! Rock on! I thought I knew all of the trivia, but Pee Wee Herman is a new one. :)

  32. Personally, I liked the touch of Minnie and Mickey, that I believe I see near the center.

  33. Hi, I saw the picture of this and it made me think of you.

    Also, John is right and my OCD thanks him for fixing it. I know this because my grandfather really cared about dinner - he wouldn't sit down at the table without a jacket - and he was capable of making a small granddaughter feel about 2 inches tall for improper use of the butter knife.

  34. I liked your silverware placement (except the knife pointing out...that's akin to the tp unrolling the wrong way). I thought it was just a sign of a creative mind.
    Thursday night my sister in law was in tears laughing over your newest book. Mission accomplished. Thanks!:-)

  35. Beautiful! And between you and John, you are the most Renaissance of all couples (I mean that in the you can do anything kind of way, not the fat and lying around naked while people paint you for posterity way).

    Also--head's up to all of your readers...I read that Living Social will be selling a voucher (pay $15 for $30 worth of shopping) for Cyber Monday.

    Good excuse to treat yourself or get a good deal on a present. If they are like the Black Friday deals it will have to be spent by 12/24/11.
    (I am not affiliated with any of the above entities, I just love a great deal)

    word verification: masiv--get yourself a masiv deal!

  36. A. Gorgeous table!
    B. AMAZING frame. I am so sending my mom (who lives in Alt. Springs) to Ross to see if she can find me one.

  37. What a lovely frame! :D

    Blues Brothers is a FANTASTIC film. ^___^ Oddly enough, I saw it for the first time myself almost exactly a year ago!

  38. I have the exact same wineglasses. At least they look identical. Did you get them at Target? I love them because the stems are strong enough that I can was them in the dishwasher. Yay! Laziness FTW!

  39. Jane - I learned the same way - with the dragon, knight and princess!! :-D (and the napkin as the dragon's cave)

  40. they are set correctly if you are a lefty, which I am so that is how I set my table. righty's have to suffer!! HA! Lefty's unite!!!

    the table looks glamerous.

  41. When I was at my cousins house for an early Thanksgiving dinner, I had to use a book to fold the napkins AND to place the silverware correctly. Also, I think the nappy that covered the salad plate was great! When the person sits down, they immediately place the napkin on their lap so, I don't think it would have mattered at all. The whole thing looks beautiful, though!
    Mary C.

  42. Love the end result, so cute! Especially the wee pumpkins. And I'm seriously loving the tablecloth. :) My mom has a matching set of cloth napkins and tablecloth just for fall/Turkey Day and the stripes+leaves pattern drives my photographer eyes crazy. ;)

  43. Oooh, purrrrty!

    You pretty much have a world wide "army" at your disposal?

    What kind of cigarette thing are you looking for? There's this:
    on EBay UK that I would be happy to bid on and post to you if I win.

    Or this:

    Or even:

    Maybe you could post piccies of the type of thing you're after and people can hunt down linkies for you ;)

  44. I never knew that Pee Wee Herman played the waiter! Did you know that Steven Spielberg played the tax collector at the end? That's what the credits say, at least.

  45. Beautiful table! I did like the pumpkin/cabbage head napkin set-up, but the simple one you used looked nice, too. And that picture frame is gorgeously perfect! Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving table with us.

  46. So, I came back to read through the comments only to realize that I *did* notice the Mickey and Minnie, but they didn't stand out, because the same set is *always* on our Thanksgiving table. Well, them *and* the Publix Pilgram Pair (you know, the one where the kid smashes the Pilgram dude into the mashed potatoes) I just naturally thought they go on EVERYONE's table!!


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