Autumn, Entertaining, Holiday, Seasonal

Making Thanksgiving Memorable

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Yet again, it was that stop by the pumpkin stand that inspired a Thanksgiving centerpiece which in turn inspired the look of the entire table. The mustard yellow pumpkin (“Tonda Padana” whose dried flesh is often used to make gnocchi in Italy), with it’s long uneven stripes of smudged green, reminded me of a large roll of fabric I’d had in the attic for years. It’s day has come and I couldn’t be happier with this as the new tablecloth. The wonderful gutsy buttercream color just called for something different than I’ve used for past holidays…tortoise shell-patterned glass plates, paired with French Biot blown glass goblets in warm brown, plus amber-colored flatware.

A setting and combination that I probably never would have conceived had it not been for that fortuitous stop at the Farm Stand — “meant to be” as my mother would say. Quick instructions for decorating the squash (very easy!) serve as the close to this post. This is one where the young in the group can make their contributions.

What also makes this such an attractive idea is that the succulents will actually root in the sphagnum moss and the pumpkin will then have many months of utility as a plant “container.” Repeat the concept on the baby pumpkins, too.

Or if you are dining at night, use the small pumpkins as candle holders, too.

How to Create an Arrangement with Succulents

Materials: Pumpkin, Smaller Pumpkins, Brown Spaghnum Moss or Green Moss, Varied Collection of Succulents, Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue

1. Cover the top of the pumpkin with glue and press the moss firmly into the glue.
2. Starting first with the trailing succulents, spot glue at different points on the moss and press the trailing succulents into the glue until firmly in place.

3. Proceed with adding the smaller succulents, leaving spaces for the larger dramatic pieces. Be sure to hold long enough so that they have dried in place; this assures that their weight will not cause them to fall off.
4. Mist with water daily to keep them fresh.

Happy Fall Entertaining!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

2 thoughts on “Making Thanksgiving Memorable

  1. Your table is exquisite..I especially love your glass tortoise shell plates..Would it be appropriate for me to ask you where you got them??? they are absolutely fabulous!

    there is a woman in northern California who has a firm called Annie Glass that makes glass plates that have the effect of sea glass – the bowls are shaped like abalone shells..and the plates have a kind of natural irregularity and your tortoise plates remind me of that line…Your blog is just lovely.I spent quite a bit of time in Newport when I was young and so appreciate seeing all the things you show us..

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