We will observe Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. That set me thinking, a bit belatedly, about how I might put together a pretty table decoration without too much fuss. My first thought was the farm stand up the road where gourds in various shapes and sizes are sold. I could place these in a clear glass vase or bowl, and add a string of twinkle lights. Or I could hollow out a few gourds to serve as candleholders.
A plate of shiny red apples, oranges and grapes strewn with walnuts and pecans still in the shell is another way to please the eye in an artful — and tasty — way.
I cruised several websites in search of ideas for handcrafted table decorations, heading first to www.womansday.com where I found instructions for an Indian corn vase centerpiece, a pecan sphere perfect for a mantelpiece, a birch candleholder and a pine cone bouquet centerpiece. The website also included instructions for making a paper cone gratitude wreath.
A website that offers a wealth of Thanksgiving craft how-tos for grown-ups and children is www.kaboose.com. Some of the ideas posted are plastic spoon Pilgrims, a bouquet of thanks and paper cup turkeys. These projects are easy to make and would be fun to do with children.
Kaboose also has printable Thanksgiving coloring pages and word puzzles for the little ones.
If you visit www.marthastewart.com you’ll find templates and how-tos for making Pilgrim hats for children.
As with most websites these days, you have to work a bit to find the pages you want, but keep clicking and eventually you will get there.
But if clicking isn’t your thing, look no farther than your own backyard for dried pods, leaves, grasses, stalks and other things left behind by Mother Nature that can be collected to serve as a foil for a simple bouquet of yellow mums.
This is the time of year when it’s wise to reflect on the things we are thankful for. On my list, besides my family, are you, dear readers, who put your unsung crafting and needleworking hands to many worthy causes to make life more pleasant for others.
I’m also thankful for the many and various books on needlework and craft that come across my desk throughout the year. Here are two:
CREATIVE PAPER JEWELRY by Dafna Yarom, $19.95.
Using the most ordinary of materials, Yarom, who studied art and design in Israel and Japan, offers 20 designs and step-by-step instructions in her book, including pendants made from photographs, napkins and other recycled paper, brooches from origami paper and necklaces made of paper beads.
The book walks readers through the basic techniques of using paper pulp, Bristol board and corrugated cardboard as starting points for crafting jewelry.
The book includes information on jewelry-making techniques such as opening and closing jump rings.
Each project includes materials and tools needed lists and detailed instructions for making the piece.
CREATIVE CROCHET JEWELRY by Esther Zaddock, $19.95.
In this book, yarn, fine wire and beads are the basic materials used to create 30 projects that include bracelets, collars, necklaces, rings and earrings. Not only does one need a crochet hook to fashion the designs in the book, but also a small hammer and wire cutters when crocheting with wire. However, many of the designs are made of gold or silver thread.
Some of the designs are created by crocheting elasticized gold and silver thread elegantly studded with beads. One design incorporated braid trimming with crochet to create a band of fabric that then is glued to a cuff bracelet base.
Each project in the book is designated as easy, intermediate or experienced in terms of difficulty.
If you want to take your crocheting skills up a notch, this might be the book for you.
Sandy Spiller of Essentially Felt will hold her annual open studio 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 26-28, at 865 Pushaw Road in Glenburn. In addition to her work, the event will feature work by 10 other area artists. The event also is a benefit for the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor. For more information, visit www.essentiallyfelt.com.