The only turkey you won't want to gobble up this holiday? One of our comely yarn-and-felt creations. Perched on a mantel or arranged on a straw-covered tray on a sideboard, they are a fun, fanciful touch. You can also use them as place-card holders (glue name tags inside their beaks), and invite children to take their feathered friends home at the day's end.
Blue is not traditionally associated with the season, but highlight it with small touches of gold and the color can become a happy participant in holiday revels. These spray-painted miniature pumpkins and place cards written in gold ink do the trick nicely. A block-printed napkin and tablecloth and the marbleized plate add patterned richness, while a mix of mismatched contemporary glassware and classic flatware keep the feeling clean and modern.
For a splash of style, adorn your table with autumn's brightest accessories: vivid fall leaves. Simply clip sprays of young leaves from a tree in your yard (ours are from a maple). Arrange the clippings at each place setting, and top with transparent glass plates. Come dinnertime, you'll be basking in the oohs and aahs of your guests.
Elegance can be found in familiar places. Here, formal china is set out with homemade hollowware. Hot-glue a large bowl to a smaller one (or a plate to a teacup) to create pedestals from inexpensive tableware; use one for bread and others for roses (cut the stems short and insert into wet floral foam cut to fit the bowls). Handsomely folded cloth napkins fit in with the table's traditional feel. To make photo place cards, copy childhood photographs of family members in black-and-white or sepia; then glue the images to card stock, and trim with deckle-edged scissors.
This distinctive contemporary table begins with an emphasis on light and form. A homemade Ultrasuede table mat adds color and interest; it's cut with a rotary cutter just smaller than the table to create the illusion of a border. Sleek hurricanes filled with fallen leaves show off colors that contrast with the otherwise monochromatic palette. The clear glass of the goblets and hurricanes keeps the look clean. A leaf in the folds of a napkin and a handwritten place card -- a strip of paper inscribed with a white-gel pen -- welcome each guest to dinner.