Give Thanks | Hen House Linens

We wanted to share two really easy ways to add a lovely and meaningful layer to your Thanksgiving tablescape.

THE THANKFUL JAR

Set out decorative jars on the table and fill them with cards and colored pencils.  Ask your guests to write down things they are thankful for and place them in an empty glass vase.  Watch the vase fill over the course of dinner then share the contents over coffee and that third slice of pie!


THANK YOU NOTE

Fold each napkin into an envelope and tuck a note into it for your guests to find as you sit down to dinner.  Welcome them to the table and remind them that this meal is special and so are they.

Inspired Table

Styling tables is one of the best things I get do as the owner of Hen House Linens.  (Accounting, not so much.)  We are fortunate to have other gifted stylists in the roost as well and I am always surprised and delighted to see what inspires them.  This tablescape was created by our photographer, Lee Kriel, who was keen on hosting her own fall dinner party outside.  She started with a runner from our Mallory Cottage Collection in rich claret.  The Filligree napkins tie the whole eclectic look together perfectly.  Enjoy!

I just love the blankets draped over the chairs.  What a thoughtful detail that will ensure the party does not end when the sun goes down.

cotton table runner
cotton table runner

A rustic camp thermos full of warm coffee is a wonderful counterpoint to the silver wine chalices.

linens for the holidays
linens for the holidays
outdoor thanksgiving table
outdoor thanksgiving table

A simple arrangement of moss, apples and white pumpkins are simple, lovely and un-fussy.  The antlers are playful and a great conversation piece!

table linens for entertaining
table linens for entertaining
harvest table
harvest table
rustic table setting
rustic table setting

 Lee made this thankful jar with pieces of paper and pens for her guests to share their thoughts and reflections.

junque in my trunk

Each year our Presbyterian churchwomen host a junque sale.  Yes, with a "q".  Katherine (our Creative Director) introduced junque into my vernacular.  It's from her Dad, who loves to haunt estate sales and way, way deep in the country antique stores.  You get it, right?  He also claims to be a redneque, but that is a story for another time. There are so many "treasures" that mysteriously appear on the tables in our Parish Hall.  Unique junque like an Adam and Eve coffee mug with disappearing fig leaves when filled with hot water.  Klassi.   Yes, with a "k" and an "i".  This year, my afternoon of pitching in paid off.  I found a delicate porcelain swan terrine, an antique Fostoria punch bowl with cups and a gorgeous set of Limoge china.

I am starting to daydream about my Thanksgiving table and, by golly,  I believe my junque will be perfect!  I do want to funk the plates up a bit.  Maybe Garden Gate Ochre to really pop the gold trim?  I would certainly add some mossy green...  I think I will just leave everything out on my buffet, so each time I pass the dining room I will get a little more inspired. Also, it is all so pretty and I will be reminded of what a good shopper of deals I am.  I will keep you posted on my Thanksgiving tablescape ideas...

limoge china used everyday
limoge china used everyday
limoge plate found at sale
limoge plate found at sale

a place at the table

There is no shortage of inspiration for table settings and place cards.  While I love the elaborate, clever and eye catching tablescapes on Pinterest and in magazines, I firmly believe that less is more.  Why put time into something that once everyone sits down won't even last the time it takes for your guest say, "wow, you must have spent hours glueing those beads on that tiny hat."  Here are my tips:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Consider the napkin.  (Fold, fluff, cuff, pouf!)
  • Use stuff you already have.
  • Go for natural elements, (It's already lying in your yard!)
  • Use interesting trimmings. (There is no shortage of free fonts, cool stamps, funky craft papers and fun cutout shapes to be found.)

Here are some of our favorites...

colorful cotton dinner napkins and place cards
colorful cotton dinner napkins and place cards
easy centerpiece ideas gold and white cotton table linens
easy centerpiece ideas gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens
fun place cards ideas cotton table linens
fun place cards ideas cotton table linens
Thanksgiving place cards cotton table linens
Thanksgiving place cards cotton table linens
orange and white cotton dinner napkin
orange and white cotton dinner napkin
purple and white cotton dinner napkin
purple and white cotton dinner napkin
simple place cards for the table
simple place cards for the table

succulent arrangement

gorgeous fall centerpiece
gorgeous fall centerpiece

I scored these great looking urns on a recent scavenger hunt at our local antique store.  I was on a hunt for inexpensive silverware to fill out my eclectic mix for entertaining the masses over the holidays.  No silver at my price point, but the sweet little urns filled with succulents were.  The dusty greens, reds and purples felt so autumnal, I knew I needed them as a centerpiece for my table.  I also needed them looking adorable on my deck, so I decided to put together a centerpiece in this great slate trough I have.  The trough is the perfect vehicle for a centerpiece because it is long, low and narrow.  It fills out the table without taking up precious table setting real estate and the view of the person across from you is not obstructed.

I picked out a selection of succulents in various sizes plus some ferns and sweet air plants for texture and, well, flair!  First, I added rocks to the bottom of the trough.  Then I simply removed the plants from their pots, shook a bit of dirt off to loosen the roots and placed them directly over the rocks.  Succulents love all that breathing room!  The sweet air plants went in last because they tuck in so easily, fill in the gaps and they don't have to touch the soil.  Bonus!

Low maintenance and lovely.  Those are arrangements I like to make.

diy thanksgiving table
diy thanksgiving table
centerpieces for thanksgiving
centerpieces for thanksgiving
floral arrangement for the Thanksgiving table
floral arrangement for the Thanksgiving table
simple fall centerpiece
simple fall centerpiece
greenery for the table
greenery for the table
gold and white tablelinens cotton
gold and white tablelinens cotton

Creepy Cocktails | Halloween Hen House Linens

Halloween is one of my favorite seasons to decorate.  It usually kicks off my holiday season to be followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas.  All of these events and the ones in between or not mentioned make for an exciting, but busy time of year. 

There are small ways that can impact your seasonal decorating in an elegant way. I remember visiting a friends home and she had decorated for Halloween all around Edgar Allen Poe and The Raven.  Pages from the book were framed and ravens adorned the room.  It was beautifully done and inspiring to me to search for ways to incorporate the same feel in my home.

I thought I might create a creepy cocktail bar incorporating some of the same ideas.  I started with collecting old medicine bottles found at a local antique store and used labels from different sources who offered downloads such as this one or these.  I pulled out some of my silver and created a mini cocktail bar with served up some ghoulish drinks.  The setting wouldn't be complete without printed cloth cocktail napkins in greek key licorice black, found here.

Serve up a signature Raven Drink Recipe: 

To make this spooky cocktail, you’ll need: 1-1/2 oz. coffee liqueur, 4 oz. cold cola and ice (if desired). Pour ingredients into glass, stir until mixed.

Enjoy.

 

Tailgating Tablescape | Up Your Game

If you are tailgating at Ole Miss, this next thought is not for you.  You know what you are doing.   For some others, you need to know: just because you are in a parking lot doesn’t mean your tailgate needs to be disposable OR uncivilized.  You are already standing around sipping and snacking on gravel or asphalt.  Why not make more of the experience?  It does not take much to turn a rickety folding table into an eye-catching, inviting spread.  Start with a pretty cloth.  In time, you can work up to the candelabra like our Ole Miss friends.  The best part is:  you don’t have to throw away the cloth at the end of the game.  You have started on the path of seasons of gracious tailgating.

BACK TO SCHOOL | Then vs. Now

I'm re-running this blog post because it seems to grow more relevant as each new school year launches.  Enjoy!

Anna, my best friend from FOREVER ago, reminded me that I bought school lunch everyday AND cleaned my plate regardless of the type of vegetable it featured or tin can from which it came.  (It only cost $1.25 and "included milk!" my mother would rave.)  She also sent me the link to this very funny Scary Mommy blog.  We could rock those culottes!  (I see Victoria Fedden omitted Deviled Ham as an alternate sandwich choice back in the day.  Maybe Deviled Ham was saved for weekends or special occasions at her house.)  http://www.scarymommy.com/back-to-school-the-70s-vs-today/

Agnes says.... | Use the good stuff

I heard from Agnes and it hit a cord.  "I'm enjoying my new linens. I think at 75 I need to use my good china every night for dinner!  (I've used my flat silver for dinner every day for 53 years, and for the last 17 years, I've used nothing but my Sterling for every meal!!  Who are we saving it for? Maybe you can convince some of your-age folks to do likewise.)"

We all need to listen to Agnes.  Who are we saving it for?  Use the good stuff everyday.

Tailgate Party Hen House Style!

Tailgating chili recipe gray and white cotton dinner napkins
burgandy and white cotton cocktail napkins
burgandy and white cotton cocktail napkins
chicken wings cotton cocktail napkins
chicken wings cotton cocktail napkins
gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens

Grab napkins in your school colors.  Use the silver-plated silverware you picked up from the antique store.  Pack a tray to help you serve.  Cook up chili and these EASY but oh so delicious chicken wings (recipe to follow).  You will make it look effortless and your family and friends will remember a great day at the game.

tailgate party cotton table linens
tailgate party cotton table linens
tailgate tray party food
tailgate tray party food

Frank's Hot Sauce Wings

2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings

1/2 C Frank's Hot Sauce

1/3 C melted butter

Spread wings on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Combine Frank's Hot Sauce and the butter.  Toss wings in sauce to coat.  Take my word for it.  These are good.