Over the years, I've purposely pared down my seasonal decor. I find that I can be just as content and inspired by using natural elements and a few fun or surprising seasonal items scattered in the mix. To me, the end result can be just as special and holiday-like. Plus, there are the added bonuses of saving money on the budget and space in the attic, garage and basement. Today, I thought I'd share with you a few of the ways I incorporate my less is more strategy and ideas with a seasonal autumn table setting.
The Surprise Element - For this table, the place cards are made from vintage paint-by-number paintings. You can find them at thrift stores, garage sales and online any day of the week. They are unique, and the colors can feel very autumnal. The scenery in the painting won't matter as long as the colors are muted, or bright if you're planning a birthday or other celebration. I'll share more on these towards the end of the post.
The second surprise element would be this acorn and leaf shadow box. I purchased several from a friend who sold them years ago at a vintage show and I still treasure them. This one adds a bit of the unexpected to the table and creates an instant conversation starter. And it's proof that good things come in small packages!
Let the Food Standout - Seasonal entertaining doesn't always have to be fussy. A warm loaf of homemade bread is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of butternut squash soup and pear salad. That's the beauty of seasonal fare...it by nature, makes you think of the of the changing seasons and the colors will create an instant palette for your table.
Don't Overcrowd the Table - Add a lovely vase or pitcher with branches or fall foliage and scatter a few of your favorite pumpkins or gourds. Leave room for the food, and for elbows on the table when the conversation gets going and your guests start to relax. Create space to linger.
Small Gatherings Create Bonds - Sure big parties are fun (and necessary!) but sometimes celebrating the holidays can be as simple as having a few friends over for an afternoon lunch. Maybe invite several who haven't met but you feel would have lots in common. Share stories of childhood memories, favorite places to pick apples, where to get the best pie!
Gifts of Gratitude - Send them home with a small token of your time together. Here, the place cards pull double duty. Each guest can take home a small postcard size piece of art. They could frame it or send it in the mail to someone special. The point isn't about giving something expensive, fancy or over-the-top...it's about the thought. Maybe it's a little jar of your homemade jam, or your best cookie recipe. The gesture is always appreciated no matter the cost.
To Create the Postcards - Remember, the artwork in the paint-by-number won't be as important as the colors because they become tiny abstracts when cut into smaller shapes. With a pencil, trace 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles on the back of the painting. Use heavy duty shears to cut them out.
On the back, add the words Post Card either hand written or with stamps. You can draw a line down the center if you'd like to create "To" and "From" areas for addressing them.
To turn them into place cards, just wrap with twine, add a sprig of greenery and a small name tag.
Voila! That's it!
I hope you enjoyed some of the ways I celebrate the season with simplicity. If you have any, I'd love to hear about them in the comments! Connecting with you is how I know what you want to see more of and what you like.