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Archive for thanksgiving

celebrate . Thanksgiving Tree on the Farm [printable]

The Thanksgiving Tree has become a farm tradition. We have a branch, old and dry now, that stay’s standing in a crockery pitcher in the corner, waiting to be set at center stage on the table during our Thanksgiving holiday week. Held up by rocks collected from the road, the “tree” started as my effort to sow some seeds of gratitude when my children were young. That first year, we set up our tree at home using a branch we had found on the farm during October. Baby Girl was only a couple of months old — too young to offer her contributions, and the boys were at a stage when it wasn’t hard to get them to look for sticks! The idea was to add paper leaves or shapes to the tree each days with little “Today I’m thankful for…” messages written on them. We never did it every day. We weren’t that disciplined. But, it gave us a chance to talk about gratitude at the dinner table, and make note of our blessings.

Since then, we’ve spent every Thanksgiving at the farm, and the Thanksgiving Tree has become something we do during our week there. The first year we stayed at Busy Bee for the holiday, we found a branch, and we’ve kept it since. Some years, we’ve cut out our own leaf shapes. And, several years, I’ve created a printable for us to use and also share the tradition with others. I was looking back at a few “leaves” from the years, and it was such a blessing to see each of our hearts revealed in those few words. The treasured places, possessions, and people. It was sweet to see my loves’ handwriting change over time as they’ve grown. And, neat to see that some of our gratitude hasn’t changed. Through all the changes in our lives, what a blessing to count our blessings!

I’ve shared some of our memories here, and I’ve included another printable for 2017. You can download here or click the image below if you’re celebrating with your own Thanksgiving Tree. I’m looking forward to pulling that crockery to the forefront again next week, and adding these tags to it.

As I wrote about that very first Thanksgiving Tree…

I’m convinced that gratitude is an antidote to worry and complaint, and it’s the catalyst for kindness and generosity. In times of joy, in times of hardship, I need it. We need it.

sketch journal . wednesday 112515

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A hurried drawing as my little ones are hankering to do some pasture walking. I love this hymn. It dates back to the 1500s, but translated to English in 1894.

celebrate . Autumn in our Corners

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It’s beginning to look like Fall! It’s even beginning to feel like Fall — especially in the mornings! This is probably my favorite time of year, and I love having small bits of autumn celebration tucked into various corners around the house. We make a production out of getting our “decorations” out of the attic, and I love that the kids know where things are “supposed” to go. They’re getting older, but I still see that gleam in their eye when they see little jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins they made in preschool, and scarecrows. We pull out some of our nature artifacts — feathers and “horse apples” from the farm, driftwood from the coast, cotton bolls from the pumpkin patch — and combine them with trinkets from past years, and hand-crafted items we’ve found in the Smoky Mountains. Dollar store finds from this year mix with dime store items from when I was a child and parts of costumes my mom made for me to wear. I guess those are “vintage” now — ha! We’ve been decked out for fall for a few weeks and will enjoy the warmth and inspiration through Thanksgiving. Here are a few glimpses of our autumn corners. Enjoy!

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make . Paper Pumpkins

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Last week I spent a little time restocking my Small Pond “pop-up” shop with some fall items and a new collection of stationery. The pop-up is located in the Liza Tye & Company shopping mall on Academy Road in Starkville, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a look and shop all the great vendors there if you are in the area! Some of the fall items I included are a couple of paper craft pumpkin centerpieces I created from hand-decorated paper, and today I’m sharing a little of the process. They are not difficult to make at home, and are a great way to repurpose already-used paper.

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I found a few colored sheets of paper in various textures, and hand-painted some with patterns. Card stock weight paper works best for what’s required for crafting this piece.

The pattern for the individual pumpkin parts can really be any shape you want, as long as it’s symmetrical. Creating your pattern along a fold helps to ensure it is identical on both sides. For the two sizes of pumpkins shown above, I used 20 pumpkin shapes for the larger 8 1/2″ centerpiece, and 16 pumpkin shapes for the smaller 5″ version. Each pumpkin shape needs to be folded in half to create the centerpiece.

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Once all the paper parts are cut and folded, they are stacked together in the repetitive order you would like to use for your pumpkin. Tie the shapes together tightly with twine at the center point to hold them all together. I chose a small jute twine that could curl around the pumpkin top like tiny vines.

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Hot glue or some other very quick-drying version works best for this project since the pieces will end up fanning out into a sphere like an accordion. For the best fanning look, I alternated gluing tops together and then bottoms of the pumpkins as shown above. Keep going all the way through the stack until the piece forms a full pumpkin.

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Pumpkin definitely needs leaves and vines, which I cut from one of my paper colors. Card stock can be easily spiraled by twisting it around a pencil. To finish out the pumpkin, I used a square of thin, kraft packing material to form the stem. I wadded up the paper first to crinkle it, and then rolled it into a loose tube and twisted for an organic look.

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Make a slit in the bottom of the “stem” and hot glue to the top of the pumpkin. Then, add leaves and vines to suit your tastes.

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For our Thanksgiving table, I’m working on a version of the pumpkins made from all white and off-white paper, some in hand-made flower petal-infused paper I found. I’m hoping to add a little hand-dipped watercoloring for some subtle harvest look. There are so many options for decorating paper to match any tablescape style — from fun craftiness to artisan elegance. You can purchase the pumpkins at Liza Tye or create some of your own!

Happy pumpkin-making!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Today I am Thankful For… A Thanksgiving Printable

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Good morning! It’s just a week or so until Thanksgiving Day, and I thought I would post a little printable I shared in the November issue of AQUA, the creative journal I launched this Fall. There is always such a rush toward Christmas this time of year, and sometimes that makes it hard to focus on Thanksgiving.

Several years ago, we started a Thanksgiving tradition at our house — a Thanksgiving Tree. It was a quirky little idea designed to help us all cultivate gratitude during the season. The kids went in search of an interesting branch at our farm, and we braced it with a bunch of rocks in a pot on our dining table. Every day at dinner time during the week or so prior to Thanksgiving, we each shared one thing we were grateful for. The kids were young and couldn’t write, so I recorded their little moments of gratitude on cut pieces of colored paper and hung them on the “tree.” During that year, they were thankful for things like the color red and chicken nuggets and various Disney movies. And Mommy and Daddy. We didn’t end up doing our Thanksgiving Tree tradition last year in all the craziness, but I’m determined we’ll do it this year again.

Although those little slips of paper and metal ring-tags are precious to me, I decided I would make some printable tags this year — ones decorated with Fall leaves, the date and a place to write our grateful praise. The leaves are some I found in my drawing archive from various past projects. I’ve shared them here in case they can make your family’s version of a thanksgiving tradition more special. Just click the image below to download. May your table be bountiful and your hearts be filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving season!

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