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Thanksgiving on a Budget: 7 Tips for Tabletop Decor from Stylist Beth Kirby

Yes, it’s about the food. We know that. We’ve been to a Thanksgiving or two. But, really? We like decorating the table. OK, make that love.

This year, we’re starting early. We asked one of our favorite stylists, Local Milk blogger Beth Kirby, to design a special no-cost Thanksgiving tabletop for us. It turns out that all you need for a Rockwellian moment are nice napkins, sparkly glasses, candles, and foraged greenery from the garden.

The best part, Beth says, is that anyone can recreate the look of her Thanksgiving tabletop. Follow her tips for how to mix and match items already on hand: 

Photography by Beth Kirby for Gardenista.

  Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Tip No. 1: Create an unexpected hanging centerpiece using vines and greenery foraged from around your neighborhood or yard…

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

…and echo it with a few bits on the table.

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Above: A handful of S-hooks is all it takes to hang them. 

  Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Tip No. 2: Use food from the meal as part of your centerpiece. A few leftover squash or a bundle of herbs in a small bottle pay homage to the meal as well as brighten up the table in a subtle, seasonal way. 

 

Tip No. 3:. Don’t be a afraid to mix and match your napkins—and let them be wrinkly and wild. The movement and the casual look of a table strewn with mixed napkins is inviting. When mixing, try to stick to napkins all of the same print—like the stripes here— or of the same color range. 

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Tip No. 4: Serve family style and let your serving pieces and cookware be the stars of your table.

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Above: Do you have a cool vintage copper pot or an heirloom cast iron skillet? Put a trivet on the table and serve straight out of them. They look great and the food stays warm. 

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista  

Tip No. 5: Try using mugs as bowls. They give height to each place setting and make even a casual table feel as if it has personality. 

Thanksgiving tabletop decor tips from Beth Kirby ; Gardenista

Tip No. 6: A few candles go a long way and the more imperfect the better. Grab a few from around your house and light them as the light sinks lower. 

 

Tip No. 7: Keep it simple. Plain glassware and simple white plates always look good. Keep your color palette to one or two natural colors and patterns at a minimum, and you’re guaranteed a classic table every time.

Want more Thanksgiving tabletop ideas? For inspiration, see:

For a tour of Beth Kirby’s kitchen remodel, see One-Month Makeover: Beth Kirby’s Star-is-Born Kitchen on Remodelista.

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Garden The Organic Way With These Great Tips!

Many people enjoy getting their hands dirty in the garden. There’s nothing quite like growing your own flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and it’s easy to do with the right information, like that found in this article. Even if you don’t have a large yard, even small spaces like balconies can provide enough space for a surprising amount of plants.

If you would like to create an eye-catching fall garden with a lot of height and contrasting colors, try planting spiky plants like the New Zealand flax, the yucca or tall ornamental grasses. Add drama with texture and color by adding chartreuse plants like the Golden Spirit smoke bush or the Tiger Eyes sumac. To contrast the chartreuse color, plant purple plants alongside the chartreuse plants like the Black Lace elderberry or Loropetalum.

Grow vegetables and fruits to drink. Often overlooked yet easy to grow are items that can be made into fantastic and nutritious drinks. These berries and fruit juices can be frozen or canned or made into wine and hard cider. A well made apple wine or blueberry wine can start at -12 a bottle, so this can also be a profit available with the garden.

Cover fences and walls with lots of climbers. These climbing plants will help beautify an old fence, and they are fast workers too. They can cover an arbor, or grow through trees and shrubs. Some of these plants must have support, and some can attach themselves to something using their stems and tendrils. Excellent varieties include honeysuckle, wisteria, jasmine, climbing roses and clematis.

If you want something fun to do that will benefit you in the kitchen, try growing some herbs in your window. Some herbs may not take kindly to this, but many will! In this way you have some herbs always fresh and handy, and they add a nice touch to the house.

Make sure your pot is the right size for your plant. If the pot is too small, the plant’s roots may not have enough room to grow. The roots will become “root bound”, stop growing, and begin to suffocate. The size of the root system can determine the size of your plant and yield.

In you have a pond in your garden, make sure you maintain it throughout the year. In order to keep a pond healthy, you need to ensure that the water is clear and that plants do not take over. Remember, with the right balance of light, oxygen and air, aquatic plants and wildlife will thrive.

Create an illusion of space. If you have a small garden, use color to create an illusion of more space. A background of blues, grays, pinks and mauves will create a misty effect, giving you the feeling of depth. If you use a bright color in the foreground such as red, this will emphasize the effect, as it draws the eye forward.

Pay attention to the temperatures in your garden. When it is early, or late, in the season there is a chance that your plants could be exposed to frost. Freezing temperatures will cause many plants to die, and some that live will not produce at the level they would have otherwise.

An old wagon can help save time as well as your back. Instead of constantly having to retrieve your gardening tools as you work your way around your garden, commandeer an old child’s wagon. An old wagon works as well as a garden cart, and can often be obtained free or very cheaply if you get it used.

Dish washing soap can repel insects. If you find insects ravaging your garden, fill a spray bottle with water and add a squirt of dish soap. Spray the foliage of your plants and watch the insects flee. They will leave your garden alone until the soap washes away. Simply reapply as needed.

A green garden needs to begin with seeds, not plants. Planting seeds is the most eco-friendly way to start a new garden. The plastic used in nurseries often end up in landfills, that is why it is advised to use seeds or purchase from nurseries that make use of organic materials when packaging their plants.

If you want to grow vegetables, but do not have the room, consider planting vegetables that grow on a vine. Vegetables like squash, melons, and tomatoes can be trained to grow up along a trellis or fence. You can make use of vertical space to get the vegetable garden that you want.

Manage your garden hose to prevent frustration. Garden hoses, especially longer or heavy duty ones, can become unwieldy and annoying when you have to drag them around the garden, all twisted up. Invest in a portable hose reel or a stationary one, depending on your garden configuration, to more easily manage your garden hose and make storing it fast and easy.

You don’t need a green thumb or lots of land to be a gardener. Whether you want the satisfaction of growing your own delicious vegetables in the garden, or having the prettiest roses on the block, these great hints can help you to succeed.

Simple Tips For A Beautiful, Thriving Garden

Getting your hands dirty and growing things can be a cathartic and healing experience, unless you get something wrong. Grow your plants right and wisely with the right mentality. Use the ideas in this article for successful gardening, and you will see your hobby blossom quickly into something successful and lively.

Remember to aerate your soil. If you loosen or puncture the soil, it will increase air permeability and water penetration. Aerating can be as simple as turning the soil over with a trowel, or in the case of lawns, making small holes in the grass. This can be done with an aerating machine, a garden fork, or even by walking on the grass wearing a pair of spiked golf shoes. This brings oxygen into the roots and promotes healthy new growth.

Before settling on your garden space, visit it at multiple times throughout the day. You need to understand what type of light the spot gets on an hourly basis, as it can have ramifications on the plants you can grow and your ability to grow anything at all! If the location receives no direct sunlight, reconsider your options.

Vegetable water makes a wonderful fertilizer. Next time you boil or steam your vegetables to eat, set aside the cooking water. This water is chock full of nutrients, and will provide a nice, nutritious boost to your garden. Make sure the water is thoroughly cooled first hot water can damage and even kill plant roots.

When it is spring and time to plant, do you have a hard time remembering what your gardens looked like the year before so that you know where to plant your new bulbs? This year, take pictures of your spring garden, and in the fall have a look at them. If you see a place in the yard that is bare and in need of a new daffodil, you can be confident on where to plant the new bulbs!

To keep your lawn looking great when there’s a water shortage, set the blades of your lawnmower to their highest height. Doing this will allow your grass to go dormant, keeping it looking fresh with minimal water. Be sure to change your blades back to their normal setting when you’re able to water your grass normally.

Do not give your garden too much fertilizer. Providing fertilizer to your plants allows them to better make food from sunlight. Too much fertilizer, however, can cause your plant to grow too fast, which prevents it from fruiting or flowering. The excess chemicals left in your soil can wash away and pollute the local ground water.

Pay attention to zones when choosing plants for your garden. Most plants will come with the zone marked. This is also true of seeds. Make sure the zone corresponds to your growing zone. Though plants may grow outside of their usual zone, they are less likely to be hardy plants.

Create warmth with golden or yellow foliage. Visual vibrancy and warmth exudes from golden and yellow-leaved foliage. They are particularly effective in shady locations, giving the illusion of light and depth. They coordinate beautifully with purple flowers or deep bronze foliage. Good choices include Caryopteris ‘Worcester Gold’, Viburnum ‘Aureum’, various Hostas and Spirea ‘Gold Flame’.

You should keep your seeds damp without drowning them in water. Spray water over the soil to keep it moist, and place the pots or trays in which you have your seeds in water so that the soil can absorb the water. Make sure you replace the water in which your pots are standing regularly.

Don’t harm your native critters. Some animals can naturally keep the bug population down; one such example of a good pest-predator is the bat. Bats are well-known for being bug consumers. Since your garden may sometimes look like a tasty treat to these tiny critters, having bats around can help reduce their population naturally, without the usage of harmful pesticides.

If you have plants that love acid in your organic garden, especially tomato plants, then coffee grounds make great mulch. It’s simple to scatter the coffee grounds around your plants and then sit back and let the high levels of nitrogen help your acid-loving plants grow to great heights all summer long.

Encourage earthworms in your soil. Earthworms make for healthy soil by eating the soil and thereby aerating it in the process. They also leave behind their castings, or vermicast, which is a great organic nutrient-rich fertilizer. The vermicast also retains water and nutrients better than soil without worms.

Plants prove that the energy and conditions at the time of planting result in the fruits yielded at harvest. Plant these ideas in your mind, and harvest them into successful gardening habits. Your future will yield success and happiness for many seasons to come when you keep these tips in mind.