Made from Scratch | Make Your Own Holiday Wreath

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Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all prepared for today’s festivities! There’s nothing more warm or comforting than spending quality time with the people we love. Even though I love Thanksgiving, I’m really looking forward to Christmas! And if there’s one thing I despise most during the Christmas season, it’s tacky and fake decorations. There is so much beauty in the natural world and it is just waiting to be discovered. You could pay around $20 for a pre-made wreath that doesn’t look that great anyway, or a couple bucks for a wreath you can make yourself. All you need is a wire or wooden frame, some scissors, and twine. Most of all you need some greenery. Real pine is free and it’s beautiful. The only downside is the needles fall off like crazy after a while. So, if you want your wreath to last until next season, you can do fake pine. You’ll still save money by doing it yourself.

Other than saving money, why would anyone want to make their own wreath? Nobody has time for that. Just go to the store and buy one, right? Well, it’s all about being more connected to our surroundings and appreciating what goes into making a product. Convenience has become our alma mater in the United States, particularly. The truth is someone somewhere had to take the time to make that wreath. And we take their handiwork for granted as we snatch up that product before someone else has the chance to get it. Although I don’t make everything myself, I do try as much as possible to take the load off others.

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The beauty of wreath making is the possibilities of how you want it to look are truly endless! A few weeks ago, I made a simple foraged pine wreath with some dried flowers I stuck in for embellishment. But I knew I wanted to expand on that. This time I did an off-set wreath with blue spruce and holly berries. I also did a wreath with Italian Ruscus I had leftover from my gathering. The only greenery that cost me anything was the Italian Ruscus; everything else was foraged.

Something else kinda cool is hydrangea wreaths. The bunches of hydrangea create a lush and beautiful wreath. Since hydrangea can range from brown to green to pink in color, you may want to spray paint it to give it an even color. Or, you can let it keep its natural color. After that, you can decorate with pine cones or berries if you’d like.

And once you start doing wreaths, you’ll want to do other natural decor too like garlands and swags, and maybe a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one (trust me, that’s all on my list for this season).

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My main point out of all of this (other than to show you pretty wreaths) is to demonstrate that the Christmas season can be less hectic if you choose it to be. Foraging and making things from scratch forces you to slow down. You can’t do this stuff well in a hurry. I know as I was making these, I appreciated the nature God provides and the ability to work with my hands to create something beautiful.

It’s not about being like Martha Stewart as my dad so lovingly puts it (although she does have a lot of good ideas). It’s about getting back to our roots and living how we were meant to live; in touch with our surroundings and working with our hands. We’ve become so desensitized by our modern culture that we no longer appreciate where something came from, how it was made, etc. It’s time to turn the tides on that. You can make a difference just by choosing to make something from scratch instead of buying it from a store.

I hope I gave you some inspiration for your “made from scratch” Christmas! What are some of your favorite wreath designs?

Have a lovely Thanksgiving everyone!

Cheers! – Adele

A Thanksgiving Gathering – Part 1

If you’ve been following along in my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been preparing for a Thanksgiving gathering! Well, it’s over now and I wanted to share with you all how it went! It went surprisingly well!! I only say that because this was my first time hosting a gathering. I did all the cooking, cleaning, styling, decorating, and planning. Let me tell you, it’s not easy but it’s rewarding and fun when you’re around people who care about you!

I did a lot of preparation in advance. The table decor was simple, so I had that out of the way early. I made my own linen napkins which saved me some money too. Flowers of the Good Earth was able to supply me with the florals. I used Italian Ruscus which looked great on a Thanksgiving table! Since my table was simple, I could focus more on other things.

I didn’t grow up in a cooking family, per say. My mom mainly cooked my grandma’s recipes that were handed down to her. When she does cook it is few and far between. I started learning how to cook surprisingly with my boyfriend, Andrew. When we started dating we began cooking a lot of meals together. And my love for cooking grew from there.

I’m not a food connoisseur by any means. That’s why I was mainly stressing over the food. I wanted everything to taste good, I wanted everything to get done on time, and I didn’t want to poison my guests with the turkey! Needless to say, everything got done ahead of schedule, the food tasted great, and we didn’t have to order pizza (a win in my book)!

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For dessert: Pear and Frangipane Tart

 

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The decor and food aside, it’s all about the company of people. That’s why we gather. We gather for the friendships and the conversations – it just happens to be around food! And honestly, all my stressing disappeared when my friends started arriving. It didn’t matter if things didn’t get done on time, or something wasn’t absolutely perfect, they supported this endeavor and that meant the world to me!

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My friend Jon made a sign for my blog!

Menu

Starter

Warm Quinoa Salad with Broccoli and Acorn Squash, Tossed in a Lemon Vinaigrette

Main Dish

Oven Roasted Turkey

Sides

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Wild Mushroom and Brioche Stuffing

Autumn Roasted Root Vegetables (Carrots and Beets)

Dessert

Pear and Frangipane Tart Topped with Brown Sugar and Pine Nuts

 

I hope I gave you some inspiration for your next gathering – whether that’s for Thanksgiving,

Christmas, or any other time of the year! Getting together with friends and people who care about you is what it’s all about. The biggest thing is not to stress too much and do lots of planning ahead of time! You will thank yourself and your guests will enjoy themselves more. Don’t worry if something isn’t absolutely perfect because if you’re with people who care about you, does it really matter anyway? Besides, perfection is not what we’re about.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a lot of pictures because I was running around doing things. My dear friend Sarah took the majority of the pictures so be on the lookout for part 2! If you want to see all that led up to this, you can check out the archives. I have some tips, DIY tutorials, and general inspiration for you!

Until next time – happy gathering!

A Thanksgiving Gathering: The Menu

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Hello everyone! I hope you are getting geared up for Thanksgiving! I know I sure am! I am hosting a dinner on Nov. 22nd for invited guests and I would like to share with you some things I’m doing to create a memorable gathering around the table. I am starting a series of posts leading up to Thanksgiving that will hopefully help prepare you for your gathering event. My style, if you read my about section you will know, is very simplistic seeking the lowest cost option while maintaining high quality. If simple is your thing, great! You’re in for a treat. If not, that’s fine – take what you like and leave the rest. I am mostly sharing with you my journey to hosting my first gathering!

Aside from the guests, décor, etc., food is why you have a dinner in the first place. So it should be at the forefront of your mind. I know I can concentrate a little more heavily on the menu since my décor is going to be pretty simple.

I do not plan on doing a “traditional American” Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of us will be going to multiple Thanksgivings for family and I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much turkey I can handle this time of year! I plan on doing some different dishes while throwing in a few holiday favorites as well!

I also want to preface, some of these are not my own recipes but I have provided links where you can view them!

For Starters…

Autumn Harvest Barley Salad

For a starter, I wanted something lighter than soup but hearty enough so it wasn’t a summer salad. Adding any type of grain is a great way to get a hearty salad (without adding meat). I’m going to do a simple barley salad with dark greens, dried cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese served with an apple cider vinaigrette! You can also add butternut squash or acorn squash to this! But because I’m using butternut squash a little later, I’ll leave it out of the salad.

Main Dish

I think I’ll leave that one a secret 😉 I’ll tell you it won’t be turkey! Whether or not you prepare turkey is totally up to you! If you are only going to one Thanksgiving (yours!) it makes sense to make turkey. But if you are going to multiple Thanksgivings you might want to give yourself a break and fix some other type of meat.

Side Dishes

Homemade Cranberry Jelly

This one is super simple! Growing up my mom always bought the cranberry jelly in the can. It was the perfect bitterness to balance out the sweetness of (what seemed like) the entire meal. (Plus I have to admit I liked plopping it out of the can!) So I am sticking with the jellied version – just homemade this time. I’ll be trying Marisa McLellan’s easy cranberry jelly recipe!

Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing

This one is not my own recipe. It is taken from Savvy Eats. I like stuffing but I always feel it tastes too bland (unless you pour gravy on top!). And then I thought, why don’t I take something savory like stuffing and combine it with something sweet like butternut squash (and because you have to fit in butternut squash somewhere in your menu, right?)?! And then I found a recipe, because I am much too chicken to develop my own.

Fall Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are an easy and healthy way to add some color and flavor to your Thanksgiving meal! Just gather your favorite fall vegetables (I’m doing carrots, parsnip, onions, and garlic), toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and herb of your choice, and voila! You have a simple but elegant side dish!

Dessert

Pear and Frangipane Tart

I’ve already made pumpkin and apple pie yet this season, so I wanted to try something different for dessert! I always forget about pears and yet they are a good fall fruit. This recipe comes from Sunday Suppers and is adapted from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland. You can find the entire recipe as well as view pictures of the tart here.

 

So there you have it! I know this isn’t one of my typical posts with pictures but I have provided the original links where you can view the pictures as well as the complete recipes! Once I am finished with the dinner, I will post my pictures and recipes up on the Recipes page.

Above all, I hope you gain some inspiration from this fall-themed Thanksgiving menu – whether you choose to go traditional or not. Be sure to click the links and check out these foodies and see what else they have to offer! They are truly talented individuals!

Do you have any must-try thanksgiving dinner favorites? I’d love to hear them!

Cheers for now!

Adele

How To Make Hydrangea Christmas Wreaths

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When my boss told me we were making wreaths with dried hydrangea I thought, “What? How’s that going to look?” But after it was all said and done it looked great! This isn’t my only wreath tutorial this season, but I thought it was interesting enough to show you in case you wanted to try it! It’s pretty simple and you only need a few things to make it work.

– dried hydrangeas (it’s okay if not all of it is dry)
– straw wreath outline (you can find these at any craft store)
– scissors
– hot glue gun
– spray paint in green or any color of your choice (optional)

The process is pretty straightforward and simple. You’re going to take pieces of the hydrangea and cover every inch of the front, so you can’t see anymore straw. There is no need to cover the back side. If you don’t have a hot glue gun you can stick the pieces in the straw or the wire that’s wrapped around the straw. (Just be careful when you’re cutting the wrapping off that you don’t cut the wire).

After that how it looks is up to you! You can leave it brown like it is which I think is a really pretty and rustic look. It looks nice too if you spray paint it green. Then you can add pine cones, berries, etc. to give it an even more festive look!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you try it yourself. Let me know how it turns out if you do!

I’m looking forward to showing you more festive wreath ideas for your holiday season!

{Gather} The True Meaning Of Hospitality

The holiday season is coming up and that means decorations, gifts, parties, etc! For the first time, I have a home I can entertain in. It’s new and exciting! I know I want to do away with all the fluff and get back to the basics. I’m hosting a Thanksgiving gathering with our closest friends around the idea of simplicity.

If you’ve never heard of me talk about this before, it’s part of the Slow Living movement. Instead of focusing on decor and lavish dinners, everything is much more simplified and centers on human conversation and connections.

But even in the effort to simplify things, it can get quite complex and hectic. Keeping up with the Joneses… or Kinfolk, Local Milk, whatever you want to call it. I can’t honestly say I’m not inspired by them. We’re all following someone.

As I was doing my daily She Reads Truth devotional this morning they were talking about hospitality (how appropriate). I mean, real hospitality. What it looked like for Jesus to invite people in. He dined with tax collectors and sinners, and was found hanging around the shunned people of the day. They never worried about the decor, whether it was simple or lavish or what food they had there. And I’m sure that was the last thing on Jesus’s mind. All He cared about was that He got in front of the people who needed Him the most. That’s true hospitality. Inviting people in no matter their social standing for the simple goal of loving on them as Jesus did.

I hope as we all plan our parties this holiday season, we would remember what true hospitality looks like. Whatever our style is, let that take the backstage. But let our hearts point to Jesus this holiday season.

Adele