Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tramping up Thanksgiving

Even though this is our third Thanksgiving together, The Hub and I had not hosted the holiday before today. Three months ago, when my in-laws announced their Autumn traveling-to-our-town plans, we suggested they push their dates back a week and stay for Thanksgiving, since my grandparents would be coming down from the midwest. Somewhere around there, I said to The Hub, "Oooh, we should have Thanksgiving at our house!"

I drew up plans. Tablecloth, napkins, place mats, table runners, place cards, napkin rings, aprons, and a centerpiece were all on deck to be assembled after last month's big show. I had it under control. Materials shopping day was November 3, cutting November 4th, and so on, until done by November 10th, at which time I would finish up a few things for the pre-Thanksgiving show that happened last weekend.

Enter the kid. Not so much with the shopping day, the cutting day, or the days behind the sewing machine, the embosser, the powertools, or anything else. Skipped the show, too, since two days away from home was not in the cards.
I think I actually forgot that Thanksgiving was coming up until Tuesday, after my grandparents arrived.

So, anyhow, all of a sudden it was 6 PM Wednesday, and even though all the food was under control (we did the turkeys, pies, rolls, cranberries, and drinks, all the other things were covered by our guests, yay), I realized that we had exactly 8 matching dinner plates, 8 sets of silverware, 8 wineglasses, and 8 water tumblers. We were expecting 15 guests. The Hub tried to make it better by telling me we'd just use paper and plastic.

Although there are times when I am happy to paper-and-plastic my dinners, for Thanksgiving, that was a bit too far from my original vision. Store-bought pies because the kid won't allow me out of arm's reach? Yup, that I'll do, but self-assembly wine glasses, not so much.

So I did an emergency shop. First up, since we only had 6 chairs for the table, and 4 from the old table in the attic, I wanted to find some wooden fold-up cafe chairs. Instead, I came across these for $14 each. There were people renting pickups and loading them up faster than the five guys assembling them could put em together. Feeding frenzy at the PB outlet. And they stack!

Back at Targ3t, of course, to double the stoneware plates we already have, and to get 8 place settings. While I was standing in the silverware aisle, I could have sworn that the stuff we already have had a brushed finish. Not so much, but oh well. There was no chance of matching the setups we have, so the new ones are very basic.

Next, I stood in front of the seasonal tablecloths, kinda cranky that my table would be done by The Home collection. This one looks good enough, though, and the coordinating napkins weren't too matchy-matchy. It also doesn't scream "Holiday," so bonus.

After the tablecloth was selected, I was delusional enough to think that we'd need Christmas ornaments tonight, and I spent about an hour trying to decide if my tree's theme would be "Onyx and Ice" or "Rustic Red." I put about a million things in the cart, but after a while I put it all back and figured that anything made of glass would just die a fast death at the hands of The Babe, but I did buy a few beaded birds with feather tails, which gave me an idea for a centerpiece. I didn't think to take a picture of it on the table before guests arrived, as I was to busy giving the kid a faux-hawk and cajoling him into wearing a tweed jacket "just until the grandmas can see you." The centerpiece is a bit tarty, kinda flashy, and not at all natural looking, but what the heck else are you going to put in a cage with beaded birds? They were begging for hot pink feathers, I promise. The Babe loves the birds, and each time he walks by the coffee table, where it now sits, he asks if he can "touch gentle."

Speaking of The Babe, I did have time earlier this week to make him 8 bibs out of quilting cotton and washcloths. They're the right size, they absorb like crazy, and when he's done I can use them to wipe off his hands, face, and the table. I also made him a boy-pron, since he likes it when I wear mine. I used a really neat three little pigs wind up toy fabric.

After all that stress, after the nutso last-minute shopping and encroaching panic attacks of this morning, it went very well. Turkeys were fried, along with a few kamikaze hornets, the Minnesotans got some Southern-style sweet potato action, and my grandmother whipped up her stuffing. Along with the chain-store decorations, I used a mix of my great-grandmother's glassware and serving bowls so even though she's gone, she's still here.

I know that we still would have had a nice, lovely dinner without all the stuff I had to have, but it made me happier to have it put together, even with three different styles of chairs (those are The Hub's old "bachelor chairs" that I recovered and repainted when we moved. They live in the attic now.) and a card table "leaf" at the end of our dining table. Last night, I was terrified of "sucking at Thanksgiving" my first time out. Silly, silly girl I am. Even though I forgot to take the cranberries out of the fridge until I was putting leftovers away, we did it up well.

And now for my favorite piece of refrigerator art. My sister brought a stack of scrapbook paper and a pound of stickers, and we've been collaging it up. Here we have a busy city street with cement mixers, dirtbikes, pawprints, a mod dots sun, and a monster truck.


Beth said... makes me tired just to read it.

My efforts towards decorating consisted in getting the piles of quilt pieces, cutting mats, and supplies OFF the dining room table so that we could use it.

Maerlowe said...

Hah! That's exactly what I was doing at 11 AM, an hour before everyone arrived.