Gatherings For A FESTIVE And FRUGAL Thanksgiving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie

Dear Sisters,

Happy Thanksgiving from the shorelines! By the time some of you read this you might be diving into your leftovers already but let’s not jump too far ahead, I haven’t even roasted the turkey yet! Yep, you read that right… I’m hosting dinner this year for the first time in years and while I’m always grateful to be a guest my heart sings when we have our family and friends over for the holidays. I’m not one to go over the top with lavish decorations but I do love a warm, cozy, and festive atmosphere during harvest season. But, I don’t want to spend a lot of money creating it. So, what’s a farmgirl to do? Go a gathering that’s what! Come on in and let’s talk turkey and decorating and shopping and sweet potatoes and, and, and…Oh, just come in already!!!

What’s a girl to do when she has 15 guests coming for dinner and only one set of 8 white dishes, and one set of 6 vintage dishes and a few misc. dish patterns. The same goes for my silverware and napkins situation.  I thought about using paper plates, but our son nixed that idea. I think he said something like, ” Mom, Thanksgiving honors the day the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sat down to feast together for The First Thanksgiving right here in Plymouth. Don’t cha think

that calls for REAL dishes?” Deep down I didn’t want to go the paper route either. I began to imagine the tables set, music and laughter in the background and candle light dancing off of everyone’s smiling faces. I decided right then and there that I really don’t need matching anything to create an inviting table setting. In fact it’s quite the opposite and a whole heck of a lot more fun! For inspiration I thought of the handmade/recycled wedding MaryJane featured in her magazine last June where the wedding party wore handmade clothing, and ate from thrift store dishes. Then I went rummaging in my china cabinet, my mom’s china cabinet, my linen’s drawer, the feed store (I’ll get to that in a minute) and my favorite discount department store,

TJ.Maxx/ Home Goods. Then I made a trip out to the garden for cuttings for my naturel’ centerpieces!

Here’s how I’ve pulled it all together!

I did do a teensy bit of shopping… I found some lovely floral napkins with a faded, vintage look to them to go with my plain gold cloth napkins. I fell in love with two different patterns that were on sale for 4.99 per package of 4!

Instead of purchasing napkin rings I’m using jute twine to tie them in place with a sprig of dried seed pods tucked into each one to bring in the outdoors. The burlap underneath is what I stopped by the TSC for… it comes in rolls and for  ten dollars I’ll have enough to make one long table runner! When Thanksgiving is over, I can make pillows, chair covers, or wrap mats inside of picture frames with it! I just love the versatility of burlap. I goes with just about everything but my favorite pairing is burlap and bling! I LOVE the juxtaposition of plain and pretty together.

The autumn leaf dish was a bargain at TJMaxx. Perfect for nuts, cranberry relish, soup or salad! I got two!

The napkin above has dried black eyed susan attached and the one below is dried autumn sedum joy.

Who says flowers can’t be a part of Thanksgiving? NOT this flower farmgirl!I gathered enough dried flowers to make a few fall arrangments for the table. Here’s one all ready to go with sedumn joy, blackeyed susan, grass plumes, and cone flower. Placed in a small ball mason jar tied with jute twine they make the perfect simple, frugal and festive decoration for the fall table.

Total Cost:

Napkins ~3 sets of four for ~15.00

Burlap~ 3 x 10 feet roll~10.00

2 Autumn Leaf bowls ~ 8.00

Oak Tags ~ 2.99

Markers~ gold, silver and copper~ 3.99

TOTAL: 39.98 ( NOT BAD)

Plain Oak Tag place markers tied on to the napkin rings, green Depression glass luncheon plates and my mom’s sparkling vintage amber glass goblets put the finishing touches on my festive and frugal, Thanksgiving table setting!
Now, how about something to eat? Here’s our favorite recipe for candied sweet potatoes. My handsome Yankee loves them! It’s called,


Sweet Potato Cashew Bake.




 Here’s the recipe straight from the red and white checkerboard cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens.


6 medium sweet potatoes ( 2 lbs)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup broken cashews

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 8 3/4-ounce can peach slices

3 tablespoons butter


Peel and boil sweet potatoes whole for 30 -40 minutes ( until soft but slightly firm)

Drain and let cool. Cut crosswise into thick pieces. Combine brown sugar, cashews, ginger,and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain peaches well. In a 10 x6x2 inch baking dish layer half each of the sweet potatoes, peach slices and brown sugar mixture. Repeat layers. Dot with butter. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake about 10 minutes longer. Spoon brown sugar syrup over before serving. Serves 6-8.

* I cover mine with marshmallows and bake uncovered for the remaining ten minutes just until they are a toasty golden brown.


Well, sisters I’d better let you get to your Turkey Day doin’s! I’m wishing you the best of days with your loved ones over this holiday of giving thanks. I’m so grateful for each and every one of my farmgirl sisters and MaryJanesFarm for all of the ways you enrich my life every day! THANK YOU!

Remember it’s not how much you have, but what cha do with what cha got that counts!

Happy Thanksgiving~ from sea to shining sea!

Beach Blessings and lots of love!

Gobble, Gobble…

Deb # 1199

  1. Margaret Taffi says:

    Lovely and homey! Just right! You did a fantastic job of making a special day even more special! I would have loved to have been one of your guests and taken it all in! Have a lovely day!

    Thank you Margaret! I’t so fun to create something fun out of a mix of unlikely pairings… Our guests enjoyed it and I had a ton of fun hosting too! xo Deb

  2. Adrienne says:

    Lovely decor and I’ll bet the dinner was enjoyed by all. How creative!

    Thank you Adrienne Dinner turned out alright too!  Whew! xo Deb

  3. Shery says:

    Beautiful, uniquely personal, a festive & friendly tablescape!! Oh so farmgirlish. I LOVE mixed dishes and layers of ‘the unlikely’.

    I collect old china … anything that tickles my fancy and that is a good deal. I saw a tablescape years ago that absolutely enchanted me and left a forever impression. NONE of the china matched, but it was all from the same general era … late 1800s into the very early 1900s. EACH place setting was unique unto itself. fresh flowers paraded down the length of table in old teapots and inbetween them there were oil lamps. So, I opted to do the same thing. Love my mixxed up dishes. All those odds & ends "orphans" are a family now.

    Hey Shery! Well, thank you kindly! I’ve seen glimpses of your china orphans in your posts… you make them look like one big happy family! The tablescape you described sounds perfect…I can see how it would make a mark on a farmgirls heart! I don’t collect as much as I did before the kids came along, but lately I can hear the call to go " hunting"  again off in the distance. xo Deb

  4. bonnie ellis says:

    Way to go farmgirl! Simple is enough. It’s people who count. God Bless.

    Amen sister! xo Deb

  5. Merrilyn says:

    Deb, whatever you do you make it look like fun. It takes more imagination and a creative spirit to do what you do then have it all ready made. Heres to the great job you did AGAIN! Happy thanksgiving.

    Thanks so much Merrilyn! So nice to hear from you! I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!xo Deb

  6. Laura R. says:

    I love it !! True farmgirl style. And the ‘flowers’ from outside had to be my favorite part! Who knew they could look so festive? I have those out in my garden now adding to the autumn landscape but am impressed how you brought them inside! thanks again,Deb, for your inspiration and creativity!

    Howdy Laura, Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed… I’d been missing my daily ritual of bringing in cut flowers! LOL… I thought the browns and tans of the dried flowers were very Thanksgivingy too!  xo Deb

  7. meredith says:

    Hi Deb! So funny to read about your burlap purchase- I saw the same burlap at our Virgina TSC and thought the same thing- I MUST buy it because the uses for it are endless! Hope you had a blessed day!

    Hi Meredith! Don’t you just love burlap? You MUST buy some, I agree! Thanks so much for your note!

    xo Deb

  8. Hi Deb, Great pics. Love the burlap and the dried flowers. I love the mix match pieces of china and glassware. You did a great job. Hope you had a Blessed Day. Neta

    Hi there Neta! Thank you my dear! Hoping your day was blessed as well! Thanks so much for the note! xo Deb

  9. Mary says:

    Very beautiful,great job. Happy late thanksgiving.

    Thank you Mary! Right back atcha! xo Deb

  10. Lynn says:

    Very inspirational! I truly needed to read you beginning comments. I so often forget to be grateful for what I do have and NOT dwell on what I don’t have…contentment can be so elusive.

    Dear Lynn,

    I think we all need a kick in the pants in the grateful deparment from time to time….Thanks for reading! xo Deb

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