Saturday, November 6, 2010

Creatively Speaking ::: "How to Give Thanks"

This Thanksgiving, enjoy these simple crafts and ideas for encouraging friends and family to give thanks. A special bonus: Some ideas help keep kids occupied while the adults are busy.

Thankful Centerpiece
Make decorating the table a group effort. For the centerpiece, fill a serving platter with unshelled nuts, arrange colorful fruit on top, and insert artificial berry sprigs. Then ask guests to add to the arrangement by writing what they are thankful for on paper leaves and tucking them into the centerpiece.

Card Game
To facilitate the thankful spirit, create gratitude cards using scrapbooking paper and supplies. Cut out cards from scrapbooking papers using decorative-edge scissors and embellish with stamps, stickers, etc. Give the cards to guests before dinner and ask them to write what they are thankful for. As the meal begins to wind down, ask people to share their thoughts.

Drink Tags
Punch out a leaf-shape pattern onto fall-color papers, and punch a hole at the base of each leaf. Ask guests to pick a leaf and write a word or short phrase describing something they're thankful for, such as "family" or "good health." Attach leaves to the wineglass stems using lengths of gold cord or raffia.

Simple Notes
Express your gratitude for individual guests with a quick note of thanks. Write guest's name on the front of a thank-you card (look for affordable boxed cards at crafts stores in the stationery aisle. Write a heartfelt note to the individual inside the card and use it as a place card for the table.

Glowing Review
Light up the table with candle place cards. Wrap a wide strip of patterned paper around a glass candleholder, securing the overlapping ends with double-sided tape. On a narrower strip of complementary paper, write guest's name, along with a simple sentence expressing your gratitude. Layer the strip over the patterned-paper strip and secure the overlapping ends with double-sided tape. Insert a candle and light right before dinner.

Conversation Piece
Spark a discussion about gratitude with these small cards. Print inspirational quotes onto cardstock and cutout into rectangles. Place the cards in sleevelike envelopes (available with cardmaking supplies at crafts stores). Add a card to each place setting and have each guest read aloud at the Thanksgiving feast.

Garden Variety
Start a Thanksgiving-tree tradition with your family and friends. Assemble the tree before the big day, along with blank paper ornaments. As your guests gather, ask them to write a message of gratitude on an ornament and hang it on the tree.

Make a Tree of Thanks for Fall
Invite family and friends to write meaningful messages on this pretty tree perfect for fall and Thanksgiving decorating.
What You Need:
•Tree branch
•Handheld hedge clippers
•Butter tub
•Disposable container
•Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
•Chickpeas or dried beans
•Spray primer
•Orange spray paint
•Clear spray sealer
•Orange glitter
•Decorative container
•Decorative rocks and silk leaves
•Papers in green and gold
•Paper trimmer
•Marking pen
•Shower curtain clips
How to Make It:
1.Trim a dry dead branch to the desired size and shape using hedge clippers. If needed, combine several small branches.

2.Choose a container, such as a butter tub, that can be hidden in a decorative container and filled with cement.

3.Following the instructions on the cement package, mix cement in a separate disposable container. Pour the cement into the butter tub.

4.Insert the branch base into the center of the cement-filled tub. Tap the sides of the tub until the branch sits firmly in cement. Allow cement to dry.

5.Use a hot-glue gun to adhere chickpeas or dried beans randomly to the branch, using as many as desired.

6.In an outdoor area, spray the branch with primer. Spread extra chickpeas on newspaper and spray them with primer. Let the primer dry.

7.Spray-paint the branch and chickpeas with orange; let dry.

8.Spray one section at a time with clear sealer. Quickly sprinkle orange glitter onto wet sealer; let dry. Repeat this process until entire branch and chickpeas are glittered. Place the weighted tree into decorative container.

9.Place decorative rocks around the branch base until the cement is covered. Sprinkle extra chickpeas onto the rocks.

10.Trim silk leaves from stems. Coil the wired ends and hang on the tree.

11.Trim 2-inch squares of green paper and 13?4-inch squares of gold paper. Center and glue the gold paper onto the green paper. Ask family members to use a marking pen to write meaningful messages on the squares. Use shower curtain clips to hang the messages from the branches.
12.Leave extra colored squares around the tree base for guests to add more messages to the tree.

Autumn Welcome
Pot a bare sculptural branch (we used Manzanita from a florist's shop) in a decorative pot, securing it with florist's foam or rocks. Cover the top with moss. Make color copies of fall leaves, cut out, and decoupage to cards. Punch a hole in the top, loop a piece of raffia or twine through the hole, and secure ends with a knot to make a hanger. Ask guests to write a Thanksgiving greeting on the cards and hang on the tree.

Family Tree
Gather favorite snapshots of family and friends to decorate a small potted tree for Thanksgiving. Use binder clips and pieces of twine to hang the photos on the tree as shown.

Bare Branches Transformed
No potted tree? Stick bare branches into a pitcher filled with sand or a vase filled with dried beans. Make ornaments from paper cutouts by punching a hole in the top of each one and tying ribbon through it. In addition to asking guests to share their thankful thoughts, ask them to sign their name and date their ornaments. Save the Thanksgiving ornaments as sentiments for the coming years.
Tip: Tie ribbon to sprigs of greenery to fill in bare branches and add a touch of color to your tree.

Thoughts Journal
Craft a paper journal to record a Thanksgiving celebration. Pass the journal amongst guests to capture their sentiments and memories. Start your own anthology and make a journal each year. When Thanksgiving comes around again, bring out the old journals and reminisce.

Thanksgiving Thoughts Guest Journal
Create a keepsake that will forever record cherished words of thanks.
These easy-to-craft journals are created with patterned paper, ribbon, card stock, and other craft store staples. Use it to give your holiday guests an opportunity to write down all that they're thankful for. By making the little books match your holiday table decor, you'll add a meaningful element that will enhance your Thanksgiving experience.

To create the cover for the journal, cut a rectangle from heavy card stock and wrap it with patterned paper. Enhance the cover with a length of ribbon and a square of border sticker, then add a leaf sticker with adhesive foam at the center.
To make the pages, begin by measuring the height and width of one of the book's covers. Subtract 1/2 inch from height and 1/4 inch from the width; these will be the dimensions of the finished pages.Cut a strip of card stock that is as tall as the page height and 8 times as long as the page width. Fold accordion-style into 8 equal panels. To complete the book, glue the first and last panel to the front and back covers (see photo above).
Wall Art
Share poetic sentiments as artwork for the Thanksgiving season. Print meaningful poems or sayings (typed in an elegant font) onto cardstock. Place in frames and hang on the wall as a reminder of the season's meaning.
Tip: Adapt this idea for Christmas by printing the lyrics from favorite Christmas songs or lines from favorite Christmas stories. Display the new printouts in the same frames used for Thanksgiving.

Capture It All
Create a Thanksgiving time capsule with a three-ring binder scrapbook. Keep it easy by sticking with simple pages that focus on memories, rather than intricate scrapbooking designs. Use blank white pages for adding photos. Lined cardstock works well for recording recipes and memories.

On Display
Use mismatched salt and pepper shakers to create memory-focused Thanksgiving decorations. Start with heavy wire (slender enough to fit in the holes of the shakers) and coil one end to hold a photo. Insert the coiled wires into the shakers and secure photos to the coiled ends. Arrange on your Thanksgiving table or another prominent place where guests can admire the photos and reminisce.
Tip: Insert the wires into the shakers at an angle, which will keep them stable.

Days Gone By
Mount pictures of guests as children onto squares of paper and use as place cards. Guests will have to search for their youthful face to find their seat at the table.

Guessing Game
Attach guests' baby pictures to metal-rim tags. Hang a paper tree silhouette to a wall and pin the ornaments to the tree. Write each guest's name on a slip of paper, then ask guests to draw names and figure out which baby face corresponds with the name. Tack their best guesses to the wall next to the faces.
Tip: If you are reluctant to stick pins or tacks into the wall, use a removable glue, such as Avery's Removable Glue Stick.

Thankful Leaves
If you're hosting little ones this Thanksgiving, keep them entertained with Thanksgiving-theme art projects. Ask kids to write what they are thankful for on paper leaves. Provide crayons, markers, and stickers to use for decorating the leaves. Keep the leaves to stir conversations about Thanksgivings past.

Paper Place Mats
Simple pieces of construction paper become expressions of thankfulness. Ask kids to write the things they are thankful for on the pieces of paper, which they can use as place mats for the Thanksgiving meal.

Customized Place Mat
Keep kids occupied while they wait for the Thanksgiving meal by letting them color this special place mat. They can draw the face and fill in the blanks with interesting information to share, including what they're thankful for.
Tip: Crayons are a better choice than water-soluble markers because the place mats won't bleed if soiled with food or drink.

Crossword Place Mat
More fun for the small guests: a special Thanksgiving place mat with crossword clues related to the day.
Tip: If time allows, cover the place mats with contact paper or laminate them so they can be reused each Thanksgiving.

TO FIND Both of the Printable Placemats used about click here.

Gracious Giving
Extend the generous spirit beyond your gathering of friends and family. In the weeks before Thanksgiving, pick a charity to contribute to, such as a food pantry or homeless shelter. Ask guests to bring items to donate. (Be sure to give advance notice about the project so it's not a last minute surprise.) Place a large basket for collecting donations near the front door or close to the main Thanksgiving festivities.