10 Tips for Hosting & Attending Thanksgiving

This holiday is one of my favorite holidays of the year. As you can probably tell from the last few DBKwords posts I’ve shared, there is just something about this holiday and all of the appreciation that goes with it that just brings out all the good feels.

"give Thanks" Chalkboard decor DIY Chalk Tray give Thanks, Hand drawn pumpkins, wall hanging, thanksgiving decor

That said, if you are the host of the Thanksgiving Soiree, you are likely in panic mode right about now… it is less than 24 hours before your guests will be arriving (and maybe some are coming tonight), and you still have little things to get ready!

Well, let me ease your woes. If you still have to set the table, and add some festive decor around your abode, here are 5 things that are so easy, you can be ready in an hour.

  • Add some festivity to your front door. You likely don’t have time to hang a wreath on the door, but you can easily take some card stock, construction paper, etc., and cut out some leafy shapes, write out “Happy” “Thanks” “Giving” or “Give” “Thanks” on the leaves, (one word per leaf) , attach a string to each leaf, and hang them on the front door. Greeting your guests with something cheerful will get them in the spirit right away. Here is my front door wreath for the season and an idea from That’s My Letter of wooden door tags.
  • Add some festive pumpkins around the house. If you really have zero time to do anything, just grab a handful of mini pumpkins (you can find them everywhere at this time of year). Group them together in a few different areas around the house, and voila. If you have time to do something, check out this doily covered pumpkin from Allyson Baker Design, or this paper pumpkin from Shelterness.
  • Use those mini pumpkins for place-cards  on your Thanksgiving table as well. You can add names, or festive tags, or just put them on top of the salad plates to add a pop of color to your table. Taryn Williford made glitter dipped pumpkins to make for a more glam tablescape, while Jennifer at Celebrating Everyday Life tied ribbons on pumpkins and then wrote on the ribbons.
  • Light Candles. The glow of candlelight adds a nice warmth and ambiance to any space, but make sure on this food filled holiday, you are using basic unscented candles so they don’t interfere with all the smells coming from the kitchen! Get out all your candlesticks and tapers to make this glowing candlestick grouping from Snippet and Ink, if you don’t have a stash of similar candlesticks, then group the pillars you’ve got to create a good focal point like West Elm is showing all together on a tray or cutting board.
  • Don’t forget the food! Take a clear container and fill it up with apples, cranberries or mini pumpkins, as shown on Good Housekeeping. If you are cooking all the food you have on hand for the main event, look outside and use things like leaves or acorns to create layered centerpieces like these ones from Being Better 2Gether. If there were ever a perfect night of hosting to use food as a centerpiece, Thanksgiving is your night!

If you are a guest, there are some things you should remember on Thanksgiving (and well, every event you attend).

  • Manners are key, that turkey make look so good you can’t wait to get your hands on it, but wait your turn and remember to say please and thank you, it goes a long way.
  • Bring a little something for the host. Something as simple as a bottle of wine that can be enjoyed with the meal, or saved for after all the guests leave, is a great gesture that any host will appreciate.
  • Compliments are key. Be sure to offer your host at least one compliment (which should be easy on Thanksgiving). Compliment the decor, the food, his/her ability to be so stylish while cooking up a storm… you name it, a compliment or two will make them feel so appreciated for bringing this all together.
  • Offer to help. There are so many things your host has to stay on top of with cooking alone, be sure to check in to see if you can help with anything from opening more wine to clearing the table, and for the love of all things, please don’t make your host do the dishes by themselves.
  • Respect the hosts Thanksgiving style. Many people will say a special prayer on the holidays when everyone is gathered. Be respectful even if it isn’t your thing, bow your head and go along. Some hosts will want to go around the table and say what you are thankful for. This can feel like a cheesy gesture, but give it some consideration and truly offer up some gratitude before you dive in.

Whatever you are doing this holiday and whomever you are spending it with, I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for, and that you have no trouble finding ways to share your gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Mapping Out Your Gallery Wall

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and Labor Day marks the unofficial end (despite the fact that temps here reached 100 today). So, even though summer’s not really over yet, we are all diving head first into fall. Out of the heat, into the fall layers, kids are getting back to school, and our fall projects are lining up.

Gallery Wall 012Gallery Wall 0

For me, things will start to settle down a little bit as every night and weekend won’t be jammed packed with running around (whether for me or for clients), and I should be able to get some projects done around my own house!I need to put the finishing touches on the bedroom still and then take some pictures of that space to share with you all here and I can think of about a dozen other things I’d like to do around the house as well.

The first thing on my list, and something with probably the largest impact is to finish hanging our gallery wall. These pictures are from early Spring of this year when I had one of my friends over to take some pictures for the blog to not only map out my own gallery wall, but to document the process to share with all of you as well. About six weeks after these pictures were taken, we had a few friends over for brunch, and as I had been so busy, I hadn’t made time to get the gallery wall hung at that time. The morning before we were meeting with them, I broke out my notes from this planning session and started to try and get the gallery wall up on the wall. I was able to hang one painting before we needed to head out to meet our friends and I’m ashamed to say that that one painting is still the only one up on the wall.

But then, that’s life, right?! So now I want to share with you the process of mapping out your very own gallery wall, and how I mapped out mine, and then hopefully in a week (or so…) I will be able to share more pictures of my gallery wall completed!!

The process:

  1. First things first, you need to know the size of the space you intend to display your art on, so break out your tape measure and get to measuring. note the width (more important for now), and we will come back to the height later.
  2. Once you know how wide your space is, use your tape measure, some blue painter’s tape and your trusty assistant to mark out the width of your gallery on the floor.
  3. Get all of your frames and pieces of art together in one place so you can see what you have to work with.
  4. Once you have a good visual, start laying the larger pieces into your mapped out space.
  5. Build out from the larger pieces with smaller pieces, keeping in mind your spacing. Each area should use the same spacing so that the pieces group well and look balanced even when using different sized pieces and different styled frames.
  6. Swap out pieces to find the arrangement that you like the best and then take pictures so you can remember what it looks like in case you put it off for 6 months.
  7. Measure the overall height and width of your gallery wall. The center of the overall height of the gallery should sit at 57″ from the floor, placing the gallery at a good viewing level for yourself and your guests.
  8. Measure the spacing between your groupings as well as the spacing from the edges of the tape (your available hanging space) to the edges of the outermost pieces.
  9. Lastly, measure from the overall top of your gallery wall to the top of your central piece or your largest pieces and the overall edge of your gallery wall to the edge of your central piece(s), as you will hang these pieces first.

Once you have your gallery all mapped out, and your measurements determined and noted, you can clean up your mess on the floor and then start mapping out your hanging on the wall. Depending on your overall height of your gallery wall (x) and the measurement you got from the top or bottom to the center of this piece (y), you can determine where the screw will need to go. (x/2) will sit at 57″ from the ground. So if your gallery wall is 40″ tall, then it will span from 37″-77″ in height. Again, I like to break out my handy blue painter’s tape and mark the top and bottom of my gallery wall off so that I can use them as a reference while I’m working through hanging the pieces without having to measure it over and over again.

To begin hanging, I always start with the largest piece that sits most centrally located in the wall, or in my case, I have two large pieces balanced out with several smaller pieces, so I started with the largest piece on the left. Using hanging wire to support the pictures, pull the wire on the back to where it would sit if it were hanging on the wall, and measure from the top of the frame to that point (a). Add this measurement to the measurement that you got from number 9 and jot this down. this is the distance from the top of the gallery wall space to the height you will put the screw in at.

Next you need to use the overall width of your gallery wall, and the width from the edge (again, noted in 9), measure from the edge of the picture to the center (where the screw will go), add these two together and you will have the position of your first screw.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but once you have your first piece hung, you will build out the wall from there. You have all of your spacing measured and noted from mapping out your gallery wall on the floor, so you can easily fill in the wall with the rest of your frames until it is complete!

Is your head spinning yet?? What projects do you have planned out for the fall? Hopefully I can get this project wrapped up soon, with lots of images to document the process so I can share more with you soon.

Images By Lindsay Perry, click to expand.

Elevating the Bed

If you follow DBK on social media, you know that my parents were in town visiting this past week. They were here for the whole week, and we had a great visit with them. We had good food, played tourist, spent some time with P’s parents and my parents all together and made some great memories.

Liberty House Dinner May 2015

While they were here, I made a little “daddy-do” list as my mom started calling it, for my stepdad. As I mentioned in the last post, I have all these plans for our bedroom space, but it’s more about making the time and getting things done. I think the biggest thing he helped with was elevating the bed.

P & I still worked our normal schedules while they were here, which made for some good chunks of time for P and Mr. Jay to work on a few things together. Good quality bonding time, and I LOVED coming home to finished projects, or even just progress made in some areas.

My in-laws are moving from their 35-plus-year family home into a beautiful new home in a senior community at the shore, that to be honest, has the kind of amenities that makes you wish you were 50-plus so you could live there too. However, in the process of their move, we are gaining a lot of old crap amazing childhood memories, as well as the things that we keep in their basement for lack of storage here at the tiniest condo ever.

So, where will all of this go in our tiny condo? But of course, we need to raise the bed up. We have a platform bed, with 2″ legs and an upholstered box-spring base, and while chatting with a friend we brainstormed that under the bed was the only good solution and that we needed to swap out the legs of the bed for taller ones. So before my parents arrived, we started planning, purchased some 8″ legs and some stain, and some under bed bins.

Once the legs were stained, we attempted to attach the legs. I say attempted, because after multiple tries and no success, we were sleeping on a bed propped up by books. #DIYFail! The problem was, I had assumed any furniture legs would likely be attached the same way, and that we could simply lift up the bed, un-screw the old legs, re-screw in the new legs and voila, new taller bed! But unfortunately for us, our old bed legs were attached with two screws and the legs drilled into place, and the new legs, as you can see in the images, have the one larger bolt coming from the end to just screw into place.

But worry not, because my parents were flying in the next day and Mr. Jay was sure to have a solution! Sure enough when I came home from work that night, my bed was taller and stable enough to hold the weight of at least two humans and a dog. But most importantly when my in-laws arrived that night, we were able to very easily transfer things to the under-bed bins and slide them into storage. Nice and neat and out of sight, it ended up working out perfectly!

The next project is to get the lighting ordered so we can get it installed before my personal deadline for this room (June 1). More on that tomorrow!