ISSUE 47  |  Homegrown Holiday

DIY: Thanksgiving Outdoors

November 24, 2015 2:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Thanksgiving hike and picnic, anyone? If the weather cooperates, nothing is lovelier than dining outdoors. Mix and match sturdy tableware with your best silverware for a holiday to remember fondly all winter. Here’s how to pull off rustic elegance:

Photography by Michelle Slatalla.

Above: Nothing feels more decadent than exposing a heavy linen tablecloth to the elements. So don’t. Keep your grandmother’s hand-embroidered textiles indoors where they’re safe and instead cover an outdoor dining table with a Canvas Drop Cloth (a 4-by-12-foot drop cloth is $19.28 from Amazon).

The secret to making a drop cloth look and feel as nice as a heavy linen cloth is to launder it–and tumble it dry–just before you put it on a table. Wrinkle free, it will drape beautifully.

The Basics

Above: If you’re dining outside, the next question to ask yourself is: what do I own that is unbreakable? We set the table with enamelware plates and bowls from Falcon, heavy glass tumblers, and mismatched pieces of vintage silverware.

We kept the palette muted so the natural surroundings could play a starring role in the decor.

The Look

Above: To prevent the napkins from blowing away in a breeze, we weighted them with the place settings. Our linen Sanders Napkins are available in ten colors including Coal (as shown), a color that won’t show dirt as readily as white; $25 apiece from Matteo.

We set the table with Falcon’s new Coal Black Plate Set (a set of four is £24.99) and, anticipating a soup course, a Deep Plate Set (a set of four is £39.99). We flipped the deep plates over to create a dome to protect the plates from airborne fluff and pollen.

We snipped a sprig of rosemary to drape across each place setting–any fragrant herb will do–to remind guests that they’re in the garden.

Above: On a morning hike, we found a branch covered in silvery lichen and Old Man’s Beard and brought it home to decorate the tabletop.

Above: Martha Stewart used to sell these jadeite tumblers online and they still pop up on eBay from time to time, where a set of four Faceted Tumblers is currently available (starting bid $49.99). Made by Fenton Glass, Martha’s tumblers were based on a midcentury design; a set of four Authentic Fenton Jadeite Milk Glass Tumblers from the 1950s is available for $155 from The Midcentury Shop via Etsy.

We buy our jadeite-colored taper candles at the local grocery. But if you have a hard time finding the perfect color, a set of six hand-dipped Green Taper Candles is available for $5.37 from Etsy. 

Above: For a final silvery green note, we picked some velvet-soft lamb’s ear from the garden and used our unbreakable enamel Ikea water pitcher as a vase. An 8.75-inch Sockerart Pitcher is $14.99.

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Let us help, with: