I love to host an autumn dinner party, whether it be Thanksgiving, a wedding rehearsal dinner, or an intimate gathering before the Christmas rush sets in. I am able to share my home with friends and family, as well as enjoy the bounty from my backyard garden. Even in the midst of such a formal affair, my DIY place holders are at home, adding a further elegance to the seasonal harvests.
Apple Honey Jar Place Card
By this time of year, I have preserved the season’s apples into pints of sauces, quart-jars of pie filling, and small amounts of apple honey. The honey is rich to a savory degree, so it is shelved in Ball 4 ounce Quilted Crystal jelly jars. The size is wonderful for gift giving, and perfect for a personalized place card holder the guest can bring home to help remember the evening. Using the small jar as a base, I wrap the lid with holiday-themed cocktail napkins found in my dining room sideboard. The napkin is fastened with a decorative bow, and any excess is cut away. A cut-to-size bamboo skewer from Target slipped through the ribbon in the back of the jar acts as the actual card holder. With a razor blade, I split the top of the skewer about a half an inch to allow the personalized place card to be held snugly. The place cards are made from cardstock, enhanced with a rubber stamp impression and the guest’s name ornately written beside the image. If Aunt Martha enjoy acorns, then by golly, she’s going to have a stamped acorn image on her place card. For added panache, I make a gift of the stamp used on each guest’s card for them to take home with their honey.
Autumn Flowers and Dried Herb Place Card
Though the chill of a hinting winter is creeping ominously across my backyard garden, a few of my flowers and herbs continue to hold steady against the frost. Choosing from these plants to make a place card holder could be my last opportunity to putter around the garden until Spring. When brought inside, the warm air in the house releases marvelous scents from the fresh-cut bundles, adding another layer of ambiance to an already fragrant Autumn feast. This year, I was able to cut a handful of copper-flamed Sedums, a selection of Lemon Balm, and a long-forgotten variation of small-leafed oregano. After trimming the plants to length, I went just shy of 12″, I bound them mid-stalk with a twist-tie to stave off a jumbled mess. Once under control, the stalks were wound with a fabric ribbon, and a black bow added as a momento mori – a reminder that life, though it appears lost forever, continues beneath the coming snows. The bundle is laid across the top of a place setting along with a stamped place card, personalized for each guest. Once everyone is seated, the feast can begin. Salut.