DIY Thanksgiving decorations

Story highlights

  • Martha Stewart wanted to make child-safe decor for Thanksgiving
  • Molded turkeys can be made of chocolate or cement for the table
  • Click through the gallery for more DIY Thanksgiving projects

It is incredible how things change when the family dynamic is so greatly, fabulously altered with the addition of two grand-babies. Family vacations have to be adjusted to accommodate little ones: What is a fun as well as safe environment?

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The same concerns apply to the celebratory events, including this Thanksgiving, when both children, Jude and Truman, will be able to sit at the table, to eat all the food, and to begin to comprehend what this holiday is all about. Granted, they are still just 2½ and 1½—and a little bit messy in their eating habits—so a big, splashy dinner in a dining room would be less appropriate than a smaller gathering of family and friends in the Tenant House at the farm in Bedford where I live.

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The children love the small 1880s farmhouse, which Alexis renovated and furnished several years before they were born. I keep special toys in the house, and lots of unusual books and things to catch their interest. We decided to have Thanksgiving there this year, at the very large soapstone-topped kitchen table, amid the hubbub of preparation for the afternoon dinner. I wanted the table to be seasonal, indicative of turkeys and harvest, and I wanted everything to be for the children.

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With the help of crafts editor Marcie McGoldrick, we devised a method for casting numerous turkeys from a material called PermaStone, a lightweight, durable cement. We tried casting in my old tin and metal turkey-shaped chocolate molds first, but we couldn't get the cement to release easily once set, so we used very beautiful plastic candy and candle molds of turkeys in various sizes for the project instead.

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From there, I decided to make turkeys the theme: large Perma-Stone turkey "statues," gently tinted in various earth tones; smaller turkey place-card holders; turkey chocolates for dessert; and turkey decals for some of my Wedgwood Drabware plates. We printed the clip art (you can find it and instructions at decals) on a home printer and stuck it on as a purely decorative embellishment—the plates were replaced with heated dinner plates for the meal. The decals are so easy to apply, and they are very appealing for any celebration. (Just imagine Christmas or Halloween imagery of your choosing temporarily adorning plain dinnerware!)

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I look forward to many holidays and parties with the babies, and I promise to continue innovating and creating to make those celebrations memorable, fun, delectable, and beautiful!

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