Gathering with the people we love is a gift whether we find ourselves eating off paper plates or fancy dishes. Even so, adding beautiful accents fosters meaning to the moments shared and can be just as easy to pull together. In this tablescape, I used touches of the outdoors with real leaves, pinecones, and grapevine wreaths. These simple additions add personality and warmth to any autumn table. Follow these directions for how to prepare outdoor accents (because dirt and bugs are the only ones not invited to the table) and you will have a stunning tablescape that costs you only a leisurely walk around your neighborhood and a passing chat with a neighbor if you are so lucky.
How-to: Preserve Leaves
Gather fallen leaves and test for dryness. Look for mostly dry, not brittle or limp. If too fresh then press between books on parchment paper for a few days before proceeding. When ready to begin, prep the space by placing leaves in a single layer on wax paper. Brush one side of the leaf with a thin coat of Mod Podge using a foam brush. Let dry for 30 minutes or until the white coat turns clear. Flip leaves over, brush the other side, and let dry again. Use leaves by scattering them around the table or tie with twine onto wine glasses.
How-to: Preserve Pinecones
Bake pinecones to remove any tiny critters, dry up the sticky sap, and give the pinecone a beautiful glossy finish. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay pinecones in rows allowing space as they expand when baked. Place in the oven for about 30 mins. If pinecones were gathered on a damp day, it might take longer. Keep a close eye and pull them out when the house smells of pine trees and your pinecones go from a matte to a glossy finish. To use, simply place it around the table or add it to a bowl along with cinnamon sticks as a centerpiece.
Having a dessert already placed on each guest's plate creates an extra special touch to the tablescape (and less work for the host when guests arrive). Here I’ve used my painted cookies but any single-serve dessert will do the trick. If you are interested in painting your own cookies, you can find instructions on Instagram @silvertoothhome. Happy Gatherings!