DIY THURSDAY: GIVING THANKS.

With the holidays very quickly approaching, I thought it an excellent idea to offer an inspirational tutorial for a gift any “hostess with the mostest” would adore.

I strongly believe that one can never have too many bread boards. Seriously. Not only do they offer a multitude of serving opportunities, they are fabulous as home décor: to be hung, piled, filed, and everything in between. You can paint them in chalk board paint to serve as a menu board, you can convert them into trays, you can use them in floral and fruit arrangements – truly, the possibilities are endless!

pretty!French inspired

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So whenever I come across vintage breadboards on my picking adventures, I immediately snatch them up (and always on such a dime!). Of course, “vintage” tends to come with a bit of wear and tear so needless to say, a little TLC is necessary with these purchases…

First and foremost, you need to sand the suckers down! I started with my electrical sander on the flat surfaces and then hand sanded with 150-grit sandpaper along the edges and corners.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take “before” pictures prior to the sanding, but here are the boards post sanding:

Bread Boards Sanded

Once the boards were sanded to their original grain, I washed them with soap and hot water and let them fully dry before sanding again with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth down any raised grain. I then wiped each board down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and then began staining.

*Now, with bread boards it is important to use food-safe oils such as teak oil, danish oil, mineral oils, or designated butcher block oils that cure IN the wood rather than ON the wood. I chose a butcher block oil for the larger board and a danish oil in a medium walnut stain for the smaller board.

And when applying these oils, I like to use a small a small chip brush – you can purchase an entire pack for only a few dollars at your local hardware store – but this is merely a preference and a clean, soft cloth will work just as well.

Here are the boards with one coat of oil:

Bread Boards Stained

It is also important to note the drying time for any oil that you use as the boards ARE NOT food safe until the distillates are FULLY cured. This can take days or even weeks so please be sure to read the instructions fully and carefully!

Once the boards have cured, you’re done!

Bread Boards Complete

Simply wrap them as you see fit, slip in a card, and voila! The perfect hostess gift.

Bread Boards Bundled

For an additional challenge, or if you’re flea market search doesn’t pan out, you can also consider making your own!

Want to add a few cheeses to go along with the bread boards (because who doesn’t love cheese?!)? Be sure to refer to Joanna’s handy, dandy cheese guide and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

CHARGING AHEAD WITH THANKSGIVING

My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy. However, with the brunt of the hurricane now behind us and Thanksgiving charging ahead, I think it’s important to remember what we are thankful for.

For the first time, I’ll actually be hosting Thanksgiving for my family this year, and I can’t wait. I love the thrill of hosting, of creating something special for my loved ones, and basking in the conversation and laughter.

For my family, Thanksgiving is a casual affair; a lot of rest, relaxation, football, and food. And this is exactly what I want Thanksgiving dinner to embody: a casual family gathering with my own elegant twist.

So of course, I’ve been scouring through magazines, blogs, and Pinterest for recipes ideas and décor inspiration and here’s what I found:

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Bleu Cheese-bacon dip with crackers for pre-Thanksgiving, football watching snack. You can find the recipe here.

Perfect idea for dining room mantle!

Thanksgiving table setting

I love the natural neutrals of this table setting. It’s simple, elegant, and allows rooms for food on the table!

Pinned ImageCranberry Citrus Relish

Pumpkin risotto, Bread Stuffing with Pancetta & Figs, Cranberry Citrus Relish

Glazed Carrots with PistachiosCelery Root, Potato, and Pear Mash

Glazed Carrots with Pistachios, Celery, Potato, and Pear Mash

Green Beans with Shallots, Thyme, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Green Beans with Shallots, Thyme, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Buttermilk Cornbread, B. Smith’s Bourbon-Cranberry Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle – delish!

Menu cards

Recipe cards for the family to take home – such a great idea!

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Simply adorable idea for buffet table.

Now, I’m sure many of you noticed my lack of Thanksgiving main entrée – the turkey! Well, this year I’ve decided to leave the turkey up to the boys. Yep, there’s nothing like a fryer and a 15lb turkey to bring together the testosterone…

I’m going to hope it turns out a little something like this though!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Will you be hosting? Travelling? I’ll be adding Thanksgiving inspiration to my Pinterest board for the next few weeks so feel free to share your recipes and ideas!