Wine crates are a versatile and fun vessel to create a centerpiece in. Free for the asking at your local liquor store and in various sizes, they present endless design possibilities. Perfect on a buffet table, they stand out due to the size and height of arrangements in them. For this Thanksgiving centerpiece, I painted a wine crate with chalkboard paint and inscribed it with messages suitable for the holiday (instructions here). A fun twist on my design would be to greet arriving guests with a festive drink in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other and invite them to inscribe their own words of thanks on the painted crate!
To start, I placed an inverted empty yogurt container in the center of the crate then stuffed crumpled newspaper around it. Gourds are heavy so I compacted several sheets of paper sufficient to support their weight. I chose a selection of gourds of various sizes, shapes and colors as well as mini pumpkins, bittersweet vine, woven spheres and a sheaf of wheat casually tied with twine. The container was needed to elevate the sheaf of wheat. I worked keeping in mind the golden rules of container gardening: thrill, fill and spill. I played around with the arrangement of the gourds and spheres until I was satisfied with how it looked. I filled gaps between the gourds with the bittersweet vine, letting it spill over the edges. I used chalk to write Thanksgiving messages freehand. The centerpiece took less than half an hour to create. It can be made several weeks ahead of Thanksgiving since the gourds will hold up and nothing else is perishable, a great time saver for busy hostesses. Variations could include swapping the sheaf of wheat for tall pillar candles or a potted mum.
“When we count our many blessings,
It isn’t hard to see.
That life’s most valued treasures,
Are the treasures that are free.
For it isn’t what we own or buy,
That signifies our wealth.
It’s the special gifts that have no price:
Our family, friends and health.” Unknown
May you be blessed with such treasures in abundance!