Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. The warm autumn colors, the chance to share love and thanks with my family and friends, and of course, the wonderful feast. Unfortunately, many people find Thanksgiving to be a stressful ordeal. It doesn’t have to be! From invitations, to decorations, to the dinner menu, we have a few ideas to make your Turkey Day festive, delicious, and hassle-free!
To get started, check out our Thanksgiving invitations. We have several different options available for you to customize and match to your dream holiday gathering. We can even address and mail them out for you!
Once your invitations have hit the printing press, you can move on to planning your decorations. I am always inspired by fall’s brilliant and rich colors. Autumn leaves and gourds make for eye-catching yet simple décor.
(Photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart)
Left: For a beautiful table runner, get inspired by this beautiful photograph from Better Homes and Gardens. Find a few small pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch, line them up down the center of your table, and weave a matching ribbon around them. You can even add branches, greenery, or a garland for an extra burst of color! Top right: I love these place cards from Martha Stewart. The leaves are perfect for any autumn tablescape, and the chalkboard look is very in right now! Best of all, they’re incredibly easy to make. Bottom right: Set the mood for a warm dinner with your loved ones with these painted glass votive candle holders, also from Martha Stewart. This would be a fun DIY project (the link will give you simple instructions,) but if you’re pressed for time (or aren’t feeling very artsy,) go ahead and purchase some glass votives in your favorite fall colors.
Planning and preparing dinner may be the most anxiety-inducing part of the holiday! However, if you schedule carefully, and do everything that you can ahead of time, it’s a lot easier to bring the meal together. Food Network has a great Thanksgiving planning guide to help you out. If you plan things just right, you’ll spend less of Thanksgiving in the kitchen, and more of it mingling with your loved ones!
Here’s a few favorite recipes to add to your holiday menu!
(Photo credit: The Pioneer Woman, Simply Recipes, Smitten Kitchen, How Sweet Eats)
Top left: A juicy and flavorful roasted turkey (and brine,) courtesy of The Pioneer Woman. She even includes step-by-step photos and instructions! Bottom left: My favorite tip for the perfect mashed potatoes: use a potato ricer! It’s difficult to smooth out all the lumps out with a fork or potato masher, and using a hand mixer can result in a gluey texture. A potato ricer delivers smooth, creamy, fluffy results, and it’s much faster than a regular potato masher! Try Simply Recipes’ garlic mashed potatoes for a delicious yet simple take on this traditional side dish. (Another tip: throw the roasted garlic in with the potatoes into the ricer to avoid large garlic pieces.) Top right: For dessert to feed a crowd, Smitten Kitchen takes her go-to apple pie recipe (my personal favorite) and turns it into an entire sheet of pie! (Tip: apple pie is always best the day it’s made, but if you premake the crust the night before and refrigerate it, all you have to do the day of is roll it out, fill, and bake!) Bottom right: Finally, for a boozy treat, How Sweet Eats’ apple cider sangria is a fun autumnal take on a classic party drink.
Hopefully we have given you some inspiration, tricks, and tips to make your holiday memorable and stress-free! Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or decorations idea?
There are many fun aspects of working at Paper Culture from our need to celebrate every holiday to brainstorming new products. As you can imagine, the winter holiday season is very busy for us. In January, when we have a moment to breathe we look back and reflect on the past year. This includes time to look back at all the amazing and creative holiday cards our wonderful customers have designed. At any given moment, you’ll hear the staff laughing, oohing and aahing, and sometimes even quiet from sheer shock.
Here are our top 4 favorites from 2012, in no particular order. Will you be on our 2013 favorites list?
Taking Swaddling to a New Level
When Hairy Met Sally
Life is a Beach
A Joyful Family
A big thanks to all of our customers for entrusting their holiday cards with Paper Culture! If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to check out our new 2013 holiday designs including Jumbo Holiday Cards. The larger card format is 8.9″ x 3.9″ and like all of our cards, is made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper. You’ll find both photo and non-photo options with backs that will wow your family and friends just as much as the front. Be sure to taking advantage of our 20% off holiday cards this week as well as our ongoing FREE Mail-and-Address Service. Let us do the work. We will stamp, address and mail your cards for free. You only pay the cost of the stamp.
For many, Halloween is the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season! The weather starts to turn, the fireplace starts to get some use, sweater weather is in full swing and the holiday season is around the corner. For both kids and adults, Halloween is a treasured holiday (yes, we at Paper Culture will all be dressed up and may even share a photo for you on Facebook) where you can be anyone or anything you want, eat lots of candy with half the guilt, and decorate your pumpkins.
Decorating pumpkins can be so much fun and there are so many creative ways to make your pumpkin a standout whether it’s a no carve or traditional carved pumpkin. We looked around the web and here are some of our favorite ideas, in no particular order. If you need some patterns, check out Red Tri’s pumpkin design templates.
Very impressive Toy Grabber game from This Old House Pumpkin Carving Contest
Decorate your pumpkins with tape or chalkboard paint from Real Simple.
No Carve Owl Pumpkin from Better Homes and Gardens.
Here are some quick tips if you are carving your pumpkin:
- Remove the top before starting your design
- Scoop out the guts with an ice cream scooper
- Prep your artwork. Draw it on a piece of paper or use a water based marker so if you make a mistake, you can wipe it off
- If you purchased a pumpkin carving kit, make sure the cutter is durable as many bend and break easily so you may want to use a precision knife
Spring has been slowly unveiling itself since Daylight Savings was ushered in last weekend. What better way to welcome the season than with some fun ideas of throwing a spring party to welcome new life, growth and birth. Whether you’re celebrating it in remembrance of the resurrection or in the spirit of gift-giving and Easter egg hunts, here are some modern and eco ideas on how to throw a refreshing spring party.
It’s that time of the year again when you’ve got to decide whether or not to order holiday cards. Personally I get sad every year receiving fewer and fewer cards in the mail. There’s nothing quite like coming home to a full mailbox of holiday greetings and warm messages from friends letting me know how their year went. E-cards just don’t hold the same weight, literally and figuratively. Living in a time where e-mails are replaced by short tweets or Facebook messages, it’s often easy to forget how nice it can be do get a real card in the mail.
We’ve always been huge fans of collages. All you need are some old magazines, scissors, and glue and you’ve got an instant arts and crafts project. We found a particularly inspiring project this year on Cool Mom Picks from the new DIY magazine Moomah. You can download a template, which includes an abundant cornucopia and the phrase “I am thankful for….” Look through newspapers and magazines Thanksgiving week to find pictures of characters, objects, animals, or even simply colors that your kids are thankful for. It’s a great way to keep them occupied while you’re cooking up a storm in the kitchen. And the results are simply frame-worthy.
Do your kids have a food allergy? Chef extraordinaire Erin McKenna showed us that even the most allergy-prone child need not go without cupcakes. Her bakeries, based in New York, Los Angeles, and Disney World, Babycakes, have made it easy for anyone to indulge in gluten-free, wheat-free, or sugar-free cakes, cookies and donuts. Using healthy ingredients like coconut oil and fresh spices, the treats are a guilt-free indulgence. Her cookbook has made it easy to replicate the recipes at home. And now, an accompanying iPhone App makes it easier than ever to recreate these amazing treats. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who has no food allergies, the recipes are delicious and enjoyable whenever, and provide a healthy alternative to more sugar-laden treats.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the East Coast. Residents of New Jersey and New York City are still feeling the intense effects of Hurricane Sandy. The devastating storm has destroyed entire homes in its wake. The hardest hit areas, including Rockaway, Queens, are still struggling to get heat and hot water. The freezing nor’easter last week just added salt to the wound. No matter where you are, there’s lots you can do to help. Recovery efforts have already revealed how strong we are as a nation to pull together after a disaster.
If you’re on the ground, consider volunteering time to help clear basements or distribute donations. You can find the most up-t0-date information at Occupy Sandy.
The easiest way to help out if you already have an Amazon account is to contribute something to the Occupy Sandy wedding Registry. Instead of cleaning out your closet to come up with donations consider fulfilling a specific request. People on the ground are constantly updating what is needed most. You can buy cleaning supplies, hardware, or baby items that will be delivered straight to relief efforts.
Architecture for Humanity is a global community that helps to rebuild spaces, often in green ways, in post-conflict areas.Their recent report just how much is needed to rebuild the coastline. Text REBUILD to 85944 to make a $10 donation.
The American Red Cross is on the ground feeding hot meals to people and distributing blankets. You can contribute directly on the website.
Did you know that 65 percent of kids entering school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet? According to Cathy N. Davidson of Duke University, that means the need to be creative in life is essential. The new site DIY.org makes it easy and fun for kids to start enhancing their creativity skills early on. The website and app presents a multitude of projects kids can create at home. Once they complete the project, they earn virtual skill patches, similar to a Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts badge. They can share photos or video of their project to further enhance the feeling of pride of a job well-done. The projects range from easy and homemade, like making pickles or a smoothie, to medium-skill such as making an animal mask or rock collection, to complex, such as knitting a scarf or even making your own bicycle fenders.
If there’s one thing we love it’s paper. And we especially love when people turn it into art. One new artist takes it well beyond origami, creating gorgeous 3-D art out of recycled paper. Ali Golzad is an artist living in Texas, originally from Göteborg, Sweden by way of Tehran, Iran. With a background as a graphic designer and creative director, his latest project asks us to question how we normally look at waste and see something beautiful: “Over the years I have developed my own technique using various mediums,” he says. “Aside from my formal graphic design training and time spent as a Creative Director you could say I am a self taught artist. My urge to create while still caring for our planet enabled me to look at ordinary objects in a new light and transform these commonly discarded materials into something meaningful.” We love the innovative use of paper techniques to recreate well-known figures. More pictures after the jump.