How to Host Friendsgiving

 
 Photography by  Angela Carlyle  Design, Food & Flowers by  Teressa Johnson

Photography by Angela Carlyle Design, Food & Flowers by Teressa Johnson

We set off to solve this problem: How to host for Thanksgiving when you have the heart, but no idea how to pull it off. However, it has evolved into much more. We are calling it our "Thanks to You" Soiree. The content is part DIY (make your own napkins, prep your own dried flowers, prep-ahead dried orange crackers), part Fall inspiration shoot/Friendsgiving dinner party, but fully, a real party held in the honor of those who have offered unending support in various ways in my life. So we are making a styled shoot have a very intentional purpose. We are featuring ideas, products, and a full on party spread. The intention in getting published is to have our images pinned, and inspire dinners with greater intention than just making things beautiful. We want to honor people.

Here’s how we did it.

Napkins

Sourcing fabric by the bolt is often expensive so we find it either second hand or in other forms, such as curtains. To achieve a perfectly straight line, simply snip about 1/2" with sheers, and tear. Most natural fibers will tear evenly due to the way in which they are woven. This delivers a rough but straight effect, and could either be left alone, or folded over and stitched by hand or machine.

Dried Foliage/Flowers

My best advice for choosing flowers and foliage to dry: Try anything! If you have something you need to prune in your yard, or have something leftover and wonder what it might look like dried, just give it a try. Collect a few stems of something interesting. Here we tried grasses, eucalyptus, and dusty miller. Use a rubber band to gather and wrap a few times to ensure a tight hold. The rubber is key element as it will grip the stems even as they dry and become more slender. Hang upside down in a dry space and allow about 2-3 weeks for them to fully lose all the moisture. Then they are good to use anywhere you like. Expect them to be brittle and for the color to fade after about 1 year.

Orange Crisps

When hosting events for my gluten-free friends, I always try to find alternatives to gluten; not just swapping out flours and hoping to present a passible diversion. Enter my orange crisp. A beautiful copper stained glass piece of art and vehicle to deliver all the cheese. These are easy to make and when used in tandem with pungent blues and sweet honey, behold! That perfect bite of acid, sweet, salt, and fat is born.

To make: thinly and uniformly slice navel oranges, peel on. If using a dehydrator, place in a single layer and dry between 115-135 degrees for 7-12 hours (the lower the temp, the more natural oils remain.) If using an oven, bake at the lowest temp possible, I think 225 degrees for about 4 hours. The key is that they are brittle, but not burned. If they are not brittle, they will not keep as well as solidly dry oranges.

The greatest shortcut: buy them here and have them shipped.

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Photography by Angela Carlyle Design, Food & Flowers by Teressa Johnson Ceramic Artist, Katherine Moes Flatware Rentals from Balancing Balloons Graphic Designer, Clara Kim Wooden Table from Seattle Farm Tables Wooden Gift Boxes by Teressa Johnson, available at ANDERS Shop Marble Appetizer Slabs by Teressa Johnson, also available at ANDERS Shop Blueberry Juice by Susan Soltes Whiskey + Maple Syrup by Kat Spellman