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Dressing up the Thanksgiving kiddie table

In our newest installment of "D-I-Why Not?," host Jeff Meacham helps Kelly's kids, Kiernan and Schuyler, gussy up the kiddie table for Thanksgiving. But grown-ups have plenty to learn as well from these "children's" crafts, one of which is easily adaptable to more sophisticated do-it-yourselfing. (I'll leave it to you to figure out how to adapt the turkey cups into a decoration worthy of the adult table -- but I don't doubt that it's just a failure of my own imagination!)


Jeff and Kelly work on three crafts: the tried-and-true potato stamp; cups decorated to look like turkeys; and Mayflower napkin holders. All of the projects are easy enough for Kelly's young children to do, with a little parental supervision.

The potato-stamp project has the most potential. If you play it right, you can even come out with kid-made decor that you'd be happy to use anywhere, not just on the children's table. Kids know you think their artwork is second-class if you use it only on the kiddie table, and they'll be truly proud if you showcase it where everyone can admire it.

Personalized holiday cards from Rifle Paper Co.

Let me acknowledge first that my suggestions are for the control freaks among us. Some readers will be perfectly happy to let their kids do whatever -- but if you steer the chaos a little, the results will be, shall we say, objectively attractive, even to those soulless family members to whom children's charms aren't immediately evident.

My biggest tip: Narrow the color choices. Put out no more than five paints, and make sure they all look good together. You'll see that Jeff has the right idea (though, for my money, the wrong palette) when he tells the kids to pick their favorite color out of the ones he's chosen in advance. They still get a choice, but a guided choice. Include gold, silver or another metallic for instant glitz and kid appeal.

I'm terrible at choosing colors that coordinate, so I usually look for something to copy. This year, I'm loving Rifle Paper Co.'s palettes, like tangerine, stem green, pine green, tan and light blue. I created a palette over at ColourLovers so you can see what I mean.

My second-best tip: Tell your kids not to overlap the stamp shapes; then smearing won't be as much of an issue. Alternatively, if your kids are older and more patient, do one color at a time, let each dry, then overlap the new color for a dimensional look.

And if you want to feel like a kid again, join in the fun too. Have you ever seen what designer Lotta Jansdotter can do with a potato?

For more holiday inspiration, see our post on Thanksgiving decorating trends on Yahoo! Homes' Spaces blog.

Other recent episodes of "D-I-Why Not?" can be found in these Project Center posts:

25 stunning backsplashes, plus an easy guide to installing your own

Incredible man caves -- and how to build your own

Turn creative photo frames into "wow" wall decor

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