Thanksgiving is a special time for families to get together, eat good food and take time to recognize things they are thankful for. For the past two years my extended family has gone out to a restaurant for our turkey day dinner, which I was certainly thankful for since I didn’t have go thru the hassle, fuss or mess of preparing in my kitchen!
However, this year I was craving a home-cooked holiday meal so this Thursday I’m having the family over for a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, butternut squash soup, cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes, mashes potatoes, green beans with shallots, sausage & mushroom stuffings, salad, cornbread, parsnip and turnip puree, gravy and both pumpkin and apple pies.
Now that may sound like a lot of food, but then you don’t know my family – we certainly can eat! I also always like to make just a bit extra because I love eating Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ve been known to make a late night trip, or two, to the fridge for another gobble (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) of turkey & stuffing.
Now as many of you know, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner totally wreaks havoc on your schedule. Most of my “free” time outside of work this week will be spent cleaning the house, grocery shopping and of course, preparing the meal. Creating a festive and creative tablescape ala Sandra Lee is pretty low on my priority list. However, I did come up with an easy, quick and fun centerpiece that the kidlets helped me create that will adorn our Thanksgiving table.
I introduce you to “Turk the Turkey,” as named by son:
8” Styrofoam ball
8” Styrofoam disc
4” Styrofoam ball
6” Styrofoam cone
2 bottles (2 fl oz 59 ml) Folk Art Coffee Bean acrylic paint
1 bottle Folk Art Autumn Leaves acrylic paint (or another contrasting fall color)
1 sheet each black and white felt
Other felt sheets in autumn colors of – yellow, green, red, brown, orange
1 small novelty hat (or cake topper) – either in or paint it black
2 packages of autumnal colored feathers
2 20mm Googly eyes
x-acto crafting knife (or table knife in a pinch)
Ruler & Sharpie
Hot glue gun (Tacky Glue or Elmers Glue would work too!)
Using x-acto crafting knife, lightly shave the large round end of 6” Styrofoam cone to make a concave surface in order to fit snugly against 8” Styrofoam ball.
Using one of the bamboo skewers, connect the 4” Styrofoam ball to the 6” Styrofoam cone and thru the 8” Styrofoam ball, so it will look like this:
Paint the 8” Styrofoam disc with Folk Art Autumn Leaves acrylic paint with foam paintbrush. Let dry and apply second coat.
I’ve seen little novelty Pilgrim Hats at craft stores before, but mine was all out so I took an old St. Patrick’s Day plastic hat I had leftover from my leprechaun trap craft and painted it with black acrylic paint.
Once all the Styrofoam pieces have dried, take the second bamboo skewer and place it thru the 8” Styrofoam ball all the way to the base. Use the scissors/craft knife to cut away any of the skewer that sticks out the top of the turkey body.
Cut three ¼” length-wide pieces of the black felt to create a pilgrim belt and a collar.
Hot glue two pieces of the black felt strips together at one end, overlapping them a bit. Wrap the black felt around the 8” Styrofoam ball – the body of the turkey – like a belt, cutting off the excess and secure with hot glue. Cut a small square out of the yellow felt to resemble a belt buckle and you could event cut a tiny black felt square and glue to middle of yellow felt to make it look like an authentic buckle.
Hot glue the other piece of black felt around the base of the neck, which will help to cover up where the Styrofoam cone neck & body meet in case of any unevenness. Cut a small square piece of white felt and hot glue in the front of the collar.
Take the white felt and cut a 2” rounded square bib. Cut two small black felt squares and hot glue to the bib to make it look like buttons. Then hot glue the bib to the body of the turkey.
Hot glue the pilgrim hat & googly eyes to 4” Styrofoam ball — the head of the turkey. Then take the yellow felt (or orange, your choice) and cut out a ½” diamond shape to make the turkey’s beak and cut out a waddle using either red or orange felt and hot glue that onto the left side edge of the yellow felt and hot glue the entire piece underneath the googly eyes.
To create the turkey’s feet you can use yellow felt and cut out a simple toe pattern and hot glue them to the base underneath the turkey body.
So your turkey should look like this:
The last part – and the most fun part – is to take the feathers and stick them into the Styrofoam body to create his plumage. I happened to have some smaller feathers leftover from another project and also stuck those in to fill him out a bit more.
I glued some craft leaves to the front of the base and voila, Turk the Turkey was created!
The longest part was the painting of the Styrofoam balls, they were a bit of a pain to paint, trying to make sure that there were no white nooks and crannies of the ball showing. Otherwise it took no time at all to assemble. It was also easy for the kidlets to help out. Their favorite part was sticking in of the feathers, which my son also took particular care of to have it follow a certain color order pattern.
I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction on Thanksgiving when they come to the table and see Turk. Maybe we’ll start a new tradition and add a new Turk every year, creating our very own turkey flock!
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
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