Tag Archives: art

Kristy & Jeff Smith

All In The Family

Diann & Dane Smith

Diann & Dane Smith

New Albany’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing Is an Inspiring Institution

BY LAURA ROSS | PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

The Smiths are one crafty family.

Literally.

The long-time Indiana family is devoted to the community but also creative, energetic and incredibly adept at producing savvy business models that thwart big-box Goliath stores and provide a locally-owned experience and business that caters to customers.

Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing, 420 New Albany Plaza, has been in the Smith family since it opened in 1990. But its roots go much deeper.

Joe and Hilda Busteed originally opened a Ben Franklin Crafts franchise store in Milan, Indiana, during the post-war era.

“Joe was a Fuller Brush salesman originally,” said Kristy Smith, who is a third-generation owner of Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing along with her husband, Jeff Smith, and family partners Dane and Diann Smith.

“When Joe and Hilda opened their Ben Franklin Crafts store,” said Kristy, “it was a true five and dime. You could buy everything there from coffee beans to fabric to make a dress. We still have their first cash register, which rings a maximum of two dollars.”

The Busteeds were treasured local merchants, and when Joe died of an aneurism in his 50s, his daughter Patsy Jo and son-in-law Wayne Smith took over the store. Later, they opened a second shop in Bloomfield, Indiana.

In the late 1980s, Walmart began its the march across the country, gobbling up the market share of mom-and-pop craft and soft goods stores.

So, said Kristy, “Patsy Jo and Wayne conducted a population study and looked for a location that would support an independent craft store. New Albany popped up on the map and had the right socio-economic factors, so they took a leap of faith, closed their two stores and moved south in 1989.”

Kristy & Jeff Smith

Kristy & Jeff Smith

The Smiths ran the popular New Albany Ben Franklin until they retired in 2000 and passed the mantle on to sons Jeff and Dane and their wives, Kristy and Diann. The team of four now manage Ben Franklin and the attached Ben’s Boutique specialty store together, parceling out roles to fit their talents.

“Everyone has their job,” said Kristy. “I do the displays and change the seasons out and help with the buying. Diann is the floor manager, working with employees and setting the sales and connecting with customers. Dane watches over the frame shop, and Jeff is a jack of all trades – from running the finance and business end to driving our truck when needed,” she added, with a laugh.

And, don’t forget the next generation in the wings. “Between us, we have five children – Tyler, Ryan, Logan, Rylie and Luke – who have all worked in the store,” said Kristy. “They are the future.”

“I never knew I’d end up doing this,” admitted Jeff Smith. “But the opportunity arose when I was in college studying business, and I went for it.”

The Smiths maintained the philosophy of building an inventory tailored to local customers’ needs and focused on buying and selling products from local artisans and craftspeople. That extends to wood products from Diverse Woodworking in Lanesville, to Silver Creek Leather in Jeffersonville, Kaiser Wholesale, Master Frame Supply, and hand-made grapevine wreaths by Morris, which is located across the river in Kentucky.

“We buy local whenever we can,” said Jeff. “That’s our family philosophy. You get the best service dealing with people who know you and are local. We do that as much as possible to keep the growth in our community.”

“A Target is a Target is a Target,” added Kristy. “What makes each community special are the family-owned businesses like ours that care about their neighbors and customers.”

The Smiths’ 18 employees are also considered part of the extended family. Many have been with the store for more than 20 years and are welcome, friendly faces to customers.

“People feel comfortable coming here,” said Kristy. “You get personal attention and help. Our employees are people who knit, who quilt, who paint. They use the products that we carry, so that they can offer advice to customers.”

The staff at Ben Franklin eagerly dives into personal projects for customers, from craft and holiday projects, to school assignments and church activities.

“Schools and churches always need specific things and quantities,” said Kristy. “If we know that church camp is coming soon and they’ll need 200 pieces of whatever, we will go through all our catalogues to find that and have it ready. An advantage to being a long-time local business is we know when the science fair projects are coming, we know when the Turkey Bowl is, we know when we’ll need hundreds of t-shirts at the go. That prepares us for when parents all come running in at the last minute looking for 400 skulls for an anatomy dissection class.“A TARGET IS A TARGET IS A TARGET. WHAT MAKES EACH COMMUNITY SPECIAL ARE THE FAMILYOWNED BUSINESSES LIKE OURS THAT CARE ABOUT THEIR NEIGHBORS AND CUSTOMERS.” –Kristy Smith

“It’s about building those relationships with our community,” Kristy added. “We genuinely want to help our customers come up with what they need, and we work with them to find solutions that are either easier or cheaper. Our employees love it when someone asks, ‘How I can I make this happen?’ and we always make it happen.”

The Smiths’ Ben Franklin store offers many classes through the year and will expand their children’s classes and craft sections in the coming months. Derby is always a huge seller for Ben Franklin, too. Hats and fascinators rule the world there, beginning in March. They will also add a new men’s gift wear section in Ben’s Boutique soon.

The children’s activities are key, said Kristy. Not only do the crafts provide a creative outlet and time to craft with their parents or siblings, crafts also work on a child’s dexterity and focus, and can reduce anxiety levels.

“It’s those moments that you might think are nothing, but years from now, you’ll treasure those crafts you made with your children,” she said. “It’s not the piece you made but the time you spent together, literally crafting memories.”

Additionally, Kristy is not only a business owner but also a busy mom and global manager for quality for Zeochem in Louisville, where she works her “other” full-time job. Zeochem, which creates molecular sieves and specialty zeolites for chemical and liquid absorption processes in manufacturing, puts her chemistry degree to good use. But, working with Ben Franklin brings out her creative side.

screen-shot-2019-03-07-at-5-01-27-pm“When I’m at Zeochem, I’m looking at parts per million down to .004 weights and percentages. But when I’m at Ben Franklin, I can design the floor layouts or create natural, free-form floral designs. It’s the perfect stress relief,” she explained. “My mother was an art major and my dad was an engineer, so it’s the perfect blend of left brain-right brain for me.”

screen-shot-2019-03-07-at-5-01-10-pmWhat does she love most about her time at Ben Franklin Crafts? “One of the best things about a craft store is you’re connecting with people in moments of their lives,” she said. “You’re quilting the afghan for the new baby, you’re framing the diploma, you’re making a funeral wreath for someone’s mom’s grave. These are life moments and you connect on a family level.”

But above all? “Family,” said Kristy. “It always pulls you back to family.”

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Let It Snow

Made By Morgan

Snow Frames are a special way to save your memories

By Morgan Sprigler

The most wonderful time of the year is here, and do you know what that means? An endless array of crafting possibilities! When I was strolling through Ben Franklin Crafts & Frame Shop in New Albany last week, I came across the cutest shadow boxes. I stood there staring at them for the longest time, trying to think of what I could use them for and a lightbulb went off: a Snow Frame, which I’ve decided is the sister to a snow globe. I hope that you all have fun creating your own version of this little winter wonderland.

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Supplies:

Miniature shadow box/frame

Floral Styrofoam

Faux snow

Mini snow balls

Floral picks (or miniature trees)

Ribbon

Hot glue gun

Scissors

 

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Step One

Using a butcher’s knife, slice a small piece of floral Styrofoam to fit at the base of your frame. You want to slice a piece small enough so that when you add your snow, it will fall in the front, back and sides of the Styrofoam. Once you are happy with the size, place inside your frame. (Hint: Using a butcher’s knife will create much less of a mess than using scissors.)

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Step Two

Add your snow. Using your butcher’s knife, or some other utensil, direct the snow to fall around your Styrofoam in order to conceal it. You only want a light dusting, as you will add more snow in another step.

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Step Three

Decorate. I took photos of my girls throwing leaves, had them developed and then cut around the perimeter of their bodies. By gluing a snowball in their hands, I created a snow ball fight. So cute! You can use any photo you would like to create your scene. Once you have your photo cut out, glue a toothpick to the back and insert into the Styrofoam. If you do not want to use a photograph, Ben Franklin has tons of mini Christmas themed items, including miniature nativity sets, reindeer, snowflakes, Christmas lights, drums, Christmas trees and more. I used a floral pick for the background of my snow frame. I brought in some color by gluing berries onto the pick. How fun would it be to decorate a mini Christmas tree for your background?! You could even use a light dusting of white spray paint to frost your glass. I mean, go crazy with this, guys!

 

Step Four

Find a place to display your creation. Mine has found a home as a centerpiece on my girls’ arts and crafts table. I think this makes the perfect centerpiece when added on a tray, especially when surrounded by greenery and some battery-operated Christmas lights.

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From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who follow my column. I hope in some small way, I inspire you to be creative. I wish you the happiest of holiday’s and hope that you find peace and joy this season.

Xo,

Morgan

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BEN’S BOUTIQUE

screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-34-33-amDid you know Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany is locally-owned and -operated – and has been for decades? The Smith family moved from Milan, Indiana, to the area in 1990 and opened up the independent shop, which is located at 420 New Albany Plaza in New Albany. Unlike big box stores, there is no corporate office that mandates what Ben Franklin’s sells. Instead, the family and their staffers offer a personal shopping experience that is geared to customers and includes a great selection of clothing and gifts in their store-within-the-store known as Ben’s Boutique. Sign up for Ben Franklin Crafts’ newsletter and get more details about the store at benfranklinartsandframing.com.

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‘SHABBY’ CENTERPIECES

By Morgan Sprigler

I recently arrived back home from witnessing my baby brother marry his sweetheart and am feeling especially sentimental at the moment. Watching him smile ear to ear (literally, it looked a little painful) will be a vision etched in my mind and in my heart for a very long time.

Because I was so moved with this theme, several wedding-related ideas were bouncing around in the crafty section of my brain and I just couldn’t decide on one! So, I headed to Ben Franklin Crafts, 420 New Albany Plaza, for some extra inspiration.

While strolling through the store, I came up with a lovely idea for a table setting. If you like all things shabby-chic like me, I think you will really enjoy this idea.


screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-49-35-amSUPPLIES:

– WOODEN BIRDHOUSE

– WOODEN MINIATURE PLANTERS

– WOODEN NUMBERS

– MINI WOODEN DOWELS

– PRESERVED MOSS

– CHALK PAINT (BLUSH IS SO PRETTY!)

– PAINT BRUSH

– CARDSTOCK

– THIN TIP SHARPIE

– GLUE GUN


screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-49-39-amSTEP ONE – PAINT

I found the spray chalk paint by Rust-Oleum to be very simple to use. I used the color Blush Pink, which I absolutely love. I only applied one layer and let dry. For my table number and miniature planters, I applied Americana’s Chalky Finish Paint in Ivory using a paint brush.

STEP TWO – PLACE SETTINGS

Using a piece of the cardboard from the sandpaper packaging, I created a template for the place settings. I drew out a version of a scroll, but a long rectangle would serve the same purpose, as would any shape that you prefer. Once I had my template, I traced it onto my cardstock and cut out each one individually and then wrote the names on the front of the scroll. Finally, I used my glue gun to place a small dot on the back of the cardstock and secured a mini wooden dowel.screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-49-48-am

STEP THREE – DISTRESSS

Because it was 103 degrees on the day I made these, my paint was dry as soon as I finished step two. Typically, you would need to let it dry for at least an hour. Once you’re sure your paint is dry and set, use the sand paper and start scrubbing away like you would on a really dirty pan (yuck). You can distress your birdhouse, wooden numbers and planters as much or as little as you like.screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-49-56-am

STEP FOUR – HOT GLUE

You should all know by now that I love some hot glue, so this was my favorite part. Glue a thin layer of moss on top of your birdhouse, making sure to cover it completely, while working in small sections. Bare spots don’t necessarily look great for this particular craft. Then, take about a quarter size and fill your planters with moss. (FYI – this is messy. You may want to lay down some newspaper).screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-50-07-am

STEP FIVE – FINISHING TOUCHES

Push your wooden dowel and name scroll into the mini planter. This should go in very easily and does not need glue to hold in place. Now you can set your tables. I loved how the planters looked underneath a wine glass. Now is the time to get creative and add flowers from your favorite florist, beautiful placemats, interesting china, etc.screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-50-44-amscreen-shot-2018-08-20-at-9-50-52-am

I hope this helps to inspire those of you who are planning an upcoming wedding and want to add a DIY touch, no matter how small. Cheers to all of you beautiful brides and grooms! May your lives together be full of joy.

XO,

Morgan

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‘Biggest and Best Show Yet’

28th Annual Art in Speed Park returns in August

BY LISA HORNUNG | COURTESY PHOTOS

screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-2-30-00-amGazing at beautiful art under tall shade trees and sipping a craft beer, wine or “frozen spirits,” sounds like a lovely way to spend a weekend. Luckily, there’s an excellent opportunity for that right here in Southern Indiana.

Art in Speed Park, Aug. 25 and 26, is celebrating its 28th year, and there will be lots to do while browsing and buying fine arts and crafts in Sellersburg. Patrons will enjoy a wine tent featuring Huber’s Orchard and Winery; craft beer and “frozen spirits” from New Albany’s Donum Dei; gourmet food trucks; performing artists on the main stage as well as wandering around the park; and much more.

Musicians who will at the event include Troubadours of Divine Bliss, Robbie Bartlett, Richard Streander and Tyrone Cotton. Plus, kids will have access to a newly-enhanced playground, Graeter’s Ice Cream and a Kids Create tent.

screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-2-30-05-am“It’s our biggest and best show yet,” said Director Kim Johnson, who has been running the show for 26 years and was involved with the event since its inception. “We will have more artists than ever before coming from all over country. We have an excellent reputation for being a very high-quality show.”

Because it’s the end of August, many art lovers say that Art in Speed Park is the unofficial kick-off for the fall art show season, and they set their calendars every year. “It never fails: As soon as the show is over, the leaves start to fall,” Johnson said. But if it gets too hot, there will be misting fans to keep visitors cool. Even so, the show is on grass and shaded by trees, so it isn’t likely to get unbearable, Johnson said.

The show began as a way to connect the community with fine art and each other, Johnson said. Now, it’s blossomed to almost 50,000 annual visitors. “It’s really become this crazy successful event,” Johnson said. “We have a huge Louisville following. Folks come from Lexington and Indianapolis, too. They mark their calendars and are sure to attend every year because of the setting and the atmosphere and everything we provide right here in little Sellersburg.”

Some of the artists scheduled to attend this year are pottery artist Larry Spears, watercolor artist Cathy Hillegas and jewelry artist Dawn Middleton. Johnson said the show tries to keep a good variety of art media, with about 15 different media this year, including painting, glass, pottery, sculpture, jewelry and more. “Part of the jurying process is to balance the different media,” she said.screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-2-30-10-am

One of the charms of the show is the chance to meet the artists, Johnson added. “It’s just a good opportunity to interact with the artist and fall in love with the art.” she said. “You can hear the inspiration behind creating the art. Then, when you bring it home, it adds so much more” to your purchase.

Art in Speed Park is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26 at Speed Park in Sellersburg. Free parking is available one block away at Silver Creek Middle and High Schools. There is no cost to attend.


Art in Speed Park 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M. AUG. 25 AND 26 SPEED PARK HWY 31 & INDIANA AVENUE SELLERSBURG ARTINSPEEDPARK.COM

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62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show Returns Oct. 5-7

With fall on the horizon, the 62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show is back and will again be held the first full weekend in October. What was once just a way for residents of the neighborhood to pay their bills has become a “Top 10 Fine Arts and Craft Show in the U.S.” – as ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine (September 2017).

Howard Rosenberg has been named the new Executive Director of the St. James Court Art Show. Rosenberg has been an active member of the Old Louisville community since he moved there in the early 80s. He currently serves as the chair on the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and the Garvin Gate Blues Festival. Rosenberg is also an active member of the Jewish Community Federation.

“I have felt it important to be involved in this extremely unique and beautiful historic neighborhood. I believe in the value that the SJCAS brings to this region,” says Rosenberg. “To be a part of this great event in a meaningful way is a life’s dream. To be able to contribute to the value that it brings to our community is humbling.”

The St. James Court Art Show takes place on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and the art show is a rain or shine event held in historic Old Louisville, one of the largest preserved districts of Victorian architecture in the United States. The show began on St. James Court and has since expanded to Belgravia Court, South Fourth Street, Third Street, 1300 Third Street Neighborhood Association and the West End Baptist Church.

stj2In addition to the plethora of local Kentucky artists, hundreds of artists travel to Louisville from all around the world to participate in this incredible show, and only about one in four that apply are selected to show their work at St. James Court Art Show. During this three-day event guests will discover unique works of art in 17 artistic mediums, from clay to wood, and everything in between. Food and drink from local vendors will also be available for purchase.

In the early years of the art show, profits were around $700 and attendance was approximately 40,000. Today, the St. James Court Art Show attracts over 150,000 visitors and tops $3 million in sales, while showcasing more than 700 artists. A portion of those profits profits also help fund scholarships for the St. James Court Art Show H.S. Scholarship Competition, which annually awards over $52,000 total to six deserving high school art students. St. James Court Art Show also has a grant process that supports several other Old Louisville non-profits and events such as, The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Garvin Gate Blues Festival, Old Louisville Springfest, Shakespeare in the Park, Central Park Clean Up and many others. Profits also benefit the preservation of the iconic St. James Court fountain and the Old Louisville neighborhood. The maintenance of the iconic St. James Court Fountain alone can cost $10,000-$30,000 a year, and the neighborhood is also responsible for maintaining the greens, trees, sidewalks, gas lights, lions and urns of the court. Those who live in Old Louisville benefit from the amenities of the neighborhood, as do the thousands of visitors.

Those traveling to Louisville for 62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show will find plenty to do after the art show concludes each night. Named “One of the Great Places in America,” by the American Planning Association, Old Louisville is located a few miles from other notable Louisville attractions such as the Kentucky Derby Museum, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, 21c Museum and Hotel, and numerous bourbon distilleries. Walking distance from the art show are a number of other local restaurants, bars, and businesses, like Old Louisville Brewery, Amici Café, Pizza Donisi, Granville Inn, Seafood Lady, and Old Louisville Tavern.

For more information about the St. James Court Art Show, visit stjamescourtartshow.com and follow on Facebook at facebook.com/StJamesCourtArtShow.

The St. James Court Art Show® is a juried fine arts and contemporary crafts show held among the country’s largest collection of Victorian homes in the heart of historic Old Louisville. St. James Court Art Show® was founded on October 12, 1957 by St. James Court Association president, Malcolm Bird. Back in 1957, St James Court Association was faced with an empty treasury, mounting debt for recent fountain repairs, and an immediate need to generate funds. The Art Show seemed to be a perfect means to generate funds and bring residents together. For over 60 years, the first full weekend in October has meant that it’s St. James Court Art Show time. What originally began as a way to pay the bills has become an autumn tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to see (and purchase) original art from talented artists.

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Summit Springs Hosts Dedication

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-5-29-11-pmNew Albany was once used by pioneers making their way west as they followed the paths bison traveled to Illinois, the same route once also used by Native Americans.

To commemorate the site of Buffalo Trace, developers of the $30 million Summit Springs project recently hosted a dedication of “Tatonka East & Tatonka West” statues that will be featured in the new Buffalo Art Park in the development, which is located off State Street behind Burger King on Daisy Summit Road.

The development will include restaurants, including a Taco Bell, and a hotel.

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A Splash of Art

watertowerPHOTO BYCHRISTIAN WATSON

Artist Wilfred “Will” Sieg III has been busy transforming the water tower located at Michigan Avenue in Jeffersonville, much to the delight of passersby. The tank is a vibrant marker for the arts and cultural district slated for the area.

Extol Magazine Creative Director Adam Kleinert – photographed by Danny
Alexander – is a good sport and a tremendous part of the Extol Team

Letter From The Editor | April/May 2018

Extol Magazine Creative Director Adam Kleinert – photographed by Danny Alexander – is a good sport and a tremendous part of the Extol Team

Extol Magazine Creative Director Adam Kleinert – photographed by Danny Alexander – is a good sport and a tremendous part of the Extol Team

By Angie Fenton

I hope you’ve noticed that this issue of Extol

Magazine is bigger, better and more: We’ve

increased our pages, added better content and are

featuring more about Southern Indiana because

all of us on the Extol Team know our community

deserves more.

We’ve also undergone a redesign, thanks to

Adam Kleinert, our creative director.

I first met Adam in 2012 just after the tornado

outbreak wreaked havoc on Henryville and

Kentucky communities. At that time, I was working

for another publication and quickly figured out

he was someone special. Despite enduring a

horrifying natural disaster – Adam’s property

and home still bear evidence of the tornado

outbreak – he and photographer Josh Adwell

quickly assembled a calendar featuring those

affected and donated the proceeds for rebuilding

of the Southern Indiana town.

Fast forward a few years to when Adam joined

the Extol Team. While everyone plays an important

role, there is no one who is as imperative – and

loved by all – as Adam.

Not only is Adam a treasured member of his

community and incredibly-involved father and

husband, but his commitment to Extol Magazine

deserves a moment of public gratitude.

With this issue, we have increased our pages

(32, if you’re counting) and added content from

around our Southern Indiana community, too.

None of this would be possible without Adam

Kleinert, the MVP of our team.

Thank you, Adam, and thank you to our readers

and advertising partners as well.

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Made by Morgan | A DIY Tradition

By Morgan Sprigler

TRADITION, AS DEFINED IN THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, IS “A BELIEF OR BEHAVIOR PASSED DOWN WITHIN A GROUP OR SOCIETY WITH SYMBOLIC MEANING.” CAN YOU THINK OF A TRADITION YOU HAVE CARRIED ON FROM YOUR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS OR ANYONE SIGNIFICANT IN YOUR LIFE? I CAN THINK OF SEVERAL, AND WHEN I DO, SO MANY MEMORIES FLOAT AROUND IN MY HEAD. EACH ONE LEAVING ME WITH A SWEET FEELING OF NOSTALGIA.

Last year, I decided I would begin my own tradition for Thanksgiving dinner. My family loved it (or at least pretended to). I’m sure you have seen the Pinterest instructions on how to create a sharpie plate, mug, etc. Well, I borrowed this idea and went another direction with it.


Supplies: 

White Ceramic Plates (Dollar Store/Big Lots)

Porcelain Marker (I used Vitrea, which worked much better than a Sharpie. Let dry before baking.)

Oven (Bake at 300 for 40 minutes)


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-5-51-19-pmWith a porcelain marker, I created a large dinner plate for each family member, filled with words of affirmation, accomplishments and successes for the year. They read something like this, “Before you fill your belly, let me fill your head! This year, you celebrated 32 years of wedded bliss.”

To be placed on top of the dinner plate, I created a salad plate with each family member’s monogram and some little, gold dots.

The evening of Thanksgiving dinner, I decided turn my project into a guessing game! As I was setting the table, I mixed up the monogram salad plates to be placed on top of the dinner plates. By going around the table, each person read the dinner plate aloud, and we all guessed who the plate belonged to. This was such a fun way to recognize each other and celebrate our successes as a family!

At the end of the evening, I wrapped up everyone’s plates and sent them home to be enjoyed throughout the year. (They’re dishwasher safe!)

The holidays are about to sneak up on us, dear readers. I urge you to create a tradition if you don’t already have one. Family memories are priceless!

XO,

Morgan