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A Thrifter’s Thanksgiving: Making a ‘Something Found’ Holiday Spread

It was in the pages of another local publication two decades ago that I began writing about home improvements. Years later, I answered a call in our community for contractors and started a handy business, improving the Greater Lansing area one building at a time. During the pandemic, I discovered I was known for my design sense as much as my team’s technical skill, so I got certified and began offering full makeover services. 

It feels like I’ve come full circle, once again writing for a local magazine about how to beautify our spaces, and I am inspired to share how I create my signature “something found” style.  

As hearts and minds begin focusing on the holiday season, it seems fitting to start with how to create inviting seats at any table you’re setting in the coming weeks. I generally lead with gratitude in life, so it’s important to me, before ever buying decor, to forage my own garden for seasonal treasures.  

For this holiday table, I started with dried hydrangeas, seed pods and stems from my Blue False Indigo, and orange rose hips. Using an inexpensive cheesecloth runner, my collection of outdoor finds, mini pumpkins from a local farmer, some slices of tree limbs I picked up at ScrapFest and a few feathers found in the neighborhood, I had the perfect backdrop for an elegant table setting that celebrates the beauty of nature. 

Because I reuse and repurpose, I added a few sparkly faux pomegranates I thrifted years back, old plates from the dollar store, last year’s post-holiday clearance napkins paired with dollar-store napkin rings, wine glasses I bought in the 1990s and some LED candles I’ve had for ages. The only new items for this project were a trendy set of faux bamboo silverware and the frayed burlap placemats. 

It fills my heart to arrange these seemingly random objects, none of them costing much, in such a purposeful way that is fresh and on-trend. The most significant investment for this rich display was tending to my own little section of the world. And, like any labor of love, the rewards are priceless.  

You can get more information about the process at or by following Stephanie Murray Makeovers on Facebook or Instagram. Murray can be reached at, where you are welcome to submit topics she might address in an upcoming issue or on her blog.