Whether you pluck from nature's bounty or shop for decorations at a craft store, creating a great Thanksgiving tablescape requires a little vision. That's true whether your table is in a dining room or on a back deck.

Once you decide whether to add nature, sparkle or something else for emphasis, spend time thinking of a flexible plan to bring that dream to life.

Natalie Bluestein, Charleston attorney, has a passion for decorating that started when she was 5 or 6. She changes the decorations in her Sullivan's Island home each season and adds something extra for major holidays.

“My great aunt was always into setting tablescapes,” Bluestein says. “She was always good at arranging flowers for centerpieces. She very nicely, not having any children of her own, would indulge me.

“I always thought there should be something more,” Bluestein says. “Art from my school projects would end up as part of the centerpieces.” Whether walking along the beach or participating in some other activity, she is open to finding objects that make her decorations even better.

She shares some of her ideas for creating a festive Thanksgiving mealtime environment.

Q: How do you decide which Thanksgiving table decorations to use?

A: I have my Thanksgiving stuff packed away in bins. I open them up and see what I have. Then, I consider how many people are coming for dinner. Each year I add a few new pieces and take pictures just to be sure that I don't repeat.

Q: Why did you choose a sparkling pumpkins centerpiece?

A: You want a nice low centerpiece that guests can see over as they talk. I usually add something sparkling to the table because we tend to eat later. I spray paint or spray glue and glitter fake pumpkins in a fall color like bronze. Candlelight will really make them sparkle.

You can also coat apples or other fruit in egg whites, dust them with superfine sugar and put them on a rack to dry. Once they are dry, put them in a bowl and on the table.

Q: Are there some essential Thanksgiving table elements?

A: You should have things that say autumn or fall, like these little glass acorns, pumpkins and leaves in fall colors from the dollar store. Add little turkeys from a craft store or make them with pine cones, twigs and paper-mache.

If you happen to have ornaments in fall colors you may want to hang them from the light fixtures. You could also find branches in the yard, spray paint them and make a Thanksgiving tree to hang them from.

You should only be limited by your imagination.

Q: What other kinds of things can be included?

A: This year I'm going to add menorahs and silver pumpkins because Hanukkah starts the night before Thanksgiving. We're observing Thanksgivukkah (both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving traditions).

Q: What about the lighting?

A: If you're eating earlier in the day and it's sunny outside, you may not want to have candles because that's overkill. But, you could use tea light candles just to add some festivity. Set them in cored fruit such as apples, little pumpkins or pomegranates if you don't have holders for them.

Q: What about napkin rings?

A: Core mini pumpkins and use them as napkin rings. Or make them using silk or real flowers and florist twine. You can also incorporate autumn leaves with floral twine.

Q: Can you just choose what you love and expect it all to work?

A: Absolutely. If something doesn't work on the table, it might work on the sideboard, near the front door or somewhere else.

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.