Sometimes a sentimental thrift find combined with an everyday objects you already have on hand can transform into unexpected centerpiece for a holiday table that sparks conversation and evokes whimsy.
One of my favorite estate-sale discoveries is a ceramic, horseshoe-shaped bud vessel that I found while thrift shopping with my pal Ruth Handel in Los Angeles. When I found it, I was immediately attracted to the funny frog perched on the arc of the container.
I’ve used him for several years as a decorative accessory in my apartment, but never to his full floral potential. So when it came time to create a holiday centerpiece, I moved him from the bedroom, placed him on a John Derian cake stand that my friend Veli Ivanic gave me last year as a loving Christmas gift, and the inspiration started to flow.
I looked over to the fruit bowl and noticed I had pears, miniature apples and shiny oranges all ripe for the picking. I arranged them around the container and then ran downstairs to the deli and bought $7 worth of white freesia and glossy red berries, which I cut into tiny sprigs and placed them into my bud vase.
Et voilà! A focal point on a holiday table that looks good enough to eat -- and we did!
In May 2009, Clarkson Potter will publish my book, The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.