Autumn is the perfect time to gather outdoors, wool blankets on hand, a delightful seasonal menu ready and friends at your side to reminisce on the changing of the seasons. The inspiration of autumn and the changing leaves of fall beckon us outdoors despite the subtle chill in the air. If you’re hoping to use this as a time to get friends together, a harvest gathering is the perfect backdrop for a nature-inspired dinner party.

To plan your harvest gathering, use the outdoors as inspiration. Burnt orange, deep yellows, and mellow reds and browns will create a beautiful color palette from which to decorate, develop a menu, and even create small DIY’s for that special seasonal touch. Integrate these colors into the tabletop with local florals, various fabrics such as leather for the place settings, velvet (or similar fabric) for a runner, and cloth cotton for napkins. Use household items such as various pillows and blankets of wool and cotton to create a warm, cozy table setting.

Utilize your handy work (or that of a creative friend) and hand write or calligraphy personalized place cards and menus as souvenirs for guests to remember the special details of the evening. With a warm, inviting environment and blankets to stave off the chilly autumn air, your guests will enjoy the company, creative touches and beautiful surroundings of a lovely harvest night.

Classic Butternut Squash Soup (Adapted from Whole Foods Market)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cups cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée soup. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and carefully purée in batches in an upright blender.

Quick DIY Yarn Pendent Banner (Adapted from Art in the Find)

You’ll Need:
2-3 various colors of yarn
Wood or sticks of varied lengths

1. Start with whichever color yarn you prefer, pulling yarn in stripes making arms-length loops, counting to 20.  Using scissors, cut off the yarn at the end, and then fold yarn over into a U shape.

2. Lay the top of the U shaped yarn over the middle of the stick and loop the ends under the stick and through the U.  Pull to tighten.  Continue this step using different colored yarn to create a color ombre effect.

3. Keep adding color to your DIY Pendant Banner by repeating step 3 until you have your desired results or you reach the end of the stick!

4. Create a wall fastener out of a piece of the yarn string and tie it at both ends of the stick, loose enough to allow for the Pendant Banner to hang down 7-10 inches or so.

5. Using scissors, cut a “V” by starting in center of the yarn and diagonally working your way out to the edges

Images via Katie Beverly Photography; Florals via Compass Florals; Calligraphy via Twinkle and Toast; Table rental via Adore Folklore rentals; Dinnerware via West Elm (San Diego); Styling & Inspiration by Conni Jespersen of Art in the Find Styling

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