My Thanksgiving Table: Renee Pulve (+ DIY Leaf Place Cards)

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Renee Pulve of Smudge Design
Where you’re based: Westlake Village, CA
How long you’ve been with Minted: 4.5 years
My favorite thing about the holidays is… Christmas music.
Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless… there are leftovers!
Stuffing—love it or loathe it? Love it—and it better be Stove Top!

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be hosting a small and intimate gathering at home. Here’s a sneak peek into what I’ve got planned. —Renee

Click through for all the details, plus Renee’s DIY maple-leaf place cards tutorial…

1. To get everyone excited about Thanksgiving dinner at my place, I sent each guest my “Give Thanks” invitation from Minted.

2. This white pumpkin tablescape immediately caught my eye with it’s modern simplicity. I also love the idea of reusing pumpkins from Halloween and painting them white (you can also find pre-painted artificial pumpkins at craft stores). The berry garland adds some warmth to the centerpiece, as well as a subtle pop of color. Tip: Use U-pins from a floral or craft store to hold the garland in place.

3. While I love the traditional Thanksgiving meal, I’ve been looking for a dessert that offers a unique twist on the typical pumpkin pie. These super simple pumpkin cupcakes are exactly what I’m looking for. And what’s more decadent than cinnamon-cream cheese frosting?!

4. Thanksgiving will forever remind me of the beautiful fall foliage (and the amazing maple syrup!) in Vermont, one of my favorite places. I decided to bring a little bit of New England to my dinner table with these DIY maple-leaf place cards—the simple steps are described below.

5. With gold being so on-trend this year, it didn’t take much to talk myself into purchasing these modern gold flatware sets from West Elm.

6. On such a meaningful day, let’s remember to give thanks. These kraft-paper placemats tie in nicely with the invitation design and guests can write down what they’re thankful for. If you’re feeling extra warm and fuzzy, take turns going around the table and reading aloud some of the notes.

DIY Maple-Leaf Place Cards
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at calligraphy and decided now was as good of a time as any. I created these calligraphed place cards using fall foliage I gathered from my neighborhood.


1. While you could always hire a professional calligrapher, I ordered Laura Hooper’s Calligraphy Starter Kit ($80). If you don’t have time to order and wait for delivery of the supplies, Everly Calligraphy offers an instant-download calligraphy tutorial for $15.

2. Fortunately, I live in a neighborhood with lots of maple trees, so I didn’t have to look very far to incorporate nature into my Thanksgiving table. After gathering about 10 leaves (plus a handful of extras to practice on), I placed them all in books and magazines so they would flatten and dry out a bit (approximately 3-4 hours).

3. After practicing with Laura Hooper’s calligraphy starter kit, I inked the names on a sheet of paper. Then, I used a light table and placed the leaves on top of the sheet and traced what I had calligraphed. Tip: If you’re afraid of tearing the leaves with the pen nib, I also experimented with a Sharpie Extra Fine (oil based) Paint Marker. You can then thicken the downstrokes for a fuller, more calligraphic appearance.

4. Place on napkin and voila!—you have a beautiful work of art that guests can also take home as a memory of this special day.

Happy Thanksgiving from Renee Pulve at Smudge Design Co.!

Photos (collage): 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 /
Photos (DIY): Renee Pulve of Smudge Design Co.

More Thanksgiving Ideas:
Recipe: Classic Cranberry Sauce (with printable gift label!)
• DIY Pringles Can Pilgrims
• Thanksgiving Leftovers printable labels
• How to Gold-Leaf a Pumpkin


  1. Oma

    Everything, looks so exquisitely detailed Renee …. I hope you and your guests enjoy Thanksgiving to the fullest.

  2. Such a gorgeous palette! I am particularly smitten with the invitations and those kraft paper placemats. I hope you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving!

  3. Susie

    Beautiful! Great job, Renee!

  4. Kim Dietrich Elam

    Lovely place cards, Renee! Great post.

  5. So lovely Renee!

  6. Jonette Ferrier

    Love the leaf place cards and especially the what are you thankful for placemats!

  7. love this!! so great

  8. lori

    Such wonderful + festive ideas, Renee!! Love them all!! Have a happy + blessed Thanksgiving!! 🙂

  9. Renee Pulve

    Thank you ladies! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂

  10. taleen

    Lovely!!! Your invite set the tone for a warm, unique and cozy dinner filled with fun surprises! Thanks for sharing!!