Cottages and Gardens - For Life's Simpler Pleasures  
Cottages and Gardens - The Cottage Road
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Gay Penney
In addition to being a CottageKeeper, Gay Penney, of Corona del Mar, California,  is a professional floral designer.  She is a member of bbrooks fine flowers,  a consortium of worldwide fine florists.  Gay is also an interior decorating consultant and inventor of The California Vase™, a wonderful and unique floral vase for decorating patio table umbrellas and other vertical structures.  Being the mother of two young children, she is keenly aware of time and budget constraints and incorporates those demands into her advice.  If you have a specific floral or decorating question, send a note to

With the bounty of the harvest at market, consider a living table runner this Thanksgiving.   The rich textures and colors of squashes, pumpkins, oak, maple and aspen leaves, gourds, nuts and cranberries are abundant and combine easily for a cozy conversation piece.

Lay branches of colorful leaves (6" to 8" stems) casually along the center of your table.  Stagger squashes, gourds and small pumpkins along the path of the leaves - tucking a few in the branches.  Sprinkle with almonds, pecans, hazelnuts and cranberries.  Add a few column candles and you have a spectacular natural living table runner.

Children especially enjoy helping to set a special table and this would be a great centerpiece for them to start on.

additional suggestions:  miniature pine cones, peanuts, kumquats 

Gay Penney
Cottages and Gardens - The Cottage Road
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