Gorgeous cabbage flower arrangement

Remember the ruffled drop cloth curtains?

Remember how I couldn’t decide?  How I was all “good light/bad light” about them?

And I was all like….I can’t decide.

And then I was all like…..I hope you have a big opinion.

And you were all like……of course we do.

Because that’s what friends are for.


Dining room with floral arrangement
I need it again.

I really need another big opinion.

You see…..my mother-in-law might be coming for Thanksgiving.


And I am blessed with one of the best mother-in-laws on the planet.  She is amazing and wonderful and creative and I adore her.

But let’s face facts…..having your mother-in-law coming for Thanksgiving dinner is a game changer.

Cabbage Vase flower arrangement
I have only had her over for Thanksgiving dinner once before.

The year I cooked the turkey upside down and made cherry bread instead of cranberry bread.


Not my finest hour.

But that was then….and this is now.

And now that I am all grown-up and making my own pecan pie and granola without kitchen sinks in it and homemade apple walnut cranberry bread….I’m feeling a little more confident.  I think I can do it.  I think.  I am practicing and Cracker Barrel does have a great take-out menu.

But I still think I might need a plan B.


A plan B.

I’m going to distract her with my incredibly brilliant and creative…..

……cabbage vases.

Cabbage vases on display in the dining room
Cabbage vases.


Does it get any better?

I didn’t think it did and I was so all about them when I first saw them…..and then actually I made them.

And now I can’t decide.

I can’t decide if this is the perfect centerpiece for a mother-in-law Thanksgiving or if it will just remind her of Brussels sprouts or the time I made her birthday cake and stuck these fancy long candles in the cake while it was still hot and when I cut the cake there were long strips of wax inside.


Now do you see why I need your help?

So I am cordially inviting you and your big opinion to my Thanksgiving table.

And can you please bring the turkey? 🙂

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  1. Image for Karen Karen

    No one should doubt your abilities when you wow them with a cabbage centerpiece! What a masterpiece. I wish I were entertaining for Thanksgiving because I WOULD so make that.

  2. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    No can do. Must cook vegan for Dad (heart .) I can't decide, either. Cute? check Clever? check Mother-in-law friendly? I just don't know. My nose wants to know, "How do they smell?" :)

  3. Image for Jackie A Jackie A

    Hmmm...I'm certainly no expert. Wish my daughter was here, she's no expert either, but she has a really good designer's eye. My opinion would be the kale is too much in the big center piece. I think in concept they're great, in reality, not so sure. They just seem to fall short of what the imagination would like them to be. Thanks for asking Kari!

  4. Image for tara tara

    I've been married 16 years, and I've hosted my mother in law ONCE. We hosted his family for Thanksgiving and two days later left for CHINA to bring Lydia home. Are you kidding me? Why did I agree to add that stress to my life just before we left for two weeks in China????? It was success, all thanks to my dear mother for helping me!! I vote YES on the cabbage vases.

  5. Image for Lana Lana

    What a great idea! I like how you got the cabbage leaf to fold out like it's beckoning you to come & enjoy a great feast. I like the multiple levels and the happy colors. Have you try a purple cabbage & red leaf lettuce to see if that color combo worked with the floral?too purplish? I so understand the test of courage entertaining a mother in law can be... one wants it perfect. My father in law had asked me to help with my mother in laws surprise 50th birthday party. I choose red & gold balloons everywhere thinking how cool it would be with all the color & ribbons to walk through-very festive. Well it was the same colors as our rival football team we were playing that day. There were LOT"S of comments and the balloons were mostly removed.

  6. Image for Beth Beth

    Looks straight out of a magazine. Lovely! And colorful! And unique! Shall I go on? I would leave it just as is. With the table set it will make a stunning impact as your MIL arrives. It's not too big--I assume once dinner is on the table it will be moved to another location for safekeeping, and to make room for the feast! But questions--oh, I've got questions! How long will it last? How do you get water to the flowers? Please lead us in a DIY how-to. I need to know!

  7. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Yes, I do think it looks pretty. But, I admit to preferring a low centerpiece that doesn't interfere with eye contact while dining. So ... maybe three cabbage vases at a lower level. And, I would be tempted to try at least one in a red cabbage. I'll be happy to bring the turkey. I prepare really good roasted turkey.

  8. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Oh Kari...Mr. MacGregor and Peter Rabbit would be proud....the cabbage vases are so beautiful!!.....Now, let's talk turkey....A zillion years ago, I decided that Thanksgiving should be at my house rather than my parents....I was excited to make my very first turkey...My dad had the honor of carving the turkey...as he was carving, he discovered a "foreign object" in the turkey....I had left the bag of the "extra parts" in the turkey....Thank goodness my family has a sense of humor!!!

  9. Image for Susan @ Afford Your Passions Susan @ Afford Your Passions

    I'm still laughing about the wax inside the birthday cake LOL I think the cabbage vases are gorgeous. Is your mother-in-law frugal? Will she think it is a waste of perfectly good cabbages? These are the questions only you can answer. I say "GO FOR IT", and report back. If nothing else, it might make a funny story to come back and relay to us!!!

  10. Image for andrea andrea

    love the cabbage centerpiece! It is bright and unexpected, yet subtle in a cabbagy sorta way. Oh, and pardon me, Kari, but what is that fabulousness that you have draped accross your table? Your smocked curtains are up, looking all proud as punch, but I do spot a new flirty little ruffely number upon your table that needs to be addressed as well.

  11. Image for Kate Kate

    Vases are spectacular!!! They absolutely rock your table. In fact, I love them so much that I am coming to your house for Thanksgiving dinner, just so I can see them in all their glory, and don't worry, I can cook a turkey with the best of them. I may just have to bring an additional 23 guests with me though ( but my dad always buys me two turkeys to cook, so I know there will be enough to go around. And my kids are totally fine with sitting out on the front porch, even if they are wearing snowsuits, I live in Minnesota don'tcha know...) Don't worry about the day! Your MIL sounds like a gem. You will be WONDERFUL!

  12. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I think they are beautiful, don't change anything. Seriously, I know what you mean about the mother-in-law thing. I love mine as well...but it's nerve racking!

  13. Image for Jean Jean

    Well, since they're already made, I say go for it. Not that they're not beautiful, they are. My MIL would be impressed that I did ANY centerpiece for Thanksgiving since I'm not much of a holiday decorator. BTW, those curtains are to die for. I wish I had a place to put curtains like that.

  14. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Karianne, I used canned cherries for the first cherry pie I ever made which would have been fine except the cherries I used still had the pits in them. Really? Why would they can cherries that were not de-pitted? I love your centerpieces. How long do the cabbages hold up before they start turning brown or wilted? I hope you do a mini tutorial on the "how-to." By the way if I were your mother-in-law I would read your blog and I would love visiting you for Thanksgiving. I'm curious. Will there be any words included in your table setting? Joyous Wishes, Linda

    1. Image for Joyia Buckelew Joyia Buckelew

      I think the cabbage centerpieces are perfect!! Your mother-in-law will be very impressed! Happy Thanksgiving! Joyia

  15. Image for Karel Hamilton Karel Hamilton

    If you want an honset opinion...then nah...I don't care for them. Sorry. LOVE the curtains and the table runner though. The runner is TDF!

  16. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I wouldn't really worry, my friend. You have the ability to WOW with those vases...and let's face it...you must have imagination to cook a turkey upside down! I'm just curious...how DID you manage to cook a turkey upside down...wouldn't it be flopping around in the oven?? I have this picture in my mind, and can't stop laughing!! Of course, I cooked a turkey, too, with one of the bags of parts in it! Love the vases!! ;)

  17. Image for Patty O Patty O

    I LOVE THEM! They're bright, they're fresh, they're beautiful! I think they are absolutely lovely and they make me want to say thank you for all the beauty in the world!

  18. Image for Diane Kaul Diane Kaul

    A. If your mother-in-law is as wonderful as you say, I doubt she even remembers any of those events with anything beside humor. B. The cabbage arrangements are beautiful. C. I am still L-O-V-I-N-G those drapes!!

  19. Image for Anne Anne

    Gorgeous!. I think I would have used purple cabbages, though I adore purple!!! Everything you do is fabulous. Did you get this idea from the pumpkin vases??? It's so cute!!!! I think I'd be asking M-I-L to teach me her secrets for roasting a turkey and all the fixings. Gets you off the hook, somewhat, and makes her feel needed. Good idea, huh?? I'm full of good ideas... well, they sound good to me when I cook em up, maybe not so practical in real life. :) Have a great day! PS loved Jen Rizzo's feature on you. Did she tell you yet that we're all moving in?? Better add a wing to the house.

  20. Image for Donna Donna

    I'll bet your mother-in-law will love your cabbage vases! They are incredible. I am a mother-in-law with 2 of the sweetest "daughters" you could ask for. I hope that when I go to their home, which by the way-both their homes are warm, wonderful, and full of love, they can feel my joy at just being with them. From your comments about your history with your mother-in-law, I'll bet she loves you dearly and anything you do will be just "hunky dory" with her. Enjoy your holidays together, and enjoy your beautiful cabbage vases.

  21. Image for Sandy Orazine Sandy Orazine

    This is my first public post but I have to say that I love the cabbage vases! I do think that I would go with the rule of odd numbers (rules can be broken) and take out the tall one. Could you move the tall one to the table in the background where you have the tall piece on the left? You might be able to leave the 3 cabbages and little pumpkins surrounding the huge succulent turkey sitting in middle of your table. The menu sounds wonderful and so does your mil so I wouldn't fret and just have a great time!

  22. Image for Marnita Parry Marnita Parry

    Love the vases! Cherry bread, really?! Everytime I read about one of your kitchen "opportunities", I giggle and think, "Thank goodness I'm not the only one!"

  23. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I think your m-i-l will be so blown away by your TO DIE FOR dining room and amazing decorating skills, that you could seriously serve her turkey from a can (do they make that? is that "potted meat product"?) on a paper plate and as long as she was eating it in that amazing dining room she would still be impressed! LOL Seriously though, love the curtains and table covering...are they Anthropologie? PLEASE share :) Thanks and have a wonderful Turkey Day enjoying family :)

  24. Image for Katherines Corner Katherines Corner

    You have grace, you have style, you can create beauty with cabbage!.You, my talented friend, need not worry. Also, lets not forget she is coming to spend time with you and not critic your home. Although I don't know how she could possibly do that as your home is amazing!!!!! make happy memories xo P.S. have you entered my gobble gobble giveaway?

  25. Image for Tammy Tammy

    I love the vases but not on that display. How about a runner the long way on the table and the cabbages running down it with a few similar flowers in little bottles and votive candles?

  26. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    KariAnn, I am so distracted by your fabulous dining room (You know I secretly wish you could sell me the whole thing... just as it is... it is really my dream dining room). Every time you post anything in your dining room I can hardly think straight for all the swooning I do!!!! I wish you had a blog called "KariAnn's dining room... all dining room ... all the time"! Think about it! Well about these really pretty cabbage vases! They look beautiful with all the colorful blooms... and will be perfect for your Thanksgiving day table. Here is my humble suggestions... I would "loosen up" the cabbages on the tall candlesticks/pedestals a little. I think they would look a little more naturally organic if you pulled some of the outer leaves apart and let them gracefully droop a little OR add some outer leaves form another cabbage to the base of the cabbages. Then I would add some fluff and filler to spill out of the arrangement and over the sides of the cabbage. Make sure you share your Thanksgiving table with all of us! I know that you will enjoy your mother-in-law and it is so sweet of you to want everything perfect for her! So like you!!!!

  27. Image for Home Simple Home Simple

    I like the idea, it looks really nice. I wouldn't go high, I would keep them low so it doesn't block eye level. I would also consider using purple cabbage. I think its more festive and small maybe 3 down the center of the table. I love your ideas! Happy Thanksgiving.

  28. Image for Christine @ Let's Get Crafty! Christine @ Let's Get Crafty!

    Oh where do I start.... First, Cherry bread. Bawahahaha! Seems like we might be related! Second, the centerpieces are brilliant! Seriously. As far as the height I still think you should leave as is for the set up and then remove the tall one and put it on the sideboard in the background to welcome the desserts. Third, you are incredibly endearing through this site and email. And I can't even imagine a mom in law not liking you or your brilliant centerpieces. Remember being perfect doesn't bode well for good stories! Good luck! P.S. I did Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel before! Christine

  29. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I do like the cabbages however I agree that for a table that people are actually going to sit at to eat i prefer a shorter centerpiece. I always get my husband to cook the turkey outside on his Brinkman. That frees me up to do all the side dishes, and make sure everything looks pretty on the table. I think he likes being part of the prep too.

  30. Image for betty betty

    Well..........I'm no Thumper, but, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all. ” ~don't hate me.

  31. Image for Regina Regina

    I love it. Heights and Levels - remember TV decorator Christopher Lowell? :) That's what he ALWAYS said about decorating surfaces! Hmmmm . . . I wonder about a pretty purple cabbage? What can I say? I'm a colorful gal. I hosted my MIL and whole in-law fam a few years ago, and it was very successful. My strategy? Invite her to spend the night the night BEFORE and supervise the cornbread dressing AND the Merrick family recipe for corn pudding. She LOVED IT. :)

  32. Image for Kathysue Kathysue

    Love them!! the only thing I would change is to take them off their pedestals. Slice the bottoms so they sit flat and put them on a runner or a mirror with lots of votives around. Take a look at my post today, lots of options for you to look at. Don't change the arrangements or the cabbages, they look great and creative, love the ruffled lettuce around the bottom too, the pedestals just took it one step too far!! Good luck, it will be wonderful and your MIL will be totally impressed, xo Kathysue Goodlifeofdesign.blogspot.com

  33. Image for Carol Mattingly Carol Mattingly

    Kari, I beg you, stop worrying. Have you seen the images in this post. They are gorgeous. Those cabbage centerpieces are absolutely unbelievably gorgeous. In my opinion, and you asked, and with 50 comments ahead of me, I'm sure when you get to this one, you're going to say, not another opinion, but it's ok. It doesn't matter what the bread is called as long as you have bread. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Carol

  34. Image for Moccasin Moccasin

    Of course they are adorable, and raw cabbage won't permeate the air as much as cooked does. I was noticing the center of the trio on the table, it is high enough that conversation could go on through the openness of the stand. Another thing, your drop cloth curtains are drop dead gorgeous, and they provide the rustic and elegant touch framing the sideboard with its own cabbage ornamentation. The blue-greenness of the cabbage is complimentary to the faint blue-greenness of the wall. The colors, and the textures, are right on. You go, Kari girl......your MIL will be thinking how fortunate her son is to have such a creative wife, always ready to push the boundaries.

  35. Image for Maria @ Redecorate Blog Maria @ Redecorate Blog

    Lol, you are so sweet. I am newly married (1 year in just a few days), and I already know what you mean. I have a wonderful mother-in-law, who is incredibly creative, design- and decorating-savy, and an expert in the kitchen. And for my husband's birthday, I took on the job of making his cake...a homemade Red Velvet cake -- the kind traditionally made with beets to obtain that deep red color. Only I didn't puree the beets enough, so there were huge chunks of beets all throughout the cake. *Sigh* ;-) I think those centerpieces are completely lovely -- your room is wow-worthy!

  36. Image for Angela Recker Angela Recker

    Well, if I say "no way" will you send me the vases? LOL! Seriously, I LOVE them! I also have another idea. What about gourds too? And if you really want to go with a vegetarian" style I have seen artichokes used as candlholders! Just think - your guests can munch on your decorations & you can cook less! But yes, I do love the cabbages.

  37. Image for Anna Starner Anna Starner

    I love the cabbage vases. Since the tables are always full and you will most likely be removing the side vases why not save yourself some trouble and just make one large one. Just not too large to sit on top of your pedestal. I could see red cabbage used for the vase, as long as the flowers you use work with the purple color. Some pillar candles if you want to put something more on the table before and after dinner. I will be doing this sometime I think they are great.

  38. Image for Sara Sara

    I love the centerpiece and pinned it before I even read the post. It's great in my opinion. Love the colors and would be very impressesd if my daughter in law did it. And let me clear on this, if somebody is gonna invite me to Thanksgiving dinner, anything is great with me. I certainly plan to copy this someday. I think it would also be fun at Easter. P.S. I love anything cherry. I bet the bread was delicious!

  39. Image for Rita@thissortaoldlife Rita@thissortaoldlife

    This has become my mantra when shopping for clothes (and I'm considering it for everything else, too): If I'm not sure...if I have to ask someone else...the answer is No. I only want things that I know (deep down in some unshakable place) are exactly what I want. I think I'd especially want that if my MIL were visiting, and I have a propensity to make things like cherry bread and have Cracker Barrel on my speed dial. :-) I'm sure whatever you decide your table will be beautiful.

  40. Image for Lynn in FL Lynn in FL

    Kari- Okey dokey...Cabbage Vase Dissertation: I agree with many of your above adoring fans that the purple cabbage might be better....the light green just looks summery to me. And the purple would actually look lovely with your flower colors....purples, golds, reds, oranges.....lush! Like a Morrocan Thanksgiving! It's also a nice departure from the traditional fall colors. And I also agree to keeping them low on the table, or only slightly elevated; like on long wooden trays, for example, with candles, gourds, amber glass etc. mixed in. ....just random cabbage thoughts! Love the concept! You are UBER creative! And I'm quite sure you've already impressed your MIL enough for a lifetime! So relax, enjoy, and we'll all look forward to the next installment of Cabbage Capers!

  41. Image for Jen @ Migonis Home Jen @ Migonis Home

    she will go gaga over it... no doubt. and i'm pretty sure when she reads your blog post she'll write you and tell you not to change a thing. it looks divine. no matter how good MILs are they are still intimidating to "perform" for like this... :)

  42. Image for talia talia

    Absolutely - they are gorgeous! I'd come and bring the turkey just to see them in person! You are so very talented - you will do a fine job with Thanksgiving! :)

  43. Image for Margaret Margaret

    What does your hubby say? Honestly, I think if this is your chief worry, you shouldn't prominently display them and expect her to love them as much as we do. And yeah, Janet's comment re: sauerkraut was my concern... And, I'm in the age bracket of your dear MIL, so I know a little bit about family gatherings and "high expectations' hinging upon (our) creative genius, and feelings are hurt when it's not spotlighted. Stop impressing and start relaxing. Just my old 2 cents.

  44. Image for Shar Shar

    I like the arrangement on your sideboard. The bright colors are especially lovely. I host Thanksgiving at my house for my mother-in-law & about 35 other family members. I generally have a large centerpiece on my sideboard (I actually use your idea but with a pumpkin instead of a cabbage) and then I just use candles down the center of my table, so we can see each other during dinner.

  45. Image for Ance Mist Ance Mist

    Honestly, they look beautiful but will smell. Raw cabbage smells. Pumpkins take lots longer before they smell; try a centerpiece with stuffed pumpkins...juat my $.02.

  46. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Yes. Do NOT change them! The kale is neat. No they do NOT smell. My first baby shower hosts used cabbage for skewers of fruit to be anchored in. Years later we still said how neat that was. Florists use them in arrangements. You've inspired me! Hollow out the core. Stick in a glass to hold flowers. I'm doing this oh when I host Bunco sometime?!! I love how you ask our opinion. I'm honored to share in your artistic creations that inspire all of us. As a former teacher, I was lucky enough to have an art teacher teach my first grade class and I did every art project too. My art teacher's response to your question? You CANNOT mess up in art!!! Isn't it nice to know? It's beautiful! It's creative! It's perfect!!!

  47. Image for Zolane Zolane

    ONE of the things I so enjoy about you is that you can look at an object and see so many possibilities. You see a bookshelf, turn it upside down and make a gorgeous shelf; I see one and wonder just how many books I can cram into it. You see a cabbage and make a gorgeous vase, I see one and think cabbage rolls. I love it - especially the way some of the leaves fall into graceful folds. Just beautiful! I think your mother in law is blessed to have you for a daughter :)

  48. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    Karianne you are just so much fun! The cabbage vases are wondeful - perfect for a thanksgiving table. And I really don't thin you need to worry about your MIL - she sounds lovely!

  49. Image for AnnaM AnnaM

    Love the cabbage vases, but I want to know more about the curtains hanging in your dining room. Did I miss a post describing how you smocked the curtains? If I did, please direct me to it. They are so beautiful. Your MIL will be so taken with the curtains she probably won't notice the pretty cabbage centerpieces. More info on the curtains please!

  50. Image for AnnaM AnnaM

    I found the link to the tutorial for the smocked curtains. Sorry, I should have checked more before asking for more info. Thanks! Love your blog!!

  51. Image for Marian Marian

    I think they are fabulous as long as they don't make your dining room smell like cabbage. No one wants the room to smell like cabbage on Thanksgiving. Except maybe a rabbit. Then again, you do live on a farm....

  52. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Speaking AS a MIL, I would LOVE to see these as the centerpiece for Thanksgiving....or ANY time! They are fabulous! Can you please tell me if you used glasses inside of them to hold the water or did you use oasis? Also PLEASE share about that amazing runner!!!!!!!!!!!! Your dining room is just the most beautiful dining room EVER!!!!!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

  53. Image for Melissa Melissa

    Your house is gorgeous... My MIL would be drooling! If I'm honest, I think the cabbage vases are uber cool but if your MIL is more "old school" ( and chronological age has nothing to do with this) I'd go with something more traditional. :0)

  54. Image for Anita Anita

    You asked for opinions, so here's my two cents... GORGEOUS!!!!! Go for it! I would definitely do at least one from a purple cabbage. The flowers are stunning! The stand is perfect too. It will be easy for people sitting across the table to have a conversation. The only thing I would change is the runner. It's beautiful, but hanging over the edge like that i'm nervous that it would get pulled and cause the cabbage vase to topple into the turkey. Good Luck. Have fun! I can hardly wait to see pictures of the final decision! Happy Thanksgiving!

  55. Image for Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker

    so I totally thought the drapes in the pictures were your ruffled dropcloth drapes :) But clicked over and found they weren't. Where did you get the ones in the dining room? LOVE them. and I think I like the centerpiece! But maybe do the one on the table and not the other one on the buffet?

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