Foxes were a popular motif even before the Norwegian comedy team Ylvis' lighthearted song "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" became a hit on YouTube this fall.
Now, they are "the animal of the moment," says quilter Amanda Woodruff of Mapleton, Utah, who blogs at A Crafty Fox.
"They are all over Etsy," she says of the crafts website. "They're this cute little woodland animal that's unusual . we went through the owl phase and then we had to put birds on everything." Now it's the fox's turn.
Katie Mulligan, a gift buyer for the retailer Paper Source, adds, "The fox is the perfect motif for around the fall period (because) it has that great orange-red colour."
Just a few of the foxy tabletop crafts:
— Place cards: There are many good ideas, including origami-folded foxes. (www.origami-instructions.com )
Paper Source sells a fox place-card kit that also can be made with supplies on hand — mostly card stock, glue and scissors, preferably scallop-patterned or pinking shears. Use an approximately 5-inch-long oval shape for the fox's body and half an oval for its head. The rest of the parts are smaller, and all the shapes are simple to reproduce. I made these at home with the neighbour's 6-year-old daughter. After creating a few templates, we had no trouble churning out cards. (www.Paper-Source.com )
— Run fox-themed wrapping paper or fabric down the centre of the table as a runner. Or baste-stitch three or more fox-motif tea towels together.
— Children can make a Mama and Papa Fox centerpiece using Styrofoam balls and cones plus felt, fabric, notions and plenty of kid ingenuity. For fun at the table, they can make fox finger puppets: Wrap a big-eared, orange-felt body cut from a template around a wine cork, and glue the overlapping edges. Once the fox's facial features are added and the finger puppet dries, it can be removed from the cork. (www.parents.com )
— Also from Parents magazine: Turn each slice of pumpkin pie into a fox using whipped cream (spray, not tub), two fig bars and two brown M&Ms: Cut each fig bar into a triangle and place at the upper (crust-line) corners of a pie slice; with whipped-cream, draw two eyes and a smile; add the M&Ms atop cream for eyes.
— Jennifer Dougherty of Hibbing, Minn., created a crocheted fox hat that can be made in several sizes, including for babies and adults. Experienced crocheters can work up the hat in an hour or two because the yarn is bulky, says Dougherty. The pattern is downloadable from her Etsy.com store, Crochet by Jennifer. (www.crochetbyjennifer.com )
— Oma Ford, executive editor at Better Homes and Gardens magazine, suggests displaying a "gratitude board" on which guests can write what they're thankful for. Wrap a small bulletin board in fox-themed paper or fabric and prop near Thanksgiving festivities (or on an easel). Provide paper cutouts (of foxes, of course) for writing on and posting on the board. (www.bhg.com )
Ford suggests not crowding the Thanksgiving table with too many crafted items. Foxes would go well with other woodland elements, she says: pinecones, acorns and branches with fall-colored leaves. Fill a decorative bowl with pinecones and tuck in a few fox shapes — origami foxes or plastic fox figurines — with several fall-colored flowers, she suggests.
"The woodland elements are a great fit for Thanksgiving," says Ford.
She recommends having a Thanksgiving table theme.
"It's important for a special day like Thanksgiving to do at least one or two things at the table or at the door that reminds people this is a special day," Ford says.