Painted Pumpkin Yard Stakes DIY

This simple Halloween project was made solely to please our 3 year old granddaughter, she loves pumpkins!

I found some old pumpkin cut-outs while sorting through decorations recently, and remembered how my young daughters enjoyed hanging them in the windows, and on the walls, changing them everyday.  It’s hard to believe that was over 25 years ago! Oh well, anyway, they inspired me to make some cheerful yard stake jack-o-lanterns to greet my grand kids this Halloween.

Using the cut-outs as a guide, I changed the pumpkin patterns up a bit; made them bigger, and fattened up the cheeks.  After tracing them onto a piece of scrap 1/4″ plywood, they were cut out with a jig saw and a scroll saw, and sanded before painting.
Paint the pumpkins with 3 to 4 coats of craft paint, let dry.  Sand again, removing more paint around all the edges for a worn appearance.

  

A garage sale find of wire grilling forks have been hanging on a nail in my garage, waiting for a worthy purpose. I was looking for something that wouldn’t be too noticeable, and wanted to keep the pumpkins low, so they would make great stakes.

The forks were glued to the backside of the pumpkins with Gorilla glue, and clamped in place overnight to dry. Gorilla glue expands as it dries, so you don’t want to overdo it. I probably could have used less, but I wanted to make sure they were adhered well, it gets pretty windy at our house sometimes. Sand down any dried excess glue. Paint the glued area with orange paint.

  

I found some rusty metal leaves from last Fall’s decorating. For some color, they were brushed with a thin layer of Citrus colored Alcohol Ink, and wiped off lightly before letting them dry.


All the pieces, front and back, were sprayed with a Clear Matte Finish. Let dry.

The metal leaf stem was curled and wired to the pumpkin with a scrap length of wire. Curl the ends of the scrap wire. Tie on some raffia, trim.  Gently shape the leaves and wires as desired.

  
I’m not too sure where my pumpkins will get settled as of yet, but sure it will be near the door, where they’ll be seen.  I might have to put a solar light behind them too!

 

 

 

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My Cornucopia

I know, I’m really cutting it close with this post, only being 3 days out from Thanksgiving. It wasn’t really something I had planned, it just kind of happened.

I was snooping around at my sister’s garage sale, last month, and found a wicker cornucopia in the “free” box. It made me smile as I remembered how excited my grandson, Kyle, was when he learned about them in preschool a couple years ago. He really got a kick out of saying the word and used it as many times as he could in conversations. We all got the biggest chuckle out it. Anyway, I grabbed it, with him in mind.
I was thinking I’d just fill it with some tiny gourds and a little fall sprig, but just couldn’t get enthused about it. Then, as I walked past it on Friday (2 days ago), I thought about how my daughter loves to decorate for all the holidays. I decided to make it a gift. I’d snazz it up for her and fill it with treats for the kids. Now it had my attention ..

Not worrying about getting into all the nooks and crannies, it got a quick white paint job. After it was dry, I sanded it lightly with some coarse sandpaper to remove a little paint for a worn look. Not wanting to use a floral sprig, I opted for metal leaves that have been around here for ages. Looks like they originally came from Walmart, but I don’t know if that’s where I got them. The leaves were too shiny, so I rusted them. I love the way they turned out. I sprayed them with a clear sealer to protect their new patina.

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I clipped off the top of a pine cone to make a small pine cone flower, then highlighted the edges by dry brushing it with a little white paint.

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To keep it simple I only used 2 leaves.  I trimmed back their wire stems, and wired them right to the wicker. A touch of hot glue holds the pine cone flower in place.

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Yep, I think my daughter will be pleased with this, and I’m sure my two favorite little people are going to love the filling!

Happy Thanksgiving All!

 

Embellished Painted Mason Jar Fall Decor

I’m so excited! There’s a big 3 day happening in Central Iowa this week-end.  If you like treasure huntin’ and junkin’, you won’t want to miss this one.  Check out @Back Roads Junk-it Trail to print off a map of all the wonderful places to go, and join in the fun!!

My Thanks to @Gypsy’s Alley, in Nevada, Iowa, for graciously accepting me as a new consignee recently so I can participate in the event.

I have a few gourd projects to finish up, and some cool junk pieces to load up too, but, stained glass leaf sun catchers, garden stakes, and garden chandeliers have already been delivered. Its a good thing I was in a hurry when I stopped by to make a delivery the other day.  The place was filled to the hilt with so many new things, and awesome displays, that I know I would have spent the whole morning there and surely brought home more than I took!

With re-purposed and painted Mason jars being so trendy these days, and with a little time to spare, I thought I’d make a little fun Fall decor to take too.

Last spring, I had saved some jars because they were embossed with a small checkered design on three sides, and had a smooth front, which I’m assuming was probably for a label.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I liked the texture, and remember thinking the front might offer a nice surface for a tiny mosaic.

After rethinking it a bit, I still liked the idea of a design on the front, but scratched the idea of a mosaic with grout, and choose to go with a fused glass tile instead.

I measured the smooth surface on the front to determine the size of the clear glass tiles I wanted, then drew a simple leaf pattern to fit on top of the tile piece.  My drawing skills are not what they used to be, so this was definitely the most difficult part of the project for me. You could also find a pattern to trace if you like.

I picked out some fall colors of glass, and cut and ground them to fit my pattern. I had three jars, so I changed the leaf colors around so they were not all the same. All of the pieces were cleaned, then fired in a tabletop kiln, up to 1700 – 1750 degrees, just until the edges were rounded.  My glass was all 96COE, but it doesn’t have to be.  The only pieces that need to be COE compatible would be the middle leaf and small brown dots, nothing else is fused together.

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Wanting my jars to be dark brown, I waited until I could take a piece of fired brown glass to town to match it.  A brown spray paint would work too, but I opted to have a small sample sized can mixed for about $3.00.

Each jar was washed and given a quick wipe of alcohol, then painted with a foam brush.  I did 4 coats for nice coverage. In between coats, I wrapped the end of the brush in a baggie and clipped it closed, so I only had to use one brush.  After the jars were completely dry, they were speckled white.  Once the speckling was dry, they were sprayed with clear matte sealer. Even though the paint is sealed, they may still scratch easily, so handle gently.

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A fired leaf arrangement was traced inside the traced shape of a clear glass tile. Remove the leaves and replace the clear tile in it’s place over the leaf tracing. Following the traced pattern, glue leaf pieces in place with E6000.  Let dry completely.

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Lay a dry tile on the front of the jar to determine where your leaves will be located before gluing. For the best adhesion, scratch off a very small amount of paint in the areas that the leaves will cover.  Put a small dab of E6000 on the scratched areas, lay the tile in place, and press down very lightly, obscuring the glue.  Be careful not to use too much glue or it will seep out beyond the leaf and be seen through the glass.  Let dry overnight.

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Knot a length of raffia around the neck of the jar. Fill with fall flowers, a pretty napkin and tableware for an informal fall gathering, anything you like!

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Gosh, I really like these colors … one of these may have to stay here …   Happy Fall!

 

 

A Little Something For Fall!

We’ve had a couple very windy days, but, there’s no complaining about the excellent Iowa harvest weather we’ve been enjoying so far this month.

Windy conditions can play havoc on seasonal yard decorations, however.  With the exception of pumpkins and gourds, I’ve wired and tied things down, to still see them blown across the yard, or disappear all together.  So now, I opt to add a bit more seasonal flair with small wreaths inside my home.

An abundant crop of egg gourds, dried, and stored in my basement, has been on my mind a lot since summer.  I’ve been wanting to make something with them for a long time.  I got to thinking that, some of them, a few of my favorite things, and what Mother Nature had to offer, would make for some pretty fall décor.  Simple and inexpensive, just my style!

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I’ve never been able to decorate a wreath when its lying on a flat surface.  I like to hang a prepared wreath on a paper covered board, and work on it at eye level.

Gourd Wreath – Choose seven egg gourds of similar size and shape.  Soak overnight in bleach water and scrub clean.  (A small plastic basket, used for holding baby bottle rings and nipples in a dishwasher, works great for this step.  It will hold the gourds and its easy to weigh down under the water).  Dry gourds. Wax and buff with Briwax or any furniture wax. On a non-skid surface, arrange the gourds in a circle, and secure together with painter’s tape.  Gently turn them over and mark with pencil where they meet each other.  Remove the gourds from the tape, one at a time, drill holes with a Dremel and 3/32″ bit, then replace gourd on tape.  When done drilling, turn gourds face up and remove tape.

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Measure and estimate the diameter of the wire ring you will need.  Pre-shape a length of 16 gauge wire around a container of the same diameter.   Mine was about 3 1/2″.

String gourds on to the wire.  Cut off excess wire and twist ends together.  Turn over, face down, and attach a push-in hanger with Gorilla Glue.  Let dry.

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With side-cutters, cut a few long, bleached pinecones, to form flowers.  Spray pinecone pieces and False Baptisia pods with Clear Matte Sealer.  Attach the prettiest pinecone pieces with hot glue.  Embellish with pods.

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Pear Wreath – I like pears and couldn’t resist when I found smaller egg gourds that resembled their shape.  Always remember to soak and scrub the gourds.

I mixed a small amount of white and green wall paints for the palest of green color.  For a special touch, I used a small slender glass leaf I had, but, you could trim down an artificial leaf, or use no leaf.

After soaking a 6″ grapevine wreath overnight, slide two thick rubber bands around it’s center to form a more oval shape.  Let dry 24 hours. While the wreath dries, give the gourds 2 or 3 coats of paint, one side at a time, and sanding lightly between coats.  Be careful, they like to roll!

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Cut the rubber bands from the dry wreath and lay it on a wire rack, over a bowl.  Water down a small amount of dark brown craft paint and lightly brush it over the wreath.  Let dry.  Speckle the wreath, lightly, with black craft paint.  Let dry and seal with Clear Matt Spray.

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Using a Dremel, I drilled a small hole to accommodate the base of my leaf, and glued it in with a small dot of hot glue. Spackling was used to fill in around the leaf.  Once dry, it was sanded smooth and repainted.  Small indentations were drilled in the top of the gourds to hot glue apple stems in place.  Touch up paint around the stems.

After gluing the pears on the wreath, two leaves and some berries, saved from past projects, were added.  The pretty green, dried Astilbe, tucked in and around, was cut from the bush outside my backdoor.

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Egg Basket Wreath – I have a thing for collapsible wire egg baskets, they’re cute!  And, so easy to decorate!  I found a flower sprig and feather sprigs for 50% off last month … a total of $3.00, YEAH!  I cut and reconfigured my flower sprig a little, but you needn’t.  Simply arrange your sprigs the way you like them, cutting off the long stems if needed, and add a raffia bow for a quick colorful wreath!

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