Making And Crafts – Fall Decor

October 29, 2010 09:00 by ehouston



A while back my mom came for a visit and started me down a project path I was not really ready to take.  I was glad for the push, but I am even more excited about the finale.  I had been telling her about how every year I promise myself that I am going to go out and buy up the fall decor as soon as it goes on sale so I can get great stuff at a discount.  For years I have been wanting to get a bunch of those fake pumpkins that you can actually carve if you want to and use them to decorate our front stoop.  I just like the idea of being able to use them over and over again.  Well, every year I either forget to go back to the craft stores to get them or when I go back they only have the itty bitty ones left.  So, this year I had the idea that I would make some out of paper mache and that way I could have a whole big pile in every shape I wanted to decorate our place for the fall season.  It just so happened that I also received a box of goodies from another family member and in that box was an old Country Living magazine featuring paper mache pumpkins right on the cover.  Pretty funny, right?

Well, I was telling my mom the story and when I finished she said, “so lets do it”!  Even though I had about a hundred other things going I decided to take the leap and finally get to those pumpkins and gourds I had been wanting for so long.  Plus, it’s just fun to do crafts with other people that enjoy them as much as I do.

We started with some balloons and then used twisted paper to create “pumpkin” and “gourd” type shapes. 


(Day One: Getting encouragement to start from Grandma and the Little Guy)


(Day Two: Grandma, a little overly zealous in whipping up forms.  She was FAST!!)

Later I even did a couple of extra large “pumpkins” using both balloons and twisted paper to bulk them up a bit. 


(As you can see we created all different types of pumpkin and gourd styles.)


(We used old egg cartons to help elevate the forms and create air circulation for fast drying.)

I also realized that they needed some kind of ridge along the bottoms to keep them standing upright, especially after adding the stems. 



(A stem in process.  Just rolled a strip of newspaper, splayed the ends and used tape to hold it in place while adding strips of paper mache.  One note: we learned that using the 50/50 flour (white and whole wheat) created a paste that took a lot longer to dry and created a bumpy texture.  We stuck with regular white flour going forward.)


After several coats of paper, flour and water I also painted on a really thick coating of just the flour and water.  This helped to even out some of the paper ridges that are almost impossible to smooth out no matter how hard you try.  After the thick flour and water coating dried I primed them with regular old wall primer and then used various acrylic paints I had on hand to give them a final coat.  Although they are definitely stylized (and a bit lumpy) versions of pumpkins and gourds, and I doubt they will be fooling anyone, I still think they came out pretty nice. 




(We also added some discounted mums that appear to be about to bloom.  Hopefully that will happen before the frost gets them.  Cross your fingers for us!)

Even though these things took a long time to complete with all the other projects we have going on the biggest plus was that, aside from time, the only investment was one small bag of balloons and a couple of bags of flour.  I had paints and newspaper laying around already, so I think the total expense involved was around $5.00.  And, if we get lucky they will survive the fall weather so we can use them year after year.

Thanks for getting me started Mom!

Kitsch Krafts

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A Quick Hello!

July 21, 2009 12:42 by ehouston

Just had a moment to say Hi to everyone out there.  We have successfully moved into our new place in the Richmond, VA area.  Now I begin the monumental task of redecorating.  I say "monumental" because this home was last decorated in the early '90's and most of the rooms have a very traditional/colonial look and feel.  Of course, this is the complete opposite of my personal decorating style so I just do not really know where to begin.  I am a very good "Make-Do" kind of person and I am pretty crafty at making things "work".  Now I am faced with being the designer of this space and I realize the process looks much easier on TV.  Frankly, I am a little scared and I am not sure where to begin.  Since we are on the count down to parenthood, the Mister and I have decided to hold off on any major remodeling until early next year (the kitchen has to go!).  I am beginning to think that even the smaller stuff, like taking down wallpaper and painting may need to wait too since my added middle girth has made me tumbly.  No that's not a real word, but that's how I feel...weeble-wobble...but when I tumble I do fall down!  Maybe it's better to look for some inspiration first over the next several months so I will be able to formulate a good plan of action.  In the mean time I think I will take a look back at the last home we revamped to consider what I liked and what did not work.

Have any of you ever been stumped by a design dilemma in your home?  How did you power through it?  Where did you go for inspiration?

Kitsch Krafts

PS.  I have also spent an inordinate amount of time with the Style Network, HGTV, TLC, DIY, etc playing in the background while I unpack.  On one of the shows this morning the designer was trying to redesign for a client in a different country.  She remarked at one point that it's tough to find the design elements you are looking for when you don't know the foreign city's best resources.  I think I may be experiencing a little of that right now too.  I have looked through Habitat for Humanity Restore, a very large Goodwill, an even bigger Salvation Army and several home furnishing consignment shops, but none have bowled me over.  I'm hoping it's just a case of new home-owner's anxiety about what to actually bring home.  I think later this week I will start the branch-out to some of the really cool high-end design shops.  Never hurts to look right?

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