3 Easy Ways to Carve a no-mess Pumpkin

Skip the mess with these easy DIY pumpkins that you can display all season!

It happens almost every year and yet it is always still a surprise-Halloween has snuck up on me again. Between my reno projects both inside and outside my house, my kids and my blog I have barely had time to binge on Halloween candy, let alone decorate the house. So this year, I decided that if I was going to carve some pumpkins, I wanted to do it without the stinky mess and in a way that will last more than a few days.

Reusable craft pumpkins

Indian Summer

The beginning of October had me constantly guessing between sweaters and shorts. While the timing may have been perfect for apple picking (another thing I failed to do this year) it was way too warm for pumpkins. The last thing I want to deal with is a bunch of rotten Jack O’lanterns on my porch.

Stinky smelly mess

In our modern age of store-bought pumpkin seeds, I see no reason to put myself through the torture which is known as carving pumpkins.  While I was forced to endure this torture as a kid, in my adulthood I have chosen to avoid at all costs.

As a parent, I don’t want to deprive my kids of this Halloween ritual. I have tried having my husband take the lead while I relax in another room, but I still find myself getting sick to my stomach off the fumes. In turn, my husband often finds that he is left to complete the job alone once our kids abandon the job five minutes in.

The Perfect Pumpkin

After weeks of procrastination, I discovered I waited just long enough to get a great deal on pumpkins from Micheals I had always wanted to give their artificial pumpkins a try and this seemed like the ideal year.

Originally I planned to print a stencil off the web to carve a couple of really cool designs that could be used over and over again. Once I realized that I was about to do hours of work for a few days of enjoyment, I decided to do something that I could be enjoyed for the entire Fall season instead of just a few days.

I scoured Pinterest for some inspiration and then recruited my somewhat willing husband to help. We kept one pumpkin traditional with a carved Jack O’lantern face and decided to use a drill to make patterns on the other two.

The first thing I did was draw out a pattern to follow with the drill. On one pumpkin I choose to follow the lines along the pumpkin with alternating drill bit sizes (one small, one large).

On the other pumpkin, I drew a swirling design and also used alternating drill bits to add some interest to the pattern. I found with the swirl pattern I needed to use smaller bits to make the intricate design.

Easy clean-up

Instead of a stinky, gloopy, mess, these pumpkins were easily cleaned up with our vacuum. I used a toothpick to clean up the holes and push through any hanging bits. I decided I wanted to paint the two pumpkins so I used some simple dollar store paint. I used gold on the smaller one and a mixture of white gold and pink to paint the larger one.

Once the paint had dried I used a lighter shade of gold to highlight the pumpkin’s crevices on the smaller pumpkin and to add dimension to the larger one.

I added some battery operated tealights and we were ready to celebrate! The best part is that as soon as Halloween is over I don’t have to put my pumpkins away since they are perfect as fall decor as well.

Would you ever use craft pumpkins instead of the real thing? Let me know in the comments!

Easy DIY Otter Magnet

Crafting with kids is a great way to pass the time and exercise your creative muscles. Being a crafty mom, I enjoy spending time with my kids this way, and I enjoy it, even more, when I get the chance to create along with them. So here is an easy DIY that you can do along with your kids with nothing more than a little bit of oven baked clay, a toothpick, a hot glue gun and a magnet.

To make this project I used brown, black, white and blue clay.

First I took some brown clay and divided it into two portions. In the larger portion, I added some black clay to darken it and in the smaller portion, I lightened it with white.

I rolled it together so that it was combined but you could still see the different colours in the clay. I like the realistic effect.

The larger portion is divided into a tear-shaped body, two very small balls for ears and a long snake shape.

The smaller portion is divided into a smaller tear shaped belly, two cheeks, and a head.

Use a toothpick to create a fur texture on the head and body of the otter.

Divide the snake shape into five equal lengths. Shape them into rounded ends and attach as the limbs and tail.

Add two small black eyes and a larger nose.

Now grab some blue clay with a small amount of black and white. Combine but don’t overmix. Flatten into a circle and attach your otter.

Bake according to the directions for your clay. Allow to cool and attach a magnet with a hot glue gun.

 

 

What the (S)hell??? Getting crafty with my momster

After a winter down south. my momster has finally returned to Canada after escaping our frigid winter. Of course she came home to plenty of snow and freezing temperatures and of course I took my first opportunity to bring the kids up for a visit.

Not only is my mom’s house a great refuge for the kids, but it is also a perfect place for me to rest my weary bones after three motherless months. Not only was there plenty of homemade food on the menu (any food I don’t need to make is good food) but also red wine which is always very much needed by the mid-point of March break.)

Craft time

The next morning my mom announced we would be crafting. Now my mom will occasionally be creative (we decorate gingerbread houses every year) but we don’t often sit down to make a mess on purpose at grandma’s house. Let’s just say Grandma’s house is full of many expensive things that I often have to remind my children not to touch. Every time my mom allows my children into her home she is actually rolling the dice on an insurance claim.

So when it came time to start this craft project my mom surprised me by leading us into this secret room in her basement set up with folding tables and covered in shells. I was able to glean that the project we were about to attempt consisted of gluing shells to a piece of styrofoam with hot glue. I quickly realized that a) this was not a craft designed for my four, six and seven-year-old and b) I was expected to take this monstrosity home once constructed.

Control freak crafter

So I tucked in to create this structure. I was partnered with my two younger children who were unable to help due to the high possibility of third-degree burns from the hot glue gun and my inner control freak need to make sure this god-awful tacky piece was going to be executed to my specifications.

Since my mom had gathered all the ingredients for this project, she decided that my two nieces and I would construct our sculptures in the shape of a Christmas tree and then pulled her own ‘special’ supplies. Not only was she making a half moon candle holder, but she would be gifting this monstrosity. Even with her hand-picked shells, upgraded shape and candle, she gave up about 20 minutes in realizing this was the kind of gift that could end a friendship.

Our ranks start to crumble

As the hours dragged on, the kids slowly melted away. I simply took a meal break and returned as Shelly (as my creation was later named) began to take form. My mom became my second in command, searching for the smaller shells to fill holes while I threatened to gift her Shelly for mother’s day.

“You know Melissa, people will pay good money for these in Florida. They cost $240 US in stores.”

“Well mom, you can take Shelly with you next year and set up a booth on the beach.”

Once complete, my mom tried unsuccessfully to convince me that Shelly was beautiful and I tried unsuccessfully to leave Shelly on her mantel.

The funniest part of the whole thing is that all it took was naming the statue for my kids to become attached. They were seriously bummed I wouldn’t display Shelly on the coffee table and fought over who got to have her ‘sleep’ in her room. I finally had to settle the fight by putting her in a place of honour in her guest bathroom for all to see.

So, of course, I felt the need to write this blog to explain Shelly and how she came to be. My mom still may get a special gift for mother’s day this year.