DIY pumpkins

Halloween is just a week away!  Fall is my favorite season and about a decade ago, Halloween was my favorite holiday.  Although celebrating Halloween has slipped from my radar, fall decor has not!  Earlier this season Ryan and I made pumpkins out of materials we already had on hand.  They are a bit abstract but they were fun to make none the less.  Check them out…

crafty DIY pumpkins-4897

Ryan cut a few logs to create wood slice pumpkins. Using a drill press, he made a hole in the top to insert the branch stem.  So rustic!

wood slice pumpkin-

I put a monochromatic spin on the popular fabric pumpkin by using just burlap and jute twine.  You’ll never guess what I stuffed the pumpkin with…shipping peanuts!  The shapes on these guys greatly varied just like in nature…

Burlap Pumpkin

In addition to DIYing pumpkins, we’ve been working with real ones as well – mostly in the kitchen.  This season we’ve enjoyed spiced pumpkin bread, pumpkin pizza and pumpkin pizelles. Yum!

What pumpkin inspired crafts & treats have you made?

DIY pumpkins-4900

spiced pumpkin bread

For as many years as I can remember, I have been making my tried and true pumpkin shortbread.  I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe but it has been so long.  I particularly love it because a.) it is so tasty and b.) it yields 3 loaves.  One for us, one to gift and one to freeze for later.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This year though I tweaked my recipe to make it just a little bit healthier or “cleaner” as we are on a quest to eat fewer processed foods.  I started with subbing white flour for whole wheat flour and refined sugar for raw sugar.

It is also the first time I made it with actual pumpkin versus the canned stuff.  In fact, I plucked this one right from my porch.  Yum, so much tastier with the real thing!

natural fall vignette

I’d love to try tweaking the recipe even further by substituting the vegetable oil for perhaps more pumpkin puree.  I think some of the sugar could possibly be substituted for apple sauce too based on what I’ve read.

But anyway, here’s the recipe as it stands today, just a little bit “cleaner” or less processed.

15 ounces real pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups raw sugar
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

WholeWheatFlour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

Remove the skin of a small pumpkin.  Cut in chunks and boil until pumpkin is soft.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

spiced pumpkin bread

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The spiced pumpkin bread is perfect paired with a cup of coffee!

You’ll notice that I had a squash in my fall porch vignette too.  It is also long gone because we ate it!  (So is that little zucchini.)

natural fall vignette

You may have caught a snippet on my instagram or facebook of the butternut squash & spinach lasagna that we had for dinner last week.  It was so good!  I followed the SkinnyTaste recipe posted here.  Delish!  However, I didn’t roll the noodles as recommended.

I would make this again for the creamy butternut squash sauce alone.  We used the extra for pasta a few nights later.

butternut squash lasagna

Looks like I need to redecorate since we ate most of my fall porch vignette.  What fall dishes are you cooking up?

P.S. This Sunday we’ll be at Clover Market with a truck full of vintage finds!  And next weekend I’ll be at Serendipity showing you how milk paint works.  Hope to see you soon!

MMS October flier

Sharing at the Pumpkin Parade!

pumpkin-spiration

Friends, it’s time!  Fall is officially here.  Yay!  I am ready to do some pumpkin picking and jack-o-lantern carving!  And I’m waiting for the leaves to change colors right before my eyes!  Yahoo!  How about you?

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon visiting several fab antique shops.  The trip to Western MD/Northern VA was somewhat spontaneous however I’ve long anticipated stepping foot in these shops…Chartreuse & Co., Sweet Clover and The Old Lucketts Store.  Sometimes you just need a good ol’ fashioned road trip!  My excursion has definitely given me the inspiration and kick in the pants I needed.

chartreuse & co.

I love this simple, spooky vignette at Lucketts…I might have to put something similar together.

lucketts

I also had the pleasure of meeting Cassie at Sweet Clover.  What a doll!  I’ve been following her blog for years and feel like I know her life story so it was fun to meet her in person.  Plus, she and her partners curated a great barn sale full of vintage goodness.  Yes, I found some new treasures!  Bonus, Cassie schooled me on how to take a decent selfie…

sweet clover

Sometimes some new scenery is just the right dose of inspiration!  I’m headed to a milk paint workshop for the next two days.  I’m sure even more inspiration will strike.  Can’t wait to share.

With that said, let me share a few pumpkin projects today that may inspire you…

Stocking Pumpkin: Even easier than carving a pumpkin – just pop it into a fishnet or graphic stocking for instant spooktackular impact.

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Safety in Numbers: There’s something so simply appealing about an abundance of mini pumpkins or gourds.  It looks great with reindeer moss, pinecones, acorns and other natural elements too.  Start filling a dough bowl or harvest basket!

mini pumpkins in abundance

Pumpkin Tea Lights: Easy!  Just carve out the top and pop a tea light candle in.

pumpkin tea light

Vomiting Pumpkin Salsa: So gross but so good!  Seriously, this carved pumpkin face makes such a conversation piece at a Halloween party.

jack-o-lantern salsa

If you missed it, check out my farmers market roundup for more simple, fall decor!  What’s inspiring you this fall?

farmers market roundup

I’m usually that girl who plants mums in August and has pumpkins out for Labor Day.  This year, however, I have been reluctant to say goodbye to summer.  I’m simply not going to do it ’til summer is really over.  At the end of September.

But I can’t deny the crisp air and winding down humidity so I have been thinking about switching out my seasonal decor and introducing some late summer favorites.  I love this time of year at the farmer’s market.  The colors, textures and pickins’ are in abundance.  Not only do I want to eat the season’s harvest but I want to decorate with it!

fall bistro table

Here are a few decorating ideas that will bring the changing season in without breaking your budget.  If you’re lucky, you might already have these crops growing in your own backyard garden.  If not, you know where to go!

Indian Corn Wreath:  Husks of Indian corn aren’t just for the lamp-post.  Pick up clusters of mini Indian corn which show a variety of colors.  Attach them to a wire form and you have yourself a new wreath plus a squirrel’s feast.  These are best hung between a storm door and front door or you won’t have anything left in a matter of hours!

mini Indian corn fall harvest wreath

Hot Pepper Wreath:  Pick up some hot peppers next time you’re at the market.  If you can find a surplus of them, you’ll get a better deal.  Wire them up to wreath form for new door decor.

hot pepper wreath

Farmers Market Vignette:  This vignette is nothing more than colorful, seasonal squashes and a pumpkin mixed with locally grown flowers that are drying out.  Arrange them amongst some other items that are already on hand like a rusty old scale and homemade pumpkin for instant impact!  When you’re not sure about what’s for dinner, slice open that squash and steam it.

fall vignette

Mumkin:  There is always the classic pumpkin planter stand by.  Grab a large pumpkin and 6 inch mum at the market.  Carve and hollow the pumpkin.  Plant the mum, pot and all, directly into the pumpkin planter.

Mumkin

Seed Packet Art:  If you can’t bring the freshness of the harvest inside, you can always create your own original seed packet art.  I duplicated a few vintage seed graphics last fall with paint and reclaimed wood.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign

fall vignettes

I can’t believe Halloween is just a week away! I have only done some light decorating this season. Like no frills, go with the natural flow type of fall decorating. I didn’t get very Halloween specific.  I kind of like it so I thought I’d share some of the vignettes that are around my house.

I stepped onto my back patio to fallen dogwood leaves.  Some people are hyperactive about removing leaves as they fall but I happen to love the surprise that nature left us!  The leaves crunch below my feet and dot the bistro table and chairs.  Simple decorating!

Around the corner this big ol’ pumpkin that we haven’t gotten around to carving yet waits patiently on my favorite rusty, aqua chair.

I am a big fan of the contrast in colors between orange and aqua.  In the house I left my growing collection of antique blue and green mixing bowls on display and dispersed decorative pumpkins and things among them.

Aren’t these candy corn just too cute?

On the hearth, I have a vintage shopping basket full of pumpkins, squash and gourds.  Is it weird to keep squash for dinner in the living room?  Not when it is this cute & festive!

Shh, the secrets of a vintage dealer here…I just pick up this shopping basket every weekend and bring it to whatever event I am selling at so I can disperse some fall cheer amongst my vintage vignettes.  Don’t look too closely or you may find one of my price tags.  In fact, many things in my house are tagged with prices.  My family jokes that everything in my house is for sale.  Umm, they’re kind of right.  Tell me I am not alone.  Do any other dealers do this?

This vignette is a focal in the dining room.  I just keeping adding to it by repeating shapes and colors with objects from around the house and nature.  (And there are at least 3, no wait, 4 items in this vignette that I know have price tags on them!)

And finally, I love to gaze out my office window at the beautiful yellow foliage that the birch trees in front of my house are showcasing.  No selling that view.

So how is your house decorated for the holiday?  Feel free to leave link in the comments!

warm & cozy fall mantel

For as much as I’ve been talking about fall and planning fall events, I haven’t done much fall decorating around my own house which is very unlike me.  I managed to pull together my fall mantel last weekend though.  I love changing the mantels frequently.

You may remember my most recent, late summer mantelscape where I displayed my collection of vintage mixing bowls.

Well that is gone and a neutral color scheme is in.

Neutral is also very unlike me.  Normally I go for the bold colors.  Not this time.  I started out with this vintage picture.  It is a print that I acquired from my grandfather.  The shape and muted color scheme really interested me.  It looks to be a rainy day by the canal in Amsterdam.  So up the picture went with the windmill being the center of the mantel.

You probably noticed the branch candle holder right away.  I have been wanting to create something like this for a long time.  When I found it at a reasonable price at an antique shop recently, I crossed making my own right off the list.

Basically they took a large branch and used a drill press or drill bit to cut out space for candles.  Clever.  Of course I grabbed the coordinating branch candle holders as well.

I just love the warmth all of the candles add to the mantel.

Keeping with the mellow, natural color scheme, I placed some hardwood flooring frames on the left side of the mantel to mimic the framed art on the right.  I particularly like the blue stripe left on the one frame.  The frame is made from old basketball court hardwoods.  You can imagine that blue marking where the point guard stood or something similar.

Subtle pops of blue also show up in the picture.

So I added in a blue canning jar for good measure amongst my natural pumpkins.

I love how the colors of the nearly discarded art inspired an entire mantelscape.

The fireplace is just begging for a roaring fire.  We haven’t gotten that far yet this season though so the candles will have to do.

So what’s on your mantel?

Oh and if you need more inspiration for your fall decorating, come to our Harvest Party this weekend!  Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm

1814 Valley Forge Road Worcester, PA

Linking to Home Stories A to Z, Funky Junk Interiors, Centsational Girl