How to Make Concrete Pumpkin Planters

Decorating, DIY

During the fall, most of us are overcome with a strong urge to decorate, filling our homes with fake leaves and throwing Indian corn and scarecrows up on our front porches.

In your transition from summer to autumn, I would highly consider giving this project a try. For less than ten dollars, you can create two beautiful and unique pumpkin planters, pieces that you will be able to use for many years to come!

pumpkin

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 50 lb bag of concrete
  • Water
  • Bucket or wheel barrow for mixing your concrete
  • A concrete-mixing tool, such as a shovel
  • 2 plastic trick-or-treating pumpkins
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Styrofoam
  • Vessels to place inside the planters (we used gatorade bottles, but I would recommend something with straight and smooth sides)
  • An exact-o knife or cardboard cutter
  • Spray paint, acrylic paint and paint brushes (if desired)img_0388

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix your concrete following the instructions on the bag. We mixed our concrete by using a shovel and wheelbarrow.img_0397_
  2. Tape a small square of styrofoam to the bottom of your plastic pumpkins (this will be for the water to drain out the bottom of your planter).
  3. Spray the inside of the plastic pumpkins and the outside of the placeholders (gatorade bottles) with cooking spray.
  4. Set the placeholders on top of the styrofoam pieces inside the pumpkins.
  5. Fill the pumpkins with concrete while holding the placeholders steady. Occasionally shake the pumpkins to ensure the concrete is settling properly.IMG_0398_.JPG
  6. Once filled, leave the pumpkins to set and dry. If able, place them in the sun to speed up the drying process. I would recommend giving them 24-48 hours to set.IMG_0401_.jpg
  7. Once the pumpkins have properly set, cut away the plastic using a box cutter or exact-o knife.IMG_0402_.JPG
  8. Remove the placeholder inside each pumpkin.IMG_0415_.JPG
  9. Cure the planters by placing them in a bucket of water or misting them with a squirt bottle.

DECORATE:

We let our pumpkins sit for about a week, giving the concrete an adequate amount of time to set and cure.

If interested in decorating your pumpkins with paint, I would recommend first spray painting them with orange paint, creating a base layer for further decoration. I would also recommend two coats of spray paint, making sure you are filling in any small pores that may have formed in your concrete.

Once the spray paint has dried, you can use acrylic paint and a paint brush to fill in the your pumpkins’ faces.

FINISHING TOUCH:

Last, but certainly not least, fill your planters with mums or other fall-time plants.

And there you have it: two beautiful planters that you can use year after year for under ten dollars. So, what are you waiting for? Halloween  is only 6 weeks away!

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How to Find Your Christmas Spirit

Decorating, Festivity, Holiday

It’s officially the Christmas season! This means the stores are decked out in Santa Clauses, the radio is blasting Christmas carols and the food industry is swamped with mint and gingerbread.

But what if, try as you might, you just aren’t feeling the holidays?

Well then, I have a solution! Below are a list of suggestions; tactics on how to become excited for the most wonderful time of the year.

christmas spirit 1

  1. Decorate. Personally, nothing puts me in the holiday mood more than decorating the house. Christmas lights especially send out serious holiday-mood vibes. I am also a huge fan of nutcrackers and enjoy displaying my collection this time of year.nutcrackers
  2. Attend a holiday production. This year Andy and I will be attending a production of A Christmas Story in Syracuse, NY as his younger brother will be playing Flick in the play. Most communities put on holiday-themed productions and religious ceremonies so be sure to check out what’s going on in your city! (Check out the show schedule if you live in the Syracuse area and are interested in seeing A Christmas Story).
  3. Do a Christmas craft. Tomorrow I will  be going to a wreath-making workshop with my mother and grandmother at the local nature center (more on this later). Check your local papers and Facebook accounts to see what holiday-themed events are happening in your neighborhood! Or perhaps do what I did below and spend time assembling a classy center-piece.christmas placesetting
  4. Read. Whether it is a Christmas craft book or a holiday romance, I find that seasonal books can not only give you that warm,fuzzy feeling but also help you embrace the season. Recommendation: Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
  5. Watch a Christmas movie. Gather your family and friends and indulge in a Christmas movie. Classics, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch are always a win but some of the modern titles such as Four Christmases, Elf and Fred Claus are both hilarious and delightful. Make some popcorn and enjoy a night in.

It is only the 4th of December, which means you have plenty of time to get in the spirit and have a fun holiday season. It truly is a magical time of year, so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts! (Just don’t go sneaking for presents like our naughty dog).

auggie and stocking

Feel free to comment below with other suggestions on how to create Christmas spirit!

(Photo credit for the last photo goes to Andrew Janitz)

Happy Turkey Day!

Decorating, DIY, Festivity, Holiday

Posting once a week every Friday means that my weekly post will be falling after Thanksgiving on (duh-duh-duuuuh) Black Friday! A day when everyone will be out madly shopping as the Christmas season officially commences.

That being said, I thought I would throw an extra post out there this week to give you some ideas on how to have a creative holiday! While we all have Thanksgiving traditions that we live and die by, it is always fun to try new, creative ideas to spice up already established traditions.

Here are a few creative ideas you can add to your food-filled day:

  1. Homemade placemats. If you read my post from last week you know that homemade placemats can make great holiday gifts. They can also personalize your Thanksgiving dinner and table. Check out my post from last week to learn how to recycle textiles into these woven settings.

woven placemat

  1. Homemade place cards.
    Whether you simply stencil letters onto card stock or use different colored paper and ribbons for embellishment, place cards can add a fun and sophisticated look to your Thanksgiving table.
  2. Try a new recipe! This year I will be making something I have never eaten or made: Frozen Pumpkin Pie! Here is a recipe for one version if you also want to give it a go!

 

So no matter how traditional or trendy your Thanksgiving is, I hope that it’s a good one!

(Cover photo found via Google Images)

 

Fall Into Home

Decorating
My small, painted jack-o-lantern

Painted a pumpkin for a faux indoor jack-o-lantern

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in NY, people are obsessed with talking about the weather. Everyone loves to hate winter but simply loves fall. This past Wednesday marked the first day of the autumn season, what New Yorkers consider to be the best season of the year.

While there are a lot of great things about fall, one of the best is the atmosphere. Everywhere you look there are pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales and apple-flavored foods. But aside from sight-seeing, apple picking and attending harvest festivals, it is fun to change the atmosphere of your home.

Drastically different from summer, when all of your energy is put towards keeping the house cool, fall is when you make your house feel more like home. Embracing the season, here are a few things that I like to do:

  1. Light ’em up! To me, nothing says “home” more than a welcoming scent, especially something that sparks nostalgia. During this season, burning a pumpkin or apple scented candle is a pretty common theme.

    Seasonal magazines on the coffee table (Wall Street Journal’s fall fashion issue and Family Circle’s October issue)

  2. Simple Decor: Decorating doesn’t have to be all-out, and a sense of decor is different for everyone. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I know what I like. This year for fall I bought some fake leaves and pine cones and arranged them in mason jars. Simple and seasonal.
  3.  Cooking Again: All summer we avoid the oven and stove like the plague, hating the heat it gives off. But in the fall we can finally use these practical devices again. Whether it be apple crisp or chili, the fall is a great time to start rejuvenating your love for the kitchen (and food).

Long story short, you don’t have to be an expert decorator to make your house feel like a home, especially in this optimal season. Part of the reason fall so charming is because it is fleeting. So enjoy while you can!