Saturday, September 28, 2013

DIY Pumpkin Patch


I spotted some similar pumpkins to these just a couple of weeks ago on Pinterest.  And unlike most of my pins, this one I actually decided to attempt.  And I have to say, I really  love them sitting on my porch!


To give credit where credit is due, I was originally inspired by a pin that led me to this blog, and I somewhat followed her tutorial. But also using my own judgement and ideas along the way.  I'm so thankful Pinterest gives us the opportunity to see all the creativity that others have. And to inspire us.








I have to say, there was a bit more time and work involved in this project than I thought there would be.  But with the beautiful weather we've had, I have thoroughly enjoyed working on them, on my porch, with the kids playing in the yard.  Since I was eager to know how these were made, I thought I would post a simple tutorial on how I created them.

Supplies needed...

-an 8 foot long 4x4
-a small piece of wood to make the sign. Mine measured 4x6. I had it on hand already. Craft stores have a wood section that should have something to work though.
-a square dowel...unsure the name...just look around Home Depot until you find something that would work as a pumpkin stem
-brown cloth stem wire
-1 piece of burlap
-twine
-Craft paint...orange and brown
-Wood glue





 Tools I used...

-Circular saw
-Sander
-Hammer
-Chisel
-Drill

(I told you it was a lot of work, thankfully I love working with wood)


Step by step instructions...

Pumpkins:

1. Even though I have my own saws, I took advantage of the free cuts that Home Depot offers and had them cut my 4x4. For the three pumpkins, I wanted heights of 19inches, 17inches, and 15inches. And they were happy to do those for me. For free. So the first step is done before you even leave the hardware store
2. Now its time to chisel. Wear gloves.  This is a little time consuming. And your neighbors will think you've lost your mind. But its necessary to have the grooves that make them resemble pumpkins. You want to chisel off all the corners. And chisel out 1 or 2 or 3 triangular sections on each edge. Do this for the tops and bottoms of all three pumpkins. Make them all a little different. (for a video tutorial on how to chisel, visit this blog)
3. Now that you have some grooves, it's time for sanding. To smooth out where hunks of wood have been removed. The edges.  And to make it overall smoother.
4. Dust off your saw dust, and do a thick coat of orange paint. Mine were good with just one coat.
5. After they've dried (I think mine sat for a week just from being busy...but I would wait at least a few hours), do your final sanding (on the pumpkins anyway). Sand the heaviest on all the edges. Round out any sharp edges. Sand inside your grooves. And lightly sand the entire pumpkin. Use your judgement on the look you want to have.
6. I'm not sure if its necessary, but I had a clear (non-glossy) sealant spray I lightly sprayed them with. Just to help protect them from the weather.





 





Stems...

1.  Take your square dowel thingy, and make 3 cuts. I used my circular saw. But if you have a hand saw, that would work too. I honestly didn't measure. I just eye balled it. Just cut lengths that you want your pumpkin stems to be. They don't have to be all the same.
2. Sand them down. Round out the edges slightly and smooth out the sides.
3. Give them a coat of brown paint.
4. Once they've derived (will only take a few minutes), sand them down again. To match the sanding on the pumpkins. Heavier of he edges. And lightly all over.
 5. Put a little wood glue on the bottom, and stick them to the top of your pumpkins.
6.  Now to decorate the stems, take your piece of burlap and cut three strips, about an inch wide.
7. Fold your strip in half, loop it around your stem, and tie a single knot so you have a little burlap to hang down.
8.  Use your cloth stem wire to wrap around your burlap, tie a single knot, and then curl the remaining wire.








Pumpkin Patch Sign:

1. I happened to have a 4x6 piece of wood that I use for my signs already on hand. You can use whatever size you think. Or have on hand.
2. Sand the edges. Round out the corners some. And smooth the roughness.
3. There's two ways of painting the letters on...I used vinyl as a stencil so I'll share that way first.  Paint your sign ivory.
4. While that's drying, I designed and cut the "pumpkin patch" onto vinyl.
5. Once my paint dried, I applied the vinyl to my ivory sign.
6.  I applied a layer of mod podge on top of the vinyl (just seals the letters on good so that no brown paint can swap under my letters).
7.  Once the mod podge dries, paint the entire sign brown. I did two coats.
8.  Once your paint is dry (I personally always wait until the next day for less chance of it messing up), peel off your vinyl letters. I use tweezers. You should be left with a brown sign and ivory letters.

**if you don't have a cutting machine, you can simply paint your sign brown to begin with, then use a stencil from a craft store to paint the words "pumpkin patch" in ivory paint. Or you could free hand it. **

9. Now you just sand your sign down some. The usual, sand the edges heaviest, and lightly sand the entire sign. (I had orange saw dust left on my sander which slightly turned my letters a dingy orange, so I used a baby wipe -doesnt every momma use baby wipes for everything?- to gently wipe off my letters. And it did the trick perfectly.
10. I decided to drill two holes at the top of my sign to thread my twine through. It worked perfectly.










Putting it all together...

1.  Put your three pumpkins together, align your sign where you want it, and wrap the extra twine that is thread through the sign around all three pumpkins. I wrapped mine about 3 times.
2.  Bring the two ends to the front, tie a knot, and cut the leftover twine off.
3.  I added another piece of wire to my knot because I wanted a few more curlys.
4.  Sit them on your front porch, take lots of pictures, and be proud that you just made those adorable pumpkins!!


Happy Fall!!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Start to Preschool 2013

Tuesday was tough.  Dropping my two sweet little girls off.  Alyssa, for her very first day of preschool.  And Keira, for her last first day of preschool.  It seems like yesterday that Keira was starting her first year.  At two years old.  Screaming and crying at every drop off for over a week.  Causing me many, many tears.  While Alyssa was just a newborn.  And here we are two years later, dropping Alyssa off to that same room, with the same teacher.  (Minus the screaming and crying - I'm not sure she minds us leaving her there to play all day).  And walking Keira to her big girl room.  As a senior of the preschool hall.  Knowing that next year, we'll be waiting at the bus stop with her.  Waiting for a school bus to take her off to kindergarten.

It's tough.  I'm an emotional momma with all firsts and lasts. And everything in between.  These girls are my world.  And more than the separation of dropping them off, is the emotions that I get from the change of it all.  Knowing that they will forever be in school at this point.  Yes, they are just two half days a week right now.  But it's still a change.  I have wanted to be a stay-at-home mom since the second I found out I was pregnant with Keira.  The thought of missing time with them, missing any firsts, and simply waving goodbye to them as I leave for work has always been heartbreaking to me.  And as I think about that now, it's sad to think that even if that wish were granted for me to be home with them full time, it would no longer be the same having them in school part of the week.  I think that is a lot of what is so emotional about this transition.  The fact that my babies are no longer home all day every day.  And that I missed the opportunity to be home with them during those years.  And that truly breaks my heart.

But I have to have faith that it's all for a purpose.  I have to realize that I have been exactly where God wants me to be.  And that I am exactly where God wants me to be.  Because this life is all about Him.  And the journey that He has planned for me.  He has blessed me with a beautiful life and a beautiful family.  And though I want to be home with my girls all day every day.  And I get jealous of every single stay-at-home mom and all the precious time they get with their children.  I am grateful.  For every single moment.  And I just pray for my accepting of all things that I cannot control.  Because He knows best.

Here is a look at their first day...





 Lyssa didn't want to wear her back pack..probably because it's three times her size













 Daddy would never miss the first day of school !



 
 New classroom!


 Peeking in through the door to make sure my baby girl was okay...

 This happy girl had a great first day!

And even got a good first day report card! =)

Keira had a few tears when it was time to pick up.  Her teacher confused her as all-day child and had told her to get on the rug for nap time.  So when I came to to pick her up, I saw tears running down her face.  She thought I wasn't coming to get her.  Broke my heart.  That was strike 2 for the new teacher.  (the first one being that she threw away her cookies from her lunchable and didn't let her take them home for later).  Let's hope she likes her better today.