Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gourd Friends

Move over, Jack. There are new gourds in town. These fanciful little folks will put a whole new face on decorating for the season. Here's how to craft your own.

You'll need an assortment of gourds or ornamental pumpkins. Choose ones that are free of mold and bruises (they'll last longer), and wash and dry them once you get them home. You'll also need a variety of natural trimmings, such as pine needles, pinecones, leaves, seeds, and the like, plus a glue gun or glue dots for tacking everything in place. Thinner glue dots (often labeled "paper thin") are fine for light items, but we preferred thicker ones (1/16 inch or more; 3-D dots work especially well) for pinecones and large twigs.

Once you've gathered your supplies, play around with how to arrange them, starting with the body. (One, two, or three gourds? Smaller ones stacked atop larger ones, or vice versa?) Next, try out some features. We used leaves for Maude's hair, Frank's bow tie, and Myrtle's arms, while our gallery of noses includes a berry for Frances, a single pinecone scale for Myrtle, a peanut shell for Neville, and a piece of a stem for Harriet. Small, round items, such as beans, berries, and Indian corn kernels, make great eyes, noses, and buttons, while sticks and stems work well for hair, arms, and smiles. But anything goes, have fun!

If you're using multiple gourds, glue them together (remove the stems from the lower ones first), then add the features. You can also connect them with round toothpicks or trimmed skewers (use a small nail to make pilot holes if necessary). If you plan to sandwich leaves between two stacked gourds, as with Neville's and Myrtle's collars, be sure to glue the foliage to the bottom gourd before gluing the top one in place. Gourd wobbly? Glue nutshells or small pinecones to its base to help stabilize it, as we did with both Frank and Neville. Your fall friends will likely last two to four weeks in a cool, dry spot.

Another fun idea from Family Fun

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