Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall + Friends + Food + Fun = Pumpkin Tutorial

 I have such wonderful friends! After seeing a photo of DIL Katie's pumpkin from our arts and crafts day last week my friend Trish said "I want to make a pumpkin" - so she googled it and came up with this wonderfully easy way of making such cute fall decorations. Much easier than the time consuming sewing of wedges that we did last week. So easy in fact, that prior to this morning she has made 21 of the darling little creatures.

So, what are friends for but to share! And support one another.... Armed with a shopping list Katie, Trish, Annette and I headed to Wally-world for some fall fabric, yarn, poly-fil and leaves...Trish would be sharing her knowledge with us once we arrived back to my studio.

When I added the comment "support one another" that was my lead in to the food part (grin). Without a lot of details here cuz I know you want to get on to the tutorial....our arts and crafts day really stemmed from my cry for help...seems my healthcare provider has suggested a change in lifestyle....namely more veggies, dairy limited to eggs and butter, lots of protein, limited fruit, and going grain free for 30 days...recommended reading "The Paleo Solution Diet" by Robb Wolf and "Wheat Belly" by William Davis. While I am excited about the health benefits, my friends actually found me in tears stressing over the implication of this lofty goal of regaining my health (and potentially shedding some unwanted pounds). Why you ask? Well, I'm not known for my culinary skills  - and I'm what is known unfavorably as a "picky eater" today's gathering included Annette steaming some previously unknown veggies for me to "try" and Katie making a delicious Greek salad (which was totally Greek to me - things I'd never eaten before in my life!) For the record, there was a little cheating going on with the Feta cheese, but hey, this is a work in progress.

I think the girls got tickled as I was sorta like a 5 year old in discovering that I could eat things all mixed together (grin).  Did I mention that this was also the day I'd scheduled the Sears repairman to come fix my oven? Seems it's been out since April or May or quite possibly Christmas...pitiful I know....yep...I desperately  needed my girlfriends today!

If you look closely on the table above you will see the orange pumpkin Trish brought over and the smaller one she used to demo. Before you knew it, we all had one or two made.

Okay, okay...I know you are eager to follow along and make your own - trust me, they are like a bag of chips, you can't make just one!

Pumpkins ala Trish

Ingredients (grin)
 Fabric (duh)
Heavy thread, 12 wt to 30 wt
Tapestry needle (or large embroidery needle)
"Doll" needle - or large plastic needle - key is to be long and have a large eye for the yarn
Stems from the weeds growing in the pasture or the empty lot next door (as the case may be)
Misc. fall decorations such as leaves, etc.
Sewing machine and typical sewing supplies

Trish has found that the following sizes have worked well in her cut your fabrics either 6 x 12, 7 x 14, 8 x 16, 9 x 18, 10 x 16 or 10 x 20....and feel free to experiment. She suggests that you make a 6 x 12 first and then play around..

Fold the fabric in half  right sides together (if it were 6 x 12 you would now have a folded 6 x 6).  With a quarter inch seam sew the side opposite the fold, securing each end with a back stitch, forming a tube.  Finger press the  seam open.

Using a running stitch or gathering stitch sew a quarter of an inch on one side of the tube, still wrong side out (see first photo).  Gather and secure tightly with a knot. BYT, thread color doesn't matter, it won't be seen. Next turn the tube right side out and fill with poly-fil or similar stuffing. Not too full, it should feel a little squishie to be sculpt-able.

Upon completion use that same gathering stitch to close the opening. This is harder than it looks (one reason for heavy thread)....don't be discouraged if you end up with a hole and can see the stuffing - it will later be covered with a stem...Tie securely and bury your thread if you know how (not an issue if you don't).

Now it is time to sculpt your pumpkin. Using a large needle with yarn (tied with a knot of course) go through the open top and come out on the bottom, this buries the thread and knot. From the bottom travel up the side again going through the top. I found it helpful to make the placement of my first stitch to cover that one seam - but it probably doesn't matter (grin). Continue going down through the top, out the bottom, and up the sides until you have the desired number of wedges.

Pull the yarn tight to get that desired effect. You WILL have a hole in the middle...
When complete, tie off the yarn and hide the knot.

Next, if you are fortunate enough to have a hot glue gun this is where you'd want to pull it nope. Probably the only gal in town that doesn't, and Trish left her half a dozen at home. No worries, I have various forms of craft glue (Liquid Stitch worked wonders).

Be as creative as you want... Trish had some floral wire that we wrapped around a pen to make tendrils. I thought they added a nice touch.

These were my first set made with the girls from our Wally-world fabric.  After they left the oven-repairmen came so I was distracted for a while....then back to the studio to make this set. Yes, Vera Bradly fans, these are Safari Sunset...I purchased napkins from my favorite pattern and have it scattered in my living room (pillows). These should give a nice pulled together look that will dazzle my friends and family with my decorating skills don't ya think? And yes, they are going to stay stacked. Trish had a stacked trio that was very are only limited by your imagination!

And I told you they were addictive! Here's my beautiful Blank batiks (thanks Tom, these colors are going to look fantastic in the living room - can't wait to make a couch quilt out of them).

Time will tell just how many pumpkins I'll have scattered over my house this fall. I doubt that I will catch up to Trish...but who knows, I do have an addictive personality  - as opposed to a competitive one (grin).

Yes, this was quite a day. Fun time with friends, learning some new skills in the kitchen with such wonderful taste tests (I can eat veggies!), and having something to show for my day besides dirty dishes - I just love these little pumpkins!....I'm excited about the future, hopeful that I can learn to cook healthier and feel better. It's not as daunting as it was a few days ago. Changing habits is never easy, but...

"with God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26


Nola G said...

Karen, you will be astounded by the health benefits of going grain-free. I have been eating this way for the past 6 years. I have not had a flare up of my Crohn's disease in this time, lost weight, great bloodwork, even seemed to have sailed through menopause symptom-free. Expect to go through withdrawal for a while at the beginning. Wheat (especially) is like a drug.

Karen E. Overton said...

Thanks for the encouragement Nola - I have been shocked (so far) at what I have heard on the audible version of Wheat Belly...such a shame that God's perfect grain has been subject to genetic engineering and messed up so many people. Not to mention all the hidden ingredients of corn syrup and such. It's no wonder we are a sick and overweight nation. I'm just getting started (as in less than a week) so appreciate prayers for endurance! Thanks for visiting my blog!

nearissa said...

I love those pumpkins. I have been gluten free now for a couple of years. It is hard but I feel so much better. It is amazing what gluten can do to a body and I have lost a lot of weight too. You will be feeling better in no time. I am going to take the pumpkins to my 'Diva' group. Quilting group. We can all make them there Thanks Karen

veleska1970 said...

Thank you so so much for sharing this!! I have been looking high and low for an easy, quick project. Because I work a lot of hours and don't have much time to spare for my crafting, this is just what I'm looking for. :)

Karen E. Overton said...

I'm glad you found something both useful, fun and fast! It's that time of year again, fixing to make more pumpkins! 9/22/13