Pumpkin and Marigold Centerpiece

This centerpiece is not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit larger. It can be placed on the dinner table. A second can be made to be used as a mantle decoration.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

flower-pot to fit inside the pumpkin

large spoon

organic potting soil

fresh Marigold plants, assorted colors if desired

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.

  2. Allow the pumpkin to dry over night.
  3. Fill the flower-pot 2/3 full with organic potting soil, placing the plants in the pot how you want them, and cover their roots with more soil if necessary.

  4. Place the pot into the pumpkin.
  5. Water lightly when needed.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkin and marigolds to save money.
  • To save even more, reuse an old flower-pot or pick one up at a yard sale. Be sure to disinfect the pot and allow to dry completely before using.

Shannon

 

Kitchen Craft: Herb and Fruit Slice Garland

Garlands are a great addition to autumn and winter decor, for the sabbats and holidays of the seasons. These garlands smell so good during the preparation stage, as well as for a while after they are created. Note that these fruits are not edible, but the herbs and cinnamon sticks can be removed later and used when cooking.

This craft takes about four days to complete.

Items Needed (amounts depend on size and number of garlands):

apples

oranges

lemons

limes

wax paper

cinnamon sticks

fresh herbs, or dried

garland

twine

craft wire

scissors

glue gun and sticks

Hammer and nails, or tacks

  1. Slice the fruit, do not peel first.
  2. Place the fruit slices on wax paper to dry for a few days before continuing.
  3. Turn each fruit slice twice a day.
  4. On the fourth day, or when the fruits are dried, prepare to decorate the garland.
  5. Lay the garland out.
  6. Tie two or three cinnamon sticks with twine to make bundles.
  7. Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with the twine. Feel free to mix and match types.
  8. Tie the cinnamon and herb bundles where desired  on the garland using craft wire.
  9. Glue the fruit slices where desired onto the garland, being sure not to get glue on the herbs and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Hang the garland where desired.

Variations:

  • Add small bells.
  • Add bows.
  • Make wreaths to match.
  • Make swags instead.

You could also:

  • Add herb/cinnamon bundles to your holiday tree.
  • Add fruit slice garland to the holiday tree.
  • Use the dried herbs in recipes when you take your decorations down.

Shannon

Pumpkin Fruit Bowl

Fruit bowls are not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit bigger. These bowls, once dried some, will hold the fresh fruit for your Thanksgiving feast.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

large spoon

fresh fruit, assorted varieties

wax/parchment paper, or a towel, or even a bowl if you have one that fits

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasting.

  2. Scrape some of the flesh out to use in cooking, being sure to leave enough so the pumpkin is sturdy enough to hold fresh fruit.
  3. Allow to dry a few hours or over night.

  4. Place a bowl, wax or parchment paper, or even a towel, around the inside of the pumpkin so it covers the flesh.
  5. Put the pumpkin where it will be displayed, and place the fruit inside.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • When you’re done with the bowl, scrape more of the pumpkin out and place in a pot with boiling water to freshen the air.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Shannon

Kitchen Craft: Holiday Herb Garland or Swag

The scent of fresh herbs will be evident for a while once these are put together, adding a homey feel to any room in the house. These are easy to make, and will not take too much time. These make great decorations for autumn the autumn and winter sabbats and holidays.

Items Needed:

Grapevine or pine imitation garland or swag.

Twine

Scissors

Craft wire

Fresh herbs

Holiday bows

Nails and hammer or tacks

  1. Tie the fresh herbs together in bundles with twine.
  2. Attach the herb bundles to the garland or swag using craft wire, in whatever arrangement you would like.
  3. Attach a couple of holiday bows with the craft wire.
  4. Hang the garland or swag and enjoy the aroma while the herbs are drying.

Here are some tips:

  • Hang and allow to dry to give as gifts.
  • When giving as gifts, find boxes that these will fit nicely into.
  • The herbs can later be removed from the swag or garland and crumbled into canning jars to use when cooking.

Shannon

Autumn Turkey Soup

This is an easy recipe that can be served on a cold, autumn evening. Served in a pumpkin bowl, this recipe will add a decorative touch to the dinner table.

Ingredients:

water and/or vegetable stock or broth

bite size cubes of pumpkin

bite size cubes of two different kinds of squash

bite size cubes of potato

bite size cubes of sweet potato

chunks of leftover turkey

1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic

fresh or dried parsley

fresh or dried rosemary

  1. Pour the liquid into a pot, and add the pumpkin, squash, and potatoes, as well as the diced garlic.
  2. Allow to cook most of the way, then add the turkey.
  3. Add the parsley and some rosemary to taste.
  4. Pour into pumpkin bowls and serve.

Tips

  • Purchase stock or broth on sale, as store brands.
  • Better yet, make your own.  This will save even more money.
  • Use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to save more money.
  • Use organic herbs and produce from your garden for the ultimate savings.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them over the stew once it is poured into the bowls.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a fruit salad.

What autumn stews are favorites of your family?

Shannon

Make Pumpkin Bowls for Soups

Serving autumn soups in pumpkin bowls will add a nice element to an autumn feast, or a regular dinner or lunch. Great for Thanksgiving or any day.

How to Make Pumpkin Bowls:

1 small-sized pumpkin per person

food scoop

sharp knife

  1. Wash the pumpkins and allow the outsides to dry thoroughly.
  2. Cut the top off each pumpkin, just like you were going to carve it. Take the pumpkin strands and seeds off.
  3. Reserve the top to use as a cover for the bowl.
  4. Reserve the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.
  5. Scoop some of the pumpkin out to use in soups, but leave enough so the bowl will be sturdy while the soup is in it. Leave the pumpkin outside intact with no areas that are too thin.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • Use your spoon to scoop pumpkin from the insides as you eat the soup. This is still edible.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Serving Suggestions

  • Soups are healthy, and adding a side salad will give more of a nutritional punch.

What types of soups can be put into these Pumpkin Bowls? Any type of vegetable based soup will do. Look around this blog and see what interests you.

Shannon

Be Prepared for All of that Candy

When the girls were young, to prevent them from overindulging in all that sugar they’d received each Halloween/Samhain, I had a plan in place to be ready for the bombardment of all that candy.

I realize that there are readers who believe children should have free reign over these treats; I simply do not agree. Sugar highs are not good for children, or those caring for them. Too much sugar in one day is not good for their health. And allowing them to binge eat like that can cause serious problems later on.

* I assure you, they had their treats. They enjoyed them. They simply had them in moderation. And they got tons of candy.

(Update 2017) Even though I am trying to eat healthier myself, and this blog is about frugal, healthy eating (for the most part), I completely understand the fun that comes along with this time of year. And I can’t wait to take Little Man out trick-or-treating some day.

Have these supplies ready:

cookie jar or other container

2 large bowls

freezer bags or containers labeled Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day

trash can

  • Go through all the treats that each of your children received. Throw out any that does not look right.

While going through the candy, separate it all into the containers as such:

  • Popcorn balls, pretzels, fruit snacks, and other snack type items will go into one of the large bowls, along with any actual fruit.
  • Place chocolate candies in the other large bowl.
  • Put other types of candy into the cookie jar.
  • Candies with red or pink wrappers should be placed in the Valentine’s Day container.
  • Candies with blue, green and silver wrappers should be placed in the Christmas container.
  • Candies with brown, yellow or gold wrappers should be placed into the Thanksgiving container.
  • The three holiday containers are then placed into the freezer, and the rest are placed in a location that is not easily accessible to the children.

A week before each holiday, take the candy from the freezer and place it around the home in decorative plates. You do not have to buy candy for these holidays now.

  • These holiday candies are obviously not to be used as gifts. They were given to your children.

Have a Happy Samhain/Halloween!

Shannon

 

 

Pumpkin Centerpieces

Yesterday I did a review over on the Frugal is Fabulous! blog for Colleen Dorsey’s book Easy Pumpkin Carving: Spooktacular Patterns, Tips & Ideas. You can read the review here.

What I wanted to do was make a couple of centerpieces for a meal, and then to be able to use the pumpkins to make recipes such as muffins or pancakes. I did not want to carve them. I found some ideas on pages 22 and 23 that I particularly liked.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017. https://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Buck/e/B01AIXHW0Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

I wanted flowers and pumpkins, but did not want to hollow out my pumpkins. Instead, I bought autumn floral picks and glued some to the top of each pumpkin, around the stem.

I chose small arrangements of autumn floral picks, and two small pumpkins that would sit nicely on the table.

It was easy to pull the flowers and other items I wanted to use off the picks, and glue them in place where I wanted them.

This was not a time-consuming project, and I ended up with two nice centerpieces. The first was a simple one with leaves and flowers. I simply glued the leaves around the stem, and then topped it off with a few flowers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017. https://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Buck/e/B01AIXHW0Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

This second one was a little different. I started with the leaves again, then added a pinecone and a few other things before adding flowers. I like the look. How about you?

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017. https://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Buck/e/B01AIXHW0Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

These are great for autumn in general, and also for Thanksgiving. The book has free patterns for Halloween carvings as well.

Added bonuses:

  • They cost less than $10.00 to make.
  • I’ll save money in coming years reusing the flowers and other items from the picks.
  • I’ll have pumpkin for autumn recipes!
  • They will look great at the center any table placed on a runner or placemat.
  • These could also be placed on a mantle or on a porch.

How will you decorate your pumpkin?

Shannon

 

Apple Napkins

These napkins will add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings, and will go with the Apple Placemats we made a last week. These can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. The napkins can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

apple stencil

napkins, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: red and/or green

2 paint brush

  1. Wash and dry the napkins. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the apple onto the napkins.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size apple stencil per napkin, to create a apple tree, basket of apples, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the napkins with another autumn color paint, create a grouping of mini apples placed to the side of a tree, etc.
  • Use these napkins for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your apple crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon

Apple Placemats

Placemats add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings. They can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. These can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

apple stencil

placemats, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: red and/or green

2 paint brushes

  1. Wash and dry the placemats. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the apple onto the placemat.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size apple stencil per placemat, to create a apple tree, an apple grouping, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same base color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the placemats with another autumn color paint, paint an apple basket, or a bushel of apples, etc.
  • Use these placemats for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your apple crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon