How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget

How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget

This is not your typical Halloween ‘Pumpkin Wreath’!  Remember the Skeleton Wreath I made a couple of years ago?  How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.comWell, I decided to update the decoration, disassemble the skeleton wreath, and the idea of a pumpkin wreath began to take shape in my mind using the black frame again.

James Whitcomb Riley, the Indiana Poet,  and his Little Orphant Annie poem was my inspiration.  My mother read this to us when my siblings and I were little, and believe it, or not, I memorized it.  It is probably my favorite poem of all time, especially the part about the little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers.

No, I didn’t want a sweet little pumpkin wreath.  From Riley’s poem:

An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
Ef you

The vision I had was a creepy pumpkin crawling out of the frame.  That is why I have been making Papier mâché pumpkins.  They were the practice leading up to this ‘Pumpkin Wreath’.  (You can find the instructions for the Papier mâché pumpkins by clicking on the link.)

After making these pumpkins, I can tell  you it is a fun process and I am afraid this Papier mâché has become an obsession…an addiction…  I love it!  There will be more Papier mâché creations!  

How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on

Well, here are some of the elements to begin this wreath.  The pumpkin head has a first layer of paper clay in this picture.  The pumpkin also has a flat back because of the plan to place him in the picture frame.  I also made the hole in the back instead of the bottom.  Hopefully, that was a good decision.

This creepy cloth was found at the craft store.  Wanting some type of pliable wire to create a skeleton for the hands, I asked Dave if we had any coaxial cable (We are an Amazon affiliate and may receive a small percentage of any sales from this link at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)

It took no time for him to bring this to me.  He even offered to strip the cable, which would have left me with three individual wires but why not use the whole thing?

First, using my hand as a guide and adding length to it for a bigger hand, I cut the cable for the thumb and each of the fingers.How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on



Then, I cut a double of each of those lengths.  The small finger ended up being 11″, the ring finger  11 -1/2″, the middle finger 13 – 1/4″,  the forefinger 11 – 3/4″, and the thumb – 10″.  These measurements are not critical!  This is a monster!  Use your imagination and create your own!

Lay the cable out with the thumb on one side, the forefinger length next to it, the middle finger, the ring finger, and lastly the little finger section.                                                                  

Gather the cable up, adjust the cable, trying to keep the fingers in the correct position, and wrap masking tape around the “wrist”.  Begin spreading the cable out to resemble the hand.  I kept referring to my own hand to judge where the hand needed to flare and where the thumb would need to be.

How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on

You might have seen where other people have used old marker tubes to create the segments of the fingers, which was my original plan, but this cable was thick enough that I didn’t feel like I needed that after all.  I kind of like it being long and skinny.



How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on


You can see where the thumb was positioned out and away from the forefinger piece and masking tape was wrapped around it.  It is beginning to look like a hand isn’t it? 

The next step was to wrap the entire hand piece with the masking tape.   The tape was used to create the palm and back of the hand.  Small pieces of tape were torn and placed over the ends of the fingers and then each of the fingers was wrapped.  Paper strips and clay will add more detail to the hands.

How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on

These hands will look like they are pulling the pumpkin figure up and out of the black frame.  At least that is the plan!   You can see I’ve already begun to shape the hands in appropriate positions.  Even though they are easily manipulated right now, after the Papier mâché clay is applied, they won’t be as pliable.

How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget on

Figuring out the arms and shoulders and adding the Papier mâché will be the next steps.  Part 2 of “How To Make A Pumpkin Wreath No One Will Forget” will be shared later this week.

Has this inspired you to create your own pumpkin wreath?








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Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make

Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make

‘Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make”  If you sew at all, these little velvet pumpkins will be easy to make and they look so pretty!  There are at least two ways to stuff them using poly fiber fill or, my favorite, using the little plastic pellets and the patterns below.  (We are an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small percentage of any sale from these links at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on


pumpkin pattern download  ►pumpkin stem pattern download

Sewing The Pumpkin

Cut 6 pumpkin pieces of one size from velvet or velour fabric.  Place two of the cut pieces, right sides together, matching the edges on one side and pinning.  Sew a 1/4″ seam leaving 3/4″ open at the top.  Trim threads.

Place another pumpkin piece, right sides together, matching an edge to one of the pieces you have just sewn together.   Pin together and sew, leaving 3/4″ open at the top.  back-stitch one or two stitches.  (This helps hold the seam together when the piece is being filled or stuffed.)

Continue sewing the remaining sections together in the same way, until all 6 sections have been sewn together.  Then, match the 2 loose edges together, pin, and sew a 1/4″ seam, being sure the bottom end is completely closed.  (You don’t want the pellets slipping out of the pumpkin!)

When all the pieces have been sewn together, you should have a shape that looks like this.

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Filling With Plastic Pellets

Turn the velvet pumpkin right side out and fill with poly fiber fill or plastic pellets.  I tried a few different ways to fill the pumpkin with these pellets, straight from the bag, using a funnel, but found the easiest and less messy way was to fill a small glass and pour into the pumpkin shape.





When your pumpkin has been filled to the top,  hand stitch the 3/4″ opening at the top of the seam and knot the thread.  Repeat for each section.  Before finishing the last section, be sure you have extra thread to sew a gathering stitch around the top, which will be used to pull the pumpkin closed.  (The easier way to do that follows.)

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Then, tie the knot, run a gathering stitch through each section, about 1/4″ from the top.  Pull that section up tight and hold with your thumb and forefinger.  Run the needle through the fabric where your gathering stitch is and pull tight.  Take a couple of stitches to securely hold this section.  Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Repeat this process until the top is completely closed.  (I figured this one out after wrestling with it for awhile!  It is much easier this way!)Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

At this point, you can glue a dried stem, or attach any stem you can dream up, but I decided to make a stem from felt for this little pellet filled pumpkin. 




The Stem

 I knew what I wanted the end product to look like and after a while, I came up with this hand stitched felt stem.  Embroidery floss was used to stitch the three sections together.  The seams are supposed to mimic the lines and indentations in real pumpkin stems.  Using the pattern at the top of this post, you can make your own, too.   Making the pumpkin with the plastic pellets and the felt stem, it is virtually childproof!Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

The downloadable pattern explains how to sew the felt stem together.  It is then, just stitched to the top of the velvet pumpkins.  

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Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint

Part 3 – Papier-mâché Pumpkins  and How To Paint

It took longer than I thought to get to the actual point of painting these pumpkins.  That could be because this is my first experience with this process.   Since the papier-mâché kept shrinking when it dried, I kept feeling like more was needed to actually see the features.  The beauty of this medium is that wet clay can be applied right on top of the dry clay.  You can see how I continued to build up the details in the picture below.

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on


The first thing you need to do is paint the entire pumpkin, inside and out, with a flat black outdoor paint.  You can see I bought a can of Valspar Black 60074 – Flat paint.  Use a can of paint and a paintbrush for this, not a spray can.  The latex paint cleans up easily with soap and water and it also dries quickly.  This will help seal the paper base and create a nice background for the color washes.  

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Although, there is a plastic bin full of acrylic paint, there was no orange.  I had to buy two bottles of orange paint.   One is a pumpkin orange and the other is a darker orange.  Another bottle of yellow paint was used to lighten the pumpkin color a bit.  Varying shades of green, tan, and burnt umber were used on the stem.

The Painting Process


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Scott and Jay each had different techniques for painting their pumpkins.  My technique is a combination of these two.  I like the black showing through the oranges of the pumpkin like Scott does and I like the layering of the color washes that Jay used on his.  The dark recedes and the light comes forward.  Use this to call attention to and highlight certain features.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on



Next, white latex primer was lightly dry brushed over the black painted surface.  This accents some of the texture and the raised areas.Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on



Then, layers of washes of orange paint were applied.  Everyone has their own technique, I guess.  After messing around with it for a while, I tried applying the darker orange wash onto the pumpkin ridges.  Then, with a 2″ dry brush, I feathered that out and down into the valleys.

That was allowed to dry and a coat of the dark orange paint mixed with a little bit of the lighter orange paint was applied in the same way.  The lighter coat  was applied leaving an edge of the darker coat beneath it to show.  Then, the 2″ dry brush was again used to soften and feather out the paint.

Again, the paint wash was allowed to dry.  More of the lighter paint was added to the darker paint and another wash was painted on using the same process.  This was repeated again, and ultimately, the lighter paint was painted on in a wash the same way.

Yellow paint was then added to the light orange in a progression of washes, just like before.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Personally, I like some of the black showing through.   the texture of the papier-mâché is interesting.   The little fella seems a lot more ominous with all that black.

My intention was to paint the inside a yellow-orange and use a battery-powered candle inside but I like the black showing!   As I looked at him across the room, he looked so perfectly creepy just like that.  His eyes, nose, and mouth are very distinct, and yet, the details of his face are very apparent.


Orange paint continued to be layered on top of layers of orange paint, from dark to light.   Then, it dawned on me that if I planned to leave the inside black,  the black would really make ‘a lighter orange color around the facial features’ pop against the darkness.  At that point, more paint was layered around the eyes, the nose, and especially, the mouth.   This area was painted with more pigment and less water.  You can see the difference in the picture above and the picture below.

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

The stem was painted a light tan color, brown, and black in striations along the ridges that were made with the clay.  Then, 3 shades of green and some black were mixed and added.   A few  thin strokes of orange were added along the ridges and then feathered out with the 2″ dry brush, leaving just a hint of the orange color.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins

In case you missed it, directions for making the Papier-mâché

 pumpkin ◄ can be found here.  Click here ► for  Part 2 .

The question of whether to paint the inside lighter or leave the black was posed to ‘MyHumbleHomeandGarden’s Facebook page’ followers◄ You can weigh in with your opinion, too,  leave a comment below, or just see what everyone said!

These are whimsical, and maybe a little creepy, so there is no right or wrong way to do these!  Let yourself go and enjoy the process!  I love the end result and there are more of these crazy pumpkins in my future.  (I also have some ideas of how to use this clay for Christmas ideas!)

 Has this inspired you to create your own Papier-mâché Pumpkins?


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on


Papier-mâché Pumpkins - how to paint on

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How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display

How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display

 Beautiful Autumnal Mantel 

October 6, 2016

   To those who are observant, the inspiration for beautiful displays is all around us. Let’s walk through just ‘How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display’.

    Lots of times, inspiration is the beginning of a creative project.  This mantel display with pumpkins and gourds was no exception.  Although I liked what was on the mantel before, I really love this display.

   The summer mantel decor was taken down in the beginning of September and the angel, birds, and the fall berries, nuts, and silk leaves were added to the brass urn.  This made a nice understated arrangement.


   On our trip through Southern Indiana, I saw a really nice autumn arrangement at a restaurant where we stopped.  With my phone, I took a picture from across the room.  It’s nice to have a camera ready to record ideas, isn’t it?

   The picture was pretty grainy and not very clear, but you can make out most of the items in the display.   It just looked lovely.   My eye was drawn to it and I was inspired.  

    As we made our way back to Kentucky, I began to think of what fall flowers, pumpkins, and gourds we had stored away in bins.  

  The angels and the birds were removed from the display.   I really liked the blue in the vases against the oranges of the pumpkins so I decided to leave them.   Even though there was not a brass urn in the inspiration piece, I decided to leave it, too. Remember, you shouldn’t follow an inspiration exactly!  It’s an inspiration, not a replica.

    Those 3 pieces and the clock on the wall gave the foundation for the display.  I began to place the larger pumpkins and gourds on the fireplace mantel around those items.   

    Next, the smaller pumpkins were placed around larger pumpkins and the five sunflowers were added.  *The cork frogs helped to vary the height of the sunflowers to the right of each of the vases.

   When placing objects in a display, remember the negative space around those items.  If you begin at the left of the mantel, your eye goes up and down, back up and down again across the entire mantel.  The negative space around the items is interesting, too.  If everything had been placed at the same height, it would be less interesting and the space around the items would be flat.

    The large pumpkin on the right is bigger around but only about 4″ high.  It was leaned against the wall to give more interest.  You can imagine it would not do a whole lot visually if it had been placed upright.  Several of the smaller pumpkins and gourds were tilted and supported by the Spanish moss.

      The display ended up having a triangular composition as indicated by the broken lines.  I think it actually looks better than the inspiration piece.

     Monday, I had picked up a bunch of sunflowers and some curly things that would give a unique look as filler.   The curly part had wire in it so it could be manipulated, but the whole thing together was just too much.  If the pick is too big, you can disassemble it to spread it throughout the entire display or arrangement.

   After removing the floral tape and the paper-wrapped wire holding them together, you can see three stems were left intact.

   Those picks of  ‘curly things’ were added all along the display.  You can see that if the two original picks had been used whole, they would have been overwhelming.

    At first, the plan was to use a few silk mums, but getting them to stand up was an issue.  I thought about styrofoam, floral foam, and thought a small piece of either of those would not be sturdy enough to hold the flower.  Then, I had an idea.  We have quite a few wine corks accumulated.  In an earlier post on “How To Make A Valentine Heart From Wine Corks”, I also shared that I had used wine corks to create small lifts to raise potted plants to the right level in a more decorative container.

*    Fifteen of the wine corks glued together with Tacky Glue worked perfectly! After gluing them together, wrap a rubber band or two around the corks until the glue has dried.   You can see it holds the flower upright firmly.  Dang!  I am going to use that trick again!


   To hold some of the smaller stemmed flowers, gluing five corks together worked just as well.  I even stacked these smaller ones on top of the others for a little more height!


   The cork “stem holder, or frog,” was placed toward the back and to the right of the vase.  It was heavy enough to hold the flower even though I bent it over and leaned it forward.  This worked perfectly!

   Covering up the “cork frog” and the stems of the curly thing with Spanish moss was easy.  The moss was tucked here and there all across the mantel. 

   The space under the urn seemed lacking.  A couple more of the smaller gourds were traded out with some of the other small pumpkins and moved around until I was happy with their placement.


   The stems with small flowers were placed throughout the display to add just a little more interest.

How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display on

   Maybe this will inspire you and now you know another method of “How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display!



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5 Awesome Fall Recipes Perfect For This Wonderful Season

5 Awesome Fall Recipes Perfect For This Wonderful Season

5 Awesome Fall Recipes

September 20, 2016

  There are just some foods that we begin to crave as Autumn approaches.  Here are

5 Awesome Fall Recipes Perfect For This Wonderful Season. 

    Don’t you love vegetables?  Beef Vegetable soup has always been a favorite of mine.  Dave isn’t such a big fan of vegetable soup for whatever reason, but Will, my most finicky eater of all, loves this soup!

   Years ago, when I first made this soup, he told me he liked it.  Whoa!  Not long after that, he requested ‘that soup with the green beans in it’.

   I like the fact that the beef and vegetable pieces are larger than the pieces in the canned soup and you can’t even begin to compare the flavor!  

   Growing up we always made chili, but my mother added elbow macaroni to it.  I am sure that was a way of making the pot of chili last longer and go farther with my three brothers and a sister.   I always hated leftovers the next day.  The macaroni expanded and was not appetizing to me at all!  Yuck! 

   So when I left home and began cooking for my family, we completely eliminated the macaroni.  I love this chili.  I brown the meat, leaving sizable pieces of hamburger, and it seems to me, it is a little heartier chili, because of that.

   Kidney beans were in my mother’s original recipe, too.  I do not like the hard shells on kidney beans in chili.  I eliminated them and now use a can of spicy chili beans instead.  We always drained the kidney beans, but I now use the entire can of chili beans.  There is extra flavor in the sauce.

   When we moved to Kentucky, I found ‘Buena Vida Chili Powder’ and have been using it for many, many years.  It comes in a packet weighing .63 ounces and has chili pepper, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper in it.  It seems like a good combination of spices for the chili.  It’s a little more complex than the plain old chili powder we used when I was growing up at home.  ►Chili recipe.

   Big chunks of potatoes, carrots, and slices of celery are abundant in this creamy, delicious Potato Soup.   I always leave the skins on the Yukon gold potatoes because it adds a rustic look to the soup.  The onions are softened in butter.  Flour, salt. and pepper added to the onions and butter create a roux.  The liquids are added and the result is a thick creamy soup.

    When I was in high school, a long time ago, I found this recipe for stew in a teen magazine.  It was actually for lamb, but I use it for beef and venison.  The meat is so tender and the sauce is so delicious.  The flavor of the sauce seems so complex but the only seasoning is salt and pepper.  

   You seriously have to try this Beef Stew!  Over the years, I have changed things a little.  My kids did not like the big pieces of celery, so I sliced the celery into thin pieces.  They ate it with no complaints then.   I use olive oil instead of the original vegetable oil.   

   The original recipe called for canned tomatoes.  I usually use the petite diced tomatoes now.  In the summer, when fresh tomatoes are available, I will use those.  (The tasteless ones at the grocery the rest of the year don’t have the flavor of the canned ones.  After all, they do pick them at the peak of harvest.)  Depending on how many are going to be here for dinner, I might add a little more meat or a couple more potatoes.

   I grew up on beans and cornbread, cornbread and beans.  We had them a lot!  It was an inexpensive dish to make for a family. 

   You would think that after having that dish so much, I would be over it, but I still crave bean soup each fall.  This bean soup is full of flavor and much better than what we made growing up back then.

   So there they are, 5 Awesome Fall Recipes Perfect For This Wonderful Season!  Hope you enjoy them, too!



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