I should preface this post by recognizing the fact that not everyone who reads this blog is of the female persuasion, and that those of you who are ovarian-challenged, that is to say my GUY readers, may not be as breathlessly enthralled with the following subject matter as I am. That also goes for some of my girl-but-not-really-all-that-‘girly’ readers as well. Fair enough, I get that. You have my permission to skip this one, as long as you promise to come back. And I promise not to turn the ‘bloomr into an estrogen explosion of cutesy crafts and perky decorating tips. Deal? Ok. Thank you for indulging me.
Now where was I? Oh, yeah:
You may be surprised to learn that I am actually kind of handy around the house, go figure. When your husband is a musician (read: NOT THAT HANDY) and also travels for a living, you learn how to do a lot of stuff yourself, otherwise you’ll end up spending a fortune hiring other people’s husbands, aka professional handymen. That said however, I’m not really a big “craft person.” That would be my sister Liz, who can sew like a professional seamstress, makes darling hair bows, and always came up with all kinds of wonderful crafting activities to do with my girls when they were little (she teaches preschool, so she’s full of ideas) that caused them to gaze at her with wonder and adoration and hearts coming out of their eyes like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Like this one time, at Christmas? She came over to Mom and Dad’s house with a bunch of styrofoam balls and toothpicks and 800 lbs. of green and red gumdrops and taught Madi and Charlotte how to make candy topiary centerpieces. She also cooks like you cannot believe. AND got the dimples and curly hair. *sigh* Good thing I love her.
But I digress.
I have created a few things in my day– there was a brief spell back in the 90’s when I made these soft, vintage-looking velvet hats and actually sold them to a local boutique. I can also paint rooms like a son of a gun, put Ikea-knockoff furniture together and I’ve made curtains out of sheets before, but as far as being one of those women who looks at something on Etsy and says, “Pfffft, I could make that myself”? Not so much.
I think I have mentioned before that I am currently addicted to something called tablescaping, which is a fancy word for spending an inordinate amount of time setting your table with a ridiculous amount of dishes and themed decorations and then taking about a hundred pictures of it and putting it on a blog so people like me can sit and gaze dreamily at them and ooh and aah and think, “I ought to do that…” and then look up and realize that you just lost two hours of your life you’ll never get back. And since addicts love company, here’s a link to one of my favorite sites. ( Linda B, I know it’s too late for you, because you’re already hooked. And you’re welcome.)
OK, so a few weeks ago when I was thinking ahead and planning how I wanted to decorate my table for fall ( I can’t believe I just admitted that out loud), I came across a blog that featured these adorable pumpkins made out of old sweaters. They’re cuter than they sound, check out the ones I ordered:
I KNOW, right?! (And doesn’t my table look all fall festive-y?)
So my dear friend and fellow blogger/writer/queen of Gaither.com Emily Sutherland sees a picture of mine and loves them, and as I’m sending her the link to that blog so she can maybe order some herself, I notice that there is also a link to a little tutorial on HOW to make them. I emailed Deb Kennedy, the original creator of the “Sweet Sweater Pumpkins” at her blog Hummadeedledee, and she graciously gave me permission to share the instructions with you.
I have not tried my hand at these YET, but that Emily jumped right on the bandwagon and honey, by bedtime last night she had already made a fabulous one out of this nubby, oatmeal-colored boucle sweater! Behold:
WAY TO GO, EM!!! Now I’m totally inspired.
For those of you who are also now excitedly perking up at the thought of making Your Very Own Sweet Sweater Pumpkins (and not slumping over your computer in a deep boredom-induced slumber), here is Deb Kennedy’s own tutorial on how to do it:
old sweaters (adult size works best)
ball of twine (or yarn)
LOTS of heavy rubber bands (2 per pumpkin)
Cotton wool or polyfill stuffing
plastic grocery bags
Start with adult size sweaters – ones you don’t wear anymore, or thrifted.
Cut the arms off of the sweaters, then cut them (arms) in half for smaller pumpkins. If you leave them whole, you’ll have bigger but more elongated pumpkin/squash shapes.
Take the twine or yarn, and wrap it sixteen times around your elbow & thumb to make big loops. When done, cut it in half at your thumb so that you have one big long hank.
Turn one piece of the sweater arm inside out, and put the hank of twine inside it. Let about an inch poke out on the LARGE end of the sweater arm – the rest of the twine will hang out the narrow end.
Fold that inch of twine over the edge of the sweater, then gather the end up and fasten it tightly with a rubber band. Wrap it at least four times…I’m talking really snug here!
Flip the whole thing right-side out again, using the hank of twine to help.
Stuff the open end with cotton wool at the base, then with polyfill. Leave about an inch – or more if you prefer – of sweater ‘cuff’ unfilled.
I found that the bigger pumpkins hold a shape better with cotton wool in the base, then plastic grocery bags as fill. Remember that lots of stuffing will make your pumpkin rounder, less stuffing will result in a flatter, ‘squashed’ look.
After filling, lay it down with the open end facing away from you. Separate the hank of twine into strands of two strings each – you will have eight two-string strands. Spread these out equidistantly around the ‘lump’. (It’s not a pumpkin yet, what ELSE am I going to call it?!)
Pick up the ‘lump’, and evenly distribute the strands as you stretch them to the other end of the ‘lump’. Grasp the strands and the sweater ‘cuff’, twist them together, and wrap a rubber band around them several times. Make it tight.
Here’s what it will look like. Now, separate the strings into their two-string strands again, and then begin gently pulling each separate strand (of two strings) in a clockwise pattern. You’ll have to pull each one twice or more, so that’s three times around the ‘lump’.
As you pull, the strings tighten and make the sweater pouf out. Help it along by pulling it a bit at the top & bottom edges, so that they ridges are more defined.
Once the ridges are even, tie the strands together to hold them in place.
Roll the extra sweater fabric at the top into a ‘stem’. Cut another piece of twine – about two feet long – tie it at the base of the ‘stem’, and begin wrapping around it. Move up and down the ‘stem’, covering the sweater fabric with twine. Tie it off when done.
Here’s a shot of the wrapped stem. At this point you can trim the sweater fabric close to the twine if you want.
Then take all of the loose strands from the pumpkin, and begin tying them together. Wrap a little, make it a little messy for interest. Leave the ends dangling.
There you have it – Sweet Sweater Pumpkins! Enjoy!
(And if any of you actually DO this? Please send me a photo and I will totally post it. And if mine turn out even half as good as Emily’s, I’ll post them too!)