Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fake a Front Yard Pumpkin Patch

My first fake front yard pumpkin patch was in 2013.
Here's the original blog post about how to do one yourself.

My life and my blog over the past three years since has
not been what I had hoped for due to family responsibilities.
Every year since, I have enjoyed having a faux pumpkin
patches in my front yard even if I have not been able to 
post pictures of them. I enjoy my "patches" and my neighbors
 do too. I found out that I am now "The Pumpkin Lady". 

So, as late as it is, here are pictures, tips and serendipities
 from my fake pumpkin patch 2016...

To me the difference between having pumpkins in your front
yard and having a fake pumpkin patch is that you attempt to
make the pumpkins look like they are actually still growing.

The way I accomplish this is with real plants and vines.

The plants that I can easily buy that look kinda like pumpkin
 vines to me is green sweet potato vines. Once they get 
established they "run" well and are easy to attach to the
tops of purchased pumpkins (some real, some fake) to give
the illusion that the pumpkins are still on the vine. 

Here are some small pumpkins that have long stems that 
have the vines attached to the tips of the stems.

Although mums have nothing to do with making pumpkins
 look like they are still growing in a patch, I was happy
 that some large mums I had purchased last year
 decided to come back this year.
The mums in the above photo had been total "goners". I had just cut them back to the ground.
This photo is before they bloomed out again this year. 

The mums just add some variety and color to the patches.
The ones in the photo below were purchased this year.
Some of the mums were put in inexpensive olive-type buckets from Wal-mart that
were painted to look older. The buckets added some height to the patch. 

The other end of this curved patch has a little bit different look.

The soil in this part of "island bed" is terrible so I just use
dead vines from the woods with the pumpkins. As leaves
in our area start to turn colors, I add some artificial leaves.

Actually I have two other areas in the front yard that I try
to make look like they are growing pumpkins too. 
You can see the location of the next patch in the top of the above photo.

Well one of those DID try to grow pumpkins this year.
Big pumpkin is from the grocery store. Little green pumpkin is on a real pumpkin vine. 

For several years I have dumped rotting pumpkins in this 
bed hoping that nature would give me some real pumpkins.

Look closely and you can see one of the seeds sprouting already. 

Most of the big pumpkins end up like this:

Last year I found this dumped small pie pumpkin
that looked almost like a pumpkin skeleton.
I thought it was interesting to see the little pumpkin seeds
inside of the skeleton shell. They are trying to sprout. 

All different kinds of pumpkins have been dumped there 
so I don't know which type it was that actually had a 
two vines come up this past Spring that lived. 

I tucked grocery store pumpkins under the vines.

The vines even started having flowers when the weather
cooled down some.

 That really helped the illusion that the
 orange pumpkins were still on their vine. 
Well sometimes I didn't do that good of a job of hiding the attachment of  the real pumpkin stem to the vine.

Can you see at the base of the flower a teeny tiny pumpkin?

The flowers whither almost the same day they bloom.

Unfortunately, the little pumpkins only got about this big...

...but aren't they so cute?!

The photo below is from the sidewalk pumpkin patch that
shows it early on. Sometimes folks ask me how I can afford
to buy so many pumpkins for the fake patches. Most of the 
real pumpkins come from the grocery store ($3-$5) so I just 
buy a pumpkin or two every time I go there. Not very painful.
 Most of the real pumpkins last at least a couple of months in the fake patches. 
When it is time to put out Christmas decorations I take the pumpkins that are still good to the food bank. 

Also I have bought fake pumpkins on sale over the years.
 Sometimes they have to be repainted because the sun has 
 bleached them out sitting outside in the Fall over the years.
For sure I have gotten my money's worth out of them. 

The third patch in the yard is small but probably the 
most closely viewed by passersby.  It is by the mailbox.

The pumpkins were almost overwhelmed by the foliage
this year. When the weather cools down the vines and
flowers get "a second wind" and start flourishing again. 

I try to make sure that each pumpkin stem has some type
of greenery or even a dried vine touching the end of the stem.

The photo below has nothing to do with pumpkin patches 
but I just want to share it. I was trying to photograph a butterfly
on the zinnas. My camera could not capture how fast his
wings were moving but it DID capture his shadow. 

The types of vines at the mailbox pumpkin patch are...

...Passion Vine...

...and Morning Glories.

They are my favorites because they all come back every year
with no effort on my part AND they don't need much water.

Each year I put a six foot garden pole for them to climb.
This year the morning glories would NOT stop growing.
I would chop off new growth that starting falling over
the height of the pole because I like the greenery on
 the pole to be rather neat and trim...not overgrown looking.

After a while I gave in and added another garden pole
for them to climb and they the tippy top. 

It wasn't easy to keep it straight because it was so tall.
I had to wire it onto the mailbox.

Into October I start adding some fake leaves to make
the vine tower look more Fall-ish. 

The front door area is not a pumpkin patch but here
is a quick look at it anyway. 

The real plants did not climb the metal obelisks in the urns
 this year so I had to add more fake stems than usual. 

I had a few packs of fake Chinese lantern pods bought
on clearance (who knows when). They got glued on to
real branches and arranged in the urn mix.

Well all the these Fall decorations are coming down this
weekend so I can get out my Christmas decorations.
Come back and visit to see what the front yard looks like then.

Pumpkins and wild vines were even used inside my house
this year for Fall decorations. Click here to see that post.

I am sharing this post over at 
Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings
Makers Gonna Make @ The Girl Creative
Dishing & Digging It @ The Stoneybrook House
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Tip To Make Seasonal Decorating Easier

I really do enjoy changing out the decor in my house
with different seasons and occasions. What I don't like so
much is that most of my decorative items are in the attic. 

It is a pain to get the things in and out of the attic.
Have you heard the saying "Whatever goes up must come
down"? I have a saying I must replay in my mind as I 
am getting things out of the attic "Whatever comes down
(from the attic) must go up (back to the attic)". 
If you want a printable of this saying click here.  

 This keeps me from being
too enthusiastic about pulling everything I have for the 
upcoming season down and to evaluate each item to
 decide if I am really going to use it. 
Once the new seasonal things are down out of the attic
I try to use them for as long as possible. So here is my tip:
Try to use decorative items for more than one holiday or 
season to cut down on the amount of time and effort
you are spending getting them in and out of storage. 

Here's how I used my own tip recently...

For Halloween I got out the urn, vases and jars to use for a 
spooky apothecary display. If you want to see more pictures
of that display click on "Halloween Bottles and Jars".

I took the labels off of the glassware. For stubborn parts of
the labels, wetting a paper towel and letting it soak the
water-soluble glue I used to put the label on worked well.

 A few bunches of grocery store flowers placed in the vases
and jars totally changed the look of the dining room
into a Fall/Thanksgiving ambiance.
Oh yeah, and taking the critters off of the urn. 

Most of the vases had small openings which is easy to
make flowers stand up in. For the jars I used an easy trick
of making a grid of clear tape over the opening.

The tape works similarly to wire grids that you can buy to
 go over the wider mouths of jars to make it easier to arrange
 flowers in them but the tape trick is practically free and can 
be used on different sized jars and vases (within reason).

The buffet console in the dining room also got a 
Thanksgiving makeover with the same pumpkins and 
sturdy stands that were used for Halloween.

My turkey did make me take another trip into the attic
 and is one of those accessories that only makes sense
 one time of the year so there are exceptions to "the tip".

He deserves to come down for a little while each year, don't you think?

I kept the same frame that held my Halloween artwork
and changed it out for a more Fall-ish colored print. 

Big frames with pictures take up a lot of space to store
 so I change out the artwork in the same frames that I 
already have out over and over to give the rooms they
 are in a different feel seasonally. 

I cut art prints into sizes that will fit into the frames I have. 
They are glued on to foam core or cardboard. They fit under
the bed easily. They don't have to go to the hot-as-hades
attic 'cause I don't think they would survive up there. 

They are treated to look like they are paintings. If you
want more information on that easy process you can
click on "Create Seasonal Artwork". 

To save on taking large pillows out of storage to decorate
the sofa, I have a two large pillow forms with their own pillow
cover " seasonal wardrobe".
The pillow forms can stay out and I can get down the covers
to put on them seasonally. To see how to make these covers
(in the fabric of your choice) click on this post
"Make Turkish Corners on Pillows". 

I do have some smaller seasonal pillows to take down from
the attic but they take up less room in storage and are easy
to get up and down. 

At Christmas I like to make "snow" vignettes in glass
containers using epsom salt as the snow. On top of the "snow"
I put tiny objects (available in craft stores or stores that sell
 items for Christmas villages) and bleached bottle brush trees.

After Christmas I take the Christmas-themed or colorful items
 out and leave the trees and neutral-colored items. This way 
it makes the vignettes look like a regular winter scene. I use
these in January (where it is snowing somewhere but probably
not in Alabama where I live). 

Four times a year I have to do an accessory "reboot" where
 I do have to keep the attic stairs down to take up the
 past season's things and get down the new season's items.
 It is fun to "find" things that I have not seen for a year. 

It is December today! Many Christmas things are season
specific and don't really translate into other seasons so they
don't fit "the tip". In 2017 try to make your accessories
span one than more holiday or occasion with small changes.
It will make decorating your home much easier!

I am sharing this post over at these blog parties:
Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings
Makers Gonna Make @ The Girl Creative
Dishing & Digging It @ The Stoneybrook House
Metamorphsis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch


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