I really enjoy crafting, although since having N just haven’t had the time to spend doing much. N’s not really a huge fan of sitting for long enough to do more than a bit of arts or crafts. After about 5 minutes, he’s generally had enough and wants to do something else. I don’t usually do Halloween…having never been trick or treating, and unlikely to let N do it when he’s older (thankfully living in the middle of nowhere means we don’t get people turning up at our door), but I’d seen a lot of Halloween crafts, and fancied giving a couple a go this year.
Pumpkin jar lights
The first was a pumpkin jar light. A friend of mine had done these as a guest post on another blog…hers looked great and really effective, so I thought even N might enjoy sticking and glueing and tearing up bits of tissue paper.
I had to wrestle the (normal, not children’s) scissors off him as he was wielding them in a seriously dangerous manner, managing to almost gouge a cut across on finger while trying to chop bits of tissue paper smaller. Maybe not quite the safe crafting session it might have been!
We also had a bit of a fail when I couldn’t find any bog standard glue. I have 3 sets of plastic drawers full of crafting supplies, so could find tacky crafting glue, silicone glue, sticky pads, sellotape, sticky dots, everything imaginable for sticking except basic pv glue. So we had to resort to decopatch glue. Should have been fine, and was fine, but it’s very runny so not the best for letting a toddler loose with a glue spreader. Not that N minded….dripping it onto the newspaper I’d remembered to put down.
Still, we managed to get the jar covered in glue, and N had a go at sticking the tissue paper bits on. He didn’t quite get the ‘fill the gaps’ instruction, and got a bit bored after he’d covered one side and a few other patches, so wandered off and I finished it off. Another light layer of glue to flatten down the sticky out bits, and then set it to dry on the Aga. Very handy to have around for drying craft projects.
I’d found some black paper in my stash, cut out a scary face ready to stick on. All well and good until I managed to clear up everything ready to set the table for lunch, and somehow managed to lose the mouth and one eye. Once we came back to the dry jar, the only black stuff I had left was thick card which wouldn’t bend round the jar, so I had to resort to Sharpies. Not the best result. Looks ok when the jar’s unlit, but pop a ‘candle’ inside, and you can’t really see the face on it.
I think the neatness of the tissue paper needed a bit of practice too. We had a few gaps (even though I thought I’d covered them over), and we must have overlapped a bit much as you can’t see much light through. But I still think the pumkin jars are a good idea. I think potentially the white ghost versions might be better as the paper’s a paler colour for the light to show through.
I say I don’t really do anything for Halloween. In fact, I’ve never carved a pumpkin before. But this year I fancied doing one (planning to make pumpkin muffins with the leftover flesh). So pumpkin bought, once N had gone for his nap, I got carving.
Having never struggled with butternut squash, I thought a pumpkin wouldn’t be much harder, but it was much harder than I though. Just making a lid was hard enough, although I realised after doing it that there was a much easier and safer way to doing it than trying to slice off the top! Just cut straight down and saw round. Oops.
I hadn’t researched any interesting carving patterns (it sounds like I really had no idea, doesn’t it?), so a face it was.
I’m thinking now (after reading Purple Pumpkin’s blogpost) that in future, a pumpkin carving kit is required. I had no idea what knife to use, in the end finding N’s Kiddies Food Cutter the best as it was small tipped but had the saw like serrated edge to cut fairly easily. Once I got going it was quite easy, although giving up on thinning out the sides might have also made life easier! I added 2013 to the reverse, so it’s fun from both views.
I’ve got a couple of LED and battery powered candles so once N had woken from his nap, we hid under a towel to make it dark and put the candles in the pumpkin. He loved it, so I think on Halloween he’ll be pleased to see it glowing in the window.
My achievement was slightly dampened on arrival to nursery this morning, where we spotted 3 giant pumpkins next to pre-school. Supermarkets sell ‘monster’ pumpkins but compared to the nursery ones grown in their vegetable patch, supermarket one’s have got another 50 cms to go before they hit a real monster size!
What designs have you carved in your pumpkins this year?