Ah, the glorious colors of fall! Who doesn't love this season, with the beautiful leaves, colorful pumpkins and funny scarecrows? It's my favorite time of year! Here are some simple and frugal ideas to get into the swing of the season. Since I enjoy craft and gardening projects that decorate my home, many of these suggestions are a bit "crafty." I hope you like them.
Whip up a batch of salt dough using one cup flour, one cup salt, 1/2 cup water (or enough to make a nonsticky dough) and cut into fall shapes, either free hand or using cookie cutters shaped like leaves, pumpkins, etc. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes per side, more if item is thick or large. Paint and hang in windows, on a stick "tree-anchored" in more salt dough... the sky is the limit! Shape into fall figurines for knick knacks such Indians, Pilgrims, animals, etc.
Combine equal portions of flour and water and soak newspaper strips in the mixture. Drape over a form, such as a balloon or a bottle. Dry and add more layers, using a paste of flour and water as "glue," if necessary. You can make pumpkins, Halloween masks, you name it!
Fill large, clean cans -- such as coffee cans -- with water and freeze. Place tape onto the can in a pattern you would like to punch. Then, using a nail and hammer, carefully punch holes evenly spaced along the tape. Dump out the ice, dry out and paint the can, if desired. To use, put sand on bottom of can, insert a candle and light. Arrange several on the ground, lining your walkway.
Recyle and decorate! Step on a soda can to crush it, then spray paint it white, Add facial features and hang with string. I saw this done in Crafting Traditions and it was cute, not at all hokey. The secret was to use the top of the can as the "face" with the drinking hole as the mouth of the ghost. Keep the face simple and sweet. You can add paper arms or draw arms/hands on can.
Gather acorns, "helicopter" seed pods, and other interesting nuts and seeds. Hot glue your bounty onto a styrofoam or straw wreath. Accent with a fabric bow of fall colors (or one or those fall-leaf print fabrics). Tear the fabric for the bow to get a "primitive" country look.
Press fall leaves under heavy books or in a flower press. Try to get lots of different colors and shapes. Hot glue to a styrofaom wreath. (I saw this one in Martha Stewart's Great American Wreaths book. Lots of great ideas in there!) Pressed leaves can also be framed, used to decorate a homemade card, or to decorate a table.
Other ideas for your natural gatherings: Make acorn napkin rings (hot glue the acorns to tied fabric strips) and stick in a few leaves with the napkin. Or place a beautiful centerpiece on a bed on freshly fallen leaves.
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