13 October, 2006

A "Gourd Thing"

Bad news. Seeing as how I have not received a phone call from anyone at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, it does not look like I am a finalist in the KB home giveaway which I have been faithfully entering (truth be told, I am really in it to meet Martha, not so much for the house). Nor have I been called to compete in an on-air competition to win one of the three suburban’s (again, primarily to meet Martha since I already have a suburban). *sigh* So it looks like its just a regular day here at monogram momma’s, with no excitement looming on the horizon other than my much needed week at the beach and the call of the laundry beckoning me from upstairs to be folded and packed. I suppose that will have to do.

So in the meantime, I guess we’ll just have to talk about my fall fondness for gourds and if you can get your hands on some fresh gourds this year, then I highly recommend doing so. You won’t be disappointed. Another one of natures “good things” this time of year, they are low maintenance and perfect for drying and setting aside for next season as is, or drying, sanding, painting, and enjoying. In fact, I have found a whole world of gourd crafting in my little research today. Who knew? I sure didn’t. Admittedly, a lot of it is much to folky for me (read: can’t stand folk art), but I love to dry my gourds every year and use them to decorate with the following year.

You’ll be surprised how easy they are to dry too! Here’s what you do. When you take down and discard of your Fall decorations and throw everything away, keep the gourds. Put them in your garage, or even on a shelf in your laundry room. Ignore them. That’s right. Completely forget you have them and ignore them. Unlike other vegetables and fruits, they won’t get all soft and mushy and disgusting. Gourds dry from the inside out, so what’s left is a hard brown gourd that, when you knock on it, will be hollow, and when you shake it, will sound like a maraca from the dry seeds inside. Some people regularly give their drying gourds a mild Clorox bath to prevent them from getting the mildewy spots and circles on them. But I love the spots and stains and think it adds a little character. You can see I have left mine rustic looking, but I have seen some really beautiful ones that have been sanded and stained with a high sheen poly on them, or sanded and painted green. The apple and pear shaped gourds especially look really pretty painted a preppy apple green and topped off with a high shining poly.

Also in the gourd family, are the small gourd variety with the color variations and stripes and bumps and just funky fun shapes. I see these every where I go this time of year. At the grocery store, Home Depot, the garden center, even Super Target. In other words, they are very readily available and cheap (often times I can get a whole bag of these for $4 or 3 for $1). I love just filling bowls with lots of these and remember, this year I also added them to my large planters at the front door. Last year I filled my large wooden kitchen table bowl with these but they soon became the target of batting practice for the mini monograms so that too, was another bad idea of mine which I have elected not to re-do this year. But another clever idea that Martha has done, is to make a Gourd Garland.

-variation of miniature gourds
-drill with small bit
-upholstery needle

So here’s what you do. Drill a hole through the center of each gourd, and with your upholstery needle, thread the twine through the holes, knotting it at each end of the gourd to secure it in place. Make sure you evenly space the gourds as close or far apart as you like, and make your garland as long as you like as well. The great thing about this garland is you can drape it over your front door (as you would Christmas garland), down your front stairway, your mantle, or even wrap it around an inexpensive grapevine wreath (which I love BTW because of their rich texture and luscious deep brown color) to hang on your front door.

If you’re looking for other “gourd ideas” (get it? HA!) then drill a few holes, stick a dowel in and use it for a birdhouse. Apparently this is very popular as I found these things all over the internet (ebay as well if you just want to buy it already done and pass it off as your own. It will be our little secret). I found gourd bowls and gourd planters, gourd Santas and gourd painted pumpkins. Heck, I even stumbled upon this gourd “dancer rattle” but I am really unsure what to think of this and seriously doubt any of you need a dancer rattle anyway (only because I am just assuming you’ve already got your own dancer rattle stashed away somewhere, right?).

Now, I like to buy my gourds fresh every year when they are nice and pretty and green (as shown here from last year's selection). I use them in my outdoor fall display by the front door. I just love their Kelly green color with white stripes. If nature intended for them to be preppy, then they are a perfect fit for me, that’s for sure. But if you can’t find any gourds locally and you’d like to buy a nice box of them, then check out the Welburn Gourd Farm and you can purchase an entire box of gourds and even pick out what shape you like! Or, hop on over to Gourd Gorgeous Farm and you can buy dry gourds, seeds, books, craft kits and more! It’s really a great resource for sparking your creativity. Next year I am actually hoping to try to grow a few of my own and see how that goes. I’m not one for crop farming, but I like to think I could grow a few little gourds. I’m not exactly aspiring to have Martha’s grand garden by any means, but I’ll keep you posted none-the-less. The bottom line is, gourds come in all shapes and sizes, so look at each one, find it’s character and use it to decorate with this Fall. Pumpkins aren’t the only one in the squash family that should have all the fun! It’s a “gourd thing.”


Bossy Bar-Wife said...

Several things:
I have not received a call from Martha's people either. I am assuming that means no new car/house for me.

I love gourds! I went to a real life gourd museum last year when I was in the mountains. They had all kinds of gourd stuff, some of the dried gourd crafts like you show, and them some other very cute pottery type things made from gourd molds. I bought a couple of serving pieces made out of gourds. I'm not describing this too well, but they're very cute!

emma's pulse said...

I saw the 3 finalists on Martha this morning. Did you see her make loofah disc soaps? I could see myself making these.

Anonymous said...

Do you like to eat them?
I know, random question. I just love pumpkin/squash soups.

spymum said...

The mini monograms and their batting practice made me laugh!

Gourds are supposed to be quite easy to grow if you have a sunny spot and a bit of space. The leaves look really great growing over a trellis as well (kind of grape viney!)