Sep 1, 2010

September Traditions!

Guess What????  It's September.  September and October are my two favorite months of the year.  I love the cooler weather, the fact that I can almost start wearing sweaters, the routine of the school year, and fall family activities.

We have a fall tradition in our family that I look forward to every year.  We make pumpkin people.  We even send out invitation and have a little crafting party with my daughters and their friends.  The one rule that we started last year was that they had to invite someone that they had not invited over before.  It worked as a great friendshipping tool and it was fun for them to think outside of their comfort zone and reach out to a new person.  That new rule will help us out greatly this year as we have recently moved to a new state.

So, the tradition will continue on this year and now that it is finally September,  - I swear, I've waited all year! - now we can start collecting the goods and make our people.

(Also, just as a side note:  We've been making these little guys for about 4 years now but last year I saw that there was an article in Family Fun about them too - I don't have a link but I'm sure you could find more info and see other samples by searching their site.)

So, here's what you need to do:

1- buy small pumpkins, squash and gourds in various sizes and shapes.  (we had a great little family run farm stand in Camden that I miss greatly, but if you have a place like that, check it out)

2- Go on a nature walk, take a bag, and collect all kinds of little things that you can use for decoration.  I've used the following:  rocks, sticks, berries, flowers, leaves, moss, nuts, and acorns.  You can also use found items like plastic bottle caps, trash ties, etc... but I personally like to stick with the things from nature.

3- While you are letting your pumpkins adjust to room temperature, somewhat clean your found items.  You mostly just want to remove any dirt that may interfere with the adhesive.

4-After everything is dry and at room temp, start building your creations.  The best way to do this is to start with stacking your gourds.  Obviously you will start with a bigger one on the bottom and go smaller from there.  Keep in mind that you want them to be balanced. 

Once you get them the way you want, you can use toothpicks or small wooden dowels to attach them together.  (Small children will need help with this step as the skin of the gourds is tough)  Plus, After I get the toothpicks in place, I will usually add in some hot glue just for good measure.

5- Start decorating.  This part is so fun. You can really do so many different things (notice the leaf hair and nut hat that my daughter is working on - serious, endless possibilities here)

Ok, lets talk adhesive:  The majority of what I use is hot glue and toothpicks.  Toothpicks work great for berries and such but not so great for sticks and rocks.  Hot glue is great if you plan to keep them in your house once they are decorated.  However, if you put them on your porch (which we do) the night time temps can cool the glue and decorative items that are glued on can easily fall off.  I still mostly use hot glue but you might want to try other adhesives too, maybe glue dots, Gorilla glue, etc....

Other tips:  You can turn your gathering processing into a scavenger hunt game that is fun for little kids.  Or a nature walk bingo.  The whole project can be a really fun, positive experience for the whole family.  Perhaps that is why it one of my favorite fall traditions.

 These were made by the kids we invited over last year, check out the leaf mohawk and the pirate  - fun, right?!


MaryRuth said...

These are sooo cute! I wish I'd know about them when I was in YW!

Lorie said...

Okay, those are so cute! I bet my kids would love to make them.

Thanks for linking up to Show and Tell Saturday!

Denise said...

These are so adorable! I love show and tell!

Michelle@Somedaycrafts said...

When I was a kid, we used to make pumpkin and vegetable people. we would carve all sorts of things out of the zuchinni and squash. I loved it. I am featuring this at Grab my "featured" button.

Colorado Baldwins said...

WOW. I would love to make this a tradition with my little family. I like that you start in September...enjoy them for 2 months. :)