Gingerbread in Spring? Does that sound strange to you? Oh, wait, it’s not even Spring yet. For sure not around here, we are officially still in winter for awhile yet. But it seems like February is when I usually do end up making gingerbread houses, for one reason or another. This year I didn’t make one at Christmas time (happens more often than not). So sometimes I think I need one for my birthday. (oops, I just realized we’re in March, duh!!!) This year I made and ate some Spring-like gingerbread in honor of my sister and nieces’ birthdays!!! (and had a lot of fun doing it!) But this house really looks like it would be cute for Easter (so that’s what I wrote the on the picture!) Here’s what I did:
Made gingerbread dough. Rolled out and cut out pattern. For this house I quickly printed off a great free pattern to use by Tikkido. Great for those times you don’t feel like coming up with a gingerbread house pattern of your own. And it turns out really cute!The kids did some gingerbread cutting and building of their own…For a tiled roof, I pressed a pattern into the roof pieces before baking, and used a clean drinking straw to poke some holes in the roof.Two color Royal icing decorating before assembling….Assembled and then added fondant flowers, leaves and strawberries and a little girl out front in her garden.The roof idea was something new I saw on Pinterest, so my little house was inspired in part by the beautiful house I saw here.Just a tiny bit trickier than a regular roof, but I love how it turned out!And now this little house is gone! Tasted just as yummy as it looked!! Maybe I should make another one for Easter….Easter is a great time for gingerbread!!! (I think that could be a European thing?! anyone??)
There are lots of easy things you can do to decorate your home for fall, autumn, Thanksgiving, all the fun October and November times! Look around to see what you have on hand, hidden away somewhere, like baskets and birdcages, then add some nature and raffia 🙂 Here are some of the things I came up with for this year….without really buying anything new except the hens and the moose….A few years ago I invested in a wicker cornucopia basket, so that always comes out of storage, to be filled with flowers or fruit for our Thanksgiving table. Started with some fake flowers, then added some small red lights, some dollar store grapes and free picked nature!I loved the green vine flower things that I found on one of my walks, they really dried nicely…Baskets stuffed with nature:
This next photo isn’t home made, but could be….little stuffed hens on a beaded cord….our newest Fall decor addition to hang by the window and by our chore chalkboards in the kitchen:Also in the kitchen, a little gnome who doesn’t want to freeze outside (he’s also afraid of being gnome-napped), an old apple basket and our avocado plant, also afraid of freezing….
And if you can’t find real pumpkins, make some chubby stuffed pumpkins, no sew! Tiny colored frames from Michaels can be filled with black cardstock, then written on with chalk for a chalkboard look, add a big-eyed owl…
Some table decor:
Fruit and veggies always make colorful decorations. This year’s splurge: a pomegranate! And how about some fresh cranberries floating with some apples stuffed with candles….this was a combination of ideas that I pinned on my Fall Ideas Pinterest board.My Guatemalan textiles always come out for fall….ok, they’re always out, all year around! And Pies are a great fall decor idea!! And they are good for so many things….
Pumpkin, a tradition.My first cherry pie and dollar store ceramic pumpkins.A very old painted Canadian flag made by one of my kids a long long time ago. Something else made by my kids: a clothespin wreath hanging on a chalkboard!My last DIY Fall Decor Idea: plant sunflower seeds in the spring and transfer them to your backyard for super Natural fall decor! 🙂 Doesn’t seem like ours bloomed early enough to get the seeds for eating, though…
Have a great rest-of-the-fall!! Looks like it could snow in a couple of days around here…..so soon I’ll be packing up and disassembling my fall decor…..Christmas is coming!!! 🙂
So I’ve been rushing around, cleaning and decorating. But this year I decided to try and only decorate with things that I already had….to squeeze my brain for budget-friendly decorating! Ok, I admit, that I did buy a few very small things for Thanksgiving before I decided to try out this plan. But they were very few, heh heh. For this rather awesome crafty decoration, I used some nested baskets that I bought at Ikea about 8 years ago. The the larger ones usually hold fruit and the smaller ones lurk in dark corners of the basement “holding things”. So I dug up a nested set. And then I went for a walk to “gather things”. They say the best things in life are free, and my autumn walk was a best thing for sure! I found a few small pine branches, some little black berries of some sort, and some orange berries, which I should know the name of the tree they are from, but am hopeless at tree-knowledge.
I found this idea on Better Homes and Gardens for this basket tower. They used mismatched baskets, which looked cute. They also used lots of expensive floral foam, which I don’t have. A temporary tower sounded good to me. Since it was looking rather large, I decided it wouldn’t be a table centerpiece, but just a decoration, that will be up out of the reach of little hands….so I didn’t do much to anchor it. It’s another one of my “temporary” ideas.These baskets dip down in on one side, so that would be the front. I found things to stack in between, cans, jars, stuff like that. I just left the heavy things as is, but duct taped some of the lighter things for a bit of stability. Ta da, my not too wobbly tower!Now to fill it with nature….start with the pine branches, just some small ones. Then clumps of berries. Then a few pine cones.Shove everything in….I’m not sure how long this arrangement will last, but it will just turn into a dried fall arrangement! The example I was following had some really cute kumquats (whatever those are) and some lovely cloved oranges, that I did want to add, but the baskets were full! No room for oranges. No prob Bob. I think it looks nice just like this….Ugh, except for the color of that wall!!! The wall is not supposed to be pink, it’s orange, but for some reason my photos never show the right color!! I like orange stuff….. 🙂
Anyways, I hope that this little post gives you some ideas for using stuff that’s sitting around your house, and some bits of nature (real or otherwise) to decorate for Thanksgiving or fall in general. I know not everyone has berries popping up everywhere at this time of year……use lots of pinecones and clove some oranges!! Some ribbon would be nice, too….oh, and you can put a candle in the top like the Better Homes and Gardens version….but then it would have to be a stable tower…..I could go on and on. But maybe you should go decorate something….
Easy as pumpkin pie….actually, much easier and faster than that! Fasy, easy, temporary decor: I’m all about these three this year. These pudgy pumpkins are so easy to make, you can have a pumpkin patch in your living room in 10 minutes. The “ingredients” for the pumpkins are materials that you probably have around your house….and if you don’t happen to have cinnamon sticks, maybe you could substitute something else….like small rolls of cardstock or cardboard. And the best part is that you don’t have to sew anything!Materials: (new or clean) dish towels, rubber bands or hair elastics, plastic shopping bags, some sort of string or yarn and/or raffia and whole cinnamon sticks.I was so happy to find a use for these tea-towels (that’s what I call dish towels, is that Canadian, eh?) that I bought for a fun Christmas project last year. I had meant to use them for drying dishes after Christmas, but they ended up downstairs in the craft basement….and didn’t come to light until recently….hmmm, they’d make cute pumpkins!!! Find the rest of the ingredients:Now grab the narrower end of a dish towel and accordion pleat it, but not perfectly, remember this is supposed to be fast.Pleat the other end, too, and fold in half. You might have to hold one pleated end, while pleating the other end with one hand. Don’t be perfectionist, it will all be fixable in the end.Lay the pleated ends out in a heart shape. The idea is that the ends will be rubber-banded together, with the ends inside the pumpkin. Now add a rubber band or hair elastic.You can vary how much of the end pleats are going to be inside the pumpkin, and so vary the size of the pumpkins. Now pull the bottom of the “heart” down….And tie with some string, yarn or raffia. Just a couple of regular knots will do to hold it.Start fluffing out the sides of the dish towel a bit. You can add the stem of the pumpkin now, or later, it doesn’t really matter too much. Grab a couple of sticks for a larger pumpkin, or just one stick for a smaller pumpkin, and insert them into the top, in the middle of the rubber-band “knot”. Now stuff the pumpkin with loosely balled-up plastic bags, opening up the pleats a bit, and arranging them to cover any plastic bag that peeks out through the side cracks. And that’s it!!Later, I decided to tie some raffia around the cinnamon stick stem, to give the look of leaves and vine tendrils.It took about 10 to 15 minutes to make 7 pumpkins for my “patch”. The yellow pumpkin is a table runner, folded in half. The two smaller brown pumpkins were bits of fabric from Walmart, those ones that are smaller than a fat quarter, something like 18″ by 21″ or whatever. They were from last year’s project, too. I had been looking at fabric pumpkins, but didn’t want to sew, or permanently use up my small stash of fabric, so this worked out perfectly. I can pull them apart and use my tea-towels for drying dishes (if I want, ha) or anything else.
It’s Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!! Our holiday is on Monday, but many people are celebrating today. We ended up having a busy schedule this weekend, but that’s fine…we’ll maybe roast a turkey on Monday! I haven’t been doing much decorating for Thanksgiving yet…still have 1 or 2 days, though!
I thought I’d post a few easy ideas to do or make for Thanksgiving, that we’ve done over the years.
Whip up some sweet treats:These strawberries were dipped in orange melted candy melts, then when they hardened up, the stripes were piped on with melted candy melt in a plastic bag with a small corner snipped off. It works well if the strawberries are cold. Pipe the middle stripes on while the strawberry is sitting on the wax/parchement paper, then carefully pick it up to pipe a few stripes going up the sides….don’t worry about the backside! 🙂 These were really fast, really! Only ingredients are candy melts and strawberries.No pumpkin flavor in these strawberries!! But if you love pumpkin, how about baking some pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, topped with a fresh cranberry! Yum!How about trying a thankful leaves craft: (I’m pretty sure this was my sister’s idea!)Help the kids cut out leaf shapes from colored paper, then have everyone write out things that they are thankful for, one per leaf. Then find a spot to tape them up (green painter’s tape). We taped them to the inside of the basement door and going down the walls to the basement…they have been there for years now!!Make a pumpkin scarecrow:This is easy if you have a fresh little pumkin and some hay around (a plastic pumkin would work fine, too!). Fill a pop bottle with sand or rocks, for the body, and make a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin that will fit over the bottle top. The clothes we used were my daughter’s clothes from when she was about 1 year old. We stuffed them with cotton stuffing, then just added some hay coming out the arms and legs and tied them with some string or ribbon. Two buttons pinned on with straight pins for eyes, and some crocheted curls for hair (they were left over from a Raggedy-Ann wig that my mom made a loooonnnggg time ago!)
And my personal favorite tradition, a fresh flower/fruit centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table:
No matter what else goes on the table, I just love having some fresh flowers!! One year I hollowed out a little pumpkin and filled it with carnations, so cute! Another year the arrangement had burgundy carnations, green limes, brussels sprouts and an artichoke. I loved that one! I like using carnations because they are sturdy and last for a long time, and I love the look of real fruit (limes, lemons, etc). Hmm, still hoping to get some flowers or something for Monday…. 🙂 I think last year we had a cornucopia basket spilling out fresh fruit and veggies, and one year the cornucopia had those cool real flowers that are paperlike and dry perfectly…(siemprevivas we call them in Spanish)…What decorating ideas and/or crafts does your family do for Thanksgiving? Maybe you haven’t had time to do anything, but how about taking just a few moments to make some little thing….or get the kids to do it! Look around your house and see what you already have that you can use. The kids will (probably!) enjoy it and it will be a Thanksgiving memory for them. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! (my dear Canadian friends and family!)