Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Heirloom Pumpkin Basket

Beyond Halloween

From October through November, you will find a large variety of heirloom pumpkins at your local garden centers.  Bring them inside away from the frost and they will last through thanksgiving!

If the last remnants of your Fall garden have survived the frost, its not too late to create a pretty pumpkin centerpiece. Simply cut foliage and flowers and then add them to the interior of your favorite pumpkin

Cut a hole in top of pumpkin and place a 
container of water inside. 
Now add your arrangement.

This arrangement above is a mix of the season's last hydrangeas, late blooming asters, vine berries, poke weed, and wild flowers. Even artificial flowers would look great!

For Added Style, Create A Faux Fall Basket:
1- Pull apart a grapevine wreath and wrap a large portion loosely
      around your pumpkin.
2- Take enough of the end of the grapevine to create a faux handle.

You have just created a beautiful Faux Fall Basket!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carved Pumpkins: Several Of My Favorites!

With Halloween approaching, 'tis the season for carving!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite carving projects. 
After all, there is nothing more appealing during 
Halloween than a glowing pumpkin!

A bird with leaves seemed like a twist on the scary Jack-O-Lanterns that  
I've carved over the years.  It fit perfectly within the nature inspired story 
I created for the 2013 Fall issue of 'Country Gardens' magazine.

Photo: Andre Baranowski

For the 2009 'Good Housekeeping' issue, I created a cast of amusing 
characters by adding props to enhance their personality.

Photo: Michael Partenio

Trees painted with black gloss enamel craft paint will hold up 
to rain and cold.  To make the little stars around the painted back 
trees, I used a screw-driver pushed into the pumpkins.

Photo: Michael Partenio

Create these little 7" to 8" sugar pumpkin Jack-O-Lanterns:
After carving designs into the pumpkins, I created the above 
Chinese style lanterns to sit on a mantle by using black 
poster board as a base and faux handle.

Photo: Michael Partenio

This pumpkin-bonfire was a bit hit in the 'Better Homes and Gardens
pumpkin party feature described in my previous blog.

BOOoO! An elegant Jack-O-Lantern created for 'Garden Design' magazine.

Photo: Andre Baranowski 

During Halloween, there is nothing more mystically heart-warming 
than glowing pumpkins.

 Happy Carving!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Planning Your Pumpkin Party

Let's Throw A Pumpkin Party!

During years of working as a stylist, I have created Fall parties for many magazines and have thrown quite a few of my own.

One personal favorite is this pumpkin party designed for Better Homes and Gardens in Vermont.  It's full of great ideas that you can use to add flair to your own gathering-of-friends this Fall season!

While scouting through Vermont, I found this location through my good friend, Joanne Palmisano, of Salvage Secrets. Joanne's friend, Holly, owns this fabulous farmhouse  framed by a pumpkin patch which grows around the porch.  

I scouted the house and proposed the idea to Better Homes and Gardens, and voila! The next thing I knew I was on my way back to Vermont with photographer, Helen Norman, to create the perfect pumpkin party. I hired Joanne to help and of course,!

We picked up hay bails, dozens of pumpkins, bought the food, and made all of our decorations. Then the guests arrived including Joanne and her family!

 Dress Up The Door
Grouping pumpkins by the front door is a natural. You can add fall color by 
pushing the stem of tall maples leaves into holes cut into pumpkin top.

Set The Table
If the weather cooperates, bring a table and chairs outdoors 
and set with pumpkins down the center. Place pumpkins generously around to set a mood.

Use a large pumpkin as a container for the apple cider by scooping out all the

seeds until clean. Now, add the cider.  Have extra apples on hand to set the stage.
Canning jars with cinnamon sticks make great glasses.

Entertaining The Kids: 1. Set up bails of hay and place small pumpkins all around. The kids will entertain themselves on a grassy area while painting the pumpkins.

2. Have extra tee-shirts in a basket to protect clothing.

3. Fill muffin tins with a few colors of craft paints; fill large garden baskets for water; provide small buckets to hold paint brushes.

At the end of the day a bonfire is the best part. Here is an idea! Make your bonfire from pumpkins carved with flames. Stack inside a ring of logs.  Ive come up with  a lot of pumpkin ideas over the years but this one received the most oohh's and ahhh's.
Keep a basket of blankets outside for the fall chill.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine  has great ideas for fall entertaining.  You can see this full article in the Better Homes and Gardens Oct. 2010 issue.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Flower Power

Pumpkin Vessels
Earthy Fall Chrysanthemums & Pumpkins make a cheery center piece

I’m always looking for new way to design floral displays and pumpkins and gourds are the perfect shaped vessels. It starts with going to the farm stand and picking out unusual and interesting pumpkins and gourds.

Alison, a friend of my assistant, Monica, has a friend who owns a glorious old barn in Connecticut. It's a perfect backdrop for shooting pumpkin projects. These  projects were designed for Country Gardens magazine for Fall, 2013.

Photographer Andre Baranowski, Monica and I landed here for two days to set up 
and make some Fall magic, 2013.

Monica, Alison and me.

Here's one idea that can work with any pumpkin variety you happen to love. It will bring some seasonal beauty to your home. There's no need to fill the pumpkin with water. However, you will need floral viles filled with water to make it work.

What you'll need:
Assorted mum flower heads and asters in a variety of sizes. You can cut mums heads from your blooming plants or buy plants at the nursery. Take heads from a variety of plants to get the diversity of flower heads in different sizes and colors.

1. You’ll need floral vials that hold water  You can buy them by the bag at a super crafts store or your local florist.

2.  A paring knife for cutting holes in the pumpkin.

3.  Cut the hole the just slightly larger then the head of the vial

4. Fill vial with water, place cape on vial, cut the flower stem to 1.5 inches. Push vial into the hole so flower is flat against pumpkin surface.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Resuming My Blog!

Getting Started Again
Where did four months go?

During the past four months, I've traveled New England from corner to corner. Along the way, I've had the opportunity to style for many of my favorite magazines and catalog companies.  I've missed posting my blog, and now that the Fall Season is upon us, I'm anxious to get started again.  I look forward to celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with you!
This past week, I paid a visit to my favorite local far-stands and 
came home with a carload of fall produce.

Who wouldn't be inspired by these Fall colors?

Using a variet of colorful Fall produce, I will share with you several awesome projects to help embellish your holiday displays! Starting tomorrow, I'll post my first Fall-Season blog which will include several wonderful pumpkin display ideas. So please stay tuned as we make October a time for celebrating the season together!