Posts tagged holidays

Crafting with Gourds

Every year the harvest of Gourds begins in the fall and fills the groceries and natural food shops with fresh Squash, Cucumbers, Luffas and Melons. There are also the Calabash Squash, which is the most common Gourd. Luffas and Calabash Squash have to be harvested very young to be edible. If they are harvested after they have dried out, there is nothing to eat but their skins make fantastic containers, scrubbers and other tools. The Loofah or Plant Sponge is often used in sandal making and other crafts. You know it because you’ve seen in the bath section of the department store, where it’s sold as a body scrubber. Loofahs are also used to make the sponges you use in the kitchen and have been used in certain types of constuction.

The Calabash Squash is the one you are most familiar with when you think of Gourds. They are often called Bottle Gourds because the older, larger ones have been used as containers for generations. You are familiar with a form of Gourd use through the use of Pumpkins as decorations at Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are a form of Squash that has Gourd properties. You can scrape out the Pumpkin and eat the insides but use the thick skin as a container for candles and you can carve it out in designs, the most popular being a face. This is a form of Gourding.

However, in short time, your Pumpkin wilts and shrinks and collapses and ends up in the trash. You cannot get a long lasting decorative collectible this way. So I suggest sticking with the hard, inedible, bitter Melons and Squashs that are referred to as “Ornamental Gourds”. These are a distinctively different variety than the edible Squash you see in the stores and they are never edible. They are purely for ornamental use. You will find them in the grocery stores, in the vegetable stands, in the craft shops and health food stores during the fall and winter season. They are there right now. So read this article and get an idea of what kind of Gourd you want to use for what project and then scoot on out and get it. You will be amazed at how fun this is and you will end up doing every year from now on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Add Some Herbs to Thanksgiving

How about a more spicy, more herby Thanksgiving? Oh, I know, it’s about tradition and everyone is cooking Turkey with Cranberries and Stuffing. And I am not about to change that. I just want to throw in some recipes that include various herbs. Not only for the great taste and diversity herbs add to the meal but also for the healthy aspects of doing this, too. Herbs have healing powers and if you haven’t been able to start taking supplements or to get the ones you love to do that, either, than adding herbs to the biggest, most popular meal of the year may get them interested in doing more of it.

I promise you that these will not turn your meal into an Arab or Asian repast. I promise you it will not taste like Italian Turkey. I am not going to tell you to add Garlic to the Cranberries. I promise you. What I want to do is spruce up the traditions a little with some of the herbs they probably added to the original meal, back in the day when they didn’t have grocery stores but spent a lot of time in their own gardens. So there’s your selling point. I added some herbs to the meal because that’s the way the pilgrims did it. Maybe the kids will learn something! So here they are… a few simple recipes to include everyday herbs in a delicious rendition of the Thanksgiving pigout.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

Money Saving Thanksgiving Ideas

I thought that it might be fun, with the economy the way it is, to make some cheap, homemade stuff for Thanksgiving. Usually we are all running out and spending a lot of money on table and house decorations along with the traditional food selections and accessories like napkins and serving pieces. When we invite family over for a big repast in our homes, we want it to be festive and enjoyable. What is more original and interesting than something we can’t just buy in Walmart, but has a personalized element? Something like homemade table napkins, handwoven fruit baskets, herbal centerpieces or handmade wreaths. Something they won’t see or experience anywhere else in the world. Something that speaks exclusively of you and your Thanksgiving meal.

I have some great ideas, some real cheap, others a bit more pricey. It’s up to you to determine what you have time for and what you can afford as well as what will work with your overall plans for dinner. How many people are coming? Is it just you and the kids or is your entire extended family coming? Are you serving at one table or more? Is this already so deep in your pocket that you just can’t afford anything at all? If so, I have ideas where you can forage the ingredients for free. So all of this I have taken into consideration and want to give you choices that will work for as many of you as possible. So, with no more adieux, here are the step by step recipes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

DIY: A More Natural Halloween

Oh, I know it seems kinda early to be talking about Halloween but when it comes to DIY projects it sometimes takes awhile to get it all together and no one wants to be rushed at the last minute. So I thought I’d throw out some good ideas for a natural, crafty type of Halloween so you’d have time to work on it if you wanted to. Some of these ideas are really scary so be careful how you use them; if you have religious friends who are easily offended, keep that in mind. If you have kids who are easily frightened, keep that in mind as well. There are ideas that are not scary at all and will be enjoyed by everyone. I also have ideas if you want to throw a party, so those of you are up for that will find something as well.

I tried to find ideas that required few ingredients or steps so that people with skinny wallets or rushed schedules could work in a project or two. So here we go, from the sweetest to the scariest, in that order:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off