One Man’s Kindling is a Crazy Crafter’s Centerpiece

That’s the saying, right?
(Let’s just pretend that I posted this on Friday like I had intended…thanks.)

Well October is upon us, there’s no stopping it or denying it. This awesome autumn month supplies us with fantastic foliage, gigantic gourds and amazing aromas. October is also home to Canada’s Thanksgiving! As an American, I feel awfully spoiled having the privilege of celebrating two Thanksgivings within a month and a half of each other. Being that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays however, it’s definitely a plus! With Christmas coming just one short month after American Thanksgiving it’s a wonder I don’t gain 20 pounds every year. Okay, who am I kidding, I definitely put on holiday weight, but that’s why we don’t live in a place where it’s bikini season all year long.

This is my first year hosting Canadian Thanksgiving, which has been newly dubbed “Friendsgiving” because the “real” Thanksgiving is in November. Technically, last year we had an “American Thanksgiving in Canada”, it was a small, pleasant affair with good food and great people. This year will be a bit different- a crazy crowd, bigger bird, surplus of sides, abundance of alcohol… guaranteed good gathering. (Am I overdoing it with the alliterations?)

I felt the need to construct a centerpiece. Something simple, small but relevant.
Here were my supplies:

But where on Earth, you ask, did you find those cool wooden pieces? Would you believe it if I told you that I saved them from a horrible fire? Okay, okay, I embellished a bit. I did rescue them though. We went camping a few weeks ago with a large group of people and one of the gentledudes there is into wood working. He had an entire truck full of these “scrap” pieces. After I had witnessed him throwing several pieces like this into the campfire I just had to stop him… until he let me look through the truck and take what I wanted, then I let him continue. It was chilly out and they were burning quite well. I had no idea what I would use them for, but I just couldn’t let them go un-crafted, and here we are.

I decided to paint the wood pieces dark brown. Originally I wanted to do something fancy with them by making them look antique-like or something, but the more I played around with them the more I realized that less is more. Cutting the pumpkins was a bit more difficult than I had remembered. My younger sister and I made candle holders just like this four years ago for my older sister’s wedding. I don’t remember how we did it, or if we discovered a simple way to get that chunk out to put the candle in. so I just did what I thought was best.

I started by breaking off the stems of the pumpkins and tracing the tea lights on the top. I used a washable marker- which was a good choice, because I don’t have the steadiest of hands. After that I cut along the line with the sharpest, smallest knife we have. I almost used one of those little saw tools that comes with a pumpkin carving kit but after the first attempt to break the skin of the pumpkin failed, I switched to a real knife.

Okay kids, easy part is over.  Now that you’ve got the circle formed and cut you need to be able to scoop it out. I cut out a little notch to start and from there I could easily cut and scoop the rest of the pumpkin meat out. Make sure you don’t cut all the way down, you don’t want to completely hollow out the pumpkins if you want the candles to sit nicely on top. I didn’t even make it down to the seeds.

Don’t worry about making it look pretty either.

As you can see, mine is quite mangled but it doesn’t matter because you’re putting a candle in there anyway. Just try to make it level enough that the candle isn’t completely lop-sided which may cause wax to leak onto your pumpkin.

Once you’re done just pop in your candles and you’re good to go. One thing I was a little worried about was cutting them too early and having the cut pumpkin sit out. I didn’t know if it would spoil or rot and I certainly didn’t want a centerpiece that was giving off a putrid aroma while we were trying to eat. I cut them on Friday, we ate on Sunday, today is Tuesday and they haven’t started to smell or rot at all. So if you need to do it in advance you absolutely can and they’ll be fine. I don’t think going as long as a week before would be good, but they’ll definitely last several days.

I also hot-glued the pumpkins to the wood pieces, mainly as a precaution to maintain sturdiness. Glue-gun plastic glue isn’t a superglue by any means so I knew I wouldn’t have a problem removing the pumpkins from the wood when I was ready to discard them (because you know I’m going to save that wood and make something else!).

Hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend, I know I did!

Posted in DIY

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