Friday, September 25, 2015

How to weigh down foam pumpkins

Our family lives east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Between the beautiful mountain views and the wildlife, we absolutely love living here.
But there is one thing about living here that can cause a few problems. In fall and winter we get super strong winds. We have to secure anything and everything outside unless we want it to show up two blocks away after a storm.
That means securing any decorations that we have up for the current holiday. Right now, that means weighing down the foam pumpkins that we have on our front porch.
I played around with a few different methods before I came up with the one below. This only works with foam pumpkins that are uncarved. I'm still working on a foolproof method for carved foam pumpkins.
Here are the tools you'll need to weigh down your uncarved foam pumpkins:
  • drill - I use a Porter Cable PC1800D that was a Consumer Reports best buy at the time. I highly recommend Porter Cable drills and it looks like this one is the comparable version available today. You definitely want to get the two battery model so you can charge one battery while using another.
  • 2"+ hole saw drill bit (the ones I use are a bit older and are orange)
  • piece of paper or a funnel
  • heavy duty large plastic bags - I used lawn and leaf bags from Costco (for large pumpkins) or gallon sized freezer bags (for smaller pumpkins)
  • heavy duty craft scissors
  • fine sand - I used paving sand
Make sure that you work outside in a well ventilated area. This produces a lot of dust!
First, turn your foam pumpkin over on your lap (protect the stem!). If your pumpkin already has a hole at the bottom, you can skip this step. Use the drill to drill a hole into the bottom of your pumpkin.  NOTE: this is a lot harder said than done and it produces a lot of dust. I recommend easing up on the choke so you're not going at it full throttle. It cuts much easier that way.
This will get foam dust everywhere! I had to shake my pants out when I was finished.
Then take your plastic bag and stuff it into the pumpkin with the open end facing out.
Next, take your funnel or piece of paper and roll it up to fit in the hole. I used a large cup to slowly pour the sand in. Make sure that you go slowly! This produces a lot of dust, and if you go too fast you'll plug up your funnel.
Every few cup fulls, I'll pick up the pumpkin and feel how heavy it is. My goal is to make it as heavy as an actual pumpkin.
When you've got it as heavy as you'd like, get as much air out of the plastic bag as you can and twist up the rest of the bag like this:
Now knot it at least twice, and as close to the sand as possible. You want it super secure so that no sand leaks out. Then cut off the excess bag with your scissors and tuck the knotted part in. I like to also push the knot to one side so that it's not always coming out when you pick up the pumpkin.
If you're using a gallon sized freezer bag for smaller pumpkins, just seal up bag tightly and tuck the end in.
Turn the pumpkin over and put it wherever you like. And make sure that you never ever pick up your pumpkin by the stem! If you do have a stem break off, this glue works best to secure it back on.
You now have a weighted pumpkin that you can use year after year and won't blow off your porch during a storm.

Happy decorating!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

a plethora of pumpkins

It's officially fall! I've had my pumpkins out on my porch since school started a few weeks ago. I'm just a wee bit obsessed with anything pumpkin. And autumn. And pumpkin. You get the idea.
I love the look of pumpkins on a front porch. And not just one or two. I mean 10+ pumpkins. And if you buy real pumpkins year after year, it gets expensive fast.
My solution? Artificial pumpkins that you can use year after year. You just need to have a good place to store them in the off seasons. I've found the best artificial pumpkins are made by Funkins. They are relatively easy to carve and you can easily make them weighted so they don't blow away in the wind - more on that in tomorrow's post.
You can buy them online off of the funkins website, but they don't offer the savings that I can find in a larger retailer. So far, JoAnn fabrics is the best place I've found to buy them. I started stalking visiting Joann Fabrics' website ( on or shortly after Halloween when they have their Funkins on sale for at least 60% off. Then I use a coupon code from Fat Wallet to save even more money. If you do any shopping online and aren't already using Fat Wallet, sign up asap! I've saved well over four hundred dollars by going through their website over the years. It's free money and I like free money :)
Occasionally I'll visit a JoAnns store and see if I can find a good deal. Today I found Funkins for 40% off plus I had a 20% off my entire purchase coupon (sale AND regular price...SCORE!) by signing up for deal alerts on my smartphone by texting THREAD to 56266.
Over the years I've amassed a plethora of pumpkins. And they end up paying for themselves after a couple of years. I've carved some of the Funkins, but the majority I haven't so that I can use them for both fall and Halloween. We still get real pumpkins at our local farm, but only five or so, at least one per family member. We carve the real pumpkins and put them out amongst the uncarved Funkins and it looks great!
I absolutely love my pumpkins.
Do you have any tips or tricks to save money on real or fake pumpkins? If so, I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

December Daily 2014 - it's a wrap

Truthfully I finished this album back in July, made the video in August and am just now putting this post up in September! Here is a December Daily 2014 recap and a sneak peek of December Daily 2015!

DD 2015 will be here before we know it! In the meantime I am enjoying the season change and will be posting more of a family update in the next couple of days.
Thanks always for reading!
Love and Craziness,