So, I’m a Girl Scout troop leader, right? I’m always thinking of ways to keep the girls interested and focused, because six 4th graders = lots and lots of energy! For the last few weeks, I’ve been musing about a meeting I want to have in November, centered around the theme of being thankful. Of course, we are going to do some crafting (thanks, Oriental Trading!), but I also want to take the time to talk about the amazing amount of opportunities they have, and to reflect on what other Girl Scouts have achieved in this country that we should be thankful for! For me, it’s always a struggle to make things age appropriate for them because I’m used to working with high school age kids and then, peers when I was in college. As a result I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering how to have a meaningful conversation with them vs “write a list of what you’re thankful for…” which one, they probably do in school, and two, doesn’t really get them thinking too much. I know I have so much to be thankful for, that I couldn’t really spend too much time considering it.
I’m always trying to balance having fun AND learning skills that as Girl Scouts they should be learning. Being a non-mom troop leader is interesting… I don’t want to be like a school teacher, because while I take Girl Scouts very seriously, it’s not as rigid as school, and I’m not their parent, so I don’t want to be that kind of authority figure. Heck, I can’t even figure out what I’m supposed to do as a big sister to three younger brothers let alone be a good role model for the troop. I love being a part of their lives, it’s so rewarding and they make me so proud. I want them to take me seriously, but I don’t want to cross the line into I’m another adult bossing them around, you know? (and haha but this only becomes an issue when we do the kaper chart [aka chore chart] lol no one wants garbage or floor duty!!!!! go figure) I want Girl Scouts to be something they think of fondly, love, and want to do for years! Is it silly that I fret that none of them will continue on to Cadettes??? Maybe, but all I know is that I don’t really care if it’s silly because I know these girls will grow up and continue to be amazing, thoughtful, and engaged people.
We have a meeting tonight, we’re making wire wrap bracelets with Crystal from Crystal’s Treasure Box (a local, amazing, jewelry store in town) and I’m so excited. I bought a crap ton of beads! Our meeting after that is our Halloween party and I am so excited! I’ve been buying goodies for goody bags, games, and craft supplies for a few weeks already! I’m always thinking ahead 🙂 I think we will actually start our simple meals badge that meeting by making Halloween mac and cheese I found! The pasta is shaped like pumpkins, ghosts, and bats! We’re going to play bingo and a bean bag toss game, and for crafts, little sparkly Halloween figures! We might also decorate cookies or cupcakes! I have these AWESOME bone shaped sprinkles!! I also saw some candy eyeball decorations that would be cool. I also started buying stuff for our December meetings last week! Can you tell I love being a troop leader? 😉
Anyways, that’s all… I just wanted to share a little bit of what’s always on my mind! Girl Scouts!
One of my favorite parts of this season is carving pumpkins, but carving them too early means they will rot before Halloween! Especially with 74 degree days like today 🙂 So I decided to hold off on carving pumpkins so they will last until All Hallows Eve (well, and because trying to get our friends together to carve them is difficult with everyone’s schedules!) and decorate some pumpkins three different no-carve ways.
I don’t know about you, but I am addicted to pinterest and some of these ideas I totes stole from there… but here’s the thing, I might pin a looooooot of stuff, but when I’m actually crafting I don’t really look up the instructions, I just kind of take the idea, run with it, and hope for the best! Foreshadowing: it doesn’t always work out.
Enter no-carve pumpkin idea number one… Melted crayons.
Easy peasy, right???? Haha no! I’ve seen and enjoyed the melted crayons via a hair dryer method on canvases and also pumpkins! But I had an idea… why not get a cheap glue gun, some crayons, and melt them that way! Quick, more control over the wax… all great in theory. So I got myself a $2 glue gun, some cheap crayons (I’m not paying Crayola prices for something I’m melting down, sorry), and a small pumpkin for our fave pumpkin stand. Which, for the record is what you will need if you want to try this method out!
Step one, remove dirt from pumpkin.
Step two, plug in glue gun.
Wait… that’s a lie.
Step one, open crayons. Remove wrappers from crayons. I tried just tearing them off which proved tedious, so I grabbed my Exacto knife and cut the wrappers off. Be very careful if you do this, Exacto knives are sharp and crayons are rolly.
Step two, decide which color combo you want to use! I first tried pinks and purples, but ended up using greens and yellows.
Step three, grab ye self a pumpkin!
Step four, plug in glue gun and put the crayon of your choice in it.
Step five, if you’re me wait like 10 seconds and GO! Don’t be like me… it didn’t work! The wax came out in little poo-poo looking piles. Not good. I say, wait like 5 minutes or so for the crayon to get really melty. Be cautious… hot wax is hot.
(Oh, I should mention you will need a HOT temp glue gun, not a cool temp)
Step six, apply melty crayon to pumpkin. Vary colors to give depth and interest to your melty wax punkin… I found in helped to tilt the pumpkin at an angle (the angle I wanted the wax to flow). Wax on, wax off, repeat, repeat, repeat until you run out of your crayon colors or you feel like your pumpkin looks waxed to the max. This might take awhile. I don’t know the science of glue guns, but it seamed like my cheapo one didn’t constantly heat… it would like heat some, get really melty, and then I had poo-poo pile wax again… so I would say, be watchful and give your glue gun time to do it’s magic. Watch NCIS in the mean time, absorb knowledge from the one and the only Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
Take pictures, instagram them, and tag us #justbarefootandblind #jbfbpumpkin !!
Things I didn’t expect: the glue gun to take it’s sweet time, and the wax to seemingly jump off the pumpkin once it cooled all the way… (see pictures)
I actually didn’t like how it was jumping off like that, and I felt like I had put too much wax on, and not close enough to the stem so I ended up letting it cool and ripping the first try (pinks and purples) off. I was ready to write glue-gunning crayons onto pumpkins off as a failure, so I grabbed some glue, put that in the glue gun, and glued some crayon chunks on the pumpkin instead. Off to the bathroom to retrieve my hair dryer, I went. What I deduced from trying this was: I am not patient enough. Or my crayons weren’t meant for the melting-via-hairdryer process because they wouldn’t budge. And let me tell you sitting around point a hair dryer at a pumpkin is warm and I didn’t very much enjoy that. I wish I had an embossing gun because I feel like that would have worked a lot better, but I don’t soooo I ripped the crayon chunks and slightly crayon tinted hot glue off of my pumpkin and decided to try the hot glue gun crayon method again, but with a more deft hand.
Despite the way it’s popping off the pumpkin, I like how it looks. It reminds me of drip candles, and I really love drip candles. Which would totally be a cool and easy way to do this… I actually have a few at home in my candle drawer (uhm, yes, I have a candle drawer and also a scenty wax cube drawer) so don’t be too surprised if I end up trying that out. It would also be SO cool to get those Halloween drip candles that are white on the outside but have RED on the inside like BLOOD! OMG if you painted the pumpkin black first! So #spooky
I kind of forgot to take pictures of the process for these last two… woops)
Method Two No-Carve Pumpkin Deocrating Method: Glitter and Mod Podge.
No, I did not steal Haleah’s supplies… I have my own stash of mod podge and glitter, including like four things of gold glitter. (I made gold glitter animals for the tables at my wedding)
Do you ever go to the craft store to get some supplies for a project, and you totes need gold glitter for it… but you’re not sure if you have gold glitter at home, or like, enough gold glitter at home, so you buy, like, the biggest thing of gold glitter they have and then get home and find out you have a nearly full container of gold glitter? Have you done this more than once? Twice? Me too, we need a support group. Glitter Addicts Anonymous*
Here, I’m using matte finish mod podge because that’s what I had on hand (I used this to make craft beer coasters for the groomsmen in my wedding), medium gold glitter, and a sponge brush (this is the kind of brush I would recommend for mod podging… especially with glitter… it’s good for smoothing and stippling, and I’ve just had good results with sponge brushes).
When I glitter mod podge something, I like to mix a good amount of glitter into the mod podge itself, paint that on, let it set up just a bit, and then sprinkle glitter on top, for maximum glitter. Mod podge dries clear, and it’s fine to just put a thin coat of it on and then sprinkle the pumpkin with glitter… but why not maximum glitter if you can maximum glitter it?? You can also use a gloss finish mod podge formula for extra shine.
I used this method on a teeny tiny pumpkin, so I didn’t need that much, and I mixed up too much so I walked around my house until I found something I could use up my glitter concoction on. Eventually, I landed on a sign I made (uhm… for my wedding as well), that says “No admittance except on Party Business” which, yes, is from Lord of the Rings/Bilbo’s 111th Birthday party. I glittered the back of it, just for fun! And later decided, while talking to my husband, that I’m going to start the hashtag #iglitteredit post haste.
Let the mod podge/glitter dry completely before you move this one to your porch or patio, unless you want them to be glittery too 😉 I would keep this one out of the rain, though, as the mod podge would loosen up when exposed to water.
Method Three No-Carve Pumpkin Deocrating Method: Paint and decorate!
So for this last pumpkin, I decided to try to paint it as soon as I saw the long stem! I knew I wanted to do a bird or a witch, and witch won this time. But, I do have another long stemer at home, so a bird might happen too! For this, I used acrylic paint in various greens, black card stock, purple paper gift crinkle filler stuff, my fancy dancy cordless glue gun, and glue sticks!
I started by coating the whole pumpkin in a dark green, then I layered on some lighter and brighter greens for dimension. I let that all dry really well before painting on her facial features. I started with her eyes, added her cheeks, and then her mouth base coats. Once the base coats were dry, I went back and painted on details like eyelashes, a lip line, and some brighter pink to the cheeks.
When all the paint was dry, I got my glue gun ready and glued on the hair. These paper crinkles come in my Julep box and I’m kind of a weirdo and save them to re-use for gifts, or crafts! I covered the top, some of the sides, and some of the back of the pumpkin with the crinkles. Once her hair was on, I cut out a witch hat! It’s very easy, anyone could draw this up and cut it out with scissors! I doubled mine up since I knew it would be sitting outside (also covered though, don’t want it to get ruined by a rogue rain storm!). I put a bunch of glue on the middle of her head and stuck the hat on. I added some more glue and hair to really adhere the hat to the pumpkin.
I love this method, because you can be so creative. There are so many faces you could add to it, not to mention all the little accoutrements that could be added… feathers, tinsel, fabric, fuzzy stuff, pipe cleaners, etc etc!
I had so much fun crafting up these little pumpkins!
*I just want to note, I’m making a joke here, but support groups are awesome and help a lot of people. I’m not making light of their struggles, but poking fun at myself and my compulsion to buy all the craft supplies…