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Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’

There’s nothing new about pomanders. As a matter of fact pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century to protect against infection and mask against bad smells. Today pomanders are primarily used as room fresheners. According to Wikipedia, the word pomander originates from the French “pomme d’ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet.”

Modern day pomanders are generally apples or citrus fruit studded with whole cloves. To spice up my life (Ha! Ha!) and get me in the mood for Christmas, I decided to make some citrus pomanders. I purchased oranges, lemons, limes and a jar of whole cloves. Costco is a good place to purchase these items in bulk and inexpensively. Because I didn’t want my home to smell like a dentist’s office, I decided not to follow tradition and chose not to cover the entire surface of the fruit. Hearts, stars, and patterns were more in line with my style.

I washed the fruit first and poured the cloves in a little bowl. If you are really a detail-type person, you could separate in advance the headless cloves from the head-still-intact ones. Unbelievably, I did not do this. Working on a plate, I selected the side of the fruit I wanted to highlight and used cookie cutters to outline the desired design. Holding the cookie cutter in place, I gently poked holes around the outside of the cookie cutter with a bamboo skewer. The cutter may have to be gently rocked from side to side to adequately work the design around the contour of the fruit. Space the holes about one-fourth inch apart, or for a denser-looking design, place them closer together. Push a whole clove into each of the holes.

Had I checked in with Martha Stewart first, I would have used rubber bands to create straight lines and would have shaken my pomanders in Orrisroot (available at health food stores) which is a perfume fixative. Live and learn!

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Halloween is just a few weeks away, so it’s time to decorate in a big way with mini pumpkins. Mini pumpkins make adorable jack-o’-lanterns and, not to be discriminating, jill-o’-lanterns. Don’t let their petite size stifle your creativity.

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In lieu of carving, I use black paint pens and draw faces freehand directly onto the pumpkins. I find that paint pens work better than permanent markers, because they provide a deeper black.

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To decorate mini pumpkins, first wash off any surface grime and towel dry. Be sure pumpkins are thoroughly dry before decorating.

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Traditional jack-o’-lanterns have triangular eyes and noses and sawtooth mouths, because these shapes are easily cut with a knife, but with paint pens you can create squiggles and swirls for eyes and circles and ovals for noses and mouths.

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Feel free to copy the faces that I have painted or use any design you like in pumpkin cutting stencil books.

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The skies the limit as to how many different faces you can create on mini pumpkins. Raffia can be used as bows or hair for your jill-o’-lanterns. Curling or wired ribbon can also be used for special touches. I even have versions of Dracula (red cape underneath him) and Frankenstein. For dog lovers, I found a pumpkin with a long stem and used it as the dog’s tail.

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Last year, wanting to bring Fall cheer to my husband’s co-workers, I created these little personalities and put one on each person’s desk. There are no two faces alike in this group!

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Have fun creating petite pumpkins with personality!

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