The mornings are chilly. The vibrant greens of summer have begun to fade into warm yellows. Blazes of orange, burgundy and brown are not far off. With the change of the seasons approaching, and autumn being my favorite time of year, I thought I would share some basic ways you can decorate your home for the season.
— Tin Pails: You can simply fill them up with mums or sunflowers for a simple floral arrangement, or top them off with some apples or pears. Fill the pail with crumpled newspaper, and arrange half a dozen or so of your fruit on top; looks full and inviting without having to have a bunch of fruit at the bottom. You can also turn your pails into punched lanterns. Simply fill them with water and freeze. When the water has frozen completely, rest the pail on it’s side in your lap, resting on a bath towel so it’s easier to hold. Then use an awl or nail with a hammer to punch out your design (which you can mark with a sharpie before freezing if you like). When you’re done punching the design, defrost the ice and illuminate your lantern with a tea light.
— Silhouette Cut-Outs: Black silhouettes can be charming and spooky. You can make them out of black paper, or you can make sturdier, reusable ones from 1/4 inch plywood and black paint (trace your outline onto the plywood, then use a jigsaw to cut out). Interesting images you can do are black cats, rats, crows, owls or bats. They look great perched on top of windows or doors, or “crawling” along the baseboards or stair treads.
– Miniature Pumpkin Lanterns: This is a great way to recycle glass baby food jars. All you need is six jars, translucent orange pain, black paint, heavy-gauge copper wire, 6 eyelet screws, and 6 tealights. First, wash and dry the jars, being sure to remove all traces of the labels. Squirt about a tablespoon of the orange paint into each jar, and swirl it around to coat the inside completely. Pour any excess paint out, and wipe off the rim for a neat edge. Let the paint dry completely. Next, use the black paint to make a jack-o-lantern face on the outside of each jar. Let the paint dry completely. To make jars that hang, loop the copper wire around the outside rim of the jar, twisting it on opposite sides to form small loops for hanging. Cut another length of wire and form it into a bail handle, attaching it the loops on either side of the jar. To hang, install the eyelet screws. If you have deep windowsills, you can easily screw them into the upper sill. Use another length of copper wire to attach the lantern to the eyelet screws. I think it’s pretty if you vary the length of the wire so that the lanterns hang at different heights. Fit each lantern with a tealight, and voila! They would also look quite charming lined up along a mantel or sideboard.
— Miniature Scarecrows: Living in an apartment, I don’t have a spot to put a full-size scarecrow outside. But I still think it’s fun to make them, and this one is reusable. All you need is a pair of toddler jeans, a toddler plaid shirt, some straw (you can buy small bags of it at craft stores or farmer’s markets this time of year), a 3-foot 1-inch diameter wooden dowel, a 2-foot 1-inch diameter wooden dowel, 10 small safety pins, newspaper and some twine. Using some of the twine, attach the shorter dowel to the longer one, forming a cross shape. Bind until secure. To make the scarecrow, pin the shirt to the pants, then stuff with crumpled newspaper. Stuff the straw into the arm and leg holes, and tie in place with lengths of twine. To attach the scarecrow to the dowels, use more twine to tie the arms to the horizontal dowel, and tie the waist the the vertical dowel. Then you can stick your dowel into a potted plant or miniature hay bale so it stands up on it’s own. You can leave it as-is, or you can make a jack-o-lantern head out of small funkin (reuseable pumpkin), or top with a small straw hat (also to be found at craft stores). This project is great for using outgrown kid’s clothes, and if you don’t know any little ones, you can pick them up for cheap at thrift shops.
— Falling Leaves: Nothing says fall more than brightly-colored fall leaves. All you need are a few dozen colored leaves, fishing line, and tacks. Tie each leaf securely to a length of fishing line, then use the tacks to secure in place. You can hang them in your windows, from your bookcases, from hanging light fixtures, or along the wall. Use varying lenths of line so the leaves hang at different heights.