DIY - Fall Pumpkin Vase

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

 I am so excited to share this fall DIY! I started this one last month and I finally put the finishing touches on it last week. This is the perfect project to dress up any Thanksgiving centerpiece, small table in your living room, or just add some fall decor.

You’ve probably seen these all over the internet. Harry and David has one similar and most online florists do as well. And they are pretty pricey! However, mine is a super affordable option that allows for both real and faux flower bouquets! And we get to extend the life of pumpkins in our decor! Speaking of pumpkins, this DIY can be created with a real pumpkin, but you risk it rotting before you actually get to use it. Using the foam craft pumpkins from the craft store allows you to use it season after season! 

Here is what you’re going to need! A faux pumpkin of any size. I used a 9” white pumpkin for this craft, as I felt this size was best for a table and centerpiece. A 6” would work too, but I wouldn’t go any taller than 9”. You want to be able to see the person across the table and the added floral arrangement could obstruct your view. 

For the next step, you will need a glass or round cookie cutter to cut out the top of the pumpkin. I finely traced mine with a pencil. Use an exacto knife to cut out your circle. This opening only needs to be large enough to create your bouquet, but if you decide to use real flowers, you will need it to be large enough to allow for a glass or can to fit inside for the water. 

If you can’t freehand, like myself, you will need a Fall letter stencil. I found mine on Amazon. For the stencil, use stencil paint, a stencil brush, and tape to keep the stencil adhered to the pumpkins surface. When you apply stencil paint, remember to add a small amount to your brush, tab off a little paint on a paper plate or paper towel, and then apply to the stencil in small taps on the pumpkins surface. Don’t brush! 

Now, because I didn’t think the paint wasn’t brilliant enough, I decided to apply fine gold glitter over the paint. However, you need to do this while the paint is still wet, so have some glitter handy in case you decided to do the same.

Let all of this dry before moving on to the next part. I felt like the fall was too blah, so I decided to stencil leaves along the corners. Follow all the stenciling steps above to create your leaf design. Again, I applied fine copper/orange glitter to the paint. Why not! Glitter makes everything more cheerful! 

Once all of the glitter has dried, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge with a paint brush all over the designs. This will allow the glitter to stick permanently to your pumpkin and not fly all over the furniture, floor, you, or anything else it touches! You will thank me for this tip later!

For the floral arrangement, this is all up to you! I wanted all the deep fall colors, especially ones that went with the glitter colors I used. But, you don’t have to limit your bouquet to rusts and golds. Yellows and oranges would be gorgeous. As would plum and mustard yellow. The fall colors are your oyster! I added some faux berries in a pale green to add texture and to break up the colors within the bouquet. You usually see some sort of greenery within a real bouquet and I wanted to mimic that in my faux design. 

To get started on the arrangement, gather your buds and decide how they look in a cluster. Once you decide, it’s time to cut. Obviously, the stems are going to be much taller than the pumpkin. Cut a little off the stem at a time using heavy wire cutters. Place a stem in the vase to see where it measures up, and if it’s still too tall, cut a little more. Don’t cut a lot at a time. Always cut a little, as you can’t add your stem back! 

Here is my finished pumpkin vase! I used a plain white table cloth, brown napkins, and gold tapper candles along the sides of the pumpkin to amp up my centerpiece. And I love that it will last all fall long! What do you think of this DIY? Is it something you think you could replicate? Something you would use for your own Thanksgiving table or somewhere in your home? 

Happy Fall!


Fall Caramel Apples with HoneyBear Apples

Monday, October 26, 2020

 Apples! Nothing screams fall more than apples. I'm working with HoneyBear again to bring you a new dessert just in time for Halloween. Honeybear is a leading grower and developer of premium apple varieties. They are family owned and have been in operation for more than forty years! Honeybear offers a supply of premium apples and pears on a year-round basis. You can find more information about HoneyBear on their website! 

Did you know that Honeycrisps are America's favorite apple? They are excellent for eating fresh, adding to salads, or baking. Or in this case, making the perfect caramel apple! And nothing says fall treats like a sticky caramel apple! But before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a fun new detail that HoneyBear is bringing to snacking. Introducing the "All the Feels" emojis! The Honeycrisp apples (along with Gala's) will now don the All the Feels emoji stickers, in hopes that kids will reach for this healthy snack to see which feelings emoji they can relate to most! Introducing Satisfied, Happy, Hangry (aren't we all), and Tears of Joy! How super cute are these guys? You can find yours at your local Hy-Vee now!

And now for the moment we've all been waiting's time to talk about all things Caramel Apples! With Halloween being right around the corner, and with things looking very different this year regarding Trick or Treating, why not whip up this classic treat for the whole family! What's great about caramel apples, is that you can be a purest and leave them in their natural form, just caramel. Or you can go completely gourmet and add all the toppings you can imagine! I went for the both. Simple and with all the sprinkles. And even though the outside of the apple is covered with ooey goodness, you can feel good that inside is a healthier treat! 

The first thing you need to do is prep your apples. Apples from the grocery store come with a wax coating. You need to remove that coating if you want any caramel to stick to the apple. First off, remove the stem, the emoji stickers (sorry guys), and wash them. Next, place them in a large bowl and cover them with hot to slightly boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Remove the apples and dry them off. Leave them at room temperature. 

Next up, place your stick within the top of the apple. This can be tricky! The core is pretty tough, so I use a skinny screwdriver wrapped in a paper towel to prep the hole. I then press the stick into my "pre-drilled" hole.

Let's get started! Here is what you'll need for the caramel.

Two Sticks or 1 Cup of Butter

1 1/2 Cups of Brown Sugar

1 1/4 Cup of Light Corn Syrup

One 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Vanilla

Add all of your ingredients to your pot, minus the vanilla, making sure your pot is large enough for all the contents to boil and for dipping your apple later on. Bring the beginnings of your caramel mixture to a boil and then add your candy thermometer. And I hate to say it, but you will need a candy thermometer for this. A regular cooking thermometer won't work. Place your thermometer along the side of the pot, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom. That will provide an inaccurate reading. Just make sure it's resting just slightly inside the caramel. Bring the thermometer to between 245 and 250 degrees. This can take up to 20 minutes are so, so be prepared for a bicep cramp!!

(Here's a little tip. Spray your measuring cup with cooking spray before adding your corn syrup. It will pour out of the cup with ease!)

After the caramel has come to a hard boil, and reached 250 degrees, it's time to remove it from the stove. Add your vanilla and stir to combine. 

Now, it's showtime! You must act quickly. The caramel will only harden and set the longer it's off the heat. I make sure to have my prep station setup before hand. You won't regret it.

I place my pot of caramel on a trivet or hot pad, place all of my add-ons to the side of caramel for quick dipping, and a parchment lined tray to the side of that. Now it's time to dip! PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!! I have burned myself on the caramel before and had one of the worst burns I've ever! This stuff is hot!! I think this is definitely an adults only step. Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's dip! 

Submerge your apple in the caramel and swirl until all sides, and as much of the top as you can get, are covered in caramel. Remove and allow the excess to run off. I continue to swirl the apple to coat the whole thing and to help the removal process move along quicker. Once you feel you have all the caramel off, place it on the parchment paper. Continue this process until all apples are coated in the caramel. If you are using sprinkles, or any other add-ons, dunk the apple into the add-on just after the caramel process. Again, act fast. The caramel hardens quickly and the sprinkles may not stick. I had this happen as well, but don't worry, I've got a few tricks to share on how to cover up any "mistakes". 

Don't worry, we will fix that later....

Do the same thing for the plain caramel apples.

Place the apples in the fridge to set. I usually allow at least 30 minutes or more.

If you are happy with your apples, great! Leave them be! If you are like me, and not super pleased with the sprinkle placement, never fear! I used chocolate candy coating for this fix! Candy coating melts come in a wide array of colors and I just happened to have green and purple on hand. To use, melt them in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. You can add shortening or coconut oil to make it smooth and glossy. I've used booth. Once melted, and pourable, it's time to apply. I use a fork for this, but you can also use a toothpick. Just add the candy coating to your fork or toothpick and drizzle. Back and forth. In a zigzag pattern. Whatever works for you. And turn the apple while doing so. Once you have the amount of candy coating you want, add the sprinkles! And voila! You have the most darling caramel apple with sprinkles! 

How about them apples? The sprinkles add such personality, a lot like Satisfied, Happy, Hangry, and Tears of Joy! And the simplest form, well, it's just pretty. Glossy! And like my mom said, they look good enough to eat. 

How do you like your apples?


P.S. This was a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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