I have nothing

So I’ve been writing a lot lately, working on my novel that I’ve picked at on and off for a couple years.

I finally decided it was time to get serious and finish the damn thing, but this means my head is in book and I have literally nothing dirt or art related to show you. Unless you count the research I did today on karst topography. I guess that’s sort of dirt/landscapy? But I’m not ready to talk about the book yet. Closer to publishing time, perhaps.

So here’s a picture of my kid. Taking stitches out of a goat.

You’re welcome.

It will surely warm up soon and I’ll have more to say on a garden and yard related front. Until then…


Is it trees yet?

I’m attempting to root some of our fruit trees. If successful, I’ve got video of how I did it and I’ll write an article, start to finish.

If it fails, I had wet, dirty sticks rotting in my living room for a month and here’s a picture.


I Don’t Have Blood Cancer

What a drag it is getting old...
-Rolling Stones Mother's Little Helper

I’ve had persistent tonsilitis for a couple years now which is probably going to mean a trip to an ENT before long to get them removed.

I’m hoping this is the reason for my persistent high white count, inner ear pain and the unbelievable exhaustion I’ve been experiencing for the past several months.

My doctor had other ideas this week though. I got a message from the nurse that said, “Now this test we’re going to order is going to come across as a little scary, but it’s how it’s in the system, so don’t freak out.”

I look at the test. They’re checking to see if I have leukemia.

I went and got the test that day. I didn’t want to put it off. I spent the next two days pouring over all my labs for the last several years and reading website after website of symptoms, disease process, etc.

There were a lot of tears and a lot of not sleeping and a lot of waiting on pins and needles for the results to come back. If you’ve ever been sick, like really, really sick… or been around people that are really, really sick- then you know, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.

The curse of having a medical background is that you’ve seen the worst case scenarios for years. I took care of a lot of really, really sick people as a nurse. I watched plenty of them go through cancer and chemotherapy. I’ve had friends that fought through/ are fighting cancer, I’ve lost a parent and two grandparents to cancer- one of those, my Grandpa Keith’s second wife, JoAnn, was to leukemia.

I could fall off a ladder in the orchard, snap my neck and be finished. I drive I-44 at least several times a month with people I swear are qualifying for the Indy 500 while staring at their cell phones. I know there are no guarantees of tomorrow. I also know from losing people that there’s never enough time. Ever.

Still, somehow the idea of leukemia was worse than death by distracted driver or landing on my head while trimming trees. It was all too easy to imagine my slow decline over a handful of years that I’d be too sick to really enjoy, yet desperate to cling to every last minute. I saw that average life expectancy after diagnosis was about 5 years and calculated that at least my daughter would be out of high school.

That is my greatest fear/sadness of being sick or dying… what it will do to my baby. I’ve raised her to be strong, to hold her own, to be independent. Yet I know that no matter how capable or in control you feel, sometimes you just want your Mom. The idea of not being there for her if she wants or needs me… that’s what hurts the worst.

The doctor messaged me yesterday and said that the tests were all negative. She put me on a strong antibiotic for the tonsil. I’m hoping that’s the end of it. The stress of this week was a serious reminder though that I need to not put things off. I need to figure out how to go do those things I’ve always wanted to do or learn the stuff I wanted to learn. I also need to make every minute with my loved ones count.

I also need to stop chasing people and ghosts too. I’ve poured far to much time and energy into things and people that did not give back. If it doesn’t make me happy, I’m not doing it anymore. If I’m not your priority, you’re no longer mine. The time I have left is too precious to waste.

I know some of you are wondering, isn’t this an art and gardening site? Why does she keep writing about personal stuff? Sometimes ya’ll get art. Sometimes you get plants. Sometimes you just get what’s in my head at the moment. Yeah, I’m sorry for that. LOL. At least I’m not sharing what’s in there EVERY moment, now THAT probably would be something to really apologize for.


Ps. Laundry and dishes do NOT make me happy, but clean clothes and having silverware does, so on that I must compromise. 😉

Oregano Oil

I’ve started infusing some almond oil with oregano. This jar just sits on my kitchen counter for several weeks, I occasionally walk by and shake it up, then let it sit again. Not sure what I’m going to make with it when it’s finished. I just wanted an oregano infusion to play with.

I’ve been taking oregano supplements on and off for years. Like any herbal, I have to throw a word of caution out there- you CAN overdose on oregano, just as you could a medication from your pharmacist. Plant medicine IS medicine, so if you’re going to treat conditions at home with herbals, know what you’re taking, how much and recommended safe doses. More is not necessarily better. Herbals are not miracles either, some of them take time to build up a level in your system to work optimally. What I love about my herbal medicines is that many of them lack the nasty side effects that I often get with prescription meds. If there is a side effect listed on a drug, it seems I will have it. I’m one of those people that will go into a 16 hour coma from taking two Percocet and thanks to having Hashimoto’s, I metabolize drugs VERY slowly, so they often hang in my system much longer than I’d like.
That being said, I still work with my doctor to find appropriate treatments and if a prescription is called for, I get a prescription. Modern medicine is around for a reason and it’s not just entirely for profit (although I’ll agree there is plenty of profiting from people’s medical misery). If I need an antibiotic, I get the antibiotic. But I might also supplement that antibiotic with extra zinc, maybe some bone broth and some mullein if my lungs are suffering. A woman in 2013 let her son die because he had strep (which is VERY treatable by modern medicine) and she refused to take him to the doctor- instead opting to keep him in bed for 10 days while she gave him only dandelion tea and oregano oil.

So if you’re going to use herbal remedies, a little common sense goes a long way. You need to know when your condition might benefit from herbals as an adjunct to medication or if it’s treatable by natural methods alone. Do some research, get your herbal remedies from reputable sources, don’t expect them to be a magic bullet and remember that herbal medicine is medicine and comes with it’s dangers and limitations.

I am not making an ingestible oil, otherwise I would have used a different base than sweet almond. I will likely be using this is some type of salve preparation. Oral use, they recommend only 2-3 drops a day which works out to about 50-80 milligrams a dose.

Although- your skin is very good at absorbing chemicals, herbals, medications, etc. that you put on it (this is why I’m careful about what I spray on or put on my skin!) I was having issues with my Vitamin D in winter, even while taking an oral supplement. I started using a skin cream about 6 months ago that had Vitamin D in it- my last lab came back in the normal range for the first time in years. I spend enough time outside in the sun in summer, it’s not usually an issue.

By the way, Vitamin D is fat soluble (as are A, E and K), which means that your body stores it in fat cells instead of the excess being excreted through your kidneys. It’s one of those supplements you need to be careful with, since it can build up to toxic levels in your body. I get a blood test every 6 months to monitor my level. Oregano oil should not be used by people that are on prescription blood thinners like Coumadin, as it can lower your clotting ability over time. You shouldn’t take it several weeks before having surgery either, for the same reason.

Ok, so all the scary warnings are out of the way. Is it weird that I lead with that? I feel like people on social media are a bit too casual with their use of herbal medicine. I wonder if part of that comes from some medical professional’s denial that there is any benefit at all to taking supplements like oregano or certain vitamins/minerals. I’ve had several doctors that absolutely bristled at the mention of my taking herbals and/or supplements. My current doctor is thankfully on board and even recommends them when appropriate. I once had a nurse look at my list of herbals and say, “And what is it you THINK these do?”

All I can tell the naysayers is that plant medicine was around long before you could go to your local pharmacy and pick up a bottle of aspirin. In fact, that bottle of aspirin… which is salicylic acid… is also present in willow bark.

My first use of oral oregano oil was to treat a recurring stomach ulcer. I’d been on prescription medications that helped for a while and then had nasty side effects. I ate Tums like candy, I tried over the counter meds like Zantac and Pepcid. They’d help to abate the symptoms for a bit, but it would always come back. I did some research and found out that often stomach ulcers are caused by the bacteria H Pylori, which can damage the lining of the small intestine and stomach, resulting in an ulcer. Oregano oil will kill H Pylori bacteria. In fact, it was found in recent studies to be potent enough to destroy MRSA (Methicillin resistant staphylococcus) when used topically on wounds. I took Oregano Oil, Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow (the herb, not the things you make Smores with) for about 2 weeks. No more ulcer. No more gut pain, no more swollen, gassy stomach. It went away and has stayed away for months. If I start to feel like I’m having a lot of indigestion, I use those herbs again for about a week and it goes away.

Oregano is pretty easy to grow (it’s in the mint family) and to work into your diet, especially if you’re a fan of Spanish, Greek or Italian food. Some of the science backed health benefits include: rich in antioxidants which fight free radicals in your body (those nasty little things that cause things like aging skin and cancer), they are doing studies now regarding it’s potential benefit in fighting certain existing cancers.

It is antiviral, antibacterial and kills fungus. It is an anti-inflammatory. It may help to protect kidneys from calcium oxalate crystal formation. It is rich in magnesium (many people are magnesium deficient). It may help to lower LDL cholesterol, calm irritable bowel syndrome and digestive discomfort because of it’s high levels of carvacrol. It is also being studied for it’s use in heart health to lower blood pressure and keep calcium from forming plaques in the arteries and as a blood sugar regulator.

As a skin treatment it can kill all kinds of yeast, it is highly effective at repelling mosquitos and can kill bacteria as well or better than Neosporin. It’s anti-inflammatory properties might make it useful for localized surface swelling from arthritis (like in hands or feet, knees). It may be especially useful for those with cystic type acne, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, rosacea and varicose veins. My interest in the topical oil is for rosacea and localized swelling between the knuckle joints on my hands. I’ll likely test it out for a bit first before making it available on the Etsy shop so I can give my personal experience with it.

That’s all I have for today. Later gator! –=<


Surviving Christmas

I got really depressed over Christmas this year. 

I went to fill stockings on Christmas Eve, which now hang on hooks in front of the ‘stein cabinet’ because we no longer have a fireplace. As I was pulling the stockings off, I started noticing the photographs in the cabinet: my Grandpa Keith,  who used to call every Christmas from Oklahoma City, when long distance calls were still something really special. Tom’s dad, Wayne who never got to meet Ely, but would have adored her. Tom’s grandparents, my Great Grandma…

I used to have a huge family.  I have Christmas photos where there are 4-5 generations in a single picture. My Grandma’s house at Christmas was packed with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, significant others, friends. We’d barely fit in the house without tripping over each other. My grandma would cook for days.

This year, I got a card from one brother, the other sent my daughter a card and some cash. I got a text from my sister.  That’s it. My world of family and friends has gone from a stuffed-house-full to the three of us and the dogs. 

Which I’m ok with. Really I am. I love that it’s quiet,  that I can sit around all day in sweats and slippers, that I can be with my favorite two people in the world without drama or distraction and enjoy my holiday.

Still, there’s that photo.  My grandpa smiling at me from inside the stein cabinet… I can hear his voice on the phone,  feel his legendary laugh. It breaks something inside when I think about how we looked forward to those Christmas phone calls,  that it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve had one… that I’ll never have one again. 

Usually I can smile,  appreciate the bittersweet memory and move on.  This year,  I couldn’t get past it. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been sick for a week and my resilience was down I saw that picture and just spiraled. I missed him horribly.  I couldn’t deal with the old movies this year,  they were a stark reminder of watching them with Mom.

My cousins, I haven’t seen since we were kids. Only one I have on Facebook, the rest I have no idea where they are or who they are anymore. Of my aunts and uncles, the last time I saw them in person was at a funeral.

I didn’t even send out Christmas cards. It was just depressing how few people I had to send them to. I wondered how many of those actually noticed or cared.  I tried telling myself that we have SO much and I should be over the moon happy instead of mourning what’s missing.

But everything was just hard this year.  It didn’t matter what pep talks or admonition I gave myself,  it didn’t change that or snap me out of it.

So today I decided enough was enough.  It was time to kick some dirt over that shit and move on. I packed up the holiday and put it away.

You know what? I feel better. 

The house is cleaner, it’s less cluttered and so is my heart.

I remembered whole cleaning that several years ago, I made a vow to myself to stop chasing after people. If I was not a priority in their life, I didn’t go running after old memories or relationships that were one-sided. I let them go and focused on the people that I was important to.

I realized this Christmas that I’d basically been doing the opposite of that. I was chasing after ghosts, mourning what was lost instead of celebrating all the amazing things I have. I’m thinking I’ll have a better New Year’s. Next Christmas I’ll go read this post if I start to spiral and remind myself that it’s ok to miss those that are gone… but it’s not ok to go lie down and die along with them.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or at least survived as well and that you have a hopeful (and healthy!) New year.


Hey Gen-X!

So I recently ran out of shampoo and had to grab what was available in the grocery store beauty isle- where I found this.

Now I haven’t used this stuff since the 90s, but I remember it well, it was new in the late 80s, early 90’s, was very popular and looked like this then.  Also it did not have that hideous M-word on the bottle ( no, I’m not referring to ‘Miracle’ or ‘Mega’)

My then roommate argued that it smelled like grape. I said no, it smells like strawberry. So 30+ years have now passed and I finally found out what this really smells like! (Thank you Google). I was at least 1/3 right; it does have strawberry scent in it. But it’s also pomegranate and musk.

So that’s why we could both tell it smelled fruity, but not exactly what sort of fruit. (BTW, roommate was 100% wrong. There is no grape.)

All this scent memory lane also got me thinking about these:

If you were a teenager in the late 80’s/90’s,  chances are you smelled like one of the above.  If you were a preppy guy who went to Camdenton in the classes of 89-92, you freaking bathed in Drakkar. The smell of that stuff is still strangling to me to this day.  I was relieved when Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin’s Obsession replaced Drakkar in popularity.

Anyway… I know all of this has absolutely nothing at all to do with crafts, painting, gardening,  etc. But sometimes you find yourself tripping down memory lane and have to share.

Speaking of memory lane- we all signed up to play World of Warcraft again last night. It was odd to log into Arygos after years and see old friends online. So Jora’s back! Or at least wandering aimlessly trying to get her bearings. Lol

Thank you for indulging my random nostalgia.



I haven’t done much since Halloween that I’ve deemed post-worthy- a bit of sewing and learned some really basic macrame knots.

I’m not writing a tutorial on this, there are some very good ones on both YouTube and TikTok if you’re looking. For these I learned to do a spiral square knot and a four strand braid.

The horse shoe was a gift from my daughter’s riding instructor. I picked up the cotton cord and wood rings on Amazon. The beads I had leftover from 4-H crafts.

Two rolls of cord got me 5 plant hangers, I used the trimmings and leftovers to make the horse shoe.

Not selling these right now, just wanted to share. I’m probably starting a new painting soon.


Grim build

In my previous post, I talked about the paper maché pumpkins that will be a part of this build. Let me start by saying that the idea for this build came from Pinterest. The site the pin linked to is Grim Hollow Haunt

I’m following most of his instructions with a few exceptions. I didn’t use pre-made pumpkins for my build, I’m did mine entirely from paper maché. I feel like I covered those pretty well in the previous post, so I’ll skip to the steps that make the grim different from the little guys and what’s different from my inspiration.


Done entirely of paper maché, homemade paper maché clay and acrylic paint. I built this by wrapping an actual pumpkin from the grocery store. The reinforced eyes and mouth were done with strips of cardboard glued in place and a few toothpicks.

I used paper mache clay to amp up the lines and create the eyebrows/forehead scowl. The waxy drips were just hotglue that I painted over.

I coated the entire head in gloss black, let that dry (mostly) and then went over it in a couple shades of orange. I wanted the black underpaint to show through, so I used a fairly dry brush and went over the steaks with a completely dry brush. (You can see this in the video below.) After the orange dried, I detailed the stem and drips around the eyes.

Painting Grim’s head

We’ll be working on the framework for the body this weekend. I’ll add to this post when that part is finished.



We had our party this weekend and the kids seemed to love the Grim. Not sure they loved him more than the fog machine I had set up in our fake graveyard, but ah well…

I promised to finish telling you how I did all this, so here it is.
My husband Tom helped me with building the frame of the Grim because I have arthritis AND I’m only 5’5. He’s 6’0 and if you look at the pictures of him standing next to it, it’s somewhere around 7′ or so, which means I need a stepladder to reach past it’s hips.

Most of the frame is built from 1×2’s and 1×3’s which means it’s very light for lumber, but also fragile and not especially stable. We changed up the build a bit from the Pin I was working off of, which helped some, but he still lost an arm during a storm the following evening that had to be put back on once he was moved to the barn. I managed to knock the other off as well while moving him.

Betty Cat decided she wanted to help with the build. 🙂

I can’t tell ya’ll how glad I am to be on here right now instead of TikTok. I had NO freaking idea how incredibly awful it would be to listen to myself talk for 6 minutes about this stuff. I’m so bad at it. Give me the keyboard any day. I can’t freaking backspace when I’m talking and it’s incredibly annoying.

I found this wad of green bailing twine lying on the floor of the tractor barn and decided it might be just the thing for tying up the joints of the Grim. It also looked kind of cool hanging down, like he’d ripped himself loose from the garden or something. This firmed up the joints enough I was confident that the arms would stay on well enough to let me do the next part.

I used two kinds of Saran Wrap on this build. The regular see-through kind and the opaque kind that will stick to damn near anything it comes into contact with. Normal Saran Wrap doesn’t hold in cold very well either, but the Press and Seal stuff is crazy sticky and will hold to itself even if it freezes. I used the expandable foam that you get at the hardware store for sealing up gaps and cracks in your house. It also sticks to raw wood pretty well unless you pick it off. The foam was used to make “vines” all over his body, to form the feet, fill the gaps between boards and create knobby joints. It expands as it dries, so it gets into all the tiny splits in the wood that we made while screwing it together. (Even pre-drilling, 1x lumber is delicate)

The ribs are garden stakes that I jammed through the foam in his spine, then bent to curl in like a ribcage. I wrapped them in Saran Wrap and a bit of twisted foil to give them a bit more girth. I then wrapped the entire Grim in clear Saran Wrap, from his neck to his ankles.

Using the heat gun on the clear Saran Wrap shrinks it down against the foam and wood, puts a few holes in in it here and there and wrinkles it up so it looks like aged, desiccated skin. I thought this was a really cool effect. The opaque sealing wrap does not behave this way though, it only shrinks up and contorts or melts. I used a combination of both on the Grim’s hands since I wanted some of it to shrink and form to the fingers and some of it just to add bulk.

I made fingers from twisted foil first, then used the sticky opaque wrap to go between and down each finger, wrapping the remainder above them to form a palm for the hand. After I had the sticky wrap on, the fingers were stiff enough to be posable. I left what looked like a creepy hot mess overnight and came back to paint it the next day.

I used a combination of black, brown and green over the entire body, keeping the green mostly over the places where the foam stood out so that it would look like winding vines on the skin. Covering all the foam and wrap really made him look like something more realistic.

Here’s the final build, with the head on, his little Jack O’ Lantern captives over his arm and a few dead vines from our garden to drape over the rib cage.

My daughter added some red glow sticks to his head before the party and a white tea light in each Jack O’ Lantern so he’d glow after dark.

And that’s it! My first monster build. We’re already talking about what we may create next year.
Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!


Paper Maché Pumpkins

I’m working on a few paper maché projects for a 4-H Halloween party we’re having. I’ve also started a Tik Tok account to share my art with a new audience. 

Holy hell ya’ll. I never imagined speaking for 2 minutes coherently would be such a struggle. I write MUCH better than I speak. On video I sound like a complete freaking Goober. I’m going to do them anyway,  but fair warning,  do NOT expect miracles. LOL

I spent several hours driving in circles in Downtown St Louis last week (by choice, I wasn’t lost) while Tom and the kiddo went to see the Cardinals. They won 2 tickets, mom played chauffer, which meant I had lots of time to cruise around, people watch and think.

I’ve decided I need to step up my art game. I need to share more stuff, try more things,  look for places to get new ideas. I also need to ride that monster Ferris Wheel at Union Station sometime,  but that’s beside the point. Now that they’re relaxing some of the Covid restrictions, we might be able to go up there and see things again.

This week, I’m doing a bit of writing and building paper maché things for our party. I just completed 3 small Jack o’ lanterns that I’ll share with you- they are part of a larger build I’ll post later.

This video, I didn’t talk in, so no sounding like Pennywise doing a bad impression of Stuttering Bill.

Here’s how I made those paper maché pumpkins:

STUFF I USED– Glad Press N Seal Wrap, painter’s tape (masking tape works too), string or yarn, small bowl for holding watery glue, newspaper, magazines, etc to tear into strips, white glue (like Elmer’s school glue). Acrylic paint.
If doing texture, you will also need cheap toilet paper (maybe use some of the 2020 stash you tossed in the back of the cabinet when Charmin came back in stock), Premixed joint compound (not DAP brand), more white glue and flour to make the paper maché clay.

1) Wrap a halfway solid object.

I have a weighted handball that I use for therapy. It’s bigger than a softball, but not as big as a grapefruit. I covered this entirely in wax paper and tape, then wrapped that with Glad Press and Seal saran wrap. After I had several layers,  I cut a split and removed the ball. I forgot to take pictures of this part. Sorry!

2) Stuff it.
I restuffed the Saran Wrap ball with plastic grocery bags and taped up my cut. I then used yarn to tie around the ball. I left the tops of the yarn until the end. Tie your yarn like you would secure a package. Slip under the ball, bring the ends over the top,  tighten down. The more you tighten the yarn, the deeper the lines on your pumpkin will be.

Turn the ball and tie again at least twice more, then twist the top leftover string and trim off to about a 1/2 inch.  This will be your stem.  I wrapped tape around the string ends to secure them to each other and thicken the stem up a bit.

3) Paper maché

For the paper strips,  I use what I have.  I get a ridiculous amount of plant and clothing catalogs,  so I used a lot of those.  Tear or cut your strips (if you have issues with jagged edges)  into manageable pieces.

I use plain white Dick Blick school glue (like the white Elmer’s) thinned with water for paste.  I don’t like the idea of the old fashioned flour paste,  since it can mould. How thick or thin you want it is kind of personal preference, my solution was about 2 parts glue 1 part water.

Drag your strips through the glue,  then gently through your fingers.  You don’t want it dripping,  but coated enough to stick to itself. Use a very light touch or you’ll tear the paper.

I alternate the direction of my strips to prevent gaps and help with strength. I went all the way around vertical, then horizontal, the next layer vertical angled right and so on. I found it easier to do a couple layers, let that dry overnight and add 2-3 more. You want to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. 

4) Let it dry and cut faces.

You want your paper very stiff with no give before cutting. If it gives or you have weak spots, repeat layers and let dry again until it feels strong. It can pull apart or collapse if you skimp on layers or dry time.

I cut the faces of my Jack O Lanterns with an exacto knife, then I cut the bottom out of each pumpkin and removed all the stuffing, wax paper, Saran Wrap, tape and string. The Press N Seal took a little effort to remove, as it wants to stick to EVERYTHING including itself.

At this point, you should be left with pumpkins that are nothing but paper and look like this:

That larger pumpkin in the back is the head for the other part of the project I’m working on.

5) Texture. (This step is optional)

At this point, you can start painting if you like. I added another layer of detail here to give my finished pumpkins a bumpy appearance and beef up the vertical lines on them. If you’re going to do the texture step, I would paint the entire pumpkin with a primer coat first and let it dry, so that the texture doesn’t make your paper shell wet and heavy, causing it to lose shape. Also, the texture will require a minimum of 24 hours dry time, depending on how thick you put it on, but in my opinion was absolutely worth it- it added a lot of character they would have been missing otherwise.

So for texture, here’s your recipe:

They call this paper maché clay, but I found the texture of it be less like clay and more like slightly congealed oatmeal… which is is as gross at it sounds to stick your hands in. I wore medical gloves. Google paper maché clay if you’d like to experiment with other recipes. I modified this lady’s recipe, she makes some really cool masks with it.


-1 1/4 cups wet toilet paper (They recommended putting it through a food processor. I just used a kitchen wisk to break it up into tiny mush in water.)

-1 cup premixed drywall joint compound (Don’t use DAP brand, it has something in it that will prevent the clay from setting properly)

-3/4 cup Elmer’s Glue

Her recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 cup of white flour and 2 Tablespoons of mineral oil. I skipped both of these, which may be why my consistency wasn’t as smooth and was more like oatmeal that clay. For these pumpkins though, my version worked great and I don’t have to worry about the flour/mildew/mold issue. I’m allergic to mold, so the flour formulas are a big deal breaker for me.

I will also confess that I didn’t actually measure my ingredients, I just dumped the stuff in a bowl- pretty much the way I cook too (this drives my husband nuts. he likes precise, linear steps to follow)

I didn’t get a great picture of this on the little pumpkins, but I took some of the larger one, so you can see the detail.

Like I said, play with your recipe. If you want these texture details smooth, I think adding more joint compound might do the trick- even make it so you can sand it with a drywall sanding block.

If you’re going to add much detail around the facial feature openings, you might reinforce them first with cardboard and hot glue to keep them from becoming mis-shapen.

I just stuck a bit of the ‘clay’ (oatmeal) where I wanted it, then smoothed it into lines or shapes with my fingers, a scrap of cardboard, Q-Tips, whatever worked. When it’s completely hardened, it will be bonded with the maché strips and will feel stiff and solid. At this point, it’s ready for paint.

6) Make it pretty.

I kept my painting pretty simple, since these are going to be outside, in the dark and you won’t be seeing a lot of detail on them. I used a white acrylic primer coat inside and out, followed by 3 different shades of orange on the outside, then painted the stems a grey with a touch of brown mixed in.

I cut some some small circles for the bottom, painted white on one side, and curved the edges slightly to get them inside the bottoms of the pumpkins, then hot glued them to cover the hole in the bottom and painted the outside of that orange as well. You could leave the bottom open if it’s going to be displayed sitting on a surface. It would certainly make it easier to get the lights in them, as I had to shove mine through the mouth, taking care not to damage their faces.

7) Light it up

I used electronic tea lights inside mine to make them flicker and look like a candle. Any small LED light or even a glow stick would work. Obviously you don’t want to stick a real candle in these with a flame, unless for some reason you want them to burn.

Here are my little guys all finished.

I’ll try and get another post on here of the Grim (and how these look added to that build) so you can see the whole thing once it’s put together. The Grim is hopefully going to be about 8 ft. tall and carrying these small pumpkins in one hand. They will be lit as will the Grim’s head.

Don’t ask me where I’m going to store all this stuff after the party. LOL

If you want to hear me be awkward on video, you can check out my Instagram or TikTok accounts. 🙂
Or if you’re an ‘old person’ (as my daughter calls us) and still use Facebook, I’m there too.



I just finished a new painting, which is going to be another in a series- kind of like I did with the native wildflowers on the gourds. These are actually on canvas, instead of a strangely shaped object, so I can make prints available as they are finished. I’m not yet ready to sell the originals yet, but maybe later.
I have to be careful how I present these, so as not to get sued for copyright stuff. So I can’t share with you any lyrics or song titles. So… I’ll just let the art speak for itself.

If you’re a southern rock fan, you should be able to hear the lyrics just looking at this painting. 🙂

This was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager, go out and drive all night (buying gas didn’t require taking out a second mortgage then), listening to music and look for a road with a particular number of bridges on it. I found one that almost fit the bill, down in Devil’s Elbow once. It lacked the Spanish moss in the trees, but it did have a fair amount of Virginia Creeper growing over everything, so almost the same ethereal feel. It also didn’t have the right number of bridges.

I looked up the actual inspiration behind this and there are claims that it is Woodley Road in Montgomery Alabama, although some debate the validity. Wherever it is, it’s always reminded me of warm summer nights, driving with the windows down, the scent of honeysuckle, water and deep green everywhere. Moonlight, stars and Spanish moss in trees. Fireflies and whippoorwills. It always made me yearn to break away, get out on the open road, explore and be in touch with earth and nature. I wanted to put that road on repeat and just drive it forever. I’m in Missouri, but I believe I’m a southern girl at heart. If I ever leave this farm, I swear it will be for a cabin on stilts out in the bayou somewhere. Maybe I’d sell my truck and buy a fan boat.

Anyway, here’s the painting. I have prints available on Fine Art America. They put it on everything from posters and blankets to t-shirts and bags. The next one I’m working on has a bullfrog in it. And maybe some grapes… 🙂