Acrylic Pumpkin Canvas Painting Tutorial

 

Here’s a fairly simple pumpkin painting tutorial.  Last year I had a few friends over and we had a little painting party using this method.  When I searched the internet for a pumpkin painting tutorial I ran across this from youtube. Thank you, Wild Beasts Productions!  I modified it for our own use and here’s my version:

Pumpkin Painting Tutorial

You will need the following acrylic craft paints:

  • Pumpkin orange
  • Background color of your choice (I used cobalt blue)
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Black
  • Barn Red
  • Green
  • Canvas or canvas board, this is 11 x 14.

I like to use paper plates for mixing colors.  It’s a good idea to have several brushes on hand for different parts of the painting.  Also, cover your work area, protect your clothing, and have some paper towels and a cup of water handy.

Hint:  When you blend a color leave some extra for touch-ups.

Here’s the basic shape sketched out on canvas board:

pumpkin pencil sketch

Paint background color of your choice, leaving pumpkin, leaves, and vine white; this may take a couple of coats.

Paint pumpkin body orange. Follow the direction of the curves if possible.  You will probably need two coats.  A sponge brush might make this go faster.

pumpkin paint tutorial

 

Mix yellow, some orange and a little white to get a lighter yellow-orange and paint tops and edges of the pumpkin ribs, blending in as needed.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Mix barn red and some orange to get a maroon color and paint the bottom part of pumpkin to indicate shadows. Also the dark part of ribs (use fine brush here). Blend as needed.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Mix yellow, white and some orange to make a very light yellow-orange and apply to edges of ribs and top. Blend as needed.  Streaks are ok, they look impressionistic and “arty”. Like Van Gough.

pumpkin paint tutorial

 

On a new plate since you are probably out of room on the old one: for stem, some brown paint mixed with a drop of green.  Paint stem and vines.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Take some white and equal part brown. Mix and do some highlights along the stem.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Take some of the last light brown you just made and add more white. Do smaller highlights along the stem.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Paint leaves green; if you got orange paint where the leaf is, paint the area white first and let dry.  You can mix a little white with the green for better coverage.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Mix a very dark green (add a little brown or maroon to the green you have) and widely trace the left side of each leaf.

Use the last color mixed and add a little black to make it very dark, then lightly trace the left side of the leaves or wherever you think they would be in shadow.

Use a little bit of yellow and highlight the curve of leaves, and use a very fine brush to run a line down the middle for veins.

pumpkin paint tutorial

Step by step photos:

pumpkin painting tutorial from houseofingrams.com

Here are some of my friends’ results:

 

 

I hope you have fun with this tutorial!

Pumpkin Canvas Painting Tutorial from HouseofIngrams.com

New Color for the Dining Room

Our house was built in 1983.  The very first thing we did after we closed on it back in 2004 was rip out the old brown cut pile carpet in the living and dining rooms (yes, carpet in the dining room, it’s an eighties thing).  The second thing we did was take out the strange little pony wall with spindles that was supposed to divide the front door from the living room.  Third, I removed the wallpaper in the dining room (meanwhile husband took out the weird tile in the entry and accidentally broke through to the crawlspace beneath the house, but that’s another story.) I trashed the drywall in the process and we had to texture it.  

And so it was painted boring ecru for a while until I decided I really liked a country French/ Tuscan vibe and painted it “Butternut Squash” (okay, it’s actually safety yellow)…and I liked it until about four years ago.  Then I wanted robin’s egg blue, but how, oh how, to choose. the. perfect. one?  This dilemma went on and on…

Younger son’s birthday a while back…note the safety yellow walls

 Various life type things happened over the years, and finally this past April it looked like I would have the time and inclination to paint that darned room. Really I could hardly stand to see it anymore, which is bad because I am in this room constantly and I have to see it from the kitchen and living room!

 I finally picked a color.  There is lots of excellent advice on the internet about choosing the perfect paint color.  I don’t have much to add.  I hung little paint chips on the wall, popped for a sample sized can of what I thought I wanted and slapped a big 2 x 2 swatch on a couple of the walls.  I didn’t hate it so I bought a gallon and got it done in one 24 hour period, thanks to my wonderful husband moving furniture for me.  I am really happy with the color, and the Clark and Kensington paint went on well and covered nicely.  Two coats and it’s like a new room.  So much better!  And it only took me four years.  

Harbor Lane Paint sample from Clark + Kensington
Harbor Lane Paint sample from Clark + Kensington
Older son’s birthday this year, look, blue walls!
Blue Dining Room
So much better!

The takeaway?  Just go paint the wall already!  Paint is fairly cheap and many stores will even give you a do-over color.  I felt so much better once the yellow was gone.  Is the blue I painted on trendy?  I don’t care, I just love it.  Do what you like and what makes you happy!

 

 

 

 

Colonial Williamsburg in December

Last December, as our Christmas present to each other, my husband and I took a weekend trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  We stayed at the Parkside Williamsburg Resort, which is just a few miles from downtown Williamsburg.  We had visited in April 2009, and I had always wanted to see it again during the holidays.  CW has many events, programs, and activities every day of the week, so you have to plan ahead and choose what you want to do.  Their website www.colonialwilliamsburg.com has a detailed calendar and a printable PDF of the weekly events.  After checking out the schedule, we decided that we could see what we wanted to on one very long Saturday.  HOWEVER, if you go and have time, you could easily fill three or four days seeing and attending all that is available.  I had to prioritize for this visit.

A big tree in the “snow” room at Yankee Candle

On Friday afternoon we drove down from Richmond and decided to hit the massive and amazing Yankee Candle store in Williamsburg.  It was surprisingly not very crowded, which made it even better.  This store is huge, with every Yankee candle scent they make available to sniff and purchase.  They also have Christmas decorations galore.  There are Christmas villages on display, a room with permanent Christmas trees where it snows every few minutes, gifts of all kinds, and in December kids can visit Santa! If you visit, give yourself lots of time to browse all the goodies.  Our tip:  if you find something there you think you want, don’t wait until Sunday morning before you are heading out of town to drop in and pick it up…that’s when the entire population of Williamsburg brings their kids to see Santa (and buy tons of candles).  The lines get long, but the staff is super efficient and they keep it moving well.

Look, it’s the Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!

A pleasant surprise was Rick’s Cheese Steak on Prince George Street.  It isn’t fancy, but the cheesesteaks were way better than what we had in Philly.  Sorry, Philly!

Next morning we were up bright and early to get breakfast at Colonial Pancake House.  We enjoyed our meal then headed to Historic Colonial Williamsburg.  You can walk from the Visitor’s Center over to the Historic Area, or you can take a shuttle bus.  We opted to walk.  Happily, the weather was fabulous for early December.  It was cold but sunny, and there wasn’t much wind.  Our plan was to walk around and look at some of the historic houses, catch a couple of programs, make absolutely sure we got lunch at the King’s Arms Tavern, pop in to a few more buildings and programs, take the decorations walking tour in the afternoon, tour the Governer’s Palace late in the day, watch the Illumination on the Palace Green, and finish up with another Christmas themed walking tour.

We attended the Rare Breeds program, where they explain about the heritage animals they keep and their breeding programs.

We did make it to lunch at the Kings’ Arms, which is a “refined chophouse” with authentic period decor but a menu that has been adapted to 21st-century tastes, and we knew exactly what to order.  Norfolk Pottage Pye:  “Tender Chicken and aromatic Vegetables made into a creamy Stew and baked beneath a flaky Pastry Shell”, which is a lovely way to describe the very best chicken pot pie ever.  I had this when we visited in 2009 and had to get it again.  It might sound like we came all the way back just for a chicken pot pie.  Well, maybe.  It is really good.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture!

The Christmas Decorations Walking Tour was fun and very informative.  All the decorations are fabricated with natural elements or things that would have been available to the residents of Colonial Williamsburg.  Of course, during that time period, no one in their right mind would stick a bunch of apples and pineapples out on the front of their house to look pretty, or indeed even spend time and effort decorating outdoors for Christmas, but times have changed and it sure does look good!  The wreaths are intricate and cleverly designed to reflect the occupation of the building’s owner; for instance, a tavern might include pewter tankards in their decorations.

All the fruit is real and is frequently replaced as it starts to look bad.  There is a dedicated little group of people who go around checking all the decorations and refreshing them so they always look picture perfect.

After this bracing and fun tour, we felt like warming up, as the wind had picked up a bit and it was pretty cold.  We were able to attend the tasting at R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse.  This is a restored building that was once a social hub for all kinds of meetings.  You have a choice between coffee and chocolate–prepared in a more or less historically accurate way.  We opted for chocolate.  This is not “hot cocoa” from a packet.  It is very thick and not very sweet.  They have cream and sugar on the tables and I added both to make it really yummy.  It’s like drinking a candy bar from a tiny cup.

Our next stop was the Governor’s Palace, where we opted to go on our own instead of on a guided tour.  The sun set while we were inside, and they have a few candles lit but it is REALLY dark in there.  I was gawking up at the hundreds of muskets on the wall in the stairwell, missed a step, and pulled a muscle in my calf.  Oh. My. Word.  Had to sit down for a little bit, but there was more to see and we were leaving the next day.  So I limped slowly through the rest of our visit, even though my sweet husband kept offering to go get the car and take me back to the condo.

The Illumination of the Palace Green was exciting.  By then it was totally dark.   Visitors assembled on and around the Green and the CW staff lit the cressets in front of the buildings, muskets were fired, and then the fife and drum corps played and marched down the center of the green as the crowd parted before them.

We had time to kill before our last walking tour so we went outside of the Historic District to Williamsburg proper, past the skating rink, visited a couple of cute gift shops, and had some great pizza for dinner.  Then I hobbled back into the Historic District to join our last tour.  It was interesting and a little sad.  They took us through four time periods on Christmas Eve in Williamsburg and the struggles people went through.

All done (and done in!), we started limping back toward the Visitor’s Center where the car was parked.  Fortunately, we were able to catch one of the shuttle buses halfway and ride the rest of the way back.  It’s a lovely walk but less so in the dark when it’s 40 degrees.

I had borrowed my husband’s Fitbit for the day and logged 9 miles of walking–about one and a half after my little accident with the stairs.  It was all worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I would, however, be more careful on the stairs.

If you get the opportunity to visit the Williamsburg area, I highly recommend it.  There are so many things to do and see that you could easily spend at least a week.

 

Make Your Christmas Tree Smell Amazing

One of the things people love most about a fresh Christmas tree or wreath is the amazing scent.  We don’t have a fresh tree or wreath so far this year, but I do happen to have a bottle of Rocky Mountain Oils Spruce oil so I just put about ten drops of the oil all along this little pine cone and nestled it among the branches of the tree.  I don’t recommend placing essential oils directly ON your artificial tree branches, as they might melt your needles.   Pine or fir oil would be wonderful, but I don’t have those on hand so spruce will have to do.

Right now I am diffusing 3 drops of the Spruce oil and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract– yes, just the regular real vanilla baking extract I get in a big bottle from Sam’s Club.  (Disclaimer–don’t do this if you are worried about voiding your diffuser warranty.)  Mine is long expired, so I walk on the wild side.

I figure I will need to refresh the pine cone every few days to keep it smelling amazing.

Do you have any tips on making your tree smell “real”?

 

Little Christmas Village

Years ago, my brother-in-law and his wife gifted us a little ceramic Texaco station for Christmas.  They gave us two more over the years, and since you can’t have a village composed solely of filling stations, I had to get more little houses.   I added one or two little buildings each year until they outgrew my display space.

Here’s how I set up a very simple village display on a buffet in our living room.  One tip for a nicer display is varying the heights on your houses.  You can use anything underneath, but I use the foam packing boxes that the houses are stored in.  They are white and sturdy.  I have twelve buildings so I put six foam inserts on the back of the buffet.

Then I set all the houses in place on the buffet.  They all have light bulbs that go inside so I have to get the bulbs and cords arranged.  I put the houses on the floor in order, then lay out the cords on the buffet with bulbs in place.  If you have at least five houses, I highly recommend a multi bulb string so you don’t have so many cords to plug in.  I have two 5 bulb strings and use a 2 bulb string to get the last couple of houses.  I fiddle around with this until it makes sense.  Tip:  check your bulbs to make sure they all work at this point.  These generally take a 4 watt bulb.  I use a power strip to light the village because I need at least three outlets and you can easily switch the whole village on and off.  I store it with the village so there is no hunting it down every Christmas.

Christmas villages must sit on a blanket of snow (it helps hide the cords!), so I use a length of cotton batting.  You can find these with the Christmas decorations or get some from the fabric or craft store.  There are different thicknesses available.  The one I have now is on the thin side but it works.  I would love to create a Styrofoam village base at some point, but this is not the year for that project.

Once the cords and bulbs are in place, I drape the “snow” over them.  At this point I used scissors to cut little slits so the bulbs will fit through them and carefully worked the bulbs through the “snow”.

Next I placed the houses in their spots, putting the light bulbs in the houses as I go.  Some fit through the bottom and some go through the back.

Once they are in place, I add little goodies like figurines, trees, and firewood.  I made a little pond from an old locker mirror with some cotton around the edges.  The tiny “logs” are maple branches I cut up with pruners.

All done!

Here are a few close ups:

 

 

Time to Decorate for Christmas…

 

 

Wow y’all.  It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving.  In the past 8 days, I have cooked THREE turkeys for three different Thanksgiving events (one for church, two for family) and so to say I am turkey-ed out would be an understatement.  This year I did finally pop for a shiny red electric roaster and was not disappointed.  It was great, my oven was free, and it cleaned up easily.  I also learned a valuable lesson: do not try to use an oven bag inside an electric roaster.

Today the temperature here is 72 degrees with a 22 mph south wind.  I just stuffed all my fall decorations back in the basement and am trying to work up the energy to shove the Christmas boxes up the stairs.

I have found that no matter how reluctant I am to get the Christmas decor up, I ALWAYS feel much better/relaxed/festive/whathaveyou once they are in place.   Psychoanalysts say people who put up that tree early are happier than those who do not (tap into that inner child!), and there is an actual study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology that shows people who put up outdoor decorations are perceived as more friendly and approachable.

Whatever, I need to get it done!

Last years Village setup