Gourd Painting Inspiration

Since a dried gourd can be crafted like a piece of wood, it offers a wonderful medium to be crafted in a multitude of ways. Probably the easiest way to craft a gourd when you’re getting started is to paint them! We are always in awe at the creativity displayed through gourd painting. Many paintings go beyond “crafts” and enter the world of fine art.

A couple hints:
-Acrylic paints or oil paints will work on your gourd
- No need to seal or sand the gourd before painting it
- Let your imagination run wild!!

Here are a few examples of painted gourds that we just love! Use them as inspiration for your own gourd painting projects:

Gourd Art by Bonnie Gibson. arizonagourds.com

So bright and beautiful! (image courtesy of Coconut Grove Grapevine.)

Our very own Dorris Risser's Folk Art Cat Gourd (one of Meadowbrooke Gourd's past painting classes)

Morning Glory and Ladybug gourd painting class

Just adorable! by Aurelia Conway in the book "Great Garden Gourds Book"

Meadowbrooke Gourds offers painting classes throughout the year at our farm in Carlisle, PA. Experience painting gourds with the help of a professional artist! Check our website for upcoming classes. 

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Gourd Butterfly House

In a recent post we explained how to create your very own butterfly gourd house with our raw, cleaned gourds. (We also have finished gourd butterfly houses for sale onlineand in our retail store.) Now that your butterfly house is hanging in the garden, it’s time to attract some beautiful butterflies!

Butterflies will use your gourd home as a way to stay safe from harmful animals, insects and inclement weather. One way to attract butterflies is to color your gourd with bright colors! Butterflies are particularly attracted to yellow, purple, red and pink. Our finished butterfly houses are colored this way to attract these beauties.

 

Placing your gourd in a sunny area with lots of flowers will also help to bring these lovely insects around your home. Here is a list of flowers that naturally attract butterflies!

Provide a source of water. Pour water on flat rocks or on stone walkways and place your butterfly house near this moisture. This encourages them to investigate and eventually use the house as shelter.

For more tips visit ehow.com here.

Crafting with Raw Gourds

Right now at Meadowbrooke Gourds we are offering a SALE on 4″ -5″ raw, uncleaned gourds. Come out to the retail store and fill an entire bag for only $10! If you have always wanted to try crafting your own dried gourds, this is a great opportunity to try your hand at it. Crafting gourds is a lot of fun and the creativity is truly endless! We are constantly amazed by the new ideas and creations our local artists come up with.

Raw, uncleaned gourds on sale now at Meadowbrooke Gourds

We also offer cleaned raw gourds on our website in many different shapes and sizes. Check them out here.

Very much like a fragile piece of wood-you can do anything to a gourd you can to wood.  You can dye, paint, cut, wood burn, etc. your gourd.  We have not found any paint, shellac, dye etc. that cannot be used on a gourd.  Please remember though, like wood, a gourd will burn so we do not suggest putting a candle or open flame around it. More blog posts about crafting tips coming soon!

Growing Your Own Gourds

We hope that you all are having a great day! It is absolutely beautiful here in Carlisle. If you have ever considered growing your own gourds and this springtime weather has you in the mood to try it, here are some tips and advice for you to get started. The process of growing, drying and crafting your own gourds is a fun one to consider.

Gourds crafted by Meadowbrooke Gourds

This time of year in our Zone (Central PA -Zone 6)  is actually the perfect time to begin growing gourds. Plant your gourd seeds in about a 3 inch container or pot. Be sure to use no more than 2 seeds in each pot.

P.S. We offer gourd seeds of all shapes and sizes at mbgourds.com and in our retail store.

After they have been planted, soak the seeds with water. Then place the gourds in sunlight somewhere in your home and water them regularly like you would any normal house plant.

June 1st is about the time to plant your already potted gourds outside!  Make sure to plant the seeds outside in full sun, leaving about 8 inches between each plant. When watering, be careful not to soak the leaves themselves because this could spread disease. Try using soaker hoses or drip irrigation.

Don’t forget: Frost is an enemy of gourd plants and will ruin them. Be sure to check frost conditions so that your plants can grow to their full potential!

For more detailed and specific instructions be sure to check out our website!

Happy Planting! We’d love to hear about your gourd planting and see pics so please feel free to share.

Mod Podge Vase

We found this project from Crystal and Company – a wonderful blog that is definitely worth checking out!

Crystal posted a project for making these really cute Mod Podge Vases to give as gifts!

Mod Podge vase from Crystal & Co.

The project is so simple. First you tear scrapbook paper into imperfect pieces, then you layer it on any glass vase or recycled jar with mod podge. For more detail instructions with photos click here.

This made us think how pretty this technique would be on a dried, raw gourd vase! Dried gourds can be crafted just like a fragile piece of wood – perfect for decoupaging!

Grab your mod podge, interesting scrapbook paper pages and create a one-of-a-kind gourd.

These penguin gourds would make great decorative vases with the tops cut off!

Winter Gourds

Winter Gourds image courtesy sheknows.com

For today’s post we wanted to share a recipe with you for winter gourds – the kind you eat, better known as winter squash. :)

These tips and recipes are from wholeliving.com

Winter Squash Tips:

These robust, versatile gourds come in all kinds of quirky shapes, colors, and textures, from the striped carnival squash to the elongated butternut. Winter squash get their incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties from beta-carotene and high levels of vitamin C.

They also provide significant amounts of potassium (good for bone health), vitamin B6 (essential for the immune and nervous systems), and plenty of fiber, making them an especially heart-friendly choice. Folate adds yet another boost to their heart-healthy reputation and, when consumed during pregnancy, helps guard against some birth defects.

Easy Preparation Tip:
Place a halved squash, cut side down, on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until you can pierce it with a sharp knife. Or you can remove the skin using a peeler and cut the flesh into chunks for roasting, steaming, or sauteing. Once cooked, mash the squash, puree it for soup, or fold it into pasta or risotto.

Try this delicious recipe for Butternut Squash Curry!

image courtesy of wholeliving.com

Ingredients:
Serves 4

  • 2 medium butternut squashes (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, and seeded
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
Directions:

  1. Cut solid sections of squashes into large chunks and seed-pod sections into 3/4-inch-thick wedges. Puree onion, garlic, and 1 tablespoon water in a blender until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and coriander, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in onion paste and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, scraping bottom of pot if needed. Stir in remaining 3 cups water, the salt, and crushed red-pepper flakes. Add squash, and cover partially. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until squash is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve over brown rice with cilantro and lime wedges.

Read more at Wholeliving.com: Butternut Squash Curry

Quick & Easy Gourd Crafting

from the Ladies Home Journal

There are so many things you can do to decorate and craft with gourds, and we’ll talk you through many of them on our blog.  But for now, a quick, easy crafting idea: Simply paint them solid colors!  Mini Gourds work particularly well and make a beautiful display when spray painted bright colors or metallic (like the ones pictured to the left). A recent issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal did a piece on the lovely simplicity of a painted gourd display.

We offer raw, cleaned gourds on our website in all shapes and sizes for you to paint yourself! (Our Petite Splendors from our Gourdicopia Collection also make a beautiful grouping if you’re not the do-it-yourself type. )

For your Christmas decorating and  table settings, try painting the gourds shades of silver & gold. Group them together in a glass bowl surrounded by evergreen and pinecones for an earthy, yet elegant holiday look.

Drying Process, 11/2

The martin gourd continues to dry out quickly.  It’s getting good and ugly, developing a good layer of mold.  It’ll start smelling soon (Which is why we strongly recommend setting them outside to dry.  And the other gourd, the gooseneck, is now showing real signs of drying.

Here’s a question: How do they dry out?  How does the water get out through that think, hard skin?  Well, thick and hard as it is, it is still a plant and the skin is porous, so some gets out that way.  A lot of it, though, goes out through the stem, which is very porous.

When you see raw, fresh gourds, take a look at the stems.  They’ll have about 2” of stem, and it will be a clean cut.  The stem will not look like they were twisted off the vine.  That’s because twisting the stem renders it useless for helping dry the gourd, and twisting the stem can allow infection in, which will make it even more difficult for the gourd to dry.

Here they are, right off the farm.

November 2

Cutting Open Your Cleaned Gourd

Now that you’ve removed the skin and mold from your gourd, you have to decide what you want to do with it.  For most projects, you’ll need to cut it open, so that’s what we’re going to do now.  In an earlier post, we talked about some of the tools you might want to start accumulating, and a small saw or knife was one of them.  If you can get hold of woodworking tools, they’ll do well.  But as we said before, these are pretty inexpensive to buy.

This bottle gourd is going to be made into a bowl.*

To mark the gourd where you want to cut it, you’ll need to steady your hand.  Bricks, blocks, books, something like that will work well.  Build them to where you want to cut the gourd and rest your hand – which should be holding a pencil or marker – on it.  Then just rotate the gourd to draw the line around it.  The picture to the left shows the line being drawn to make a bowl.

You may want to wear a mask when cutting to avoid inhaling any dust or mold from the inside. It’s also not a bad idea to wear eye protection.  To protect and stabilize the gourd, set it on an old blanket or towel, or use a foam pad, like in the picture below.


A foam pad will help stabilize and protect the gourd as you cut.*

You might want to hold the gourd between your knees, but obviously, be very careful.  Now, cut a starter hole.  A sharp kitchen knife will do for this.  Somewhere just a hair above the line you’ve  drawn, press it through the gourd shell and cut a hole just big enough to get your blade in.  Then grab your saw or knife and start cutting with a sawing motion.

Now that your gourd is open, scrape out all the seeds and pulp. You can use anything that will scrape: a grapefruit spoon, oyster shell. Some pottery and leather working tools work well here.

* Pictures from Gourd Crafts, by Ginger Summit

Tips for Cleaning Gourds

Dried gourds at Meadowbrooke waiting to be cleaned!

So after meeting our Washroom Manager Roger in the last post, we’ve had numerous requests for some tips for cleaning gourds that you grew and dried yourself!
So here you go…

(Don’t worry, we will back track and post tips on growing and drying as well.)

1. Make sure the gourd is completely dry. It should weigh only ounces and sound hollow inside when you tap on the shell.  You may also hear seeds rattling inside when you shake the gourd. This is also an indicator that your gourd is ready for cleaning!

Who'd have thought something so beautiful could start out looking like this?

2. Put your gourd out in a good soaking rain for a few days or another option is to weigh down your gourd and completely submerge it in plain water for two days. Be careful about putting a lot of weight on the gourd, though.  One thing that works well is laying several water-logged towels over it.  That not only holds it down, but helps with the soaking process.

3. When it’s good and soaked, use steel wool or a wire brush to remove the skin. You don’t have to use much pressure most of the time.  In fact, try not to.  You don’t want to risk damaging the gourd, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of pressure to do that.  So, just let the abrasive surface itself do most of the work.  There may be spots that need a little more elbow grease, so go ahead and use it there, but do be careful. Use the dull edge of a butter knife for stubborn spots and wash until the surface is free of mold and blemishes.

Here’s another tip: Wear gloves.  The gourd will have mold on the skin, and you don’t want your skin to come into direct contact with that, especially if your skin tends to be sensitive, or if you know you are sensitive to mold.  Gloves aren’t a bad idea in any event, to protect your hands from slips with the brush/steel wool.

4. Once you have cleaned your gourds, keep dry and out of the weather until you are ready to craft it!

We hope these tips helped! Please feel free to ask us any questions about your gourd growing, drying, cleaning and crafting!