New Raw Gourd Area At Meadowbrooke Gourds

Gourd crafters, check out our new, expanded area for raw gourds at our Retail Store!

Egg Gourd & Moss Centerpiece How-To

You don’t have to be a professional artist for gourd crafting to be fun! There are numerous projects using raw gourds that can be simple and easy. We are excited to share a series of quick how-to’s for those that want to get their hands into gourd crafting, but may not know where to begin! We hope you enjoy these project sheets and use them as inspiration for your own projects. Please feel free to share them and share your gourd crafting photos with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Our first project is a beautiful, rustic centerpiece made with cleaned, raw egg gourds. This piece can be used for Easter as well as the entire Spring season!

Download the sheet here.

What you will need:
Cardboard box
Gourd Eggs (about one dozen) available at mbgourds.com
Glass containers at varying heights and sizes
Acrylic paint (Robin’s Egg Blue, Off White, and Brown)
Paintbrush
Toothbrush
Green Reindeer Moss

Step 1: Cut holes in a cardboard box for your gourd eggs to sit in without falling through.

Step 2: Decide how many blue, brown, and white eggs you would like to have and paint each accordingly. For the brown eggs: just leave the gourd as its natural color. For blue and white eggs: First, paint the top portion of the egg, let dry. Then flip it over in the cardboard hole to paint the bottom half. These eggs took two coats of acrylic paint to cover completely.

Step 3: Once the eggs are dry, dip a toothbrush in brown acrylic paint mixed with water. The more water the more transparent your “specks” will be. Flick the toothbrush to speckle the eggs to your desired effect and let dry.

Step 4: Fill various glass containers will green reindeer moss found in the floral section of most craft stores. Arrange the eggs in the containers. Enjoy your beautiful Spring display!

Gourd Egg Painting Inspiration

To continue our Gourd Easter Egg theme from last week, we have more inspiration coming your way. Painting and dying Easter eggs is a wonderful tradition. We have so many fond memories of dying Easter eggs each year with those we love. Continue a tradition with painting gourd Easter eggs! Your masterpiece and memories will last from year to year.

This coming Friday and Saturday (March 16th & 17th) we are offering the opportunity to paint your own gourd eggs at our retail store (as well as baskets and birdhouses!) Bring the family for this great activity. The cost ranges from $1.00- $12.00 and we supply all the gourds, paints and other supplies (No reservations needed). Kids can even enter their painted egg in our Kids Art Contest! Read more here.

Gourd Easter Egg & Basket Painting at our 2011 Spring Open House

Here are some gourd egg painting ideas to get the inspirations rolling:

Doodle Eggs:

 

To make these stark black and white doodle eggs, first paint your gourd eggs white and let them dry. Then, simply take a sharpie and draw different patterns, flowers, etc. on the egg. Let your imagination run wild!

Speckled Eggs:

 

We just love the look of these speckled eggs and they can be used in so many different crafting and decorating applications once they’re painted. Some of these eggs are tea stained and some have been dyed blue using blue food coloring. Since your gourd eggs will already start off as brown, you may be able to skip the tea staining step or use it to alter the natural gourd to your desired brown color. Creating the speckled effect is very easy – just dip brown craft paint with a toothbrush and splatter away.

Chalkboard Eggs:

 

Chalkboard paint is just so much fun. In addition to its endless uses, why not use it on your gourd Easter eggs? Include a few of these lovelies in an Easter basket and personalize with chalk for the recipient!

Gilded Eggs:

 

Probably the most simple painting project with gourd eggs, create these gilded gems by spray painting gourd eggs with different metallic spray paints. Display in a basket or glass container to make an elegant statement.

Isn’t gourd egg painting fun??

A Gourdgeous Display

Clothing and houseware retailer, Anthropologie, is known for their absolutely stunning window displays. Not only are they beautiful, they are eco-friendly and wildly creative.

Their recent fall windows caught our eye because the main focal point is the use of raw gourds. We appreciate the sculptural, organic flair gourds bring to decor of all sorts and gourd lovers everywhere will appreciate this artistic interpretation. Here are some of the photos from the Anthropologie Facebook page: Enjoy and be inspired with gourd creativity!

image copyright Anthropologie

image copyright Anthropologie

image copyright Anthropologie

image courtesy Anthropologie

image courtesy Anthropologie

image copyright Anthropologie

View all of the photos here. 

Quick and Easy Fall Decorating Project

If you’re looking for a quick and easy fall decorating project, here is an idea that we just love.

Simply take your small, fresh ornamental gourds and pumpkins and spray paint them different metallic colors of your choosing. We love the look of gold and a taupe-silver together.

You can display these sophisticated beauties in so many ways! Group them together as shown on a cake stand for a gorgeous, simple centerpiece, or display them in a large bowl mixed with pinecones, twigs, and other fall elements.

metallic gourd centerpiece

You can also take this technique and apply it to dried gourds for an arrangement that will last from year to year.

Click to purchase this raw, cleaned gourd

2 inch bottle gourds (shown above) would make  for a lovely arrangement. Mix the dried gourds in with the fresh gourds and pumpkins for an interesting, fall display.

Make Your Own Gourd Luminaries for Fall

We always love reading others ideas for crafting their dried gourds! There are literally endless possibilities. We especially loved this luminary project for fall from Better Homes and Gardens. It is simple, beautiful and sure to give your home a cozy touch. To get started, the article details some tips for drying gourds for those that are growing and drying your own. If you would like to skip that step, Meadowbrooke Gourds offers raw gourds that are already cleaned and dried for you. We have many, many shapes and sizes to choose from and they are available online here.

This project involves wood burning your gourd. We go into more detail about wood burning in a previous blog post. 

From Better Homes and Gardens (bhg.com):

1. Starting with a dried, cleaned gourd you must first cut the gourd. To make cutting the gourds easier and help prevent cracking and breaking, draw the cutting line with a pencil. Using a crafts knife, puncture small slits along the pencil line so it resembles a dotted line. Use the knife to cut between the lines. Smooth out any uneven spots.

2. Using the crafts knife, cut a 3-inch round hole in the bottom of each gourd. Make sure the gourds sit flat. If necessary, slightly shave the bottoms of the gourds so they sit flat.

3. Clean out the inside material.

6. Working in a well-ventilated room or outdoors, use the woodburning tool to burn a circle through the gourd. Burn two more holes to create the three-dot triangular motif.

7. Repeat the burning process around the entire gourd, placing the motifs about 2 inches apart.

8. Paint the gourd with a light coat of raw umber watercolor. Use the brown marker to make stripes on the stems. After the paint dries, spray the gourds with varnish.

9. Place a tea light in a votive cup and slip the gourd over the cup. Make sure the candle’s wick is trimmed short so the flame does not touch the gourd. Never leave burning candles unattended or use a candle without the cup.

These beautiful, fall luminaries are easy to craft! (image by Better Homes and Gardens)

 

“Out of Our Gourds for Gourds”

While poking around Twitter, we came across a blogger named, Nancy who runs the blog “Tales from the Mom-Side.” She wrote a great post today called, “Out of Our Gourds for Gourds” detailing her first encounter with dried gourds and crafting! She sure did her research about this fruit and art form and we wanted to share a portion with you on our blog. It is full of awesome information that some gourd enthusiasts may not even know!

From “Tales from the Mom-Side” Blog: Well, I got a little curious, because it seemed odd to me that a plant would be developed solely for decorative purposes, and Mom couldn’t think of any food purposes behind the gourd, so I did what any reasonable 21st century individual would do – I googled “gourd.”  I found out several interesting things about them.

First, they are related to cucumbers and melons.  I wouldn’t have guessed either relationship, although had I seen the scientific name for the gourd family first, Cucurbitaceae, I might have been able to guess at the cucumber relationship.

Second, they were brought to the United States around 10,000 years ago with the peoples who crossed over the land bridge which then existed on the Bering Straits.  Genetic tests have shown that the American bottle gourd is most closely related to the Asian bottle gourd.  The Asian bottle gourd is descended from the African bottle gourd.

Third, and I find this most interesting, the gourd was the first domesticated plant in the Americas.  It was not grown as a food crop, but as a container.  The gourd itself is the fruit of the plant; its shell is strong and buoyant, and has been used for thousands of years as containers, for musical instruments, and fishing floats.  FN.

Raw, cleaned gourds for crafting available online here.

Read Nancy’s full blog post here and perhaps even get some gourd crafting inspiration of your own.

We hope you have an fun time crafting your gourds!!!

Fall Production at Meadowbrooke Gourds

Although Summer is just heating up, we are busy at the farm producing our Fall Gourds!

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of Fall Gourds in production:

Look for a video of our crafters at work behind the scenes coming soon!

Plant Holder Gourds

Since the warm weather is here and it’s time to spruce up the yard, here’s an idea for you! This would be a fun weekend project!

For this project we recommend the large bushel gourd as below:

You could also use a martin gourd if you cut the smaller part of the top off:

First, drill an opening and cut a hole in the top of your gourd. Make sure it’s large enough for the plants but small enough to withhold the structure of the gourd.

Then, to add some durability, spray the inside of your gourd with sealer. To hang the plant you can use netting, juke or any type of rope. It’s all comes down to your personal preference. Below shows what juke would look like. Also, don’t forget you can leave the gourd as its natural color or paint it any color you would like!

photo courtesy of www.thriftyfun.com

One of our Facebook fans uploaded this creative use of a gourd as a plant holder! We love it!

Thank you to Melnee for uploading this beautiful gourd to our Facebook page!