Enchanting Mushrooms for Fall

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Enchanting is not usually an adjective that comes to mind when describing Halloween — or even many Fall — decorations, but that’s what these mushrooms are!   These giant mushrooms are now “growing” in my neighbor’s yard, so I had to take a peak and a few pictures.  My neighbor (and fellow quilter) said she could not take credit for the idea — she had seen these mushrooms at The Farm, a really great farmstand in Westmont, Illinois, near where we live.  Relatively easy to assemble, the biggest challenge, she explained, was finding the right gourds and pumpkins that fit together, so that the end result would look like a mushroom.  Much like designing a quilt, she was looking at color, size and shape in making her selections.  The Farm, at least when she was there, still had a huge selection of gourds and pumpkins, so she was able to play with combinations until she was satisfied.

I know its a little late to post these directions, but if you’ve got access to a variety of pumpkins and gourds and want to give it a go, the directions are below.  If it’s too late for this year (as it is for me), file these directions for next.

  1. First, decide where you want the mushrooms to “grow”; this is where you will want to assemble them.  Next decide how you want the “stem” and “cap” to fit together (e.g., do you want the cap to angle back, to one side, or sit squarely on top of the stem).
  2. After you have collected your pumpkins and gourds, gather up the rest of the supplies — a dowel for each mushroom, a hammer, and a small saw to cut the dowel to the right size, if necessary.  This is a good project to use up leftover pieces of dowel, but the pieces have to be long enough to go through the mushroom “stem” and into the “cap” several inches.  If you want to anchor the mushrooms to the ground, allow another 4″ to 5″.   Dowels that are about 1/2″ in diameter probably work best, but you can experiment a bit here.
  3. Take the pumpkin or gourd you are using for the cap and with gentle, but firm taps, pierce the skin of the bottom of the cap; set this piece aside.  Now, stand the pumpkin or gourd you are using for the stem on end where you want the mushroom to sit.  Again, using gentle, firm taps, pierce the top end of the stem and  continue driving the dowel through the entire length of the stem and into the ground.  (A quick note here, my neighbor said that once she pierced the skin of the pumpkin/gourd, the dowel went through the fleshy part fairly easily.)  At this point, the dowel should be protruding from the top of the mushroom several inches — enough to hold the cap securely in place.   Holding the cap at the angle you want it to be when assembled, firmly push the cap onto the dowel.
  4. Step back and smile!

As you can see in the photo above, my neighbor nestled three mushrooms in with some other decorations.  The mushrooms could also work under a tree, along a walkway, or even in a garden bed.

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