DIY Pumpkin Pi

Hello all! I thought I’d switch things up and post a little how-to for everyone for a project I did this weekend. Behold! Pumpkin pi!

A craft pumpkin has fall silk flowers on top and the pi symbol carved into the front.

Oh my god, I am the dumbest. But how can I resist a pun like this?!

This was fun and easy to make. Let’s talk supplies.

A picture of a workbench with various tools and a stencil of a pi symbol.

Tools:

  • One craft pumpkin (we opted for the kind with the back pre-cut out)
  • A printed picture of the pi symbol (here’s one from Wikimedia! I resized it in Word)
  • Pins, like sewing pins
  • A pen
  • A sharp tool like an x-acto knife
  • One LED tea light (those craft pumpkins are WAY flammable)

Extra Credit:

  • Seasonal fake flowers/foliage
  • Ribbon
  • A wire cutter
  • Hot glue, zip ties, etc.
  • Maybe a drill!

 

Here’s the step by step for creating your own pumpkin pi!

A craft pumpkin with an open back sits on a workbench. Crafting materials surround it.

1. Print our your pi symbol after looking at your pumpkin and getting an idea of how tall you want that guy. My pumpkin was a medium size so my pi symbol is about 4.5″ tall. Snip around the pi symbol, cutting in some relief cuts (see picture below) since the pumpkin is slightly curved. Just makes the next step easier.

2. Position the pi symbol on the front of your pumpkin. Use a pin and press it into the craft pumpkin. You don’t need to worry about pressing the pin all the way inside. We just want it to produce a hole on the surface of the pumpkin. So maybe a third of the pin needs to be pressed in?

3. Start pushing in pins all around the pi symbol. You want to get a good outline going.

4. Once you’re sure you have the symbol totally outlined… pull them out. I know. It sounds crazy. Then remove the paper from the pumpkin. Here’s a photo of my pi symbol once I took the pins out.A pi symbol printed on paper with tiny dots outlining it.

See the holes? The holes create a “connect the dots” on your pumpkin.

5. Connect those dots! I used a ballpoint pen and just drew on the pumpkin. Nothing fancy there.

6. You should see a clear outline of a pi symbol on the surface of your pumpkin. Get your x-acto knife and carefully (CAREFULLY) start scoring the pumpkin along the outline you’ve traced. Work slowly. We worked best by scoring an inch or so before cutting in deeper to the pumpkin. The wall of the pumpkin was about 1/4″ thick, so be mindful of that, and don’t press too hard. You don’t want to bust off that middle part or break it.

7. Work around the symbol until you’ve free it! The edges may need some cleaning up so shave them down with your x-acto knife.

8. Put that LED tea light inside and enjoy!

EXTRA CREDIT:

I decided to arrange some fake flowers on the top with a nice green bow. This is more free form. GO FOR IT! but I’ll share some tips.

-Hot glue is your friend.

-So is a drill and a gentle hand! We bundled together the stems of the flowers and zip tied them together. We drilled a hole into the pumpkin’s stem very, very slowly (using a pilot hole) and once it was cleared we pushed the flowers through.

-The bow was zip tied to the flowers.

-Honestly, you could probably get away with just glueing a bow or flowers to it and not that fancy drill stuff. But if you want to try that, make sure you’re far enough down that you don’t just bust off the top of the stem.

-But heck – if you do, glue a flower on top! CRAFTING!

A craft pumpkin with a glowing pi symbol.

YOU DID IT. YOU MADE A FESTIVE, SEASONAL PUN THAT WILL DELIGHT AND IMPRESS! (Maybe!) CONGRATS!

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Dear Clorox,

Hello marketing team at Clorox! Saaaaaay. I seem to have disrupted your Streamlined Digital Content Synergization Schedule or whatever with the popularity of my suggestion of Pumpkin Spice Bleach.

This message from your representative would seem to indicate that you think this is a bad idea!

This is a picture of the official Clorox Facebook account saying Pumpkin Spice Bleach isn't real.

 

Woah woah woah. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss what is a golden marketing opportunity. One that I have handed right off to you! For free, I might add!

But you see, this is just the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. There are lots of other marketunities here. (see what I did there) (you love it) (seriously I’ll just take a job in middle management now thank you)

For example! At Easter time, lots of families have cleaning up to do after making a big holiday meal. I’m sure there are spills from their adorable offspring, all hopped up (get it) (again I’m a genius) on chocolate bunnies.

I PRESENT TO YOU…

A container of Peep flavored bleach.

Peep bleach! All the marshmallowy sugarness you love, but none of the staleness and regret over not just buying Cadbury Eggs instead.

See, what I’m suggesting is that you’ve got to focus on other chances to get your product into homes! Might I suggest that the ides of March may have something in store for you?

TA DA.

Luck of the Irish Bleach, with a leprechaun puking a rainbow.

Irish eyes won’t be the only ones smiling over your spotless bathroom! Luck o’ the Irish flavor will be able to knock out a mess from even the most rowdy of St. Patrick’s Day parties. What does it smell like? Rainbows and bleach!

And finally, in the last of these dog days of summer, what better to choose than…

Sweet Tea Clorox.

Served up to consumers in a jug, just like real Sweet Tea. Bring some southern comfort to your floors!

I hope my suggestions have sparked your imagination. You’re welcome. I am available for team building exercises, secret shopping, and market research assistance. I await your phone call.

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites

20151015_161549(Customer service announcement – I’m still not a food blogger. Anyway.)

Guys, I invented A THING. At least I think I invented a thing. I’m not sure, I haven’t googled this… so we’ll go with I invented a thing.

I LOVE this time of year. AUTUMN IS THE BESSST. (Side note: It’s sad that fall only gets two months in Michigan. It’s perfect here in fall and anything beats the endless misery of winter.)

Part of my quintessential autumn activities is going to the cider mill. I don’t know if this is a thing for all regions, but in the Midwest, you drive out of town for about an hour, heading for your favorite mill (you WILL have a family favorite). Once you have arrived, you will stretch your legs and saunter into a long line of folks waiting for the same thing you are…

Cold apple cider and hot donuts.

It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Breakups and a half gallon of ice cream. THE TWO GREAT TASTES THAT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER.

sackofdonutsToday was the day I made my pilgrimage. I ended up with a sack of donuts and a half gallon of cider. I couldn’t help but sneak a fresh donut in my car. The donuts are usually of the cake variety and cinnamony and/or sugary in some way. Some places toss the hot donuts in cinnamon sugar. Some places offer many choices of different powered options. Today I ventured to a place that had the cinnamon in the batter, which blew my mind. I fully expected to have fingertips covered in sugar. But this was better.

This was better because I had plans.

I wanted to do something with these donuts. Something exciting.

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites. I KNOW, RIGHT?!

The idea is that maybe you’ll have people over for tea or a party or something and you want to mix it up with a new appetizer. We’ve all had it with candy corn and marshmallows decorated like mummies. This? This will be a hit. And you can’t get more fall than apples and cider mill donuts.

grilledcheesedonuts

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites

Ingredients –

  • One small/medium apple
  • A dozen cider mill cake donuts (cooled)
  • Cheddar cheese (I like sharp)

Equipment –

  • An apple corer/peeler certainly makes life easier
  • As does some kind of sandwich grilling device

Make the thing:

  1. Slice up your apple. You don’t want the slices too thick, about ⅛” is perfect.
  2. Cut up your cheddar into slices. I suppose you could go with shredded, but it might be a little messier.
  3. Cut your donuts in half. Usually a bread knife does a good job of not smooshing the donuts.
  4. Arrange the slices of apple and cheese inside your donut.
  5. Use your pan or sandwich press and cook those guys up! You don’t need to lubricate your pan, probably, because the donuts were fried in oil. That oil is in them, so it’ll be your lubrication for your cooking surface as the donuts heat up.
  6. Eat the thing!

As of this moment I am very full of donuts and apples and cheese. And I am happy, friends. I am happy.

Lessons For The Modern Homemaker #1: How To Wash Your Dishes

Step 1: Round up dishes from any common areas in your home. Nothing will sour your mood like an errant cup discovered afterwards!

Step 2: Remove any large pieces of food on the dishes and dispose of them.

Step 3: Shake off that sad feeling that’s suddenly washed over you – look at you! You’re getting things done!

Step 4: While that casserole dish soaks for a moment, grab a mug.

Step 5: Add a dash of five spice to the mug. Then add a generous portion of honeycrisp apple cider.

Step 6: Heat the mug up for approx. 2 minutes. Check to see if the cider is hot. If it is, add as much Maker’s Mark bourbon as you like. Don’t feel bad if you finish off the bottle, there’s more in the basement and there was that other one you wanted to try. Something Lee. From Buffalo Trace. Anyway, add it to the mug and take a sip. Isn’t that nice? Isn’t that fall? Fall in a glass. The season where we all sink into that realization that soon it will be cold and darker and miserable. Sure, it’s been chilly lately, but it isn’t winter yet and you want to hang on to this as long as you can. How long could those containers of cider last? The basement pantry could hold at least a dozen. Though you’ll look like that crazy lady buying 12 containers of cider at Trader Joe’s. And with your luck you’ll run into that woman from a month or so ago that would not stop talking to you as if she’s always known you. She just kept making direct eye contact. Talking as if she knew you but you don’t look up and she’s talking about couscous and all you want to tell her is ‘Please stop. I just want to be alone for awhile. Please.’

Step 7: Load the dishwasher. Use the air dry option to save energy.

It’s Halloween, it’s Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I wanted to share with you the strange and weird story of the band The Shaggs.

The Shaggs was comprised of three teenage sisters, formed in 1969 when their father sunk his savings into recording an album with them because his mother saw it in a dream. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, this is true. The girls were not musicians by any stretch of the imagination, and this is apparent in the album’s content (despite money and time spent on practice and music lessons). Here’s the title track from their album, “Philosophy of the World”. Note: I did not say anything like “hit song” or “award winning”.

There is a little bit of charming drumming in there! A little. But… yeaaaah. Not great. It’s really remarkable that something so bad would float to the surface like this some 40+ years later. (The internet strikes again.) I found out about the band from a friend who was going to college at the Boston Conservatory. The music was a novelty, sure, but especially so to the gifted and talented students attending there.

One could probably find something inspirational to take from the strange circumstances surrounding the band and their music. Perseverance? A deeper understanding of what art can mean and the forms it will take? The innocence of childhood and the meaning of family? …maybe. Or maybe it’s just worth saying that sometimes things are so bad they loop right back around to being good.

So I leave you on this spooky holiday with their song, “It’s Halloween”. Depending on your view, it could be a frightful addition to your Halloween festivities… or something better left on the weird blog you found it on. Enjoy.

I know it’s fall when the sunflowers come in.

In Dearborn, in front of Ford Motor Company World Headquarters, there is a spectacular sight every fall. An ocean of bright, beautiful sunflowers.

sunflower2

I discovered them one day when driving around. I’ve come back to them every fall since. Sometimes they get planted early. These photos are from about a month ago when they were in their prime. They’re starting to yellow a bit now. I have a picture from last year at about this time where the heads hadn’t even opened up yet. So it varies. But they always come when the air is starting to get chilly in the mornings and the dark comes sooner in the evenings and I know soon I’ll be immersed in apples and scarfs and leaves and everything that is fall.

sunflower3

I decided to research the field for a class project. There are several other fields around, but they’re all wildflowers and grasses. They also have ‘no trespassing’ signs posted. This sunflower field doesn’t. In fact, a sidewalk winds along the edge of the field, so anyone passing by can enjoy them. The field is at Michigan Avenue and Mercury Drive.

Going out there, you can hear hundreds of birds. Standing next to the flowers you can observe bees happily hovering from face to face of the giant blooms. It’s nice to commune with nature this way.

But why? Why have this sea of sunflowers?

After poking at Ford’s website, it seems that the answer is that they are pretty and provide food for local wildlife. Okay. Cool! Ford goes on to explain that the fields are part of an effort to improve biodiversity, provide a habitat for animals, and since it’s not a giant grass field they need to mow, they don’t use as much fuel. I try to be as ecofriendly as I reasonably can be, so I was pretty excited to uncover these as the reasons Ford has the field.

I’m still waiting for a call back from the company that maintains the sunflowers. I have a few more questions about how this came to be. There was an article online that attributed the idea to an employee that was like, “Hey, you know what would be awesome? NOT ANOTHER GRASS FIELD.” (not a direct quote) (good thing this is for my blog and not my news writing class) (but wouldn’t it be great if they had?) Maybe I’ll share an update with you guys here later.

Whatever their origin, I’m just happy they exist.

sunflower1
Happy Friday, everyone.