Preserving that Fall Feeling

Crazy for Fall

I jumped for joy when I found heirloom pumpkins for $6.99 each at Trader Joe's!

I jumped for joy when I found heirloom pumpkins for $6.99 each at Trader Joe's!

If you know me well, you'll know how over the moon in love I am with fall. The first crisp morning of the multi-holiday season takes me to a festive happy place I never leave until the summer months bring their scorching rays. There's just something about taking a walk through an old southern town when the leaves are falling, imagining a world where you scoop up all the amazing unloved homes and go full on Joanna Gaines on them, and after waking up from your daydream, knowing that there's something home cooked waiting for you when you return. I squeeze every delicious drop out of fall because I know...

It Can't Last Forever....

Unfortunately, in the South fall doesn't stick around for long, and pumpkins have an expiration date. I knew that if I wanted my beautiful Trader Joe's heirloom pumpkins to weather until Thanksgiving, that I would have to give them a little tender loving care. 

I decided to try soaking my pumpkins in a bleach/water solution this year. I hauled all 6 of my extremely heavy and large-and-in charge pumpkins into my guest bathroom and loaded them up into the claw foot tub. I had to split them into 2 batches to make them fit. I filled the tub full of warm water and added 10 capfuls of bleach. I soaked the pumpkins for 30 minutes, rinsed them, and dried them off before returning them to their forever homes on the front porch. They looked and felt cleaner, but time would have to tell if the bleach bath would keep them looking fresh all season.

My big pumpkins looked so good that I decided to give my mini pumpkins a soak too. They didn't fare quite as well. 

All of the mini pumpkins I soaked in the water/bleach solution immediately developed bizarre white spots that couldn't be washed or buffed off. My best guess is that the same solution I used on the large pumpkins was too strong for the minis. I wasn't upset over the white spots, but next year I plan to use a much weaker solution on any mini pumpkins. The white spots aren't super noticeable unless you look really closely, and they have faded a little bit over the last 6 weeks.

It Wasn't All a Wash

Even though my mini pumpkins weren't perfectly orange anymore, they did stay nice and clean all season long. I purposefully left one mini pumpkin out of the bleach bath to use as a control in my crazy, basic, PSL drinking, mad scientist, pumpkin experiment. 

Non-bleached mini pumpkin after 6 weeks out in the elements

Non-bleached mini pumpkin after 6 weeks out in the elements

The bleached minis look just as good today as they did 6 weeks ago

The bleached minis look just as good today as they did 6 weeks ago

The real test for me was to see how the big pumpkins held up after being exposed to the rain and sun. We purchased our pumpkins on October 4th, and all but one of our large heirloom pumpkins are in pristine condition.  The one that has aged gets the most direct sun.

As you can see, the top pumpkin has discolored and has become soft. It is not oozing and it doesn't have any open spots. I've turned the pumpkin so that you can't see the bad spot from the street, but some bugs have started hanging out on it so I don't think this one will make it to Thanksgiving.

Honorable Mentions

I did several different pumpkin crafts this year. I learned that I LOVE chalkboard spray paint! They even make clear chalkboard spray paint, so that you can spray it on top of anything you want to turn into a chalk board! I also learned that I don't love using thumb tacks on pumpkins because I'm way way way too perfectionistic and the holes left from mistakes drive me batty. 

Now I'm Stuck on CHRISTMAS!

I had grand plans to cut my big pumpkins in half, fill them with bird seed, and hang them from our front tree for Thanksgiving. That might still happen, but Y'ALL, I'm itching to get all of my Christmas decor out! We're taking a trip Texas in December which means we don't get to enjoy 7 days of holiday festivities in our home, so I think we'll get a tree earlier than we usually do. Listen, I'm not complaining, because I'm giddy over the chance to roam all over Magnolia Market, load our mini van full of Joanna Gaines goodies, and hope and pray I make best friends with Chip and JoJo!

When do you decorate for Christmas!?

Comment below with your Christmas decorating traditions, or with any fall crafts that were big hits for you this year!