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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Going green or orange



Picasso had his canvas, Beethoven his piano. For Rodin it was bronze, for Adams his lens.

For me, it is a squash.

Mom_gourds I have to admit that my kids and I love pumpkin carving. Love. It. We have a whole lot of fun coming up with our silly designs every year, but our medium is difficult to obtain here in the Sunshine State. Apparently, pumpkins do not grow here naturally (or at least abundantly), so like our Christmas trees, they are picked in July in Juneau and sailed by slow boat through the Panama Canal. By the time they reach us here in Tampa, they are hollow rotting gourds that cost $480 each. Or thereabouts.

However, feigning our Northern autumnal gaiety, we pretend we’re in our jeans and Lands' End sweaters on a crisp fall day trudging through a fragrant patch in the country. (In actuality, it’s 97 degrees and we’re in a parking lot while the insides of the Jack O’ Lanterns are now piping hot pumpkin pies.) And after several hours of selecting the best of the crop along with the hordes of fruit flies that are doing the same, we post date a check and bring them home for carving. We must do this on Oct. 30, as the shelf life of a carved pumpkin in this heat is 3.5 minutes. Once engraved, no amount of Miracle Grotox can prevent a pumpkin face from sinking in, resembling a denture-less Muppet.

But no more.

Yesterday, while at the craft store for another unrelated Halloween errand, I spied the answer to the short shelf-life of my vegetable origami -- craft pumpkins.

These little Styrofoam squashes look just as real as any other Jack-O-Lantern, but you can actually carve these more than 10 minutes before the first Trick-Or-Treaters show up at your door. And, dare I say, you could even use them again next year without turning your attic into a compost pile.

When I excitedly pointed out this treasure to my husband, he responded rather snidely, “Yeah, I’ve heard of these other new things coming out in December that are plastic, but look like real trees that you can decorate year after year.” He also mentioned flatly that toasting the Styrofoam seeds from a craft pumpkin would be a rather scary treat.

He had a rather sarcastic grin carved on his face.

Artists … we’re so misunderstood.

-- Suburban Diva

[Photo above is from Times files but we bet the Diva's look just as good!]

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:57am]


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