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Little gourds can do great things. Try creating these table weights from mini-gourds to hold the tablecloth in place at an outdoor dinner party. Measure the tabletop and add enough for a 6-inch drop of yardage on all sides plus a 1-inch hem. Hem with fusible tape and an iron. To make the corner flaps, notch a 5-inch square from each corner and hem using fusible tape. Add grommets with a kit from a crafts or fabrics store.
Add a thoughtful touch to a fall dinner with custom-made place cards. Using your computer, create business-card-size tags with simple imagery and fanciful lettering. Print and attach to a small gourd with a pushpin. Guests will appreciate the personalized touch.
Gather gourds in cylindrical vases to bring autumn to a tabletop or mantel. Use containers of different sizes to stack gourds in varying amounts. To give each display a vibrant touch, add a length of fresh pumpkin vine from the garden, pulling the vine out at the root and rinsing off the dirt. Place it in the vase with a bit of water.
Stack squatty gourds among your favorite white china. Dishes with ridges complement the natural elements in the display. Mixing and matching is in and is a great way to use your collectibles.
For this autumn wreath, first tap small nails into the surface of miniature gourds and pumpkins to break the surface. Carefully poke sturdy toothpicks into the holes. Coat the protruding end of the toothpick with hot glue and immediately stick into a straw wreath form. Once the wreath is as completely covered with pumpkins and gourds as possible, hot-glue silk leaves around the wreath to fill in the gaps.
Display petite gourds-turned-treasures in a decorative apothecary jar. Garnet-hue leaves and a dried hydrangea benefit from the same prescription.
Create a vase with a gourd that stands upright. Slice off the stem and use a long slender knife to widen the opening if necessary. Add a handful of bright mums.
Create a stunning contemporary centerpiece by arranging four gourds and six large chrysanthemum blossoms symmetrically in a flat bowl or tray.
Spray-paint a mix of small gourds shimmery gold, and stack them on a glass cake plate to create an elegant display.
Take a gourd to the next level with a skin-deep cut in the shape of a leaf. Simply trace a sugar maple leaf (or other found-on-the-ground variety) with a permanent pen. Cut lightly around the outline with a knife, being sure not to cut all the way through the gourd. A simple scraping tool (such as an inexpensive clayworkers' ribbon tool) will help you trim out the shape.
Editor's Tip: When buying a gourd, pick one in a shape and color that you like. More often than not, the color of the flesh will be different enough from the color of the skin to create a nice contrast.
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