Happy Halloween to you and yours!
In addition to my love of embarrassing my dog, I also thoroughly enjoy pumpkin carving. I love my dad to bits, and pumpkin carving always makes me think of how he would clean out the ewwies from pumpkins so my brother and I could do the fun part and carve menacing faces. These days I de-gut the pumpkins myself, but the memories are still there!
Some time in 2004, I came across an article or several about taking pumpkin carving to a whole new level. Forget triangle eyes and jagged teeth — there are ways to turn PICTURES into PUMPKINS! It takes patience, both in finding a picture that translates well into a pattern, making the pattern, and then painstakingly carving the beast, but I absolutely love it. I took a few years off from 2005-2007, but I’ve gotten back into it again, and I think I’ve improved every year (partially due to MUCH better tools!).
Here’s a look back at my pumpkin carving history!:
Made from a silly picture of my boston terrier. This was made in a college dorm room using a pathetic excuse for a steak knife, a push pin, and HOURS.
(Silent period from 2005-2008 during which I focused on graduating, planning a wedding, and NOT carving pumpkins)
The Joker-o-Lantern (a la Heath Ledger)
By this point my husband and I were in our own home, and I had a kitchen stocked with wedding gifts including a lovely knife set. Unfortunately, the knife set didn’t come with common sense. Before I actually started carving (I was slicing some of the gunk off of the underside of the “lid”), I had a knife slip that resulted in several frantic phonecalls (I was alone at the time), a nervous drive to solantic, 11 stitches, and a bottle of vicodin that not-so-hilariously had a “press here with thumb, then twist to open” cap (did I mention I was alone?).
I do think that the injury got me a pity vote, landing me in 4th place in that year’s pumpkin carving contest at seriouseats.com! The prize included a pumpkin dremel and a safety knife/scoop set with no-slip grip handles. These have totally revolutionized pumpkin carving for me. I’m not sure I’d say it was worth it, but I’d go so far as to say it was a pretty snazzy silver lining.
One of the tricky parts of making pumpkin patterns is that the oversimplification of an image, especially a person’s face, sometimes makes it unrecognizable. Characters end up looking like Just Some Dude. That’s why I felt the need to label this one. (I’m still 2 seasons behind on this show, so please don’t spoil anything for me! )
The Mad Hatter-o-Lantern (a la Johnny Depp)
This one was super detailed, and the fact that I was able to do the detail work in the tools in the hat was really unexpected! I started carving WAY too late in the evening and was so sick of carving by the time this baby was finished, but I’m super happy with how it turned out!
Anyone else out there a carving nut??