Fall is on the way....

...but it's not here yet!!!  July and August were mild, but September is making up for it! We are hitting the mid 90s every day so far this month and the humidity has been brutal but hopefully it will cool off next week. 

Until then it is time to start getting ready to decorate for fall!  With my garage fairly clear after a very successful garage sale this weekend, it was time to start pulling all the fall decor I have been collecting!

Throughout the year I have picked up a lot of Christmas and fall decor at auctions and garage sales....wreaths, garland, leaf pic and floral picks....things I can use to decorate and make arrangements! And my neighbor, Trish, cleaned out a bunch of her holiday decor and gave me two large bags of picks and garland...wow...I have enough to make several arrangements!

Earlier this spring I bought two so-so yard urns at an auction.  I intended to paint them and use them as yard planters.... but I never got around to it!  So I decided to use them to make fall floral arrangements I've seen on Pinterest.  

And today I found two smaller square urns at Lowe's for 75% off their original price...this is the perfect time of year to pick up inexpensive urns!  Make sure you check out the garden centers for clearance urns! 

I piled all my picks and garland in the dining room so I could see exactly what I had to work with.  Wow...just wow....

After cleaning and painting the urns, I filled the bottom few inches with play sand I purchased at Lowe's.  I did this to add a little weight so they would be "balanced" and not tip over easily!  Since these urns were made for exterior planting, they had a little hole in the bottom for drainage. I put duck tape over the hole before adding the sand!!  

These urns are pretty large.  So filling them with floral foam would have been costly.  So I used brown butcher paper and spray foam insulation..... 


First I took plain brown paper and crumpled it up tightly and stuffed it in the urn.  I filled it to about 4" from the top. 

Then I added insulation spray foam to the top..... 

Major warning!!!  This stuff seriously expands!!!  I sprayed on one layer around the edges and enough to coat the paper...and then I let it expand and dry!  (and it DOES NOT come off with soap and water...have mineral spirits handy!) 

After it expanded and hardened, I sprayed on a second coat and let that expand and dry well.  I would recommend letting it sit and dry over night. 

I used about 1 1/2 cans per urn...but again, these are pretty large planters!

After it dried, I took a serrated knife (NOT an electric one!) and cut off the top so that it was pretty much flat. It is okay if it is not level with the urn rim but you do not want it higher than the rim. And it the foam does not have to be perfectly flat across the entire surface...it will be lumpy and bumpy.  That's okay...you just want to make sure all the paper is covered well and it is secure all around the edge. 

Then I painted the foam black.

I am in no way a "professional florist" but decorating one of these urns really is fairly easy! 

After the paint dried, the first thing I did was take a "berry garland" and circled the rim of the urn.  I did this by tying floral wire about every 3-4" on the garland and then sticking it into the foam.  You can also buy floral "stakes" that have wire attached to a little wood stake...you would just wrap the wire onto the garland and then stick the stakes into the foam....either way works! Most floral stems and garlands are made of coated wire and they will bend and shape very easily...just work with it until you get the "shape" you are happy with! If the garland is to long, just cut if off and make sure you secure both ends well with the little wire "stakes."

 I cut all the stems off two leaf sprays with a pair of wire cutters.  Each spray had 8-10 stems.....

Then I just began circling the rim of the urn with the leaf stems by sticking them into the foam...I alternated sticking them under and over the berry garland. There was no need to glue them because they will be pretty secure in the foam! This is just something you have to play with and keep filling it in until it looks the way you want it to.  I used two different types of stems and alternated them.... 

After my rim looked good, I added pumpkins to the middle.  For these urns I used one large pumpkin and 2-3 smaller ones and one gourd.  

Since I bought these pumpkins at auctions and garage sales, they were all different...which is good.  But I wasn't real keen on the color of a few of them... so I painted them.  I painted one white and another a metallic copper. These little pumpkins are a breeze to paint and paint can really freshen up faded or chipped pumpkins and gourds! Don't toss old foam pumpkins...just hit them with some colorful spray paint!

To secure the pumpkins, I pierced the underside with a wooden skewer and then smeared a little hot glue on the skewer before inserting it into the pumpkin.....then I just stuck the skewers into the foam in the urn where I wanted the pumpkin to sit.....

After placing the larger pumpkins and gourds in the middle, I filled in the gaps with flowers, small pumpkins, gourds and leaves.  I have some large sunflowers I bought at a garage sale and I used a few in each of the arrangements. You could use sunflowers or mums or any "fall flower." Most floral stems have wire in them and will stick right into the foam! And again, to secure even small pumpkins and gourds, just add a skewer! For the smallest pumpkins I cut the skewer in half.

These are pretty large arrangements...perfect for a porch!  You can make an arrangement like this with just about any size urn or pot...large or small...just use your imagination.  I have a few old wicker baskets I have spray painted metallic cooper and plan on making arrangements in.  I will use regular floral foam since they are wicker and the spray foam would more than likely expand through the gaps in the basket!

This is also a great arrangement for REAL pumpkins...just leave off the pumpkins in the center, and set real pumpkins on the foam.  No need to secure them but you can use the wood skewers, or even hot glue, on real pumpkins as well. 

And if you want to be frugal, you can always remove all the fall decor and add Christmas decor! Just toss the fall stuff into a bag and store it for next year! 

For each urn I used about 5 pounds of sand, some butcher paper, 1 1/2 cans of spray foam, a little black spray paint, 1 berry garland, 2 sprays of fall leaves with 8-10 branches on each spray, 1 large pumpkin and 3-4 smaller pumpkins and gourds, 2 large sunflowers and a few extra fall picks as fillers.  

I also took a little picnic style basket, sprayed it metallic copper and filled it with pine cones and a few little fall leaves and pumpkins.  Then I painted the underside of the lid with chalkboard paint.... 

To stinking cute if you ask me....  

I love fall!