Autumn decorating with Gourds.



SHHHHHHHhhhh. Please. Just shut up for a minute. I’m trying to figure out a way to make this DIY seem more complicated than it is. To, you know, give me street cred.

Ummmmmmmm. Nope. Can’t do it. It’s too easy.

Every year I go into the grocery store and see huge bins overflowing with weirdo looking gourds. After I get everything I need to buy, which is usually milk, bread, olives and cat food, I saunter up the “the bin”, position myself right in front of it, and stare.

I’ve been known to stare into that bin until my milk goes bad and the produce manager has to call security because I’ve gone into one of my gourd trances. There are so many to choose from. So many colours and shapes and sizes. After spending somewhere between half an hour and 3 weeks in front of this bin, I walk away. Empty handed. (‘Cept for the cat food, some kind of loitering ticket and a stern warning from the grocery store police.)

But this year when I started my gourd gazing, what I was going to do with them and which ones I needed, came to me instantly. As to why this happened, your guess is as good as mine. Providing your guess is my fear of grocery store jail time. They shove you in with all the rotten produce, you know.

Yup, I was quick, quick, quick with my selections this year. My plan: Get all different shapes and sizes, but keep the colour palette the same. Whites and light greens.

I also knew exactly what I was going to do with them once I got home.  Each gourd was going on top of one of my many silver(ish) candlesticks.

I’m not sure how I got so many of these silver candlesticks but apparently I have a collection, even though I had no idea I was actually collecting them.
Gourds 6


Thrift stores are great places to get these sorts of candlesticks cheap.

Gourds 2
To finish the whole thing off I set the candlesticks on a silver tray. This happens to belong to my mother. A silver plated tray like this one usually costs around $75 from an antique store.
Gourds 5


A loitering ticket on the other hand, will cost you $195.


  1. Liz says:

    I’ve just got to say that staring into gourds reminds me of a small part from a series of books where someone else must break your eye contact with the gourds or you’ll be stuck forever.

    I’m glad you’ve overcome this.

    Also I like what you’ve done here.

  2. TC says:

    This is a great presentation. Sometimes simple is just the best.

  3. Tash @ The Dreamhouse Project says:

    I feel like I must be the only one on the interwebs that completely does not understand the obsession that everyone has with gourds. I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because they’re a part of the whole ‘fall’ thing which to me just means that sweet spot of impending pneumonia that comes with my severe obsessive need to cling to summer weather and the doom & gloom of seasonal depression that is winter. Or maybe their weird bumpiness usually frightens me. I don’t know which…

    All that said, these look kinda awesome. The silver mixed with the whites & light greens in all the different shapes & sizes is just…well really pretty. Almost whimsical. 🙂 Great job!

    • Meg says:

      Hahah I disagree – I think we reached the whimsy threshold! One always sees these in rustic displays with burlap and dried out husks of various plants. To me, this is unexpected and playful!

  4. dana says:

    LOVE IT!!!! maybe i will do this. wait. i cant because i have no silver candlesticks. now look what you have started, karen. i now need to peruse & stalk thrift stores & goodwills. On a side note: do you have Goodwill stores in Canada?

    • Amie says:

      Yep! We have Goodwill! We also have Good Ole Sally Anne (street talk for Salvation Army Thrift Store) and Value Village. Goodwill’s prices are always much cheaper than Value Village.

      • Barb says:

        Amie! God Bless You for bringing up a fun memory for me. My mom used to call all thrift stores Sally’s. When we were wee ones and people would ask where we got the awesome outfit or cute toy we always said “at Sally’s”. It took us kids years to catch onto that one. And we still all laugh about it to this day. Thanks! Barb

  5. Susan Dulley says:

    I do the same thing every fall…stand looking at the gourds and mini pumpkins, including the Pie Pumpkins, and I never buy any! Probably because I have in the past and once you smell a rotting gourd in your house, you never really recover from that. However, the way you have opted to display your gourds is very smart, if they are receiving enough air and are not touching each other then the chances of rot is reduced immeasurably. Great idea, but, I am still not buying any. I will however buy some Root Candles at work today, and begin my winter evening candle ritual. Always have candles lit in the evenings when it is cool and crisp outdoors. Just makes home seem homier…Have a great day and thanks again for sharing.

  6. Marti says:

    Zombies. I’m going to paint faces on mine and march them along my window sills, like zombies. It’ll no doubt start a national craze for zombie gourds. Maybe I’ll write a script for a movie about them.

    Mind if I use that really warty looking one with the long stem as inspiration?

  7. Kelly says:

    you made me laugh and i haven’t even had my first sip of my first coffee yet!! thanks for a great start to a Monday morning. but as to decorating with gourds or dare i say it, squash, i’d much prefer to bake and eat them with butter and brown sugar. By the way, if you want to see some serious gourds sometime, well, okay, PUMPKINS, which are related, come on down to NS to Windsor. You can stay with us for a weekend in our rather eccentric house overlooking the Bay of Fundy and we’ll take you to see the Pumpkin Regatta. They grow the world’s biggest pumpkins here – running 1400-1800 pounds, then hollow them out and paddle them across the pond. of course, the fun part is watching the occasional one capsize dumping the two grown adults paddling it into the cold water. What could be more fun?

  8. marsha gaspari says:

    Do read “it’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers” on
    P.s. glad you’re back.

  9. Linda J Howes says:

    You are Martha in the making.

    • Grammy says:

      No, no, NO! Karen is NOT “Martha in the making.”

      Karen is an original.

      And better than Martha.

      Karen’s ideas can be accomplished by normal people, she is very good at showing us how to do things, when something goes wrong she shows us that, and she’s funny. Very, very funny.

      Martha is pleasant. Not funny.

  10. marli says:

    Son brought me three from the farm he works on. Daughter knows what they are and wants them to become rattlers. Which works for me.
    Husband wanted to know when we were eating them.
    They are on my windowsill, simply because I’m not a gourd person.
    Daughter can have them 🙂

  11. Ten points for a great display and for shopping in your own cupboards. I think you might find weird succulents(these are plants, by the way)good for indecisive obsessing also. There are so many interesting types and they are as easy care as gourds that you didn’t buy because you were mesmerized. I definitely approve of the unconscious collecting and the loitering. That’s right up there with lurking. It’s all good.

  12. saf affect says:

    Simple works for me! 🙂

  13. marilyn says:

    love it..i’m a silver kind of gal and always feel that simple is best..i will be a copy cat on this one.

  14. Kara says:

    Awesome, Karen. Those are ‘gourdgeous’.

  15. Janet says:

    What a great way to show off gourds! I plop mine in an old dough bowl, but you can’t really see their uniqueness that way. Will have to try this with my, ahem, non-collection of glass candlesticks. Thanks for the idea and keep ’em coming!

  16. says:

    and you know what they say… “lovely is as lovely does”.

  17. christine says:


  18. Sandy says:

    Simple but elegant. I love it!

  19. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..I thought of something to make it sound more difficult..”Karen..How do you decide which gourd goes on which candlestick???” I would probably change them around 72 times before I get it yeah..I got a gourd on Friday that looks like an Octopus! Well..that’s what I see anyhow..Very pretty..

    • Pam'a says:

      You know she’s gotten up in the middle of the night at least once to rearrange these, or you haven’t been reading her long. 😉

  20. That is so pretty! Sorry about your loitering ticket. You could have bought your own tray or two for the cost of your ticket….hehe

  21. Vicky says:

    My cats would have the display knocked over in a heart beat! Then the goards would become cat toys. Oh well, better cats than goards.

  22. Michele says:

    I am so doing this… as soon as I get all of the tools that need organizing and a place to go off of my dining room table. :/

  23. The thing I want to know is whether the silver tray was borrowed from your mother or appropriated. You see, I know all about appropriating things from Momma’s house. Things I would like to have a little longer than borrowing allows. She got to where she would ask me if such-and-such was down at my house and then I would allow her to borrow it back for a while. Your gourd arrangement is very original. As Kara said, “Gourdgeous.”

  24. Kathy Hartzell says:

    But, Karen, you have a cat….as do I, and these grounds would be lying all over the table, fall to floor, get bruised and squishy…

    Oh, wait, other people’s cats KNOW the dining table is off limits!!!

    Seriously, tho, do you impale them or does that hasten rotting??

  25. magali says:

    love this!

  26. Lisa says:

    To make them even more fun…GROW them yourself! I love growing them. I get a giggle when I see how one trailing vine can grow so many different varieties. And the super bonus…. they are so very easy to grow. Plant along a fence or trellis and let them do their thing. Amazing! Then after you have harvested you can just spray them with a clear spray paint or coat with shellac if you want them nice and shiny to show off their colors and textures. So much more fun then paying for them at the grocery store.

  27. Debbie says:

    Please add a like button for comments! I love the comments (and of course I love your ideas).

  28. SK Farm Girl says:

    Stunning! Beautiful! Love it! Way-cool! I envision a coven of witches sat around your table cackling and sloshing their goblets of wine as they cast evil spells on their ex-warlocks! *cackle* *cackle* *cackle*

  29. Laura Bee` says:

    Lovely as usual. And unusual as well. There’s no way I could have this with – as some have mentioned – cats & an almost three year old. I stick all mine by the front steps so the squirrels can eat them. My pumpkins & Indian corn also get enjoyed.
    p.s. I need to find a pie pumpkin by the weekend – attempting my first pie with a fresh pumpkin. Have to go find your post on that….

  30. Grammy says:

    You can’t do that if there’s a man in the house.

    Every single day the gourds would topple off the candlesticks and the ‘sticks would be knocked over on their sides and each time you would hear “Oops, sorry,” as the perpetrator rebounded from bumping into the table because why the heck do we have a bunch of vegetables nobody eats sitting up on those tall things just waiting for him to walk through the dining room?

    Did I say that out loud? Sorry, I was just ruminating on how lovely that would look on my dining table.

    • kathy says:

      See, I’m not the only one who thinks they’d all tumble down….only it would be from my cats……

      Karen, I have a sore tummy from laughing from your response to my inquiry about you IMPALING THE GOURDS……I have to admit, it’s long been a Halloween tradition to have cats look like they are impaled on sticks, hasn’t it? I mean, those things you find at JoAnns to stick in the ground by your front door – sticks with cats on top….black cats…..kind of a gruesome image, if you think it through. Need to get the SPCA on this asap!

  31. Michelle Z says:

    That looks great! My mind is reeling with the possibilities of collections of things I could stick on top of candlesticks!

    Also, wouldn’t it be amazing if you sat in the morning admiring your autumn tablescape while drinking your pumpkin spice coffee from this? (apologies for posting coarse language, but it is part of the url):

  32. Katherine says:

    Can you eat them?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katherine – Nope. These types of gourds are exclusively decorative. Although there *are* some types of squash that are very ornamental but also edible. ~ karen!

  33. JBess says:

    Ok, you have probably read this already, it’s a few years old. In fact it’s becoming an annual tradition with me because I somehow wind up digging this up every fall and sending it to someone….

    It makes me laugh every time 🙂

  34. Barbie says:

    …..I really really like this!

    PS: What kind of gourd is that tall one off to the side atop that candlestick that is “not” on the
    appropriated” platter? …it’s my favorite!

  35. Pam'a says:

    I’m the person that comes along after you’re done loitering and actually buys the weird gourds, usually the white goose-shaped ones. This year I pearlized a trio and drew on some tiny eyes. They’re kind of elegant.

    If you poke a couple of holes in the bottom, gourds usually dry nicely. Mine live in a big glass jug.

  36. Ive Anderson says:

    Do not Shush me, i hate that! :/

  37. theresa says:

    I covet your collection ’cause it is very clean and timeless to work with which got me thinking–what if you spray painted them flat black or glossy white to make them even more textual…I expect to see glitzy Christmas ornaments used in the same way in a few months.

  38. Kathy says:

    didn’t have my spects on, darling. i was peering at the screen, trying on “decorating with curds”? heaven forbid, “turds”?

    didn’t expect to leave THIS as my first ever comment on your marvelous blog.

  39. says:

    great put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector ddo not notice this.
    You shhould proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’
    base already!

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