We are headed out to the pumpkin patch for round one of pumpkin picking this weekend. We do an early pumpkin carving and another one just a couple days before Halloween. This year I am incredibly intrigued by all the awesome carving I see going around on things other than pumpkins. I mean, if you think about it – why should pumpkins have all the fun!?! Let’s carve a pineapple instead… or a pepper, or an apple, and possibly my favorite – an orange. You can carve any fruit imaginable, just hallow it out and get slicing.
While I search for anything else I can carve, here are a few other awesome pumpkin ideas you might want to try:
We are definitely trying squash carving this year
Carve and paint with metalics for this awesome doorstop look
Star studded carved luminarias are super pretty
Use a cookie cutter for easy carving form – genius!
And this tip for using bleach to preserve pumpkins is super smart
Have a great weekend! xoxo
(Photography by Amy Covington for A Subtle Revelry).
(The following excerpt from 5 Tips For Handling A Bad Mood by Toni Bernhard, J.D., recently appeared on psychologytoday.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)
Two weeks ago, I was in a bad mood—a mood so bad that it qualified for what we (un)affectionately refer to in our household as a foul mood. A bunch of little irritations had added up: some yarn I wanted was two weeks overdue in the mail; I couldn’t find a book I was looking for; the pull cord on one of my bedroom shades was hopelessly tangled. (I’ll spare you the rest.)
I don’t get in bad moods very often, but it happens and, to be frank, it feels awful. (A bad mood is to be distinguished from a heavy or dark mood that goes unchanged for weeks at a time. The latter could be a sign of clinical depression in which case I hope you’ll seriously consider seeking the advice of a counselor.)
Here are five suggestions for skillfully handling a bad mood:
Make an effort not to inflict your mood on others.
I try hard not to inflict a bad mood on those around me (usually my husband). And, when I slip up, I push myself to apologize even if I don’t feel like it. Not only is an apology a nice gesture toward another, but I’ve notice it can lessen the intensity of a bad mood. I think it’s because, when you apologize, you’re forced to reach out to another person and that takes you out of your self-focused mind set.
Cut yourself some slack.
I’ve yet to spend time with anyone who hasn’t been in a bad mood now and then. In a May, 2010 interview with Time Magazine, the Dalai Lama said that he still gets angry; I assume this means that he still can get in a bad mood. Many years ago, I had a Buddhist teacher who was wise and insightful…and subject to bad moods. I never knew what mood I’d encounter when I met with him.
The take away from these two examples is this: if these two people can be in a bad mood, feel free to cut yourself some slack when it happens to you! Adding a negative judgment to your mood, such as “I shouldn’t feel this way” does nothing but increase the likelihood that a bad mood will turn into a foul one. So, instead of blaming yourself, let it be okay with you to be in a bad mood now and then. It’s just one of the full range of emotions that everyone experiences in life.
When it happens, treat yourself with understanding and kindness, and see if there’s a way to ease how bad you’re feeling. A temporary distraction can help, such as a favorite movie or a warm bath.
In How to Wake Up, I offer a four-step approach for working skillfully with an unpleasant mood or emotion. The third step is to investigate it. Sometimes this can yield surprisingly fruitful results. The day before this past Christmas, I was in a bad mood. My husband seemed quite cheerful, so I resolved not to inflict it on him. Instead, I decided to investigate why I was in such a funk.
I know that I can be a bit sad at times during the holidays, but I don’t recall ever being in such a bad mood right before Christmas—so cranky and irritable. Using investigation to think about my life, I uncovered a negative association I have with Christmas. I realized that, for me, it’s associated with loss—one loss after another.
When I was ten years old, my father died just before Christmas. I felt his absence every Christmas after that until I met my husband and began to spend Christmas with his family. My father-in-law, Huey, took the place of my dad. They were both kind, gentle, and good-natured men. I even remember telling my husband that Huey had become my Santa Claus because they both embodied good will and the cheerful spirit of Christmas. Then Huey died when I was 37, and Christmas lost its luster again.
I took refuge in the traditions we’d developed with our own children, but when they grew up and started families of their own, they started their own traditions. We know we’re welcome to join them (my daughter at her house in Los Angeles and my son at his in-laws near San Diego), but I’m too sick to travel. Another loss associated with the holidays.
This reflective investigation led me to see that this mild sadness I tend to feel when the holidays roll around had turned into a bad mood this year simply because of the cumulative effect of all those losses. As soon as I realized that I associate Christmas with loss, my bad mood turned into a blue mood—a familiar sadness that softened my heart and made it possible for compassion to arise over how hard this time of year can be for me.
When I compassionately accepted those losses as part of my life story, the blue mood eventually lifted, and I was able to make the best of the Christmas that lay before me.
Put your mood in perspective and consider reaching out to someone in need.
Yes, my mom was one of those parents who said: “Eat your food; there are children starving in China.” I consider it admirable that I never imposed this on my own children as they were trying to enjoy a meal. That said, thinking about how insignificant a bad mood is compared to the suffering in the world can put that mood into perspective. Imagine trying to raise your children in Syria right now, never knowing when explosives may hit your house. Imagine being a refugee, living in a tent city due to warfare or a natural disaster.
Putting a bad mood into perspective can not only make it less intense, but can inspire you to reach out to someone in need. Helping others is another skillful way to lessen the intensity of a bad mood. It works. I know, because I’ve tried it. The trick, of course, is remembering to try it. Practice helps; with practice, reaching out to others can become a habit. I find these words from Buddhist teacher Kathleen McDonald to be inspiring: “Use your own problems to remember that others have problems too.”
Let it be until it runs its course.
I used to worry that a bad mood was the sign of a “new me”—that it was here to stay. But no bad mood has ever taken up permanent residence in my mind. This is because a mood is a mental state that arises due to causes and conditions of the moment, and those causes and conditions will change (that yarn I was waiting for did, indeed, arrive). Realizing the fleeting nature of a bad mood can help you hold it more lightly until it runs its course and passes out of your mind.
In my book, I call this “letting it be,” and it’s the last step in that four-step approach to working skillfully with a painful mood or emotion. A bad mood is only a temporary visitor. It’s no big deal. When it happens, let it be without aversion, and try the suggestions in this piece:
(The following excerpt from This Woman Rowed Across Three Oceans By Herself by Jennifer Reingold recently appeared on fortune.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)
What Roz Savage learned in the process can help you, too.
Existential crises happen. Most people buy a sports car. But when Roz Savage—then a consultant in her 30s—had one, she did something rather different. With no experience except for a stint on the crew team while she was a student at Oxford University, she decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean… alone.
Savage’s decision changed her life forever. Before first hitting the water in 2005, she sold her car, quit her job at UBS as an IT project manager and left her husband, a consultant. After 103 days of rowing, she made it across the Atlantic in early 2006. She added to her list of feats by rowing the Pacific and the Indian Oceans in the following years.
On Wednesday morning, Savage spoke at a breakfast sponsored by Gannett GCI 1.32% . It’s amazing to meet someone who did more than just think big. She set an incomprehensibly tough goal and met it. The biggest takeaway from my conversation with her: She somehow willed herself to succeed at something so unbelievably hard.
Her adventures put my life into perspective. Suddenly, getting my two kids dressed and breakfasted before school and showing up on-time to work didn’t seem nearly as intimidating as it had 30 minutes earlier.
It’s worth noting that Savage, an English daughter of two Methodist church employees, didn’t start off thinking of herself as exceptional. She was smart and bookish, and aspired to a bourgeois life, as so many of us do. The problem was that when she got it, the happiness she had expected to come along with material comfort never came. So at the age of 32, she sat down and completed a self-help exercise in which she wrote two versions of her obituary—one if her life stayed the same, the other if she had “lived her life in full.” “I wish I could say I quit my job the next day and told my boss where to go,” she said, “but it took longer than that.”
Savage, despite being just 5’4” and with no ocean experience, decided to row. She picked rowing because she had always loved the sea and wanted to draw attention to the pollution of the oceans. On her first trip, her satellite phone broke, leaving her alone on the water without outside communications for more than a month.
“It was a crash course in personal development,” she said. When asked why she would pursue something so crazy, she laughed wryly at her answer: She wanted to get out of her comfort zone.
That she did. During the worst moments, when Savage was covered with saltwater sores and ailing from tendinitis in her shoulders from the many hours of rowing, she realized what personal development truly meant. “I learned that it was the suffering that made [the challenge] truly worthwhile.”
After success in the Atlantic, Savage set new goals. She went on to row the Pacific Ocean (an early attempt was aborted when her boat capsized, but she persevered, trying again the next year; she described having to be rescued as one of the most devastating parts of the whole experience) and in 2010, she conquered the Indian Ocean (during which her radio actually worked, allowing her to listen to 270 audiobooks).
Savage recently retired (“I was becoming too comfortable,” she says, incredibly). Savage has written two books and speaks frequently about her journey. She’s also working on building affordable floating homes in the UK. This, ladies, is one truly powerful woman.