I know several holiday birthdays -- my dad's brother was
born on Christmas Day, my brother's birthday always fell during our school's
spring break and
was born on All Hallow's Eve. Perhaps when you're born influences who you
become to a degree. My uncle became a preacher. My brother has always been
a laid back spring break sort of guy. And
well, she has no problem wearing Jack-O-Lantern socks in February.
One fall during college, I was MegaBroke (TM). I'm sure I ended up buying
her something, but the highlight of my gifts to
that year were a couple of computer wallpaper images that I made. The most
notable listed all of the famous people born on October 31 -- she's in good
This year, I joked that I was once again too poor to buy her anything for
her birthday. She's like my mom -- she told me that making her something
would mean just as much. The funny thing is that I'd already planned on doing
And now, the first-ever Deadline Pressure photo entry...
Martha Stewart meet The Fletch-O-Lantern.
||No fancy carving
kits here, kids. After all, the broke thing isn't just an excuse. I did find
that a raid of my mom's knife drawer would yield everything I needed -- and
more. As with any construction project, it is impossible to have many tools.
However, remember that safety is important. You will want to maintain the
proper amount of fingers.
It had been years
since I'd last carved a pumpkin... and I was carving this one without any
supervision. So, I was a little worried when it took me several cycles of
cuts before the top finally popped off. When I finally scalped it, I learned
that all of my cuts hadn't been at the same angle. Obviously, that's a problem
when you're carving the world's thickest pumpkin.
||I am an emergency
medical technician. This means that, during the course of my job, I occasionally
see, smell & touch nasty things. You might think that this alone would
mean that I am brave beyond my years. Well, you would think wrong. I'm not
ashamed to admit that I wore latex gloves for the gutting of the pumpkin.
Pumpkins guts are much nastier than anything I might find hanging out of
you. (Please God, don't prove me wrong next shift.)
||I caught an
episode of Ms. Stewart's show a few nights before carving my pumpkin. She
demonstrated taping the stencil to the pumpkin and cutting through the stencil.
Well, that was a failure -- so much so that there are no pictures of the
effort. Martha is obviously better at getting good stock tips than she is
at pumpkin carving. So, I drew the design directly on the pumpkin and began
cutting. (I might add that this was no store-bought stencil... it was created
on my own with a Bic pen & a sheet of copy paper.)
||If you're a
Scout, don't do this... you'll get a corner or two taken off your ol'
Totin' Chip. If you do decide to take the blade of a
sharp steak knife into your unprotected hand, be sure to hold a camera with
your other hand and balance the pumpkin precariously on your knee to maximize
the danger of the effort. It's not about safety here, it's about getting
good art for the photo entry.
is the finished product still on the operating table (note the slightly chopped
up stencil to Jack's left). Some might suggest that carving a pumpkin on
your mom's dining room table isn't a good idea. I figure that if your mom
once set said table on fire
(as my mom did),
then pumpkin carving is the least of her worries. As it turns out, I was
right. She didn't object.
not totally cheap. I actually spent money on gifts, including the appropriately
dressed bear. I often worry about buying the obvious gifts... but, like I
wears Halloween socks year round. She likes the holiday. A jack-o-lantern
bear worked nicely. Of course, I don't think I've ever given this much orange
to anyone before. (Also, how great does that truck look?)
admitted that at first glance, she thought the design was a drum. Oops. However,
she quickly came to her senses and saw that it was a birthday cake. (Maybe
I should have explained that to you guys before now. I can hear you
all now, "Oh, it's a cake? Ummm... okay... yeah... We can see it now...
hmmm.) To paint a better picture, here's the jack-o-lantern at