10/11/12

Day Three: Failure


I walked into the office today and thought I could whip up a quick DIY for Elizabeth Street. Their first! My concept: The other colors of fall. I decided to paint a pumpkin black and I fill it up with white flowers. I wanted a break from the oranges and yellows and maroons I've been seeing everywhere. Plus, I thought it would go well with their audience! Stylish moms in NYC love black! I would use the clean modern lines of my office furniture as the background. It would be so easy, beautiful even. But the reality? Black blobs.

Once I added the flowers, it ended up looking like a sad wedding DIY.  Too formal and serious for a silly holiday like Halloween. I worked on them all day and the results were dismal. The biggest embarrassment is that it was an office event! Everyone was laughing as they helped me carve and scoop out the seeds, even helped me paint. And eventually, they tried to make it work.  But it was no use. I still have time to save it before my first story is due on Monday. But oh my. It's going to need a miracle. Help me!

For comfort, I googled "failure leads to success" tonight. Over and over I read that it's more important to learn from mistakes than the actual mistake itself. And that Michael Jordan is the poster child for failure.  Always. Seriously--why is he always mentioned in failure essays? Surely, their are bigger losers than him to drive the point. 

The lesson I learned today was that I was over confident in my idea. I used up all my supplies before I made sure I knew the results. Next time, I'll start small.  

I'll keep you posted on where this goes. Whether it's the trash or the spotlight. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the fun!

41 comments:

  1. Aww! I'm sure you'll figure something out! I think they're just too black... maybe highlighting the vertical lines on the pumpkins with a gray or silver or something? Bring the details of the pumpkins back into focus... And/or, could you carve a word into them and fill them with candles instead of flowers. Closer to a traditional jack-o-lantern but the black and letters instead of a face for a twist?

    Good luck!

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  2. I actually in my classroom spray paint pumpkins with black chalk board paint. I don't carve them. Then we do an emotions lessons and my students (who have autism) practice drawing faces on them. We draw sad faces, happy faces, scared faces, mad faces etc. Since its chalk we can mess up and re do as many times as we need to.

    What about drilling into the pumpkins to create holes to stick flowers in?

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  3. Not that I'm laughing at your suffering, I feel you I really do, but this kind of cracked me up. I could just see myself in your position doing the same thing. But I'm sure it can be salvaged. You could scrape bits of the black paint off revealing the pumpkin underneath, or maybe stencil another paint color on top - say with a nice lace design or something? That seems like it would be an easy enough save. Good luck to you, and don't be disheartened!

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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  4. First of all, you took a risk (google that, it's an important aspect of achieving success too) so pat yourself on the pack for that. Not to mention, a risk on day three takes some cahones and most people aren't confident enough to put themselves out there like that. I've just started following your blog because I am ready to make a career change/shift. My contract expires in ten months and I need my next step to be in the right direction. First thing on my list is to figure out which direction that is! Regardless, I'm enjoying your journey and there will be ups and downs and it is exciting.

    As for fall, another thing that comes to mind every year for me is texture. Tweed, wool, dried leaves, leather, pie crust, squash (mmm)... maybe you can look at your fall project from a different perspective. Also, when black fails you navy is always there to lend a new perspective. Best of luck but take pride in taking the risk and doing it with conviction, not just one pumpkin, but ten!

    hellobougeotte.blogspot.com

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  5. Go back and read your post about getting the job! You were so excited and your enthusiasm was contagious - I was over the moon with excitement for you and we don't even know each other of course! I have enjoyed your blog so much. You will create an excellent first project. It is in you! Also, quit calling yourself a loser. From where I sit, you are the opposite:)

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  6. I actually really like the black pumpkins. They're very sleek. I'm not exactly sure how those flowers would look in them but I don't think it would be bad!

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  7. Try carving out white pumpkins! ...then whatever color flower you feel like! (I don't know of much in the realm of black flowers... but something else could be good!)

    ... or there are those gorgeous pale orange pumpkins that are so much more chic and somehow more organic looking than their bright counterparts. Whole Foods (at least the one on Houston and 2nd) has a beautiful assortment.

    Cheers! and congrats on the job!

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  8. Aww! Options:
    1. Color block http://www.illistyle.com/2012/09/26/color-block-pumpkins/
    2. Add simple words/motifs http://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/09/its-pumpkin-week-make-subway-pumpkins.html
    3. Ombre it out? http://www.marthastewart.com/269770/a-palette-of-pumpkins
    4. Skip the pumpkins. Do branches instead i.e. Jenna Lyons
    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/for-sale-the-stylish-home-of-j-160378
    5. Black vases and keep the white flowers. (minus the creepy weird spiders/snakes on this picture) http://www.marthastewart.com/854497/deranged-halloween-centerpiece

    GOOD luck! :) Best wishes from Dublin

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  9. maybe try and "beetlejuice" the pumpkins? Like paint white strips on them instead of all black?

    google Tim Burton for inspiration--he's a genius with black and white in him films...

    good luck!

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much for beeltejuice idea! i just watched that move last weekend :) i'm doing it and giving you the credit of course. look for the post on thursday on Elizabeth Street!! i'll keep you posted.

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    2. hey--forgot to tell you. i accidentally bought white OIL paint so i couldn't make this pumpkin. sorry :(

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  10. Add glitter! You can save it!

    Glitter glue, puff paint in polka dots or stripes might work? Or pray paint in metallic shades could make it cool. Metallic = chic :)

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  11. Doing small white intricate polkadots in linear patterns/stripes or something day of the dead inspired would be great! Anthropologie had a store display where they had used pushpins to create textured designs on them too, or you could use the trick of putting white/nude stockings over the pumpkin for a patterned effect. You have so many options!! Good luck! -Mo

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  12. Everyone beat me to it. I was thinking fun designs with silver gel pens or paint would lighten them up. :)

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  13. I love Sadie's idea of black chalkboard paint with faces that can be changed by whoever walks by!
    Instead of flowers, fill the big pumpkin with lots of smaller gourds..painted or unpainted.

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  14. Halloween is suppose to be a little creepy, put the flowers in upside down with the stems sticking out.

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  15. Thanks for sharing! It's nice to see the winners and sometimes the not so winners of DYI projects. I agree with the day of the dead suggestion, linear patterns, chevrons are big, silver sharpies. I'd lose the white flowers. I love that these are more modern chic and a little less Martha.

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  16. Maybe try using fake pumpkins and then spray paint them black, silver, or white and use colored or white flowers inside.

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  17. Use a SUPER high gloss black and keep some with the tops on. I saw some high gloss black pumpkins in the window of a floral shop where I live and they look erie and wicked.

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  18. I would paint the tops out black as well and put them back on. Then either carve them out with images that are traditionally black (i.e cats, bats, and witches) and light them like a regular jack-o-lantern. Leave some of them whole too. I think it could be awesome and look great on the mid-century furniture (but ditch the flowers.).

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  19. If you saved the tops/stems, I would spray paint those gold and put them back on. Chic a la Tom Dixon light fixtures. If you wanted "more" you could do some designs in gold paint/pen. Geometrics/triangles would be cool. I'd ditch the flowers. Whatever you do will be awesome. (I am actually going to try a black pumpkin with a gold top. I've inspired myself!)

    PS *Congrats on the new job! I love your writing.

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  20. If you saved the tops/stems, I would spray paint those gold and put them back on. Chic a la Tom Dixon light fixtures. If you wanted "more" you could do some designs in gold paint/pen. Geometrics/triangles would be cool. I'd ditch the flowers. Whatever you do will be awesome. (I am actually going to try a black pumpkin with a gold top. I've inspired myself!)

    PS *Congrats on the new job! I love your writing.

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  21. Welcome to the working world.

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  22. http://camillestyles.com/halloween/10-best-pretty-pumpkins/?slide=4#slideshow

    I commented earlier under anon about day of the dead and patterns, and when I saw this on Pintrest tonight I had to send the link! -Mo

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  23. Sharon, I love your blog! I agree with Kristin, no more loser talk! You are raising 3 kids which, I would imagine means you AT LEAST feed, bath and cloth them everyday. I can hardly do those 3 things for myself everyday! I'm not a mom, but I can see why you would say that. I work only part time as an English teacher, and all though it's fun and had lots of vacation, the pay is nothing to brag about and I have a lot more potential! But we hope to have kids soon and I enjoy the freedom and non-stress of the job. Sadly, unless you are bring home the $$$, you feel like you aren't doing anything, but it's not true! In a perfect world, being a (great) mom would be the highest paid career choice! Congrats on the job and good luck with the pumpkins! You are very brave and I know you will come up with something fabulous! But those kids to work! Just remember failure is not a option!

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  24. Hmm, I really like the black pumpkins! I think they would look really cute and halloweenish with some green mums. I do like the above ideas of adding some sparkle. But, I think it is awesome that you are willing to share when you feel like something does not quite measure up. Like your interest ombre cake that one time.

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  25. use a drill and drill 30 holes all around the pumpkin- flameless votives...now that would look really neat! sparkle silvery spray paint and "stary night pumpkin" is the new black! Fun idea hope you can at least jack-o-latern the black ones for a few days!

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  26. I find your DIY failure sort of refreshing. There is so much ridiculous nonsense on Pinterest, and it's honestly a nice, relatable change of pace to read about someone trying to do something cool and experiencing underwhelming results. My favorite thing about your blog is your practicality and down-to-earth personality. That's also something I like about Cup of Jo, too - both of you actually seem like normal people who don't spend your days gilding acorn squash and making braided (fishtail, of course) mats out of corn husks.

    The best thing about your blog is the sense of humor you have about all of this, the way you openly acknowledge how your kids really don't give a crap about their adorable, fashionable American Apparel clothes, how they're just KIDS. It's so nice. It feels authentic.

    Ella's feature on Cup of Jo has been my favorite tutorial she's ever posted. It was a breath of fresh air to see photos of a kid acting like a kid. Your family is so cool. No pinnable pumpkins required.

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  27. Congrats on the job, am super jealous! I love Elizabeth Street - am one of their Moms featured in the archives when they were just starting up. I really hope it goes well and you manage the juggle of Mom life and working life! Good on you!

    simplystylishmom.com

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  28. I would say, add some gold and get some wild flowers instead of white ones. :)

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  29. ny and black pumpkins does sound like peanut butter and jelly.
    maybe you might want to add some grafiti or splatter paint. a la jackson pollack.
    i have twin boys too....
    pve

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much for the jackson pollack idea! i'm doing it and giving you and your the credit (of course!) look for the post on thursday on Elizabeth Street!! i'll keep you posted.

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  30. Hey Shanon you must be so upset, because your post almost made me cry. Don't give up. Use any of the ideas above which are great. I have a small one : why don't you hand paint a heart or an "X" on the pumpkins with gold acrylic paint or any other craft paint in gold that you might find. And the white roses are what makes it a sad wedding. Change them with white dry flowers or wildflowers immediately. Or or or, if you haven't tossed them, spray the roses' branches or "tails" white and use them instead. Hope you get a way to make it work. Don't be harsh on yourself. Good luck :)

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much for the hand painted heart idea! i'm doing it and giving you the credit of course. look for the post on thursday on Elizabeth Street!! i'll keep you posted.

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  31. Congrats on the new job:) These pumpkins are for moms,right? How about getting orange or glow in the dark tempra paint and having their kids' handprints on the outside of the pumpkin? Fill the pumkins with pumpkin spice wax and make a candle. Turn off the lights. Light the candle and there will be cute hand prints of their kids on the outside of the pumpkin....glowing in the dark!:)
    ~C

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  32. forget the white flowers - it's oct 31 for heaven sake....

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  33. i say glitter bomb the heck out of the pumpkins.

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  34. Hey - love your blog! And congrats on the job! I've been sitting on this same pumpkin idea as you for a few weeks now and am brewing up something of my own for my blog elysereagan.blogspot.com. It involves small white and those light orange pumpkins with sequins starting off really heavy around the stem and getting less and less frequent as it moves down the pumpkin. I thought it would be perfect to do with kids and still be a presentable centerpiece at the table. Maybe you can modify that for your black pumpkins? I agree with whoever above said leave the stems on to better identify it as a pumpkin and then some orange/white/gold/silver sequins could really pop against the black...

    If I ever get around to DIYing this on my blog I'll link it here for you to see! (As I'm sure you're already seeing, working full time and maintaining a personal blog is not a perfected art!)

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  35. Hi, If you want to salvage, one thing you could do was just scrape some of the paint off (using some designs) to show the orange from the pumpkins. And then you could fill it up with orange/yellow or mix of both flowers rather than white!
    Prachi

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  36. Congratulations on the new job!I really enjoy your post!

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