Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gum Ball Art

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that there is one thing that I am not so fond of in my Georgia Garden. Sweet Gum trees! Arg, just to say that name makes me cringe. The trees themselves are okay because they can be pretty in the fall and provide shade in the summer. One thing I detest in them is this one bad habit they have. Can you see that habit in this picture below?
Seed pods (Gum Balls) all over the driveway and in my landscaped grassy areas of the yard. Arg, they are such a pest that we have taken the chain saw to many of them in areas where they wreak havoc. The two trees that dropped these few pods are on the list for the next Chain Saw massacre!
Being the nice soul I can be, I really do try to like the Sweet Gum Trees but those pods. Gee, what a pain in my behind they are. They dull the lawn mower blades when I fail to pick them up before mowing. Who wants to pick the things up? My back aches just thinking about it. There are so many of them. If they were pecans I could make pecan pies or sell them and make money! But these things are worthless. Or are they?
The Saints mom found a way to turn them into a work of art. Just look at the Sweet Gum Ball Reindeer she made for us!

Just look at that cute face with Acorn nose, Berry eyes, Twig antlers and Pine cone ears and tail. Other then glue, they are all natural being a gift from Mother Nature.
A sweet Gum Ball never looked so good to me before.
Crafter's, mom's and dad's looking for a fun thing to do with the kids this boring winter, get your glue gun out and start playing!
I am not sure if Mom B created this gum ball deer or borrowed the idea from another crafter but they are just down right adorable to this gum ball hater! Thanks again Mom B for the adorable Reindeer you made us!

I was out in the yard a few days ago and decided to pick up some of the pesky Gum Ball's in case anyone would like to try their hand at this fun idea or have another idea for Gum Ball's. If anyone would like me to mail you a few, let me know as I will be glad to get rid of as many of them as I can. Maybe you can come up with a fun GUM BALL ART creation of your own while not, In the Garden... 

Since this post gets SO many hits I thought I'd point you all to the blogger who did this post so you can find some more of her wonderful crafts. If you liked this post please go and visit Dawn on her blog found here and called C & G Design. She is quite the crafter! 

Words and photos property of In the Garden Blog and are NOT to be copied, lifted, or fed and posted on any other website. Thanks!


  1. How creative! I love it! Don't you just love creating things found in you own backyard?
    Maybe I need a sweetgum........

  2. OOhhh YES!! I want one! Those raindeers are soooo sweet!

  3. Dang, those reindeer are as cute as can be!

    Sorry you have to put up with those pesky sweet gums to get them, though.:D

  4. Hi Skeeter, that is the best idea ever! As for the clean up, have you tried using the blower? Or do they catch in the grass and leaves like our pine needles do? We have an electric blower that I use for many things, to save the aching back, you know! :-)

  5. Sigh. If only there was a similar solution for sycamore seeds. Great post!

  6. Fabulous! I LOVE these gum ball reindeer!


  7. Too cute! Your mom B is very talented!

  8. Machelle, Be careful what you ask for. Those Sweet Gum Trees are a pain in the rump! But the pods do make a cute work of art!

    Linda, Would you like for me to send you some of the pods so you can make a few of the cute Gum Ball deer? Just let me know and I will be glad to pass a box of pods along to you....

    Susan, Again, I must deal with the Good and the Bad. Bad being the pods, Good being a way to create something cute with them pesky things...

    Frances, Of course we use the blower to knock the pesky Gum Balls around! I am the Blower Queen of the neighborhood! lol They do catch in the grass even with the blower though. The best solution is the rake as it gets most of them where we want them to be. But a pain in the back with the rake. Argggggg....

    VP, I bet you could make these cute Deer from Sycamore Pods also! We had a sycamore in our back yard so I know they can be just as pesky as the Sweet Gum trees...

    Cameron, Thanks, a neat way to deal with sweet gum ball's falling all over the place! I have not made any but plan to as some point...

    Tina, Oh yes Mom B is very talented with floral and crafts. She had a business and made lots of money with her talents. She is retired now but still sells a few things at some local shows...

  9. What a cool and creative idea!

  10. They are so cute!!! Have a great day! Off to church with the kiddos.

  11. Those are adorable! What a great craft project idea.
    I think they'd look cool glued to big styrofoam balls.

  12. I feel your pain Skeeter, we spent the weekend thus far raking up piles of gumballs! They are the only problem with this tree. Cute works of art, a nice way to make those pesky seed balls into something decorative. :)

  13. i don't believe i would like those prickley things either. but at least you can find some use for them with crafting. i have osage oranges that i do not like at all but i used them in my decorating this year so as to make something useful out of so many of them that fall on the ground

  14. Skeeter, I would absolutly LOVE to have a box of these, the more, the merrier. They sell for a small fortune up here as we have no such tree. My second passion, things crafted from nature. Mom B is quite creative, it takes a keen eye to see something so cute out of something from everyday things.

  15. Awesome reindeer!!! I remember Tina comolaining about the gumballs when she lived in North Carolina and then when my mother saw them, she wanted some for crafts but I don't remember if she did anything with them or not. My daughter, Joanne, makes a santa's sleigh out of a cleaned and dried turkey breast bone that would look great behind the reindeer but I do not know how it is done. I actually have one in my kitchen for Joanne to do next come she comes here so I will find out.

  16. Skeeter,

    They are really magnificent trees and look their best in someone else's yard! We can borrow the view then.
    Our neighbor used to pay his kids a dollar a bag to pick up the acorns. They weren't small bags either!

    The reindeer are too cute! She is quite creative.


  17. Love this craft! I'll have to see about making some of these next Christmas. I supppose anything you make with little pinecones could also be made miniature this way. They'd make cute hairy caterpillars too, strung end to end.

  18. TC, I never know what my Mother in law will come up with next. She is so creative...

    Anonymous, Enjoy church! I am sure these gum balls deer would not last long in your house as the kiddos would play with them like the plastic farm animals I use to love as a child...

    My Mothers Garden, A big ball of deer would be cute too! I was thinking of a small woods scene glued onto a square of wood as the surface. Then Moss as the grass and some small acorns, pine cones, etc on the Forrest floor with the moss. Ah, the ideas one can get with a little imagination...

    Raquel, I bet you got a chuckle out of seeing the gum balls turned into works of art. Too funny that you were raking them and now I posted on them being something nice. I must find the positive to every negative in my life to keep sane...

    Marmee, I spotted Osage Oranges on the lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington DC while there at Christmas time! I was surprised to see them on the grounds. They would make great decorations at Christmas with maybe some cloves and spices glued to them. I bet they are heavy to hang though so must secure them for hanging. It is great to find uses for something we dont particularly like in life...

    Dawn, I am sure more critters could be made form them as well. I will get you a big box of these pesky balls in the mail as soon as I feel they are dried enough for the box. Rain soaked some of them so they are a bit wet. Dont want them to bleed through the box or post office may think they are something that may explode! I thought you would like some balls for crafting.... :-)

    Jean, you must get me a picture of a turkey boned sleigh! lol That has my mind going in over time trying to visualize that one! Yep, Tina kind of giggle at me when she looked up into the trees and saw all the gum balls. She knows exactly how I feel about them...

    Gail, I was thinking of getting the kids next door to pick them up for pay. I have not seen the kids in some time so no such luck for me and my back. lol I am with you, I love Sweet Gum Trees in other yards. Just not in mine. Mom B is sooooo creative and I learn a lot from her talents...

    JGH, Great idea of hairy caterpillars! You should give them a try before next year or you will never get to it. I have been saying that I was going to make some of these deer since we got these from Mom B but each year at the end of the Christmas, they go back into the box packed away and I forget about them until taking them out the following year! Out of sight, out of mind so to speak...

  19. This so made me smile. I hate them too.~~Dee

  20. Those reindeer are so cute! Your MIL is very creative. I don't have a sweet gum tree, but this fall I had so many acorns and pine cones. Maybe someone should set up an exchange for all these natural crafting supplies:)

  21. I also think the tree is pretty, but the balls are such a nuisance.
    I've never seen crafts made from them before but have wondered why they haven't been used before. Your MIL is so talented.
    I just dug a very small sweet gum tree up so I won't have that mess. But I hated to loose the tree as I remembered how pretty they were in the fall.

  22. Dee, when Mom in law gave us the deer, they made me smile also! I hate the seed pods but love this neat little creation using them. Kind of like turning Lemons into lemonade!

    Rose, We get many pinecones from our pine trees and also tiny acorns from the willow oak trees. A natural material exchange is a great idea! I have pine cones and gum balls if anyone is interested :-)…

    Lola, I have never seen gum balls used in such a neat manner before either. I have used them in making floral items such as garlands and table arrangements. They are great filler material and free from the yard! I still wish all the gum trees were located in the woods and not my landscaped areas! So much trouble to get them off the grass…

  23. The reindeer are so amazing you obviously need to put in a couple more trees...

    The problems with these trees seems to be mostly when humans paved over the world. When the gumballs drop on dirt or leaves they're usually harmless. It's only when they fall on concrete that they suddenly become dangerous.

    On my way to work I pass a couple dozen of the trees. Maybe I'm too easily amused, but I do a little soccer with the gumballs to see how many times I can keep one in play...

  24. Lostlandscape, Hum, I always say that when the wild animals get to our flowers, that they were here first and we moved into their territory. I never thought of it the same way with the trees until now. You have a valid point and I should not be so harsh on the gum balls. They are nature and I love nature. Just wish those seed pods would fall onto the acres of woods we have and keep off my driveway. Kind of like the cats that keeps getting onto my clean cars. Nothing like seeing paw prints going up my windows on a sunny day. Those kitties are a problem but they are after all, just being cats and Gum balls will be Gum Balls. Maybe I should get the kids next door to come play soccer with my pods. :-)

  25. Hey! I have my hydrangea blossoms to exchange but that won't be for another 8 months! Bigger pine cones? You can't imagine how many are on the snow now thanks to the high winds.

  26. Hey everyone! I know it has been awhile and everyone knows why and I am not sure when or how often I will be on here, but I hope to check in and say hey every now and then. I am basically until the 26th here in Texas until my classes start. Boring sitting around and doing details, but I am getting paid to do it so whatever.

    Hope everyone is well. Stay in touch. I will send my address along when I get one!

  27. Skeeter, I just read an article for keeping deer out of your flowers. It may not look nice but take pieces of old carpet or throw rugs that is at least 48" wide & lay it down before the deer get to your flowers. They do not like to feel anything different under their feet so therefore after a few try's they will turn & go where they came form. After awhile they will stop eating your flowers altogether.
    It's worth a try. Anybody, if it works let us know.

  28. Aha! What a fantastic idea! The end result looks so stunning. I already have ideas to make bears, giraffe, etc. out of those gumballs only if I could get them [sigh]!
    Hail to Mom B!

  29. Christine, Do send your address soon! Glad you have access to a computer. Lots of love and have fun in sunny Texas.

  30. Mom B's creativity is amazing! The reindeer are the cutest ever!! Love how common and even unloved objects can be turned into beautiful artwork.

  31. Dave, Thanks! People do have such creative ideas for such a pesky things in life...

    Dawn, Keep your blossom as my cats would eat them! I will gladly send you gum balls though. That is why I picked them up as I was hoping someone would want to play with them. Then they dont make me feel so badly about them...

    Christine, Glad to hear from you! Details is just part of it, soon things will pick up a bit so be patient! Hey, I wish I got paid to detail because with all the details I tend to around here, I would be paid pretty well. tee hee... Hang in there and do keep in touch with us...

    Lola, Thanks for the tip but I am not sure I could put carpet in the garden, well, under the mulch I guess but maybe that would not work and defeat the purpose. Hum, something to think about. The deer have not really been much of a problem this year as we found a product that you sprinkle around their favorite treats. The soap around the veggie garden must have worked also as they never touched it either. I think if the deer are hungry enough, they will go past all those deterrents as they must eat to survive. Since we provide corn for them, they are not starving and maybe my methods work. For now anyway. I will keep the carpet in mind though as it would be interesting to see if it would work…

    Chandramouli, I wish I could send you some of the Gum Balls! But no such luck as Customs would ever allow them to get out of the USA for sure. Sigh, I have so many you could have...

    Tina, Christine is lucky to have access to a computer to get on here occasionally. I am happy to see she popped on here. And now mom knows she is doing well… :-)

    Kanak, Thanks, It is fun to see something made from such pesky items in my life. I hope to make some of these deer when I find the time...

  32. I love this! Instead of making lemonade out of lemons you are making reindeer out of raining pods.

    I do not like sweet gums for this very reason (plus, as they age, the roots heave which is a problem if they are close to pavement). Not suggesting you go the way of your neighbors and introduce a chainsaw to them, but if redo your garden at some point a good substitute is sour gum (Nyssa sylvatica), which has all the great fall color, a deep taproot and no dongleberries. One caveat - while not true here in California, I think it might be considered a potential invasive if its too close to riparian open space.

    Looking forward to seeing some dongleberry Easter Bunnies!

  33. Susan, You are spot on with the sourwood. A highly recommended tree for here. I wish I had known about them when I planted my crabapples. I could easily have forsaken a crabapple or two for a sourwood and/or serviceberry.

  34. Susan, Hum Easter bunnies. You have me thinking now! We bought this house with tons of trees in the form of woods on most of our land. So nothing we could do but remove everything (clear cut) and start over with new plantings. The Main reason we purchased this house was for the privacy and wildlife the woods provide us so clear cutting and replanting was not on our minds. Now I wish we had thought of that and we would have some healthy beautiful woods now. Instead, we have trees that are planted too closely, lots of down limbs on a regular basis and pesky gum balls all over the place! Next house will be different. And yes, those Sweet Gums are destroying our driveway little by little. arggggg....

    Tina, we need to trim our crabapple. Thanks for mentioning them as I will write myself a note to get that job completed this weekend with the Saints help of course...

  35. Now, see, I love sweet gum trees...always been a favorite,spiny balls and all.

  36. Thats incredibly creative! You just have to give her extra credit especially when you see the last photo. It takes a real stretch of the imagination to see a reindeer in that!
    On the other hand, all those seed pods do look very interesting! I can just imagine them heaped in an antique brass bowl!

  37. llona, I will gladly sent you some of my trees if you like. lol. They are pretty trees and I dont mind the gum balls as long as they stay in the woods. :-) I picked up more yesterday and actually enjoyed picking them up. I will mail them to those which would like some so picking them was nice with that thought in mind...

    Sunita, It is hard to believe one can make something so nice from a simple seed pod! I would gladly mail you some for a brass bowl but fear the Customs folks would not like that. :(

  38. This is responding to your post in January 2009 about sweet gum tree balls. I stepped on one wrong this weekend and sprained my ankle, and I'm not the only one I know who has done this. So however you control them, be sure to sweep them off your sidewalks regularly.

  39. Anonymous, They can be dangerous indeed so be careful around sweet gum balls!