One of my favorite Fall decorating accessories is gourds.
You can usually find them at farm stands or markets this time of year, and they are inexpensive, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be stained or painted to complement any style decor.
Here are a couple of ways I use mine:
If you decide to try this project, be sure to select gourds with character (lots of different colors and patterns running through them). The more interesting they are in their natural state, the prettier they will be after they're stained.
Before staining the gourds, wipe them off with damp paper towels and let them dry. I use Minwax stain in several different finishes (Special Walnut is my favorite), and you can also use oil paints if you'd like to add more color.
The best thing about working with stain is that you really can't make a mistake. If one finish is too light, you can go over it with a darker stain until the desired effect is achieved. If the gourd has a lot of color and interesting patterns, you may want to just spray it with polyurethane to seal it and not stain it at all.
I use paper towels (be sure to wear gloves because the stains are oil-based), and just "dab or rub" the stains on the gourds.
Stain also works wonders on concrete urns or statuary. I have a pair of urns in my courtyard and, as you can see in the "before" picture below, the finish on this one had faded and looked awful.
Here it is after a coat of Minwax "Special Walnut," which gives it a rich antiqued look ...
I usually do my urns about once a year, because the stain does fade after a while. This technique works on anything made of concrete or resin, like birdbaths, fountains, and statuary.