Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Treats and Tricks



Today I'm participating in the "Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun" party.

Treats



Peanut brittle was one of my Dad’s favorite treats and I used to make him a huge batch each year. Now I make it for the 250-plus little costumed characters that show up on our doorstep Halloween evening. Preparing treats each year keeps us busy.
Updated Aug. 24, 2009: a smart and kind reader let me know I forgot a major ingredient. Please add ½ cup Karo white syrup to the ingredients list in Step 1. Thank you, Deb!


right-click to save to your computer and print

This recipe is super easy and, if you follow the directions, never fails. It is important to carefully study the recipe and have everything organized and ready before beginning.



I made thank-you Halloween cupcake treats for the staff of the hospital caring for my friend. I’m delivering them this morning so I’ve got to run in a minute.

Tricks

Our friend and nearby neighbor Brad decorates his front yard fabulously for Halloween each year. He and Maggie stand out front the entire evening greeting visitors and handing out treats. Brad took this photo of us in our costumes standing in front of his display.



Happy Halloween from my honey the Leprechaun and Mummy me in my shroud!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finally It’s Done!

I’ve finally finished my Amy Butler Patchwork Handbag project from her In Stitches book. This was the September/October challenge for the In Stitches Sew-along group.



Talk about finishing at the last moment, this was one of those projects that I struggled with—mostly because of life scheduling but also because I'm not a quilter and the whole patchwork thing was not in my comfort zone. I'm pretty okay with the finished project except I do not like the zipper showing so much.

Glittering

Kristi of Sunnypond Home and I agreed to make and exchange Halloween cards. Her beautiful card arrived this weekend.

Isn’t this the cutest Halloween card?

You can’t see it in this picture but she wrote a lovely note to me in gold on the bottom of the inside of her card.

I made mine using the Harvest Moon picture and idea from Clarice at Storybook
Woods and mailed it to Kristi in a black envelope addressed using a white gel pen.

I printed the card front and back on my computer and enhanced with just a touch of glitter and glue from Martha Stewart. The back is all black and has a quote written in white from John Kendrick Bangs:

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts—
Tonight All-Hallows' Spectre struts
Along the moonlit way.

In doing this small project, I learned that I need to know more about paper crafting as Kristi and Clarice’s projects are so much more glorious. The MS glue was smearing my printed moon face so I only used a bit. In retrospect, I would have cut out the moon shape itself and altered the text placement on the back instead of leaving the card square.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Buttons and Things



Michelle at Greetingarts sponsored an embroidered button swap. Our mandate: make and embellish five covered buttons—something I had not done before.

Since making my swap buttons, I’ve transferred that learning to make buttons for other things such as my Halloween party hat and the two Bend the Rules clutches I made. Learning new skills is one of the main reasons I join swaps.



Here are the gorgeous buttons I received. Update: sweet Michelle helped identify my mystery buttons. Thank you to all the creative designers for your beautful work.

My offering was a crown cross-stitched using DMC 815 on a piece of 32-count clay Irish linen, two strands over two linen threads. The crown chart was a free offering from a French site.



I made a presentation card for each button.

Brownies' Food Drive



Each year some of our neighbors’ little girls let us know they'll be stopping by to collect for their Brownie troop’s food drive. On Saturday my husband and I bought environmental-friendly shopping totes and filled them with non-perishable food items for the Brownies' visit on Sunday. I hope Brownies visit your neighborhood, too.

Amy Butler Bedside Organizer



Here is the finished Amy Butler bedside organizer I made for my hospitalized friend.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The “Our Prayers for the World” Project

"With our thoughts we make the world" (an old Buddhist saying)

Today, Kristie and I took the prayer flag banner we made up into the Santa Catalina Mountains and found a spot in the aspens at Mt. Bigelow to hang them.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a link to the original post about the “Prayers for Our World”
Project.

This is our photo story of the “Our Prayers for the World” flag banner creation.









And here are pictures from today’s trip up into the mountains.



My favorite place in the Santa Catalina Mountains is this grove of aspens—it’s a place my husband and I return to on a regular basis no matter the time of year. When we had our big fire, this small grove was somehow spared for which I am ever so grateful.



Kristie agrees this is the perfect spot.



No sooner had we hung the prayer flag banner when a wind picked up and golden aspen leaves started falling like snow all around us. It was gorgeous.



Our prayers started whipping around in the wind—it was a very spiritual moment.

Kristie brought yummy pumpkin cookies she made in the shape of leaves and frosted to honor our outing. She also brought a thermos of the most delicious hot spiced tea and apples.



We had a little feast sitting on the ground amidst the golden aspen leaves and talking about the ups and downs of life and how differently people handle their challenges.

Your prayers and ours are now hanging in the aspens at Mt. Bigelow. All of you who sent us names for the banner now have your prayers as well as ours going out into the world—our master prayer list held 64 precious names.



We wish you and your loved ones peace, love, and healing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blessings Friday



Your Comments

I always enjoy reading the comments you leave on my blog. They are often funny, quite encouraging, and very helpful.

Music

I’m enjoying music perfect for Halloween season that has more depth to it than stuff like “Monster Mash.” Jill Tracy and the Malcontent Orchestra’s Into the Land of Phantoms is a live recording of a 2001 Nosferatu film performance—the original score to F.W. Murnan’s 1922 silent vampire classic Nosferatu. I couldn’t find it locally so I ordered it from Amazon.com.



My husband’s review: “I don’t like it.”


My review: “I like it.”

You Make Me Smile Award Tag

Joni of Yummers! gave me the You Make Me Smile Award last week which came with a tag.
  • Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
  • The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
  • At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names.
The Facts



Only numbers 3 and 4 are blessings but I have to list six, so here you go:

  1. I am a grasshopper murderer. My husband and I stopped at one of the overlook vistas in the Santa Catalina Mountains and a pretty grasshopper was sitting on top of the stone wall. I tried to get a closer look which scared it so the grasshopper dropped down behind the wall. I leaned over and saw it landed right by this hole in the ground. Suddenly, a tarantula popped out and snagged that poor grasshopper. It was my fault.

  2. Great heights frighten me so I went parachuting and then up in a hot air balloon to face my fear. I’m still scared.

  3. A short story I wrote was scripted for a movie and filmed for the Sundance Film Festival.

  4. In my purse is an antique book of Keats’ poetry that I carry around.

  5. I worry that women with overly-large breast enhancements will fall over backwards into a big pool of water and drown because their “air bags” will pop up higher than their heads.

  6. I can twirl my golf club really fast like a baton—a useful skill I’m sure.

I’m choosing the following for the You Make Me Smile Award:

  • Anina of Twiddletails. Blog titles are so entertaining. Just saying Twiddletails makes me laugh—try saying it three times really fast.

  • Cindy of So Inspired. I’ve read her blog since the birth of my blog awareness. She’s truly inspirational.

  • Jody of Gumbo Lily. Don’t you just love her blog name? It makes me want to dance.

  • Kelli of Africankelli. She has a wonderful giving heart—get over to her blog and join her fan club.

  • Kristie of Fresh on Fridays. I love her blog subtitle: Proud Charter Member of the Fraternal Order of Onion Rings—she’s such a hoot and writes the most thoughtful posts on Fridays.

  • Rosie of Rosie’s Whimsey. Her mission is the pursuit of happiness at home and in life—just like all of us.
Please, no more tags for me for awhile as I’m fresh out of confessions. I hope your weekend is full of joy and laughter!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Someone's Creeping Up My Stairs



A Halloween package arrived at my house yesterday from the super creative and sweet Laura of Beelicious. Laura is my Halloween Party Hat swap partner and made the most fantastic hat for me. You should see all the wonderful details Laura incorporated into her creation—it’s all amazing! Laura also gifted me with other Halloween delights: fun fabric, chocolate pumpkin candy, Halloween sticker book, Jack O’lantern and candy corn candles, and a great Halloween garland—wow!

Here are a few more of my own Halloween decorating projects.



The haunted fence wall was made using black crepe paper and I added an owl, mice, and cat silhouettes cut from black paper.



I draped spider web stuff on this embroidered Mola my neighbor and friend Eva brought me from her visit home to Panama and I framed. On top sits a bird graphic I cut out.

Someone’s creeping up my stairs!



This silhouette project was so cool to make using Martha Stewart’s
template.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Amy Butler Day

Here are my current works-in-progress from Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects.

Bedside Organizer

A neighbor and friend seriously ill in the hospital needs something to hold her personal stuff and requested a bed organizer like the one I made for myself from Amy’s book.



She loves southwest designs so I’m using an upholstery fabric that matches her bedroom d├ęcor at home. The flannel piece on the right is for lining the eyeglass compartment.

Patchwork Bag

This is for the September/October Sew-Along which I’ve been procrastinating on actually doing. I’ve had the fabrics but not the energy. Just tired, I guess.



These are my chosen fabrics but I’m not quite sure about the cottage rose-looking piece on the far left. I like it a lot but am not convinced it works with my project. I’ll see what happens.

Hmmm…I seem to be in red mode for these two projects.

Amy Butler News!

  • New patterns are posted on Amy Butler’s web site: Kimberly bag, Anna tunic, Sophia carry-all, and Lotus tunic and cami. Here’s the link.

  • Amy has posted some additional free projects—fabric leaves, fabric necklace, sweet greetings portfolios, Nigella yoga bag—download PDF versions here.
  • She has a pre-holiday sale going on—50% off her first collection of manufactured handbags, fabric journals, and pillows. Click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bend the Rules Sewing

Meg of Make It Snappy figured out my mystery Halloween costume of yesterday—the costume theme is “blackmail.” I’m so thankful someone understood it—thank you, Meg!

Blog Problem Update

I appreciate your helpful comments about my blog stealing issue. So far I’ve discovered the miscreant hacked into my account so I have changed my password—something I recommend everyone do right away, especially if you’ve not changed yours recently.

Sunny Kristi of Sunnypond Home provided an excellent link to actions to take.

Bend the Rules Sewing Projects

These little clutch bags worked up quickly using the instructions in Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing.

Fat quarters were used for the exterior and lining, flannel from my stash for the interfacing, and I made a contrasting covered button for each clutch.



I photographed this bag using my knitting project as the background—a hand towel from Mason-Dixon Knitting.



This clutch is just right for Halloween.

The bags are really soft because of the flannel interfacing so I’m going to use them for my iPod.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blog Concern and Question

I found out tonight that my blog has been copied verbatim—pictures, verbiage (as best I can tell), layout, the whole nine yards and translated into German (I think it's German) to sell pharmaceutical drugs I suspect are bogus. Even my blog title was translated to “Junie Mond.” It's a total mirror image except with the drug stuff added.

This was discovered because of a new authority rating given to me by Technorati. I went to see what this was about and was shocked to make this discovery.

Do ya’ll know what this means? Have you heard of this happening before? I can’t read German so I’m not quite sure what the purpose of this is but no one asked nor did I give my permission to do this.


Graphic from Karen at The Graphics Fairy.

Just to be safe as well as clear (I’m putting the old CYA adage into effect) anything I post on my blog originated by me or my husband is covered under U.S. Copyright laws and is not to be used, copied, or otherwise altered without our explicit permission.

I do not sell pharmaceuticals of any sort nor authorize my name, writing, or pictures to be used in association with such activities.

I’m going to be calm and not imagine the police showing up on my doorstep.

Busy Weekend and a Costume Mystery

This was a full weekend. My husband is off every other Friday so this week we spent Friday at Saguaro National Park East. Then, in addition to Halloween movie night, Saturday we went to the Tucson Miniature Show so I could see all the dollhouse miniatures, I made my daily hospital visits, and Sunday we went to the Pima Air and Space Museum, one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Whew!



Look at these great 1940s airline baggage stickers on display at the museum. There was such a strong glare on the glass the picture had to be taken from the side. I won’t bore you with the 75 million airplane and jet photos my husband took. But I will tell you that we actually got to board the Presidential jet that Kennedy and Johnson used, the one where Johnson was sworn in as Kennedy's body was being returned to D.C.

So many things to do that not much in the way of sewing is getting done lately but tomorrow I’m sewing two Amy Butler projects: the bedside organizer for someone in the hospital and the bag for the Sew-along project.

I have been cooking a lot, too. Wonderful aromas have been wafting about my kitchen lately as I make new as well as old family recipes.

Homemade Vegetable Soup



My grandmother, mother, and now my sisters and I save every single bit of leftover vegetables, gravy, rice, and so on. Each of us keeps a Tupperware container in the freezer part of our refrigerator and just add to it. Nothing gets wasted. When the container is full, it’s time to make homemade vegetable soup.

This weekend I made 16-quarts of soup. I divided this into meal-size portions for my big freezer. Martha Stewart has free printable freezer labels you can use, click here for the labels and you'll want the how-to instructions.



You can see one of the vintage porcelain Halloween witch napkin rings from my napkin ring collection.

Cemetery Walking Tour

I’m supposed to be walking more because of my knee replacement so, in addition to all our weekend walking activities, today I'm taking a tour I signed up for of Evergreen Cemetery to visit gravesites of a number of historical characters, including Sam Hughes, Levi Manning, Edward Nye Fish, Harry Arizona Drachman, and Thomas Jeffords. The only other cemeteries I’ve visited in Arizona are Boot Hill in Tombstone and the one at the Yuma Territorial Prison. I don’t hang around them much.

Costume Mystery



This is one of the costumes in my collection—very easy to make using my computer and printable fabric. I thought it was pretty clever but no one ever figured it out. The rest of the costume included my husband’s black U.S. Army Ranger beret and black jeans.

Can you guess what my costume represents?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Halloween Movie Night

Prepare your snacks, go to the bathroom for scary-parts accident prevention, get your comfy quilt so you can pull it over your head at the height of the mayhem, pop in a Halloween DVD, and turn off the lights. It’s Halloween Movie Night!

Movie Munchies

You need sustenance so here is a recipe for munching during your movie fest.


Right-click to save to your computer and print.

Ah, now you need a libation.



This is what my husband and I enjoy—a frothy root beer. We bought these old-time A&W glass mugs from one of their restaurants this summer on a road trip through Monument Valley. After washing them, I put them in the freezer still wet so they’re frosty cold and ready to go.

Scary Movie Survival Skills

Wait! You can’t start the movie yet until you prepare yourself mentally.

Variations of scary movie survival rules have been around the internet for a long time. But I read them each year to laugh and remind myself not to take all this Halloween craziness too seriously.



Haven’t seen one of these lists? Here’s a link to an old post by Scarlet Letters from the Literary
Underworld.

The Movie List

Gory Halloween movies scare me so older movies are generally best for me. Even some of these have parts that have me fleeing into the kitchen to huddle behind the counter or clutching my husband for protection.



Okay, all your preparations are done--it’s time for the movie! Here are some ideas.

  • Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
  • Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • Forbidden Planet (1956)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • Hocus Pocus (1993)
  • House of Wax (1953)
  • I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
  • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
  • Practical Magic (1998)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • The Blob (1958)
  • The Crucible (1996)
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
  • The Fog (1980)
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958)
  • The Mummy (1932)
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
  • The Thing from Another World (1951)
  • The Witches (1990)
  • The Wolf Man (1941)
Have a boo-ful time!