Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Last Peek at Halloween

Hi everyone.  Tomorrow is Halloween.  I wanted to show you a little something I made today as well as show you a few of my other decorations.  My younger son is a senior in high school this year and he is excited to be able to dress up in a costume in school for the first time since sixth grade.  The high school only lets seniors dress up as a perk. He is borrowing his older brother's Sasquatch costume.  I won't even tell you the mischief my twenty year old has gotten into with that crazy costume.  Let's just say, he didn't realize some elderly patient would be looking out the window into the parking lot of the hospital he has worked at for almost 4 years!  Anyway, on to what I made today.  My nephew's two children will be coming for trick or treats tomorrow evening.  I got them each a Halloween book and some candy.  I wanted to put them in something special so I made two fabric goodie bags.  Riley's bag is made with what is left of a pack of the Haunted Mansion by Moda.  I put her initial on it and used eyelets to close it.  This was my first dealing with eyelets and even though I hammered with all my might, they didn't come out perfect.  I had an old starter kit but I have seen the pliers.  Are they easier?

 Isn't that pumpkin guy riding a bike a riot?  I got him last year on clearance at Cracker Barrel.  My husband thinks he is creepy because he reminds him of that Saw movie. 

Tuckers bag has a black candy corn cat fused on it and is tied with ribbon.  He is a little over one year old and I didn't want to put anything on his that could be dangerous.  I made that Frankenstein wooden pedestal.  My husband cut him out of wood and I painted him.  Sometimes I put a big bowl of candy on top but I like to elevate that pumpkin light that he is holding up this year.  It is in my front hall and the light is too small without the boost from Frankie.

Well I hope everyone has a safe and festive Halloween.  I am very anxious to begin working on Thanksgiving projects.  It isn't quite as easy to find good project ideas for Thanksgiving, but I am on the hunt and a few have crossed my path.  Have a wonderful week and take care.   Nancy    

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All About Halloween

 Hi everyone.  Happy Sunday evening.  I am finally getting my Halloween spirit flowing-better late than never.  Do you remember the bunting I made last week with the Moda Haunted Mansion pack?  I had two packs of fabric left so I decided to make a pillow for my front bench.  I just sewed them two by two and then joined them into strips and sewed the strips together until it fit a travel pillow form I had.  I also used pom pom fringe in Halloween colors.  I still have one pack of fabric left.  I am thinking what to do with it.  It may have to wait until next year.  The candy corn pillow couldn't have been easier.  I just sewed white, orange and yellow strips of felt together and cut out two candy corn shapes.  I used black embroidery floss to blanket stitch around the outside and stuffed with fiberfill.  The backdrop are three Halloween tea towels I purchased at TJ Maxx.  I use them as a faux throw over the back of my bench.  I haven't sewn them together yet because I am not quite sure that is what I want them for.  But, for now I think they look cute.

    I also wanted to show you place mats I made several years ago.  These are from a Simplicity pattern.  It is number 8474 which has a bunch of different place mats.  I can't tell you how many of these I have made over the years in different holiday and everyday prints.  They are easy and turn out great every time.  I have given quite a few sets as gifts.  The creepy ghost I made in a ceramics class 25 years ago. My boys were a little spooked by him when they were younger but that is the whole point of Halloween right?  They still looked forward to seeing him every year on our table because he signalled the beginning of the Halloween season and they looked forward to the costume I would make them every year and trick or treating.

 I also wanted to share a decoration I purchased this year.
 Isn't he cute?  His head is chenille and he had a real branch stem.  I am trying to figure out how to make a companion similar to him.  He has dowel arms and legs and a burlap "feed sack" body.  It may not be this year, but I think I can make him a friend. 

Well, I hope everyone has a great week and I hope you are all able to fit in some time to create something in whatever way makes you happy.  Take care.     Nancy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Decorating Slowly But Surely

Happy Sunday everyone!  I am slowly getting around to decorating for Halloween.  I am not feeling as recovered as I would like so it is slowing the crafting/decorating process a little.  From talking to others with this crazy virus, I have a long road still ahead of me with the cough being the last symptom to go.  As I mentioned before, my 17 year-old is also hit with this.  He went to the movies the other night and coughed all the way through it. 

Anyway, I finished my Halloween banner and hung it on my mantle.  I kind of winged it, using a big thimble wall-hanging on my craft room wall as a template.  I didn't want the traditional triangle. I have made a couple of those.  I used the Haunted Mansion pack by Moda I received for Christmas from my husband.  Actually, I received three and I have two left. 
Maybe I will make a pillow.   I love the different patterns and colors in this pack. 

  I also wanted to share an unbelievable recipe.  Is it dessert or is it breakfast/brunch?  You decide. 
This is cherry-cheese French toast.  You have to put it together the night before and let it sit in the fridge so allow time for that.  Spray a 12x8 casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Lay French toast bread slices in the bottom of the casserole.  I used 6 slices.  You could use Challah or Brioche.  Whisk 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and a pinch of salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat 12 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract on medium speed.  Pour half of milk mixture over bread.  Gently spread cream cheese mixture over that.  Spread a 21 oz can of cherry pie filling over that.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sliced almonds.  Top with remaining 6 slices of bread.  Pour remaining milk mixture over top layer of bread.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but it is preferred that it be overnight.  To bake, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons sugar and some almonds if you want and bake at 325 uncovered for 45 minutes.  Let stand about 15 minutes before serving.  I sprinkled it with confectioners sugar.  It was a-may-zing!  I may have this for Christmas morning although, I would hate to bump my traditional monkey bread down the bench. 

We are having blustery Fall weather here in the Northeast.  It has been really windy and rainy.  The colors are beautiful, however and I do love this time of year.  Have a great week and take care.       Nancy

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Halloween

Hello everyone.  I had a slight relapse of my sickness.  I think this is viral so it won't respond to antibiotics.  My youngest son seems to have it as well but his doctor detected the beginning of an ear infection so he is on an antibiotic and feeling no better than me!  When I was a kid, I didn't get to trick or treat very many times because I was frequently sick most of the month of October.  I think that is why I love Halloween so much. 

I haven't felt up to crafting up a storm as I intended and I don't have all my Halloween decorations up, but I wanted to share this wreath that I made.  I got the instructions from the Better Homes and Gardens Halloween book.  I try to pick up their holiday themed magazines every season.  They have great ideas and patterns for decorations.  This wreath was relatively easy.  It starts out obviously with a grapevine wreath.  My husband cut mask templates out of plywood.  I painted them bright colors and finished them with a clear spray coat that had glitter in it.  I love the dimension of the blue and purple masks. The nose parts had to be glued at an angle.  Then I wired them to the wreath.  I even found colored fine gage wire for many of the colors I used.  I thought it was fun and different. 

I also wanted to share this picture of my favorite purchased decoration.  I picked this up at a gift shop recently.  I just love it.  Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile.  I love the primitive vintage decorations.  You should have seen Mickey when I brought this home and set it on the mantle.  She had to check it out.  It is almost as big as her, but she didn't let it intimidate her.  I almost got a picture of her sniffing it, but she was too fast for me when I got the camera out.  I think she is on to me!  I did however, get a picture of her bottom half when she lost one of her toys under the couch.

She didn't see me coming with the camera in hand! 
I hope everyone has a great week.  Take care.                                                  Nancy

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween Trio and a Gourmet Pizza

Happy Sunday everyone.  It is my birthday today and I have to say,  I am going to be heading out of the "forty-something" status in a few years!  I can't believe how fast the time goes each year.  I remember when I was eighteen and I thought my age now was old.  Ah well,  age is only a number(right?). 

I am very excited because I made my first Halloween project of the season and I am very happy with them.  I say "them" because I made a trio of Halloween characters.  I first saw them here.  I fell in love with the idea so I bought some bumpy chenille stems and added them to my mental to-do list.  What can I say, but-they are addictive! I had a wedding to go to yesterday and I had a hard time putting them down.  One idea leads to another and the accessories are just so much fun.  I just looked around my craft room and went from there.  I am especially proud of the spider Punkinhead is carrying.  I made that with some small pom poms I had and some black wire.  I have more ideas to make even more characters.  The hardest part was finding suitably sized heads for the chenille stem bodies.  I searched vintage Halloween images on line and found the ones I used but I believe the website I linked to above gives you a couple to print out and use.  I also want to be on the lookout for Halloween postcards and greeting cards for more heads of interest.  And of course, I am already thinking about Christmas possibilities.  These would be so cute hanging on a Halloween tree.  I will bet kids would enjoy making these as well.  

I wanted to share with you a very unique but delicious pizza I have been making quite often lately.  I got the idea from a local pizzeria that serves this.  I tried to come up with a good rendition of it and I think I succeeded.  We'll call it Italian Chicken Pizza.  First you start with a Boboli(I think I should get royalties from that brand!), then you brush the crust with a garlic infused olive oil.  I make my own by heating a couple of cracked garlic cloves in some olive oil on the stove.   In this case, I go ahead and add to that olive oil and garlic a sliced bunch of cremeni mushrooms or one large Portabella.  I cook the mushrooms on moderate heat until browned.  I fish out the garlic and brush some of the garlic olive oil on the crust.  I sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of the oil and then layer the mushrooms, sliced roasted red peppers from a jar, Gorgonzola chunks, and shredded cooked chicken breast meat(usually from a rotisserie chicken).  I bake according to the crust directions. 
After it comes out of the oven, I drizzle with a balsamic glaze.  There are two ways to go with this.  First, make it yourself.  Take a good quality balsamic vinegar and cook it down to reduce it by half and it becomes thick and syrupy.  This takes a bit of time and my guys were so turned off by the smell it gave the house, I had a really hard time convincing them how good the pizza is.  I LOVE balsamic glaze, and I have to admit, the smell was nasty.  The second way(and my way from now on) is to just buy balsamic glaze.  Just be sure it says "glaze",  It is yummy with no muss or fuss and no smell!  There you have it-a delicious and different pizza that isn't difficult but definitely has a gourmet flair to it. 

You know what a cat nut I am.  I found this cat chalkboard at a gift shop on a road trip recently and thought it was too expensive.  So, I walked away and didn't buy it.  Am I the only one that has "I didn't buy it" remorse?  I regretted the decision not to buy it and luckily found it on Amazon.  I ended up paying the same price I thought was too expensive.  Hopefully I learned my lesson.  I am not suggesting that I can afford to grab everything I see that I like, but since I quit smoking twelve years ago, I have managed to be able to save decent amounts of my own money, let's call it my allowance.  So, if I see something I really love, I should just buy it with my own mad money.  Just so you know, I put that theory into play last weekend and came home with a Halloween decoration that makes me smile every time I walk by it.  I will show you next time. 

Well, my husband is taking me out for dinner and he has made a fabulous dessert for me-what a talented guy!  I hope you all have a great week.  Take care.     Nancy