Monthly Archives: October 2007

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Happy Halloween!

Gosh, where is this week going already? I guess I shouldn’t complain — it just means the weekend is getting closer! I had a great quiet weekend last weekend. I managed to get several little sewing projects done. Of course, I can’t show them to you yet, ’cause they’re surprises. Don’t you hate it when someone tells you that? I have something but I can’t show you. How rude! Oh, ok, I can tell you that I worked on my box for the chocolate swap! Not much consolation is it?


Tonight, I made Magnolia cupcakes to take to work tomorrow. I made a bunch for my birthday a month ago and everyone seemed very appreciative, so I thought I’d make some for Halloween too. The kitchen looked like a war zone at the North Pole. For some reason I got powdered sugar and sprinkles everywhere. It sure was fun though and now they’re all boxed up and ready to go.


I love these cupcakes. (I mean, not these particular ones ’cause they turned out a little goofy with the black sprinkles and all — what I love it the Magnolia cupcake taste.) If you don’t have the Magnolia cookbook you’re in luck — I found the recipe here a few weeks ago. Check it out ’cause their picture is way cooler than mine! Maybe someday I can learn their cool swirly icing technique.
I’m all ready for my little trick-or-treaters tomorrow night. I used to hate to hand out candy when we were younger, but now I just love seeing the little kids come to the door. (Although, what’s up with all the high school kids these days? When we were kids, we quit trick-or-treating when we were around 12 — now, I’ll bet 1/4 – 1/3 of the kids that appear at my door are older than 12!) If you do trick-or-treaty kinds of stuff tomorrow, I hope you have a great time!

Why I Make Stuff

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Jade to do the crafty meme. Go check out Jade’s fun answers to this meme, then come back here so I can put you to sleep!

fall trees

1. When did you start to create and make craft?

I learned how to do most of the things I love to do when I was a little girl. Embroidery was probably first at around age 7 or 8. Then, I probably learned how to sew, knit and crochet when I was between 8 and 11 or 12. MeMum gets all the credit for my sewing skills — she has the patience of a saint!

fall treesI remember the first little article of clothing I ever made — it was a little wrap-around dress. Does anybody remember those? It was the perfect project for a beginning sewer — cut out a dress front, dress back, then two side pieces that were really more like 1/3 of a front and 1/3 of a back. Then sew the side-back to the front, the front to the back, then the back to the side-front. It made one long piece with three armholes. Then put bias binding around all the raw edges — that’s it! No set in sleeves, pockets, zippers, or anything complicated. When you put it on, you would put your left arm through the 1st armhole, your right arm through the 2nd armhole, and your left arm through the third armhole. The dress overlapped on the left arm. It’s really hard to explain but it was cute and spelled instant success for an impatient little seamstress. And was I ever impatient! There were many ripped out zippers and seams accompanied by SCA-reaming fits in the early days. Practice makes perfect though, and nowadays, ripping out is a breeze with nary a tear! I dabbled in lots of other crafy things back then too — anyone remember raffia flowers done on the little looms? Or the big tissue paper flowers that Martha has taken to the bank these days?

I also learned several things from my aunt when we would visit her. She taught my cousins and I decopage and gold leafing. And for my 14th birthday, she gave me a cake decorating set that I still use today. She taught me the basics of decorating cakes. Tole painting came when I was in college, smocking was shortly before the birth of TheFirstChild, and quilting while I was on maternity leave with TheSecondChild.


2. Why did you start creating?

I have no idea. Maybe because I was bored? Probably because I had a very talented mother and aunt who were so willing to teach me whatever I wanted to learn. We moved a lot when I was growing up, so I was the loner type of kid. My sewing machine was my friend! It’s not as dismal as it sounds — there were friends here and there, but really, I was happier when I was making something. Making new friends every few years was a lot of work — sewing was much easier! And now, the irony of it all is, that all this crafty stuff has made the best friendships possible! I have non-crafty friends, but it’s not quite the same — I think you all know just what I mean.

3. Why do you create?

I'm PrettyI think I’m obsessed. Or maybe that’s possessed (it is that haunting time of year after all.) I really can’t imagine a life without making stuff. Sometimes I wonder what my non-crafty friends who don’t really have any hobbies do all day. And they probably wonder why I can’t stop making “that crap”! But, I really enjoy it and I can’t stop. It drives TheManoftheHouse crazy that I can’t just sit and watch TV without something in my hands. But, after almost 30 years, I think he’s finally giving up.
4. What do you create?

I make mostly clothes and bags and gifts that can be sewn. And I knit here and there and make an occasional quilt or papercraft..

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?

Nope. When I was growing up most of my time was spent sewing. I would knit and crochet and do other things, but not as much. That’s still the way it is today.


The pictures are a few Halloween things around here. I took the first picture this afternoon around 4:00. The sky was so dark and brooding, the picture doesn’t really do it justice.

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

Edited to add:  Oops!  I forgot to tag someone for this meme — how ’bout the first three commenters (not counting Nicollette, who has already been tagged) — so that means Lucy, Connie and Sarah!  I’m really interested to read their answers!

Pumpkin Lanterns

Do you remember the little flag lanterns that I made in July? This is the Halloween version.


I made these a few years ago from little pattern packet I purchased from Rock Creek Emporium (they used to have a website, but it doesn’t appear to be active anymore.) They’re really fun and easy to make and they follow the same premise as the flag lanterns. Paint your baby food jars orange, draw on some faces and embellish.


Halloween has always been a favorite holiday — not the creepy spooky side of Halloween so much, but the fun, smiling pumpkins side. I’m loving all the Halloween inspiration popping up all over. In particular:


So, those of you out there getting a head start on Christmas — quit it! There’s only a few more days left to revel in the beautiful orange and black of Halloween — THEN we can talk red and green!

Memes in the Closet with the Skeletons

Warning: Long Post Ahead!
In the past several weeks, I’ve been tagged for several memes. First off, Joni gave me the You Make Me Smile Award and tagged me for the 6 facts meme.

Thanks Joni! You’re a sweetheart, and you certainly make me smile too. ALOT! In addition, Sarah Jayne tagged me for the four things meme. (And I have this nagging feeling that someone else tagged me during the New York week, but I can’t remember…so if that’s true, I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten!) I’m going to cheat a little and combine the two memes, hoping you can find 6 facts among the 4 things!

1 Skeleton

4 jobs I’ve had:

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • Cheeseborough Ponds Perfume Factory assembly line – I worked on the line putting atomizers in the bottles right after the perfume had been put into the bottles. Sometimes the machines would jam up and perfume would spill on the floor – my shoes, and therefore my closet, smelled great!
  • And engraver in a clock repair shop.
  • A test administrator giving GED and CLEP tests.

4 films I could watch over and over:

  • The Full Monty
  • Top Gun
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Milk Money

4 TV shows I watch:

  • Lost
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Boston Legal
  • Jeopardy

4 places I have lived:

  • Lancaster, California
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Hanau, Germany
  • Manti, Utah

4 favorite foods:

  • Kim! Don’t Look! – Mashed Potatoes.
  • Prime Rib.
  • MeMum’s pot roast with carrots and potatoes.
  • MeMum’s three layer chocolate cake.

2 Skeleton 4 favorite colors:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Everything else! What would our world be without color???

4 places I’d love to be right now:

  • Scotland
  • England
  • Wales
  • Maine

4 names I love but could/would not use for my children:

  • Elizabeth
  • Bronwyn
  • Liam
  • Return – which sounds totally goofy, but it’s a family name. The story goes that my g-g-g-grandfather (Richard) asked my g-g-g-grandmother to marry him and she said no. He moved to another town, but before he left, he told her if she changed her mind, to send him a letter. Before long, he received a note with only two words: Return Richard. So, they named their firstborn Return Richard. And he named his firstborn Return Richard. And he named his firsborn Return LaVar (my grandpa.) Grandpa hated his name and didn’t pass it on. It didn’t occur to me until my boys were older, but I really wish I’d given one of them the name Return for a middle name ‘cause I love family names (and if I’d had a usable maiden name, that would have been used too.) Anyway, my boys are probably breathing a sigh of relief now!

4 people I’d love to tag with this Meme: (I’m tagging people in my Mother’s of Two Boys Club ;-). Except, off hand, I can only think of two, so I’m extending it to mother’s of three boys. If you hate meme’s, please ignore me! ;-) )

3 SkeletonAnd speaking of Rohanknitter, she tagged me for the book meme:

Hardcover or paperback, and why? Hardcover, although the book industry is certainly making some beautiful paperbacks these days.

If I were to own a book shop , I would call it…. Hmmm, it would probably be something corny like “Once Upon a Time…”

My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is… I don’t know that I really have a “favorite” quote. But while we’re talking about books in the crafy blog world, here’s a quote that I think is funny:

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. – Albert Einstein

The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be… Wallace Stegner, Thomas Hardy, The Brontes, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Beatrix Potter, Ayn Rand…in the interest of bedtime, I think I should stop now.

If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SASsurvival guide, it would be… hmmm, how hard is this one? I think it would be something big that I would like to read but think I’ll never have time – Canterbury Tales? War and Peace???

I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that… would allow me to read in my sleep. I might actually make it through my booklist before I die!

The smell of an old book reminds me of… Hyde Brothers – the really cool used book store here in town.

If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be… gosh, that’s hard. All the heroines I’ve loved have gone through something awful and I don’t think I’d really want that??? E.g., Tess in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. For a non-tragic choice, how ‘bout Dagny in Atlas Shrugged?

The most overestimated book of all times is… ummmm, maybe One Hundred Years of Solitude, or as I fondly call it, One Hundred Years of Hell. I also completely agree with Rohanknitter about The DaVinci Code!

I hate it when a book … again, I’ll agree with Rohanknitter – I hate it when sex scenes are thrown in and they’re not relevant to the story. I’ve had a theory for about 15 years in my book group – when we’re reading a book that has sex scenes that add nothing to the story, it’s almost always written by a man! LOL

And now to tag for the book meme — my source for all things word related, Isabelle. And I’m awarding all five of the ladies I’ve tagged with the You Make Me Smile award because they do make me smile (as do all the blogs I read) and as a reward for tagging them.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I’ve certainly said enough for now!

P.S. The skeletons were the pleasant surprise I found when I went downtown this weekend. Who knew they decorated for Halloween???

Vallen’s PotLuck

I attended Vallen’s PotLuck last night, and I must tell you, it was fabulous! I couldn’t stay long ’cause I had a prior date with MeMum to do a little quilting. Flea Market Queen did a great job of decorating and the food selection was wonderful with a really nice mix of appetizers, main dishes and desserts. As you can see, I put too much food on my plate!

PotLuck Plate

And did you notice something else? I’m sorry girls, I have a sweet tooth. I had too much of that yummy apple and walnut cake that Vallen brought and I just couldn’t help myself with Darla’s lemon squares — I cut a square that was WAY too big, but it sure was good!

I have a long history of potlucks (not, I’m not Lutheran!) and casseroles in my family, so of course, I brought a casserole. It’s a family favorite that I grew up with — MeMum makes the best casseroles. I marched right up to the buffet table, plopped my casserole dish down and filled up my plate. And did you see that carmel apple cider that Vallen mentioned? OhMyGosh — I love carmel apples, so I have to see if I can find some of that cider in my local store.


Beef Stroganoff Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1 12-oz. can whole kernal corn, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 cups medium noodles
Grated Cheese

Boil noodles until tender and drain while preparing the rest of the casserole. Lightly brown the beef. Add chopped onion and cook until tender. Drain excess grease. Add corn, chicken soup, mushroom soup, and sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add noodles to hamburger mixture and pour into 2 qt. casserole dish and top with grated cheese. Bake 30 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

When I was little MeMum would leave the corn out of the casserole, ’cause MyDadLovesMeBestSister and I were picky little girls, but I was lucky to have hearty-eating little boys, so now I leave the corn in. Here’s a better picture of how this casserole looked the last time I prepared it for TheManoftheHouse. It’s one of his favorites too!


Thanks Vallen for hosting the Pot Luck — YumYum! i hope you all have a wonderful weekend — I’ll be cleaning the pigsty!