Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope your night is filled with lots of treats!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

It's the annual carving of pumpkins and the boys had a blast with their pumpkins.

Jamey gutted his with vigor.

Arthur was off put a bit by the sliminess, but managed to quell his revulsion.

Jamey carved a very happy pumpkin.

Arthur carved his to have a very big nose.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

mini quilt fun

Here is a mini quilt that I made. I always wanted to try out a small quilt and this was a fun one to do. When I was done with it, the quilt looked so stiff that I gave it a rough wash and dry to soften and poof it out a bit. Now, it is just right and quite quilty looking.

To help give you an idea of the size I stuck our phone on it for comparison. This blanket is perfect for keeping a loved toy warm and snuggly through the winter.

But something was missing. I decided a pillow was needed to go with the blanket. Now isn't this little guy the cutest bitty pillow you ever saw? But we can't have him running around naked now can we?

So, I made the pillow a pillowcase to wear.

There, that is much more respectable and now Ms. Pillow is all dressed up in the highest of pillow fashions. She looks dynamite, but has no one to go out and show off her new look with.

So, I made her a friend that liked Ms. Pillow's style so much, that she couldn't help but copy it for herself. Don't they look ready for a party?

The pillows joined the quilt and everybody is having a great time. Slumber parties are the best!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

End of season harvests

I was lucky enough to get some wonderful treats from the granges' orchard located at Clark County Fairgrounds. Janice took me over and there were three varieties of grapes and some tiny but very delicious pears. It was so nice picking these, especially with the cold creeping steadily in. We have been munching and munching on these goodies!

I was also able to make a batch of grape jelly too. I used all the varieties together and it is tasty!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tonight we are booing

The boys have assembled treat bags and are going to leave them on unsuspecting door knobs tonight. This is called booing and they are so excited to try it out. I have never heard of it before but of course I want to try it out almost as much as my little guys.

We have enlisted big Jamey as the get-away driver and I'm the lookout for when Jamey and Arthur do their booing. They really are too cute right now. They are thrilled to leave secret treat bags, and yet apprehensive about being caught before we get away. So, wish us luck on a successful night of booing!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sugar Pumpkin Treats

I was looking at these two beautiful pumpkins on my counter and I began to wonder what all I could make out of them. The recipes I have call for cans of pumpkin or cup measurements. How many ounces or cups do these guys have? Well, only one way to find out! Following are all the goodies that I got out of two, average sized sugar pumpkins.

I made toasted seeds of course. These are good, but they have even better variations here.

I got this pumpkin roll out of the latest Penzeys Spices catalog. Man, this was gooooood! Never had made a rolled cake before and this was a fun one to do.

Pumpkin bread is a must of course. I made two batches, one for now and one for the freezer. Toothy and good, a slice of this is very satisfying. The recipe can be found here - I just doubled the recipe and added nuts. Delicious!

We had these pumpkin muffins last Sunday for breakfast. Again, very satisfying, especially with a hot cup of tea. A great treat on a cold rainy day.

Pumpkin Chip Cookies? Never heard of them before, but I was game. And the whole family loved them.

And pumpkin soup for dinner. Very apropos for fall, and once again, very good.

So, now that I know what I can get from two pumpkins, I have to say I'm curious as to what can be made from these:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween caterpillars

Jamey loves these furry little creatures and calls them Halloween Caterpillars which is perfect with their coloring and that they always come out in droves this time of the year. We seem to have way more than usual right now much to his delight. These three made it into the house for "show and tell", but it was more like "catch Mom off guard when she is not paying attention and watch her reaction when you stick them under her nose". Yeah, they enjoyed that a little too much.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Did someone say....Halloween Coasters?!

Yep, I couldn't resist! I got so excited yesterday at the thought that I simply had to whip some of these up. Now we are set for our holiday movie night. What fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween quilt

I just completed the top of my Halloween quilt. I like how crazy all the colors are, and that I used only scrap fabric from previous projects for this guy. I can't wait to cuddle under it with the boys and watch Nightmare Before Christmas together!

Hmmm..... maybe I should make some Halloween coasters for our cocoa cups to rest on during movie night!?! Okay, I am so going to make me some! I love Halloween.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Folded Coaster Tutorial

My friend Janice Anderson brought the cutest little folded coaster to our quilt club and showed us how to make them. With her permission, I am now sharing the steps on how to make these fast and fun coasters. Thanks Janice!

Step 1) Cut 5 pieces of fabric into 4 1/2 inch squares. This will end up being a 4x4 inch square.

2) Fold the four pieces diagonally in half that you will use for the top of the coaster. Bottom of the coaster will stay unfolded. The folded squares all have the right sides facing out.

3) With the bottom coaster piece face up, lay your first triangle on top of it. Note that folded edge goes across the middle while the raw edges match up with the raw edges of the bottom square.

4) Lay the second triangle on top of the first, so that only half of the first triangle shows.

5) Next lay down the third triangle on top of the second one.

6) Before laying the fourth triangle down, pull back the fabric of the first triangle you layed down and then place your last triangle.

7) Lay your first triangle back down so it covers half of the fourth triangle.

8) Pin your pieces in place, sew 1/4 inch seam around your square and trim the corners.

9) Turn your coaster right-side out and press. You now have a coaster!

These are great for using up scrap fabrics. I think these would be fun to add to a tea or coffee baskets, or just because.

Monday, October 19, 2009

fuzzy friend

Who doesn't relax on the couch with a friend perched on their head?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

card making

Usually when I have down time either the sewing machine or the beads come out for a visit. This time, my paper supplies called out to me. It had been so long since we had a get together that I was beginning to think I should clear out these items from the house. But, we sure had fun making yesterday's rainy afternoon drift by.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grape stuffing contest

The boys held a contest on who could stuff more grapes in their mouths. They got this idea from Grandpa Jim who told them a story about a grape stuffing contest he was involved in. They looked darned cute, and photos had to be taken.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My chickens are laughing at me

It all started on Tuesday. I was going about my daily business when I happened to look outside and saw with a start that my flock of 16 birds were milling about on the side of my hill. I was most confused as they had all been in nice and secure in the morning.

Heading out to round them up, I was greeted by the feathered emissaries who noticed that I had snacky-cakes for them. When I reached the coop I saw that the door was wide open. "Aha!" I said to myself, most smugly for solving the mystery. The door must not have been latched securely and the windstorm (and it was a crazy windstorm) must have blown open the door.

I went up the steps and yelled "CORN TIIIIIMMMEE" like a lunatic, which always amuses the birds. I began dropping the leftovers on the floor and up the steps and through the door they scrambled. Pretty soon 15 birds were happily munching in the coop all around my feet. Only Pretty Girl was missing.

Going back outside my problem child and I viewed each other warily. Pretty Girl and I have a long history of which I'm sad to say she usually comes out about 90% victorious in all our dealings. She has decided that she won't go back in the coop, and I have decided she must go back in. Pretty Girl won.

I chased her around and around the coop and fence while all the other chickens looked on as avid spectators. I lured with treats, I cajoled, I ignored, I sprinted, and I pulled a muscle. I gave up.

On Wednesday, Pretty Girl was more amenable to joining the girls after spending the night who knows where. So, with more treats, a net, and some aspirin down me, I was able to catch her, and it only took the better part of an hour! She went easy on me this time.

Feeling quite smug I brushed off my hands and said to myself "That's the end of that!".

Thursday rolls in, and I see that I have all 16 birds roaming around outside their fence and "gasp!" some were in my raised garden eating my winter crops. Heading down, I note the door is indeed firmly latched, but the fencing is down on one side. Bribing them with treats as I did before, I get all of them in, including Pretty Girl and then proceed to repair the fence. And again, I tell myself "That's the end of that!".

Friday morning dawns with me heading down to take care of my troops and surprise surprise, three chickens are out. This time, the mystery is harder to solve. Door closed - check. Fencing secure - check. No new holes or weak spots - check. Mystery solved - no check. I still don't know how they got out.

I was able to bend down and pick up the escapees and put them inside no problem. Then I do a head count and find only 15 birds are inside. Who is missing? Oh,'s Pretty Girl. I search all over and I find her absolutely out of reach underneath the coop. And she is laughing at me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brightness on a gray day

This morning was gray outside, just as it has been for the last 4 days. Today, it started getting to be a bit much for me. I am, indeed a fair weather friend, and I was missing my fair weather. With a bit of a grump settling in on my shoulders I came back in from outside to start the day of schooling with the boys.

Upon entering the house, I found the boys excitedly stringing bird treats that they made two days ago. They were just chattering away about how long will it take the birds to find the seed, what types of birds might visit, would they like the star shape more than the heart shape, etc. Looking up at me when I got close they asked if they could hang them on the tree branch right now! How could I resist?

They carried the trays of bird treats outside to the designated tree and with a little help from Mom, Jamey and Arthur got all the treats hung up.

They were thrilled with their work and have been checking all day to see if the birds have started snacking. And all day, my mood was buoyed up by the enthusiasm of my personal little rays of sunshine. Gray day? Who cares!

If you wish to make these bird treats, here is the recipe I used:

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
3 TBSP corn syrup
4 cups wild bird seed mix
cookie cutters
cooking oil
cookie sheet
wax paper

1) Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and then stir in the seed.
2) Oil the cookie cutters and set them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
3) Fill cutters with mixture pressing firmly
4) Using a straw, poke holes in the mixture for stringing up
5) Let dry approx. 4 hours, and then remove cookie cutters carefully
6) Let the mixture continue drying, turning over occasionally for about 2 days.
7) Hang up and enjoy.

Some recommendations:
1) Use big thick cutters. We founds that treats made from thin cutters broke easily.
2) Since the treats are thick, it is important to give them adequate drying time. They may feel dry on the outside, but still be sticky on the inside.
3) Firmly packing the seed makes a stronger end product.
4) Using tweezers to pull the string through the hole really helped.