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Sunday, October 31, 2010

LOOK AT THIS: Halloween costumes

Can we turn this hot mess
Yuck! on the shapeless baggy dress, crazy hair, and pale makeupless face.

Into this fabulous costume idea?
Well... you tell me:

We are Millie Dilmount and Jimmy Smith from the Show Thoroughly Modern Millie. Cute, right?
The Costume party was for our Theatre group, so everyone was supposed to come dressed as characters from a show... My parents came as well... and they were:

Captain and Maria Von Trapp from The Sound of Music. (My mother would like to note that they are Act II SOM... so no whistle for the captain and no habit for Maria!) My mom MADE her dress too... She was trying to create Julie Andrews (Eeeks, I love her!) dress from the gazebo scene (Pic of the dress HERE)... but this is how the dress started:
Awesome, Right? That would be a heinous, stained, sz 24 mother of the bride dress, that we got for about $5 at the thrift store. She also made my dad--Captain Von Trapp-- a jacket. She did a great job. :)
And... just to show you one more crazy person who put way more effort into their costume than was necessary (HA!) My good friend Erin (with whom I planned the party) has a life-long dream (and I use the term 'dream' loosely, because it is more like an obsession... ha!) to play Mary Poppins in the stage musical. Here was her family inspiration:
Her costume started with thrift store finds that looked a little like this:

But with a little sewing and tweaking ended up like this:

Without a doubt... her cutest accessory was her son Dawson, dressed as a chimney sweep for the evening:

The party was super fun, and all the costumes were great! Unfortunately, my camera was forgotten and the food table and decor was rather destroyed by the time i remembered to ask someone to take pictures of it... so no decor pictures as promised.
But to assuage your sorrows, the boys enjoyed their first Halloween together with themed costumes as well (I love a good theme). The boys love their dad more than anything in the world... and so why not be just like him for Halloween???
Winston was a FedEx Courier... just like his dad. And Charlie...
WAS A PACKAGE! :) (Ahahahahahaha!)

They were much to concerned with kids, and stealing candy from the trick-or-treat bucket, and wrestling and playing to be bothered to sit still very long for a picture (see my hand holding Winston down???) but they were ridiculously cute and got many compliments and giggles from all the guests on Halloween... I think they had a great time too. Yay.
And... That's our Family's first Halloween. :) Hope yours was Lovely as well!

Friday, October 29, 2010

MAKE THIS: My Halloween Treat To-Do List

I told you about the Halloween party this weekend... decor is ready, costumes together, now it's time to make the food! And I have received tons of yummy inspiration from blogland for this party! I want to make:

These adorable candy corn inspired rice krispies from A Little Tipsy
This salty/nutty/sweet confections Cheri from I am Momma, Hear Me Roar! named Crows Feet. (That would be a pretzel topped with a Rollo and a pecan. YUUUUUMMMM!)
These Yummy looking bars from Bakerella (but I might make mine with some spicy Pear Butter, yum!)
Not a sweet tooth? I think this fun Mummy dip and veggie tray from Hostess with the Mostess is SO fun. (They piped that top layer of cream cheese on there to make it look like strips of cloth, though I originally thought it was thin strips of tortilla, which I guess could work as well)
And of course, no fall evening would ever be complete with our most favorite traditional snack: Mama P Mix. This is Z's mom's creation and it's 'trail mix' style combo of candy corn, peanuts, and m&ms. It's yummy, salty, sweet goodness!
Now it's your turn, talk to me: What festive treats will be on your table this Halloweekend? :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

DO THIS: Plan a BLACK AND WHITE Halloween Party!

My friend E and I decided it would be great fun to throw a costume party for the theatre group we are a part of. I mean, who knows how to dress up better than theatre geeks? We are having it the Saturday before Halloween, but we didn't want it to be a really 'halloween' themed event. Does that make sense? Kinda went with a slightly spooky black and white themed party... like... Halloween minus the gory stuff for grown ups. :) Make sense? Here are some inspiration pics we are drawing from.
(I apologize, not all of them have photo credits, because they are ones my friend sent me)

Martha Stewart
Good Housekeeping
Good Housekeeping

 We really liked these simple framed black and white signs... and that glittery bat? LOVE it.
Martha Stewart

Plus, we are making a display of candles like these that I made HERE

And we will have black and white framed shots from old shows... and some other unique touches. All our friends have been asked to come dressed as their favorite character from a show. I am still working on costumes for Z and I, and Erin is still working on hers... So we cannot yet reveal.  But I'll give you a hint: Mine involves LOTS of long red fringe and Erin's a long red coat and lots of soot. Hmmm...
I'm really looking forward to putting all the details together, and I will definitely show some pics after the party. :)

EAT THIS: Sausage, potato, and cheddar waffles

Okay, I know I have been posting a lot more recipes than other creations recently. I'm sorry. Sometimes life just works out that way... some weeks I'm in the kitchen more than the sewing nook. Some weeks I'm planning parties, and hosting gatherings (October/November) and some months I am costuming a play and making Christmas presents (November/December). So I promise there is more sewing and craftiness to come... and soon enough Halloween costumes that I keep promising... But for now, you must be content to stew over a few recipes and let these change your life... because then can, my friend. They can.
I can take no credit for this recipe. I didn't even change it like I usually do. This came straight from a Rachel Ray magazine, and I read it and said to myself, Brilliant! I must have it! And so I cam home and did it. And it was good. It was very good. Yes, RR is a little kooky and her voice and little names for everything get really obnoxious and she gesticulates unnecessarily... but sometimes, she gets it right (or her editors do, or something) and this is one of those times.

Sausage, Potato, and Cheddar Waffles

3 oz sweet italian sausage (casings removed)
1 med baking potato, grated and excess water squeezed out
4 tblsp butter
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tblsp baking powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

In med skillet cook the sausage over med heat, breaking it up with a fork, about 5 mins. Add the potato and butter, lower heat and let simmer until butter is melted, about 2 mins. Remove from heat and let cool while you...
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in milk and eggs until smooth, stir in sausage and egg mixture.
Then use a waffle maker, cook waffles according to maker directions. (For us, this made about a dozen square waffles... may vary based on size of waffle maker)

I love a good savory/sweet combo... so I immediately put a good serving of butter and syrup on top and went to town.

Z can't get into savory/sweet combos... but surprisingly enough was not wigged out by a savory waffle... he topped his with taco sauce. (I kinda cringed/shrugged because what are you going to do... he was eating food i made! Celebration! Even if it was smothered in icky taco sauce.)
Just in case you didn't get that... here's a close up of icky jarred taco sauce on glorious waffles. (but apparently he was excited enough to eat them that he decided not to wait for me to clear or set the table, or even get him a glass for his soda. sigh.
Whatever your method, be it maple syrup or taco sauce, or nothing, or something completely different (and please share what you topped your with!) you gotta try these waffles. Oh, and the recipe suggested whipping up a double batch and freezing the rest. Pop those freezer waffles in the toaster for a quick dinner or snack? Yes, please! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DO THIS: Play along with me!

Well, the sad news is my Puppy Hoodies didn't make the top 12 in the Crafting with the Stars Competition. But there were 200 some entries, and insanely creative people that entered projects... even still, I like to believe that my project was a solid #13... and JUST BARELY didn't make the cut... And, at this point I have no evidence proving otherwise. :)
Anywho, even though I am not a competitor, the host of the competition has invited people to play along anyhow, and create the themed projects that the contestants will... add them to the linky party... and vote for the competition. So I am excited to play along... and it's almost better this way because my projects won't be judged... no heartbreak and hurt feelings for me. :) Although, also no chance for a mirror ball trophy. [SIGH]
Here's the theme for round one... I know JUST what I'm going to make...

Friday, October 15, 2010

I GOTTA TRY THIS: Apple Cheddar Scones

Remember the apple/cheddar biscuit conversation HERE and me spending days pondering that and wondering if/how i could make it work? Well now I don't have to. Thanks Smitten Kitchen! As if I needed more reasons to love you... I am DYING to try these now! In fact I am having a fall party this weekend... and I just might have to whip some up... YUM.
(the picture and link above will take you to the recipe)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HELP: Wax removal

Yikes! I had a candle tip and spill red wax on  my fav Ann Taylor skirt. :( How do you get wax out of fabric???

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

REMEMBER THIS: Revisiting projects and other un-project-y stuff about my life

Remember THIS tutorial for pin cushion/thread bag? Well, it turns out I think these are terribly cute, terribly useful, and really fun to give as personalized gifts! Sooooo... I made this one for my friend:

She is terribly creative and learning to sew as well, so it was well received! :)

Also had to share some before and afters with you... because who doesn't love a good before and after? The before is sad and beige and frankly a little scary with no makeup. Oh, it's ME by the way.

But Mrs. P got a makeover this weekend, and I am looking a little more sassy like this:

Ahhh, SO. MUCH. BETTER. Don't you think? Big change for me, I've been blonde my whole life. I like it... a lot. I feel it is seasonally appropriate as well. :) Yeah fall makeover.

And last but not least I just had to share a few pics of us and THE BOYS at the cider mill this fall. Z and I played hookie on a beautiful fall day and took the boys on an adventure. We drank slushes, ate donuts, and let the boys smell every pumpkin and fence post they came within 10 ft of. It was a fun FUN day, and of course I had to take a pics of the boys by the pumpkins.

Aren't they precious?
Hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather and colors... I am! Lots of fun projects and halloween costumes coming soon! YAY!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

EAT THIS: Boyfriend Soup

Last night for dinner I made Boyfriend Soup. Boyfriend soup is actually just a Broccoli Cheese soup (but an absolutely delish one!), but The first time I made it, my roommate's boyfriend loved it so much he ate the entire pot that I made. I was bummed because I was looking forward to leftovers for my lunch the next day. So I made another pot the next day, and her boyfriend showed up again and cleaned out the bowl. Soooo... it has since been called Boyfriend Soup, but I have never made it around him since, because I like it too much. :) It really is a yummy, yummy creamy, cheesy, rich delicious soup, that even non-broccoli eaters would love (if the are not so stubborn as my husband, which brings me to:)
I also call it boyfriend soup because my picky husband would probably cry if he thought there was anything vegetable or vegetable related in his house. Broccoli is the worst offender in his book, though it's one of my favorites! So I make Boyfriend Soup. And my husband comes home and says:
"Whats for dinner?"
And I say: "Boyfriend soup!"
"What's in it?"
"Um... boyfriends?" But by this time he is already at the stove stirring a pot of incredible smelling soup with suspicious looking green florets in it, and he's on to me! That's not Boyfriends! That's BROCCOLI! And I am ALMOST sad that he won't even try any... ALMOST, because if he's not eating, I know that I will get two heaping servings for dinner tonight and have a nice bowl leftover for lunch tomorrow.There are some advantages to living with a picky eater: More for me. And I smile, just a little, as my husband grabs stuff to make himself a grilled cheese sandwich.

Valerie's Creamy, Cheesy, Broccoli Soup
Boyfriend Soup

.25 cup chopped yellow onion
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tblsp butter
spoonful of flour
1 cup milk
1.5 cups chicken stock
6 oz cream cheese (cubed)
2 oz shredded swiss cheese
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 oz chopped frozen broccoli
.25 tsp. Nutmeg (secret ingredient that makes it SO VERY yummy-- don't skip it because it seems weird.)
Salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in butter until onion is translucent-ish. Blend in flour reduce to med heat and add cream cheese and milk. Stir until cream cheese is melted smooth. Stir in chicken stock and cheese, then broccoli, nutmeg and salt/pepper to taste. Heat over medium 'til it bubbles a bit. You can put it through the blender if you desire a nice smooth consistency, I kinda like it chunky. Serve with a little shredded cheddar on top to make it pretty and some crusty bread. Yummy. (Serves 3-4, depending on how big of eaters you are! ha!)
Side note, before you start feeling toooooooo bad for my poor husband and his grilled cheese... he got to make his grilled cheese with this stuff...
Which was made from scratch and warm from the oven when he got home. He opened the door and took a deep breath and said... this house smells incredible! (it did.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

CREATE THIS: My Very First Halloween Decor

When we were growing up, we always got to participate in Halloween activities... but we didn't celebrate it, per say. We got to dress up (as something respectable, modest, or non-scary) and trick-or-treat and participate in the Halloween school parties and costume parade. My parents always handed out candy to trick-or-treaters but mom and dad never dressed up (though, i don't know why because my parents love a good costume, and any excuse they can wear one), and we were not ever the people who decorated their house or played scary music, or cackled like creepers as the children got their candy. I have never been to a haunted house (I must admit I have little desire to ever go) and my record with horror films is not great. We don't get into scary creepy stuff. And that's just fine with me.
But this year is a little different. This year I have my own home... and for whatever reason the need to decorate according to the season has struck me... AND along with one of my good friends we are planning a Halloween/costume party... and so Halloween decor has struck me as kind of fun. Still not into the creepy gory stuff... and the cheesy bright orange and purple is not really my gig... but what if Halloween decor could somehow be sophisticated and slightly spooky? That's our vision for our "Black and White" Halloween costume party... and I think this fits the bill:
slightly spooky Halloween candles
Here's how I made it happen.
I collected a bunch of ugly mismatched candle sticks. Most of them were brass... I got them at the good will for about 99 cents each. Well... the big one? I must admit, I splurged and paid $3 for her. But I loved her... look at her lovely shape! She just had to be a part of my party. (so if you are keeping track of cost, so far I have seven dollars invested in this, you could do it for much cheaper if you already have some ugly candle sticks or find them at garage sales or if you are thrifty-er than I and don't fall in love with a $3 candle stick. Sigh)
Yikes, look at them, they are kind of a motley crew.
Next I got out everybody's buddy... glossy black spray paint... and went to town on those suckers. (I actually didn't have the spray paint on hand, used the last of mine on a different project, so my large can of rustoleum set me back another $3) I turned them upside down first and sprayed from the bottom side for coat 1, just to make sure the bottoms of all those lovely ridges and curves were covered.
By the time they dried and I flipped them to apply coat #2 it was about 9:00 and dark out. I still tried to take a picture, of the FULLY PAINTED candlesticks, and this is what came out:

Creepy, no? I can't for the life of me figure out why the paint didn't show up in the picture??? Strangest thing! Ghosts! Or something. Haunting my Halloween Candlesticks! I love it!
So here's what the ladies look like all painted up and dry the next day:

So pretty and glossy and lovely... not bad as they are, but I told you they were to be my Halloween decor, so I placed them on the mantle... and let the spiders do their thing...
Then I turned out the lights for some atmosphere (and discovered how difficult it is to take a decent picture in the dark... ha!)
 I am pretty happy with the result. Actually, as I was shopping yesterday I saw this glittery black skull that was like, ooh, Halloween glam, and I really wish I would have bought it to add to the arrangement, but... that's okay. So there's my very first ever Halloween decor. Kinda fun? Slightly spooky? Maybe? A little?
Well, I like it, at least. And the whole thing went down for about $10. Which my pocket book loves!
Happy October! :)