Everything’s better when it’s dipped in Chocolate

IMG_1329Off to a friends Open House, and whipped up some Chocolate covered strawberries, some with sprinkles, some with heath candy, and some with nuts or extra chocolate. They were gone before I took off my coat. They were a hit the last time I brought them to a family event as well so I have to remember this as a “go to” item for events, potlucks etc. I feel like I am always bringing a salad and since I’m gluten-free it’s usually a good idea so I have something to eat too, right? Since I knew what other folks would be bringing and we had already had a good meal prior to going, this seemed perfect! I would love to know anyone elses go to items that super easy and quick to bring to a potluck that isn’t the standard chips & salsa, humus and veggies.


The Hallows are coming…

I grew up in Salem, MA, yep, the good ‘ol Witch City. I can tell you it was nothing like it is today although, Halloween was always a prime holiday. It was the best place in the world to trick or treat, and I can say that now, knowing that there is a serious lack of decor and festivities in other places. I lived on a suburban street corner growing up and we kept track of how many trick or treaters came to the door (with which there was spooky music, pumpkins galore that Marth Stewart would adore and maybe a few ghosts…) over 100 just within 1 hour I can tell you! If you ran out of candy, you best be prepared for a trick! There wasn’t a house in the neighborhood who didn’t jump on the Halloween bandwagon. I remember haunted houses through backyards, spooky music playing, scarecrows that came to life just as your hand reached for the candy bowl! Eeeek!!! It was all so terrifyingly fun! Everything was handmade from costumes to tombstones. Even as I became to “old” to trick or treat, I made sure Halloween parties were a smash and costumes were over the top creative. I couldn’t help myself, that was what you were supposed to do after all! I couldn’t shake the embedded “Salem Halloween” vibe from my soul.

My first Halloween that I stayed at home for was seriously disappointing. I remember preparing the apartment we lived in with ghouls delight and putting out the pumpkins all carved with sarcastic grins and mysterious gazes complete with eyebrows and ears! And then, waiting for trick or treaters to arrive and, and, and…..nothing, not a soul! We lived close to a school, in an area with kids and no one came to snag our treats! I was utterly disappointed! Where WAS everyone for Halloween??? Did I miss the newsletter? The report on having No Halloween this year! GULP! Argghhh! I made my husband (then live-in sweetie) go outside and trick or treat a few times at the door, he could see I was devastated. I stayed up past midnight watching all the scary movies I could just to suck all the Halloween-ness  out of the night and get lost in the fact that Halloween didn’t seem to happen where I lived. I thought about moving. I thought about driving around to see where everyone was and hand out my candy from the car. The next day, I brought the lack of Halloween up to other folks around, they didn’t see it? Apparently, Halloween wasn’t an ornate extravaganza that occurred in every household and most didn’t even celebrate, even as kids. Curses, what a sin!!!

I still get JAZZED for Halloween, it’s the simplest and biggest holiday for me. The decor, story telling, pumpkin carving, creativity, the air, fall food and sweets, what is there missing? So when Halloween comes around where I live now (just maybe 15 minutes north of Salem) I treat it with lots of oomph! Now, with a 9-year-old to boot, who was brought up with some serious Halloween heritage, we make sure we dawn our unique Halloween style….and cast that spell to others who didn’t get to grow up in the witch city. We may be the only house with pumpkins a glow, the only one with a few spooks that blow in the breeze outside or gather WAY too much candy to hand out for the lack of trick or treaters that dare to explore our dead-end street….but my daughter still waits for the few who do make it, as her favorite part is handing out the candy and seeing some great costumes. The wandering around gathering treats isn’t bad either, but she adores watching little faces lite up when she answers the door in costume and makeup and makes sure they say “Trick or Treat” and has a sweet dialogue with them…She enjoys Halloween, it’s not about Candy, it’s about spirit, the change of seasons, imagination and fantasy.

This year, we’re hosting a trick or treat kick off party. Our pumpkins and decor won’t go un-missed and we’ll be sure to have a few tricks up our sleeves as well. I hope you have the Halloween bug! Do you have any traditions or spookiness to share?

Happy Haunting!!!

* I made the above window Silhouettes. I drew a hauntingly image inspired by some I found on the interweb and then cut them out. I used double sided tape to attach them to the window. The Spider has a web that was drawn using and Expo erasable pen. Totally inexpensive decor Under $5-.

The Da-Do-Run-down…

So very quiet on the blogging front in these parts, eh? Yes, yes, lot’s of goings ons, ramblings, musings, and new-found stirrings started to accumulate and poof a drop of the earth was necessary. No pressure right?

Well here’s the rundown:

We had a most pleasant visit to the Atlanta Airport for a 9 hour layover while en route to a wedding in Enid, OK. What? Never heard of Enid, you’re kidding. Well it’s about 200 miles north of Oklahoma City and 200 miles south of  Wichita, KS where we finally landed late, late in the eve. It’s a flat ghost town all the way to Enid which is yet another ghost town all on its own. Uüber Flat as well. But it did have a lovely farmers market where we got some chow-chow that we learned could not go through security on the way home, and it had some awesome old western buildings. We did find a warehouse/museum that housed all sorts of incredible artifacts from old western movies sets and americana, was very interesting.  They tried to keep us there as long as possible, apparently even a wedding shouldn’t keep us for checking out such a collection.

Enid also is home to Garfield Furniture. Long ago it was the Grand Ave Hotel and thought it was eerily familiar. Turns it it was on the ONE episode of Ghost Lab I’ve ever seen, who knew such info would come in handy. Legend has it that it was where John Wilkes Booth (of the Lincoln Assassination) had lived out his days under an assumed name. Read the whole rig-a-ma-roo here! We also had some awesome custard at Freddie’s, which I’m still craving. MMMMM, custard! There were quite a few storms while we were there and the allergens in the air were brutal in wheat country so missed the water park. However, like all good post wedding parties we headed out to eat at a funky sports pub called Pastimes. The interior was very ornate that included showing the tin tile ceilings, old brick walls and fresco’s as well as some old pics and maps of the town. Okay, old by the mid west standard, nothing in comparison to England or anything, but old-ish! Ya dig….Oh and then there was the OLD COWTOWN MUSEUM in Wichita, Kansas….Yes, the Cowtown Museum, it’s a living history museum and was probably the best part of the trip next to some good old fashioned paintball that we did post wedding!

Then it was WORK, WORK, Work all over the place. Family gatherings, reunions, selling some goods at the local farmers market, a few plays from summer camp, a boat ride or two, a tube down a river and then I had a major allergy attack and broke out in hives! Ewwh! Pretty much July was haze as I tried to figure this new allergy out…hmmm, still a mystery but currently under control and hopefully fading! So now I’m a Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, who lites up like a christmas tree in all sorts of pollens, molds, mites and danders to name a few. It looks as though I have to experiment with a few more known allergens (don’t do soy, so mainly dairy & eggs which I keep to a minimum anywho), try some new shampoos. I’ll be au natural and beyond…any recommendations I’ll happily listen to, trust me! My herbalist friends always try to help but I’m allergic to most of what they recommend as well. C’mon give a girl a break, ya know? My hubby thinks I’m losing it, as I don’t really let my allergies stop me so he’s not really reminded of them all that often and I think he forgets that they present themselves when I don’t want them to….

So I guess that’s where I’m at. Been in my seriously cool studio, cranking out some Schtuffff! What? I didn’t mention the studio? What? No pics? Oh Man! Soon to come. Right after I finish this baby sweater for my new niece due any day now!!!

And I leave you now….with the FORCE!!! American Girls Style!!!

This is what happens when you leave to creative playful girls alone and allow them copious amounts of Toilet paper…quietly later you head to the bedroom and find this! GASP! and start hysterically rolling about on the floor! I mean, they even have a storm trooper!!!

Gingerbread Mania…

Every year since I’ve known my hubby, we’ve gone to his mother’s to participate in the decorating extravaganza of Gingerbread House making. This is not your Martha Stewart process of decorating, more like a wham bam, get it done while you can process. I do like to take my time, pay attention to detail and try to be somewhat inventive in the process but I’ve learned a lot from these Gingerbread excursions, let me tell you.

His mother use to live in NYC, so we’d drive out to see her and drive home for 4-5 hours while trying to maintain construction of a wavering gingerbread house..Oh my! That was fun! Some years she came to us. I have a Wonderful kitchen AID mixer, and the mom in law loves to use it! (I can still peel off Royal Icing from hard to reach places of that machine.) When our lil girl had a better handle on the g’bread construction process I left a lot of it up to her and something she does with her Grandma. I’ve learned the creative process is different for a lot of people. I’m visual and take pride in my creativity. I would say, my hubby’s fam is more about spending time together and not the end result, but laughing and having fun. Not bad, right? So about that letting go part, I let my daughter come up with her own ideas (granted I may toss in a couple of what if’s or hmmm, or your could try to see possibilities) and so the combination and polar opposites of the creative process of gingerbread construction comes through, in her eyes, her vision…..this year being almost 9. This is my daughter gingerbread house done independent of adult help, minus a few of dad’s royal icing patches….She had a wonderful time (as you can tell)!

The day continued with a tree purchase and decorations and always, always with her topping the tree!!!

And later on I got to tend to some Holiday knitting for a small little person in the family! Isn’t the Gnome cute!!! It’s the Gnome-baby from Ravelry! Created in some Patons wool.

There was also some more small gift knitting for a fun Aunt. A single lady who has a great sense of humor. Last year she was the recipient of the lacy blue knitted thong. This year it’s a chapstick cosy…..in the form f a penis, HAH!!! You gotta love the stuff you can find on Ravelry, really now, a penis chapstick cosy, I know have a line of her co workers who want one.

My sad news for some holiday projects was that I never got some pics. One of  the Urban Homesteader Ponytail hat, which kicked serious butt. And the other an American Girl Doll poncho for my nieces new Julie doll she was getting this year. It was similar to the Ravelry pattern, but not quite… Now that’s quite a busy day filled with some chuckles and grins-love those kinds of days!

An All About Me Retreat…

I’m going to take some much deserved time for myself the next few days! Yahoo! My family is headed out-of-town and I have some work to do which is why I can’t join them, slightly sad, but turning those lemons into…perhaps a Margarita for myself. It is our declared “Birthday Weekend” after all! (My hubby’s birthday and mine are three days/three years apart, starting Friday.)

Aside from sleeping late, watching a movie of my choice at whatever time I choose, getting some favorite snacks or meals to indulge in, and tossing in some uninterrupted crafty time, I intend to make the best of it and enjoy all I can muster in a weekend. Probably a bit too much as I tend to let time get away from me and over extend myself…anyone else have that “I CAN DO IT ALL…now” problem????

So here is my plan of attack…we’ll see how I do:

May or may not have to kick off my day early and drive to the bus station, so I’ll just plan on–  HA! HA!! Just got word my kin will be sneaking out early am…

  • Wake up whenever and since my coffee maker is busted at the moment…I’ll be headed straight here for a beverage en route to…
  • Here or another thrifty delight to peruse and see what I can admire, hunt, discover or revamp!
  • Pending how the above goes or whatever other time suck I encounter (I’ve already hit the bookstore this week and got sucked into that vortex so I can skip that) I will head to nature!
  • Nature: gotta head back to my end of the earth and get my woofer dog! I will run or walk, take pictures, draw or paint in the out-of-doors = loveliness, bliss, ahhh…
  • If weather gets persnickety, I’ll take it indoors or get to sewing, spinning or some yummies or hav that to myself in the evening!

There’s a fiber festival that’s about 3 hours away on Saturday, they have a few classes that would be fun but sitting and driving for 6 hours, yet dreamy at times is not what I’d love to be doing with so much free time all to myself, if you get my drift! So that’s a back burner…there’s a Kirtan tonight in town as well, or perhaps a last-minute hair cut, massage or, or, I love endless possibilities…

I guess I’ll keep it open and see what happens! What are your favorite things to do when you’re enjoying time to yourself?