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Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Dip

Still looking for a great dip for Halloween? Give this one a try. I made it this morning. (Day off work!)

I bought a book called
Hungry Halloween that contains some great recipes. I had decided to make the dip called Portrait of a Monster. I must admit, I selected this recipe based on the looks of the finished product. It's got a layer of artichoke dip and a layer of spinach dip. I like both of those, but I cannot look at a recipe and tell if it's going to taste good when it's finished or not. But both of these dips are great! So while I selected this based on a picture, I would make these dips again anytime!

The dips are layered in a 9X13 pan, then crushed blue tortilla chips are sprinkled on top to create a portrait of Frankenstein. While the template for the crumbs is in the back of the book and can be enlarged, a full size, ready-to-print template is on the
Hungry Halloween web site. I discovered that this entire recipe, along with others in the book, is on the web site.

Last night, I printed the template. While they wanted me to create this template on plastic stencil material, I couldn't easily find the stencil plastic that I own and have stored somewhere or other, and it was too late to go to the store, so I cut out my template using a piece of heavy paper. This worked fine.

I made my artichoke dip and spread it in my pan. Then I made my spinach dip. I gently laid the template over the artichoke dip and made a line around Frank's head with the tip of a paring knife. I put my spinach dip into a gallon freezer bag and cut off a small bit of one corner. I wasn't sure how thick or thin I should apply this second layer, so I outlined the head and started filling in the head rather sparingly. I soon learned that I had plenty of spinach dip so I went back and added more dip to the thinner sections and filled in all empty spots. Since the dip did not look too good at this point, I spread the spinach dip around inside the head outline evenly with a knife. Here's a photo of my dip after I layered the two.
Dip before tortilla crumbs
The next step was to crush the tortilla chips and sprinkle them on the dip using the template. This went much better than I thought it might have. I was careful to gently press the crumbs into the dip so they would stay put. I tried to brush as many crumbs off the template and into the empty slots in the template that were to be filled with crumbs so that when I lifted the template, crumbs did not fall into all the spots that were to remain crumbless. I discovered that my ears and neck bolts did not line up too well, so I just applied a few crumbs to those areas after I removed the template. All in all, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!
Finished Dip

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vintage Christmas Ornament Wreaths

Yesterday while I was watching some college football games, I decided I needed to be doing something more productive at the same time. My collection of vintage ornaments was getting a little too big to easily store, so I decided to start working on some wreaths. I got most of two wreaths completed, then finished up the last details today.
Vintage ornament Christmas wreath
Vintage ornament Christmas wreath
I love to look for vintage ornaments and I love to make them into pretty Christmas wreaths. I've given a lot as gifts, so I decided this year it's time to start selling them. I listed both of these wreaths today in my vintage Etsy shop,
Prized Possessions Take 2. We'll see how selling them goes!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Most Memorable Halloween Costume

“Halloween is just around the corner. What is the best Halloween costume you've ever worn or designed for someone else to wear? What made it so special?”

This is the question I chose to answer for the EtsyBloggers’ October blog carnival. My favorite costume I ever made was a very cute pumpkin costume that I made for my son’s first Halloween when he was not quite a year old. I could only find a blurry photo and frankly, there’s not much story behind that costume.

So I’m changing the topic slightly. Here is my most memorable Halloween costume.

I made this Power Ranger costume when my son was not quite five years old. 1996 Power Ranger costume
We picked out the pattern from the pattern book and the costume was quite complex. If you look closely, you might be able to see that the tops of the sleeves are slightly puffy looking. Parts of the costume had to be padded with batting. In addition to what you see in the photo, there were some shoe covers that hung down over the foot and a head cover/mask. Joe never liked to wear the foot and head covers, although they added to the look significantly. I guess he liked the white sneaker look better.

So there was a lot of work to this costume and some hard deadline of the day care costume party looming ahead of me. I worked full time so the only time I had to sew during the week was in the evenings. The memories of making this costume have stuck with me for some very unique reasons.

My deadline was approaching and I had one evening available where I planned to make a lot of progress. Wouldn’t you know that we had a freak October snow storm in Kansas City that day! It did a lot of damage all over town. The leaves were still on the trees so when that heavy wet snow and freezing rain covered all the leaves, the branches were very heavy. Many trees and branches were broken all around town. And the worst part of the storm for me was when our power went out. No more sewing machine. No more lights. I remember sitting at my dining room table looking for things I could do by hand with my flashlight and candles nearby! It was quite an experience!

The costume did get done on time. All its pieces are still hanging in the back of my closet. It’s a costume making experience I will never forget and I hope I won’t ever repeat!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Black Jack-O-Lanterns

I used to carve really elaborate pumpkins, usually three, every Halloween. I would take pictures of them, put them in the windows around Halloween, then eventually I would have to throw them away.

When they started selling the fake pumpkins, I decided I would start carving these artificial pumpkins each year and add to my collection as time went on rather than throwing away my real pumpkins.

This year, I decided I would carve black pumpkins. Over the last few weeks, I had bought three black pumpkins at Michael's, all 50% off. My plan was to carve jack-o-lanterns to put on my hay bale by my front door. This last Saturday, I carved all three of my pumpkins. Here they are.New jack-o-lanterns

The two on the left are pretty simple compared to many of the ones I have done. The witch is a little more complex. I got all three of these patterns from BHG.com at this link. If you take a short quiz about your Halloween preferences, supposedly they will tailor the templates they show you according to those preferences. But there is a nice variety of templates that they have to offer. Check it out and show me your Halloween jack-o-lanterns in a comment to this post! I love to see what other people do with their pumpkins!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vintage Black Cat Candle Holder

On Friday, my husband dropped off his car for some service work and I had to pick him up. I had the day off work so I left home early and stopped by one of my favorite shops, Vintage Market, which I hadn't visited since it moved to a new location recently. Since it's only a few minutes from the car dealership, it was a great chance to go check it out.

I love the new location as much as the old! Such a fun shop in which to browse! And I didn't leave without making a purchase. I thought this wonderful cat candle holder would make a great addition to my Halloween decorating. The top is rusty and it needs a little cleaning up, but for $8, it was a great buy! It's 18 inches tall and will look great next to my fireplace!
Black cat candle holder

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Craigslist Find

Here's one of the items I bought last month from Craigslist. I've always wanted a screen door to use in my jewelry display. I've seen several used and they always added that vintage look that I love. Well, now I have my own screen door!Screen door
This one needs a little work. It had been stored outside so it needs to be cleaned. And the paint is peeling quite a bit. I need to apply a sealer or do something to deal with the peeling, but still keep that old look. And I want to build some sort of base for it so it will stand on its own. Then I will be able to use it to display jewelry, Christmas ornaments and hopefully even vintage ornament wreaths! A future project that most realistically won't get started before Thanksgiving. But you know when I finish it, I will show pictures here! Someday...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halloween Craft Answer

Here's the answer to yesterday's riddle. My newest creation.
Halloween candle
It's made from a piece of styrofoam in the center of PVC pipe. The styrofoam is carved out to hold a battery-operated tea light. Then the whole thing is covered with hot glue applied to look like melted wax. The plastic is glued to the top in three places to build up the height of the top and give it that uneven wavy look.

I started with a very small piece of pipe because I didn't really know how well it would turn out or how hard it would be to make. I'm ready to take on a larger one now! It really went pretty quickly. The only real problem was when I was trying to mend my styrofoam after I glued it into the pipe. I did not plan carefully where the glue might end up and hot glue dripped right on a couple fingers. I have a nice blister now, but I've been reminded to be more careful with my glue gun.

I want to make more candles glued to candle holders next. I found one candle holder a couple days ago at a thrift shop that I will paint black, but I want to find more of varying heights and sizes. I checked out some dollar stores today but no luck. Need to keep looking.

If you'd like to make your own Halloween candles, check out this two-part video on a great Halloween web site, How to Haunt your House.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Craft Riddle

Several days ago, I found a great Halloween craft idea on a Halloween web site. I bought supplies last night and made the project tonight. Here are the supplies I used.

PVC coupling
PVC coupling
Plastic packaging that I would have recycled (I reused instead)
Plastic packaging
Styrofoam that I would have recycled
Styrofoam
Glue sticks and glue gun
Glue sticks and glue gun
Can you guess what I made? Come back tomorrow to see the answer!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October Featured Etsyblogger

October’s featured etsyblogger is Margaret of SplendidLittleStars. Margaret has two Etsy shops that I’d like to share with you , as well as a blog containing some beautiful photographs!

Here is my favorite item from Margaret’s SparklyPark Etsy shop. Click on photo to go to Etsy listing
Margaret will donate 20% of the purchase price of these pretty pink crystal and pearl earrings to breast cancer research during the month of October. Go take a look at all of Margaret’s other SparklyPark jewelry, too.

I love this cute hat from the SplendidLittleStars shop! It would make an adorable addition to any little lady’s wardrobe. Margaret has many other cute kids’ items that are also hand dyed and painted.Click on photo to go to Etsy listing
And finally, Margaret’s blog is splendidlittlestars.blogspot.com. You have to go take a look at this blog! It is full of such beautiful photography that it’s hard to stop paging through just to see what the next photo will be!

Keep up the great work, Margaret, on your clothing, your jewelry and your blog!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vaseline Glass

I'm not a huge eBay person. I've bought a few things on eBay, all "buy it now" items. I got my pink Barbie shoes I use in my earrings on eBay. But yesterday I won my first item in an auction. I'm looking forward to receiving it. Here it is. (Once I receive it, I'll take my own photo of it. This was all I could get for now.) Vaseline glass vase
I first heard of Vaseline glass a couple weeks ago in an Etsy forum. It's glass that has a small amount of uranium in it and it glows in the dark under black light. I'd like to learn more about this uranium thing...my first thought was it doesn't sound safe. So I'll do some research since I'm curious. I just know the pictures I've seen of Vaseline glass look pretty cool. I thought it would be perfect for Halloween! I'm looking forward to the arrival of my new vase. I've never taken a picture under a black light, but I'll give it a try!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halloween Wreath

I've had my materials for a while now, but today I finally made my Halloween wreath to go on my front door. I found a grapevine wreath on sale at Michael's, kind of a messy wreath that has leaves on many of the vines. It's hard to find black flowers, even at Halloween. I wanted plain black flowers, without the silver glitter. I had thought about spray painting some old flowers I have, but then decided to go with the stem of six black Halloween roses from Michael's, but they do have the silver glitter. I could have had purple glitter, but couldn't find any with no glitter. But I was willing to accept silver glitter to not have to mess with spray painting flowers! And I also bought a roll of organdy ribbon on sale. All in all, a pretty inexpensive wreath.

Here is a photo of my wreath on my craft table, right after I finished it.

Halloween wreath on craft table
And here is a picture of the wreath on my front door. It will make a nice addition to my Halloween decorations!Halloween wreath on door

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jewelry Box from Craigslist

More than once, I've seen jewelry displayed in vintage jewelry boxes and always liked the way it looked. Since I'm always looking for different ideas for displaying my jewelry, I told myself I needed to remember this. Every now and then I would look for jewelry boxes on Craigslist. Well, last week I found one for $3. I picked it up yesterday. Closed jewelry box
I love the floral pattern! It's got a lot of space inside.
Inside of jewelry box
I put a few items inside to get a feel for how it would look.
Jewelry box with jewelryCloseup of jewelry in jewelry box
This will be a fun addition to my growing collection of jewelry display items. And before you know it, my home party in November will be here! This will be my third year I've done a home party open house before the holidays. More news on that later...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I've done a post on these cute earrings before. (I can call them cute, because even though I make them, they weren't my idea.) Since it's October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I should do another post. And today's a great day to do a post because of the $50 I just raised for Susan G. Komen.
Lisa's Earrings - Hot Pink
I won't go into all the details again here. If you click on this photo, you can go to my Etsy shop listing and read the story behind the earrings. Basically, I'm donating the materials for these earrings, selling them for $5 a pair and donating the $5 to Susan G. Komen. Today was a fun day because when I got home from work, I discovered an order for 8 pairs of earrings! $40 for Susan G. Komen in one day! So I commented on this on Facebook and got an order from a friend for another two pairs! I'm pretty excited about raising $50 in one day!

My first customer ordered 8 pairs because her husband's grandmother just had surgery for breast cancer. She is going to send earrings to her family all over the country and even in France, then get their pictures wearing the earrings and make a scrapbook for the grandmother. What an awesome idea! Good luck to Ami on her scrapbook. And my thoughts and prayers are with her husband's grandmother!

If you'd like to do something small for Susan G. Komen, how about donating $5 and getting a pair of earrings for your effort?