Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! We had a great party on Saturday night and I decked out the entire house in horrific decorations. Click on the pictures for a larger view. Firstly, the living room:

Mom gave me these cute little vintage-style pipe cleaner cat ornaments and I used some bits left over from my big round of cake bunting making to turn them into a little garland. Recycled wallpaper, orange polka dot scraps, and orange and white baker's twine was all it took to make my favorite new decoration!

Black and plain cheesecloth, construction paper bats from years past, and a host of store-bought decorations I've been collecting since I was a kid covered the rest of the room. For the party we turned off all the lights and everything was lit with candles, black lights, and glow sticks. The majority of the Halloween decorations I have stored are candle holders and there are SO many candles around the room but you can't really tell.

The curtain is made from black plastic trash bags. I got the idea from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living.

The bathroom was lit only by a red light and completely covered in spiders and blood. There was a big web with a giant spider over the shower door.

The bedroom was lightly decorated with old Wolfie here, reading the latest book from my favorite local writer, Will Viharo. This guy spooked people pretty well as the bedroom was the coat room and the first stop before people's eyes really got adjusted to the dim lighting haha!

And here's the kitchen! I switched out the dining table for a long one and all the paper lanterns had green glow sticks in them for the party.

More candles everywhere and the infamous Kitty Litter Cake! When some of the guests arrived early they thought I wasn't done cleaning! Why would I clean the catbox on the kitchen counter? Gross!

Relax! Though it looks very unsanitary, it is actually quite delicious. 
To make it you need a brand new, clean litter pan and pooper scooper (for serving), 1 box of spice cake mix, 1 box of yellow cake mix, 1 package of vanilla sandwich cookies, 1 large box of vanilla pudding, green food coloring, and tootsie rolls.
Make the pudding and let it chill, then mix the cakes according to the directions on the box. Bake each kind in a 13x9 rimmed cookie pan until done, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When they're cooled lift one out of the pan and place it in the cat box, trimming it to fit. Then spread the pudding over the whole thing and add the second layer of cake. Crush up the whole package of cookies in a food processor or by sandwiching in saran wrap and smashing with a mallet. Grab a small handful and add a couple drops of green food coloring and smash it up so they turn green, set aside. Sprinkle the plain cookie crumbs all over the top of the cake in an even layer, then sprinkle with the reserved green ones so it looks like the little blue bits in litter. Lastly, unwrap the tootsie rolls and microwave them fro 10 seconds to make them a little easier to mold, then shape them into, well, poo, and place them on top. Enjoy!

And here we have Swedish Eyeballs, Jenn's vegetarian version, and the Meathead. This ties with the Kitty Litter Cake for favorite freaky party food.

The effect is even better after he's been eaten a bit, not to mention having it sitting in the fridge covered in plastic wrap beforehand. Here's the old tutorial for it.

Heideh made this amazing plate of Pumpkin Puke! So delicious and a great presentation!

But what really made the party great was having all our friends over to eat, drink, and play silly old-fashioned games:

Yes, that's me in the beard... and Dennis in the other beard lol. Ten coolness points to everyone who knows who we are (answers at the bottom lol)!

These pics are all of us playing Spiderweb. It's an old Italian game and it would take too long to explain! Jenn won! (And yes, I had prizes ready for all the winners of the games.)

And here's the whole gang, from left to right, row by row: The Dude (or Duder, El Duderino, etc), a stranded Australian tourist, Aphrodite, a personal trainer, Moose Man, Mr. Tapatio, Walter (Shut the f*** up Donnie!), a magpie, a nun, a soccer ref, a goth fairy, Past Jenn, a Sear's employee, and... Rob, aka the Muffin Man. Unfortunately Miss Frizzle had to skeedadle a little early, but her costume was spot-on!

Tonight Dennis and I are going to carve pumpkins and stay in to watch scary movies and give out candy. I have no idea how many trick-or-treaters there will be here since we are still so new to the neighborhood, but my mom gave me some goodie bags that I filled with Halloween pencils, plastic bugs, eye patches, and a bunch of candy. I was able to make 15, and if we get more kids I have extra loose candy too. Hope everyone is going to have a Happy Halloween!

(Also, How-Tuesday will be back next week, I'm busy these days and have not had time to find any new links!)


How-Tuesday #31!

Happy How-Tuesday! This week I have some great little candles, stenciling, and a beautiful cake.

These little bottle cap candles are amazing! I'm dedicating this link to my buddy Krissy who is having a beer garden-themed wedding soon! Here is the tutorial.

This is a nice freezer paper stencil tutorial that goes more into how to cut a very fine stencil. Check out the tutorial here.

This cake is beautiful all on its own, and the recipe sounds amazing, but the website is covered with beautiful photography too. Check it out here.


The Final Fair to Remember!

Hi everyone! Just a little reminder that I will be selling again this month at A Fair to Remember in San Francisco. If some of you have not had a chance to come out and see all the wonderful goodies yet then you best come out for this one as it is the last of the season! There is talk of a possible Christmas version in December but it is not set in stone yet. Also I have some thing top-secret and super duper special that I will be selling at this fair (it has to do with my owl pincushions), so come and see! Also I will give you 25% off if you mention that you are a blog reader!


How-Tuesday #30!

Hi everyone! It is How-Tuesday again! This week I have found for you a necklace tutorial, laundry detergent powder, and a recipe for Coca-Cola cupcakes!

I have a necklace just like this in yellow with faux pearls instead of marbles and I paid like 40 bucks for it! Should have found this sooner... Here is the tutorial.

I love making cleaners and such at home, and this powdered laundry soap looks much easier to make than the liquid version. Here is the recipe/tutorial.

These cupcakes look amazing, and they are made with Coke to give the chocolate cake a richer flavor, and whipped cream frosting. I think I would like to try them with whipped marshmallow frosting some time. Check out the recipe here.


Fun in the Kitchen.

So now that you have seen my awesome kitchen I can show off some of the stuff I have made in it! I have been baking a lot of pies lately as I tend to do every time the seasons start changing form summer to fall. I had to take a picture of this bad boy because it turned out so pretty and so delicious!

Oh yeah, om nom nom. I will give you my quick-and-easy apple pie recipe at the bottom of the post. Also, I don't know if I mentioned this but Dennis has been on the low-carb diet for a few months now and is doing great! He has lost a lot of weight and it is really fun having him be more involved in the kitchen, seeking out new recipes for us to try, etc. He found this low-carb pumpkin cheesecake recipe and it turned out fantastically! We changed it a bit and used pumpkin pie spice instead of the blend of spices they give. The almond-meal crust was an ingenious substitute for graham cracker too!

And lastly, for my birthday I made yet another apple pie:

Why is it pink, you ask? No, there is no food coloring involved. There is a new variety of apple on the market called a Pink Pearl that has hot pink flesh! I remembered reading an article about 6 months ago about the guy who spent years and years breeding this apple and how it was finally being sold as saplings, and just recently they showed up in the organic market up the street from my old work in San Francisco. I bought one and tried it and it really got the gears turning in my head. It tastes almost exactly like a granny smith, super tangy with very firm flesh that isn't super juicy. When you cut into them and leave them out, instead of turning brown like most apples do, the pink color only gets darker and more vibrant, which would make them a great choice fr fruit salads, etc. But I wanted to know if they kept their lovely color after being cooked, so I made my birthday pie out of them (and yes there is rainbow sanding sugar on top), and there you have it! I cannot ait to use them to make pink apple bread next. And just for fun, here are our sweet, wonderful friends Aaron and Star goofing around in the kitchen waiting for pie:

I love my happy home, it is filled with so many good things. Anywho, here is my apple pie recipe, taught to me by my mother. We usually don't use measuring cups and just eyeball everything, but if you are a recipe person I have approximated the amounts.

Quick Apple Pie
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2-pack frozen pie crusts
6-8 apples, mixed varieties or all sour
1/3 cup sugar, plus a little extra for sanding
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (yes, I know...)
Generous drizzle of maple syrup
2 tbsp cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Peel and quarter the apples, remove the cores, and slice them 1/4 inch thick.
2. Place apples in a big mixing bowl with sugar, corn starch, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup, and stir until all the slices are coated. If there is still a lot of watery juice at the bottom of the bowl, add more cornstarch.
3. Take your pie crusts out of the freezer and pour the apples into one, and toss the cubes of butter on top. Drizzle with more maple syrup if you like.
4. In a small bowl beat the egg together with the heavy cream, then brush some around the rim of the pie crust. Place the other frozen crust on top and press down gently. Brush the egg/cream mixture over the top crust and sprinkle with sugar. Be sure to cut 3 long slits in the center of the top crust to let steam out, but be gentle since the crust is frozen and it can fracture easily.
5. Place in the 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet to catch drips, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown all over. Enjoy!


Home is where you make it.

So I know you all got a glimpse of the new apartment during our housewarming party post here, but I have been meaning to take more pictures of it in a less-crazy-and-crowded state. Now, I know what everyone really wants to see is the craft room/office space, but its just not quite finished yet. In reality, I know most of the house is not really "finished"; we still have a lot of pictures to hand and such, but it is close enough for now. So here in this half-assed-house-tour is the living room and kitchen!

 Big red leather couches and the bay window. That bookshelf is 1/2 craft books and 1/2 cook books. There are little wall sconces that light up all over the living room.
 Can we say built-ins! I was sold on this place the moment I saw them. Only thing I don't really like is that big black heater sticking out from the non-functioning fireplace in the lower right. I know they lake decorative covers for them but it already sticks out so far. Any suggestions?
Okay, I know this is goofy but it is one of my favorite things. Well, the mushrooms obviously are a motif that thrives throughout the house and if you look closely I think you can see one in almost every picture. But this little photo is of Dennis and his brother. He is the little one, and he still makes that face.
On the built-ins, the record player and grandma Renee on the left, great grandma Lometa (my middle-namesake) on the right.
The record collection and more mushrooms! The boxes house all of my camera supplies.
Poetry, scary stories, the camera collection, rock/seashell collection, and my Re-Ment kitchen!
Yes, I know, I am perpetually 4 years old.
And a secretary! My life is complete.
Our little dining nook. I have some funny little garlands I want to hang in the kitchen some time soon, but my vintage apron collection adds plenty of color for now. I stole the valance idea from the interwebs. We are still looking for a nice little wooden dining table with some drop-leaf action going on, so until then the lawn furniture will have to do!
My favorite built-in in the house! I am so glad I can finally display all my cool old kitchen stuff. I just wish the kitchen cbinets had glass doors because I have tons of cool stuff in them too!
The fridge magnet collection lives on from the last apartment, and it just keeps growing. The bottom half of the fridge is completely covered in magnetic poetry. Always inappropriate of course.
I have to say I think the kitchen is my favorite room in the house. I put the cup hooks in and I love seeing my mug collection. I also love letting people pick their favorite mugs when I make tea.
I don't know if the pictures do justice to how huge the kitchen is, but all in all between the massive amounts of storage space, gas stove, and granite countertops, I am spoiled!
And to complete the tour, our little hallway of art. And yes, that is Dennis' young face badly photoshopped onto a felt poster of Conan, and a picture of Elvira signed to me. This is home. I wouldn't have it any other way.