Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunted snacks

I had a blast making these Halloween snacks. We had a couple friends over for just a bit then we all went to the local haunted house for a scare! Scared we were, I am still pumped up from the frights.

These spooky veg body parts were time consuming but worth it. The Radishes have a green olive with a pimento in them to look like a creepy eyeball, and the carrot fingers are simply a sliced almond stuck on with some sour cream.

Guacamole with black beans and blue corn tortilla chips, a perfect color for the evening.

Mummy dogs! So cute.

And for dessert these bloody fallen glass chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, the blood is cherry sauce.
I got the idea from this great book "A Zombie Ate My Cupcake" The many creepy & gross cupcake ideas are so visually appealing and the recipes are great! I was concerned to try a new cake recipe on guests but everyone was delighted. They were moist and delicious!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dressed to Impress

Last night we went out to our friends annual Halloween costume party. We dressed in early 1950's inspired costumes. I was hoping to look like a proper 50's woman and Rory went with a Buddy Holly look.
I had a blast in the dress and the hair, despite the time it took to do. I really appreciate the time women spent getting ready back then.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paint and Demo

Today was Saturday and that means many things to us, usually chores around the house and maintenance, but most importantly its having the time for a walk in the morning with Baxter and Mr. B, then quickly off to drive around hunting the garage sales.

We picked up 2 deals today for pocket change. An 18 foot extension ladder (that we have needed badly since we bought our home) and this funky wood dish shelf that I quickly coated with some spray paint and installed in my craft room.

All these supplies were cluttering up my work table, so it's great to get them up and out of the way.
I really have to do something with that fabulous bag of French lavender sitting up on the top shelf...another day.

That's a little better, but I have plans to straighten up more and have better use for this space as soon as I can find the right desk.

So today we got a little crazy and decided to demolish our fireplace! Doesn't it look great? Well no, but it will soon... I hope. We just have to do a few things first before we can have a mantle.

Oh if you are wondering what Baxter has on his face, those are his Doggles. You see he insists on being near us when we make any kind of demo noise like hammering. He was quite upset outside while we did this but as soon as we let him in he was fine. Of course he has to be literally right under us and with all that rubble flying about he needed to be safe.

Safety first that's what Baxter says!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple spice cupcakes

These delicious spicy little cakes are a creation from Martha's Apple Spice Cake recipe that I twisted just a bit. The recipe is a typical cake, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, spices, etc. But it called for a few interesting ingredients, honey and apples cooked in caramelized sugar...oh yeah!
I could eat just that, its basically homemade apple sauce (from our home grown apples) I used 2 granny smith and 2 Fuji apples. You cook a small amount of sugar in a pot till it completely liquefies and turns into a deep brown color. Then you add your peeled, sliced & chopped apples and cook them till they turn into a caramelized apple sauce. That is cooled and added to the batter.
I decided I wanted a bit more kick to my spice muffins, so I added the zest from an orange. I also made cream cheese frosting with orange zest. Oh that made it great! Too bad there are 24 of these babies, I think we will have to share them with our friends, if they are lucky.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hall Laundry plan, take 1

So I've started to think about how our narrow laundry room could be better!

Of course my plan involves demolishing the existing closet and cabinets.
The existing storage is large but lacks function and is difficult to reach (for me). So I decided that the standard coat closet is going and we will be fitting in a pull out hamper with a folding counter top made out of wood. A narrow broom closet for mop & storage of tall items, a pull out drawer for Baxter's food bin and cookies. And three wider cabinets above the washer dryer and folding table.
Also I want a little shelf above the washer and dryer to put cute accessories and to hang a burlap curtain to cover up the ugly exposed water pipes and drain.

Here is my mock up, everything is in centimeters because that's how we do it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We have a towel holder

When we remodeled our master bathroom we removed the closet to make room for a jacuzzi tub. For me this was a simple choice, as I don't need a full closet in a bathroom and I love my bath time.
The only problem is we did not have room for a linen closet to store towels and other supplies. Thankfully the guest bathroom is close to our room and has a lot of storage so we didn't need it...right, well 4 months later and I changed my mind :)

We did build a custom 8 foot long vanity that originally we decided to leave the middle open for shelving just for towels. Well we decided that instead of that we would eliminate the need of having a hamper on the floor and we put a hamper in the vanity center cabinet. I love it and I use it everyday, and I'm glad we put it in. But where could we store fresh clean towels?

Today we installed this handmade wrought iron towel rack here, above the commode where I had originally envisioned a painting going.

It works great, I think its a nice decor element too. It holds the perfect about of bath towels and can hold little washcloths below in the basket, or other supplies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Help me choose our new fireplace

Well here we go again, I have ideas swirling around in my head and they involve renovating.
Our Fireplace has looked like this since we bought the place. We painted around it, the walls a sunny yellow and the ceiling a buttery off white. You can still see the spot where we tested the ceiling paint on the fireplace.
Current state

You can see that there is a strange rounded "mantle" on there currently that really serves no function and is not even visually appealing. The surface of the fireplace is a rough stucco which we plan to change to a smooth plaster or hand trowelled concrete finish. I want the fireplace to look less blah, but I don't want it "in your face" if you know what I mean.
Here are the options I have come up with and have Photo-shopped to help me decide, and you can vote for your favorite, if any.

Here we have the fireplace with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, and it's finished in a super white colored plaster.

This is with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, finished in a super white colored plaster, with small 2x2 Cobalt blue tiles.

This is with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, finished in a super white colored plaster, with 4x4 Terracotta Deco tiles.

Here we have the fireplace with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, and it's finished in a butter white colored plaster.

This is with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, finished in a butter white colored plaster, with small 2x2 Cobalt blue tiles.

This is with a large curved Rustic Wood Mantle, finished in a butter white colored plaster, with 4x4 Terracotta Deco tiles.

Please Vote your favorite, or feel free to write your own wonderful ideas for this dilemma in the comment section. I appreciate any and all feedback from you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Product rave

Isn't it great how many organic choices there are now? Every time I go to the market there is more and more. I guess people are getting what they demand!
So with the sudden change in weather from 110 down to 60 degrees I felt that my oven deserved to be turned on.
I picked up a few cans of Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Mix to hold us over until I'm ready to part with my pretty pumpkins and cook them.

The can of Pie mix is much easier for a weekday evening anyway, I just whipped up a fast crust in the Cuisinart, opened a can (I used 2) added some free range eggs from Rory's dad, spices and new baking product for me organic evaporated milk, Yeah!!!

I didn't get fancy with the first pie of the season, just threw the crust in my new dish, "rustic style" that's code for lazy. The filling went in and I popped it in the oven, now the hard part is waiting for it to cool.

Yummy Organic Pumpkin Pie!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A New Variety

It's October, the pumpkin patches are open around town and the local grocery stores are putting out all these great varieties of pumpkins. In the past I have always just picked out the typical carving smooth skinned orange "Plain Jane" pumpkin.
I've got a bit of a cold but as soon as I'm feeling up to it I plan to load the car up with some of these great Squash with Character!

Blue Jarrahdale

Baby Boo

Black Futsu

Casper White

I've already picked up two of these at the local Farmers Market.
Winter Luxury

And one of these beauties at TJ's.
Fairytale Pumpkin
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