Monday, October 13, 2008

The Quick Sketch

I've spent a little time whipping up a sketch for my little sister's Halloween costume, as mentioned below. It looks different than my sketch on paper, but I'm still getting used to my tablet. It is a challenge to draw while looking at the screen compared to looking at the paper as you draw. I also haven't figured out all the features and command, but I'm learning! This sketch is a lot more whimsical than my last one.

The colors are not set yet, but I couldn't leave it black and white. I also got feedback from my 13-Y.O. sis that she wants a square neckline and tighter corset...hehe (she is soooo like me already!). The pink Converse shoes (a.k.a. Chucks) are a bit of her style that I added. I thought it was cute and age appropriate, also something a little different than the typical fairy costume. I'll have a pic of the finished costume in a couple of weeks!

Can't Resist!

Can you believe this gorgeous quilt is being given away??? It was inspired by the Old Red Barn Co. quilt giveaway. Head over to Pigtails and Snails to enter!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chic Pumpkins

These lovely pumpkins showed up in my inbox today and I could not resist posting them! Last week, I saw ghost pumpkins at our local country store and I've wanted to figure out something to do with them. I really want to do this technique! Here is an excerpt from the e-mail:

The Ghost Pumpkin

The White “Ghost” Pumpkin is a beautiful gourd that puts a spooky, yet elegant spin on Halloween décor. Ghost Pumpkins, also known as Luminas or Caspers have a naturally white outer skin but are a pale orange inside, allowing them to give off a lovely glow when carved. They used to be more rare but have steadily increased in popularity over the past few years. Here are a few tips on how to decorate with your ghosts:

  • Painted Pumpkins: Try using stencils or graphite transfer paper to trace patterns or create distinctive designs on white pumpkins. You can also use letter stencils to spell out spooky words on several white pumpkins. Fill in your designs using a fine-tipped paintbrush and black acrylic paint....
If you would like to read the rest of the article, then visit Home Made Simple.

Another thing that caught my eye, were these delicious Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Bars. It looks like a good combination of flavors and something I haven't seen before. I'm a sucker for coconut!

Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Bars
October is the month for pumpkins, so try a truly unique dessert recipe that’s a delightful twist on classic pumpkin pie. Sweet layers of oatmeal, cinnamon, pumpkin and coconut will appeal to the whole family and best of all, it’s a portable treat you can eat with your hands!

Serves: 9-16 (depending on size of bars)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Approximate cost: 54¢ per serving for 9 bars, 38¢ per serving for 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cook oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded coconut


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl until evenly mixed.
  3. Press the mix into the bottom of greased 8” x 8” pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes to precook and firm up the crust.
  5. Combine all filling ingredients and pour over the warm crust. Return to oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Baking times will vary for different ovens and altitudes.

Tip: Try using parchment paper in the bottom of your pan in addition to greasing to help release the bars easier and prevent the crust from over browning. Once you’ve pressed the crust into the pan, try poking it with a fork to keep it from cracking.

My Favorite Monster

Every year my mom sends me a Halloween craft magazine. About six years ago, it was a Family Fun magazine and it had a cupcake recipe that I have made every year since. They are the cutest monster cupcakes ever! I think the first year I made them for the student ward I was in. I found that the easiest way to entice people to come to choir was with food...and it always worked! The best part of these cupcakes is the hidden surprise of green slime (pudding) inside. It keeps the cake moist and it is always fun to see everyone's reaction.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Love: 30 Days + More Halloween Stuff

I love this blog, because it has so many ideas all stored & categorized. I have done something similar on my computer in different bookmarked folders...but it can be tricky finding that something that you know you saved somewhere! Mique created 30 Days last winter for Christmas gift ideas and has now turned it into a virtual idea file and inspiration spot. You will probably see some links to projects you have already seen, but there are also a lot of ideas I hadn't seen yet, especially for Halloween decor. I love these Mod Paper Pumpkin Ornaments from Hostess with the Mostess and how about this Mysterious Pumpkin Carriage featured in Hallmark Magazine.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because I love to dress up and be someone else for the night (its the actress in me). This year I don't have any big plans for a costume, because (for the second year in a row) my husband will be working. I've decided to help my sisters out by creating their costumes. I was talking to one of my sisters about what she envisioned and she has decided she wanted to be a fairy with a corset and wings. I've drawn something up to incorporate some of her style and age. I'm going to post that soon and hopefully in a few weeks, the costume to match the sketch! I had a couple different skirts in mind from tutorials I have seen. Lately, the most popular one I have seen is the No Sew Tutu-rial. Another one that I considered was the Pettiskirt that was featured on Martha Stewart early this summer. Of course both of these have been around for a while, but it is always nice to have instructions as a guide. Anyway I'll post my sketch soon and more Halloween ideas!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pumpkins All Aglow

I was at the library, about a month ago, looking through some past issues of Family Circle magazine, when I came across last year's Halloween issue. I was instantly attracted to these scalloped pumpkin votives. They seem pretty simple to do. I only wish I would have scanned the pictures from the magazine rather than relying on their website, but you get the idea.

Here are the instructions from Family Circle magazine:
Use a grease pencil to draw a scalloped edge around the top of small to medium-size pumpkins. Vary the width of the scallops as shown. With the saw, cut along the lines, remove the top and smooth the edges. Hollow out the pumpkin. Mark holes with a grease pencil, varying the pattern. Drill holes using different size bits (1/8 inch for small, up to 1 inch for larger).

Another Way to Pumpkin

I love to carve pumpkins, but there isn't always time to do the whole process and sometimes it is fun to do something different. These are a couple alternatives to carving.

The top left pumpkins are spray painted, let dry and then scratched with a tool to create the design. If you want to use it to house flowers, then cut off the rind and dig out the guts.

The top right pumpkins are probably the easiest! All you have to do is attach double sided tape to the length of ribbon and wrap around the pumpkin. As you can see, several of the ribbon-wrapped mini pumpkins make a great centerpiece.

The bottom left pumpkins are so unique and would be fantastic for a rustic fall meal. Start by snapping off each pumpkin's stem, and position a candle in its depression. Cover with a clear glass hurricane shade. Insert floral U pins to hold the shade in place.

Finally the bottom right pumpkins are created by drawing faces with washable markers (until you achieve the face you like), then traced over with a permanent marker.

So there is four different ways to decorate pumpkins without a knife! You can find complete instructions on Good Housekeeping.