Thursday, October 23, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Little known fact - He's pretty vain, constantly grooming to make sure he looks super handsome in his uniform. Always ready for a photo op or to flirt with the ladies in the neighborhood.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Fall is by far my favorite season. The changing of the leaves is the most gorgeous reason we have to look forward to cooler temperatures after the glory of the summer heat. But beyond the yellows, reds, oranges, and golds, we get even more reasons to love fall: pumpkins and squash, adorable little kid costumes during Trick-or-Treating, fall baked goods, hoodies, and possibly the best reason after those amazing leaves is the local fall festival. I live out in the country and we are inundated with them during the month of October. Hay rides, antique sales, and craft fairs are the staples of any fest, flesh it out with a carnival or possibly a tractor show and you have your Saturday planned out in rural NW Illinois.
You can start a great fall fest morning with a rampant increase in Garage/Yard sales to catch the crowds, the wonderful aroma of fresh apple cider doughnuts sold by the local Boy Scouts or Kiwanis group, and finally a tour of the craft show at the high school equipped with the ever present bake sale to help raise money for worthy group. This small town bake sale is where I got my inspiration to back up some yummy fall flavored cookies. While my husband and father were off perusing the finest farm tractors the 1930’s and 40’s had to offer I took in the crafts and baked goods. The craft fair had the normal offerings: Pampered Chef, booths full of knitted and crocheted items, smooshed wine bottles turned cheese trays, tied fleece blankets, and for some reason a guy who did custom paintings of sports figures, he did great work, but had a few to many Green Bay Packer Players displayed for a craft fair in Illinois. Go Bears!
There was a very nice quilt show tacked onto the craft fair. The organizers wanted each person to vote for their favorite and even gave you a latex glove if you wanted to touch the quilts, to turn them over and admire the back or delve deeper into the stich patterns. I voted for one that was an appealing mix of off white, a soft pink, and a sage green, the creator had named it “spumoni”. Anita had recently taught me how to paper piece a quilt block so this show turned out to be much more interesting than I had originally thought it would be. Seeing how I could manipulate the patterns in blocks to create a wondrous work of art proved quite the joyous adventure!
I had wandered a school full of pillow covers and handmade bird houses, I had admired hours of planning and stitching of fabric, I even managed to check out a few tractors in the ever present battle of red vs green, after all that I thought deserved a treat in the form of a bake sale goodie. This one was to benefit the marching band, and from the looks of things the every parent had brought the A game. Cakes and pies, brownies and cupcakes, popcorn balls and candies, snack mixes, and cookies of every kind all offered up by teenagers in ridiculously loud homemade band t-shirts. I did not know they still made puffy paint. We got some oatmeal raisin cookies and some small molasses buttons. I adore molasses cookies but I never think to make them, well after I ate one of those buttons I was sold. I was inspired to make a big chewy molasses cookie with lots of spice and fall flavor. This whole recipe mixes up in a sauce pan but makes three dozen cookies, saving you from having to get out the mixer. I added a candy corn to add a bit more fall feeling to the cookies, and because I love how cute candy corn is!Molasses Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup soft butter
1/3 cup of you favorite type of molasses
1 cup sugar
1 egg, or egg substitute equivalent
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves (1/2 tsp will be quite strong)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
Candy corn, optional
Sunday, October 19, 2014
This is a rare still picture of him because Dino-mite is as explosive as his name. He has superfast speed powers and can leap over small children with ease. Forget the energizer bunny. If we could tap his energy reserves our quest for clean energy would be over. Try not to blink when he's around cuz you'll miss him entirely. He is also very courageous but sometimes to a fault, picking fights with much larger dogs.
Origin Story - Dino + Radioactive tanker spill + TNT storage facility. Need I say more?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Deco mesh wreath from part 1
Craft Styrofoam board - mine was I got it at Joann in the styrofoam/wreath area.
Black fabric - I chose a polyester cuz it will be outside.
Black craft felt sheets - 2 pieces
Ribbon - 20" piece for hat band
Feather spike - Also in wreath section
Puffy Paint - 2 colors
Small gauge wire - 2 pieces, 12" each
Pipe cleaners - use the same color as in the part 1 tutorial
Glue gun and sticks
Box cutter or something to cut the foam
*I've numbered a lot of the photos and they will be notated in each step with a colored number.*
1. First you will need to cut your hat shape from the foam. I drew a 1.5" X 12" rectangle for the brim and then a tall triangle on top.(1) Now use your box cutter/blade to cut it out.(2) EASY!
2. Next we will insert your two pieces of wire through the foam. Bend the wire in half will a squared off edge like in the picture. You can just push the wire through the foam till the squared edge is flush with the surface. I put one towards the top and another closer to the base.
3. Now we will cover the hat form with fabric. You basically just wrap it like a present, using the glue gun instead of tape, but in two steps. Do the brim first following the photos from 3 through 5. When you are done the front should look like 6.
Now you will wrap the top "triangle" part in another piece, keeping all the edges wrapped around the back of the form. There will be one raw edge on the front where you overlapped the pieces but don't worry we will cover it.
5. Now you will add your ribbon hat band covering the raw edge of fabric and the glued end of your feather spike. Wrap the ends around to the back and glue in place.
6. This is really an optional step but I like my wreaths to look clean from the back since I can see them through the window. Take your felt and cut it to fit over the back of your form coming about 1/4" from the edge. I had to do this in two pieces since my hat was bigger that the felt I had on hand. You can poke little holes into the felt for the wire to go through. I also recommend adding a bunch of extra glue around the wire when applying the felt. This will keep them extra secure.
7. Now we will break out this paints I had in the supply list to add our festive message. If you have another way you'd like to add the letters instead have at it. I painted the letters first and then filled in some of the blank spaces with a few swirls in a contrasting color. Note I tied the feathers out of the way while I painted.
The puffy paint takes a while to dry so watch a spooky movie or do a load of scary laundry. When it's dry just attach the hat to your wreath using the wires on the back.
TADA! You're done. Now you can hang it up and just wait for the complements to roll in. Here's Sadie in a couple dramatic poses with the finished product.