Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cirque du So Spooky!

Haunted Circus Tent...
Our son and his two little daughters treated Grandma and Grandpa to a day at the Circus.  Mama was at home getting some well-deserved rest.   I had never been to a real Barnum & Bailey Circus before and couldn't wait to see my favorite act...the Elephants!  I don't know what it is about their size and dignified grace that entrances heart simply swelled with emotion when they entered the ring.  Of course, right in the middle of the show I had a flash of an idea that I couldn't wait to get started on...a haunted circus tent to add to my collection of Halloween buildings.   I didn't want to make it too freakishly evil..."Something Wicked This Way Comes"...just quirky enough to be fun.

Haunted Village....
I used the same paper and color scheme for each building.

I used my Cricut to make the skeleton poster frames.
Fun old-time freak show and circus acts.

I was going to use a spooky graphic for the flag, but liked the ticket better.

I wanted a startling face at the curtained tent entrance...
This clown kinda freaked me out!
This was so much fun to do.  I had to figure out how to make a conical roof for my paper mache box.  It's not perfect, but I figured a spooky circus wouldn't have a perfect roof...right?  I can't paint stripes for the life of bring out paper stripes and  Mod Podge...I couldn't craft without it!  I'm still debating on whether to add some little black bats around the top edge of the tent...we'll see.
Happy Halloween Crafting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Halloween Fun!

Whoooo's overdoing it again?
Every time I go out of town for a few days I feel like it takes weeks to get back in the swing of things.  I'm still decorating for Halloween...the house is looking great, but I don't think I will put everything out this year.  I do have a few pictures of things I didn't post last fall.  I make new decorations every year, but this year has been a record for me.  With all the inspiration on the blogs and Pinterest I am bombarded with fun ideas!  Saturday we went to the circus and now I have to make a haunted circus tent to go along with my Spooky Old Mill and Haunted Mansion.  I can't wait to get going on it...hope it works out like I'm envisioning. =D
More Spooky Decor....

Halloween tree in kitchen...

Someday I will have a big Kim K. =D

Arrangement I made years ago...

Detail of hall shelf...found the vintage noisemaker at Sandy Antique Mall...
Little paper clay figures in shadowboxes...

Closer view of Pumpkin Guy...first things I ever made with paper clay.

Random arrangement in my office...
(My Dad's baby shoes)

Pirate Corner in my kitchen...Thar's pirates all year!
(Just add a skeleton and a haunted pirate ship)

Hallway shelf...the two vintage Gurley witch candles are my favorites.
Thanks for letting me share a few of my favorite Halloweenies!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stingy Jack...the story of Jack o' Lanterns!

Punkin Love...
What is it about the sight of plump pumpkins in an autumn garden that so gladdens the heart?  At summer's end I crave the golds and oranges...the changing colors.  The sky seems bluer and the light of the sun slants golden across the face of the mountains.  In the farmers markets, bins and tables are piled high with pumpkins of every shape and size.

This morning the air was a bit crisper and I got the sudden craving for my mother's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Pumpkin recipes are all over Pinterest...fancy cheesecakes and even Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!  In my sentimental heart, nothing could ever take the place of Mom's cookies.  I shared the recipe last fall when my blog was new.  Stay'll find here again it after the story of "Stingy Jack."

Stingy Jack...
Halloween originated in the Celtic lands of Ireland and Scotland.
The phrase "Jack o' lantern" was first used to describe a mysterious light seen flickering over the marshes at night.  When always seems to be just out of reach.  The phenomenon is also known as "will o' the wisp."
I had always heard that many of our Halloween customs originated in Ireland...especially that of the Jack o' lantern.  So I thought I would find out a little of the history of our pumpkin friend.  I found the legend on Stingy Jack on many websites, but the story on was a little more complete.  The following info is taken from the site...

Vintage Postcard...Scottish?
The Legend of "Stingy Jack"
People have been making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern." 
A traditional Irish turnip jack-o'-lantern from the early 20th century. Scary, isn't it?
From the Museum of Country Life, Ireland.
From the legend of Stingy Jack came the Irish tradition of placing Jack- o'- lanterns made of turnips and other vegetables in windows or by doors on Halloween.  The Jack-o'-lanterns are meant to scare away Stingy Jack and all the other spirits that are said to walk the earth on that night.  It wasn't until the tradition was brought to the United States by immigrants that pumpkins were used to make them.  I read a comment on a blog from Scottish reader who said that until a few years ago, pumpkins weren't as readily available as they are here.  He said that many people still carve faces into turnips on Halloween.  He admits that pumpkins are much easier to carve!

Modern Turnip Jack o' lantern.
Well...that's the story of Jack o'lantern.  I had never heard the story of Stingy Jack.  I have always loved Halloween but never took the time to learn more about it.  There is a lot more information about the Celtic celebration of "Samhain."  It might be fun to do a little more research...after I make my cookies of course!
This is the prettiest pumpkin...makes me want to bake!

Mom's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies...recipe makes a lot!

Mom's Cookie Recipe


1 Cup Butter or Margarine
3 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 16 oz. Can Pumpkin
2 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tsp. Nutmeg
5 Cups Flour
2 Tsp. Soda
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
Nuts and Chocolate Chips (As many as pleases you!)

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.  If you freeze might be able to enjoy them throughout the fall season.  Take some leaf-peeping! 

P.S. I found some fun fall baking images to keep to the pumpkin theme...enjoy!

Happy Fall...Y'all!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Haunted Old Mill...and a Sneak Peek!

Welcome to the Haunted Old Mill!
The Domicile of a Friendly Witch and Her Cat...
Even before I moved to Germany...not too far from the Dutch border...I loved windmills.  There are so many different shapes and sizes.  I used to love to count them when we went on a road trip...storing up memories of their quirky beauty, like so many nuts.  I found the landscape of Northern Germany to be very similar to that of the Netherlands, with canals and lovely thatched-roof farm houses and barns...and of course...windmills. Many years ago, Disney made a wonderful Silly Symphony cartoon of an old mill which housed many dear little creatures.  One night...a terrible storm came upon the old mill and nearly destroyed it.  What would happen to the inhabitants?  Many of the old Disney short feautures are like paintings in animation...beautiful and unforgettable.
Detail of Door Step...

Waiting for Trick-or-Treaters...

Witches College Graduation Portrait...

"Poison" Weathervane...
(sorry it's blurry...too close)
The windmill was one of those projects that happily come together.  I had no pattern or template that I could use...just the shapes of a Quaker Oats box and a child's party hat.  The secret to the blades was found in a box of vintage Tinker made the installation of the blades so easy.  They can even rotate...if I so desire.  If I made a shake shingle roof again...I would not use the party hat.  The shiny surface didn't want to hold onto paint, glue...or cardboard shingles.  It took almost as long to for me to shingle the roof as it did for my husband to roof my kitchen addition...too long!   But I had fun.  I used the same color scheme and paper as the Haunted Mansion...maybe a whole haunted village is in the future!
Fun and Fast...

Wooden shapes embellished with K & Co. Papers...

The matching layered embellishments are really cool...
Sneaky Peek...

Witch Hat almost completed...needs to be filled with trinkets and treats!
Thanks for letting me share my new projects.  This has been my most productive Halloween crafting season yet!  I owe it all to the inspiration and support of my fellow bloggers!
Next weekend is George's birthday trip to Disneyland...
I'm hoping for a lot more inspiration!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Halloween Lantern Collection! Repost!

Vintage Blowmolds for Halloween...

I posted this last September when my blog was pretty new.  I am currently working on changing the decor on my front porch and I haven't decided if I will use these cuties this year or not.  The following text is from last September.
I would love to have a huge collection of vintage Halloween decorations, but they are hard to find and can be expensive. One exception are those funky plastic blowmold lanterns from the 60s and 70s. As a child I was delighted to see them lighting a neighbor's windows. I never realized how many different designs existed. Most of my lanterns are still in working condition and most cost only from $1-$5 at the D.I. or Savers. Some are duplicates and some are more faded than others. I don't know why, but seeing them all lit up at night makes me happy! If you have happy memories of these simple lights, try visiting your local thrift stores and maybe a few late season yard sales.
This bright orange owl is my favorite. I found it "new in package" on eBay.

Cute Ghost with Jack-o'-Lantern

Three Faded, But Well-Loved Pumpkin Heads

I Love the Witch with Jack-O'Lantern

Have fun getting ready for Halloween!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Swiss Days 2012...My Fall Kickoff!

Happy Swiss Days!
Happy September 1st!  And Happy Swiss Days!  My daughter-in-law Shandi and I had a wonderful day of shopping and getting to know one another better.  She's a wonderful and pretty.  Greg's lucky to have her!  Every Labor Day weekend we brave the crowds and endure the hot sticky shuttle buses on our quest to find some new holiday craft we cannot live without.  It's a beautiful drive to Midway through Provo of the most scenic in the state.  The cliffs are lacey with waterfalls and the route of the Heber Creeper train follows the bends of the Provo River, which in turn follows the contours of the mountains.  In the river, fishermen in waders were casting flies in hopes of an elusive trout.  I love this highway!

Fall is Coming!
The Hillsides above Midway are already changing colors.

Welcome to Midway!
It's Swiss influence can be seen all over town.
In the 1860s and 1870s a large number of Swiss immigrants settled here.
It officially became a town in 1891.

There are many charming houses ...

City buildings are built in the Swiss style.
This is the clock on Town Hall.
Even the post office of this small town looks Swiss.
Every fall, the celebration is presided over by lovely Swiss Misses.
Some of the crafter booths are Swiss-themed...

...While others, like this recipe and cookbook vendor,
have their own unique style.

I have no idea what "In a Pikle" was selling...I just liked the umbrellas!

I went mostly for Halloween decor.
I was hesitant to take many pictures of craft items...out of respect for the artists. 
I wish I had pictures from the following vendor...

Best Booth and Most Original Halloween Decor...
Fancy Halloween Crow I purchased from 2 Pitts of a Pear.
Two crafters...aunt and nephew...who really get it!
Everything they created was what I would have made...
(...If I had thought of it first!)
Shandi bought an adorable handmade snowman.
Winner...most hated of all craft items!
It wouldn't be Swiss Days if at least one booth failed to offer
dried flowers framed under glass!
Photographed purely for mocking purposes. =D
(I apologize if this craft from the 80s is your favorite.)
Thus ends Swiss Days 2012.
We came...We shopped...We ate grilled Ham and Swiss sandwiches!
We boarded a hot sticky shuttle which carried us back through a maze of narrow country lanes to the cow pasture where our car was parked.
It was a very good day!