Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jack-in-the-Box...Halloween Style!

Jack-in-the-Boxes Scare Me!
I posted this picture a few months ago when I wrote about the "Fear of Clowns." Coulrophobia!  What is it about these cute little Mattel toys that are so terrifying?  I remember how when I was very small, I couldn't bear the suspense of turning the little box playing...and waiting for the "Pop! Goes the Weasel."  I hated it every...single...time!  Even to this day it bothers me.  I also hate popping balloons and opening the Pillsbury biscuit tin. =D  So what is more natural than to turn "baby's first nightmare" into a couple of fun Halloweenies?

Meet Charlie...
He is all in blacks and creams...mounted on a rusty bedspring inside the box.
He's more of a bobble head...but he is in a box!

Charlie is a harlequin clown kind of guy.
I love this moon face!
The box legs are striped with paper strips...cause I can't paint!

Wooden moons and paper rosettes.
I'm adding him to my Haunted Village.
I hope to make more buildings in a "Night Circus" theme.
I used the same paper for Charlie's box as I did for my village.

Here is last year's Charlie Moon.
He's a fun guy!

 Happy Owl-oween!

This is Thomas Owlbert...named after my Dad!
He's wise...always thinking outside his box.
The side of Owlbert's box.

Wooden spool legs match Owlbert's hat.
He just perches inside the jumping out and scaring people!
Doing a bit of Christmas gift crafting...
Play food for my youngest Grand, McKinley.
Vintage labels modge-podged to painted wooden blocks.
Each block has two different foods...front and back.
She loves I found a bandaid label.

Had to make a box to store them in.

Luckily they fit!
Kinley will be three in December.
Santa is bringing her a shopping cart and cash register.
One gift down...about a zillion to go!
So...what are y'all up to today?
Three more days 'til September...
then I'm getting my Fall on!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Repost...What Was in Your Trick-or-Treat Bag?

Sweet, Sweet Memories!
Don't you miss Trick-or-Treat?
Those who have followed me for awhile may remember that Swiss Days and Labor Day Weekend is the "kick-off" to my holiday crafting season.  To help get you in the mood for Halloween projects I am reposting a "sweet" post on Halloween candy.  I first posted the following in October of 2011...when I had maybe a couple dozen followers.  I did a lot of fun Halloween posts that I may just be repeating a few more of them as the leaves fall and the apples ripen.
"What didja get?"
As soon as we got in the door with our bulging pillowcases of loot, the older...non-trick-or-treat...members of the family would pounce.  We dumped the booty in the middle of the kitchen table and commenced sorting. way!  Popcorn balls...pretty good, but not quite there.  The golden ticket, blue ribbon, cherry on the sundae...the prize of prizes...was the full-size candy bar...preferrably chocolate!

Vintage Candy!
I just took a little trip to the Candy Wrapper Museum to find the candy we all wanted to find in our Trick-or-Treat bags.
The following candies are from my childhood...some of which I had forgotten even existed.
What were your childhood favorites?
I thought using marshmallow was a waste of good chocolate.
Second best candy bar in the lineup.
Don't think I ever had one of these.  Peanut butter is okay.
I know I never tried this chocolate.
Did anyone else feel cheated when nickle candy bars became a dime?
Don't know if this is my era or not...the 5cents says it probably is.

Milky Way...the Holy me...of chocolate bars.

Acceptable Substitutes
Gum is always good.
When I was little, I thought these were made from chickens.

These always got stuck in my teeth.
You chewed these one at a time until they went!
I was never sure what the deal was with these.

It was great to be a kid!  Mom would always say, "You can eat three pieces tonight, then you have to put them away and make them last!"  Yeah, right!  I am sure I am not the only one who woke up about noon the next day with candy wrappers in my hair and a tummy ache.  The dog is in a candy coma in the corner and your little brother hasn't stopped running in circles for hours! That grimy bottomless pillowcase wasn't so bottomless all!

May all your Halloween memories be sweet ones!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomato Season...My Favorite Chili Sauce!

It's Tomato Season!
Cutest tomato label ever!
Have you ever noticed that when you plant tomatoes that there is either too few...or too many?  I have the sinking feeling that this is the year of "too many."  The weather has been perfect for and sunny.  Now the plants are full of quickly ripening tomatoes...and I am not exactly in the mood to spend days huddled over a steaming canner.  Lucky for me, my husband George loves the "scientific process" of canning.  He'll do all the peeling and chopping...which I hate...and I will prepare the bottles and get the water bath canner steaming.  Fair trade I think!  Last weekend we made the raspberry jalapeno jelly I posted about here.  It was a great success and I now have enough to last for at least a year.

 Of Course I Can!
She looks a tad shell-shocked if you ask!
Homemade Chili Sauce...
Yummy...better than store-bought!
George's Chili Sauce Recipe
Yield:  about six pint jars.
4 quarts peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes ( about 24 large)
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped sweet red peppers (about 4 medium)
1 hot red pepper (we use the dried pepper flakes)
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons salt
3 Tablespoons mixed pickling spices
1 Tablespoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
2 1/2 cups vinegar
Combine tomatoes, onions, peppers, sugar and salt.  Simmer 45 minutes.  Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to tomato mixture; cook until very thick, about 45 minutes, stirring frequently
Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturers instructions.
Add vinegar to tomato mixture; cook to desired thickness. Remove spice bag.  Carefully pour hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch  head space.  Adjust caps.
Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath canner. well as delicious!
Use for crockpot meatballs...serve over rice!

Better than Manwich for sloppy joes...a favorite Halloween supper treat!
Random Acts of  Fall Crafting...
Repurposed bird cage.
Burlap and Sunflowers.
Dear little owl...
I love sunflowers this time of year...a preview to Fall.
Owls and crows show up in August around my house.
Happy Pre-Fall, Y'all!
Tomato Labels...enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August is Here...Let's make Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly!

August is Raspberry Month...
At least it is on my is also sunflower month, but that's another story.  I am so looking forward to Fall.  It's been a long hot summer.  I glad I'm not the only one who hasn't posted as has to be the heat...and the busy-ness of summer vacations.  I am an Autumn Woman...not only in the seasons of my life, but in my love of the golden waning of the year.  This week I have been taking down the red, white and blue in my home and replacing it with the reds of apples and the golds of sunflowers.  I am also getting ready for the tons of tomatoes that will soon be ready for canning.   Our garden is pretty limited this husband's company has been busy with a complicated job that requires more of his attention than usual.  Tomatoes and Peppers...that's it!  We had planted green beans, but they didn't come up.  Which is okay by me...canning beans can be very tedious.  I'd rather do crafts!  Who's with me? 

Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly's a jam...but "jam" doesn't flow off the tongue like "jelly." A few years ago, after spending more than $6 for a small jar of raspberry jalapeno jelly at a craft boutique...and loving it...we decided to make our own.  After all, it should cost less than $36 to make six half-pints of sweet and spicy goodness.   This recipe quickly became a family favorite.  We use it on taquitos (flautas), pork chops, and with turkey...instead of cranberry sauce.  I love it with Swedish meatballs in place of the lingonberry jam they sell at Ikea.  You should try it on cornbread muffins...OMGoodness!

My first batch...2011.
I love how pretty the bright red jelly looks!  Since I was using Tattler Reusable Canning Jar Lids, from Tattler Reusable Canning Lids, I didn't want to write the contents on the top, so I made some little tags, just to make them extra fun.  We found a great recipe at Greens and Jeans.  The only change we made was to use 5 jalapenos intead of 2.

Greens and Jeans Raspberry Pepper Jam
Makes 6 half-pint jars
5 cups fresh raspberries
2 jalapeno peppers, (we used 5, 2 with seeds)
1 red or green bell pepper
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 package powdered pectin.

Wash and pick through raspberries.  Crush berries and place in a large pot.  Chop the bell peppers and jalapenos (wear gloves!)  Add the chopped peppers to the pot along with the sugar and vinegar.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes.  At this point, stir in the pectin.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 1 to 2 minutes.  Ladel into hot half-pint jars and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. 
That's it...short and sweet as a ripe raspberry!
More fun will follow as the days grow cooler.