"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I made my first banner! It wasn't as tedious as I thought it would be. Probably because I used the template that Debbie @ Cottage in the Country was generous enough to share w/ us. Thanks for all the patterns Debbie!

I used black & cream toile paper (the same paper I backed the Rose sheet music on the mantel with) & regular ole construction paper. I glittered the edges of the construction paper & used vintage French knitting ribbon as ribbon ties. I didn't want Hocus Pocus to run together so I divided them w/ another "flag" that I added a crepe paper medallion w/ a black cat print-out on it.

Here's a close-up of the details.

I was able to make-over my mantel for Halloween just by switching out some big, wax roses w/ glittered pumpkins & hanging a banner. No fuss, no muss! I can't wait to make another one for fall & then for Christmas & then for Easter & so on & so on & so on. LOL


Also, Lynn over @ Lynnes Gifts from the Heart sent me this Boo! & I am supposed to pass it on. I'm not real sure about the rules to this game so I thought I'd just Boo! you all w/ a Boo! of my own. ;o)

This is my version of the "Boo" print-out, in apothecary jars, that everyone is doing this year. I think we all read the same magazine last year & put it on this year's to-do list. LOL I found the unusual, tall apothecary jars @ Hobby Lobby last year....half off!

I have stuck to my guns & haven't opened a single box of Halloween/Fall decor but I did buy a couple new skulls & a few glittery, spooky words. They were all just a couple of bucks each, so what the heck. The spiral suckers you may recognize from last year's pics. LOL Minus 2 since I let the oldest grands each have one @ our Halloween party. I just put them in a zip-loc & kept them in the pantry all year. They still look great but I won't let the grands eat them...just in case! I'll probably wrap them back up & see if I can't get another year out of them. ;o)

Come back next week & I'll share what else I've done this season. The rest of it doesn't have a definitive Halloween look so I thought I'd post it then.

I hope everyone gets the treats they deserve....Happy Halloween!

Oh! And Boo!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Biscotti

I was visiting a foodie friend's blog the other day & she had made Pumpkin Biscotti. I love pumpkin in just about anything so I had to give it a try. Twice! The first time I made it, I was out of all purpose flour & used bread flour instead. Guess it's no surprise to y'all that it came out wayyy to chewy, huh? *insert red face here* I tried to salvage it by slow-baking it but then it came out too hard...it was even too hard after dunking in coffee!

But teh flavor was great so I made it again after I got AP flour. This time dipping it in white chocolate because white chocolate & pumpkin go so well together. ;o)

Yummmm! Pumpkin Biscotti w/ Gingerbread Coffee ...I love fall!

Pumpkin Biscotti
Simply Recipes

2- 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly.
Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough.
Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches.

The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350 F, until the center is firm to the touch. (Feel free to also form two smaller logs for cute two-bite biscotti; just cut the baking time to 18-24 minutes.)
Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

Biscotti may be still a tad moist and chewy, so if you prefer it crisp let it sit uncovered overnight in a dry space. Serve and enjoy.
Makes approximately 15 cookies


I find it easier to cut the biscotti w/out crumbles if you only let it cool enough to handle before cutting. (I use a potholder to hold onto it even!) It's much more likely to crumble if it's allowed to cool completely. Thanks for sharing the recipe Shelby!

For the month of November, I am going to feature a new pumpkin recipe, once a week. Some will be sweet & some will be savory. Come back & check them out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Rose Wednesday!

Time for another Rose Wednesday w/ Jan & the girls!

Today I'd like to share this Noritake, hand painted tea pot w/ beautiful roses on it. I bought it for a song on eBay years ago. It came w/ a sugar, creamer & 6 dessert plates.

Here's one of the plates.. Are you ready for how much I paid for this lovely set? Just a little over $20 plus shipping! It was back in the day, before shipping got so outrageous, so it was probably only about $30, $35 total....for the whole set!

I particularly love using them for fall because of the autumnal tones. If you are a roselover (& there aren't many in blogland who aren't! LOL) , then head over to Jan's to see all of the Rose Wednesday participants.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Tablescape Tuesday!

Hello! This is another table I did last year, for a Halloween party we had for the oldest grands. The food played a huge role in the table so I am including photos of it. I'd share the recipes w/ y'all but I got them all from different sources & can't remember now where....sorry! But I'll try to talk you through most of them.

Witches hats...just ice cream cones dipped/painted in chocolate, filled w/ candy corn & then "glued" (using decorator icing) to storebought chocolate cookies.

Crunchy mummies...don't have the recipe but all you need is some kind of cream cheese filling (pipe it in for neatness) & then crisscross thin strips of ham, finish off w/ caper eyes.

Spooky punch w/ haunted hand! I used this recipe & made an ice hand by filling a non-latex glove w/ water & freezing. The glove just peels off after it's frozen.

Mummy Dogs...just weiners wrapped in refrigerated breadstick dough w/ capers for eyes & then baked for a few minutes. I made a medley of dipping sauces...hot & spicy ketchup, honey mustard, etc.

Witches purses... I did locate the recipe for these.

Witches' Purses


6 sheets frozen phyllo (filo) pastry (17x12 inch), thawed

Cooking spray

24 pieces (1x1x1/2 inch pieces) brie cheese (about 4 oz)

1/2 cup apple butter or apricot preserves

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Fresh chives
1 heat oven to 350 F. Unroll phyllo sheets; cover with plastic wrap or towel. Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface; spray wtih cooking spray. Layer with 2 more phyllo sheets, spraying each with cooking spray. With sharp knife, cut through all layers of phyllo to make 12 squares.
2 On each square, place 1 piece cheese, 1 teaspoon apple butter and 1/2 teaspoon pecans. Repeat with remaining 3 phyllo sheets and remaining ingredients. Bring corners together to the middle and twist.
3 Bake 17 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Tie chive around each bundle. Serve warm.

And the Pièce de résistance...brains! It's shrimp cocktail w/ just enough gelatin added to the cocktail sauce to get it to mold. I layered the shrimp (& roasted red pepper strips for the veiny look) into a round bowl, poured the cocktail sauce in & weighted it down w/ a plate. The gelatin didn't affect the taste or the texture.

I did locate the recipe for the brains after all. It was on another blog that made it this year. If you want the recipe you can find it here .

We'll be having another party for the grands this weekend. It won't be nearly as elaborate but I'll share pics, nevertheless. Now I'm off to Between Naps on the Porch to see Susan's, & all the other participants, wonderful tables.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I found a new thrift store!

It seems like everyone is thrifting nowadays & I haven't had much success @ my usual haunts. But near the hospital, where my son was for so long ( see this post for explanation why ), there is a Salvation Army that is the king of thrift stores. I didn't get to check it out much while he was in the hospital but he goes back to the same hospital twice a week, for physical therapy, so I have had a chance to check it out lately. It is the nicest thrift store I have ever been in! They have all their nicer stuff in "boutiques" & an "antique shop". I can almost always find a couple little somthin' somthin's & last week I found more that . Check it out!

Vintage doggie bookends (made in Germany) & a pair of HEAVY corbel/shelves. The rose coffee pot is chipped along the spout but I don't care...it's old & it has roses on it so I had to have it! The glass dome thing had a corn husk doll in it & a ratty dried flower arrangemnt (obviously from the 70's!)...I think it will be a great container for my first altered fairy (ala Karla).

The sugar scuttle isn't the best quality but I have been looking for one for some time, so I'll make do w/ it until I get a deal on a nicer one. I know, I know.... I could get a nice one easily on eBay or an antique shop but I'm a huntress...I want a bargain! ;o)

Love the grandmother plate...teh hand painting is beautiful. I have a small collection of mother & grandmother plates....but have any of them come from my kids or grands? NOPE! Not a one! I've bought them all for myslef...is that weird?

I wish this Salvation Army was closer to home....sometimes I can hear it calling my name all the way from Dallas!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce recipe

Hi y'all! I know it's not kosher in blogland to post a recipe w/out including pictures but I had to share this recipe & I don't have any pictures. I suck at night photos (I'm not a very good photographer even in the best lighting conditions LOL) so last night I reserved some leftovers to grab a shot today, during daylight hours. Then my son came in late & polished them all off! He enjoyed it so much that he even commented this morning that "the pumpkin pasta was good stuff!"

Anyhoo, last night I made a Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce & served it over pappardelle pasta (you could use any pasta but I think the egg in the papprdelle suits it) w/ a rotisserie chicken (from the grocery store) & a fresh spinach salad. I had a gourmet, seasonal dinner on the table in less that 20 minutes!

The recipe calls for heavy cream (a whole cup!) but the fat content convinced me to use half & half instead. Then I added a bit more parmesan to thicken it some. The pumpkin flavor is subtle so don't let it scare you off.

Pumpkin-Sage Cream Sauce
From Country Living

The flavors and colors of the fall harvest make this a dish you'll enjoy serving year after year. Aromatic sage pairs well with pumpkin purée to become a creamy pasta sauce.

1 cup(s) heavy cream
.5 cup(s) pumpkin purée
.25 cup(s) fresh-grated Parmesan
16 fresh sage leaves, sliced into thin strips
.5 teaspoon(s) salt
.25 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground pepper
1 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS- Combine the cream, pumpkin purée, Parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened -- 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately.

I still have some sage leaves left so I will saute them in browned butter & serve it over, you guessed it, pasta.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rose Wednesday

Hello! I have a lot of rose stuff so I wanted to start playing on Rose Wednesdays w/ Jan. Poor thing! Her neighbor ran her over w/ his lawnmower this week...stop in & give her a hug.

I wanted to start off w/ what started me on my thing for roses, years ago. At the time, my house was done in all black & whites & I was growing bored w/ it. I was cruising around eBay & saw this beautiful print...a yard long reproduction of Paul de Longpre's. I paid under $10 for the print & then turned around & paid over $100 to have it framed. LOL It was worth it though as I still love it.

I have a faux mantel in my living room. I had it out in the driveway, giving it a coat of paint & a bit of distressing, when a gust of wind came along & blew it over! It distressed it up but good for me! A little too much; as it added a crack down the front of it. I could fix it, of course but it was so much easier to hang this lovely print over the crack. ;o) I honestly can't imagine the mantel w/out it so even when, & if, I ever fix the crack, this print will still reside on the front of the mantel.

I'm off to see all the other rose posts @ Jan & Tom's Place .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Tablescape Tuesday!

Hello again everybody! I had such fun playing w/ y'all last Tuesday & wanted to play again. It was so nice meeting everyone!

I am sharing another table from last year @ Halloween. (click on "tables" under "categories" on my left sidebar, if you want too see more tables that I have already posted on my blog).
Hubby & I had a haunted table on Halloween night. (since the grands have gotten old enough to where they'd rather trick or treat w/ their friends instead of Grouchy & Honey *sniff sniff*) It was spoooky!

I served a Buttercup (recipe here ) in a martini glass rimmed w/ red cake gel. Next time, I'll either use red-tinted corn syrup or let the cake gel drip down the glass some, as I am applying it. It's really thick stuff so it didn't drip like I expected it to.

Love the little rats! They have a nice, velvety flocked finish on them.

I have another Halloween table to share next week. See you all then! Don't forget to stop by Between Naps on the Porch & see all the other tables!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Parrrrrrrty!

I have decided that, even though things are slowing down here a bit, I am not going to drag out my fall decor & rip my house apart. It would take 2 days to put Halloween up, another 2 to take it down & get Thanksgiving up & then another 2 days to take it all down to put Christmas up. So I am not going to open so much as one box or take down one lace curtain! (I may renege on the curtains ....just so you know ;o) It just doesn't seem like fall w/ lace curtains up) I do think I'll use some of the time to make a Halloween banner & glitter up some pumpkins though. I'll do that this weekend & I can do those things w/out making a disaster of my house.

But I do want to share photos of last year's Halloween decor w/ y'all so that I can attend Vanessa's Halloween party. Last year, I went all out. This is a china cabinet in my living room. It is always jam-packed but the contents differ from season to season...usually.

Candy bar on the sofa table (it's actually a dropleaf table used as a sofa table.) At holiday parties, I pull out one leaf & set it up w/ the nibbles.

This is my coffee table arrangement.

I topped a jack-o-lantern ornament w/ a teeny-tiny cloche (it's probably a votive holder for a candelabra) & set them atop an upside down candlestick. A bowl full of vintage glass beaded necklaces, a brooch and a couple more jack-o-lantern ornaments.

I used a vintage piece of sheet music atop a vintage mirror as a base for the arrangement. The gumstick is NOT part of the decor...my grands have a habit of stashing stuff everywhere & I didn't even notice it in the votive when I took the pic.

The weathered antique sign is from an old antique store in Ft Worth. It's been out of business for years though.

My dining room centerpiece. I often set up tablescapes including stacks of dishes & then we just grab one off the table when it's time to eat.

Love this guy!

I wrote "Boo!!!' w/ a bright coral lipstick on the guest bathroom mirror. It added just the right holiday touch!

Now I'm off to Vanessa's @ A Fanciful Twist (what a wonderful blog she has!) to visit w/ all the party-goers. Have fun @ the party everybody& don't forget to thank our wonderful hostess!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My first Tablescape Tuesday!

Hi everybody! I've been absent from blogging for awhile (my explanation is in the post under this one) but I have been lurking on Tablescape Tuesdays @ Between Naps on the Porch for a couple of weeks. Now this is a blog party right up my alley! I don't have the talent that Susan does but w/ y'alls influence & inspiration, one day, maybe...just maybe.

This is a Halloween table I did last year when our grandson Caeden (he's 6) had a sleep-over near Halloween-time.

I used a glass charger, black plate, then a BOO! print out & then topped that w/ another glass plate. I added a paper Boo napkin to a black & white cloth napkin just to tie into the theme & dress the paper napkin up some.

For the centerpiece, I used a black feather wreath encircling candy suckers under a cloche & then added candy containers w/ "spooky" titles. I got the downloads from MarthaStewart.com. I just printed them out & stuck them on w/ double-sided tape. A few ghosts completed the centerpiece.

For dinner, we had "Blood, Eyeballs & Worms". I used Bucatini pasta, added olives to meatballs & used a jarred sauce.

For dessert, because Caeden is a fruit lover, we had pears dipped in white chocolate & then decorated w/ candies to resemble skulls...chocolate chips for eyes, licorice piece for nose & jelly beans for teeth. I placed them on sticks & then embedded them into a juice glass of jelly beans, as a way of presentation.

Caeden soo enjoyed his spooky dinner, even if he did pick the olives out of the meatballs. (I knew he would!)

Now I'm off to see what fabulous tables y'all have created @ Between Naps on the Porch

Looking forward to meeting everybody & playing w/ y'all on Tuesdays....thanks for the invite!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's good to be back!

Gosh! I know we didn't get to know each other well enough for y'all to miss me in my absence but I sure missed y'all. But my life got totally crazy this summer. My eldest son, Clifton was badly burned at our automotive shop on July 3rd. He has second & third degree burns over 43% of his body (even 4th degree on his right hand, which required amputation of a couple of fingers) & has had to undergo numerous surgeries for skin grafts. He spent over 3 weeks in ICU & then another 3 weeks in the acute care ward @ one of the best burn hospitals in the country. I spent all of that time, living out of a hotel in Dallas, so that I could be w/ him when I could & then he came home w/ my husband & I & we cared for his wounds & his needs. When he came home, just 6 weeks ago, he couldn't feed, dress or toilet himself but that's all changed now....now he's almost self-sufficient again. With the exception of driving & he plans to start that soon.

Clifton has no health insurance but because of generous donations from friends, family, customers & even complete strangers, he has a substantial account to pay for his rehab & therapy sessions. Hopefully medicaid will cover his hospital bill, which is in excess of $1,000,000.

He is doing miraculously well. It's hard, painful work for him & it must be done daily to avoid contracture & loss of mobility but he's determined & he has great inspiration in his new son. Noah Christopher was born on Sept 18th, one month to the day from when Clifton was released from the hospital. We prayed so hard that Clifton would be able to attend the birth of his first child & that was just one of many prayers, that God has answered. Noah has been just the spirit-lifter my family needed! Clifton's accident has had a profound impact on my whole family's lives & at times, we were filled w/ despair & concern. But Noah's birth & Clifton's rapid progress (rapid as far as burn injuries go...he still has a long, hard fight ahead of him to be able to do all that he used to) has brought hope, optimism & confidence in Clifton's future.

I wanted to share a slideshow of Clifton that my daughter put together. He is, bar none, the finest, bravest man I have ever known & I can't tell you how proud I am to be his mother. http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=6557e533ec52cd558364d6&skin_id=601&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=email

I also wanted to share a funny story that happened the day Clifton was let out of ICU & was allowed ice chips for the first time in almost a month (fluids, especially water, are no-nos for burn patients). I had given him a couple of spoonfuls of ice chips & was filled w/ such happiness, watching him enjoy a simple pleasure that we all take for granted & it prompted me to ask, "Can I tell you something?"

I go on to say, "Son, you are the finest man I have ever known....I am sooo very proud of you!" to which Clifton replies, "can I tell you something?" My eyes fill w/ tears, in expectation of the warm, fuzzy moment we are about to share & I lean forward in anticipation. Clifton looks up at me & says "I want some more ice chips." *grins* So much for the warm fuzzies!

Clifton's face was burned & they thought he would need a graft on his cheek but it wasn't necessary after all, thank God. His face will show only minimal scarring, mostly under his chin. It wouldn't even be too visible to people if he weren't 6'6"!

I took this picture right after Noah's birth. I can't see it w/out tearing up & thanking God for my blessings.

Clifton has moved back to his & Stacie's home now & I only drive him to therapy 2 days a week & soon I won't even need to do that, so I am eager to get back to some normalcy & hopefully, a return to blogging, cooking, decorating, spending time w/ the grands..........my life.