Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to our best Halloween treat ever!

 Scout's 1st birthday, 1996

To the outside world we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.
-Clara Ortega

Happy 16th birthday, Scout.  
We love you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not quite what I envisioned

I saw a cute idea lately for a centerpiece I wanted to re-create for my dining table.
It involved spray painting some small fake green gourds and pumpkins and adding them to a vase with branches.  I chose a pretty satin cream color paint, and painted the branches black so it would look Halloween-ish, but it didn't turn out like I thought it would.  The branches were ridiculous and bulky and didn't look right.  I put them by the front door with the pumpkins.
And I didn't have enough of them to fill my $1.62 vase from Sally Ann, so I had to add some other elements to it to fill it up.  Drat.
Maybe next time I am out I will look for more of those vase filler items but for today I am giving it a rest.  I tell myself:  I do a good job, even if my ideas don't always pan out.  And if I never try, I will never learn how to decorate my home and make it an inviting and beautiful place for my family.  Which is why I love Darlene's Master Designer blog post I read recently - it helps me see a bigger picture. 

“I am a Master Designer.
I love Beauty;
I see potential and I want to fill it with beauty.
I aim to create something beautiful that is worthy of joy.
Design is a high calling, one that can improve the lives of others, be a means to foster relationships, and add much joy to my family.
I appreciate fine and lovely things, but they are not my treasures.
I know what is truly important, and
I do not aim to “store up my treasures here on earth.”*
I live to bring glory to God, the Ultimate Master Designer.
He created Beauty.
He created all beautiful things.
And, He created my passion for design, and set that joy in my heart.
Everything that I create,
and have created,
is because I myself was created by a Master.
I am a Master Designer.”
*{verse reference, Matthew 6:19}

It's good to keep it all in perspective!
If you've ever compared your home, your style, your decorating to anyone else's....  
Maybe your vision should change, too. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gone batty!

Yesterday I got the bright idea to create some bats to hang outside in the front yard.  Then I remembered:  it's supposed to rain tomorrow.  Hmmm...I didn't want to put forth all that effort for nothing.  So I decided to hang them in the dining room instead.  Here is my prototype:
Awwww...I think Bubbie made this waaay back in Pre-K.  I hang it up every year, but it's getting kinda beat up.  Time to make some new ones!  I used to make them out of exposed x-ray film and hang them in the trees out front.  That seems eons ago.  We don't have much of that around anymore since everything, including x-rays, are digital nowadays!
I gathered up some empty tp rolls and painted them black.  Yes, we had six empty tp rolls.  (What are people doing with all the tp around here??)  Then I got out some construction paper and traced the bat wings to be similar to the one Bubbie made.
I put hot glue along the rim of one end and added a bat head.  Then I stapled the wings and a string of skinny black rick rack in the center of the back.  So simple even a Pre-K'er can do it...
 I also added orange eyes with fabric paint - just more Halloween-ish, I think!
Then I hung them from the light fixture over the dining table.
I like the skinny rick rack.  Looks spooky!
They all fly at different heights.  It's so hard to get a good pic of this with all the stuff in the background. 
I call it our Bat Chandelier!
They fly alongside the original one which I will keep and treasure forever - it's that way with all the art my peeps make.  I can't bear to throw any of it away!
Added a bit of black and white ribbon left over from the memo board I made hubby to the project fail that I will tell you about doesn't look as bad to me now that it's been sitting here a few days...
Time to stop goofing off and get dinner started!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ficus rescue

Back when the summer was blazing, I moved my ficus over to a corner of the yard under the oaks just to save it from frying on the deck.  It loved it there.  Grew another foot or so.  Little did I realize, it was supporting it self on the swing.  When I moved the swing to blow out the red rocks, lookee what happened:
 Yikes!  It can't even support it's own height!  Not sure if that's the pot's fault, or what.  But I really want to leave it here, as it camo's the cords from the bug zapper and landscape lighting.
I rooted around in the garage and found a curtain rod from a failed attempt to hang curtains in the master bedroom.  It was the perfect length and strength to help lend some support.
 I just stuck in down deep into the pot, and secured the tree with a bit of twine in a couple of places.
 The rod is slender enough to be unobtrusive in the tree,
Then I moved the big pot from the front door over, to balance out the space.
Plus, I needed to clear the front door area to decorate for Halloween.
 I like how shady and cool this area of our yard is.
 While I was out there, I gave the hedgehog a bath in some orb spray paint.
 I think he turned out snazzy!  He props open the back gate letting cool breezes blow through...
 After an hour or so of sprucing this area looks neat again.
 A nice place to sip my wine or read a book in the afternoon...

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love me some Smith & Hawken!

I was supposed to be decorating for Halloween, but I had to make a stop at Tarjay and lookee what I found::
Beautiful rattan pumpkins!  I pretty much love Smith & Hawken, so I gravitate over to that part of the store to see what has gone on clearance lately....
I love the natural detail.  Love that they can stay put right here from now til Thanksgiving is over.  And I love that they were half price.  $11 for the pair!
I put them on the bookcase in the hall leading into the den.  I also put the amber glass vase of eucalyptus back - you can't beat the smell of eucalyptus.  It's a natural look that is simple and effective.
With the burlap runner here, they look right at home!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easy Spice-y Pumpkin Cake

Cooler weather makes me want to run go turn on the oven and bake something wonderful.  Something that will scent the house like Fall...and Thanksgiving...something like this:

Easy Spice-y Pumpkin Cake

1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/4 butter, melted and cooled (1/2 a stick)
1 egg
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 tub buttercream frosting (or make your own!)
1/2 c. walnuts (with some extra pumpkin pie spice and a little dab of butter)

Heat the oven to 325.  Spray an 8x8 glass cake pan with Pam. Mix the first 6 ingredients.  Stir salt and baking soda into flour, then stir into wet ingredients.  Bake for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed in the middle.  Cool. 
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts:  I crushed mine up a bit, added to a skillet with a sprinkle of spice and a little dab of butter.  Watch it carefully and stir it constantly over low to med heat to toast the nuts.  Cool. 
Frosting from a tub - I cheated today and it worked out beautifully!  I stored the leftover in the freezer.  After frosting it, scatter the nuts on top, perk a pot of cinnamon coffee and serve!
 Don't mind if I do! (:

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Front door Halloween

Monday dawned and I was ready to decorate for Halloween.  One little problem, though:  I have no idea what happened to the box of Halloween decorations from last year.  For me, that is huge.  I'm usually pretty organized.  I can't believe I would have purged all of it, so it had to be in the attic.  But since I am deathly afraid of going into the attic, I had to make do!
 I collected some branches from the neighborhood greenbelt,and added some that were spray painted black.
Added a couple of pumpkins from the grocery store...
 And a couple of hairy spiders...which make me jump every time I leave the house, because I'm such a ninny!
The big one is from Wally World, the smaller one from Walgreen's.
Wrapped some Halloween garland around a grapevine wreath and added a chipboard 
hanging sign from Joann's (60% off!)
Something I noticed:  pumpkins from the store are always dirty - clean em up with a bit of Orange Glo and they shine!  Plus the front door area will smell orange-y wonderful...
I like that I was able to use some natural elements - I think I am leaning more 
and more towards that in my home.
A little plain, but it will do for now.  I have some lights to string up and I might add a few more branches for drama.  After all they're free!  Plus, eventually, hubby will find that box for me...

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