Thursday, October 31, 2013


This is my favorite Halloween image of all time.

I hope you all get a chance to watch a good Halloween movie, eat some treats and have a Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

...What's Behind the Curtain

Have you ever wanted to bake a cake or cook a special homemade pan of macaroni and cheese...from scratch? Well, if you've ever tried to surprise someone when you're cooking, you know it isn't easy. The wafting aromas bring people into the kitchen and what's the first thing they do...? Yep, they peek in the oven. But...if you have a pretty linen, you can hang it on the door and have it act like a curtain. Then you can tell them, "NO PEEKING!"

The aromas might still give away the surprise but you'll still have the fun of saying, "Pay no attention to the man...I mean, what's behind the curtain." And, if you've ever watched The Wizard of Oz, you'll know what an important line that is ;D

And of course it helps if the linen is an antique hand-stitched beauty.

Each one of these stitches is a small work of art. Women used to make these linens for everyday use. I guess it was before T.V. and the internet . . . but still I find it awe...mazing. And, I look for special purposes for these old beauties.

So, the next time you're baking and want to add a little extra-special anticipation, try an oven curtain.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Popcorn Balls

It's easy and inexpensive to make popcorn balls. And if you add orange food coloring and a few candy decorations, you can make fun food for Halloween. (I don't mean you should give these out to trick-or-treaters - but you can give it to your family and friends)

Here's the recipe from Paula Deen's website:

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar - because that's what I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 cups popped corn


In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches 255 degrees F (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour over popped corn, tossing gently to coat. When mixture is cool enough to handle (and be careful because HOT sugar can burn badly), press popcorn into 3-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Cool completely on waxed paper.
(My candy thermometer was missing - think my daughter 'borrowed' it - so I tested the syrup by dropping a bit in a cup of cold water - to see if it was at the hard-ball stage).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vintage Linens Repurposed

I love vintage linens but a person can only have so many table runners. So what can you do with a beautiful hand-crafted linen with beautiful French knots? Super it and give it a new life as a pillow.

I took the fabric and laid it out to look it over.

Then I positioned the stuffing on top to make sure I had enough to make a pillow.

Then I turned the fabric inside out.

The edges were fairly frayed but that's okay. I simple sewed it around the edges - with the outside on the inside.

Then I stuffed the pillow and sewed up the edge.

Isn't it pretty on the front room chair?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scary Nails

I love Halloween and I love silly decorations. Here's how I made these scary nails.

I took some French manicure white fingernail polish and painted it on thick. Then when the policy was nearly dried I stuck little wiggly eyes into the polish to hold the eyes in place. If the eyes aren't sticking, simply use a clear top coat of polish to hold them in place.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Apple A Day

In the fall, I love caramel and apples and of course they go so well together. But after a long day at work, I don't like standing over a hot stove cooking so this is how I make quick caramel apples.

I wash off a couple of apples and stick some wooden sticks down in the core.

Then I take a bag of caramels and put them in a wide mouth coffee mug and melt them in the microwave (but first I add a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk). When the two components are well blended I dip the apples into the caramel and set them on waxed paper to harden as they cool.

But of course I can't just leave it like that. I have to use cookie sprinkles to dress the apples for Halloween.

And I only feel a little bad about eating these apples because doesn't the old saying tell us, "Eat an apple a day and keep the doctor away..."

So these treats are half good, in my opinion ;D

Zombie Run at Blue Lake

Zombie Run at Blue Lake on October 26, 2013. This is an untimed 5k fun run...well, if you can call being chased by zombies fun.

I'm thinking of doing this run but I'm afraid...and not of zombies but of being slow, too slow to get away from zombies (and remember zombies are supposed to be slow).

See, I'm not a fast runner...I'm a long-distance runner. So, maybe I'd make a better zombie than a "human". I'm still thinking about it because it looks like fun.

If a person is a "human", they get three flags and they have to try to avoid the zombies who will be trying to snag the flag. But, if a person signs up to be a zombie, they get a make over and I'm not talking a beauty makeover, this isn't a good makeover - it's a zombie transformation. That all sounds like fun...doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


We spent a few days in Seattle. It was beautiful...especially at night.

And another angle

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Monsters

My daughter, Fatina and I went to a pottery place to celebrate Fatina's birthday. We each picked out a piece of pottery and then we sat and painted them.

I picked a monster...mwha-ha-ha

My daughter picked a mug and so did Fatina
Then Pottery Fun fired the pieces and the glaze turned glossy
I filled my monster's mouth with suckers--perfect for Halloween :D

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Run Like Hell Portland, Oregon October 20, 2013

Today was the perfect day for a run. Not to hot. Not to cold (except at the start when we were waiting around for the emcee to say "Run Like Hell!")

I thought I'd just share some of the photos I took from the race. Now, remember some of these people were running by me so fast that they are only a blur... ;D

The Book Fairy was waving her wand before the start to give us all a little wisdom on how to run the race.

Then we all had to wait around for the start. So we were checking our phones to see what time it was and how much longer until the start.

And then it was nearly time to Run Like Hell. There were normal looking folk and super heroes, fairies, and even gnomes running around.
I saw all sorts of get-ups. I even saw Mario
Lots of people running together and plenty running on their own.
Tons of tutus and some that I didn't even know what they were.
Capes and masks of all sorts.
Little devils and even some angels

People were having fun on this Halloween-themed run.

 Love the high-five at the finish line :D !

All in all, it was a great way to spend a day.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bootiful Nails ;D

Okay so I'm not an nail artist but I love to decorate for the holidays. This is a really simple way to do it and for not a lot of money.

I used Jamberry Nail Shields. And it's sort of like contact paper for your nails. You simply cut them to fit your fingernails and then stick them on. You add a little heat with a hairdryer and wah-lah professional looking nails that last for days (okay I should have cut my shields a little larger - next time I'll have my reading glasses on ;)

But these are so much fun for Halloween. I love them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It's soooo easy to make festive homemade holiday treats. You don't have to have any skill at all and you can bake up some cupcakes - or boocakes - to thrill your family (yeah, kids are easy to please) so that doesn't hurt. But these are fun and not too scary.

All you need to do is bake your cupcakes, frost them and then stick your ghost-peeps into the frosting. It's a cheap way to get a few thrills.

Bosses Day - October 16

Yep, it's time to say thank-you for your job to the one or ones who make it all possible. That's right, it's bosses day!

We all like a reason to celebrate right? So, I'm thinking of baking a few little cupcakes and making a treat for this celebration.

How 'bout you? Do you celebrate Bosses Day? Or was this all news to you?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Suz Blackaby to speak on November 5th

I'm sharing this blurb from Willamette Writers:

"The Young Willamette Writers will be hosting Suz Blackaby on November 5th. Suz will be sharing tips on poetry writing. Several of our young writers enjoy writing in verse and have been looking forward to hearing from a poet.

Suz Blackaby has worked in educational publishing for over 30 years.  On the clock, she hones her skills writing fiction and nonfiction titles for the K-8 audience, focusing primarily on struggling and emergent readers.  On her own time, she writes poetry, picture books, and middle-grade fiction and nonfiction.  Her collection of poetry entitled NEST, NOOK, AND CRANNY (Charlesbridge, 2010) was included on the New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing and received The 2011 Liona and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry.  Suz lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family in a lab-mandatory neighborhood.

The Young Willamette Writers is for students in grades 5-10. We meet in the back room of the Old Church at the same time as the adults; the Old Church is at SW 11th and Clay in Portland. There is no cost to join - just show up!"

Monday, October 14, 2013


So Luke killed his cake.

It was a fun day and everyone wore vampire teeth at the table.

Luke loved his chocolate milk :D quite a present, right. . .

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Holiday Spice

This Holiday Hottie will be coming to an EShelf this November...and I'll have a story inside so, if you're like me, and you get a little chilly on those long winter nights, why not curl up with a steaming . . .
cup of Egg Nog and a little HOLIDAY SPICE?

I'll post more as I get more info. 

Be A School Visit Ninja

October 19, 2013 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Annex, TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont Street, Portland, Oregon.

Erin Fitzpatrick Bjorn will be speaking. This is a free class that will teach you all sorts of tips and tricks on how to become a Ninja...and who wouldn't want to be that?

Erin will reveal what writers and illustrators need to do to find funding...and more. There will be ideas on how to approach librarians and create compelling curriculum. There will be time after the presentation for attendees to form small work groups...

It should be a fun way to spend a day or at least a couple of hours.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Heft by Liz Moore

I just finished HEFT. It was a book about a man who weighed between 500-600 pounds. It was a sad story on lots of levels.

In the end I liked the story. HEFT was a symbolic title in many aspects and much more than just Arthur's weight. I think the HEFT could have represented the weight of Arthur's and Charlene's emotions and how much Arthur had to change to alter the way his life was going...or not going.

This was a story of missed-opportunities and how miserable life can turn out when you're not willing to take a risk or engage in relationships.

All in all, I think it is worth reading. It's a little slow but the story builds...

If you've read it, let me know what you thought.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Snake Alert

I started with a bunch of pumpkins and a squash.
I covered the little ones in "duck" tape.

I added little eyes and a tongue and some teeth.

Then I added a hood to make it a cobra.