At work tomorrow, we are having a potluck lunch. And with this miserable, rainy weather we have been having for the last week, I have been really tired! So, when I signed up, I signed up for a meat dish…and as of this afternoon, I had no idea what to make. I searched on line and found a couple really gross meat dishes like baked rat, and a severed head made out of meat, but I thought they were a little gross… And took a lot of time and energy… So I thought of a much easier idea! I bought a selection of cold cuts, like turkey, ham, roast beef, salami and polish sausage.
I LOVE Halloween! I love the decorating, dressing up, and of course, I love the candy! But, I have really been trying to cut down on our candy intake. It is really hard when the kids end up with bags and bags of candy… And when we have left over candy from handing out on top of that!
So, last year, I decided that we are not going to hand out any more candy! After Halloween was over, I went to Walmart and Michaels, and bought a bunch of little toys on sale…here is what I picked up…everything from kaleidoscopes, rats, glow in the dark bracelets, to spider rings, pencils, and stickers…
Yahoo, I just checked the stats for my blog, and http://www.artzcool.net has now had over 20,000 views!! Wow! Still not enough to quit my day job (or even pay for my groceries…) but still… 20,000 views!
Thanks for reading, and share the link with everyone you know!
Once in a while, my fashion design degree actually comes in handy. I find that on Halloween especially, I actually end up using some of the skills I paid tens of thousands of dollars for.
I have talked before about how my kids have very specific requests about the kinds of things they imagine, which i think is great…Here is Samantha’s costume last year…she wanted to be a combination of a pumpkin, Cinderella, and a super hero! So we came up with Super-Cinder-pumpkin-Ella….
This year, she wants to be a magic monster… Yeah I know. But… The monster is also a girl, has to have long purple hair, and a horn and one eye…. Little did I ever think in university that I would be drafting a pattern for my daughter to be a girl, magic monster!
Anyways, we went to fabricland and value village and picked up a few odds and ends. A black furry hat with horns, a few different sparkly fabrics, some tulle for a tutu and some purple Halloween socks.
The first step in making a costume was to make the body. So I thought it would be easiest to start with a shirt we already have. I laid the shirt flat on a big piece of brown paper, and traced down the sides. I do want the shirt a little bigger as she might be wearing a shirt or sweater under it. Then, I added enough for the seams, with a dotted line.
Then, I added the neckline. Note that I am only drafting half of the shirt. There’s no point in doing the two sides, because it is almost impossible to make them the same. If you do want the pattern to be the whole shirt front, fold the paper and cut out both sides together when it is folded.
I also use the same piece for the front and back, I will just cut out a little more neck for the front. For the purpose of this costume, I am going to use the same pattern piece for the front and back. If this was a really fitted piece, you might want to draft the front and back separately.
Now for the arms…flatten the arm out and trace the sides. I am not going to add a seam on the top of the arm, because it will be cut on the fold. And, I added extra to the cuff of the sleeve so I would be able to roll it under to finish it.
But the trick here is to get it to match the bodice piece we have already made. Because I have added on to each of the pieces, I am going to have to make sure they fit together. The only way to do that is to almost pretend you are sewing the two pieces together. I do it like this…I fold down the seam allowance on the bodice like this…
But, because it is a costume, I think it’s better if I have a little more room, so I am going to gather it a little. So I drew a dotted line where it will be stitched, and then drew a solid line where I will cut.
Like the fabric? Before I sewed it together, I wanted to add a few details to make it look more monster like. I used glitter glue, a glue gun and some gems, and another glittery fabric to add details…
Here is what the shirt looks like finished…sorry, I will post a better picture when the costume is done…
This year, for Halloween, my daughter, Samantha wants to be a “magic monster with super powers” so, because this magic monster is a girl, she needs to be wearing a dress, right? So if it’s going to be a dress, it might as well be a tutu, right? So, here’s how I made the tutu for the super monster… I figured I would post it because the same method, or steps can also make regular ballerina tutus, or a witches tutu…the possibilities are endless!
I bought two meters of tulle. It was $1.50 per meter, but regularly $3.00
The tulle is pretty wide. For the length for Sam, I figured I could fold it lengthwise to make five layers. I have tried using pins with tulle before, and it is really frustrating, so I would recommend using safety pins. I folded the tulle into five layers, and used a safety pin every couple feet to hold it in place.
To make it comfortable, because the tulle is quite itchy against the skin, I made the waist band out of the shiny fabric I am using to make a matching top. So, I cut a two metre strip of the shiny fabric, and I cut an elastic to fit Samantha’s waist.
In a couple posts I wrote last week, I drafted the pattern for my daughter’s magic monster shirt, and I sewed the tutu. I wanted to share with you how I decorated the shirt to make it look more like the skin of a monster, and the rest of the costume.
Sam and I had picked out this really cool sparkly fabric when were were fabric shopping, but of course I had no idea how we were going to use it because it was so sheer and thin. We decided that it would be cool to cut out a bunch of circles, and use it as texture for the monsters skin.
So we attracted by cutting out a bunch of circles…
Sam had a vision for the monsters head.. She wanted two horns, so we started with a furry Viking hat, then we cut out, and hand stitched an eye in the middle of the head. For the hair, we used a fluffy scarf I had, and finally we added a couple bows made from left over fabric from the shirt.
So we put together the head, the tutu, the shirt, and we made a wand out of a straw, some leftover fabric and sparkles, and duct tape. Here is the final Magic Monster….ready to trick or treating…
Anyone who knows me knows that I have always had a bit of an obsession with candy. I could live without chocolate, or ice cream, but not candy. So I do like to try out new recipes when I find them.
Today, the kids and I are going to try making homemade caramels.
I have modified a couple recipes to form the following recipe. You will need the following ingredients:
Honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, butter, table cream, and coarse salt.
Yummy! My advice is to be careful when storing. I don’t think I let the temperature get quite high enough because if I stack these on top of each other, like in the picture, they end up being a solid piece. So, I have to put wax paper in between layers. But, they taste delicious!
I have been wanting to try making mozzarella for a while, apparently it is easy to make, and doesn’t take too much time. I love figuring out how to make stuff we eat every day…making cheese is on my bucket list…don’t ask…I have a pretty extensive list…
Anyways, you need a gallon or 4 litres of milk, I used homo, but supposedly you can use 2 or 1% as well. And you also need salt, rennet tablets, and citric acid. I ordered everything, except the milk of course, from a company called the new England cheese company (click to visit their website)
Because it was my first time, I thought I would try a half a batch, which was probably a good thing because the first time I made it, halfway through I realized it wasnt going to work… mine looked like this…
But, my excuse is that I was trying to cook dinner at the same time… My advice to you is that multi-tasking while cheese making…not a good idea. I learned to heat the milk slowly, and if you leave it too long, and the temperature goes too high, that is not a good thing.
So, here is try number two…
Before I started heating the milk this time, I prepared things ahead of time, I mixed 1/2 tablet of rennet with a few tablespoons of bottled water, and in a separate cup/bowl, I mixed 1 tsp of the citric acid with a few tablespoons of bottled water. Apparently you are supposed to use nonchlorinated water, so bottled water was the closest I could find. I put both the mixtures aside.
I poured all of the milk into a stainless steel pot, and SLOWLY heated it to 80 degrees. I had the stove on set on 2, so I didn’t repeat my mistake of heating it too high. I used a meat thermometer to measure the temperature.
You should leave it for about for 20 minutes, I rushed it a little and waited more like 10 minutes…getting close to bed time!
It should become solid, almost like yogurt. This is what it looks like…if you stick your finger in the middle, your finger should come out clean…
So it still wasn’t the texture of mozzarella cheese and i started to panic a little, but when I looked back at the instructions it said to do the following. To make the cheese stretchy, heat up in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, depending on how hot your microwave is. When you take it out, squeeze out the excess water, drain and repeat.
I repeated this numerous times, and I burned my fingers numerous times too! If I ever do make cheese again, I will use gloves.
Finally it started to stretch! Once the cheese melted, it started to stretch, more like mozzarella, so I burned my finger tips a few more times trying to stretch it out. I should have actually put it back in a couple more times, but by this point, the kids were asleep, this was my second batch, and I wasn’t in a much of a cheese making mood anymore… so I considered it ready…
Normally, mozzarella is stretched and formed into larger balls, but I decided to make smaller balls, to make them easier to serve and store. I thought they would be great for lunches. So I stretched them a little and then formed small balls.
They tasted really good! The mozzarella had a different taste that store bought mozzarella, which I liked, but I was a little disappointed at the quantity of cheese that it made. I thought it would make a lot more, but a four litre bag of milk would only make a couple cups of cheese (if they turned out right!) So it turned out being about the same cost as store bought cheese. I might consider making it again for a special occasion, but probably not for a while. If anyone wants to try it out and needs a rennet tablet, I have a few extra!
You know how sometimes food tastes better when someone else has made it? Well, I think these apples taste better just because we didn’t actually grow them…again, I would like to thank our neighbors for their delicious apples which hung over on our side of the fence!
After I made apple crisp, I still had about five cups of slice apples left over, so I decided to try making apple butter.
Basically, I put the apples into a saucepan, added a cup of apple juice, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 4 cups of sugar.
Once again, we are the lucky recipients of some good stuff growing over our side of the fence, thank you again to our neighbours! In the summer, we got their beautiful roses, and now, we have an abundance of apples, just hanging over our side of the fence, just waiting to be picked.
So, I had my wonderful husband climb up a ladder yesterday to pick some of the fruits of their labour…apples.
The problem was that I still had about 5 cups of apples left! So, I looked on line and found a few recipes for apple butter. I will post the recipe once I have a chance.