Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pillsbury Bake Off Cherry Winks

5,000 dollar cookies! 
 The recipe makes 5 dozen cookies so if you make these for a bake sale they will run your customers about 83 dollars a piece.  These Cherry Winks were the 1st prize winner in the Junior division of the 1950 2nd Pillsbury Grand National Recipe and Baking contest.

The cookie dough has chopped pecans, cherries, and dates inside then it's rolled in crushed cornflakes with a cherry wink on top added before baking.  When I made mine I did my regular MO of omitting and substituting.  I left out the dates and used chopped almonds instead.  I also didn't have official cornflakes, but used my walmart brand Special K Red Berries cereal flakes.  I just picked out and tossed the dried strawberries back in the box.  I am a ''use what you've got" kinda gal.  The cookies turned out really yummy.  I think if I made them again I would use almond extract rather than the recommended vanilla.  I love almond extract far more than plain old vanilla so I don't know why I followed the extract rules on this recipe.  A little almond extract makes every baked dessert better.  It's one of my "secret ingredients".  

I LOVE the Pillsbury Bake Off Cook booklets and have collected nearly all of the first 20 printed.  The contestants always have such imaginative ideas and titles for their dishes.  Cherry Winks, rolled in cornflakes and winking up at you with a sliver of cherry!  So cute and fun!  

So, drum roll please! A super big deal to me... I entered the Pillsbury Bake Off this year!

The winners won't be told until the beginning of the new year.  I don't think I can reveal much about my recipes at this time.  I checked that mandatory box saying I read all the rules and really didn't.  I imagine it says somewhere in there that if you talk about the dishes you submitted before the winners are announced the Pillsbury doughboy thugs will come break your kneecaps with a very sturdy bread stick.  I will say that I submitted two recipes (breakfast and dessert) and think they are worthy of winning.  I doubt I will but I am so thrilled to be a part of something that started in 1949 which still to this day showcases inventiveness and even a bit quirky concoctions.

Here are a few more recipes from Pillsbury Bake Off past that I have made:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Grey Gardens

Happy 100th Birthday to the Great Dancer Little Edie Bouvier Beale!
November 7, 1917

Grey Gardens came out over forty years go (the same as myself!) and I just happened to stumble upon it about a year ago.  For the one or two others out there that don't know about Grey Gardens, it's a documentary filmed in a "home video" kinda way showcasing an eccentric artistic mother and daughter who live in their decaying East Hampton New York 26 room mansion along with over 20 cats and wild raccoons.  Before the stock market crash of 1929 the Beale women were lavished with furs, servants, and a beautiful landscaped home.  After the crash and Mother Edie's divorce they had nothing but the house which fell into such disrepair the city was called in to condemn and evict them (commonly known as "the Raid").  In stepped (and the major reason there is such interest in this story) cousin Jacqueline  Kennedy Onassis to save the family name and fund getting the home back to a state of human occupancy.  That is the back story.  The documentary takes place a few years after the raid and is basically the Beale women spatting, singing, and entertaining us just being themselves.  Little Edie has a nack for pulling together "costumes" using skirts as capes and long sleeve shirts as turbans...just top it off with a decorative brooch!  She also sees herself as a great dancer and singer who has been held back by having to take care of Mother Darling, which is the root of most of the arguments.  Within their bickering there are little bits of their past brought up but never fully fleshed out.  That's one of my favorite parts is trying to piece together their story.  In 2009 Grey Gardens was turned into a HBO feature movie for the purpose of weaving all of these little bits together.
In 2006 the unreleased and edited footage from the first documentary was released as a follow up, The Beales of Grey Gardens.  There is also even Grey Gardens The Musical.  

Every Halloween I have to come up with a solo costume for me to wear to an adult event that Mr. Husband Sir helps host every year.  He is a part of a local horror host television show where he plays the role of an inept Mexican wrestler who is manservant to a devil...not the devil, just one of the many Beelzebubs it takes to make the world go 'round.  So MHS has a "costume" he has to wear at the live performance hosting.  I get to be and wear what ever I want!  I was sooo excited this year to choose to be Little Edie Beale from Grey Gardens!

 "This is the best thing to wear today, you understand...  This is the best costume for today."

"The Libra husband is reasonable.  He is a born judge and no other zodiacal type can order his life with so much wisdom.  God!  That's all I need: Order!  That's all I need.  An ordered life.  You know, a manager.  But he's got to be a Libran."

"Course I'm mad about animals, but raccoons and cats become a little bit boring.  I mean, for too long a time."

"But you see in dealing with me, the relatives didn't know they were dealing with a staunch character and  I tell you if there is anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman...S-T-A-U-N-C-H.  There's nothing worse, I'm telling you.  They don't weaken, no matter what."

"We better check on Mother and the cats.  She's a lot of fun, I hope she doesn't die. "

🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱

Here is a photo of Little Edie in her infamous flowery swimsuit, long sleeve shirt, and scarf. 

Little Edie among the cats, garbage, and the dilapidated run-down inside of the mansion.  Apparently Big Edie didn't believe in cat litter so you can imagine the smell of this photo.

To pull my "costume" together, it started when I happened to find some 70s flowery fabric at a thrift store that reminded me of Little Edie's swim suit.  I then used Patterns by Gertie, Butterick B6354 , the shorts and the top, which I sewed together to make a one piece suit.  I then put on a pair of black stockings, white shoes, and wrapped a long sleeve t shirt on my head and finished it off with a kicky pin.  I made the props from printing images from the nets of the front cover of Little Edie's astrology book, cats, raccoons, and cat food can labels.  I then covered everything in newspaper as she always did to make a clean surface.  I took the photos at an old overgrown abandoned house in the older part of the city.

I admire the Beale women.  They worked with what they had and did it their way.  They liked being different and were very proud ("too sophisticated for Jerry"). Of course, I'm not down with letting a cat piss on the floor near my portrait.     

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Wrap Up

💀 💀 Halloween 💀 💀 
It is now only a sweet memory.  
I like to write a "Halloween wrap up" entry every year to mention a few spooky fun things that we did but I didn't dedicate individual posts about.  Mr. Husband Sir and I went to a Haunted Barn/ Hay ride this year called Creeptown.  We went last year also.  This year it was set up in the artist's barn where she lives in the middle of nowhere aka 'the boonies'.  It's a good mix of cheap store bought stuff (dollar tree tomb stones), expensive special effects (projected images of dancing skeletons on the walls, antiques (a Victorian  horse drawn hearse), and handmade sculptures (carved vintage looking carnival characters).  

We also went to see The Addams Family Musical performed by a local college theater group.  The costuming was great and so were the musical numbers.  I thought the story line was a little weak and not "Addams" enough for me.  It's not a play written by Charles Addams or based on one of his cartoons or even an episode of the show.  Wednesday is all grown up and wants to marry a 'normal' guy.  The normal guy also has very normal uptight parents which the play mostly centers around them meeting the Addams family.  I will say the play has a sweet moral message of reminding people to not forget the fun carefree personalities they had when they first met their spouses and not to turn into boring "adults".

This year PB decided he wanted to go trick or treating, which is something we skip out on most years.  Once or twice he has gone by a couple of houses belonging to people we know and that's it, he just hasn't been in to Trick or Treating ever.  Most years we stay home and have a spooky themed dinner while making sure we don't accidentally turn the porch light on.  We don't give out candy anymore because the people who come by our house don't wear costumes or say "Trick or Treat" even.  They just have a walmart plastic bag and then have the nerve to ask for extras.  Last year it rained so we "Trick or Treated" in the car by driving around the neighborhood and when we saw a decorated house we said 'Trick or Treat" and grabbed a candy out of a bowl I brought.  This year, since PB is feeling the pull of childhood slipping away, he wanted to go T-or-T for real.  The best thing about this year was the temperature wasn't in the mid 90s.  It was actually chilly outside!  I think I may have come up with a family tradition this year that was a lot of fun for PB.  I have a SUV type car that the back seats can come out and it has a tail gate.  I decorated the inside of the car with spider webs and skeletons and played the Haunted Mansion music.  Since we were going to be driving very slow in our neighborhood I allowed PB (with his step dad right next to him) to ride in the back of the car and exit out of the hatch so he could get in and out easier.  Oh my gosh.  He had so much fun getting lots of candy, lots of compliments on their costumes, and getting to ride in the car illegally.  I am one who had him in a booster seat til he was in 5th grade so this is certainly out of my norm.  We noticed that most of the kids out begging for candy were older so I think PB has plans of repeating this adventure next year.  

Something this year I didn't do for the first time in 15 years was go post-Halloween shopping.  Usually I hit up all of the Targets in my surrounding area for 50 percent off Halloween goodies first thing Nov. 1.  This year I kinda took a peak at what was on the shelves on Oct. 30 but eehhhh, nothing good.  That hasn't stopped me before in the past though from trekking around.  Not only did I not go out on Nov 1 but when I did check out what my nearest Target had a couple days later (only went because I had to pick up something else), I didn't buy one thing.  Not one thing.  Not even one bag of plastic bugs.  This is thanks to my new KonMari mind set.  I have plenty of Halloween stuff and I didn't see anything that sparked spooky-joy.  

Lastly, we did our started-last-year tradition of the 'Pumpkin Pitch'.  This is were we toss the decomposing JOL from a high surface (like a 6 foot ladder) onto the ground.  We did it from the roof this year but it was a bit of a dud.  The pumpkin just broke in half when it hit the ground, I guess it wasn't rotten enough.

This Halloween season seemed to zoom by but at least we did squeeze in a few fun things.  

Dead Eye Optical and Funeral Parlor

I love to enter contests, especially ones that it takes creativity to win (not just drawing a name out of a hat).  This Halloween a local eyeglass store was sponsoring a pumpkin decorating contest where the staff voted on their favorite as the winner.  The prize was a 150 dollar gift certificate to the store.  I could use new glasses so I decided to enter.  To help boost up my odds of winning I went with a Halloween optical theme.

  My design is suppose to resemble an early 1900s store front of a combined Optician and Funeral Parlor.   The opening of the pumpkin was to look like you were peering into a window but I couldn't get the idea to come together and the sign was going to hang from little pieces of chain and swing but that idea didn't pan out either.   I cut the little eyeglasses out from paper for the skeletons, very tedious.  Inside the window are a couple of coffins and extra eyes on the walls.  The primary sign and the eyes on the walls and tombstones are prints of actual early 1900 optical store signs.  I made a little eye chart for the background that I cut out letters to spell out "EVIL" and had it lit with a mini battery powered set of lights.

Here is a better image of the eye chart all aglow.  This is one of those projects that I didn't feel was one of my most successful but I entered the contest anyway....and WON!  Yay! I don't think they had very many enter the contest so I had that in my favor...but I'll take what I can get!

I only have til December to use my certificate so I am sure I'll be posting images with some new specks in the near future!

Here are few past posts on Halloween Contests I have entered:
Robble Robble
Ellie's spine tingling Deteriorated Chia Pet Costume

Chicken in the Trick -or-Treat bucket

We love the ad campaigns for KFC.  This year we were soo excited that they included some Halloween fun stuff!  The most awesome thing they offered in their online shop was a Halloween Harland costume for a mere 5 bucks!!!

"Transform yourself into the world's greatest fried chicken salesman with this 100 percent authentic Halloween costume.  Includes Colonel mask with REAL working eyeholes, and a one-size-fits-all , genuine plastic bib that contains the rest of the costume.  Surprise your friends!  Frighten total strangers!  Trick or treat and demand fried chicken instead of candy!  No one will know who you are!  
Sorry, friend!  
This fried chicken goodness is sold out!"

oh. my. word. Amazing! By the time I found out about it (within 48 hours of them going on sale) they were sold out and on ebay for 100 dollars!

 I was able to score a limited edition trick or treat pal/bucket though.  Each store had only 25 to give away to costumers who asked about them (they did not advertise them in the store) and were in costume, starting on Oct 27 while supplies lasted.  So yes, on Oct 27 at the opening hour of 10 am, I was lumberjacking my way into KFC for my free bucket.  They are double sided, mine having the robot and the cowboy.  There are other designs (cat, pirate, vampire, mummy, fire fighter, werewolf, and astronaut). Which adds up to 9 images which doesn't evenly work out for 5 buckets....hmmmm...I wonder that the other design is.  I went in to my local KFC a few days before bucket day to make sure they were going to have them.  The lady told me that they could only give one bucket to each family so if you have 5 kids you better bring some walmart bags or something for the other kids for their candy.  She also said that once all 25 buckets were gone "We out of gas", which I thought was hilarious!  I told her I was stealing that line!

If I could have scored one of those Halloween Harlan costumes I would have would have worn it with my handy KFC bucket while doling out these spicy chicken candy suckers to all the trick-or-treat kiddies wearing a costume.  

Pollito Asado

No costume, you get toe nail clippings and gnawed old chicken bones!

More Kentucky Fried Goodness:
National Fried Chicken Day
Kentucky Fried Wigwam Night

Hat Box Ghost-o-Lantern

 A Hat Box Ghost-o-lantern to carry on our Hitchhiking Ghosts theme.
This year PB carved the pumpkin for his first time ever!  This was a difficult one to do because of the small facial features and we also had a smallish pumpkin.  As I was tracing out the design onto the pumpkin I almost wiped it off and thought we should go with a plan b traditional triangle facial featured classic, which I don't think I have done in over 20 years.  PB said he would give it a try and it turned out great. My original plan was to carve in relief a hat box around the head with a real top hat sitting on the pumpkin and then add the Haunted Mansion wallpaper design carved in relief all over the back...Ha! Yeah right!  I wasn't sure if the ghost face sans hat would read as the Hat Box ghost and the wall paper design is waaaay too complicated to cover an entire smallish pumpkin in.

More on the Hat Box Ghost:
The Hat Box Ghost just returned to Disney Land's  Haunted Mansion in 2015.
When the ride originally opened in 1969 the Hat Box Ghost was the last attic resident you saw as you fall out of the attic window into the graveyard.  He did not reside there very long due to technical issues with his special effects not believable enough.  His head disappears from his shoulders and reappears inside the hat box.  With technology advancements the effect now works perfectly.  I am hoping he has a twin that will take up residence at Walt Disney World!

Here is a link to the

Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts!

Welcome, Foolish Mortals, to the Haunted Mansion!

There are several prominent ghosts who have retired here, from creepy old crypts all over the world.  Actually, we have 999 happy haunts here...but there's room for a 1,000! Any volunteers?

There's a little matter I forgot to mention!
Beware of Hitchhiking ghosts! 

They have selected you to fill our quota!

...and they'll haunt you until you return! 

Now!  A ghost will follow you home!


For our Halloween costumes this year we went as Phineas, Ezra, and Gus, the Hitchhiking ghosts from Disney's Haunted Mansion!

The Haunted Mansion is one of our most favorite rides at Disney World.  As many know, we LOVE Halloween and we love that the Haunted Mansion is open all year representing Halloween each and every day.

Our costumes were very easy to pull together.  Phineas (PB) is wearing grey dress pants, a black long sleeve shirt, a cape of black fabric, and a top hat.  The vintage baggage is a satchel I picked up from a thrift store over 20 years ago.  I use it to carry all of the Bone Soup supplies.  Ezra (me) is wearing all stuff I already owned: White knee socks, black capri pants, white button up shirt, black scarf, and a vintage black coat.  Gus (Mr. Husband Sir) is wearing a night shirt that I made from thrifted white sheet fabric that I stained with black fabric dye to make it appear stained and streaked.  His beard is from our Soggy Bottom Boys costumes.
I made our props on the cheap.  The top hats are these shiny plastic 99 cent deals from Party City.  I covered them in black felt and attached a scrap piece of fabric as the band (total 3 bucks) .  The ball and chain is made from 2 pieces of plastic chain from dollar tree and the ball is actually a large plastic christmas ornament from a thrift store that I spray painted black (total 2.50)!

We took our photo in the front of the same historic house that we used for our Chimney Sweeps costumes and it is the Victorian Death and Mourning Tour house as well.

Transfixed for another Haunted Mansion craft?! You must make passage here:
Madame Leota Crystal Ball

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Jack o' Lantern Breakfast!

What do all little goblins and big ghoulies want for Halloween breakfast?  This sausage headed little pancake faced Jack o' Lantern of course!  To make this guy more closely related to his pumpkin pals I added a can of pure pumpkin into the pancake batter.

PB and I wound up having our happy butter nosed buddy for dinner one night when Mr. Husband Sir had a previous engagement around the dinner bell ringing time frame.

You see Mr. Husband Sir is terrified of eating pumpkin.  As a child he heard a story from his old great great Granny Franny Jo.  She told him that one day while she was out in the pumpkin patch gathering the glowing gourds to exchange for possum hides she came across a pumpkin that startled her.  It mysteriously had the exact features of her high school sweetheart, Cleatus "Bumpkin" Hayseed, who passed away in an accident involving a tractor and a polecat.  While she was a'miring Bumpkin's pout, a fly landed on his noggin for a spell, which she took as an omen.   Franny Jo was a'skert that ifn't she turned this pumpkin into a pie Bumpkin's haint was gonna come after her.  She toted the doppelganger gourd up to the shanty for safe keeping. That evening ol' Franny Jo had to go up town to compete in a tabacky long distance spitting contest.  When she came home that night victoriously upholding her title of spitting holler queen, she was greeted with the wonderful smell of freshly baked pie...pumpkin pie.  Franny Jo came a'barreling through the front door to see that her mama had stopped by and had baked up a celebratory confection. "Mama, what have you gone and done!?  Now Cleatus "Bumpkin" Hayseed is gonna haint me!  Didja not see that his face was in that punkin's features?"  exclaimed Franny Jo.  "What you talking about, Franny?  That punkin looked just like your ol' drunk Uncle Jessichias from your daddy's kinfolk side. I had a good time choppin' him up! He still owes me for knocking over my outhouse." said Mama.  Franny Jo started to think back and realized that her mama was right, Bumpkin had a wart on his cheek shaped like a pumpkin while Uncle Jessichias had a face that attracted flies.  Relieved now, Franny Jo happily cut out a few hunks of pie for them to shovel in.  Suddenly, Franny Jo bit down on something crunchy...a fly!  However Franny was used to periodically chomping down on the little buggers so she paid it no mind.  At this point in the yarn, great great Granny Franny Jo would go off on a tangent about flies, or out houses, or the many uses for corn husks.  But Mr. Husband Sir starts blurring out and keeps repeating to himself  "flies in the pumpkin, crunchy flies in the pumpkin, FLIES ARE IN PUMPKIN!!!"

Just kidding, I made most of that up.  However, the description of his kinfolk is fairly spot on.  I wish there was a good reason, or at least an entertaining one, about why he doesn't eat pumpkin, other than him being a picky eater.

But back to our Jack o' Lantern Pancakes!  Mrs. Butterworth donned a Halloween apron as our accompaniment.  She borrowed it from her friend, Mrs. Frank E. Stein.

PB and I had a great little time making and eating these together and not having a pumpkin party pooper around spouting off pumpkin put downs in the background.  Mr. Husband Sir doesn't just dislike pumpkin, he hates and despises it.  If he could "make it his business" he would torch all of the pie pumpkin patches in the entire world and dance on top of their 'burnt to a turn' remains.
I understand though.  I feel that way about barbecue sauce.  Don't even get me started on that foul fetid fluid.  Ok, back to a happy place....Bewitch the whole family with Jack o' Lantern Breakfast pumpkin pancakes with sausage contacts and wig!

This also isn't our first stack of Halloween flapjack-o'lanterns either. Carve your way over to Pumpkin pancakes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jack and Jill magazine October 1968

Check out these spooktacular fun activities from Jack and Jill Magazine October 1968.

 I tried my best to cover up the answers that were filled in.  I really love these illustrations, especially that peeking witch on the bottom right corner.
The puzzle seems to have forgotten one.
21.  When you go to a restaurant that only serves Pepsi products, you are in: __ __ __ __
(When we are at a restaurant and the server asks apprehensively "Is Pespi ok?"  My husband responds comically "Is monopoly money ok?" )

When your done with the puzzle, it's time to get out the scissors!
For these next couple of activities print them onto cardstock.

Make your own "House Haunted!" featuring Boo and Boney!
They look like they are exchanging jokes.

"Hey Boo! What do you call a trio of drunk ghosts in a tornado?
I don't know, Boney.  What?
Three sheets to the wind!"

"Thank you folks! We'll be here till the witching hour! Enjoy the buffet!"

And here is Spook and Pumpkin paper puppets. They do the introductions for Boney and Boo's stand up performance.

"Ladies and germs!  Ghouls and Goblins! Our condolences to you for joining us tonight at the 6 Feet Under Comedy Crypt!  Hold on to your parts folks!  No, seriously... Frankenstein was here last week and laughed his ahhhs, um... head off. We've got the comedy team Boney and Boo here tonight so keep your heads bolted on tight!" 

Here are the "At My Desk" answers for the Hidden In Halloween Puzzle if you are playing along at home, sans answer to number 21 which is 7734:

Fun Spooky Stuff!  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Demented Decor 2017

I have been so busy lately tending to my fires that Halloween decorating didn't happen until much later than normal.  I didn't even get a single bat up til the middle of October, but the nice thing is I usually leave everything displayed through the middle of November.  Maybe I'll push it out even until Dec.... It could be a true Nightmare Before Christmas!

Even though it's really the same items I display every year I try to mix it up a bit.  This year I hung a bunch of the jointed skeletons from the ceiling.  I also hung little bats from clips on the newly hung and made curtains and hardware in the dining room (one of the many house projects Mr. Husband Sir and I completed).

 I forgot to include this ginormous retro vinyl mask in the 'new Halloween stuff this year' post.  I got it for Mr. Husband last year for Christmas from Retro-A-Go-Go.  They have several more designs of these very cool larger than life plastic masks reminiscent from mine and Hub's childhood. 

I like these masks as fun decor but remember them not being at all fun to wear.  First off be aware that the temperature on Halloween night is typically a balmy 87 degrees.  The plastic caused your hot breath to form condensation inside the mask which made breathing feel like suffocating.  The moisture would then get smeared all over your face and into your hair as you had to lift and lower the mask to be able to navigate between porch lights. Couple that with the themed corresponding thick vinyl non-breathable costume onsie which trapped in more non-expellable heat and you have the makings of a nice little inferno death trap in the form of Holly Hobbie or Tweety Bird.

Speaking of Death Traps, here is the Funeral Parlor area within my demented home. I have a Embalming Certificate from 1933 and a vintage metal funeral reserved sign hanging here but not pictured.  You can see them here: last year's decor.  I usually do this area pretty much the same.

New this year PB decorated his own little Halloween "mood table" as inspired from the idea from Secret Fun Blog.  Instead of a table he used a little metal corner shelf.   I thought it was interesting to see what items he selected and his attention to even spacing.

Also forgot that I got this cute little Gurley ghost candle since last Halloween.

I have had so many "fires" going on (most of them not initially lit by me) that I haven't been able to get in the Halloween spirit.  Mr. Husband Sir and I have a few spooky fun activities planned later in the month that I hope will lift my dismal perspective.  In the mean time, I will just light up the plastic blow mold jack-o-lanterns and enjoy their orangey glow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween Treat! Candy Wrapper Garland

A little bit of Halloween craftyness to share with you today.
I have been saving up those cute orange and black waxed candy wrappers from past holiday seasons to use as festive decor in some way.  I came up with stringing them (sans candy) together as a candy wrapper garland!

 It's fairly easy enough to put together.  Start by eating and pushing all your fam members to gorge on yummy peanut butter kisses, purchased cheaply from dollar tree.  Stress to these folks to gently open the wrappers and not tear them.  After you have collected enough untainted wrappers, gather up some inch thick styrofoam sheets, black embroidery floss, and needle.  I got my styrofoam from a dumpster at a local furniture store for free, but I have seen craft stores carry it as well but sell it for waaay too much. Look around your house (or local dumpster) and see if you can use something free as well.  Next, cut out candy shaped pieces using an old sharp knife or an exacto blade for the fancy folks.  String the plain styrofoam candies onto the embroidery floss uncovered.  Lastly cover each candy piece in alternating colored wrappers, twisting the ends well and leaving the floss exiting from the middle of the twists (see above photo).

I came up with this idea several years ago and just got around to making it this year.  I think the garlands would look great on a Halloween tree or draped over door frames.  Or leave the fake candies un-stringed and place in candy dishes as a trick!