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!

Friday, October 13, 2017

13 Ghosts

 Happy Friday the 13th!  
Let's celebrate in Illusion-O Vision!

William Castle's 1960 movie 13 Ghosts has become a holiday tradition around our crypt.  I love William Castle and all of his fun gimmicks he used to promote and involve the audience with the movie and theater experience.  He had patron-looking employees staged at performances to scream or dress up like nurses to tend to anyone who suffered a fear induced medical mishap from viewing the film.  He had ambulances parked in front of the theater, $1,000 life insurance policies issued to anyone who died of fright during viewings, fake skeletons that would swoop down during the showing, and electric buzzers installed under some of the seats that would go off during pivotal points.  There were also gimmicks within the film such as 'Fright Breaks" in the movie Homicidal, where a timer would appear on the screen right before an extremely suspenseful moment, giving audience members a chance to leave, which they were then given a Coward's Certificate along with a refund.  In The Tingler, the monster is expected to be in the theater when the lights suddenly go out, next the film strip goes white suggesting the projectionist has just been murdered...and that's the pivotal point.... electric seat buzzers start going off!  I can't believe such creativity, imagination, fun, and effort ever existed in this world.  

In 13 Ghosts the gimmick was being able to see..or not see the ghosts in the film by means of the Ghost Viewer. The movie is filmed in black and white with overlays of blue and red during the ghost appearances.   For the faint at heart they could look through the blue screen to not see the ghosts while thrill seekers had the red view screen to intensify the ghost presence. We own the movie but do not have a Ghost Viewer, which the movie poster claims it will boost "13 times the entertainment".  To increase our entertainment value I had to make us a set of our very own Ghost Viewers (How-To below)! 

 Here is an image of William Castle along with some local members of his Horror Advisory Board and Fan Club in San Antonio, TX showing off a Ghost Viewer during a 13 Ghosts premiere in 1960.  I wonder if Mr. Castle stayed at the Menger Hotel during his visit?

"Ghost Viewer A Good Gadget!"

To make your own Ghost Viewer:

*Locate a good quality scan of a Ghost Viewer from the nets and print out full page on card stock
*Purchase red and blue cellophane (I got mine from dollar tree.  They were both cellophane gift wrapping.  One was a bag intended for shrink wrap and the other was on a roll)
*Cut out viewing areas from the Ghost Viewer with an exacto blade.
*Cut and glue or tape pieces of cellophane in appropriate spaces.

Now "Use Viewer" and go ghost hunting!
See ghosts in ectoplasmic color!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

'Til Death Do Us Part

A friend of ours is having a Halloween inspired wedding this month and I was asked to make the bouquet.  This struck fear in me. Wedding flower arranging is not my area of expertise.  But since it was a Halloween theme I figured I could possibly pull it off. I thought a Haunted Mansion Funeral Parlor looking arrangement could look nice and macabe. 

 The bride's only request was for the bouquet to have eyeballs.  I tried to do that 'eyeball in the middle of the flower' thing but it made the bouquet look like a muppet.  It didn't look creepy-good, it looked stupid-bad.  I wanted the eyeball theme to be a bit more distinguished.  I decided to use some eyeball fabric scraps I had left over from this dress (Mr. Husband Sir and I are planning on wearing our matching outfits to the wedding!).  I cut the eyes out, mod podged them for stability, then hot glued them to the black branches.

 I also made the groom and ring bearer's boutonnieres, which were much easier.

When I first accepted this project I was very nervous of the outcome.  PB said something really sweet before I started it.  He told me that anything I ever make or do always turns out looking fantastic so he knew this flower thing would be great too. I must be doing a good job of tossing out my failed projects without him having knowledge!  I do think the bouquet turned out fairly decent though.  In actuality it looks much better in real life.  I had such a time trying to get these few photos.  My town is located about 1 foot from the sun's surface and it's about a majakillion degrees outside.  And here I am traipsing around three different cemeteries in the middle of the day looking for the "perfect" spot with a camera, glass vase, bushy bouquet and two boutonnieres on a tray....and it started to rain.  I wound up getting a slight sunburn and a major migraine headache for my troubles.  Part of the problem is I love looking around old cemeteries at the funerary art and dates.  I have plans on doing my own cemetery tour when the temperature drops to only a bajillion.  

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Haunted Menger Hotel

Several years ago I got the opportunity to stay at the famed Menger Hotel located in San Antonio, TX.  Famed for being so old (founded in 1859), hosting a ton of celebs (Teddy Roosevelt, Roy Rogers, Babe Ruth, Mae West...), and for being haunted!

Before my trip I researched the "most ghost sensitive" spots and went around the halls at night snapping photographs.

The only spirits I was able to witness were in the bar, unfortunately. 

 Down one of the main corridors are many displays of artifacts and antiques.

The most intriguing to me was this ledger entry from 1876.

It is on the bottom of the page, a bit hard to make out in the picture...
It says 
"Hotel Exp. Acct. 
to cash paid for Sallie White, col'd chambermaid, deceased, murdered by her husband, shot Mar 28, died Mar 30th/ 2500 ($25.00)
 for grave 700 ($7.00)

Sallie White happens to be one of the most famous ghosts seen walking the halls of the Menger.  It is said she is sighted carrying towels and tiding up.  Poor thing has been working off that 32 bucks for one hundred and forty one years!

 After I stayed at the Menger I couldn't stop talking about it.  It was built in 1859!!!  It's "haunted"! From my room window I could see the Alamo!  It's next door to "There isn't a basement in The Alamo"!  So for Christmas that year Hubs got me this vintage Menger dessert plate.
Wouldn't it be fun to have a small set of dishes from someplace considered to be haunted and use them for Halloween dinner?  This plate is gilded so I wouldn't want to risk repeated washing on it....but maybe even making a set would work.  Ohhh!  What about making a set with a "The Overlook Hotel' emblem on them!  Ideas for the future!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Halloween 2017 Spooky New Stuff

I thought I would post some of the new Halloween items I have picked up over the past couple of months.  This adorable pirate JOL has been on my "I neeeed it!" list for a few years.  A friend gave me this pristine cutie recently after much begging and pleading.

This skull bucket was a thrift store find for 70 cents.  I can't find a copyright date, but it's made by Empire and has metal rivets for the handle so it's a few decades old at least.

This amazing midcentury witch paper cut out came from the same friend that gave me the pirate JOL.  He passed her on to me because she didn't have her original crepe paper hair anymore.  I have seen this gal on the internets before and always sans hair.  But if you look along the edge of the hat brim there are remnants of stapled orange and black crepe paper streamers.  I wonder if  these were added by the past owner?  I am thinking about giving her a new weave for this holiday season.

I picked this blow mold up at a thrift store for 5 bucks.  I had never seen this design before and thought it could be something rare(-ish) possibly.  However PB and I were a little let down to see the copy right date of 1992 when we checked out the bottom.  We still like him though.

As I have mentioned in several past posts I have been doing some major decluttering/ tiding of my home over the past few months.  All items that I keep/purchase must pass the "Does it spark joy?" test.  My problem is all vintage Halloween items spark joy....

Sunday, October 01, 2017


My most favorite time of the year is approaching!   Halloween!  I will be posting several Halloween things here on MHICTY for the next month or so. I can't let the most important holiday go by without representing.   However, I will have to get back to my house decluttering afterwards, which means the blog will be going on hiatus again.  I am fairly certain I will be doing a few christmas posts though.  My goal is to have all the declutering done by the beginning of the new year.   In the mean time, let's get spooky!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

You might need a rake

For years I have always had a "discard" box for items I don't want anymore.  If I see an item laying around the house that I don't want any more it goes in the box.  When the box fills up I truck it off to a thrift store and a new box starts.  Every year or so I do a whole house sweep, filling up many boxes, enough for us to have a good sized yard sale.  For the most part of the beginning of 2016 I did a whole house sweep with a yard sale happening that May.  I thought I should be on the clutter clear for some time after that.  But oh no.  I have been spending time over the last year doing some painting and decorating in my house finally after living here for 6 years....along with more "toss boxes" filling up on the way.  We are now planning another big yard sale in the coming months.  The fam and I like having yard sales but we shouldn't have so much stuff that we need to have one nearly every year.  

Our house isn't really the untrained eye.  I am just really good at stashing things behind closed doors, drawers, under beds, even under the couch.  I can 'tetris' items into a plastic storage bin to the millimeter and then tetris the storage containers in stacks to the ceiling in my laundry/storage room.  I think I have mentioned on here before that I have 12+ storage containers of vintage christmas stuff along with 5 christmas trees.  I have 10 storage containers of Halloween stuff. Along with all of these containers are several more with old baby stuff of PB's and stuff of mine from grade school, high school and college.  Lots of stuff.  But as I said it's all stacked neatly and out of general sight.  When I am doing my clutter clean sweep I don't do much with the laundry room.  I go room by room in the rest of the house looking for stuff to get rid of to reduce the amount in each space.  This is why I can never get the clutter under control. 

 I happened to discover a few wonderful books at the library several months ago that have opened my eyes to the error of my ways: "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Spark Joy" by Marie Kondo and "Clutter Busting" by Brooks Palmer.  Marie Kondo's books are national best sellers and she is known world wide for her KonMari Method of tidying.  I have become enthralled with her and her teachings.  She promises that if you tidy as she recommends you will never have to do it again.  (Tidying is not cleaning, FYI.  Tidying is where every item you own has a place.)  The essence of her method comes down to two factors.  When you are going through your items, keep only the items that spark joy and discard the others.  Also tidy by category (clothes, books, misc, papers, sentimental items) not by room.  All items in each category have to be brought together in one pile. Everything has to be removed from it's regular hidey hole.  Each item has to be handled and checked for joy.  All this time I have been rummaging through my closet and only seeing the things that for sure I can let go.  I never checked all the items for joy. 

 Brooks Palmer's approach considers the emotional  attachments to items and decluttering.  He doesn't do it by category but he has you do a similar joy check on each item.  He suggests that every item be truly and deeply considered if it's place in your life is still valid.  Is it an item that you would buy today or does it serve your life today?  Does it have emotional baggage connected to it (like old photos, documents, letters, gifts) ? Even if it was expensive but it's not bettering your present life it should be let go.  Another interesting thing Marie Kondo mentions in her books is that as you are going through all of your possessions you are working on honing your sensitivity to what brings you joy, and not just in the items but in your life.  Brooks Palmer speaks about how clutter isn't just items, it can even be people.  If they are not a positive force in your life then they are clutter, you should let them go too.  

Just from reading these books I have started to experience a change in how I see things.  I have noticed myself not going to thrift stores as much and when I do I don't buy items just because they happen to be vintage.  I ask myself if I really like the item and where would it go in my house (not in a storage container!).  It's a very peaceful feeling to walk away empty handed and not have to bring something home that is just mediocre.  I have "people clutter" also with the relationship being they 'take' far more than they 'give'.  After years of aggravation, the solution on how to handle that relationship floated into my mind one night as I was drifting off to sleep.   I think this happened from understanding how to hone what brings me joy and really questioning what is clutter in my life.

 I am about to embark on my own tidying marathon. It's going to be a mix of KonMari and Brooks Palmer's technique.  I'll do clothes then books.  When I get to misc. I will probably go by location but still category ( ex: In the kitchen I'll do all the glasses together, plates together...etc) Then do papers together.  Sentimental items are going to be hard to grasp.  I have sentimental items that could be clothes, books, misc, and papers.  Maybe as I am going through the earlier categories, if I realize something is more than just a dress, I could set it aside for the later Sentimental category joy check.  All the time while going through each category I will be incorporating the concepts of Brooks Palmer by asking questions of myself such as" Is this an item that resonates with me now or is keeping me living in the past? Is it holding me back from moving forward?"

So again, as I have been saying for the past year and a half, posting on here is going to be null to sporadic.  I certainly look forward to when I can start posting with regularity again because this blog does bring me joy.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Wonder Bread Cocoanut Fruit Betty

Last week as part of some summer fun PB and I made our way through an entire loaf of Wonder white bread.  We made fluffernutters (hot pressed and regular), wonder bread waffles, and my personal childhood favorite...balled up bread balls.  It's just what it sounds like, take a piece of soft white bread, ball it up tightly in your hand, then enjoy.  

I also used 6 slices of bread to bake a dessert that came from the 1934 Wonder Bread at the Chicago World's Fair recipe booklet.

This little cook booklet has got a ton of intriguing recipes that involve using white bread as a primary ingredient.  Simple plain white bread becomes pudding, tortes, cakes, croquettes, stuffings, and pies.  It covers the "witchery" of sandwiches with such great tips as use two slices of bread when making a sandwich, and spread the filling to the edges.  There are hints on making sandwiches to "please a man's taste": Garnish with onion rings and sliced pickles, no man can resist such sandwiches.   

There are a bunch of recipes I want to try out that don't involve the man approved onion rings.  For now I went with a safe and simple dish, Cocoanut Fruit Betty:

 You use 2 cups of drained "fruit".  It's your call!  However technically a tomato is a fruit, and I wouldn't suggest it.  I went with canned tidbit pineapple.  The juice drained from the can was just about 1 cup too!  It turned out pretty good and I would certainly make it again.  I generally don't have white bread in the house so I would try it next time with wheat bread.

So yes, for "summer fun" we ate white bread.  I hope when PB gets back to school this fall he isn't asked to write an essay about his summer activities having eating bread on the top of the list.

With that being said I have about a month of summer vacation left to top the joys of eating white bread with PB.  I'll certainly have my work cut out for me so I will be on blog hiatus till the school year gets rolling.  In the meantime, I suggest eating some two sliced, onion and pickles to the edge white bread sandwiches...or just a simple piece of toast works too!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

National Waffle Iron Day

I love my waffle iron!  I am not sure of it's circa, maybe 1960's or possibly 70's.  I picked it up at a thrift store several years ago for 10 bucks.  The grill plates are double sided, one being for waffling and the other is flat (for flattening!).  The lid opens all the way over to make two flat grilling surfaces, to fry eggs or bacon on.  I use my iron nearly every weekend for hot pressing sandwiches.

For today's "celebration" I used it to make these bread and butter waffles.  The iron used in the ad is an earlier version of my model.

Bread and Butter Waffles 1955

(pssst...It's just french toast waffles made with sandwich bread!)

 Here is the iron in action!

Sorry Log Cabin...I serve mine with Daddy Buck's original cane blend syrup...since 1956 (because I love the cute little girl on the label and vintage styled design!).
The recipe is pretty practical for making 'waffles' by just using bread, just skip the french toast egg coating part.

I have made a bunch of fun things in my waffle iron, most recently PB and I made grilled fluffernutter sandwiches!  Yum! I have also seen some interesting waffling action happen to cake batter and biscuit dough.  The cake batter waffles were turned into ice cream sandwiches and the biscuit waffles were slathered in gravy!

Enjoy your waffle iron today.  Take a look in your fridge or pantry, I'm sure there is something around that could be waffled!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vintage Marketing

 I love me some vintage food packaging!  Over the past few months I have been able to get my hands on several vintage cute items I thought I would share today.

The Kroger Peanut Butter jar was purchased at an antique shop.  As you can tell by the jar colors it is a 1970's deal but I loved that squirrel so much it had to come home with me.

 Remember when frozen orange juice came in a metal can and not those waxed paper tubes?  I got this can at an estate sale for one dollar.  The previous owner had a cabinet full of them and they were used to hold nails and other manly garage items.  I picked out the least beat up one.  

 Mr. Dee-lish popcorn box came from an antique mall (four bucks).  The box is a new old stock item from the 1950s.  I thought at first it was a retro design because it looked a little too good.   There is a glare in the photo because I cover my old papery items in cellophane to protect them from the "elements" of the kitchen.

I love this gallon sized pickle jar!  I use it to hold all the random vintage plastic fruits and veggies I get from thrift stores.  Haven't found any plastic pickles/cucumbers just yet.  I paid 6 bucks for adorable June Boy.

Sunny Morn Pancake Flour came from an antique mall.
I had not heard of bagged flour just for pancakes.  I am guessing it is a Jiffy mix kinda thing.  It's colors and condition are so perfect looking, I almost thought it was a reproduction prop, but it is from the 1940s.  It's stuffed with fluff to make it appear flour filled.  Like the popcorn box, I covered it in cellophane for it's protection.

Lastly is this half pound Pal Peanut Butter metal pail.  At the time I found this pail I had been contemplating buying a similar one on ebay but hadn't found one for the price I wanted to pay.  I got this pail at a thrift store for 75 cents!  That's more my price tag.

I keep all of my food packaging items on a top shelf in my kitchen.  I like to think about how it must have looked going to the grocery store during the 1950-60's and how beautiful the shelves were with such gorgeous and artistic packaging designs.  

I still have a few other packaging items in my collection that I haven't posted about, these were just the most recent.  I'll get around to putting the other ones up here one of these days.  I don't just collect vintage packing though.   I also like to collect items that are new yet their designs have remained pretty much unchanged over the decades.  These are usually small regional family owned companies that have been around a long time.  I put together a list of some past posts that highlight vintage (or unchanged) food packaging and grocery-marting from the MHICTY archives if you happen to have a few more items to check off on your shopping list:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Super Goober

From Woman's Day Magazine Sept 1952 

What an intriguing idea for a cake.... upside down peanut butter peach!
It's a wham-banger!
I like that the cake part is from a prefab mix, which is usually my regular Saturday night thing.
When I made this cake I had everything already on hand except that cake mix so I switched things up this time by making a homemade cake! Ha!  That is a definite first!  The recipe recommends using an iron skillet as the baking vessel.  However I don't have one that isn't rusted out so I made this cake in a round cake pan.

I had several problems that I am going to let you in on so you can enjoy complete success with your own Super Goober.   Some my fault and some not.   First off grease the pan. even the bottom.  I thought the butter in the bottom would be enough to help with sticking (I did grease the sides).  The recipe never mentions greasing even the alternative option of using a square pan.  So my cake top stuck to the roof of that pan like peanut butter.  What part of the cake I could get on to the serving plate wound up landing off center so I decided to give it a little tilt to budge it over... half the cake slid off the plate causing a peach peanut butter cake avalanche.  Thankfully no young impressionable minds were anywhere in the 3 mile radius because they would have been exposed to a few new words.  I scrapped up what I could and mashed it together and replaced the jostled peaches.  I then scrapped the topping out of the pan and used it as camouflage for the top.  This is why there is only one pic and the ass of the cake is away from the camera. 

click on recipe to enlarge

For the cake part I decided to use the recipe for  As You Like It Cake with Three Way Frosting.  Originally when I made that cake I used half of a prefab cake mix I had left over from another dessert.  I like this cake recipe because it has all normal ingredients found in my kitchen.  I don't keep stuff like cake flour or buttermilk around.  Those things are too unitask-ish. I have plain all purpose flour and skim milk, items that can play well with most all recipes, meals and are cost effective. I surely am not going to use buttermilk in my cereal and normal flour is way cheaper than cake flour.  

click on recipe to enlarge

So did this Super Goober Wham Banger send our taste buds singing as claimed?
Maybe not singing but definitely humming very loudly. It really does taste good and I really like the unusual concoction of ingredients. 
Highly recommended for peanut butter and peach lovin' kids of all ages!