Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

The scary pumpkin on the left is my sister Melanie's and the tree is done by my friend Laura. The other two are mine. Hope today is filled with some treats as work has been extra lame today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkinpalooza Continues...

Here is a picture of the sugar and spice pumpkin seeds I made last night. We had a ton of pumpkin seeds from the five pumpkins we carved at our house. The seeds are good for you and tasty when toasted.

I used this recipe on Allrecipes:

The only change I made was to use butter in the skillet (instead of oil) and I didn't exactly measure the ingredients so there might be some variation there. It is a time consuming process but well worth it if you like toasted pumpkin seeds; they come out nice and carmelized.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Here are a couple of pictures from my recent trip to Sever's Corn Maze. Having never been to a corn maze, I wasn't sure what to expect. I certainly wasn't expecting the giant Corn Pit (think dry kernels, not creamed corn - less of a "Double Dare" challenge and more Chuckie Cheese ball pit).

If you read the rules above, you'll see that one of the rules is "do not bury your head". Although I didn't bury my head, Laura did shovel some kernels into my ear accidentally, so I can attest to the fact that it is easy to get them lodged there. Corn kernels were also found to be lodged in my jeans pocket, cuffs, socks, bra and underwear - don't ask me how. So, you see, I broke the "no removing corn" rule, too.

The maze itself was fun in a laid-back kind of way. It was the first sunny day in weeks (and one of the last nice days before winter) and good weather to be wandering around in a field. Not being from corn country, I didn't realize that corn mazes have themes. This year's them at Sever's was the Wild West and the maze was in the shape of a cowboy on a bucking bronco. Yee-haw!

The highlight of the day for me was the roasted corn from the concession stand, though. By that time, I was ready for some corn that could actually be eaten. The food area also offers the usual kettle corn, bratwurst, and assorted fried things.

Other available activities included a petting zoo, pig races, a pumpkin launcher, and live music.

Due to my procrastination in posting this, I think the corn maze is closed for the season now. I'm sure they will be back next year with an even cooler theme and even faster pigs.

Pumpkinpalooza Part 2 - Finally

Last weekend I finally found the time to make the Pumpkin Chocolate Covered Raisin Muffins (recipe here: The change that I made is using a total of 2 teaspoons of pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices. I really would have liked to have used ginger but I didn't have any. These are moist and keep for several days (I ate the last one on Thursday and it was pretty much as good as the one I had on Sunday). They don't rise very much so feel free to fill the muffin cups up pretty much to the top.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Leaf Project

I like to collect things. I collect pebbles from the lake shore. I collect shells from the beach. And I collect leaves in the fall.

However, I don't really care too much about the collection once I have it; it's the act of looking and sorting that I enjoy. I have recurring dreams where I am sorting through a pile of junk and find some kind of treasure in the bottom. My biggest thrill in life! What does that say about me? I don't know for sure, but I sometimes feel like I should be one of those people who is satisfied to just take a picture or just look and appreciate. But, no - I want the physical object itself. Maybe it is pure greediness, but I like to think it is my attempt to hold on (literally, I guess) to those fleeting moments of beauty - so startling in everyday life, kind of electrifying really.

Anyway, some of you probably did this little project in elementary school but I didn't discover it until after college. It's pretty simple. All you need is:

Fall leaves
2 sheets of wax paper
An iron
Some newspaper

Lay down a sheet of newspaper to protect the table or surface you are working on. Put down a sheet of wax paper on top of it. Arrange your leaves on top of the wax paper - taking care to leave some space between the leaf and the edge of the paper (maybe an inch?). Place the other sheet of wax paper on top and another layer of newspaper over that. Then iron the whole thing for a few seconds. The wax will melt together and seal in the leaves. They still won't last forever, sadly (but if they did, then we wouldn't appreciate them so much probably). They will last a few weeks. I hung mine in my windows to allow the sun to shine through the leaves. I would think that this probably contributes to their eventual decay, but it seems to be the best way to display them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Just a quick post to show one of the things I've been working on this week - when I really should be painting. I'm trying to improve my carving skills so I can do more complex relief prints. I have to keep muttering, "the carved part is the color of the paper, the carved part is the color of the paper". The technique is opposite from drawing with ink or pencil and I can't seem to get used to it. Anyway, I bought the blank bookmarks at Michael's (50 for about $3). The linoleum to make the print block cost about a buck. Add in the ink (maybe another $5? I bought it a while ago), carving tools (about $10 and you only need to buy them once) and this is a pretty cheap and easy project. After I printed the black outlines, I colored the pumpkins yellow and orange with pencil. The tassel is some embroidery floss I had left over from some other project. That's the nice part about having so much random crap - if you can find it in all the boxes and drawers, of course.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Fun

As usual, I have tons of projects that I am working on and tons more that are still in the planning stages. I will get around to posting all of them soon!

I have been taking a continuing ed class at MCAD( on Saturday mornings. The class is focused on papermaking and relief printing with a little basic bookbinding thrown in. This Saturday is the last class and I will post some pics of my finished projects as well as a bookbinding tutorial. The people in the class are really cool (with just a couple exceptions) but I do wish the class itself was a little more stuctured. It's been a good opportunity to become familiar with the campus - especially since I'm considering applying to their post-baccalaureate program.

I am also supposed to be working on two watercolor paintings. One is a commissioned piece for someone at work. The other is a donation to a silent auction benefiting breast cancer research. I am hoping to have time to work on those tonight.

In addition, I am starting to plan Christmas present projects. I'm determined to make gifts for the majority of the people on my list this year. There are a million other things I'm planning - including a bunch of baking experiments. There aren't enough hours in the day. It might help if I stopped obsessively watching Food Network and those design makeover shows on TLC and HGTV.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Iron Fork

This looks like a really cool event for those of use who just can't get enough Iron Chef ( Plus - the proceeds go to Second Harvest Heartland (

I would really like to go but am torn because I am supposed to be budgeting my money and I have a million projects going on right now. Tickets are $30 in advance, which seems pretty reasonable. Hmm....we'll see.