Oct 30, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

This adorable image is from Maggie Rudy's blog:  http://mouseshouses.blogspot.ca/  She makes these incredible mice and their world all by hand with pain-staking detail and imagination!  Love the mouse skeleton in the window!

 How's this for elegant Hallowe'en attire?  (bat cape by Kate Bellando)

Enjoy this most magical night!  Booo!

Oct 26, 2013

On the other hand...

... we Canadians adapt.  From 10:00 to noon today in our local mall there was a trick or treat and activities for the kiddies.  So on a rainy, snowy (again!) morning the kiddies wore their lovely costumes and trick or treated up and down the mall in comfort.  There was a princess, a turtle, a faery, a pirate, a shark!!, Ironman, a black cat, etc...  Mom and I went to see what a success it was and were absolutely delighted that the little ones got to enjoy a warm, dry, totally fun Hallowe'en trick or treat, with a craft area too where they made little decorated trick or treat bags. 
  The shop owners seemed to be pretty excited too, standing in their doorways with all manner of treats, some were even dressed up!  It was a Happy pre-Hallowe'en to be sure! 
  This lovely display was in the Credit Union shop, isn't it boo-tiful!  Bravo!

Oct 25, 2013

Really scary!

In Canada, sometimes you can make snowmen for Hallowe'en!  Doesn't that suck!?  And wear your snowsuit under your Hallowe'en costume... sigh.  It snowed yesterday, REALLY snowed, not just a sugar sprinkle.

  At one point, it was slushing from the sky, huge sloppy blobs... It still hasn't all melted away, although by around 5:00pm today most of it was gone.  We had 7C but the darn stuff won't melt!!!  Ack!!! 

It just does NOT go with my Hallowe'en decor!!! 

Sigh.  Willow seemed to like it. 

Oct 23, 2013

Feeding the monster

Every year I splurge and get one or two Hallowe'en magazines.  This year, for my money, I went with the Taste of Home: Halloween Special.  (I saw the Martha Stewart and I have all of her previous Hallowe'en specials but this year's issue didn't have anything for me.)

There's a nice article called "Spooktacular Sips" on Hallowe'en beverages, something I don't have many ideas about, but the winning feature was a Day of the Dead party!

Here are two recipes from the issue to make your own Day of the Dead celebration:

And then here are two pizza ideas, proving that even if you have no time you can make something spooky just using your cookie cutters!

And for dessert?  How about eerie white bone cookies?  Or spider-webbed treats?  Nothing says love like a gorgeous box of gifted sweets... or human body parts.  Body parts are good too.

Oct 21, 2013

Fall delights

Apples!  This year there are lots everywhere!  We collect ours off the ground on the trail behind the cemetery; there must have been an orchard there and the apples are of different varieties.  Pesticide free, and there's something special about foraging for your own food!  So with a pile of apples we needed a new recipe... This one is easy and delicious, and (I later realized) gluten free too! 
(The bits in italics are what we changed from the original recipe.)

Baked Apple and Almond Pudding


Serves 4-6

Baked Apple and Almond Pudding
 1 lb (450 g) Bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (or use 8 apples)
 4 oz (110 g) ground almonds
 2 oz (50 g) soft brown sugar (4 oz if using 8 apples)
 4 oz (110 g) butter, at room temperature
 4 oz (110 g) golden caster sugar (or brown sugar)
 2 large eggs, beaten
Round, ovenproof baking dish with a diameter of 8 inches (20 cm), 1¾ inches (4.5 cm) deep, buttered.


Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Place the apples in a saucepan with the brown sugar and approximately 2 tablespoons of water (or 4 tablespoons if using 8 apples), simmer gently until soft, and then arrange them in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. (or use pressure cooker for 1 1/2 minutes, include juices)
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy and then beat in the eggs a little at a time. When all the egg is in, carefully and lightly fold in the ground almonds. Now spread this mixture over the apples, and even out the surface with the back of a tablespoon.

Then bake on a highish shelf in the oven for exactly 1 hour. (or only 30 minutes if you used the pressure cooker)

This pudding is equally good served warm or cold – either way, it's nice with some chilled pouring cream. Once cooled, it will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

from http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/european/english/baked-apple-and-almond-pudding.html


Running out of 2013...

It's  hheeerrreeeeeee!  If 2014 is looming like a giant, hairy, thorny-legged spider on your horizon, don't despair!  Prepare yourself with a Halloween Haunt Calendar! 
It'll keep the Hallowe'en mood in the air all year and is a great place to mark those really important dates (like when to start your Hallowe'en baking and when "The Walking Dead" Season 4 is going to be released on DVD).
Just click here to get a copy for $18... And guess what?  One of my photos is in there!  Look for the rat!  Thanks Hector!

Oct 13, 2013

Bazaar of the Bizarre: Halloween Edition!

Yesterday was an incredible day.  It took a lot of planning to make it happen, and I have three people to thank for allowing me to go to Toronto for the Bazaar of the Bizarre:  Halloween Edition!  Thank you first to Sherri for taking my shift at work!  Without your agreeing to take my shift on this long weekend I could not have gone, so THANK YOU!  Just as important, thank yous go to Willow's expert babysitters Sylvie, John and Luna.  THANK YOU for taking such good care of my baby all day while we were away! 
  Mom and I took the train at 8:35 to Toronto and, as per usual, we arrived in Toronto a whole hour late for no good reason!  ARGH!  (Luckily, in the end, we didn't miss this lost hour but for the people making a connection onto Montreal they missed their train and were bused to Montreal.  Very unfair.)  Once arriving in Union Station, the subway system wasn't working (at least not the section we needed).  AARRGGHHH!!!  Luckily, the bus shuttle was pretty good and although we had to walk a bit more than planned we were fine.  And then we arrived at the Bazaar! 


WOW!  (The above photo is from their Facebook page.)  We delivered the 3 critters from London's Dollirium to artist Danielle Vendetti and then took a wee break to collect ourselves before diving in!  What can I say!?  This was the best show ever!  It was like an Xmas fair only ALL HALLOWE'EN!!!!  I was so in my glee, and so overwhelmed!!  (Mom was impressed too.)  The art on the floor was of a pretty high level and the creativity!?  Over the top!!!  There were so many story tellers, and their art was so obviously an act of love and desire to put their ideas into a solid form.  Impressive and humbling, I was honoured to see their work. 
  And blessed that I could take some of it home!  Before even arriving Viv by Sara Deck was coming home with us.  I first saw Viv on Shelley Long's blog, missed her at Dollirium and tracked her down to the Bazaar!  Meant to be with me, I should say!  Viv and I have things to talk about... 

Of course I also purchased a copy of Dan Soelberg's book from which Sara got her inspiration.  Dan signed my copy of Oddities of West Berkshire in his incredible script, what a treat!
Isn't that lovely?  I also picked up some of his beautiful bookmarks to give to my like-minded friends to perhaps inspire them to acquire their own copies (Viv and I aren't sharing, hah!)


The most impressive table was one populated by miniature coffins, each containing a very special collection of miniature objects telling a story.  A doctor's plague mask caught my eye and it was a plague coffin!!!  Thrill of thrills, artist Janice VanBeck went over what each item was and its place in telling her little plague tale... wow.  I was in heaven!
(Two coffins and a gorgeous little sack from Ah, the Macabre came home with us.)

Is that not incredible!  And there's a rat, of course (he has fleas).

The "Witchy Ways" coffin also came home with us... I wish I could remember the origins of the tiny porcelain doll figure but my brain was set to bust and I don't recall the story... perhaps Janice will be kind enough to share it with me again!

Update from Janice:  read the comment below about the "Frozen Charlotte" dolls, thank you Janice! 
Sam Ovens offered many lovely pieces of wearable art, like this resin bird skull.  She also had lovely little mouse heads, and I hope to custom order one.
As I said, the creativity on the floor was electric and I can entirely understand wanting to be included in this amazing group of macabre artists.  Enter the Kitten & the Crow, a couple with a story to tell that's only in the beginning stages but wow the art!  Here are the three finished panels from their *soon* to be finished book (soon is relative, I know). 

From their website:
"Some passing days, along this way, come a Kitten and a Crow,
Both bear silent witness to what the heart should never know".

I look forward to seeing their story.

In the end, it was back to Sara Deck's table for one last purchase:  sweet little Gertrude came home with us too.  This wee lass is an albino child that was attacked by a werewolf one night along the railway tracks.  Sweet Gertrude thought her life was difficult as an albino, now she's come to see that things could always be worse... another story that Sara Deck has yet to pull from her imaginings and fix to paper to share with us all!  (Isn't Sara's business card stunning?)  You can read Sara's blog post about the show here.

So many more stories, so little time...
here's a sampling of the other artists that showed their wears, along with a gorgeous leather mask by Eden Bachelder that sadly I did not take home (where to hang it?)

In closing, it was a truly awe-inspiring event and I am so very happy we were able to get there and enjoy it.  We wandered back to Union Station by way of Kensington Market (stopping in at Pancho's Bakery for 5 loaves of Day of the Dead bread, they had some already!) and other treats, finally journeying home on the train (which was on time) with a final treat:  meeting Tammi Beaulieu and getting to catch up a bit on the ride home.  Tired and full to over-flowing with all the things we saw and experienced, we collapsed into bed, dreaming of dark inspirations from the Bazaar of the Bizarre!

Oct 1, 2013

Hallowe'en trick or treat tour opens!

Happy October 1st! 

The Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat that I host is now officially open!  So click here and trick or treat with us, all to raise funds and awareness for animal charities selected by the artists!