Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Hallowe'en

Thanksgiving dinner for Halloween? Why not?!
Danny wore the costume to go grocery shopping with me. Most people laughed. The employees were really entertained.
Danny dressed up our Christmas penguin so he could enjoy the holiday as well. It began snowing as we snapped these photos. Ah well, it had to happen eventually. So far, it isn't sticking to the ground.

Hope you've had fun (or quiet if you don't dig Halloween).

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Sparkling Blue Dress to Match the Sky

 Don't let the blue skies fool you-it was freezing out there! Still, the moulds and ragweed are dying, which is very good news for anyone with allergies.
The spiderweb leggings made their yearly debut.
 I was up early  baking the Barmbracks for Halloween. I made four-one for us, and three for my husband's office. Danny decorated some cookies shaped as pumpkins, cats, etc. and I'll probably make popcorn balls sometime before Tuesday. I stopped by Penzy's to replenish the baking spices before the holidays start. The fair used up most of my cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice/ginger. It definitely pays to buy in bulk if you bake a lot, which we do.

I'm lacto-fermenting some of the green cherry tomatoes from the end of the garden, and so far, so good. I pickled the nasturtium seeds, and made more spaghetti sauce for the freezer from the ripe tomatoes. I have a few quarts of green ones left that are destined for relish-then, I'm done. i do feel like it was a great accomplishment, but I'm ready to move on to other projects. I have Danny's yearly Birthday quilt to finish before December.
Outfit Particulars:
Leggings-Target (last year)
Dress (I have the same one in red)-Goodwill
Boots-K Mart
Sarah Coventry earrings-antique store in Wisconsin
Vintage AB necklace-same antique store in Wisconsin
Skull ring-Walgreen's a few years ago
Vintage bag-Goodwill
Maltese cross necklace-Goodwill

I'll leave you with this bit of advice I saw on Tumblr.
I even shit with precision and elegance, thanks very much.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Time to Bake Parkin-and a bonus outfit post

Parkin is best made a week ahead, so if you want some for Bonfire Night, you'd best start planning now. This is a photo from a few years ago, and though it isn't pretty, I assure you the gingerbread is wonderful. Every year I bake one, then wish I'd made two. I'm going to try doubling the recipe this year, and I'll report back on how that goes. It might make more sense to simply make two separate batches.

You Will Need:

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 ounces dark molasses
7 ounces golden syrup (or corn syrup if you can't find golden)
3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick)
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped crystalised ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk

Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment. 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, molasses, and golden syrup over medium heat until combined. Don't let it boil or you will have candy-and a mess. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the melted butter/sugar mixture and mix well. Add the eggs slowly, and beat in with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and give it all a final mix. Tip the batter into the prepared pan. Place it on a baking sheet (this has a tendency to spill over, and you don't want to clean sugar syrup out of your oven). Bake about 1 hour, but as long as 1 1/2. You want the parkin to be dark brown, and the top should be set, but it will still seem soft. The middle will sink when removed from the oven-that's normal. Cool in the tin. When cool, wrap tightly in wax paper, and then in foil. Store tightly wrapped for 5-7 days before serving so it will acquire the sticky, heavy candy-like texture.

Then, when ready to eat-hide it, so you can eat it all yourself!

Now, here's that promised outfit post.

 I have jackets in leopard and zebra so when I saw this fuzzy, tiger print coat I didn't hesitate. It is quite warm, nicely lined, and let's face it-goes with just about anything (animal prints are neutrals). Worn with a glittery tulle skirt I bought in the children's department at Target, and a nylon top I'm sure was originally part of a stage costume, I knew this outfit was going to be worth some photos.

 I chose my red bag as it looked more orange inside-foiled again! What can I say? Still, it is a very nice fabric-covered bag from the 60's that I was happy enough to snag for $3.99 at the Goodwill in Blair, Nebraska. It is a bit out of the way, but worth the drive. I'd say that store consistently has better vintage, at rock-bottom prices. I don't mind a drive in the country, particularly if there's great stuff waiting for me. The shop is on the way to the DeSoto Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, so Danny gets something out of the trip as well.
There's metal feet on the bottom as well-always a sign of a better-made bag.
 Outfit Particulars:
Nylon blouse-Goodwill
Tulle skirt-Target, last year
Tiger print jacket-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Orange tights-Walgreen's

*Tony the Tiger voice* Hope your weekend was Grrrrrrrrrreat!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Don't Like the Weather, Wait a Minute, etc. etc.

I thought you might be getting sick of all the neutrals, so I dug out this bright green polyester horror of a bridesmaid's  dress. Can you believe the sleeves have been altered (by the last owner) and were even wider at one point judging by the amount of fabric still inside?! I own a similar dress in pink with sheer sleeves which you can see in the sidebar.
Our weather is changing as you can see by these scattered rose petals. A few more windy days and most of the trees will be bare. We have hard frosts expected later in the week, so I'll be gathering the last of the green tomatoes and pickling the smallest ones. The cooler weather is also bringing on kiddo's mould allergies (all those damp leaves growing spores) and we've been back in the allergic asthma cycle. He's okay, (frustrated, but okay) but we've been having some very late nights and two AM nebuliser treatments. I'm thankful for the portable machine so he can be treated at home rather than the hospital, but the lack of sleep is catching up with all of us mood-wise. The freezing-mold-killing weather can't get here soon enough as far as I'm concerned-Update-it is here!
Outfit Particulars:
1970's maxi dress-Goodwill
Vintage hat-Goodwill
Orange and white Hobe necklace and bracelet-Thrift World
Crewelwork bag-New Life Thrift
Green necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Thrift World

That's fine for the weekend, but the weekdays bring a return to less inspired clothing.

I went for an eye exam Thursday.

I mentioned that when I first started wearing bifocals at 40 I was told my vision would keep getting worse for a couple of years in middle age and then settle in. The response? "I think they might have over-sold that idea." Yeah, thanks. To rub salt in the wound I got the lecture about all the wonderful things that can go wrong in your 50's and 60's. The good news is that I don't have any serious issues related to medications collecting behind my eyes, or signs of vascular trouble (in my eyes anyway). I'm continuing to get more cross-eyed (that's ongoing) but still not badly enough that I need special lenses to deal with it. I am however losing a lot of vision. I knew it was getting worse, but I didn't realise just how much worse. I ordered new specs today (and suffered a bit of sticker shock at how much more expensive lenses are when your vision gets worse) and I'm sure I'll be horrified to see all the lines in my face I hadn't noticed, or the shabbiness of my clothes. Anyway, I should have them in a week so I have time to mentally prepare myself.

Outfit Particulars:
1970's wool dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage tote bag-Goodwill
Tights-K Mart
Shoes-Irregular Choice
Halloween brooch-Goodwill (I think?)

...and now it is freezing. Be careful what you wish for. 
The Donegal tweed jacket came out of storage today. I love this jacket so much. It is heavy, well made, a lovely green-grey colour and perfect with just about everything I own. If i really thought about it, this might be the best thing I've purchased at Hand-Me-Ups over the years-and I've purchased a lot there.
 What goes with tweed? Lurex, obviously! Both the sweater and knit skirt are run through with Lurex. I like a bit of sparkle in my neutrals.

 Here's a close-up of the design on the skirt for Jessica who asked about it on Instagram.

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-Thrift World
Boots-K Mart
Hourihan of Dublin Donegal tweed jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Large 80's sterling earrings-Mum's
Silver bangle-Goodwill
Handbag-gift from a neighbour years ago
This weekend sees the return of the Haunted Physics Lab at Creighton University. We've been going for years, and though Danny's now old enough to understand how all the tricks work, it is still great fun. Also this weekend at the University of Nebraska, Omaha is the Children's Hauntcert. The orchestra wear costumes and perform Halloween-ish music. It is always a fun time with small children running about, and a conductor that really gets into it. I think he must look forward to this all year. For many children, it is their first experience hearing an orchestra, so they do try to make it a fun event. Five dollars gets the whole family in for an afternoon performance.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Red Eye Makeup-for a stylishly ghoulish look

 October is finally in full swing-hooray! Time for red eye makeup. I confess, I didn't think this would be a look I'd wear, or that it would last more than a season. The thing is, red is so wearable-on just about everyone. You'll need to find the right shade for your complexion, but once you do there's something so wonderfully dramatic and unexpected about red eye makeup.
 I went somewhat tame here as it was a daytime look, but I will be posting a more elaborate red look at some point. Today, I wanted to show you how a subtle bit of red can enhance your eyes.
Here's another confession-that's a deep red blush on the lids and lip liner around the eye. Yup. I have recently purchased some proper red shadow, but this works as well.  To prevent looking like a bunny rabbit, I also used a bit of black eyeliner marker on the upper lid and a white pencil on the wetline. When your nose and cheeks are always bright pink, the bunny issue is a real concern (particularly in cold weather) but you may wish to try out one of the red mascaras available in the Halloween makeup lines. Stock-up too, as it often goes on deep sale 1 November.
Don't forget to pull your very best scary face-it is October, after all. BOO!
I manage this quite easily. Maybe she's born with it...maybe ...well yeah, I was definitely born with it. 
I snapped this seasonal photo of Danny outside Hy-Vee. They always have such lovely displays this time of year. I'm not sure what, "Little Reds" are on the sign above (I didn't notice that until I loaded the photos) but I can only laugh and think, "I certainly hope so."

 Outfit Particulars:
90's skirt-Marshall's (I think)
Coldwater Creek blouse-Hand-Me-Ups
Koret jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Napier brooch-Goodwill
Vintage earrings-New Life Thrift
Lippy-Revlon Black Cherry applied over a plum stain

 The blouse has so much going on with pleats and smocking and a bit of tulle peeking out at the hem. I do love it, but that middle band is really meant to be worn tighter and it is so loose it disrupts the line on me. It will be a fab piece on someone built for it, but alas that's not me and I am letting it go. I don't like the look of a sloppy blouse. The colour is great though, so I'll be looking for something equally shimmery in a wine colour.
 The skirt has an even more interesting underskirt that *just* shows through the sheer top layer. The effect is pretty neat, but unfortunately it doesn't photograph well.
I've had it for years, but I've yet to grow tired of it. I'm glad I kept it as sheer 90's skirts are having a moment again.

Have you tried wearing red eye makeup, or is it just strange for you?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Best Of-Halloween Costumes Edition

As Halloween approaches I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane.

The beatnik costume was the result of us being broke, and Danny being too young to care about a costume. The bongo drums are made from empty Neocate containers. Since the stuff was costing us more than caviar (and although medically needed, wasn't covered by insurance) I wanted to get my money out of it by re-using the canisters. Hey kid, quit teething on my City Lights editions.
Why don't you ask my log?
When I needed them to custom cut the log for me at the garden centre I had to explain the Log Lady to a kid that never saw Twin Peaks. Mostly, he just looked at me like I was mad.
The waiter from The Meaning of Life. That's some very expensive fake vomit in the bucket. Still haven't thought of anything else to do with it.
I'm sure even Mother Goose wanted to throttle that bloody fowl once in a while.
The Penguin and Lola Lasagne
Frank the Combine from Cars.
Gorgon Slayer! I had so much fun pinning rubber snakes to a Styrofoam head. Oh look, the old kitchen on the farm!
Uncle Pennybags. What's scarier than a banker? You can see the cattle pen behind Danny in the photo. I do NOT miss the flies. I don't really miss the farm either.
I saved this engineer costume (it was already vintage when I bought it) for Danny's children someday (maybe)? That was the first year we took him out to ring doorbells, and probably the costume I remember best.
 That was the year Danny wanted to be a Rainbow Trout. I made the costume from posterboard overlaid with pink, green, and silver cellophane. What better place to take him for photos than the aquarium?
That was the best costume I ever made. Danny's personal favourite was the combine.
As Woody Woodpecker. We took him to the comic book store for photos.
This vintage Creature From the Black Lagoon costume was great, but it was my crochet hat everyone kept asking about. And, no, you can't have it.

Danny isn't interested in dressing up this year. I knew it would happen eventually. He's too old for trick-or-treating, and too young to go out to parties, so the holiday isn't as much fun. Hopefully I can convince him to wear something fun just to open our door and give out candy. I'll be dressing up but every day is Halloween in my world.

Are you going to be doing a costume this year?