Tuesday, October 25, 2022

I Can't Hardly Wait 'Till Halloween


I think the orange knows something about the big eyed cat, but is too shy to say. I didn't purchase either.

You know how much I love Halloween. Yes, it is mostly a USA thing but as our culture goes it is one of the better things we're responsible for exporting-just ask anyone that we've brought, "Democracy" to. And yes, I'm fully aware we stole it from the Irish, went completely overboard with it, and claimed it as our own. Just look at what we did to St. Patrick's Day!

We're starting to absorb Day of the Dead from Mexico as well, though I don't know anyone that's camping out all night in the graveyard having a picnic with their departed loved ones. We've somewhat picked and chosen the easy parts to appropriate, and carry on treating our southern neighbours abominably. *Steps down off of soapbox*.

Yep, I do love Halloween. Something about mischief and free candy that just appeals. No pumpkin spice for me as I'm allergic to cloves, but I make a rather delicious roasted pumpkin with olive oil and garlic.

Was tempted by these as well, but left them at the Thrift World for someone else. The bat wreath is oh so cute. We had a bat in the house once. That was less cute.

Who remembers this from 2014? Poor thing found their way to Dan's bedroom . We caught and released them, but it took a while.

 "Hey, let me out of...wow, I smell strawberry jam"

Anyway, I prefer my bats to be of the decoration sort. Another use for a canning jar I hadn't anticipated.

Well THAT'S scary! I definitely didn't purchase that. *Shudders*.  Am I the only one that reads that as threatening? Maybe I'm projecting.

Anyone hungry? I had a bit of roast lamb leg to use up and as the weather suddenly turned cold, soup sounded nice. This is literally just the ends of things I had sitting around-handful of chopped spinach, a few yellow potatoes. mushrooms, carrots, stock. I stretched that lamb into several meals, which is my favourite way to cook. Well, no-my very favourite way to cook would be not at all, but if I must cook, I prefer to stretch things as far as they will go. 

I made the same diabetic-friendly Christmas cake as last year as it turned out so well. There's only a cup total of raisins and sultanas, orange zest rather than candied peel, and quite a lot of hazelnuts and pecans. The wholemeal flour does make it a bit sturdy, but after a couple months of feeding it with whisky, it will be like any other cake. There's a couple cups of grated carrots in there as well, which work better than expected. Dan calls it, "Cake flavoured Christmas Booze". Anyway, that's done and I can check one more thing off my to-do list. 

That was the lamb on the second night. There's wild and brown rice with lentils, and a cucumber/celery salad with a paprika dressing. The lamb lost the pink in re-heating, but was cooked to medium rare. Lamb gets unpleasant if you over-cook it. 

Sweet and sour cabbage rolls topped with yellow sweet peppers and mushrooms. The sweet is raisins, the sour lemon juice. You're probably wondering if I had a big cabbage to use...

Admittedly, he has a pretty big head. It was something like 8 lbs. It weighed more than Dan did as a baby.

Here's my smaller head for scale. 

You want I should cook you a cabbage? 

Whoops, sorry, channeling my grandmother there.

This silk 80s dress is a delight to wear, but difficult to photograph! The colours are brighter in person.


I miss all the beautiful silk dresses of the 80s. Everything is made from shitty synthetics now that aren't even easy care. Seems to me if we're going to continue polluting the planet with fast fashion at the very least it shouldn't require toxic chemicals from the dry cleaner to care for it. Grab those 80s dresses when you see them.

It got cold! Properly cold. Need my velvet coat cold. I feel like I should have a following photo where I open the coat to display hundreds of watches. Maybe next time. This coat has been with me since the 90s. There's a silver satin lining that's just so beautiful. 

You've seen everything else, year after year.

This is the sad tale of a handbag that matched my outfit perfectly, but was too small to hold anything! I use it as a purse within larger bags so I don't need to fumble for things, but no one really gets to see it.

Ugh, so good. So small.

I love my Betsey Johnson bags (I think I have about five).

The interior is decorated as well. 

Instead, the Oroton bag had to do. I don't use it much. No reason really.

It retailed for around $500.USD new. It was unused when I bought it in the thrift store. I'll never understand buying something like that, not using it, and then donating it. I feel like I'm expected to say something like, "I don't begrudge the rich their money", but...

Never get tired of a Gritty meme. Moving along...

Psst! Yes you. I'm still coming for your means of production

But in the meantime, I'll settle for your expensive clothes.

90s Scott McClintock skirt

Vintage chenille sweater that likely once had shoulder pads by Sabri Ozel , made in Turkey. I wasn't going to buy it, but thought better of it because I was cold! It is a very warm sweater. 

Also bought this 80s sweater dress on a day when I was cold. Maybe I should dress warmer to go shopping? 

We had a 16 degree F night last week. That's -8 C and that's not typical  Nebraska autumn temperatures. Tomorrow will be 85 degrees F (29 C). That's not typical either. I bundled up-there's no way I was going to run the heat for just me at home during the day. My bedroom faces North and got down to 52 degrees, which was cold, but not impossibly so under wool blankets, quilts, and flannel sheets. We have central heating, a luxury we didn't have on the farm (the upstairs at the old house didn't have heat at all) but it isn't so easy to control room by room. Dan's room faces south and gets afternoon sun, and is over the kitchen so his room stayed a balmy 64 overnight. It will be a long winter, might as well get used to being a bit cold now. I'm slowly turning into my grandmother and drinking what's essentially hot water with an exhausted tea bag swished through it, or a squeeze of lemon. I haven't put a pat of butter in there yet, but check in with me again in January.

I took advantage of that very cold morning to steam my Christmas puddings  and bake the regular (non-diabetic) Christmas cake. 

Granny Mar is long gone, but her Christmas Pudding recipe lives on. These days I make it with vegetarian suet rather than butter, but it always comes up perfect.

I use my giant canner to steam puddings as it has a rack and accommodates both puddings. Probably one of the best kitchen investments I ever made. It can be used as a pressure cooker as well.

There's a peek at the cake about to go in the oven. It is a gigantic cake that gets eaten all through the season. Definitely a cake to be shared with anyone that you'd serve cake to. 

We have neighbours that moved in next door at the height of Omicron, and we haven't been able to have them over yet. With our strange weather though, there's undoubtedly going to be warm days in December when I can entertain on the patio with mulled wine and cake. We're of similar political and social minds going by their bumper stickers on the car and political signs in the front garden, so I really would like to be able to have them over, even if I can't have anyone inside. I still wear my mask everywhere, as do Dan and his dad. I still managed to catch something the latter brought home from work, that was neither covid nor flu. It started with the stomach and ended respiratory. Intense, but short lived it was the very definition of, "Flu-like symptoms." There's quite a lot of that sort of thing going around. Anyway, consider this a gentle reminder to keep washing your hands as a mask won't protect you from everything. 

Notes in the margins aren't etched in stone. I change the fruit up every year-just keep the proportions the same. This year I had dried pineapple, so in it went. Citron is hard to come by these days, as is angelica so I tend to improvise with things like dried apricots. They look pretty in the cake. I used to make glaceed apricots, but don't bother anymore-it isn't noticeable in the cake.

That was years ago, but they were so pretty.
They make nice gifts if you need something to bring to a party. They're simple too. Lightly steam the apricots, then glacee until clear looking in a sugar syrup of  2 parts sugar to 1 part water. You can even leave them soaking in the syrup as it cools and then drain and dry them. This works for just about any fruit so pineapple slices from a tin? Yep. Drained maraschino cherries? Absolutely. Save your syrup in the fridge and use it to sweeten drinks, pour on oats, etc.


For pineapple, just cook them in the heavy syrup they were packed in. Economical!

When we still thought Dan had a nut allergy (mis-diagnosis) I had to make all the candied fruit myself as the store bought type had nut contamination warnings. I'm glad that turned out to be wrong, but I'm still mad at myself for not switching his allergist sooner. I never liked her, and felt unsure about the diagnosis, (asthma turned out to be a mis-diagnosis as well) but she'd get angry and belittling when we asked questions. I finally had enough after almost ten years of her and Dan's new allergist ran some tests, did a food challenge and well, here we are. He can't get back the childhood activities he missed, and I can't get back cooking 100% of his meals at home, or packing food to carry with for outside the home, but I can skip making candied fruit. If anyone needs nut-free recipes, give me a shout-I have ALL the secrets to faking the classics. 


I've had this dress since the 90s. I'll never get rid of it. It came from Dots, the store where everything was $10.00.

Fast fashion used to be a lot better made. I still have so many pieces from Dots.

Autumn accessories.

Sweater skirt by defunct brand Coldwater Creek. I always grab their pieces when I see them in the thrifts because they're so well made. There was no way they could survive the era of fast fashion. Clothes that fall into the space between expensive and luxury are sort of doomed at this point. I'm not sure how Talbot's does it.

Dressed like my grandmother to head outside. I DO have a clear plastic shopping bag with a groovy floral design on it, but I keep it in the car. Haven't splashed out for a wheeled folding cart yet, but that's likely coming as well.

Cute little brooch that gets overlooked in favour of flashier pieces.
Heritage brand. Note the size 12 in the bottom corner. That's a vintage 12, more like a 2-4 today. Another reason to bring a tape measure with when you shop. Sizes don't mean much.

Close-up of the skirt. It is heavy! I should have photographed the reverse to show how well made it is.

Coat label. Shagmoor. Ha ha.

60s Union label

Pretty coat, and it fits easily over a bulky sweater or blazer. A navy overcoat is always going to be a useful wardrobe piece. 

The long leather coat had a first wear of the season. I remember being reluctant to purchase it as it was twenty dollars and smelled of moth balls. The smell has long since gone, and the price today seems like an absolute bargain. I rarely see leather jackets in good condition selling for under fifty dollars in thrifts. Inflation is even hitting the Goodwill. 

Paloma Picasso bags are having a moment again as well. Must be the 80s/90s nostalgia. It is a nice bag but I wouldn't pay hundreds of dollars for a vintage bag. When I bought mine circa 2015 they were going for about $5.

Not the most exciting dress I own (well, it is a wrap dress, so there's always the potential for excitement should it come undone) but a good starting layer.

I'm deliberately wearing this dress backwards. The open back was situated in just such a way that all it showed was my bony, crooked spine poking through. In colder weather I can put a thin shirt beneath it to correct that, but it also works in reverse. I like items that can be worn multiple ways.
Maybe someone with a good eye would spot that I'm wearing it incorrectly, but I couldn't and what the hell, I dress for myself!

Those clunky shoes are getting loads of wear.

The vintage velvet jacket is Ogee by Rizkallah (a designer at Malcolm Starr). One of my better designer vintage pieces, and no, it isn't going to be sold while I have anything to say about it. 

Sorry about the sideways shot. The carpet bag is made by Dova, the more expensive line from Dover Handbags. They were in business until the mid-80s.

The ultimate autumn handbag.

Finally, I'll leave you with a peek at Dan's old Halloween pin he named, "Boo" (because he was little and that's the sort of thing small children do). 

In the run-up to Halloween, I would sing him made up songs about how I "Can't hardly wait 'till Halloweeeeeeeeeen" I'll spare you my singing but you do get to hear my amusing Chicago accent in the video.

If I don't see you before then, Happy Halloween!