Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Just thought I would take a quick break from Halloween party prep to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Every year we have fun putting out decorations, and passing out treats, and enjoying an appetizer buffet with friends.  Here are some of my past Halloween links if you need any last minute Halloween ideas.

Every year I make a crockpot full of hot mulled cider, and serve it with whipped cream and caramel syrup!


Last year I made bacon wrapped tater tots for the first time, and they were a hit, they are definitely on the menu for tonight!

A few years ago we took a fall country drive to a Pioneer Cemetery, I am hoping to explore some of the other pioneer cemeteries nearby, a very interesting way to explore history!

One year I made these fun and easy Halloween favor bags to pass out to our guests.

This year I had fun taking pictures of all our Halloween decor, and sharing all of our favorite Halloween Children's Books.

I also had fun this October making a new Halloween Banner for the fireplace.

I am looking forward to tonight's festivities, the candy bowls are full of goodies, costumes have been planned, and the kitchen smells delicious!  I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

Friday, October 25, 2013

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales #49 - Lichka

The fall weather has really got me in the crafty mood, and I was able to spend a good part of the day working on my needle felting.  I still have a few more fairy tales to go in my 52 Weeks of Fairy Tale series, and I have been eager to needle felt the doll for this next story.  The tale I chose for week 49 is another story from The Fish Bride and Other Gypsy Tales, retold by Jean Russel Larson, called Lichka. 

The story begins in the cold winter with a young girl named Lichka who is all alone in her small cottage.  Her brother has gone off to military service, and the snow has piled all around her cottage, making it impossible for her to go into town for more food.  The only food she has left is a cabbage, two onions, and three potatoes.

One evening Lichka sat down by her peat fire to cook her cabbage, and work on sewing a new cloak, since her old cloak is full of holes.  Then Lichka heard three knocks at her door, when she opened the door, there stood an old women leaning on a walking stick, cold and drenched.  The old gypsy woman asked Lichka if she had anything that would comfort her on this cold and windy evening.  Lichka welcomed the old woman inside by the fire and offered her the cabbage.  The old woman ate all of the cabbage, and when she was warm, she told Lichka that her kindness would be rewarded, and then left.

The next evening the storm continued, and Lichka cooked her two onions, and sat by her fire to continue working on her cloak.  Again three knocks came at the door, and again it was the old woman, freezing cold and wet.  The old woman asked Lichka if she had anything that would comfort her on this cold evening. Lichka invited the old woman to come in by the fire and offered her the onion soup.  The old woman ate all of the onion soup, not leaving a drop for Lichka. When she was warm, she told Lichka her kindness would be rewarded, and then she left.

The third evening, just before dark, Lichka finished her cloak, and set it aside. Then she cooked her three potatoes.  Again there were three knocks at the door, and again it was the old woman looking for comfort from the storm.  Lichka invited the old woman inside by the fire, and gave her the potato soup she had made. The old woman ate every drop, then walked over to the cloak and tried it on.  She told Lichka that the cloak would warm her on the road.  Lichka gladly gave her cloak to the old woman.  Before she could even say anything more to the old woman, the old woman left, leaving behind her walking stick.

The next evening, there was no food left, Lichka sat in her home, when again she heard three knocks on her door.  Thinking it was the old Gypsy woman, she opened the door.  Unfortunately, it was not the old woman. Standing at Lichka's door was a terrible three-headed monster!  Lichka tried shutting the door, but the monster pushed inside.  Terrified, Lichka grabbed the old woman's walking stick, which was by the door, and gave the monster a hard hit on the largest of his three heads!

In a flash, the monster disappeared, in its place was a horse and cart, and gold coins rained down on Lichka. Just like the Old Gypsy woman said, Lichka's kindness had been rewarded. From that day on Lichka lived in wealth and cheer.

I just loved this story!  What a wonderful story to teach kindness and giving, perfect as we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  As soon as I read this story I knew I wanted to needle felt the old woman in the cloak that Lichka gave her.  This was a fun project, and I was happy how it turned out.  

She is only a few inches tall, and her hair is a combination of light purple, gray and black put up in a bun. She is happily residing on the dining room bookcase.

I would highly recommend the book this story came from, The Fish Bride and Other Gypsy Tales retold by Jean Russel Larson, wonderful folk and fairy tales!  You can read more about it through my Amazon Affiliate Link below.

You can find all of my 52 Weeks of Fairy Tale Posts through the link below.

 photo StiltskinFairyTale197copy.jpg

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Garlic Planting and Fall in the Garden

We are having a beautiful fall.  The leaves have begun their autumn show with the most beautiful colors.  The sun was shining all last week, and it was the perfect weather to make progress on our fall garden projects.

Last week my garlic finally arrived in the mail, and I was eager to get it planted.  I saved some of the garlic from this year's harvest, I have no idea what variety it is, I bought a couple garlic plants a few years ago, and the label just said garlic, it has been growing very well for the past few years, and it tastes wonderful, so we got that planted.  I also ordered some new varieties this year, Killarney Red, which is supposed to do well in wet conditions, so I thought it might do well here in the Pacific NW, it is also supposed to be good for it's garlic scapes.  I ordered some Chesnok Red Garlic but they were out, so I was sent some Early Italian, it sounds like a nice garlic.  I also planted my first batch of Elephant Galric, each clove is huge!  I ended up having far more cloves than space to plant them, so they found their way into another raised bed, as well as some of my large pots.  I look forward to watching it all grow!

I wasn't able to plant the fall garden I wanted to, I had a mishap with my seedlings, and they were all seriously over heated, oops!  I probably could have started more, but I decided to wait and just get an early jump start in spring for the greens I want.  There are a few things still growing though, like my tiny plot of leeks, which seem to be doing pretty well.  They do take quite some time to grow, but I love leeks so it will be worth the wait!


The peppers are still producing and I hope to get a few more over the next week.  We got the rest of the garden beds all cleaned out, and harvested the last of our squash.  

The rest of the garden still needs some tidying and pruning, I let some of the birdseed millet grow, it looked so pretty, and the birds seemed to enjoy it, and now it has turned a pretty golden fall color.  I think it looks nice with the red barberries, and red holly berries peeking through, so I will give it another couple of weeks before we tidy it up for winter.  :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Boo Banner Tutorial

Yesterday, after a nice sunny fall day out in the garden, I was in the mood to do some crafting. So I decided to get out my paper crafting supplies and make a Halloween Banner.  This was a pretty fun and easy craft, so I thought I would do a quick tutorial.

1 sheet 12 x 12 Black cardstock
2 other sheets of 12 x 12 cardstock any color
black fine craft glitter
gel craft glue or glitter glue (preferably in a bottle with a small tip)
craft knife
single hole puncher
Mod Podge (Mat)
black watercolor paint
and printouts according to directions
orange craft string or yarn

Start by making your printouts and templates.  For the background paper, I made a photo copy of a page out of my old dictionary, then increased it by 125%, so the print would be bigger.  I printed out 5 sheets of the dictionary paper.

I found printable letters B here (print out one) and O here ( print out two) and a Martha Stewart Bat Template (print out two).  I printed them all out at 50% so they would be small enough to fit on the banner. Then I cut them out, and traced around them onto the black cardstock, and cut them out with a craft knife.

The banner pennants are 8 inches tall and 5 inches wide at the top, I traced them out onto cardstock and cut them out- you will need five.

Using the Mod Podge, glue down each pennant to the back of the dictionary paper, trim around the pennant, leaving about a quarter inch, which you will turn over and glue to the back, so you have 5 dictionary paper covered pennants.  Let them dry.

When the pennants are dry, get out your watercolor paints, and give them a very thin watery coat of black, to give them an aged and more newspapery look.  (see pictures below).  Then let them dry thoroughly.

When the watercolor wash has dried, cover entire pennant with a layer of Mod Podge, and adhere Black cardstock cutouts of the letters and bats, then give the whole pennant and cutout another layer of Mod Podge and let it dry thoroughly.

Then it's time for glitter.  Trace around the edges of the letters and bats with a fine line of gel craft glue or glitter glue. Sprinkle on fine black glitter, I used Martha Stewart Onyx Fine Glitter.  Then glue and glitter around the edges of the pennants.  (see pictures above)  Let the glitter dry overnight.

Using a single hole puncher, punch holes in the top of each pennants, one inch from each edge, and half an inch down.  String onto orange craft string or twine, or yarn.  I liked the orange string for the pop of color, and it matched my orange and black Halloween decor.  I love how it turned out!

Have fun crafting!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Baking Recipes Index

I love to bake, and have been baking since I was a child.  Over the past few years I have shared many baking recipes here on my blog.  Here are links to all of my baking recipe posts. Have fun baking! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Halloween Home and Halloween Reading Corner

As soon as October arrives, I am eager to get out all of my Halloween decorations, and transform our home for fall.  So last week I packed away our everyday decor for the rest of the year, and began decorating for Halloween.  Here's a little tour of some of our decorations.

For the past few years I have been collecting some of the Yankee Candle Boney Bunch Halloween decorations, we all especially love the Bonesy Dog candle holders.

Yankee Candle also had a Boney Bunch Train this year which was perfect for my living room under my Hiawatha train print.

My other favorite thing about Halloween season is getting out all of my favorite Halloween books. I started collecting our Halloween books when Sarah and Joe were little, of course they are older teens now, but that doesn't mean we don't like bringing out all of our old favorites, and setting them out in our special Halloween book basket.  I love the art in children's literature, and always have.  Every year I continue to add new children's books to our collection whenever a new one catches my eye.

To make a cozy Halloween reading corner, find an interesting basket for all of your Halloween books, ours is shaped slightly like a cauldron, add a Halloween doll or two, and set them on a faux sheepskin rug, which you can find at Ikea for around ten dollars.

These are some of my favorite Halloween children's books, along with my Amazon affiliate links. (All purchases through these links help support April's Homemaking Blog) Some great books to add to your Halloween reading corner!

Pumpkin Soup
Ghosts in the House!
Mommy? ( a pop-up book)

The Witch Next Door

Strega Nona's Harvest
Halloween Coloring Book (Novelty Coloring Book) Fun Vintage style simple coloring book!

And Lastly, the newest addition to my collection, a fun little story by Lemony Snicket.  I loved the illustrations, as well as the story, very fun!

The Dark

The public library is also a good source for fun Halloween books to enjoy during the holiday season.  What are your favorite Halloween Children's Books?

Thanks for stopping by!