Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween on Racine Avenue

Now, I live in a city, so trick-or-treating isn't as usual around here.  Besides, I'm not usually home when trick-or-treaters would be coming by, so last year I put together little bags of candy for the 5 kids in my building.
             This year I'm going to treat their parents as well (and maybe the kids not so much).  I'm going to give each apartment a little bag of the pumpkin fudge (kids probably won't like it) and some potato-chip and pecan cookies I made, frosted lovingly with maple frosting.  Mmmmmmmm.
            The cookies are made from a recipe I found in Real Simple a few years ago.  They're very yummy but also very crumbly.  If I ever want to make shapes with them again I'm going to experiment with using some egg to hopefully bind them together (any experimental bakers out there are welcome to make suggestions!)
           I've also put up a few decorations in my place - some black paper bugs on the windows (thanks Martha!).  I thought nobody would notice, but friends have confirmed they did notice them, even  though my place is on the 3rd floor.  I have a little funkin I carved in my family room - no big deal.  I also have a Halloween wreath on my front door, which gets a little better each year.  This year I supplemented it with a few of those window bugs.  And thanks to one of my neighbors (I don't know which one) I have some candy in my wreath as well.  Score!
            I'll leave you with one last Halloween cookie - he's a little messy, but he's my favorite.  A little Dracula, with blood on his hands, and on his fangs.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Pumpkin Party

After I got home from drawing class today, my friend Katie came over for some help (read: use of my sewing machine) putting together her Halloween costume.  She was making a red polka dot skirt for a Minnie Mouse costume and it's looking like it'll be a good costume.  I can't wait to see some pictures next weekend.
            After we were done sewing, we decided to do some baking.  I had a can of pumpkin puree left from last year and we figured we would make some pumpkin apple bread.  While that was in the oven for an hour, we got a little antsy and started a batch of pumpkin walnut fudge as well.  After some long discussion as to what the "soft ball stage" entails, we got it all figured out and ended up with a nice batch of fudge.
            I haven't cut into it yet, but everything from the testing spoon was wonderful.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting Sketchy

I've been taking a drawing class to help me put together a portfolio for architecture schools (and hopefully get a letter of recommendation from the teacher?).  It's a 10 week class and today we hit the halfway mark.
             It's been a good experience for me.  I haven't really drawn anything since high school, and then it was abstract stuff.  It's been really eye-opening to try to draw actual objects and go through the frustrations of not having them turn out the way I'd like.  It's also very different from the art I normally do; when I'm sewing, quilting, or needlepointing, I feel like I can see how it will turn out, but when I'm drawing it's like anything could happen.
           I've been enjoying it overall (aside from the fact that it's 3 hours every Sunday morning) and I think I have some good work to show for it.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces, including one I drew in this morning's class.

             This one is from the 3rd week, when we drew fruit with pastels.  I really enjoyed working with colors.
            This one is from this morning's class.  We were working with graphite, which is good because you can be more precise with a sharpened pencil, but I surprised myself by making all my lines and marks shaded instead of drawn.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

News from my back alley

            I normally wouldn't mention the goings-on in the alley behind my house, but lately it's been exciting to see this new, green house getting built rather quickly.  One day there was a hole.  A few days later, there were walls.  Now there is green siding, windows, and a garage that is well on its way to being green as well.  It probably doesn't sound that cool to someone who is not, well, me, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
            This summer, unfortunately, I never got around to planting flowers on my back deck.  However, the other day I noticed a late bloomer, apparently left over from last summer.  Good work, little calibrachoa!  I wish I had noticed you sooner, but you seem to have done pretty well on your own.
            This morning, I had a very fruitful trip to Target.  In case, dear reader, you are a Target visa-holder, as I am, you might know that they're changing their policy with regards to the 10% off shopping sprees that you get once you've earned enough points.  As of the end of this month or thereabouts, those will no longer be offered BUT every time you shop at Target with your card you get 5% off.  That seems like a more than decent trade-off to me.  However, I do enjoy my 10% off sprees, so today I packed up all my coupons and headed off for one last hurrah.  After spending an unnamed amount, my checker lady was very impressed with the $127 I saved from my Target 10% off coupon, their extra 5% off, and all of my manufacturer's coupons.  And I won't have to buy any bathroom/cleaning products or non-perishable foods for a good 6 months.
             I also found this little guy in the produce section.  I'm set with apples for at least a few weeks.  Beep Beep!

Monday, October 11, 2010

When my ears beheld a weary sight.

I had a little spook today.  At one of my lessons, the electricity flickered off and on at my student's house.  When it came back on, the stereo automatically turned on and started playing whatever was in the cd player.  My student and I didn't notice it, until we heard a spooky voice sing "I was working in the lab late on night . . . " and we realized the stereo's song of choice was Monster Mash.