November 23, 2010

First Snow Fall

 It's 8:45 am in Corvallis.  The temp. is 28 degrees, and the ground is covered in the season's first snow fall and a lot of ice on the road.  The bird feeders were extremely crowded this morning as everyone tried to get their fill of sunflower seeds and suet. 
 Walking out of my house and into the court yard

 As I was walking to work there were several puddles filled with leaves that had iced over with just the maple leaf stems sticking in the air
 Someone was out with their owner for an early morning walk
 Approaching work.  The Christmas lights were still twinkling in the snow
Looking inside the greenhouse.  It looks toasty and festive in there

November 22, 2010

Halloween Update

I updated my photos of my Peacock Costume from Halloween.  Check out my updated page of Easy (and Cheap) Halloween Peacock Costume

A sweater for Buster

 I spent my weekend working on an autumn sweater for my mom's chiuaua Buster.  My first attempt at a sweater turned out much too small for even a chiuaua. So this is my second sweater.  I embellished this one with a felt acorn and leaf. Through the process of knitting different sizes of sweaters I discovered that Cocoa puff is the same size as Buster, so I used him as my first model.  (He was not a fan).

He looks so cute.  I'm going to have to make him and Oreo Christmas sweaters before our family photo!

November 16, 2010


I'm already looking towards Christmas and have started my holiday crafts.  A few weekends ago my friend Amy was in town and we went to the fabric store to buy supplies to make our own stockings.  I accidentally bought enough fabric to make 32 stockings (not sure how that happened).  So I have lots of ideas of how to use the fabric.  So far I made eight stockings (four of each kind) and a matching tree skirt. It was hard to take a picture of the skirt but I will work on it.
This is what we ended up with...tons of fabric for both stockings and pajamas, 15 patterns, countless buttons and patches....and all we came in the store for was enough fabric to make 4 stockings. We got a little out of control.

But I made cute stockings to decorate the store fireplace (see my blog about my step by step guide on how to build a fireplace)

Close up of the chickadee detail

Step by step fireplace design

For the last two weeks I've been in overdrive at work getting ready for our first Holiday party this Saturday.  Last week I built a fireplace out of wire organizing cubes and foam board.  It took a lot of revisions but here is my step by step guide for making your own fireplace.

Step 1:  create the base
In our back stock area we had leftover wire cubes for organizing that you can purchase at Staples or any office store.  You could probably make it out of wood or foam core but the wire was perfect for stability and it was sturdy enough to hold the wood mantel piece up.

Step 2:  Fix up a Holiday background
The spot in the store where I wanted to put the mantel is covered in windows.  I wanted to create a home like atmosphere so I used a simple gift wrap with silver snowflakes on it that wasn't overwhelming but had enough Christmas feeling to it.

Step 3:  Fill in the fireplace background
I purchased 2 yards of black fabric and taped it to the inside of the cubes.

Step 4: Make the brick
Using left over foam board from a previous work project I cut each piece to fit around the cubes and attached the corners using gummed tape.  You can find it at the craft store with the water color supplies.  Its nice because one side is sticky like envelope sealer and the other side is paintable like paper.  (the foam boards were not tall enough to fit the wire structure so I cut out extra pieces at the bottom and attached them so they looked like there was extra depth of wood trim) Then I cut out various brick patterns and traced them onto the foam.  I painted in the mortar with gray paint and then painted the bricks mixing red, white and brown colors to make a more realistic brick pattern.

Step 5: add wood trim and a mantel
Using balsa wood I created a faux wood trim for the bottom of the fireplace legs.  For the mantel I thought of using the same material but real wood had a more substantial look, and I could find a piece of balsa wood that was long enough for the whole mantel.

To attach the mantel to the wire frame I was going to use double sided foam tape but it wasn't sturdy enough so I screwed in eye hooks used for hanging picture frames at the desired height to hid the wire frames (pictured above).  And then I zip tied it to the wire cubes (Below).

Step 6: Add a chimney and some stockings
To finish the display I added a Christmas tree, stockings (see my stocking post), a tree skirt and other home like decor to make this my best store display yet.


Harry Potter Madness 3

This is the 3rd and final installment of Harry Potter Party Pictures.  This post has everyone's amazing and clever costumes.  (notice that everyone is wearing the house badges)

 Yes, we did have Fantasia's Mickey Mouse wizard stop by.  It was a special treat.

 Megan and Rachel.  Rachel is a cute little owl.

 Hagrid and Norbert the dragon
 The Weasleys

 What's a Harry Potter without twister?

Just a couple of wizards hanging out with nearly headless Nick

 The Schmidt's working crew...Even our bosses came as Muggles

The Elvis clock was even dress for the occasion

November 10, 2010

Harry Potter Madness 2

This is the second of three posts recaping the Harry Potter party I hosted this past weekend.  Today's post will be about the Harry Potter menu. 

Lets start with the drinks:

Butterbeer- 1 liter of rootbeer soda
                   1 quart heavy cream
                   1 bottle butterscotch schnapps (or 1 container of butterscotch
                   topping for non 21ers)

Serve warm.  A crockpot works great.
(Everyone loved this recipe.  I found a few recipes online and I altered them to come up with this one and it was delicious.)

Witch's Brew- 1 gallon apple cider
                       1 1/2 cup orange juice
                       1/4 cup lemon juice
                        1/2 cup brown sugar
                       1/2 tub caramel
                       2-3 cinnamon sticks
Stick in a crockpot on low.  This is a friend's recipe and we have been serving it at all our holiday party's since we discovered it.

Swamp Punch-  1 tub sorbert (lime is a good color and flavor but
                         if you can't find it use rainbow sorbet)
                         1 liter lemon lime soda


Troll droppings (stuffed artichoke mushrooms)

Devil's eyes (deviled eggs with olive eyes)

Witch fingers and squash dip (pilsbury breadsticks with almond finger nail and dip served in a carved out pumpkin)

Bandaged toes (weenies wrapped in pilsbury cresent roll).  These were so popular they were gone before I could take a picture.  This one is from Women's Day magazine.

Spiderweb nacho platter (put sour cream in a plastic bag, snip a small hole in the tip and create a spider web pattern.)


Pumpkin pasties (they taste like mini pumpkin pies)

Here I'm making Chocolate frogs with a peanut butter center

This is what I imagine the Harry Potter Chocolate frogs look like

Fossiled cookies.  ( once you roll out each cookie on a baking sheet use your choice of critters to imprint them on the center of the cookie)

I also served Hagrid's coffee cake (mini zucchini muffins) and a Bloody Body Parts candy platter my mom found at the Halloween supply store
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