Monday, October 31, 2011

happy hallowe'en!


I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It always seems to go by much too fast, doesn't it? Although I am not planning anything too special today, I thought it might be fun to post a list of a few fun Hallowe'en movies I like. I am thinking of putting on a few of these tonight and maybe get some knitting in. Perhaps make a batch of caramel corn for a little Hallowe'en treat!



One of my all time favorite movies to watch growing up was Arsenic and Old Lace. We used to show it to our friends on Halloween. I could watch this movie over and over again and not get tired of it. Of course, a movie with Cary Grant in it really doesn't need much explanation. I'll just leave it at that. ;)


The next one I always like to watch is The Great Pumpkin! I'm sure you've all seen this one before, but I just love Charlie Brown. It makes me so nostalgic. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now! You can see it on Hulu for a limited time.


Another one, that isn't quite Hallowe'en related, but we still considered this a Hallowe'en movie growing up, is Meet Me in St Louis. It is one of those movies you can watch for Hallowe'en and then again around Christmas. There is a fabulous Hallowe'en scene in the movie that always gets me in the mood. It's just a really classic movie. Starring Judy Garland. I just can't get enough of her and yes, I totally sing along to all of the songs! (The Boy Next Door is my favorite!)


You'll Find Out is a silly one and not a very well made movie, but I got it years ago for a party I threw and it worked out to be a pretty good flick. It stars Helen Parrish, who I love. She's not very well known today, but you may know of her if you've seen many Deanna Durbin films. The movie also has Kay Kyser and his band along with Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Here's the trailer if you are interested in checking it out.


The Invisible Woman I happened upon a few years ago and I'm so glad I did! It stars Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore and John Howard. I don't think this movie is well known and I'm not even sure that it's on DVD, but it's really a delightful little film. It's about a scientist (John Barrymore) who discovers a way to become invisible. John Howard is a rich playboy who is helping finance the scientist, but is starting to lose hope since his "mad scientist" friend hasn't come up with anything yet and he is losing money. Well, finally Barrymore thinks he really has discovered a way to become invisible and puts an ad in the paper to see if anyone is willing to test out his formula. Virginia Bruce is a model at a local department store and is sick of her mean boss Mr. Growley and wants to get even with him. So she responds to the ad and decides she could get even with Growley if only she became invisible. The plot isn't all that wonderful, but it's fun and of course there is romance between Bruce and Howard! There's also some gangsters involved in the plot who are sent to steal the formula, which make for some silly slapstick scenes. And you may also notice Margaret Hamilton, who played the witch in The Wizard of Oz! Do try to find this one and watch it. You won't regret it.


The Uninvited is the last one I'll write about here, though I admit it is one I haven't seen in a long time, so I won't say much about it. I do remember it being pretty scary and very well made. Plus it stars Ray Milland, and you pretty much can't go wrong with him! Do check this one out if you can. And be sure to make some popcorn and grab your favorite snugly blanket (or in my case a snugly Jed)!

There are probably many more Hallowe'en flicks out there, but these are some of my favorite. I also enjoy some of the Abbott and Costello films (Hold That Ghost, The Time of Their Lives, and Meet Frankenstein are a few favorites) and there's also some fun spooky movies starring Paulette Goddard (The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers) that you'll have to check out as well.

I hope these have inspired you to watch some old classic Hallowe'en films this year! And for those of you who need a last minute snack, here's a really easy recipe for Caramel Corn found in The Tightwad Gazette (Mom used to subscribe to it!).

Easy Homemade Caramel Corn

3/4 cups brown sugar (use white if you plan to use molasses in place of corn syrup)
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. corn syrup (I used honey, though it gives it a distinct honey flavor if you do this - I bet molasses would work really well! edit: just made it and molasses works wonderfully!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. vanilla
8 cups popped popcorn

Combine first four ingredients over low heat until butter is melted. Cook without stirring three minutes. Add baking soda and vanilla. Pour onto popcorn and mix until coated. Spread onto greased cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes at 300. Let it cool for a bit before digging in!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

pattern drafting

pattern drafting.
pattern drafting.
pattern drafting.
pattern drafting.

I've been doing a lot of pattern drafting lately. I thought it would be good to get back to the basics and make some new slopers (pattern blocks). And since the last bodice sloper I made I lost somewhere I decided to sit down and just draft a whole new one. I have been using Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin, published in 1942, for most of my drafting (along with a few other books). Although it is pretty old, it has such wonderful timeless information in it. I absolutely adore this book! I don't own it, but found out that Jed's university library carries it so I had him pick it up for me. But I also found this PDF download online for those who don't have access to the book. I highly recommend it if you are just learning or would like to learn how to draft patterns.

Having a well fitted sloper that fits your body measurements really is a good thing to have even if you don't ever plan to make your own patterns. I found this incredibly helpful tutorial on how to use your sloper to grade a pattern to your size. I tried it on a vintage pattern I have and it looks like it will work perfectly, just haven't had the time to make the dress yet! Taking your time to make the pattern fit before cutting out your garment will save you a lot of time in the long run, not to mention some hair pulling. ;) If there is anything I've learned from years of sewing it's that it never pays to rush or cut corners. And I might also suggest that if you do end up making a sloper, take your time with it. Test it over and over until you are truly happy with the fit. I ended up cutting out two or three sleeves until later realizing that the first sleeve actually fit, it's just that I didn't take the time at the start to cut it out and slowly assemble it.

In other sewing news, I am working on a new pattern for a few new garments for the shop. Yes, I am planning to open the shop soon! I thought it might be good to take a wee little break to work on pattern making for awhile. But stay tuned for an upcoming shop update!

{P.S. Another super pattern drafting book you might check out is "Make Your Own Patterns" by René Bergh. It's a little outdated (published in 1995) but still very helpful and gives clear instructions for drafting your own patterns.}

Monday, October 24, 2011

better homes & garden sewing book

better homes & garden sewing book
better homes & garden sewing book
better homes & garden sewing book
better homes & garden sewing book

I've been looking through my 1961 Better Homes & Garden Sewing Book a lot lately and finding some really fun illustrations throughout the book. Not to mention a lot of great sewing tips! I was lucky to find a copy at a thrift store for almost nothing. I like these old sewing manuals so much better than the modern ones. I find they have a lot more helpful, not to mention fun, descriptions in them. What are some of your favorite sewing manuals?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

sunday morning breakfast.

sunday morning.
sunday morning.
sunday morning.
I don't know about you, but there is nothing like a weekend breakfast. I sometimes make something special for the end of the week (or beginning, however you look at it). It's especially comforting now that the seasons are changing and it's getting colder every day. Little things like baking more often or maybe just making another cup of coffee or tea is just what I need on a cold autumn day.

Someone asked for the recipe in the comments, so I'm adding it here. It's from my 1969 Better Homes & Garden Cookbook. However, I have another really really good cinnamon roll recipe, but will save that for a later date. Enjoy!

::RAISIN-CINNAMON ROLLS
Makes 16 rolls

Basic Roll Dough (1/2 recipe)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup raisins

On lightly floured surface roll 1/2 recipe Basic Roll Dough to 16x8-inch rectangle.

Mix sugar and cinnamon; add butter. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with raisins. Roll as for jelly roll, starting with long edge; seal. Cut in 1-inch slices. Place, cut side down, in greased 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Cover; let rise in warm place till double, to 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated moderate oven (375 degrees F) for 20 minutes. Remove from pan. Frost with Confectioners’ Icing, if desired.

::CONFECTIONERS' ICING
Add light cream (I used 1% milk) to 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar for spreading consistency. Add dash salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

::BASIC ROLL DOUGH
Makes 2 to 3 dozen rolls

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided use
I package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

In mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast.

Heat milk, sugar, shortening, and salt together just till warm (115-120 degrees), stirring constantly till shortening almost melts. Add to dry mixture; add egg. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping bowl. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Shape into ball.

Place in lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place till double, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down; turn out on floured surface. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Shape into desired rolls. Place on greased baking sheets or in greased muffin pans. Cover; let rise in warm place till double, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees F) for 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

weekend in iowa.

hanging out at the mall!
hanging out at the mall!
hanging out at the mall!
hanging out at the mall!
hanging out at the mall!
Last weekend Jed and I took the Greyhound bus headed towards Iowa City to hang out with Jed's family and celebrate Moriah's 21st birthday. We had such a lovely time in Iowa! And I must say it was really an easy and pleasant drive taking the bus. I was expecting all kinds of discomfort on the bus, but it was not bad at all. Plus we got super cheap tickets, like the cost of a tank of gas cheap! And that included two round trip tickets. I think we will be taking the bus again, that's for sure!

During the weekend, while Jed was off playing paintball, I met up with the lovely Jenny of Wiksten fame! We met once before when I lived in South Amana but we both haven't gotten around to posting pictures from that visit yet. That will happen in time, I'm sure. Anyway, we met at the mall (yeah, totally!) and walked around for hours talking. It was exactly what I needed to get my working groove back on! I have been in a bit of a slump where work is concerned lately. Just haven't had the energy to work on much. But Jenny gave me some great ideas and now I'm bursting to get back to being creative! She's such a down to earth fun person to talk with. It's nice to be able to meet and relate to others in the same field of work. And especially fun to meet bloggers you've been following for years. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to get to know Jenny. She's a true inspiration!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

rag curls!

rag curls
rag curls
rag curls
rag curls
{first two pictures before brushing/styling hair, last two pictures after styling and make-up. pardon the messy bedroom in the last picture!}

Last night I decided to attempt doing my hair up in rag curls. This is one method of curling I have not tried before. It turned out to be super easy and incredibly comfortable to sleep on. You kind of look ridiculous, but that is no big deal. I made myself look even more ridiculous by putting a hairnet on over the curls so they would stay in place better. Anyway, I didn't get a picture before taking the rags out, but you can see a great tutorial on how to do it over at Vixen Vintage. I did find, however, that 7" long rags work better for longer hair. The 5" length strips were almost too short. I think I used somewhere around 16 rags. Also, I have really thick hair, so I like to use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz my hair rather than dunking my head under water. :) Otherwise my hair will not dry in the morning and I hate it when that happens!

After I woke up, I left my hair in the rags a bit longer since I wanted to make absolutely sure the curls were totally dry before taking them out. You can always tie a pretty ribbon around your curls to keep them out of the way while you get breakfast! When styling my hair, I like to use just a tiny bit of argan oil rubbed between the palms of my hands. I first work it into the ends of my hair and then continue up to the top of my head, smoothing out any frizzies. It has worked really wonderfully ever since I discovered it last spring. Then I brush the curls out and away from my face, using my other hand to smooth out the hair while brushing. If you like, you can add a few bobby-pins to keep your hair out of the way.

I'm excited to see what my hair will look like tomorrow!

Note about my hairbrush: I use this brush by Sonia Kashuk and although I have never used the Mason Pearson brush before and can't say how good it is, Sonia's brush is amazing on my hair. Every now and then I will clean it by immersing it in a glass of warm water/baking soda solution and let it soak overnight. In the morning, just rinse it off with water and it's sparkly clean! I've had this brush for about two years now and can definitely recommend it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

making bagels.

a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.
a bagel making day.

I've made bagels once before, so I kind of knew what I was doing this round. I can't remember which recipe I used the first time I made them, so I consulted my "How to Cook Everything" cookbook by Mark Bittman and sure enough, he had a recipe. I'm not super in love with how they turned out, but they are still good! I think I should have let them rise 12 hours instead of only 2. I'm sure they would have been more flavorful. Also, this time I made a cinnamon, sugar topping (1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. white and 2 tsp. cinnamon), which is probably quite bad for you and also a bit messy! But they were really yummy with the added sugar. Next time I'm going to try making cinnamon raisin bagels. I also don't have a food processor, so I just mixed and kneaded the dough by hand. Hope some of you give bagel making a try! It's quite a bit of fun, especially forming the bagels (which I obviously haven't quite mastered yet)!

More pictures from this set found on my flickr.

By the way, if you don't have Mark Bittman's cookbook, I found his bagel recipe here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

corners of my home.

corners of my home
corners of my home
corners of my home
corners of my home
corners of my home
corners of my home
corners of my home
We aren't completely situated here yet, but we are working on it! A few little corners of the house, though not perfect by any means. It's good for now. Hope you all are enjoying this autumn day. xo