Sweet Tombstones...and a BRUSH WITH MARTHA!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

First, here are the tombstones, or headstones, for Halloween. These were fun to make. I don't know if you can tell, but the flowers are supposed to be wilted like an old neglected grave.
I used AmeriColor Gourmet Writers (food coloring pens) to write the names.
....and here they are all bagged up and ready. My husband is taking some to his customers today. :)
OK....so a "brush with Martha." Really, it's not so much HER, but as close as I'll ever get. :) Do you read Martha's Everyday Food blog? It's called Dinner Tonight, and is one of the blogs in my google reader. Well, today they have a link to some of their "favorite creations" from a gallery of creepy treats submitted by readers.

Guess who had 2 cookies make the list....ME!!! This just makes my day! Is it sad that I had to get up and do a little "happy dance" when I saw them? Maybe...probably! :)

See if you can spot them. And, have a wonderfully sweet and spooky Halloween! BOO!

A Graveyard Smash

We now interrupt our feather frenzy (here, here, here, here, and here!) for a holiday special...

For the couple who loves Halloween, the holiday provides a wonderful opportunity to create a unique and personal event- whether it be a wedding or simply an elaborate holiday party.

Row 1: L to R- Hostess with the Mostess, The Martha Blog, Greg Bumatay via The Bride's Cafe
Row 2: Tori & Mark- Kelly Moore, Richard Israel Photography, Hannah Read-Baldrey via The City Sage
Row 3: Ben Chrisman, Melanie Favreau via Supermarket, Photogen Inc.
Row 4: Gemma Comas via Black Eiffel, Christopher Record Photography via Southern Weddings, The Knot


For all of those celebrating- Happy Halloween!!

For the Love of {Feathers}- Jewelry





And, if I had a million dollars...

For the Love of {Feathers}- Home

When I realized that my feather bit wasn't stopping because I had just a few more feather items to share, I decided some "For the Love of" posts were in order.

Roost Porcelain Ornaments- Velocity Art and Design


Gift Tags- Moth to a Flame Studio

Stay tuned for the remaining posts in this feather series!

Stuck A Feather In His Cap

While I don't imagine these pieces resemble the feather Yankee Doodle wore, these headbands from Etsy shops FeatherBrain and sewsephine are feathers I would happily don.

The fascinators and hairpieces I mentioned before were mostly ones that felt perfect for a special occasion, but these would work with a variety of outfits.






Dem Bones

The idea for these cookies came from the booklet, Martha Stewart Cookie Decorating (Simple Techniques For Extra-Special Treats). The link will get you to Amazon, but unfortunately, it is out-of-stock. My sister bought me this book last year from Michael's, but I haven't seen it there in a while. It's a great little 24-page book filled with ideas and instructions.
I always get nervous trying a new cookie idea, but every time I look at these, they make me laugh. I really like them. I used AmeriColor Avocado coloring for the skeletons and they ended up a ghostly green color, almost like glow-in-the-dark. I hadn't planned it that way, but it turned out pretty cool.Here's a question for all of you....sanding sugar or no? I started applying it like Martha suggests and then couldn't decide if I liked them better plain or not, so I did half and half. What do you think? I'm already planning for next year. :)
I'm mailing these...and some others...to my dad so he can hand them out at work. Stay tuned later in the week for tombstones!
To make the skeleton/coffin cookies:
  • Pipe a coffin shape in black icing, using a #2 tip. (Spectrum Super Black)
  • Thin black icing with water to a consistency of syrup. cover with a damp towel and let sit several minutes.
  • Run a rubber spatula through the icing to pop air bubbles that have formed on top. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.
  • Fill in the coffins with the thinned black flood icing.
  • Let dry at least 1 hour.
  • Using a #2 tip and light green icing, pipe a skeleton shape on the coffins. (AmeriColor Avocado)
  • Before this icing has set, use the black piping icing to make eyes and a mouth on the face.
  • If using sanding sugar, let the cookies dry overnight.
  • Mix a little meringue powder with water and brush on the skeleton shape using a small paintbrush.
  • Sprinkle with clear sanding sugar.

Birds of a Feather

Since I am on a bit of a feather kick (see here and here.) I wanted to create a board that highlighted the use of feathers in the attire and decor for a wedding, and the brown and black feathered shoes and hair piece in this board felt like perfect inspiration for a late fall or winter wedding.

Row 1: L to R- Ryan Phillips, Brittney & Mike- Jennifer Skog Photography, Stephanie James Couture
Row 2: Gentl & Hyers, Penn Carlson Photography via Southern Weddings, Janne Peters, Mi Belle Wedding Photography via The Bride's Cafe
Row 3: Country Living via Perfect Bound, Eryn & Scott- Mary Jane Photography, Stephanie James Couture
Row 4: Carrie Patterson Wedding Photography, Vanilla Bake Shop,
Sara France via Snippet & Ink

Completely Fascinated

A few years ago, I had a pair of heels that I loved. When I first spotted them, I fell head over heels (ha ha) and I knew they had to be mine. They were a little flashier than any of my other pairs, but I was in L-O-V-E.

E, however was not. He thought they were, well, hideous and weird. I slightly doubted my choice, but I tried to stay strong in my conviction that they were amazing.

Since I did love them, I wore them proudly, and it turned out, every time I wore them, compliments were inevitable. I have to admit that I gloated a little every time I received one (not everyone found my selection so horrible!)

I especially loved receiving a compliment when E was present. He knew I loved it too. He would laugh every time and say, "I never said other people wouldn't like them! I don't claim to always understand what women love."

Lately, I have been quite obsessed with hairpieces and fascinators, particularly of the feather and flower variety (well, perhaps I am just obsessed with feathers all-around these days.) I

think these would be fabulous to wear to a holiday party, but I have to wonder whether E would find these interesting or more along the lines of my very-loved shoes...



Miss Lola by oh my deer! (sadly, no longer available!)

Miss Erma by oh my deer! (also, sadly, no longer available!)


I would want to wear this piece by House of Telsa all the time!

(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

Two years ago today, on a sunny, Friday afternoon, my husband, E, and I married at the county courthouse. Only two days before had we decided we were going ahead with the plan (those who know us, know we can be slightly indecisive at times...) We were engaged, but a deployment to Afghanistan for E led us to want the wedding sooner than we'd originally planned.

I knew I wanted the dress, as well as a ceremony and reception to celebrate our marriage with our families and friends. For all of them, I wanted the big day to feel like the "real deal." But, for us, we wanted the courthouse too.


It wasn't fancy, but it was exactly the way we wanted the day to be- about us making an important commitment to each other. From the moment we stepped into the courtroom, I couldn't stop smiling, and looking at E, I saw my endless smile mirrored on his face.


Three days later, we drove to Kansas, where E had additional training for the three months prior to his deployment. We spent our "honeymoon" in a shady not quite five-star motel, because it allowed our two dogs to stay too, and we had no choice other than to laugh- a lot. After three days, the pups and I returned home alone.

It was difficult without a doubt (and it's certainly not an uncommon story in the military world,) but I wouldn't change a thing.


I felt then, as I still do, that I was luckiest girl in the world. I married my best friend (cheesy, I know.) We are silly together and laugh often. His intelligence never ceases to amaze me, and I love how his brain sees things differently than mine. E is supportive and encouraging of me in every possible way, and, after almost five years together, my stomach still flips when he gives me a sideways smile or wink.

My favorite photo from the day. It is a too dark, grainy and fuzzy, but I love it all the same.

We've now had both weddings- the courthouse and the chapel (after E returned home.) They were both incredibly special in their own ways, but I will forever celebrate the first one as the day we truly said, "I do."

Happy 2nd Anniversary, E. I can't wait to see what is ahead.

Church Bake Sale

Our parish has a fall festival every year and I just came back home from dropping off some goodies for the bake sale (and previewing all of the other good stuff being delivered). :) This is something we look forward to every year; one reason being that we get to eat some of the best tamales ever!
Although I really wanted to try out my new tombstone and coffin cookie cutters, I went with pumpkins. Maybe I'll get to those next week. :)

I tried a new flavor of cake ball....chai-spiced. While I wasn't crazy about them, my husband who "tested" 3 for breakfast yesterday loved them, as did my son, so I was over-ruled. I used vanilla almond bark instead of candy melts this time, so that may have been why I didn't like them as much.

For the cake balls, I used a white cake mix and substituted a strongly brewed chai tea for the water. I also used 3 eggs in place of the 3 egg whites called for on the package. The flavor was really subtle....I added a touch of cinnamon, ginger and cardamon to the batter as well and might even add more if I try them again.

The instructions for putting them all together are here. If you've never tried them before, I recommend starting with the Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls.
Last, but not least, Toffee Blondies!!! Now, these, I AM crazy about! They are super easy and really, really good! I used a bench scraper to cut them. (My dad gave me this one from Sur La Table; I love the ruler along the sides!) It make cutting brownies, blondies, etc. so easy.
Toffee Blondies
(adapted from Everyday Food)

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 c packed light brown sugar (I've used a combo of dark & light, too)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla (the first time I made these, I was out of vanilla...the horror!...so I used almond extract. I've made them that way ever since)
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 c flour
1 c toffee bits (this time I could only find the chocolate covered toffee bits, both taste great, but I think the plain ones make for prettier blondies.)

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom and side of an 8 inch square pan with foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.

Cream butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla and salt, scraping down sides.

Add the flour on low speed until combined. Stir in toffee bits.

Spread batter into prepared pan (an offset spatula helps). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.

Lift the blondies out of the pan using the foil overhang. Cut with a bench scraper or serrated knife.

Delicious!!!

Liquid Love....sugar cookie tea!

This isn't just any tea!!! It's Sugar Cookie Tea!!!
Does tea get any better than this?!? I tried it for the first time this morning....it does taste like a liquid sugar cookie. I'm thinking maybe I can drink this as my after dinner dessert? ;) I found mine at WalMart; I'm heading back today to stock up!

For the love of {Plaid}- Part 5

For now, here's one more look at Hatch's work (previously mentioned here and here.)

Perhaps it's because I've found myself a little infatuated with plaid (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4,) but I love Hatch's branding and design for their client, MacLean Winery.

Craig MacLean, the founder of the winery, wanted to reflect his Scottish heritage in his brand, and Hatch incorporated elements of his family crest and tartan into their concept for MacLean Winery.


Their wine, with its festive red plaid design, looks like something I would love to break open for the holidays!

Hatch Design

Here is another example of product design and branding by Hatch, and, once again, I am smitten with their work.


On their website, they had this to say about their branding concept for this client-

"The Michael Austin Winery was started by two long-time friends, whose middle names are "Michael" and "Austin." Rather than pretend Michael Austin actually exists, we invented stories about a character (loosely inspired by the two founders' lives) for each label. "Bad Habit" refers to how the two men met in a catholic high school, "High Flyer" because one of them flies small airplanes, etc."





While I love each label, I think my most favorite is "High Flyer." It probably has something to do with my first "to-do" listed here.

You can read the accompanying stories for each label on Hatch's website, and you should because they are quite entertaining.

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