It Hat to Be You, Tale of a Witch Hat

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finished hat 2

Tall witch hat. Makes tall witches look like giants and makes short witches look like…well, like short witches in tall hats.

This was an easy project. Just took a few short hours. During those hours I also had time to bake a cake, make dinner and plot evil plots.

What you will need:

1 cheap witch hat (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart)

Duct tape (If you have black duct tape great, if not the silver will work just as well)

1 paper towel tube

Black fabric

Glue (if you have glue that is recommended for use on fabric great, I used glue that wasn’t recommended for fabric but it worked out just fine)

Something to stuff hat to help hold shape. I used doll batting but newspaper will work also.

Begin by stuffing the hat with batting to give it an upright shape then tape the hat brim to strengthen it. Inside and out. I gently taped half way up the inside: pushing the batting up out of my way as I went. Cut the tape into little pieces at first to give yourself more control. Now you are ready to tape the outside of the hat. Again be gentle and just little pieces. Go higher and higher. Once you pass the tip of the hat begin using long strips place the lengthwise (us and down) until you reach your desired height.

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Now we need to strengthen and build up layers. Take your cardboard tube. Choose an end for your bottom, cut several 1 inch slits all the way around making ‘flaps’. Push the flaps outwards now lower the tube down the hat. At this point you will have some empty space between hat and inside of tube. Stuff it with something. I used a plastic shopping bag. It’s what was handy.

Using tape again just start wrapping until your hats feels sturdy and has the height you want. You may have to mash and torture the high end of the tube. If not you will end up with a penis shaped hat.

Ready for some fabric

Ready for some fabric

Cut a notch in the end of your black fabric about 4 inches from the side. Rip until you get to the end. 4 inches is just a guess at size I used. I eyeballed it. You can vary the width on the next few strips you rip. Now just glue the crap out of the hat and fabric. I started with the cone first and finished with the brim. Don’t be shy with the glue.

Start at the base and work up

Start at the base and work up

hat 4

hat 2

I’m using my hat as a prop and not for a costume. I feared it might be to top heavy and keep falling over. To fix that problem before I started I glued several rocks inside the hat at the base of the cone, I covered it with fabric also.

finished hat 1

I loved how this turned out. It was wickedly easy and fun!

finished hat 3

Signs of the Apocalypse

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Last September I stumbled upon this darling spooky Pin. It was a wood post with direction signs to scary locations. I knew I could do this, I just needed a little help from my man.

Halloween Sign from Pinterest:

Halloween sign from Pinterest

Halloween sign from Pinterest

Link to Halloween sign Pin

When will I learn? I have had a few pins go bad over the years, the worst were the ones my husband had a hand in.
Remember the pin where someone dug a little trench along their flowerbeds, lined it with landscape rubber runners then filled the trench with white rock? It looked really good. I showed the picture to my hubby then I began to explain what we needed to do along with the supplies we needed. He put his hand up to shush me, “I got this,” he assured me.
It turned out so bad I didn’t even take a picture of it. I lived for weeks with fear that the landlords would see it and ask us to move. Thankfully it is now covered in grass, all evidence gone…for now.

With the spooky sign I was determined to keep control. Get the wood I needed, along with some paint and stencils for the lettering. Within five minutes of entering Lowes I lost that control. I know where I went wrong, oh if only I could go back in time to warn my delusional self.

I lost control the minute I opened my mouth and asked, “What size boards do you think we need?” What my husband heard was, “please take over this project and dazzle me with your manly awesomeness”.

I wanted to get a small can of paint, we got spray paint. The wood for the sign the hubby decided we would use some fence wood left over from another gone wrong project. The lettering? No stencils for me just black sharpie and bad handwriting.

Let me share with you all the problems with this Pin.
Problem one: well, letting him run the show, obviously.
Problem two: the wood just soaked up the spray paint. I lost count of the cans we used.
Problem three: we couldn’t agree over the destination names. eventually I did win that battle. Bless my evil heart.
Problem four: Sharpie. That’s all I’m saying.
Problem five: see number one
Problem six: coating the sign with a clear sealant. I wanted to do several layers to make this thing last. After all that work I didn’t want the first rain to ruin everything. We did one coat.
Problem seven: I suggested cutting the bottom of the post into a point so we could drive it into the ground. Again I refer you to problem number one.

The hubby could only drive the sign into the ground so far because…wait for it…no pointy end. So every gust of wind knock the damn thing over. All in all it did turn out decent but nowhere near what I envisioned.

wood

Our Halloween sign

Our Halloween sign

 

 

Did I learn my lesson? Yes.
Will crap like this happen again? Sadly yes.
Will I one night smother him in his sleep? No because I need someone to kill spiders and other bugs that invade my space.
Do I love this man? Yes, with all my dead heart. That is why I will still involve him in my projects, he’s my best friend.

So on this Pinteresting adventure the Pin didn’t go wrong, the man behind the plan was the problem. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. We had fun together. In the end, isn’t that what life is about? Going through this world, the good and the bad with the one who has your heart, (even if it’s in a jar buried in the backyard).

My fall display with Halloween sign

My fall display with Halloween sign

A Zombie Apocalypse Easter Egg

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Not a big fan of Easter. To me there is something disturbing about a bunny hiding eggs to lure kids behind bushes with the promise of candy. But I have to put away my Easter Grinchness for the kiddos.

I saw a Pin about string Easter eggs. Some just for decoration and some with treats inside for children. One Pin used a fabric stiffener on the string another used a flour/water mixture. I happened to have flour and water so I went with that Pin.

Here’s the plan.
1: Gather the supplies: flour
water
Bowl
Balloon
String (I used embroidery floss/thread)
Wrapped candy
Canning jar lid (this was not in the original pin but you will want to use this)
what it takes egg
2: Mix flour and water.
3: Cram candy into deflated balloon.
4: Blow up balloon to desired size. Go small.
5: Soak a long piece of thread in mixture.

Okay let’s take a moment. The pin looked like after soaking the thread you just start wrapping it around the balloon. Yeah…didn’t work for me. The thread just kept sliding off the balloon causing a chorus of bad language to spew forth from my mouth. So I spot a canning jar from another pin project. A light bulb moment: the lid will make a perfect stand to hold the balloon.

Revised plan:
6: Sit balloon on lid to free up both hands.
7: Take soaked string and just randomly cover balloon. I was only able to do one side at a time this way. Give the wet section a little time to dry before rotating. Remember once you pop the balloon and remove it you will have candy inside so make sure all your holes are small enough to keep the candy from falling out. You might be asking why I glooped (technical word) so much flour paste on the thread. That was the only way I could get certain parts to stay put.
8: Let it dry.
9: Wait forever to let it dry.
10: Watch Resident Evil while you wait for the string egg to dry.

The messy process

The messy process

So I’m watching one of my favorite Zombie movies while the drying process drags on. While watching I think about this past Fall when I planted a Zombie and Halloween night where I became an Umbrella Corp scientist cooking up the dreaded zombie virus. While we wait for the egg outcome I will share these two projects with you.

Planting a Zombie
While on Pinterest I stumbled upon a cute little pin. It was a little flower pot with a zombie hand planted. I said to myself, “Self, you can do this but it needs to be bigger.” I totally agreed with myself.

Here is the Pinterest zombie planter:

Zombie plant from Pinterest

Zombie plant from Pinterest

Here is mine. Yes it is true. Bigger is better.

My Zombie planter.

My Zombie planter.

Unleashing the Virus:
Every Halloween I dress as a zombie. Do my own make-up. Go to work covered it latex pieces I made with itchy blood and make-up on. So I awake at 4 a.m. to apply make-up. Wear make-up until eleven that night, sometimes even later. This Halloween I decided that was more then I wanted to commit to. So If I wasn’t going to be a zombie I was going to be a zombie creator. Off to Amazon I went, a week later my lab coat arrived followed by my Umbrella Corporation patches. A little ironing, some safety glasses and a security pass…Ta-da! I am a scientist that creates the zombie virus that wipes out mankind.

Resident Evil scientist costume

Resident Evil scientist costume

So for the moment you have been waiting for, the Pin outcome.

Getting candy out of a balloon that’s in a string egg is not a fun time. I tried to cut the balloon in half to get the candy out in doing so I managed to cut the wrapper off of one the candies. It seems flour paste was not a great choice. The string was now a dull flour coated mess. The egg is fragile, handle with care. I do not have any photos of the balloon removal process. It was late at night and all my concentration was on not breaking the damn egg. Somehow during this time I fell over the kitchen chair.
The crashing noise woke the husband, he raises his bald head off the pillow and asks, “Is someone attacking you?”
“No.”
“Good cause I wasn’t getting out of this warm bed to come save you.”
That people is true love at its finest.
In his defense if I was being attacked by a person and not an evil chair he would have helped me fight off the attacker…I think.

The eggish thing I made

The eggish thing I made

I used the four/water method because I did not have any fabric stiffener. Going to buy some for just one little project is just insane. Would I do this project again? Sure if I ever have some spare stiffener lying around.

Now I have this pack of balloons looking at me, begging to be used. I have the perfect Pin for those bad boys. So off on another Pinteresting adventure I go. Until next time, may the Pin be with you.

Monsters, Cookies, and Angel Food

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Here are a few of my baking Pins from this winter. Cookies and a cake. The Halloween decorations are year round’ and the monsters are my babies, they‘re twins. Poor fellows have no names.

I was baking a lot of cookies experimenting for Christmas gifts. It was a cold night so I made me some hot chocolate with marshmallows. As I was pouring the marshmallows from the container to my mug I got the idea to add them to cookies. I have tried regular marshmallows in the past but once the cookie was baked the marshmallow disappeared. Did it baked into the dough completely? Leak out and poof? Or was there some sort of marshmallow stealing monster living in my oven? I just didn’t know. But the marshmallows for hot chocolate are dried. Would they work? I was going to find out.

cookie mix

Simple recipe. Follow instructions on box, once mix add the marshmallows. However much you want. Then just bake. This I did and once done I took them from oven and let them cool slightly. Still warm I took a bite. YES I had marshmallows in my cookies! Take that evil oven monsters!

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 Next cookie I baked I call Grinchers. I just added green food color to the dough. Easy as pie or in this case, cookie. The twins were excited to be in the photos.

 

IMG_1092 

As you know I have given up artificial sweeteners but when I made this I was still in heavy with my diet soda addiction. Today I would use regular soda. This is another simple recipe. Take your angel food cake mix and instead of water just use soda. Bake according to box. I actually ended up making this three days in a row because everyone would keep eating all the cake and I wouldn’t get any. It is that good. Everyone should have a few boxes of angel food cake mix handy. You can add so many things to it. Instead of water add a can of crushed pineapple instead of water. Bake in a large pan. One time I put strawberries in blender with just a little orange juice blended it till was liquid and used in place of water. Any soda you like will work. I also use angel food mix as the topping on my cobblers. I’m actually eating a piece of pineapple angel food cake right now.

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Dark Celebrations

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Celebrations. We use them to mark major events in our lives, we use them as opportunities to see people we care about that we don’t see often enough, most of all we use them as an excuse to over eat. Amen on that last part!

To me celebrations also mean that I can spend hours on Pinterest ‘researching’ on what to cook, how to decorate, or find the perfect little DIY hostess/guest take home gift. I also like to show off the new additions to my little morbidly dark family. My two granddaughters (Little Miss K and her sister Miss S) and our most recent addition: Skelly.

Skelly was a homeless soul who spent his time hanging out on a shelf in a big store. I saw him on several visits I made in September, finally I had to step in and give this guy a home. Skelly came home and spent most of the next few weeks sitting outside in a lawn chair waving to the neighbors and yes most waved back.

I was finally able to coax him inside after Halloween. Now he sits at the kitchen table. So when I hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year I thought why not use this family function to welcome skelly? So yes Skelly sat between my mom and dad during the big Turkey Day meal. Afterwards during family picture time everyone wanted Skelly in their picture. A friend of the family posted the picture of them on FB stating he was her boyfriend.

Skelly waving to the neighbors. The Thanksgiving celebration.

Skelly waving to the neighbors. The Thanksgiving celebration.

Skelly just so happens to be sitting right beside me now watching me type this blog. So it was my year to host Turkey Day. I once cooked a whole turkey in the late 90s. A lot of work but it turned out good but I’m all about making things easy. So Pinteresting I went. Short time later….Crock Pot Turkey Breast pin was found. Oh happy day. This my fellow goth or goth loving friend turned out so good that this dish is a regular at the Gotha Stewart household.

The trick is to find the right size breast to fit in your crock pot. Mine was a tad to big and the lid wouldn’t close completely, I knew once it cooked down some everything would be okay. Till then I put the lid on and used a brick on top to hold down the lid. Speaking of crock pot cooking. This was the first time I tried liners in the crock pot. Oh my dear. Why had I never used these things before? Best. Invention. Ever.

Here is the pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/314337248963062781/

I did not brown the top of the breast under a broiler. That’s more for looks anyway. The family was ready to eat so presentation was not a top priority. Rave reviews on this sacrificial bird! TRY THIS !

My daughter turned 20 this past August. I knew right away I was going to make her a multi colored cake. Purple/orange on inside with green icing. I used the batter coloring method from a past blog. People have asked what I use to color the batter. You can use the liquid food coloring or the thick gel stuff. I use the gel stuff. You can get a dark color without watering the batter down.

What I use to color my cake batter.

What I use to color my cake batter.

Before baking

Before baking

 

The Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake

Plastic spiders are from Party City. Just wash them in soapy water before contact with food.

The guts of the cake

The guts of the cake

My sister has a birthday this week. Sorry I cannot reveal her age. She would kill me. For her I wanted to make her a Midori cake. Pinteresting I went. Every recipe I found called for only a few tablespoons of Midori. Really? Just a tad? If I’m putting it in a cake I want to be able to taste it. So here is what I did, and you can too. Whatever white cake mix or recipe you use, replace the liquid with Midori. If it calls for ¾ cup of water or milk. Use ¾ cup of Midori. The alcohol bakes out.
For Sister D I made Midori cupcakes. You can use a little Midori to flavor the icing. I chose not to since children would also be eating these. The icing was a canned buttercream frosting. I will be prowling Pinterest for some icing recipes soon.

midori cupcake

The result: The Midori itself is green but the cake will barely have any green color. Next time I may add some green coloring to the batter.

Yes you can use a recipe from Pinterest if you prefer. There are many to choose from. There may have been some Midori consumption during the baking of these cupcakes. I blame Skelly.

You may have noticed that all my celebrations have a little spookiness to them. If you have a little darkness in your soul like me don’t be afraid to let it bleed out into your life year round. I hope all your celebrations are dark and spooky ones!

Gardens, not just for hiding bodies

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 Some of today’s blog is about things I’ve seen on Pinterest and some things I’ve pinned. All are about the garden. I was looking on Pinterest last week in the gardening section while the husband was watching something boring on TV. I see this strawberry planter, it is a little late to plant strawberries but I thought that would be a great project for next spring. I show the picture to my husband and say, “what you think about doing this in the spring?” He looks at the picture, nods his head and looks back at the TV. Little did I realize his brain was hard at work.

“What are the measurements?” he asked. I clicked on the Pin and of course it’s a dead link. But the caption on the Pin says something like ‘Strawberry garden bed by the square yard‘. He studies the picture for a few minutes.

Next thing I know we are at Lowes buying stuff for our strawberry bed. Everything except strawberry plants. We choose some trailing annuals to plant until spring. Lowes is always an adventure, Hubby likes to get in get stuff and get out. You put me in the garden center and I am there for a long time. I will fill the cart with plants walk around some more than replace all the plants I’ve chosen with other plants. And I’m always in search of flowers that are black. Usually with no luck.

Hubby, me and power tools is a funny/bad combination. Funny for me bad for my man. He always hits his thumb sometime during a build project. I always laugh. I had several hearty laughs during this project. Since we used guess-aments on the measurements our bed turned out slightly different then the Pin. But I must say I love it! We like most people struggle with money so our budget only allowed a few plants and we could only plant just one side. I can’t wait until I can fill all four sides with flowers.

 21e52e3735bffd6a4078c557ccb13052 2013-06-01_15.25.35 our planter

 This spring I saw the suet cage bird nest thingy pin. Thingy being a technical term. You take an empty suet cage sill with yarn, ribbon and fabric scraps. Hang outside and the birds use all that stuff to build their nest. I filled my suet cage, hung it up and birds flocked to it grabbing up materials. My daughter jokingly said “What if all those birds are in other peoples trees?” she so jinxed me. Somewhere are people enjoying some people awesome bird nests. I did find one nest in my crab apple tree with a dash of color. I was disappointed until I saw baby birds. Baby birds! How can you not be happy about that? Well turns out you can…baby birds are loud and apparently don’t sleep. But thankfully that last only a few weeks.

2013-03-22_10.54.24-2 IMG_2166

 I love my yard. It is work in progress. In past homes I would follow design rules about gardening and I was happy with my yards but not in love with them. When we moved to our current home I decided to plant what I want where I want. Now I LOVE MY YARD!

Here is my little herb raised bed:2013-05-28_19.42.44

My BAHs, big ass hostas:2013-05-28_19.43.31

My awesome planter in the spring with bulbs and now with a mix of plants:

IMG_2037 2013-06-07_18.09.00

Shady spot under tree. This is the first year so everything is small. In the next few years it will be full of hostas and ferns.

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So my advice, leave the bodies out of the garden they keep better in the trunk anyway.

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Say Cheese…Cake

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So I don’t blog as much as I want. I have gotten sick more this year than in the last several. This past week I had a major health scare so now it’s time to take control of my health. After days of research I have come to an unprofessional conclusion. Most of my problems are from artificial sweeteners. In the past if you would have told me that I would have just laughed. Well five days artificial sweetener free I’m feeling so darn good except for the withdrawal. Withdrawal!? When you stop something and it cause withdrawal you know whatever it was couldn’t have been good for you. I will keep you updated on my health journey. I want to live to be very old because I want to be the crazy old lady in the neighborhood that dresses in black, has long grey hair and all the neighborhood kids think is creepy. Now let’s see what pinteresting things I have been up to.

I saw a pin a while back that showed a home made ‘filter’ for a camera. I was like, wow, awesome. I’m all over that. Things in life got hectic and my garden needed a lot of work so a few months later I gave the camera filter pin a shot. Of course there was no link to instructions but it looked simple.

Oh my Goth! Things did not work out as planned. I made the filter and just needed to attach it to the camera lense. Normally I have a body bag full of rubber bands lying around. But not that day. After a frantic search of the house I spotted sitting right beside the camera. My “Wesley Warrior” bracelet. My four year old cousin is battling brain cancer and the family wears these bracelets for this little superhero. This little guy is amazing. Love and strength to you Wesley.

Back on topic, I used the bracelet. Now it was time for pictures. My heart cut out was to big, you couldn’t even tell I put anything over the lense. So I had to cut a new template. Put on camera, looked through lense. Perfect we were in business then. I thought.

I was unable to focus. Manual or automatic. EVERY picture blurred. Darn it! So if you want your photos in shapes use photo software.

 285415695104354347_GezE2bMG_f 2013-03-25_17.00.53 IMG_1816 

My nephew Corey graduated from high school last week. Woohoo Corey! We had a party for him that weekend. I asked what his favorite desserts were. German chocolate cake and cheesecake was the reply. Hmm…can the two be combined, my mind pondered? Well I decided to try the all knowing crystal ball I call Pinterest.

Soon I stumbled upon GERMAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE CAKE! I got giddy. Not from the pin but from the first glass of wine I had in twenty years. Yes I was alcohol free for twenty years. I printed out the recipe and the next day off I went to the store for supplies. That night the baking began and had some wine. FYI buzzed baking is still drunk baking. But it went well.

I used an aluminum pan, when having family get together it’s best to use pans you don’t mind not getting back. Family will scarf a good pan or bowl in a heartbeat. After 75 minute bake time and the toothpick came out clear I took the cake from oven. The bottom of the pan felt so…unbaked. I was worried but I trust the toothpick method. Since I was feeling loopy I decided to go to bed and worry about it in the morning.

Good news. No hangover and the cake was done. Bad news. Frosting was an issue. The recipe had instructions to make the topping yourself. But I was a little broke (had to buy wine) so I bought a container of frosting. It was just $1.25 I would spend several times that just on the stuff to make it from scratch.

So two hours before party I open the container. Someone at the store beat me to it. The seal was open and it looked like someone took their fingers and scooped themselves out a big bite of frosting. So I said a few bad words and thought about throwing a hex on the frosting thief. Sadly I didn’t have time for a hex. To the store I went and yes I did pop the top of the can and check the seal before buying. Rushed home frosted cake, super fast shower, forgot to grab my hat and once in car had to come back in house. Forgot camera and my candle obsessed husband forgot to blowout candle.

We arrived on time. Woohoo! Party was outside and the sun was shining brightly. Thankfully I did not burst into flames but my thin hair did little to protect my scalp. Burnt scalp is not fun. But the cake turned out great. Everyone loved it but most important Corey loved it! This cake will be made again! Here is the link to this great cake recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/German-Chocolate-Cheesecake

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