Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Everybody!!



Here's an image from Ideals 1977.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful Halloween! I still have one final Halloween art piece, I hope to post it this weekend. I tried to finish it today, but too much was going on.

Sad to see Halloween go so soon, this month seems to have just flown by.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Book Give-A-Way winner & apologies...

Good grief, where does the time go? Sorry about dropping the ball on posts the last few days. As I mentioned I've been sick, and now there's a mad scramble at the house to try to get ourselves ready for Halloween. I started making myself a costume, but I don't know if I'll get it finished in time. I'm going to try. Seems like my husband's costume has become my top priority (not sure how that happened).

Anyway, the winner of 'The Upturned Stone' book is....

mikeskywalker1969

Congratulations!! Please email me at scbilbrey@hotmail.com so I can get your mailing information.

WOW! Three days until Halloween. I can hardly believe it. I'm already experiencing pre-post-Halloween depression syndrome. But I won't go on about that right now. I'll be posting a final Halloween Ideals tomorrow, a final Halloween art piece on Tuesday, and then? I'll post a little something for Halloween. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween: You deserve a break today...


So, I wanted to work up a new piece of art for today, but it didn't happen. I've been sick with stuffy head, cold stuff and I had to run some errands today. I also needed to do some cleaning in the kitchen and I really wanted to watch some 'League of Gentlemen'. I watched season one, then decided to watch part of Warlock. I love this movie, and back in the day, I must have watched it like a thousand times, because I remembered most of the dialogue. It also triggered my love for Richard E. Grant.

But there will one more art piece to come, as soon as I figure out what it should be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Art Day: The Naked Ghost


No vest. No hat. No pants. Nothing fancy, just plain old ghost. I had this ghost drawn up and was trying to figure out what to do with him. The original idea I had didn't work out, but he looks alright on his own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Foodage: Pumpkin Spice Syrup!


While I was out on Friday going to the craft stores, I noticed there was a new kitchen store that opened up next to the Michael's. I decided to go in and have a look around. Most importantly, I was going in to see if they sold filters for my toddy maker. I had to toss the last filter I had and it's been two years since I've been able to enjoy cold-brewed iced coffee at home. Well, lucky me, they did in fact have the filters!! I was super excited! Then I thought the coffee should be pumpkinny, or have some fall-ish flavor. I didn't want to drive all over town trying to find some place that sold a pumpkin spice coffee blend, so I had the idea to get online and find a flavored syrup recipe. And I'm so glad I did, it turned out great!

Here is the recipe that I used (from Pennies on a Platter, adapted from Cook Like a Champion):

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Hot and Cold Coffee or Non-Coffee Drinks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: About 2 1/4 cups syrup
Serving Size: 1/4 cup syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (*note from me: I actually used fresh minced ginger here)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
Heat the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Use a whisk to stir in the remaining ingredients. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Try not to let the mixture come to a boil.
Place two thick paper towels on top of each other into a fine mesh strainer set over a large measuring cup. Strain the syrup through the paper towel lined strainer. (Cheesecloth and coffee filters work well here, too.) Pour the strained syrup into a storage bottle with a lid and keep in the refrigerator.

To make a hot pumpkin spice latte:
Stir together 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup to each shot of espresso. Add frothed milk and stir to combine.

To make an iced pumpkin spice latte:
Stir together 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup for each shot of espresso, then add desired amount of cold milk. Serve over ice cubes.

To make a pumpkin spice iced coffee:
Stir together 1/2 cup of milk to 1/2 cup toddy (iced coffee), then mix in 1/4 cup syrup. Serve over ice.

To make a pumpkin spice blended coffee:
Stir together 1/2 cup of milk to 1/2 cup toddy (iced coffee), then mix in 1/4 cup syrup. Pour into a blender, add 2 cups ice and mix until well blended. 



I had this with iced coffee & soy milk, but you could use it in hot coffee or hot chocolate, maybe pour it over ice cream. I was thinking it would be good used in a cocktail. I did want to mention that I tried straining the syrup, as recommended above, but I was having some trouble getting it to strain at a decent pace and my patience was growing thin. As you can see, there is quite a bit of sediment on the bottom here. It doesn't really bother me as far as drinking it goes. I just wanted it to be clear amber, so it would look pretty.


I've made simple syrups before, but hadn't even thought about making my own flavored ones. I can't wait to make all different kinds throughout the year.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the toddy maker, this is what it looks like:


They run about $35-45 in price. If you'd like to try making cold brewed coffee, but don't want to invest in a toddy maker, I found these instructions at Smart-Bottom Enterprises on how to make it without the maker.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween 'Grab Bag': I checked out some 'new' movies

Well, I can hardly believe it, but Halloween is 11 days away. I took a trip to the craft store to pick up some things that I needed, only to find that most of the Halloween merchandise has been marked down for clearance. That made me a little sad. It won't be long until the stores are cleared of wonderful Halloween merchandise, only to make room for that other holiday, Christmas. Although if the stores in your area are anything like the ones around here, you probably know that the Christmas stuff started oozing out two weeks ago. I try to ignore it as best as I can.

Anyway, I've still got some Halloween art to complete, a costume to work on, and other random Halloween things. I'm trying to hold onto the moment as long as I can. I thought I might take the day off, but decided instead to share some of my recent horror film viewings. I conveniently copied the descriptions of the films from Wikipedia, rather than trying to write my own (lazy), but I've got Halloweenin' to do.

These are all films I'd never seen before and I actually enjoyed all of them.


'The Skeleton Key', 2005 – From Wikipedia:
'The film centers on a young hospice nurse who acquires a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants, and the hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there.'

I remember when this came out. I thought the trailer looked pretty interesting and I was curious to see it. But then I kind of forgot about it. When I saw it pop up on the Netflix recommendations, I decided to give it a watch. I rather enjoyed it and I'll probably add it to my regular rotation of 'Horror Films for Summer'.




'Dolls', 1987 – From Wikipedia:
'A violent thunderstorm strands six people in the gothic English countryside including Judy, who's traveling with her father and her cold, self-centered, stepmother. They are accompanied by a kind, modest, and mild-mannered businessman Ralph, who has picked up two hitchhikers, both British punk rock girls. They all wind up at a mansion inhabited by Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke, charming elderly people who appear to be toy makers; their house literally abounds with dolls, puppets, and other beautifully detailed toys.'

I actually liked this film a lot more than I expected to. It's a horror film, but it plays more like a dark fairy tale. I didn't really know anything about this film before I watched it, but it was directed by Stuart Gordon, who is probably best known for his film 'Re-Animator'.




'The Resurrected' aka 'Shatterbrain', 1992 – From Wikipedia
'Claire Ward hires private investigator John Marsh to look into the increasingly bizarre activities of her husband Charles Dexter Ward. Ward has become obsessed with the occult practices of raising the dead once practiced by his ancestor Joseph Curwen. As the investigators dig deeper, they discover that Ward is performing a series of grisly experiments in an effort to actually resurrect his long-dead relative Curwen.'

And so it's a Lovecraft film. I like those when they are done well. According to Wiki, this was a direct to DVD film, which might explain why I kept thinking it was a made for TV movie. I thought this was quite good & Chris Sarandon does a great job. One other thing that I kind of like about it is that it is very much a early 90's movie. I can't really explain it, but it sent be back on a fun little time warp. This film was directed by the late Dan O'Bannon, writer of the 'Alien' screenplay & director of the cult classic 'Return of the Living Dead'. 

So I watched some fun new movies. I still haven't taken time out to watch old favorites that I like to pull out this time of year. Although I picked up the new blu-ray anniversary edition of 'Halloween III: Season of the Witch' and I'm looking forward to watching that, along with the new extras that are included on the disc.

Well, that's it for today. I will have a food (or at least a coffee) related post tomorrow. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween Book Day & Give-A-Way!

Hi all! It's been a crazy day today so I haven't had time to prepare today's post to the full extent that I would have liked to. BUT to get it in, it's going to be brief post. This is also my final book give-a-way for the month.
But now for the winner of last week's book 'Goth-Icky'..........

John Rozum!!
Congratulations! I know you will really enjoy this fantastic book!

Now for the third & final book give-a-way:
'The Upturned Stone' by Scott Hampton


This is one of my favorite books. The story is about a group of young boys in the 1960's who take a pumpkin off of the grave of an unknown boy who was murdered. On Halloween, the pumpkin is turned into a Jack 'o Lantern & a pie. The boys eat the pie & begin having strange & disturbing dreams. This is a great spooky story and reading it for the first time reminded me a lot of the film 'Stand By Me'. Here's some sample pages:



I also like that the story takes place in my home state, North Carolina. In addition, they also dress up as the Hammer Horrors on Halloween.


And that's something else I really love. But this is a really great book & I highly recommend it.

So, if you want to win a copy of 'The Upturned Stone', leave a comment below. The book is on order, and 'hopefully' will be here when I announce the contest winner. And you can comment if you already have the book, I'll be doing a name drawing from a hat next Friday (10/26/12) to select a winner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Art Day: Fancypants Devil



Whew! Talk about last minute! 30 minutes till midnight! I'm now officially behind on Halloween Countdown Art. But I will have at least two more! Come back to see!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Art Day: Halloween Visitor at the Dennison's


Oh look, a visitor! This piece is one that I could have (and might still) add more to. But this how it was originally intended, so I decided to go ahead and show it. I'm quite fond of the colors in this one.

Monday, October 15, 2012