Not Martha

links: halloween

Happy Halloween! Here are a few last links before it’s all over.

Help me build a list of props for a Zork adventurer Halloween costume. | Ask MetaFilter. Awesome.

elope – springy spider headband. I tried one of these in a shop and really liked it.

Cocktail name costumes. | Ask MetaFilter.

Hostess with the Mostess – Halloween Cocktails. I love the caramel spider web that sits on top of the glass.

zakka life: Sealed With a Spider.

· comments [1] · 10-31-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·

links: halloween

Craftzine.com blog : DIY Bat Costume.

shelterrific » hardcore halloween: decorating with real spider webs.

The Place Where Everything is Better on a Stick by MaroDesigns. Felt shapes on a stick for an instant costume, so delightful. Via Heinous Hats.

DIY Nemo Fish Costume for Your Toddler  | Mighty Girl. A great how to for the cutest costume yet.

The Last Minute Ghost – Bolt Neighborhood.

Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life – CakeSpy – Trick Or Sweet: A Look at the History of the Custom of Trick or Treating.

· comments [3] · 10-29-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·

links: food

I love the large, fluffy matzoh balls you find at good delicatessens. When I make them at home they come out like leaden bricks. Help me get that authentic deli-style taste and texture! | Ask MetaFilter.

Summer’s Last Porch Party | helenjane.com. Nachos three ways, bookmarking for next summer.

The Food Lab’s Top 6 Food Myths | Serious Eats.

Mandolin slicers for dummies! | Ask MetaFilter.

make grow gather – a nice thing. Taking note of the cocktail here: “sunset matadors (tequila and pineapple juice with fresh squeezed lime juice)”. Oh yeah.

CakeSpy – Guest Post: How To Make Homemade Sugar Decorations by Nellie Cakes.

Look! Colored Eggs in Swiss Supermarket | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn. “They’re so nice for picnics,” I love this.

Dessine moi un objet » Ustensiles comestibles – Résultats. Salad utensils made from bread, swoon. Via Craftzine.

Cool Tools: King Arthur Dough Whisk.

cauliflower and parmesan cake | smitten kitchen.

Seattle Tall Poppy: Exploring Wheat with Shepherd’s Grain. I learned all about Shepherd’s Grain at the first IFBC and ever since cannot talk about how they work without getting a little bit of happy tears going.

Herbed Cheese Straws › shutterbean. Oh yum.

Clear Ice FAIL #2 – Voracious. Does anybody remember if the Mythbusters managed to create clear ice?

· comments [6] · 10-28-2010 · categories:food · links ·

links: halloween

JAAAHWS. These giant vampire teeth are hilarious and awesome.

Heinous Hats: Son Of Boom De Yada. I love the spider hat, third image down.

Homemade Owl Pellets. Yuck! – The Crafts Dept. These are so much fun. I always dreaded the smell of taking apart real owl pellets in school.

How to Preserve a Halloween Pumpkin – Keep a Jack O’ Lantern Fresh, at My Science Project.

Pumpkin Cornbread (with Pumpkin Chili, of course)! | recipegirl.com.

Craftzine.com blog : CRAFT Pattern: Pumpkin Cozy.

Craftzine.com blog : How-To: Liquid Latex Scales.

A pumpkin that sleeps like a Mac – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Adore this.

Looking for horror films that feature death by knitting needle. | Ask MetaFilter.

Best of Parent Hacks: Easy Halloween Tips | Parent Hacks.

Craftzine.com blog : How-To: Lego Indiana Jones Costume.

Jelly Shot Test Kitchen: Jellied Eyeballs (non-alcoholic).

Super Punch: Halloween fun food ideas. Great round up of ideas and recipes.

Googly Eye Fun! – The Crafts Dept. Oh boy do I love the googly eyes attached to the shoes.

illoom Balloons, at Outblush. Balloons with LEDs inside.

· comments [7] · 10-26-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·

Tentacle Pot Pie, the outtakes

spider pot pie

I had some trouble when I came to creating the Tentacle Pot Pies, all my own fault of course. Learn from these mistakes.

spider pot pie, with uncooked dough

Originally I had intended to makes spider pot pies and use black peppercorns for the eyes. My first try, which I didn’t get photos of, had the legs dangling over the edges of a bowl. While they cooked most fell off. It was pretty sad.

Then I draped the legs down to a plate to keep them in place, only to discover that the dough I had rolled up to create a spider body (I wrapped it round a piece of hot carrot) didn’t cook on the inside, leaving a wad of uncooked dough on top of the pot pie. Effective to give the creeps but not really edible.

spider pot pie, the head has tilted down during cooking

And I found that one of my spider heads tilted down while cooking. Poor guy.

tentacle pot pie, puff pastry detail

Originally I had intended to make the pot pies from puff pastry and mention the use of crescent roll dough as an option but I had some trouble while photographing. First I lost my light by the time I got to the puff pastry batch, I struggle enough to produce good photos so when the clouds gathered I was rushing and it probably led to the next problem.

tentacle pot pie made with puff pastry shown above, the dough is sort of pale

I forgot to brush the puff pastry with an egg wash, meaning that even though it was yummy it looked sort of pale.

tentacle pot pie made with puff pastry, another view of the tentacles

And so, the crescent dough photos were the ones I used. I had run out of time to redo everything (I would have had to make another batch of pot pie filling). But for the record I like the flavor of the puff pastry far more. It also cooks slower so your pot pie had more time to get nice and hot.

The following weekend Scott and I made a batch of pot pie filling from the chicken pot pie recipe at Simply Recipes and divided it into zip top bags that we flattened out and froze. We can buy frozen puff pastry and the next dark night when we need some comfort food we’ll have pot pie components that we just need to thaw and assemble. I’m excited. Seattle winters aren’t snowy but they are long and dark. So dark. We take excitement where we can find it. One additional note: These should be baked at about 325 instead of the usual high heat that puff pastry asks for, if not the tentacles cook far earlier than the body. If the tips of the tentacles start to brown too much tent them with foil.

Why freezing flat in plastic bags? They are easy to store in the freezer, and when you want to thaw them you can run the still sealed bags under hot water and it thaws far faster than something frozen into a block. I first heard this tip on The Splendid Table, though I forget which guest it came from. I use this for bolognese and thai curry as well, all good to have squirreled away for winter nights when you’re too zonked out for chopping stuff.

· comments [33] · 10-25-2010 · categories:food · halloween ·

Tentacle Pot Pie

pot pies with dough tentacles wrapping down the sides of the bowl

Know what happens when you search Google for “tentacle pot pie”? Not much.* Let’s fix that! I created this tentacle pot pie for Babble using store bought dough. Easy and a wee bit creepy. Even if you’re not up for tentacles I found this chicken pot pie from Simply Recipes to be most delicious. Babble has also posted a short interview with me, thanks!

* (At least not when you have safe search turned on, oh my.)

· comments [60] · 10-21-2010 · categories:food · halloween ·

two Kickstarter projects I’m excited about

Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

Pinch: a most lovely salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman. The top is a pepper shaker in the shape of a ball, which acts as a lid for the salt cellar below. We’ve long need a salt and pepper for our dining room table and this one couldn’t be more perfect. I also love that the first edition are being manufactured here in Seattle. Thanks to Cinnamon for the heads up on this one. (It’s only up for one more day so hurry, it would make an amazing gift for a foodie.)

Horribly Heartbroken crest

Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwards: Help fund a trip for two heartbroken artists to the Harry Potter Wizarding World and get a comic book with a hand screen printed cover about the experience in return. I adore the comics of Lucy Knisley and cannot wait for my book to arrive. Check out her site and her books (French Milk is on my Christmas list).

· comments [7] · 10-21-2010 · categories:shopping ·

links: halloween

These are all links I collected last Halloween and just found lurking at the bottom of my pile of unpublished entries.

Dexter Blood Slide Suckers: Eat At Your Own Risk!. at Instructables.

Halloween Food. at Instructables.

The 8-Bit Low-Res Make-Up Is High-Res Clever – Pixelface – Gizmodo.

Papercraft Self Portrait – Art Portfolio for Eric Testroete. Amazing big head mode costume.

Adam’s Spooky Candy Apples | MattBites.com.

It’s About Time: A Quality Zombie Jello Mold – Geekologie.

Do it myself!: Melting Head Cake.

Extreme Halloween – meat corpse, created for a cookout, from the guy behind Extreme Pumpkins.

· comments [2] · 10-20-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·

Craven Farm

pumpkin tendrils reaching for a branch

Scott and I spent last Saturday doing Autumn-y things here in Seattle. First we stopped at Minea Farms, they have a hundred year old apple press and make a variety of ciders. You can taste each variety, and they even have some hot spiced cider for you to try. They also have local honey, syrups, fruit butters and apples for sale. The place is tiny but well worth a visit, they owners are really enthusiastic about what they do. The nearby South 47 farm is very popular, they have a large produce market and lots of u-pick options.

Next we visited a winery tasting room in Woodinville to pick up some wine for dinner that night, and I fell for the Hoodsport Stella Raspberry wine, it’s not too sweet and smells amazingly like fresh raspberries. We passed by a whiskey tasting room and if we’d had more time we would have stopped for that as well.

the row in a corn maze

Then it was off to Snohomish valley and the corn maze at Craven Farm. It was a good corn maze, dense and tall corn, lots of curves and no dead ends. We were lost almost right away. It was great. There are two rooms you have to find and in the second room you have the option of going back the easy way, or the hard way. We took the hard way and got so lost I actually tried to pull up a Google Earth image to see if we could find our way out, but the image was taken when the spot we were standing in was still a bare field. Seeing as we were lost we had time to make some observations.

heel marks in the mud

Somebody wore heels into a corn maze! The first time Scott and I visited a corn maze we came up with the the first rule: Never wear cashmere to a corn maze. I wasn’t wearing the cashmere, on our way in we passed an unhappy couple on their way out. It appeared that the girl had slipped and gotten mud on her sweater and she was not happy. So now we have Rule #2: don’t wear heels into a corn maze.

footprint of a boot clearly reading Coach

Somebody wore Coach boots! I wonder if they were rubber boots?

a wooly bear!

We saw wooly bears!

an X marked in the mud, which we shortly after obliterated

When we came into the maze a family with two teenage boys came right behind us. The boys were loud and hurried us down an aisle walking too close. They kept pulling down corn stalks and breaking them so that they would hang, sad and broken. The parents didn’t do anything to stop the boys. I didn’t like them. Later on we spotted one of the boys marking Xes into the mud to mark their way. We started rubbing them out and covering the tracks whenever we’d come across them. What? I never claimed to be a nice person. (That boy you see at the end of the row there? Not one of the culprits in question, he was younger and kinder than our victims.)

lots of pumpkin patch

We finally made it out and headed over to the vast pumpkin patch.

a parachute fan, or, a guy sitting in a sling under a parachute with a giant fan strapped to his back

Above us guy in a parachute fan came past and circled over the corn maze a few times. We joked that he was looking for all the people lost inside.

hot air balloons in the distance

As the sun was setting some hot air balloons rose up from the horizon.

a small pumpkin ready to be launced from a sling

We spent some time at the pumpkin slings. If you hit a target you’d get a prize! We didn’t hit the target.

lots of pumpkin varieties

Craven Farm also has food (chili in a bag! which I think was Frito pie), coffee drinks and pumpkin donuts, roasted corn, produce, many varieties of squash and pumpkins, a hay ride, a petting zoo and lots of stuff for kids to play on. If you only have time to visit one farm I recommend this one. They even have plenty of parking.

a green pumpkin with an impressively large stem, I bet it would have been HUGE had they let it grow

On the way back to the car I felt drunk on fresh air. Yay autumn!

· comments [14] · 10-20-2010 · categories:seattle · travel ·

links: misc

Help disabuse me of some historical falsehoods. | Ask MetaFilter. Interesting list of things we think we know but aren’t actually true.

I have always found skunk odor and roses to share similar scent. In my opinion, it’s strikingly similar, but almost nobody agrees with me. What chemical, if any, do they have in common? | Ask MetaFilter. Some fantastic responses with links to lots more information on how scent and our brains work.

The Reverse Geocache™ Puzzle Box | Arduiniana. Oh wow is this cool. A guy constructs a box that will only open when it’s taken to a specific spot on Earth, it was created as a wedding present. The project was so popular he started taking commissions, and one of them is a engagement ring box. Via Waxy.

The stencils used to cut topiaries at versailles – NOTCOT. So that’s how it’s done.

Real Wedding: Brittany + Paul « 100 Layer Cake. I am completely smitten with the huge paper flowers that decorate this wedding. Thanks to Oh Happy Day for pointing is to this.

Follow-up: Gapgate – Brand New. It’s been a whirlwind few days since the Gap logo redesign, if you blinked and missed it here is a timeline of the drama.

Four things about Mr. Snuffleupagus, at Kottke. He has a first name! It’s Aloysius.

Lucky Farmer Finds 21-Leaf Clover in His Garden – TOKYOMANGO.

· comments [8] · 10-19-2010 · categories:links · misc ·

Jones Creek Farms

pulling an apple cart through the rows of trees, mountains in the distance

A few weekends ago some friends and I headed up to Jones Creek Farms to do some apple picking. They have a huge number of trees available for you to wander among and pick. You’re encouraged to take a taste of everything. It’s a lot of fun, wear shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. They have a few carts you can use if you’re planning on bringing back a huge amount of apples.

The farm is located in the Skagit Valley and you can see mountains in all directions. The day we went was overcast and misty.

close up of a half-shined apple

I have never really shined an apple before, it really works!

Bramley tree

We found a few of the famed Bramley trees. There weren’t many apples left for this season.

round Aisan pear

This Asian pear tasted a bit like butterscotch, it was amazing.

baby cow!

They have a baby cow! They also have chickens and sell cider. If you’re there ask about buying eggs and garlic as well.

· comments [15] · 10-18-2010 · categories:seattle · travel ·

links: halloween

Dinosaur Bones! – The Crafts Dept. So huge!

Mischievous Monsters Halloween Party Treats – iVillage. They included my spider pumpkin pancakes from last year!

Craftzine.com blog : How-To: Milk Jug Storm Trooper Helmet. Milk jug Halloween costume #1.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » halloween diy: knight in shining milk jug. Milk jug Halloween costume #2.

crafts to make with, and for, kids – paper masks » whip up.

Bowl of Eye-Balls | Flamingo Toes. Creepy enough while still being cute.

Top 10 Haunted Homes in the U.S. | Zillow Blog. Franklin Castle, a Cleveland legend, is #5, just after the White House.

Eerily Delicious Halloween Dinner, at Instructables. I like how these are real foods but look creepy.

plumpudding: Spaghetti dogs. This is brilliant, and I bet easy to spookify.

Stitches of Violet: Stitch Patterns Making Me Batty. I *love* the spider knitting pattern she shows here, I want a scarf with these on the ends.

Bottle Staches · Edible Crafts. Ha ha ha ha! Mustaches for your bottle, like costumes!

Threadcakes | Bitter Teeth Threadless cake by Chloe Bird. This chocolate drenched skull cake is amazing.

Craftzine.com blog : How-To: Baked Salt Dough Organ Platter For Halloween.

HOWTO Make jello blood-worms – Boing Boing.

Pumpkin Carving: Cool Tools and Gadgets – DIY Life. They cover both basic and extreme carving tools.

· comments [5] · 10-15-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·

giveaway: Cake Pops!

Cake Pops book cover

Last week Maggi and I took a little trip out to see Bakerella at a book singing for her best selling (yay!) book Cake Pops here in Seattle. It was so great to finally meet her in person (hi!). Delightfully we bumped into Jessie of Cakespy and Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture while we were there (hi!).

And, hooray, I have an extra copy of Cake Pops to give away. Want to win? Please leave a comment with this entry, the fine print applies, US and Canadian entries only this time please. Winner chosen by the exalted Random Number Generator. You’ve got until this Friday, Oct. 15th at 12 noon, Pacific time.

page showing pictures of how to form cake pops

I adore this book. Everything is clearly laid out, all the photography is charming, but of course, and the directions are very clear.

visual index of for each project

I love this photo index.

ghost cake pops

jack-o-lantern cake pops

mummy cake pops

And obviously I love all the Halloween cake pop options.

Ok, you can enter now. Good luck! Contest over, thanks so much to everybody for entering!

· comments [948] · 10-13-2010 · categories:books · food ·

links: the home

Splendid Things: Online Decorating Sources | Nothing But Bonfires.

What do you wish you knew before you finished your basement? | Ask MetaFilter.

Loft Portable Fireplace, at Outblush. Not horribly expensive, I might have to have another look at portable fireplaces.

Cool Tools: Magnetic Doorstop. Must keep this in mind for an upcoming redo of a door.

DIY: Painting My Bedroom, Part 2 – Fresh Home Blog. I like the light gray she picked out here.

Centsational Girl » Spray Paint FAQs. Via Making It Lovely.

· comments [8] · 10-12-2010 · categories:links · the home ·

Birthday Treasure Hunt (an idea you should borrow)

This past weekend was my birthday. Scott was in New York for a gig but before he left he set up a little treasure hunt in our own house to keep me amused since I had some work I needed to get done before Monday. He left me a card labeled “1 of 2″, inside was a perfectly normal birthday card and this mysterious piece of vellum offered with no further hints:

a blank sheet of velum marked with nine X-marks the spot points

I knew it was a location map but it didn’t line up to anything I could find. I tried seeing if it fit over the card to mark specific letters that would spell something, or maybe a book or magazine that had recently appeared on the dining room table, or something. I figured perhaps it was locations in the house but it didn’t seem to correspond with the layout. Nothing quite fit. Later that night I had dinner with friends and at the end of the evening they presented me with card #2. Inside that one was the other half of the map, the layout of our house:

a rough layout of both floors of our house, and our car in the driveway

Putting one on top of the other reveals, a ha!, locations:

points in our house

It’s hard to tell from the photo but one spot is located out in the car. I slipped out to there close to midnight in the pouring rain, still wearing my birthday dress, to retrieve the treasure he’d slipped into the glove compartment.

nine toy capsules containing rings

And what did I find hidden in those spots? Like tiny Easter eggs I found colorful capsules containing toy rings. One was in the planter for our huge rubber plant, one tucked behind a picture on a shelf, one in waiting inside a cup in the cabinet, one inside a box of kleenex. All (well, almost all) sat unnoticed by me for two full days.

nine toy capsules containing rings

(Why toy rings? They echo my engagement ring.)

Scott you’re the greatest! And thanks to go my dear friends who were all in on the secret and managed to keep it all the way through dinner.

· comments [27] · 10-11-2010 · categories:things I think are neat ·