A Season of Thanks in a Time of Change

(This is a repost from an old blog...but it's still a valid posting for me.)

lot of people count their success and the quality of their life primarily by the possessions they own and the position they have within whatever community they count themselves part of. I've been guilty of that, and to a degree, I'm still guilty of it. However, I've come to the conclusion that the material is transient (as is, in truth, everything else). I am grateful for what I have, what I own, but I no longer believe that my possessions define my life.

A wise man once said that the Universe is conspiring to give us everything we need. I believe those words to be truer than most. What we need and what we want are two entirely different animals. Occasionally, what we want is what we need, but usually not.  I am thankful for every person who has touched my life for better and not.

Buddha said that our [so called] enemies are our greatest teachers because they make us identify those traits in them that we despise and then identify them within ourselves. I am grateful for those people who have rubbed me the wrong way because they've left me with infinitely valuable lessons and insights.

I'm incredibly grateful for the people in my life who enter my presence with a smile, kind word, warm hug, and a happy thought. These are the people who show me every time our paths cross how fortunate and how rich I really am. A conversation I had with a good friend last night made me realize how derelict I've been in making sure that people know how much they mean to me.

People are always talking about the "starving children in China" and the "sick and dying people in Africa". Yes, those are sad facts of life, but at the same time, what about the emotionally bankrupt people of the world? People who have everything they could ever want, but they don't have a kind word for anyone, there's never a message on their voice mail left "just because"? I feel sorrier for those people. Starvation, sickness, and death are all part of the human condition. But emptiness of the soul is a travesty. And I am everyday grateful that I have people around me who help prevent that happening within myself. I only hope that I return the favour.

With every step, every breath, every beat of my heart, I give my thanks, for I shall never want.

"The planet does not need more successful people.  The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds." -- the Dalai Lama

*Photo found on Google images


The Great Pumpkin Carving

Besides getting fancied up in some weird clothes and toted around by my grandparents to be oohed & aahed over by their friends, carving a pumpkin with Papa and Grandma is one of my earliest memories of Halloween.  You can put up all the decorations you want, watch scary movies until your brain melts, and plan your costume to perfection...NOTHING starts the season for me like carving a pumpkin.

I've collected a nice pile of inspiration and how-to's for you to get you moving.  When in doubt, refer back over to my post Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frog... for some seasonal libations to keep you going.

Please drink and carve responsibly.

Let's get you started:

Using Cookie Cutters to decorate your pumpkin.  
There's also a step-by-step tutorial on how to carve a pumpkin.

A whole slew of patterns and ideas to make your pumpkins shine:

Taking it to the next level:

Winding it up:

For all you pumpkin carvers...waste not, want not.

Having a festive way to keep your drinks cold NEVER sucks.

Tomorrow is looking like Graveyard detail...woohoo!


Life is a Scavenger Hunt

This week:

Numb3rs...LOVE this show.

This album was given to me by a friend years ago and is one of the few physical discs I still own.

LOVE this blog.  I've referenced a few things from it in previous posts.

I've had a sweet tooth lately...

I still laugh when I think about the poison ivy.

Not sure if I like what it's telling me.

Fun Halloween crafts to do with children of all ages.

Monkey #1 Achievement:  He learned to play "Drunken Sailor" on his upright bass.

Monkey #2 Achievement:  She learned how to make legitimate noise on her flute.

My Achievement:  I learned how to crochet flowers and am halfway through making Monkey #2 a scarf.


Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog...

Tomorrow is Friday.  The start of the weekend.  Which means cocktails.  Hopefully.

I thought I'd post these delightful looking recipes today so you could go do some grocery shopping between now and Happy Hour tomorrow.  

Besides...are you going to serve up untried and untested recipes at a party???

I think NOT.

Consider this research and development.  

Your liver might not thank you anymore than does your pocketbook...but your tastebuds just might.

Please...do your research responsibly.

My only beef with this is that #13 is a Screwdriver, NOT a Mimosa.

Witches Brew
3oz Vodka
1 1/2oz cranberry juice
1/2oz Blue Curacao
1/2oz Sweet & Sour
6oz 7-Up or Sprite
Shake up all ingredients (gently) with ice
Add more Blue Curacao if it isn't purple enough.
Strain and serve in martini glasses with either white or black sugar on the rim.

(I did not make this or take this photo.  The link to where this came from was broken, ergo I've posted the recipe here with no link.)


Halloween Tablescapes

Yesterday we touched on the idea of a Halloween party (see the invitation links).

Today, we're going to talk making the table setting, or in this case, the tablescape, look amazing.

I know that a lot of them seem incredibly busy looking.  They are.  Those are mostly for parties where not a whole lot of time is going to be spent sitting around the table.  Busy it up, folks.

Also...I'm just as cheap as the rest of you, and I probably have even less storage space now than you do, so not only is it all about the Dollar Tree and the Day-After sales, it's about repurposing and scavenging.  You'd be surprised what you can manage when you get creative.

REALLY simple to do this one.  Just fill your jar with red colored water and toss in a whole head of cauliflower you've cut the stem off of.  Easy peasy.

All those wine bottles (or in the case of my household, wine AND rum bottles) you've gone through in the last [few] month[s]...PERFECT candleholders.  Just soak off the labels and stick in a candle (save your stubs for this...waste not, want not).

A few rubber rats, a nifty skull (I found one I love over at Big Lots), a few miniature white pumpkins, some offset candles, slightly tarnished silver pieces, and a black lace tablecloth (pay attention to thrift stores...or just buy a length of lace at a fabric store)...I'm liking this one.

Talk about a conversation piece.

This photo is linked to Alderberry Hill, but the blog post itself is gone.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this looks like a pizza pan, a few candlesticks and an old bundt cake pan glued together and spray painted black, loaded with fall foliage and various miscellaneous Halloween accessories.  Sky's the limit with this one.  This could be awesome in the middle of the table, or made larger to look welcome people at your front door.

Those skulls looks like Mercury glass, but you can always use silver spray paint.  Big Lots, thrift stores,  Ross, and yard sales are good places to find garish candlesticks that are in desperate need of black spray paint.

Goodwill tea set and some black paint.

I promise I've sent you to the right link.  You just need to scroll down a bit.

And then there's the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink look.

Go crazy.  Have fun.  We're never too old for any of it.

Tomorrow, we'll talk cocktails.  Because, let's face it...we probably could use one [of each] by now.


Halloween Book & Papercraft

Round Two.

I've compiled more favorites for you.

Today, we're looking at how to make Witch's books, spellbooks, altered books, and invitations (some that look like books).  Down towards the bottom, I've also included links to two different tutorials on how to age and antique your paper as well as a few links to some pretty sweet free Halloween fonts.

Have fun kids.

This blog is AMAZING.  I'm going to be following, creating, and sharing.

The blog post is more about the actual party (which I loved), but this invitation is a great template for making your own.

This blog has SO much stuff...I wouldn't see daylight again for awhile if I spent all the time I needed looking at everything.