No.5 – And A New Year Begins

So the holidays sort of bulldozed any time I had to keep up with this new endeavor of mine, so for anyone reading, I apologize. I shall make it up to you by indulging in some of my holiday successes:

1) Halloween! It was fun, orange, and filled with all kinds of treats. For a re-cap, see my previous post. Also, a tip. If you want to make it look like you might have killed someone and then steam cleaned the carpet, splash a little laundry detergent and try your best to clean it with a wet cloth. Then turn on a blacklight, ad watch your friends stare at the revealed stain in wonder. (For those of you interested in the backstory of this little experiment, my roomie accidentally spilled some laundry detergent and we realized as the party started that it look like someone might have lost a fair amount of blood on our brand new carpet…a la TV-crime-scene style.) :D

2) Thanksgiving! I call this a success in that it was a good night filled with family and friends, and just enough food that it didn’t kill me to make it all. Last year, I had challenged myself to make everything myself in one day – the pie, the turkey, potatoes, side dishes, etc…and I did it! This year, I opted to keep the menu a little smaller, and ask for help if I needed it. If anything, I spent most of the day doing nothing and waiting for the right time to start up the side dishes! It’s all about timing. A tip: lists. I love lists. I make lists for almost everything, but mostly when I want to sort out a bunch of info in my head, and I don’t want to forget tasks or things at the store. Since last year, I made a list for the store, the cooking times, and the menu, I knew exactly what to expect this year, and it was easier. Pre-preparing can sometimes really help! I know it seems like common advice, but from someone who only party-plans for her friends that will love her and enjoy themselves even if I think it’s a disaster, I know I feel a lot better when it seems like I have a bit of control. The harder part is about letting go of that control and just letting parties be parties!

3) The Craft Fair! My employer holds an employee holiday party/craft fair every year, and all of the crafty people in my organization get together and sell their wares and generally have a good time. I had heard about it a little late, but still managed to get a table, and thankfully got to share space with a few friends of mine! It is a great, small, almost exclusive craft fair that was good for getting my feet wet. My goal, for the next year, is to build up enough stock in my card-making that I can actually start selling them. Invest in some shipping supplies, and list some things on Etsy. I hope whomever’s reading this may be interested in helping that endeavor. I might actually start selling cards for Valentine’s day. And perhaps a few other crafts I manage to make. Below are a few pictures from the craft fair, just so you can see what I’m all about.

As you can see, it’s mostly all Christmas/Holiday stuff, but, well, it was that time of year! I can’t wait to build up my tools and stock some more and make some more cards!

4) Christmas! I spent it at home, with family and friends, opening presents and making a delicious ham dinner. :) Here’s my mom’s recipe for a ham glaze:

Ham Glaze

Ingredients:

Whole cloves (about 10)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup orange juice

1 8oz can pineapple chunks in juice

1 tbsp corn starch

2 tsp dry mustard (or wet mustard to taste)

Directions:

1) Across the top of your ham, cut lines diagonally  and then crosswise, to make diamonds. In each corner, push a clove in, so they dot the top of the ham. Cook ham per packaging directions.

2) In a small saucepan, mix brown sugar, orange juice, 2 tbsp of the pineapple juice, and the dry mustard. Heat over medium high until it starts to bubble. Add corn starch. Remove from heat.

3) A half-hour away from finishing time, pour the pineapple chunks over the ham, with the rest of the juice. Pour the juice mixture over the ham and continue cooking.

Recipe works for about 1 1/2 pounds of ham.

5) New Years! Usually, New Year’s Eve, we watch the fireworks at the Space Needle. This year, we had some friends over, opened some belated Christmas gifts, and watched “Star Wars” on BluRay.

All in all, it was a great holiday season. I hope you all had a wonderful time as well!

Until next time!

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No. 04 – Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Okay, so my Halloween party wasn’t themed after Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (one of my favourite books as a kid, by the way) But there were a few odd looking folk attending, and it went off pretty well, so I say – success! Everyone had fun – that’s in important part. And, I got LOTS of compliments on the food and decor, so YAY!

Most of the pictures I have are of people, so I will probably be blurring out some faces to protect the innocent *wink* but there are a few of the decor and food! Oh, and my dog. :D

Decor from above.

Fuzzy decor.

The beginnings of a party…

The Secret Society’s Past Members

Ghost Wine

Ghostly Libations

Bloody punch.

Fossil Cookies

Bleeding cakes.

Graveyard dirt.

Vampire Cookies. Courtesy of Clair Drake.

An apocalypse is coming.

Dobby and Yoda have a conversation.

Cruella Deville.

Me, a Gypsy.

I wish my camera were better quality, but some pictures turned out really well, considering. :) I wish I had gotten more pictures of some of the details, but I hope you all enjoyed this little taste of my very successful Halloween party. Happy Halloween to you!

No. 03 – Glitter Makes Everything Better

More crafts!

So a few days ago, I decided to re-visit my little food signs, and punch them up a bit. And what better way to do that than with GLITTER.

This is really the only decent picture I got off my phone, unfortunately, but I’ll be borrowing a friend’s camera  for the party, so I’ll get lots of good pics then. I used this Halloween-themed glitter pack from Michael’s:

It’s a great little pack, and a little goes a long way! There’s also a similar pack by Martha Stewart that comes with a little glue pen. I’ve used this one for a few other projects too:

Glitter skulls! I bought these tiny skulls at Michael’s as well, and used a paintbrush to put a thin layer of glue all over, then generously used the glitter until it was coated, shaking off the excess.

These skulls are a couple of inches across, but there were others by Martha Stewart that we quite a bit bigger, if you need something large for a centerpiece or the like. These are just going to go amongst the plates of food with a few un-glittered skulls and the food signs.

I’ve also made a few oddity jars – filled with things you might find in a witch’s kitchen. ;)

Dragon’s Egg

Phoenix Feathers

Brain Specimen

Graveyard Dirt

Dendriod Leaves

Anyhow, I hope you all have fun crafting for Halloween! Next time I should have some pics from the party!

No. 01 – Halloween Cometh

Hello! My name is Raven, and I started this blog to chronicle my excursions with food and crafts. I will also most likely be posting just about anything that interests me. :) Clothing, food, art (that other people make), craft ideas, awesome things I experience.

I currently live in Seattle, but grew up in Alaska, so you will probably hear and see references to that as well. And yes, the name of this blog is intentionally a play on words. I like to do that. Don’t judge! :P

I don’t have the awesomest camera yet, but I do know how to use Photoshop, so I will probably use that to my advantage. lol. I actually think my phone takes better pictures than my camera, which is kind of sad.

But anyhow, enough of the introduction stuff! Let’s  get this started with some crafting!

So, Halloween is in a week, and as it’s been a while since I even attempted to throw a party, and since my roommates and I never had a housewarming at our new place, I decided an AWESOME Halloween party was in order.

I’ve been planning this for almost two months. I’m sure my friends are all sick of hearing me talk about it. I sometimes think I might be tired of thinking about it. lol. But it’s still exciting. I mean, this is what I’m hoping is the first in a long line of awesome Halloween parties. I’m sure eventually they’ll become more kid themed, but I know there are a few bachelorettes or child-less people out there who love to throw parties. But I’m hoping anyone who loves to throw parties will benefit from this blog.

Here’s just a little bit of what I’ve been working on…more ideas for both crafts and food to come in the coming week or two!

Food and Drink Signs

Here, I’m creating little free-standing signs for the food I’m going to have. Nothing’s what it looks like – pigs in blankets become baby finger sandwiches, apple cider is really witch’s brew, and chocolate pudding is really graveyard dirt. I just had to make little signs so the monsters at my party knew they were getting the real deal!

I printed out the food list on cream cardstock (because my printer is a front loader, I had to account for the fact that cardstock is a little too heavy to load properly, and I adjusted the text lower down on the page, so it wouldn’t get cut off), but you could use regular printer paper. I cut out each piece. I wasn’t too careful – having it a little wonky for a Halloween party is okay! Then I used double-sided tape to tape the pieces to orange, green, or purple cardstock, leaving enough room for a little border around each. Once they were all assembled, I took “Woodsies” square popsicle sticks and cut them in half at an angle, so one end was pointy. I glued the other end to the signs, and let them dry. While they were drying, I took small (about 1 1/2 inch) styrofoam balls and cut them in half. Using black acrylic paint, I panted each, not worrying too much about saturating all of the surface – the natural color of the styrofoam lends itself to being a bit sparkly in light, so I didn’t have to use glitter (but you totally can, if you want! Use clear glue, and after the paint is dry (if you’re using a base paint color) put the glitter on). Then I stuck the food signs in a half sphere of foam and voila! Free-standing food signs that can go on the food platters, the counter, the table…anywhere you need them too. Of course, they’re not super weighted down, so a good nudge will knock them over, but if you need to put them down more permanently, feel free to use double-sided tape or little removable sticky glue dots. And you can totally do something similar for other holidays or parties too!

Invitations

These are samples of the invites I did for the party. The graveyard stamp I didn’t have, but I had a picture of it, so I made it a brush in photoshop and added the fancy text – putting several on a page then printing it out on grey cardstock. I took a clear stamp block, pressed it into dark brown ink then rubbed it over the purple cardstock for that “evening” look. I cut out circles of cream paper for the moons and then used some creative inking to get them to look like harvest moons. Then I took some green and black paper and ripped them to get that weathered edge, and layered it all together! For the inside, I made an insert, printed it out on cream cardstock, then trimmed it to fit the inside of the card, then sent them out!

“Pick Your Poison” Drink List

This is my drink list for the party! I saw some AWESOME black vodka drinks on MarthaStewart.com, and came up with the idea to have a sort of drink list…that people could “order” from. :)

I made up the list in photoshop, adding in some fun blood brushes and other Halloween embellishments. I used “Old Script” for the font. Then I tea-dyed the paper. (If you don’t have a lot of heavily inked images, you will probably want to tea-dye the paper first, because the tea will lift up the ink while it soaks.) To tea-dye, brew very stong black tea (like Lipton) then let it cool. Set it in a shallow bin large enough to put your paper in, then soak the paper for a few hours. Overnight is fine, but it will turn out darker. Once dry, the paper waves and curls like old parchment! I found an awesome frame at an art store in downtown Seattle my friend works at, then trimmed the paper to fit, and yay! I have an awesome drink list to order from. I’ll be setting it on the bar-counter where all the alcohol will be for the party.

I have a few more crafts I’ve made for the party that I will share in the coming days. Look out for more!

Also, if you’re just looking for some visual inspiration, check out my Pinterest page (link on the left). Pinterest is a fun site where you can “pin” things you find on the internet (with pictures) to share with everyone, and just to help you when you’re looking for inspiration or ideas. Some of the things I’ve done for my party are based off of things I’ve pinned, some I saw after the fact…but I just want to pass on as much inspiration as I can! You really can’t own an idea…anything you do with it is unique to you! So go out, find some inspiration, and make it your own.