a friendly halloween safety reminder

With so many things to do, I really have no business sitting down in front of the computer, blogging. There are Halloween treat bags to stuff. There are still decorations to be put out. There are apples with sticks that have yet to be dipped... and the last few licks with a needle and thread to finish the costumes.

There are bracelets and earrings to finish and little packages to put together for Sunday. Local readers, swing by and say "hi" at the First Chance Craft Show (Holliston School, 1511 Louise Avenue) on Sunday afternoon between 1:30 - 4:30. I will be getting up early on Sunday to disable my Etsy for the day, wouldn't that be a debacle if a one-of-a-kind charm bracelet sold on the internet at the same time it sold in a craft show? New items that I am making, if they don't leave at First Chance, will be listed on Etsy next week.

And in all this hoopla, Loopy and a friend found the time after school to make Halloween Hi-Hat cupcakes. We used Martha's recipe. We decided not to make the hats that high, after all. There's going to be enough sugar for everyone tomorrow. Have a wonderful Free Candy Day, I will be back on Monday with a First Chance report and the annual post-Halloween post.

second chance

Due to popular demand, I've opened a second round of the pink/aqua vintage charm swap for Christmas.  If you would like to take part in this swap, click here.

This swap, like the others, will be limited to 12 participants.  Your charms must be mailed to the hostess (me) on or before November 16th.  Got it?  Good!  

This will be the last charm bracelet swap of 2009... I'm pooped. They really are a ton of work. Stay tuned after the holidays, I will be announcing the Valentine charm bracelet swap then.

first chance, for local readers

I will be taking part in this first gift show of the holiday season on Sunday... if you are a local reader looking for some Christmas shopping ideas, do pop on by.  If I can get my act together in the midst of all the Halloween hubbub, this is what will be on hand from me:

Hopefully a few sweet embellished Thread Bears from my collection.  These come with a gift tag holder... a really sweet way to present a store card.

Tiny iPods, I think I have the time to finish these sweeties up.  Maybe The Secret Weapon can give me a hand (hint, hint!).

Cupcake jewelry... necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  I've made a giant batch of red velvet cupcakes, just in time for the holidays. These will be on an assortment of styles of chains!

Bracelets that haven't been listed in my Etsy... sort of exclusive right now.

The popular iPod earrings will be making a comeback - an awesome stocking stuffer for teenagers!

I will be disabling my Esty store at Midnight on Saturday and bringing those bracelets to the show for locals to pick from and offering some pretty delightful gift wrapping... if you know me, you know I just lurrve to wrap gifts all fancy!

Unveiling a few Christmas bracelet designs early!

... and more... as time permits. Some antique coin jewelry, vintage button jewelry and more. Hope to see you there! Even if you just swing by for a little gab, I'd still love to visit.

swaps are now full

I hadn't but finished listing the Christmas Charm Bracelet Swap Kits and within minutes they were gone! Read on if you are still interested in taking part, today may be your lucky day!

For those of you who have participated before, it is structured the same way. You can make or purchase 12 identical charms that meet the theme of the swap you sign up for by purchasing a "swap kit" in my Etsy.

Then, make sure you mail those charms to me no later than Monday, November 16. I will sort them out, add a bracelet and clasp, and mail it all back off to you by the end of November so that you can assemble your bracelet and enjoy it during the holiday season!

Edited: This post filled in about twenty minutes! Friends, if you would like another round of the vintage pink and aqua swap, please leave a comment today! There are no more spots in this swap but lots of interest.  I had one more spot available this morning as part of the aforementioned billing confusion and had four emails about it. 

Swap is full!

I am considering offering another round of the pink and aqua vintage swap and/or a round of red and aqua cute/vintage/fun swap. For an example of that, click here. Please leave a comment if either of these swaps are of interest to you.

All swaps will be limited to twelve participants.  The spoils of the Halloween swap can be seen here.

halloween baking

The girls and I got together on Saturday afternoon for a Halloween baking bee... working in pairs, we prepared six delicious, creepy treats to take home for some spooky entertaining. If you couldn't make it, here are the recipes:

My favourite of all the Halloween treats, there is nothing tastier than a fresh batch of armpit hair plucked from the drain. 

Break apart three large shredded wheat bundles into long strands so they have the appearance of hair, and set aside.

In a medium sized heavy saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons honey with 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 6 ounces of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter or margarine. Gently stir over medium heat until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Remove from heat and gently stir in the shredded wheat.  When thoroughly coated, scoop onto a waxed paper lined sheet in small, equal portions. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set. Before serving, you can shake a little "talcum powder" (confectioner's sugar) on them to freshen them up!

These are so easy and quick, I made them last year too... simply poke mini marshmallows on either end of a lollipop stick. Over a double boiler or in a microwave, melt butterscotch chips until smooth (or you can use peanut-butter flavoured Wilton candy melts). Gently dip each end of the "swab" in the melted candy and lay to set on waxed paper. Do not refrigerate.

These are always a hit!

These scab-filled treats are a cut above the rest!  Simply cut graham crackers in half horizontally to resemble a rectangular Band-Aid. Cut jumbo marshmallows into four slices and trim the edges to square them off.  On each piece of marshmallow, place a torn bit of strawberry fruit roll-up to the sticky side.

In a microwave, warm a little milk (about 6 tablespoons) and add 2 tsp vanilla or orange extract. Mix in approximately 2 cups confectioner's sugar to the warm milk until it is smooth and lump-free. Add food colour (red and yellow, or a gentle pink) to resemble a fleshy bandage tone. Spread this mixture on the top of each halved graham cracker and place the scabby marshmallow in the middle.

We embellished the scab pad by adding a dab of Wilton Halloween-green candy melts to the scab area for "pus." Everybody say... ewwwww.

My booger bits are simply delicious! They are crusty and sweet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine one 14 - 0z sweetened condensed milk with 5 cups finely flaked coconut, 1/3 cup Jell-O lime gelatin (in its powdered form), 1 cup finely ground almonds, and 1 tsp almond extract. Mix well with and cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for about one hour.

Scoop out by tiny bits and form into odd shapes and balls. Make sure all sizes and shapes are different, just as each and every booger is special and unique.

Pour the remainder of your lime Jell-O package in a bowl and lightly roll each booger in the powder to finish it... the boogers will get a nice crust and take on a neat lime shade. Place on waxed paper and return to the refrigerator for an hour before serving.

We also dipped Halloween Oreos in black Wilton candy melts and sprinkled them... we decorated pretzel twists the same way. These goodies are for those who are too squeamish for our other goodies.

I gathered my share of the goodies on a tray and bundled it closed with some CAUTION tape from Dollarama. I left a set of recipes for the Home Economics teacher who graciously agreed to allow us to meet in her lab for the afternoon... think she'll find any takers?


Just a little hint: Monday evening registration will open here for the Christmas Charm Bracelet Swap. I will be setting it up all day in two rounds and will open a third if the first two fill. First come, first served. Be here, or be square. 

Friends, the inquiries have been coming in like crazy... readers want to know if I will be hosting a Christmas Charm Bracelet Swap.  The short answer is, yes.

I'm going to post the "kits" on Etsy next week for swappers to grab up. The question I have is, how many kits and thus, how many rounds of 12 should I put together.

Also, I'm thinking of offering different styles and would like to know if there is interest for that. I imagine one round to be traditional and vintage (think dark red and green with vintage style touches),  one whimsical and fun (think bright red and green with fun, candy and toy style charms) and one round of the pink/blue/silver vintage theme like my local peeps and I are putting together (think raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens)...

So if any of these ideas appeal to you, won't you please leave me a comment so I can make the plans this weekend and put the kits in Etsy early next week. By all means, leaving a comment isn't a commitment to take part in the swap, but it will surely give me an idea of how to plan the event.  

halloween trickery

How cute are these mini brownie bites frosted with buttercream? I decorated them with my special frosting recipe, but I'll tell you a little something about the brownies. If you promise not to blab it around.

As much as I lurrve to bake from scratch, realistically I don't always have the time. And if the confessional is open, I have to tell you: I can't bake brownies. Not gooey, soft, fudgey brownies that everyone begs for. Before the advent of the silicone baking pan in fact, I'd never successfully turned a batch out intact. Every brownie recipe I've tried has been dry, crumbly and only half-assed chocolatey.

The very best brownie recipe that I've ever found goes something like this:

1 egg
1/3 cup water
1 package Safeway chocolate brownie mix
*bake according to package directions

... and really, I tell you this because I have tried. I have experimented with every brand of mix out there: the grocery store brand names, the ones with brand name candy added, the ones with unpronounceable, fancy, pretentious names. They don't work for me. I'm jinxed. The very best success I've ever had with brownies is with the Safeway store brand.

I'm not even usually drawn to store brand products, so I have no idea why I swear by this particular boxed brownie, but there you have it. Your dose of reality for the day. Saucy is hopelessly, completely and utterly incapable of baking a scratch brownie.

So if you have an infallible recipe, by all means... send it along and I'll test it. I'll make a mess of it, but I'll test it.

I managed to pack up and mail Jack and Moira's Halloween box of goodies yesterday. I hope it arrives in time for them to enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows after they go trick-o-treating.

Is it just me, or do you find the Halloween goodies out there hopelessly cute? I dragged all this stuff home from Detroit.

And so, please send me your brownie recipes... if you think I can handle it. My buttercream recipe is at the bottom of this post.

all about loopy

Loopy had to produce one of those "all about me" assignments for her English class at the start of the term. Each student was asked to create a scrapbook about their lives, their interests and their families. It was a ginormous task worth a huge chunk of her midterm grade. She decided to put together one of her famous paper-bag scrapbooks:

Do you recognize the bags? I raided my stash of shopping bags, they're from Sephora. It just worked out that over the years I've had different sizes and shapes of Sephora bags... imagine that. This is why I never throw things away. Reduce, reuse and recycle, baby!

I helped her punch the bags together using the two largest ones for the cover and staggering the placement of the medium and small bags. This kept the book interesting and inexpensive. The tiny scraps of ribbon are all mismatched but that adds to the appeal, no?

We kept the handles on the outside bags, so it could be toted around and handed in easily. I saved the handles that I removed from the small bags, of course. You'll see those here other time. You know you will.

Straight up, let me tell you: Loopy kept this light and fun. Some teachers want the full story. You know... are your parents divorced? Who do you live with? All that jazz. Loopy would have none of it. She's not really into sharing personal stuff at school. Plus, it's all in her permanent record. The teacher can find it there if he is so inclined, she announced.

She decided to focus on "things she couldn't live without" and "her prized possessions," stuff like that. Check out the interactivity. The cards pulled out of the little bags. She listed her likes and dislikes on cards in that pink envelope... pasted upside down, it had been used before. Repurposing is what it's all about, man.

The Hello Kitty tags came on some PJ's. Some charms and mismatched earrings, too.

She sort of stole the clip from the craft room desk, but whatever. It matched.

A bag within a bag! A snap of her Triple Flip photo shoot mounted on a Triple Flip shopping bag! The pull tag was the cut end of a clothing tag from White House Black Market. I told you, I never throw anything away. Anything! You dig?

I dig the small bags laying on top of the medium and large bags. It all worked.

Pullout snapshots of cousins in the "family" bag.

She included our famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. She even made a batch of cookies and slipped some into that bag for the teacher. Nice work.

That cardboard iPod came from the iPod packing. Hey, there's the other half of that clothes tag... and a Jonas Brothers tag from a JB hat... imagine that.

A whole pull out bag devoted to the Jonai, filled with lyrics and info about them. You had to know she'd do that.

Her grade: an "F" for "fascinating." Some kids got "A" for "acceptable." Explain that to your kid with Asperger's.

suck on this

With the leftover hard crack candy from making tricked out candy apples, I couldn't resist making creepy vampire lollies. It's just so darn easy to  drop the thick syrup from a measuring spoon onto tinfoil... shiny side up. Work with a partner, one person pouring the syrup and the other person working the lolly sticks into the puddle. 

The vampire fang gummies add the fear factor. I found a bag of them at the dollar store. Working quickly, stick 'em on while the lollipop is still hot... before it hardens.

Wrapping them is tricky... don't use regular kitchen plastic wrap, it'll get too gooey and sticky and the candy will lose its hard-crackle crunch. Wrap 'em in cello, they'll keep for a week or two if it's not too humid.

Am I the only one who lurrves eyeballs? Jars of eyeballs at Halloween make me smile.

How about those soft and chewy, sparkly ginger cookies on the last post? Many of you asked for the recipe. Because I'm no evil sucker,  here it is:

Super Soft Ginger Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup molasses
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
coarse granulated sugar for rolling cookies

Use your large bowl and electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, water and molasses and continue mixing until smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, baking soda and cinnamon. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, and beat until everything is combined to a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, until the dough is firm enough to handle.

Dump that coarse sugar onto a plate. Roll the dough into one inch balls and then roll each ball into the sugar, turning to coat the entire surface. Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart (these really spread and flatten out nicely). Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Here's the thing about these cookies: the will be really soft and look undone when your timer goes off but take them out anyway. Let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. They're just so soft and gooey on the inside they need a minute to firm up, but they really will. It's the truth.

the halloween ball

Let me tell you the story of a little Halloween princess...

She was a good little witch who studied her spells.

Oh, and sometimes she studied the books about the latest trends in Witchcraft fashions!

Well, what can I say? She was a teenaged witch. She also spent a fair bit of time texting and using her magical orb to instant message her friends.

She had a wicked sense of style!

But that little witch wanted desperately to go to the Halloween Ball. More than anything...

After all, she had some lovely new shoes to wear.

Try as she might, she could not see far enough into the future. Would she be invited?

She murmured a little spell to herself... she even dug out an old family spell and put it to good use...

It guaranteed her her heart's desire if she would just follow the directions. She did so to the letter.

She had all but given up hope... she'd not really done well in her spells class. She was really counting on a future in magical fashion.

At that moment, she heard her messenger approaching with what she hoped would be good news.

Although she was tired... she'd spent the entire day pondering her possible costume choices for the event...

... she raced up the stairs in the hope of all hopes that the raven would bear tickets to the grand Halloween Ball.

Her Raven had arrived! Would she bear good news?

Raven indeed carried tickets to the gala event of the Halloween season! The little witch was beside herself with excitement!

She knew it was time to let the magic begin... and to make a costume decision.

Perhaps she could be an elegant princess?

Or a sparkly cheerleader?

Some sort of pirate girl costume would be appropriate, she was sure of that.

What about a butterfly princess? She decided against it, as there would be true butterfly princesses at the ball and she'd not want to ruffle anyone's wings. Those butterfly princesses were a deceptively cranky lot.

A rough-and-tumble tattoo girl would be fun...

... as would a not-corpse bride. This little witch wasn't much for gore.

She finally decided to be a rock and roll witchy woman... witch-ay woman. She waved her wand and she was off!

She accessorized with the gorgeous bracelet that she'd put together by participating in Saucy's Halloween Charm swap. Each and every charm was gorgeous, and although she'd only kept a few, she embellished her bracelet with vintage earrings, brooches and bits and bobs in her tickle trunk. It was the perfect conversation piece to wear at a Halloween Ball.

She would talk about the lovely ladies who participated and invite fellow guests to watch the blog for the upcoming announcement about the Christmas Charm swap... she was sure they would be as excited for it as they'd been about Halloween!

The goodies were delectable. There were cupcakes of course. It was, after all, National Cupcake Day.

There were jars and jars of Halloween candy... just what she lurrved to see at a party!

There were ghoulish trays of bug-infested seasonal fruits..

... and the most delicious tricked-out double candy and caramel apples topped with a chocolate dipped pretzel!

She settled on crispy but gooey-in the middle ginger cookies.

The decor was smashing... from the bats in the belfry,

to the grand glittered skulls and bones.

The little witch had a grand time at the ball, visiting with all the other honoured guests in attendance, in fact she planned to spend the rest of the weekend blog-hopping to see the highlights and leave little comments for her fellow party guests.

Above all, the little witch wanted to thank sweet Vanessa for hosting the annual event... she makes everything in blogland so very special.

And to you , Dear Readers and fellow party guests... Saucy and the little fashion-conscious party-hopping Halloween witch would like to offer you the opportunity to win a handmade Halloween Cupcake Charm Bracelet from Saucy's Etsy shop (like the one listed below). Just leave a comment on this post AND the post below... what a wonderful way to celebrate this most spectacular, magical, mystifying holiday! Good luck!