Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween ideas

hahahahaha I love this Big Bad Wolf costume for dogs (as seen on Craftzine).
You can purchase this costume from Down Under Dog Designs on etsy.

Check out this fun Owl-o-Lantern (also from Craftzine)
I also just posted some trick-or-treat bag tutorials on
my purse blog, so be sure to get ideas there too.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010


I've always wanted to attend the annual Festa downtown in Little Italy, and today I had the opportunity.

Kids must have "decorated" the street today before the crowds arrived.
A lot of people were just walking over the mini masterpieces, not noticing, but I thought it was fun to acknowledge the doodles and scribbles

I've been to other events in Little Italy, and those were actually even more romantic because they featured opera-singing waiters.
The singing was sadly absent today, but the Festa does feature several bands, a show of luxury Italian cars, vendors, and lots of food.
The show stoppers, however, are the artistic entries in the chalk drawing competition--all voted on by the public, and vying for cash prizes.
The sidewalk or street chalk drawings are Gesso Italiano.

The art featured homage to Italian masters in painting and other arts, but also to this year's sponsor: Fiat


My favorite drawing was a tribute to Caravaggio.
My photos don't do the drawing justice--the detail and realism was amazing

Awesome mermaid balloon sculpture

Lots of scooters, and this pristine vintage Corvair

I love the juxtaposition of old against new (the whales painting is by Wyland)

A mosaic on a column

Birds on a wire (photo taken through the window of the Trolley)

My favorite moment of the day: watching an elderly couple dance, alone in a small plaza, to a smiling man playing an accordian.

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Planted Wheelbarrow

I figured I'd copy the ideas I've seen on garden tours, and utilize unusual items as creative planting containers.
I've seen lots of items recycled into planters--chair seats, a grandfather clock, an old enamel stove, red wagons, coffee pots, pitchers, boots, wooden shoes...the possibilities are endless.
This is a way to incorporate mementos into your outdoor space, or whimsy, or pockets of treasure.

My mom had a rusted-out wheelbarrow spattered with concrete, its bare front wheel stuck in the ground at the tail end of my garden.
Last year I moved a few rocks in it, but since then it sat abandoned and unused.
It was time I brought it back to life--not with paint, but with plants.

First I covered the bottom with rocks to aid drainage

Then I added horticultural charcoal so collected water wouldn't sour (turns out there must be some rust holes in the wheelbarrow, because water actually drains through. Bonus)

Using the method I learned from The Garden Compass, it's most aesthetically pleasing if containers incorporate
"thrillers" (upright plants for drama),
"fillers" (plants to fill the area),
and "spillers" (plants that cascade over the edge)

I like to plant in odd numbers, so I chose five plants for now, and will watch to see how they fill in.
Later I may add more of the same plant, or I may eliminate.
Time will tell.

Two grasses for thrillers
Achillea "pink grapefruit" for filler (a pink-colored yarrow)
and I'm hoping the Mexican Primrose will bend and cascade as it grows and blooms, to become my spiller.

If you haven't seen Mexican Primrose, it's really beautiful, but it's invasive, so often best kept in a contained area (photo grabbed from google images)

Other garden happenings:
Zucchini still producing
Pomegranates are growing
Aloha Lily


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

San Diego Peanut Butter Chews!

Previously I posted a recipe that I had read was the infamous (in San Diego) Peanut Chews from the San Diego School District.
Since then, however, I have received a second version.
I'm pretty sure this version is the actual, honest-to-God copy, as it's from a woman who used to work in the cafeteria.
Oh happy days!

Madison High Peanut Butter Chews

Grease (with shortening, not oil) two 8" x 13" pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix and set aside:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In another bowl, mix until creamy:
2/3 cup butter (original recipe calls for "oleo", but eeewww. Always use butter)
1 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar

Combine creamed mixture with dry mixture.
Add and blend well:
2 cups quick oats or 2 cups coconut
(I wonder if regular oats would work? I think they taste so much better than the quick. Or I wonder if half oats and half coconut would taste yummy?)

Pat into two greased pans and level.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes (don't let them get too brown)

While the bars are baking, mix up a very thin (but not watery) glaze of powdered sugar and vanilla icing (ingredients and quantities not listed, but I always thought the glaze from the previously posted recipe wasn't enough).
Spread glaze on baked chews while they are still hot.

Cool, then cut into squares.

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I love watching cooking shows on television, and reading cooking-related magazines.
One of the best of both is Cooks Illustrated Magazine, which is also responsible for America's Test Kitchen, and Cook's Country.
The great thing about all these is they go into their kitchens and test test test until what comes out is a recipe tried and true--and one you can trust is going to be excellent.

So when I heard that their Raspberry Chiffon Pie is one of their top ten most requested recipes, I had to give it a try.
I wasn't disappointed.
In fact, I made it for a get together of friends, in place of a birthday cake.

It's a sophisticated version of, surprisingly, a jello pie.

Get the recipe on Artic Garden Studio, just don't leave out the whipped cream layer.
And check out her link to Batter Splattered.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

San Diego Quilt Show, 2010

After my laptop being broken for so long, and then misplacing the battery to my camera, I've got a lot of catch-up to do on this blog.
My mom and I attended the San Diego Quilt Show recently, and I had planned to go through the program and identify all the artists, maybe even identify some of their inspirations.
But this cloudy weather kicks my butt, and I just don't have the energy.
So, for now anyway, I'll just share some photos of some of the quilts (and hope it inspires me to get back to sewing!)

This one used techniques to create rust, for added texture, color, and interest!
It also incorporated a real photograph

Fun fabric

Of course I always favor the quilts that incorporate neckties

modern log cabin in batiks

thread art and textural contrast create images in cloth

An example of using one shape only


Confederate quilt

Incorporating hand-painting

I love the three-dimensional kite

Three dimensional characters

Notes and messages
Tee shirt memories
Scouting quilt recycles mementos

Using shapes and photographs

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