Monthly Archives: October 2011

Eyeball Donuts for Halloween

Ewww! Gross.  A bloody eyeball on a fork.  Isn’t it just the perfect snack for Halloween?   I wish I’d seen these when my nephews were younger because I think they would have loved them.  I had other more complicated recipes in mind but I didn’t have the time or energy to actually try them out.  This one is funny and easy and for the right audience, it’s a winner.

I first saw them here at I Sing in the Kitchen, a fun blog I found that is by a “music obsessed cooking freak”.  Since then I’ve seen them all over the place with many variations.  These are something you assemble rather than cook.

Bloody Eyeballs on a Fork

Adapted from I Sing in the Kitchen


Powdered sugar donut holes or  small donuts (as in photos)


Red Decorating Gel – 1 tube was enough for about 6 eyeballs so get plenty, (or seedless red raspberry jelly in a baggie with the corner snipped off)

Edible black marker (I got a box with 5 colors of edible markers at Jo-Ann’s)

Forks (I used plastic as these were being given away)


Eat a powdered sugar donut.  Or three.

Use edible black marker to draw pupils on M&M’s.

Poke fork into donut hole or small donut.

Squirt a little red gel into center and put the pupil in place.

Draw squiggly lines for veins and a nice bit of blood around the tines of the fork.

Disgusting.  Kids will love them.

Thank you to Ariel for playing along.  I hope your brothers enjoy their treat!

Happy Halloween!


Filed under Cooking

Halloween Bottle Cap Necklace

Here is a fun project you could do this weekend and wear to work or school on Monday, Halloween! I did a little tutorial on these necklaces during June when I was doing the 30 Days of Creativity project. The long beads are pieces of aquarium tubing with rolled up paper slipped inside.  I punched the skulls from decorative Halloween paper but you could look for stickers or clip art if you don’t find paper with the right size graphic on it.

Have I mentioned that I really love Halloween?  I’ve got quite a collection of Halloween earrings, necklaces and pins. I made myself two of these bottle cap necklaces so I would have some variety!

Happy Haunting!


Filed under Crafts

Pumpkin Pin Made With Copper Foil Tape

Here is a fast and easy little project: a cute little pumpkin pin made from copper foil tape.  You might remember the aluminum foil duct tape project I did here during my 30 Days of Creativity.  This is very similar but using copper tape I found in the hardware store. The tape is made to repel slugs (Corry’s Slug & Snail Copper Tape Barrier) from plants in your garden but lends itself beautifully to crafting.


Copper Foil Tape

Small Pieces of Card Stock



Bone Folder (optional)


Small Ball-peen Hammer (or spoon)

Foam Mat (or folded paper towels)

Oval punch (optional)

Thin Cardboard (such as cereal box)

Decorative Paper

Hot Melt Glue Gun and Glue Stick

Pin-Back  (Found at Hobby Lobby, Michaels or other craft store)

Sharpie Pens in black, green and orange (optional)


  1. Cut shape out from card stock, no wider than 2 pieces of copper foil tape (about 2.5 inches)
  2. Use a scrap of card stock to glue another layer of paper to reinforce stem.
  3. Cover shape with copper foil tape: carefully peel back corner of paper backing but leave most of the paper on. Adhere from the bottom of the pumpkin shape, pulling paper backing off as you go. Repeat with second piece with a seam up the center of the pumpkin.
  4. Use your fingers to smooth the foil over the paper, especially the edges.
  5. Trim foil close to the edge of the paper and smooth around edges with your finger or a bone folder.
  6. Layer an additional piece of foil to stem.
  7. Using a dull pencil, draw curved lines on pumpkin, including up the center to disguise the seam. 
  8. Put pumpkin, foil side down, on a foam pad (or several layers of folded paper towel) and rub with the ball end of a ball-peen hammer (or a spoon) in circular motions, pressing the pumpkin into a rounded shape.
  9. Use a green Sharpie to color the stem and a black one to color the lines.  If desired, add a line of orange Sharpie next to the black lines.
  10. Punch (or cut) two oval shapes from thin cardboard and one oval from decorative paper.
  11. With hot glue gun, glue the two cardboard ovals together.  Glue the decorative paper oval to cardboard ovals.
  12. Glue to the back of the pumpkin.
  13. Glue a pin-back to ovals.

With the supplies on hand you can probably make a pumpkin pin in almost the time it takes to read this post.


This little pumpkin looks great pinned on your lapel or sweater.

More Halloween posts to come. Thanks for the visit!


Filed under Crafts

Dad’s Apple Butter

Apple Butter seems to taste best if you can get the apples for free.  My dad has no problem knocking on a homeowner’s door if he sees a tree in their yard with apples rotting on the ground underneath.   However, this year he isn’t yet out taking walks through the neighborhood, so he doesn’t have a stash of apples rotting fragrantly in crumpled paper bags in the corner of the kitchen.

I wanted apple butter for myself and loved the idea that my dad felt well enough to tackle the task of making a batch with my mom, so I decided to provide some apples. The first bag was purchased at the Marin Farmer’s Market at a discount as they were “cosmetically challenged” (the photo is from a week later at a different booth with a higher price).   I’d also snagged about 8 or so bruised or wormy apples from a free bin at the Market.    At my choir rehearsal, one of the singers had a big basket of apples from a tree in her yard that I was lucky enough to receive the bulk of (thanks, True).  As I was taking all of these apples to my folks’ house I saw a brown paper grocery sack on an overturned bucket by the curb with “Free Apples” scribbled on the bag.  I pulled over, hopped out and grabbed the bag.  So not every apple was free, but close enough!

Here in his own words is the way my dad makes Apple Butter:

Now you take a bunch of apples and wash ‘em.  [Note from Dianne: a bunch was probably half to three-quarters of a grocery sack]

Now you quarter ‘em, but leave the peels on and just cut out any rotten spots, seeds and core.  Leave as much of the apple as possible. Chunk up into pieces – about the size of the end of your thumb

Fill a large heavy-bottom pot to the brim with apple chunks, add about 1 cup of water.

Heat on high, turn to slow simmer, and watch out for bubbles, they’re HOT

Add water if needed to keep apples from burning.

Stir frequently – don’t go off and read a book!

Cook down until all chunks are soft. Different apples have different moisture content, keep testing.

Put some on saucer to cool and taste – different apples need different amount of sweetening

Add approximately ¼ to ½ cup sugar (or to taste).

Add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and cook for a short time to meld.

Run batches of hot, cooked apple chunks through food mill or food processor, if using mill, you have to go backwards sometimes to unclog.

Pour milled applesauce into baking dish or casserole (or bottom of broiler pan)

Bake at 250 to 275 degree oven.  Now go read your book.

After an hour, stir sauce, scraping down sides, continue to bake 4 to 6 hours, watching and stirring occasionally.  Taste part way through cooking time and adjust sweetener and spice.

Resulting sauce will be a rich brown with a thick texture. Enjoy!

It takes some time and effort, but the rewards (not to mention the heavenly fragrance) are hard to beat.  I enjoyed fresh Apple Butter with cottage cheese (all the better because it was from mom and dad’s open jar and I got to take mine home unopened).

It is wonderful with peanut butter on toast or on pancakes.  I opened my jar Sunday morning and had it on waffles.


Thanks for stopping by.

And thanks, Dad, for sharing your recipe for Apple Butter.


Filed under Cooking, Life

Indian Summer

I love this time of year: the nights are colder and the days are clear and sunny.  Friday at work the weather was so nice that a friend and I ate lunch on a blanket on the grass and enjoyed the warm sun.

I realize in Northern California we don’t get fall colors like many places that have “real” seasons, but I’m used to the subtle things that mark this change. I’m also very happy to be able to eat lunch in the sunshine in mid October.

The campus where I work is beautiful and even prettier as the leaves change.  Or is it just that I love this time of year?

Thank you for stopping by.  I will have more posts soon.  The painful pinched nerve in my neck is improving so I can get back to some of the craft projects I’ve been itching to make!  I will also be posting my dad’s recipe for Apple Butter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Small Town Street Fair

Rem and I went to the little town of Glen Ellen in Sonoma on Sunday and enjoyed the Glen Ellen Village Fair.

I wanted to visit a friend (hi, Laurie) and support her cause.

The weather was beautiful and it was great to stroll around together, munching on fair food, browsing the booths, and appreciating the relaxed, small-town vibe.

I resisted the cotton candy.

Everyone was checking each other out.

There were wonderful, creative items for sale like these bird houses.

Lots of dog and people watching.

A unique dress printed with local scenes.

We passed the giant corn dog booth when we arrived and didn’t stop.  Then we shared some incredible, fresh, mini donuts with a friend (thanks, Shook). Thank goodness we shared them so I didn’t buy a dozen myself.  I didn’t get any pictures of them but a photo would not have done the donuts justice – piping hot and dusted with powdered sugar – it is hard to beat a fresh, hot donut.

Nothing fancy but we had some good dim sum from Dim Sum Charlie’s: BBQ pork buns and dumplings filled with pork and greens with ginger.

Trying on a hat.

Ooh, that’s the right spot.

Unique assemblages of bone, antler and clay at the booth of artist Susan Heeringa-Pieper.

Driftwood, dried pods and other found objects.

Magoo, a Basset Hound/Lab mix next to Lady, a 4-month-old Dachshund pup.  Really adorable!

Somehow we found ourselves back at the Corn Dog booth.  They were stirring a batch of batter.

Hot dogs ready for dunking in cornmeal batter.

Each dog got a a thick coating of batter before a bath in hot oil.

I have never seen a corn dog fryer.  It was fun to watch.

They were really ginormous.

I had to have one.  (Notice my new beaded bracelet – purchased at a booth at the fair)

It was delicious – crunchy golden brown on the outside with tender cornmeal and a good dog in the center, just the right amount of seasoning and French’s yellow mustard for dipping.  I’d say it was one of the best corn dogs I’ve ever had.  The perfect end to our visit to the Glen Ellen Village Fair.

Thanks for stopping.



Filed under Life

Ridiculous Radiculopathy

I was planning on doing a different post this weekend.  I’ve got two great cards I want to write up and photograph for posting and sharing here but they will have to wait.

I’ve been having some upper arm and shoulder pain.  It has now been diagnosed as cervical radiculopathy.  It sounds kind of ridiculous to me.  This basically means I have a pinched or compressed nerve in my neck which is causing referred pain in my arm and shoulder.

This limits my activities as I try to avoid those that cause my symptoms to increase including sitting at a table, looking down and using my hands to do craft projects.  Typing on a computer isn’t much better, so I’m wrapping this up.

Ice packs and Advil are my companions.  I’ve started physical therapy and I’m doing the exercises that have been recommended.  My desk at work is going to be ergonomically assessed.  Once I’m feeling better I’ll be back at my craft table.  I hope it isn’t a ridiculously long wait.


Filed under Life