Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!!

This year we carved 3 pumpkins and 1 turnip.


The Kanji one is "face" in Japanese.

Why did we carve a turnip? That's because of Jack of the Lantern.


The story behind Jack'o'lanterns is here:

Basically, Jack tricked the devil into promising not to take his soul. When he died he was in limbo between heaven and hell, because he wasn't good enough for heaven and the devil promised not to bring him to hell. He was given an ember from the devil so he could see while he was wandering around in the dark. He put the ember in a carved out turnip and held it like a lantern. He became known as Jack of the Lantern. It's an old Irish folk story, and I love it.

I also made some pumpkin cake pops. They are various flavors (next time I will have to actually make pumpkin bread or cake ones). Someone ordered 2 dozen from me for a Halloween party and I brought the rest to work to give out as treats for Halloween.


We decorated our front window with origami bats:


Even Beethoven at home has some Halloween spirit!


I made some apple butter with the rest of my apples from the orchard:


And canned it for some friends:


And I roasted some pumpkin seeds and flavored them with cinnamon and sugar:


They are delicious!

On Saturday, after I delivered the 201+ cake pops that a bride ordered for her wedding, I saw this amazing sunset.


And speaking of those wedding cake pops, here they are:


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Picking!

Last Saturday my pal David and I headed out to Grave's Mountain to attend the apple harvest festival and to pick apples in the orchard!


It was opening day for the festival, so there was a line of traffic waiting to get there, but we made it around 11am. We parked and trekked across the way to where the festival was. We checked out the vendors and joked about all of the tchotkes and other things we saw there. We did see a few things we liked, too.

Like these gold/silver dipped leaves turned into pendants:


I really liked the ginkgo leaf pendants she made and I'm sure I could make them myself. I saw some liquid metal (gold, silver, etc) on QVC a few years ago and thought it would be neat for something like this. Guess that's what the vendor was doing. Either way the pendants looked great!

After we were done looking around the festival and taking photos, we headed over to the orchard. It was a little bit of a walk and we stopped to check out the petting zoo before we continued on..

Pigs on the way to the apple orchard:


Almost to the orchard:


Once we got there we picked up a half bushel box and made our way to the aisles and aisles of apple trees and started picking!

Gorgeous view:


View of the mountain:


David in the orchard:


Some scenery at the apple orchard:



We ended up with a half bushel and David took the ones he picked (he didn't want too many of them). We got a variety of fuji, golden and red delicious, stayman, and others. The fujis are my favorite! As my friend Anna says, I have never met a fuji apple I didn't like!

My half bushel of apples:


We also stopped at the road side stand when you leave the orchard to pick up some little gourds and mini pumpkins. One of the little pumpkins is on my desk at work. For some reason I find them really cute.

My gourds/mini pumpkins:


So, it was a great day with David, who was visiting Richmond for the weekend. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the weather. It was a mini adventure walking around the apple orchard trying to find good apples to pick, but we had a great time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Some photos

One of my last harvests of my cherry tomato plant:


Half a bushel of apples from Graves Mtn Orchard:


Crock pot stew:


Bubblecake Bake Shop in Roanoke, VA (delicious cupcakes):


Cute little pumpkin soup crocks from World Market:


Homemade pumpkin spice and vanilla sugar hand scrub, made by me for a friend's birthday:


Cookies for Kids' Cancer


Last month I participated in a Richmond city-wide bake sale. I baked several dozen cookies and packaged them in packs of 3 for a recommended donation of $5. 100% of the proceeds went to a non-profit organization called Cookies for Kids' Cancer, which funds pediatric cancer research.



CFKC was founded by a mom who lost her son to cancer at the young age of 6. You can read all about it and the great things CFKC does on their website here:

Cookies for Kids' Cancer mission statement:

Cookies for Kids' Cancer is committed to raising funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer, the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18. Through the concept of local bake sales, Cookies for Kids' Cancer provides the inspiration and support for individuals, communities, and businesses to help fight pediatric cancer.


I thought it was for a great cause, and I love to bake and share my baked goods with others, so I thought it would be a great excuse to get in the kitchen, bake & package some delicious cookies, and collect donations for the organization. I got to meet so many wonderful people and hear so many touching stories. It was a really sweet day and I hope that everybody enjoyed their cookies as much as I enjoyed helping raise money for the cause.


I volunteered to work the Ellwood Thompson's table and my friend Anna joined me. We had a great time. My cookies were gone within the first hour after I arrived, so next year I need to double or triple the batch. I made oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate chip cookies. People loved them and the packaging was really cute.




Any individual can host their own bake sale for the cause. Just check out the CFKC website to find out how you can do it and where to send the donation money to. It's a great idea!


Update on the ugly light fixture in our nook

Here are some better photos of the ribbon chandelier I made over the summer to cover up the ugly light fixture in our nook. I'm sure people think this is ugly too, but it is 100x better than what it looked like before. I like the way it gives off a glow at night!



I used double sided tape to secure each ribbon strand to a wooden embroidery hoop. We then hung it up with thread and some eye screws (into the ceiling) and made sure that no part of the ribbon chandelier is touching the ugly old light fixture.


I had a bunch of scraps of ribbon and spools I hadn't used so I just made a sort of pattern to go all around the hoop, making sure I cut each piece to the same size. I like it a lot! It's way better than the old fixture before.