Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!Hope you had lot's of fun, lot's of treats, and no bad candy!

Crochet Amigurumi Spider

Crochet spider pattern will be available at my shop again next year!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shepherd's Pie, ala Monster

Here's a twist on a classic shepherd's pie. Normally one just spoons/smears mashed potatoes over the top. These spooky little monsters/ghosts are made with a mixture of mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese, and spices; then shaped and decorated. You could even tint the little guys colors to match your party!

Shepard's pie ala monster
Robert was my helper today. Aren't his ghosts spooky?

Pie mixture;
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, etc)
1 pound ground beef
1&1/2 beef gravy
Whatever other veggies you want, like half an onion, a can of tomatoes, etc.

Potato mixture;
2 cups water
2&1/4 cups potato flakes
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
2 eggs

First you want to cook the ground beef in a skillet until you can't see any pink. If you're going to add onions, which I do, cook them with the beef.

Drain it well, then dump it into your pan. I use a 9x13 inch Pyrex, but you can use any baking pan that holds about 2 quarts. Drain and add any canned veggies now.

About this point you need to put the two cups of water on to boil for the potatoes.

Put the frozen veggies (minus some peas or something for eyes) in the skillet with a dash of water, and heat until all visible ice is gone and they are warm to the touch. You could cook them all the way, but you'll cook them in the oven so why bother?

Dump the veggies in the pan and add the gravy. Mix it all up and smooth it down a bit so it's nice and flat for the monsters.

Now that your potato water is boiling, pull it off the stove and add all but the eggs. It should be rather stiff. Give it about five minutes (time to wash that skillet^^) and add the eggs. Once you've done mixing it should be cool enough to touch and work with.

Shape those monsters with your hands (and your little kitchen helpers, as long as they don't try and eat it. Raw eggs, yuck). Decorate with reserved veggies. (I just used peas for the picture. Lima bean eyes, carrot spikes, or corn bumps would be fun.) Any leftover veggies from decorating can just be dumped into the baking pan. Put your monstrous potatoes on top and bake until potatoes are slightly brown (about 20 minutes)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Costumes

On the one hand, yukata make great Halloween costumes. On the other, I hope nobody freezes. There was frost on the ground this morning! Here are two new yukata; a lovely purple and green combination with one of my pre-tied obi, and a sakura (cherry blossom) one for a Madame Butterfly costume. Both future owners are apparently very sophisticated young ladies; I know I wouldn't have gone as an opera character at eight years old!

Sakura/Cherry blossom Yukata

Purple and Green Yukata

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Honeycombs and Busy Bees

Today I finally finished my 'MCAT' afghan. It looks like a golden honeycomb, or maybe a benzene ring complex. My geek is showing^^ I started the thing over a month ago while I was studying for the MCAT, but I ran out of the brown yarn and had to track down some more. Nothing goes together as well as books and crochet, except for maybe music and dancing. I think I'll add this as a made to order item in my shop. It's super warm, and just the right size to double as a giant shawl!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fair Day

Who doesn't a ride on a ferris wheel? Now, the rides that turn you upside down and wiggle you around are not my cup of tea, but that's just because I get motion sick.

Fair Day

Fair Night

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Of Boys and Fish

So, yukata are pretty fun to make, with all those nice straight lines. Hemming them is a breeze^^
I always like tuck a little extra something in with my yukata. Usually it's a hair accessory or a small pouch. But what to give a little boy? A fish^^. I hope he likes it!

Fishy Plush Toy

Boy's Blue Yukata

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Birds

Most Americans think of crows and ravens this time of year, but in my neck of the woods it's cowbirds. I might see two crows all year, and I don't think I've seen a raven since the last time I went to the bird exhibit at the zoo. Cow bids are easily spotted, because they have greenish black heads and brownish black bodies. They lay their eggs in other birds nests, and when the hatch-lings are fledged they make their way to the closest flock. Parasitic birds are creepy, right?

Cowbird Invasion