Everyone likes cookies. At least everyone in their right mind. And while I usually am a bit of a baking snob, as in, I look down on anything made from a mix. However, even I sometimes can't find the time to do the scratch. So if I have to whip up some super fast cookies the mix that I turn to is Pamela's. I have used their basic gluten free flour mix and their cake mixes, and I find that they have very good texture for being gluten free, and none of the odd bean-y flavor that can sometimes be associated by gluten free products. So if there isn't enough time to do cookies and you need to grab a mix, this is definitely the on that I would suggest.

Note: another plus for this mix, a non-gluten free friend pronounced them totally delicious. And apparently not at all gluten free tasting!
Oh and also HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


this is halloween!

Not only is it fall.....

but it is Halloween time!

Walked past these cute little ghosts dancing in the trees and I just had to snap a picture of them.


cook, wear, create

This crumble looks absolutly delicious, and I really like the idea of a pear cranberry combo, and the gingersnap topping could be a fantastic idea that I need to try.

Just on a side note of sorts I am still looking for the perfect pair of red pants and every time I see a picture of someone wearing them I feel their sad hole in my closet.

Lastly, oh my god this is amazing!!! Using plastic animals as drawer pulls...... AMAZING!


making:halloween costume part three

Here is the last part of my long-in-creation nurse Halloween costume. The nurse hat. Which really is the most important part. I mean, costumes just don't work without a hat. Think of a hat-less witch? Doesn't work right?
So I googled 'nurse hat pattern' and found lots of different tutorials all of which seemed to link back to this pattern. So I printed out the pattern and bought some iron on interfacing and then I had the near impossible task of interpreting it. I mean it felt like one had to be in Mensa to actually figure it out. I was baffled, and confused and yet after what felt like I was banging it caveman style against a rock I finally figured it out.
And got this:

If you yourself ever find a need for a nurse hat and find yourself using this indecipherable pattern I would just say that the curved folded line is crucial. I know that might sound cryptic but if you were looking at the pattern it would make sense.
And here it is on me, with some victory rolls. Of course I will have some pictures from the actual event with all of the parts together so you can judge how well it came together for yourselves.


Baking:impecable rice crispy treats

I know it's a bit over the top and ridiculous to claim such a thing, but I think (and have several enthusiastic taste testers to back me up on this) that these were the best rice crispy treats. Ever. A combination of tried and true methods created this delicious monstrosity. Methods which boil down to two very important words: more butter. Twice as much butter in fact. And in addition I used less rice crispies than the traditional box recipes calls for. This allows for more space in which the marshmallow and butter combo can be gooey and buttery and delicious.
And I packaged some of them up all cute for friends because who doesn't want a surprise tower of delightfully autumnal treats?!

Bottom line, double the butter and cut the cereal by a third and you have perfection. Enjoy.


making: finished banners!

So here we are at the final chapter of the saga of banners and all that is left is to package them up and they will be finished!
First I scored a fantastic encyclopedic dictionary at a thrift store to use in the back of the bags.

I designed a simple label and made copies and folded them ready to go. On the back of the labels I was able to list what each banner said and what colors it was.

The banners were packaged in regular zip lock sandwich bags with the top zip part cut off.

Then all I had to do was stuff everything into the bag, pin the label in place and sew across and voila! A big satisfying pile of something finished that I can cross off of my list.

And I like the way these look all finished up so much that I think I have to make more that are just colorful patterned shapes. Definitely circles and maybe hearts and diamonds as well? We will see.


Breaking News! (Halloween costume edition)

And here it is, two finished costumes in their element at the Wax Museum (which might I note is a fantastic location for a Halloween party) and in case you cannot tell, this is Katy Perry circa the 'California Girls' music video, and (a very tall) Lady Gaga from 'Telephone' for your viewing pleasure.

Now is the time to preorder your costumes for Halloween 2012! Just kidding. Sort of!


making:suprise! last minute halloween costumes

So I know I've been showing lots of Halloween things over the last few weeks, but not a huge surprise to me, I am making more outfits still. Mostly because people know me as the one crafty person and so ask me to help them with their own costumes. AKA me make their costumes for them/take over. But really when have I ever been able to turn down an opportunity to cover things in glitter. I think its my calling!
So my friend finally stopped changing her mind about what she wanted to be and decided on Katy Perry from the California Girls music video. And she decided this last weekend, so I essentially had five days to pull this together. So I started out making lots of fake candy, and I decided how to make all this candy while wandering down the aisles at Michael's looking at all of the interesting materials that were available and thinking about what I could do with them.
For instance, I got some foam sheets, one in a blue glitter and one white, and sandwiched them together. Wrapped with plastic wrap and tied with ribbon they looked like cute sandwich candies.

Next I needed some round candies, in different colors so instead of paying for numerous foam balls to cover with glitter, I made some out of strips of leftover white fabric.

And then I covered them with glue and shook different colors of glitter all over them.

Then, even though it's not very accurate to the video, I wanted to do make candy corn, cause it's the most classic Halloween candy and I just had to do it.
And so I cut rounded triangles out of foam and painted them with yellow and orange stripes.

Then I covered them in glitter.

And I loved them! I really wanted to just wanted to cover the whole costume in them and throw out all of the rest.

And here is the finished corset in all of it's shiny glittery glory.

And because I just couldn't leave it there, I had to create some accessories for the outfit. First with a pair of glasses I covered in butterfly shaped sequins, and then doused in glitter.

And then a gigantic candy hair piece.

On a side note, I also made a Lady Gaga costume for myself to go with her Katy Perry, which I started whipping up on Thursday


cook, wear, create

Seen some cool stuff I've been scoping out on ye ole interwebs.
A good dessert idea and I do love caramel.

I really like this blue on blue on blue outfit. Feels seasonal without being a red, orange, gold pallet.

Lastly, check out this amazing door, it is a glorious idea, and as I'm looking for ideas for making my own headboard, well wouldn't it be fantastic to paint a pattern like this? I think so.


making: banner update

Just a quick update on those affirmation banners I was working on a while ago, they are coming along nicely. After all of the lettering and folding and trimming I had to cut down ribbons to the correct length and then color match them, and then of course, sew them onto their ribbons.

They are looking pretty cute if you ask me and I am feeling like I may have to keep one of the "you're the bees knees" ones for myself.

Now I just have to package them all up!


making: all hallows costume part 2

So I really wanted to do a pretty bright red shoe with my all white nurse's costume, but I did not want to break the bank on my costume so I had to figure out a way to do the shoes for free. And I had a pair of odd brown shoes that I did not care about but are actually rather comfortable so....Enter spray paint stage right.
First I cut off the awkward Maryjane straps and then I sprayed them with several coats of white spray paint.

Then I hit them with another couple of coats of bright red. And when the shoes were completely dry I made an ankle strap out of red vinyl I had lying around and the buckles of the old Maryjane straps. I hot glued them into the heels of the shoes. And voila!

Also, I felt that I needed some sort of accessory, and since stethoscope says doctor more than nurse, I landed on a syringe. But how to make one? Why get a ear mold material applicator from my moms audiology office, and paint numbers on the side.

So here I am, just a bit more than a week out from that special day and everything is pulling together well. I can't wait to see the whole thing together, and here's wishing good candy corn and glitter thoughts that everyone else's costumes turn out super fantastically!!


eat, wear, create

Looking forward to some more of this unexpectedly warm weather and be outside as much as possible. But with Halloween looming up in front of me, I sort of need to make a cake with cute little ghosts on top like this one.

It isn't chilly now but when it gets chilly I am looking forward to layering sweaters over collared shirts like this.

Oh my goodness a new way to organize my colored candy (which I already do and then I have to eat them in descending color order just FYI if you didn't know I was crazy already) but this is such a, well, organized way to organize that craziness!

And I am going to go now because I need to go enjoy some of this sunshine. And you should too!


eating: Trueburger

I am going to try to start something new here on this little forum-for-my-random-ramblings and talk about something that isn't new: eating. But eating at new places, or rather places that might be new to you. New to you but awesome and therefore you will thank me later for this random rambling or at least your tummy will because wow there is some delicious and fantastic grub out there that is little know and therefore not appreciated for it's genius. But it should be and I set out now with the gallant mission of righting that glaring wrong.
I will start with the often passed-over or downright not-known-about (it might not help that it's super hidden squeezed in between two places to the point where I almost miss it and I know it's super secret location)best-burger-in-town (at least according to me) that is Trueburger.
I actually discovered this place thanks to my mother constantly keeping an eye out for interesting things that are happening in the bay area and then passing that info on to me. She read the annual Bargain Bites (check that out here) in the Chronicle and highlighted everything she thought sounded good. This gem had a stunning writeup and I love me some deep fried potatoes despite the fact that they are so often a botched undertaking (too soggy, to thick cut, to creepily all the exact same size etc) so off I went and low and behold once we found it, the fries turned out to be 100% perfect!

That is one extensive menu while also getting right the point and doing the basics well and with style and pizazz. Using lovely fresh ingredients (I saw my patty being put on the grill, I saw a whole head of lettuce!!!) and doing awesome things like mix ins for milkshakes (toasted marshmallow anyone?) Trueburger gets it right. All with a surprisingly low price tag. I like to get a milkshake AND fries with my burger and I don't think this should break the bank, but I am willing to shell out serious bills for a really good version. However now thanks to this miraculous mecca of food perfection I no longer have that need, and I can take the money I save, and get extra fries! Which are, in case you haven't come to understand this yet from my waxing poetic all over the place, total perfection. The tiny bit of Irish in me is super into anything potato, and that Irish in me thinks these fries are sort of divine. The were slender and golden and yet also looked as if they had recently been a whole potato. And they held up to some serious dipping in a patented ketchup/mustard mixture, without falling apart, loosing form or getting mealy. Glorious. At some point angels might have descended from the heavens in a shower of golden light playing harps but I didn't particularly notice as I was too busy eating fries.

So check out the menu here (I like that burgers and fries are separate, this has always been a better format in my eyes as I think the fries deserve more than to just be seen as a 'comes with a side of' to their burger counterpart) and then after you wipe up the inevitable drool, stop messing about with the rabble out there styling themselves as the best and go and get yourself a truly good burger. Pun not intended but I will totally pretend it was!
Note: If you are not near the area and are not able to get a burger for yourself I apologize for the tummy tease. But seriously, come visit, if only just for the food!


making: a costume (part one)

Starting to get more things checked of the list for my Halloween costume which in case you are not entirely up to date with my various shenanigans and such I should mention is a retro nurse. This weekend I made cross patches for the pocket and hat and while I was at it I decided to do a name tag as well. I used what was originally a cotton pillowcase with a layer of iron on interfacing in between for stability, with stencils made of electrical tape. My guesswork (and surprise! it worked) method for getting the glitter onto the fabric was layers of spray adhesive, micro glitter and shellac. After several layers had dried I removed the tape to reveal shiny shiny red crosses.
As you can see I did two versions of the cross patch, a negative space white cross, and a red glitter cross on a white background.

In the end I decided that I preferred the classic red cross to the more prevalent (at least it appeared that way when I googled nurse costumes) white cross in a red circle. Also this classic style seemed to look better on my hat (more on that later).

When it came to the dilemma of how to attach the patches to the dress I decided that I wanted to pockets to be functional enough that I would make things a bit harder for myself and sew them on by hand. Sigh. I did go around each patch once on the machine with no thread to make a set of even holes which proved very helpful in maintaining an even row of stitches around, and kept me from stabbing myself in the finger with the needle as much (the patches were very thick when all was said and done) so that was a good idea. And I do like to make things a bit more difficult for myself as always so it's not like I could just glue them on now could I?!

All in all the costume is coming together nicely one little bit at a time. The little details are really what builds the authenticity and I do find that when I am drawn to a really good costume it is layered with texture and of course plenty of accessories. So I still have a fair amount of work ahead of me. Next I will reveal the saga of a spray paint shoe redo, and finally, the most important part of any costume if you want it to be particularly awesome (and who doesn't want that really) hats!


cook, wear, create

The sun is out this morning, so after all that rain this news excites me! Looking forward to a lovely weekend and perhaps I will get up to some glorious shenanigans....
As far as food goes, I just discovered an awesome website that tries out items from secret menus around the area. This one if from the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen which is one more reason why I have to go to this place!!

With Halloween closing in fast I am thinking about costumes a lot. Jessica at What I Wore is coming out with tons of great tutorials for costumes that use mostly stuff you could find in your closet, which is great cause I read somewhere about old costumes filling up landfills somewhere and it made me very sad. This Rosie the Riveter is a super easy idea but check out the amazing Marie Antoinette she made as well.

And lastly this amazing installation work that caught my eye. I cannot believe that this is cut paper. Extraordinary.

And here's to a cozy weekend and perhaps some puddle splashing?!

baking: rainy weather food

It has happened. Fall is here. There is rain and cold and there seems to be an end to this lovely indian summer. Therefore I am feeling a bit nest-y and need to hunker down and be cozy. Thus this evenings supper of roast pepper and tomato soup with grilled cheese. Classic.

Everyone stay dry and drive safe as it seems that the world has forgotten how to drive when the roads are wet and it is raining. Not to sound like a mother or anything. And eat all of your soup!


Field Trip: Alameda Antique Faire

What are all these people doing? Where are they going?

Why to the flea market! Or to use it's more sophisticated name, the Antique Faire. If nothing else I like to go to the once monthly Alameda Antique Faire just be able to get a look at other peoples collections. It's like reading someones mail. So fun. And I love that there will be such large groups of things. Whether it's costume jewelery (sorted by color! love) antlers, old posters or seashells. Also note some totally rad furniture that makes me wish I had a super decadent apartment to furnish. Enjoy my snap happiness:

And did I find anything in this expansive and endless maze of cool and weird things? Did I discover buried treasure amid the junk heaps? Why yes of course I did. I found the perfect dress for my Halloween costume (more on that later)

and also a really beautiful 50's flower brooch. It is yellow and cheerful and the size of the palm of my hand and it was shining out at me through a heap of junk. In conclusion, this is definitely worth making the trek. Check it out.