Cool Stuff I Like


October 31, 2014

Happy Friday and HAPPY HALLOWEEN, my spookies! I had a request for a bit more of a peek at our Victorian Fortune Teller's Parlor, so I took a few shots during the daytime so you could see more detail. The whole effect is really best at night when all the faux candles and light strands were glowing, but the night shots made it hard to see my awesome raven-with-a-necklace and my Boo boa swag action. I hope you and your kiddos have a fun Halloween! Oh my stars, how I loved Halloween when I was little. All that candy. I remember dumping it into a pile and just feeling immensely happy.

We have, what, maybe 2 more weeks? of fall fun before everything turns into all-Christmas, all the time.........

Do you like calendars? Do you like food? Here you go.

Love this idea so much - home as a haven. 

A beautiful book and a beautiful recipe. Perfect for fall!

A DIY sticker door.

Real candied apples.

Wowza, this Japanese paper ball craft kit is gorgeous!

I need a small size saucepan and I'm getting THIS ONE.

My great friend Danzel just won Halloween!!!

How to shop for clothes the lazy way. (my preferred way of doing most anything)

Are. You. Kidding. ME. The caravan of my dreams! (here's some more.) I want one with all of my being.

Halloween a la Susan Branch. And Fall. 

Cool Book of the Week: I just found out there's brand new Oliver Jeffers action that's just been released! 'Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters' is his latest. It's a new take on the alphabet book genre, in that this one is a collection of short stories. Each letter has its own story; some are interwoven, some are witty, and some are more dark in tone. Many reviewers commented that the humor and language are more suited to the elementary school age set, even if they're well acquainted with the alphabet. Jeffers is a genius, in my opinion, and I can't wait to see this one in person!

Have a lovely weekend! November used to be a month I really didn't care for, but as I get older, I appreciate the calm bits before holidays a bit more than I used to. 


The Fortune Teller's Parlour


October 29, 2014

Welcome to our fortune teller's parlour! That's parlour with an OU, not 'parlor'. Because you gotta grab the fancy when you can. We recently attended our first truck or treat function, and I wish I wish I wish you could have seen the brainstorming that went down between me, Andrew, and our neighbors.

I think Andrew and I spent HOURS and DAYS going back and forth on what we wanted to do. Dragon's fiery mouth, spiderweb, pirate's lair, just dry ice and calling it a went on and on.

Since I had just re-read 'The Night Circus', I majorly had all things fortune teller on the brain, and my idea was an old fashioned Victorian fortune teller's parlOUr. Mostly because I already had a ton of deco that would lend itself to the theme.

And in the end, I got my way, because my neighbor was super keen on doing the pirate's lair, and I REALLY wanted fortune teller, and Andrew had no idea how to make his vision that was mostly Very Awesome in His Head come to life without a set designer and $5000 of spare decorating cash.

So here's what we did: headed to the craft store to get about $10 worth of LED faux candles that light up. Then I hauled out my battery operated mini light strands, which we just artfully arranged on the floor of the trunk. My mom got me an awesome Halloween light-up snow globe thingy because she's awesome that way, and I also snagged this cool raven (not really shown, bummer) that is wearing a necklace. Then we propped up a few mardi gras masks (our theme became Mardi Gras/Fortune Teller/Crazy Land), and I ordered from Amazon some oversized playing cards, which were 5x7 sized.

We covered an Ikea stepstool with this starry gauzy sheer fabric that I've used on everything from Christmas tree wrapping to photo shoots - and we put the Halloween snow globe on top of that. I also happened to have (yes, I happen to collect Victorian esque Halloween decorations) some vintagey Halloween party hats and a boa that spells out BOO -- that isn't really showing in the picture, but it's awesome.

Oh and another neighbor gave me some black velvet swaths of material, and I used that to cover the floor of the trunk and the back of the seats. And that was basically it!

If you too are interested in vintagey, Victorian-ish Halloween or other seasonal decorations, you must must must check out Victorian Trading Company. I meant to do a post on them, but forgot. Maybe for Christmas! Anyway, what do you think? The whole effect was better in person, because it's hard to see all of the swags and boas and whatnot in my not-so-great night time pix, but it gives you the basic idea.



October 27, 2014

(a portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2014)

Julia: Playing on a playground at night during a recent wedding reception we attended.

At first, I was very freaked out by the idea of climbing monkey bars in pretty much pitch darkness, but then I realized it was a glorious opportunity to see how far I could raise the ISO of my camera without resorting to flash (just recently made the move to full frame and it's life-changing), and the answer: pretty dang far! Plus the moon was just emerging and we had fun trying to make scary kid at night shots. Except this isn't very scary. Andrew got a shot with his phone where her eyes look like they have no pupils, we were all quite delighted with that one....

Last week before Halloween! We have one more pumpkin to carve to add to our carved-too-early and now moldy one. My mother is bringing a ridiculous amount of candy to our house on Halloween itself, because my stepdad likes to hand out the candy at our house, and he likes to hand it out by the fistful. Or by the double fistful.

Yesterday we watched 'The Haunted Mansion' and Julia pronounced it "almost as good as 'Pirates of the Carribean'" and also declared that it wasn't scary at all, but then last night she ended up in our bed, so I'm not sure what the verdict on that is. After we watched the first two 'Pirates' movies, she was in our bed for maaaaaaaany nights in a row, heh. (although she LOVED them, and I'm thinking of getting her the set for Christmas.) We also watched the movie version of 'The Witches', which Julia adored, and that one didn't scare her at all. Or so she said. 

Friends who have read/seen 'Coraline' -- read the book first? Is it heresy to see the movie before reading the book?

We should be finishing up 'The Witches' this week, which is great, because when we're done and November hits, we're going to read The Mother of All Great Food Books: 'Farmer Boy'.

As always, I am so so nosy, and if you care to share (and really, shouldn't we all care to share??), I'd love to know in the comments what you're reading and watching, etc. I'm SO excited to watch 'Death Comes to Pemerberley'!

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Cool Stuff I Like


October 24, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Almost Halloween! Do you like our creepy, creepy mask up above? It has a giant nose, it's like one of those weird, Venetian carnival masks. Julia loves it. I'm trying to get a Very Disturbing & Creepy Child photo of her in it. :) I'm going to try really extra super hard to get some Halloween photos of some of our decor up on the blog next week. Is it cold where you are? It just this week turned a bit coldish. Which is fine by me because when we went to the pumpkin patch last week, it was 74 degrees, which I think is a first for this time of year, I think it broke some records! My cold is finally better. I know you were wondering.

InternetZ treats today:

Lovely post, lovely cake.

AWESOME post from my pal Heather and I'm starting that show asap.

Another darling Halloween party!

I got Julia these hedgehog pajamas and she loves them like no other pajamas! Super soft.

Super cute apple treats for toddlers.

Pumpkin treats for kids.

This game just became a future Christmas present! Thanks Erica!

DIY skeleton necklaces.

Did you hear about this lost chapter from 'Charlie & the Chocolate Factory'???

Ultra neato temp tattoos. (thank you friend Laura for always sending me cool fun stuff :)

Why every kid should talk back to their parents.

Cool Book of the Week: I had another book planned for today but then I became aware of two things. 1) There's a new Marcel the Shell with Shoes On video. (do you know Marcel the Shell?? basically the cutest little snail in the world issues forth with his existential views on life. my friend got me hooked on them last year and these videos are the darlingest things ever. Here's the first one, which is the BEST.) So anyhoo, 2) There's a Marcel the Shell BOOK! 'Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been' by the amazingly clever Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp. In the book, Marcel is tossed into the air and gets a sky-high view of the world below, leading to Many Deep Thought About Life. Um, I'm getting this. FOR EVERYONE I KNOW THIS HOLIDAY.

Have a lovely weekend! Be cozy!


A Pile of Halloween Books


October 22, 2014

Well I was going to show you these books little by little over the course of the month, but that hasn't happened (fall for photography is like March/April is for tax preparers, I read just recently), so here's our whole stack of Halloween books all at once. And what's funny is that we haven't read A SINGLE ONE because we're still happily plowing through 'The Witches'. Next week we'll have time to sit down with some of these.

I'm going to slap down some mini reviews b/c 1) I've had the sickies and lost about a week of productivity and 2) lazy. So here we go:

Zen Ghosts: This book kinda blew my mind. There's a Chinese tale-within-the tale thing going on about a spirit girl who is seemingly in two places at once, and there's a whole idea happening of are you you? What's your true self? These are some Deep Thoughts, yo. The art is breathtaking and while a younger kiddo is not going to get any of the Zen philosophy underscoring the story, your 8, 9, 10 year old will be able to ponder upon all this with you. Or maybe explain it to you.

The Power of Poppy Pendle: Julia read this cute chapter book way back last February and it's the only book I've ever seen her just sit down and read for 2 hours straight. My kiddo doesn't sit for 2 hours for much of anything. She powered right on through this thing. And she told me in great detail about every last little bit of the plot. It's super charming about a little girl witch who isn't terribly interested in her magical powers - she wants to be a pastry chef! And at the end of the book, there's about a half dozen recipes for tea cakes, cookies, and other assorted goodies.

Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost: Julia hasn't read this yet, but I found it at a used book store and it's about some kids who team up with an ASG (Averagely Spooky Ghost) in order to get rid of an IRG (Incredibly Revolting Ghost). The chapters are short and cute, and it's all very silly and fun.

The Witch Who Went For a Walk: Really beautiful library find with incredible art! Best for the toddler, preschool set, it features a witch strolling around, and seeing and commenting on things like the moon, owls and trick-or-treaters that she sees on her walk.

John Pig's Halloween: This is SUPER darling! Really adorable art and a very cute rhyming story about a timid little pig who wants nothing to do with Halloween activities until a witch crash lands on his stoop. She soon gets him making Halloween treats and hanging out with her Halloweeny pals at an impromptu party.

There ya go, my spookies! What are you all reading during all this Octobery biz??

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