Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Crumple up a piece of tissue paper into a ball. Place it into the center of a flat piece of tissue paper. Pick up the corners of the flat tissue and twist it around the ball. Tie a twist tie or a piece of string around the ghosts's neck. Draw a face with a felt pen. You can hang them up all over the house! You can also glue on yarn, and make a black hat and cape from colored paper to make a witch!

When you have everything so dimly lit it's a good idea to have some reflective tape over the Exits. A black light bulb is always a good effect, especially if you are dressed as a skeleton!

Sound Effects
You can record several scary sounds and play it back during the festivities. A very large sheet of poster board or sheet metal makes great thunder. Uncooked rice poured onto a cookie sheet sounds like rain. Crinkle a handful of cellophane for a roaring fire. To get a good scream you can, well -- scream. Snap carrots in half for the sound of breaking bones. Flap a plastic bag in front of the microphone for thesound of bats. Slowly blow bubbles with a straw into a bowl for that bog sound. Hunt around your house and the garden to find a squeaky hinge somewhere and tape it before someone gets to it with a can of oil.

Monster Footprints
With a magic marker, draw a footprint in a big sponge. Cut out the footprint. Pour washable paint in an 1/8 inch aluminum pan. Press the sponge in the paint and sponge footsteps up your sidewalk to your front door for trick-or-treaters to follow, or around the side of your dark, spooky house. Flip the sponge upside down to stamp the other foot.

Icky Cobwebs
Cut some string into 4 foot lengths and tape them to the ceiling. You should have a very dim room for this. Just before the victim arrives you can hold a bowl of water up to the string and get it wet. When people walk in the wet, slimy string will brush across their foreheads and scare them!

7 Great Halloween Homemade Decorations For Indoors

Witches Spell Book:
Use a large, old book. Use parchment paper for additional pages. Gently rip and char the edges of parchment paper using a charcoal-colored marker. Use a calligraphy pen to create a ghastly spells or recipes (Eyeball Stew anyone?). Use double-stick tape to secure the pages to the middle of the open book. Add a leather or velvet bookmark as a final accent and prop it up on a book or plate stand.

Canisters of Yuck:
A variety of canisters full of decaying items is perfect for your Halloween table. Gather canisters of all different sizes. Create murky or bloody preservative fluid for some by adding green or red food coloring plus a tablespoon or two of milk to water. Place plastic insects and body parts, witch or alien Halloween masks, floating eyeballs and tiny shrunken apple heads (peeled apples with carved faces that have dried up) in separate jars. Add a piece of ragged gauze and waxed string to the lids for an eerie effect.

Skulls and Skeletons:
Place plastic skulls on table tops illuminated by candles. Hang a skeleton cutout in your coat closets (let guests hand their own coats up for this scary surprise!)

Hang rubber bats around your front door and in the windows. If you prefer to make your own, cut them out of black craft foam and hang with thread or tack some to walls with push pins. You can also hang these outside in your tree branches!

Living Room:
Furniture covered in a messy fashion with white sheets makes any house look as if it was abandoned years ago. Add in some ghostly window treatments by hanging shredded gauze in the windows for curtains. Place a hidden fan near the gauze to create movement. You can also cut out ghost silhouettes to hang in the windows out of the gauze.

Spider Webs:
An inexpensive and easy way to add to your Halloween decor. Purchase batting from your local craft store and spread it out to create the spider web. Position on candelabras, window sills, overhanging lamps/chandeliers etc. Place plastic spiders in the web for the finishing touch!

Flickering candles create shadows and give the room a subtle spooky feel. Position them far from any blowing draperies and on top of tin foil disguised with black stones and gravel. Make sure you don’t leave them unattended while lit.

Homemade Halloween Decorations Mini Halloween Banner

What You Will Need:
Felt: Background piece - Full sheet yellow or gold (9" x 12"), Other felt - black, white, purple, orange, yellow, green.
Embroidery thread: black, white, purple, orange, yellow, green.
8 candy corn buttons
2 black buttons (size: 1")
Orange ribbon (at least 18")
Needle and straight pins

Step 1:
Print out the Halloween Banner template (PDF file). Cut apart the four designs. Trace and cut out the ghost background on black felt, the "BOO" background on purple felt, the cat background on purple felt, and the bat background on orange felt.
Evenly space the felt pieces on the 9" x 12" yellow felt. See photo A to see how this will look.

Step 2:
Pin the felt pieces into place so that the felt won't move as you are stitching them onto the yellow background. See photo B. Sew the pieces on using the whip stitch around the edge.

Step 3:
Now trace and cut out a white ghost, a white "BOO", a yellow moon, a black cat, and black bats.
Tip: To easily cut out the circles in the "B" and "OO" try using a standard hole punch. If it does not cleanly cut the circle out all the way, you may have to trim it by cutting the hole a little bigger.
Stitch these pieces onto their appropriate background by using the running stitch. See the photo at the bottom of the page.
For the eyes:
The ghost - You could use a hole punch to make the eyes. Use black felt stitched on with one or two stitches, like in the form of an "X". (The mouth too).
The cat - Use green felt stitched on with one or two stitches. The black part of the eyes can either be a French knot stitch or black seed beads.
The bats - Use yellow felt stitched on with one stitch or one French knot stitch.

Step 4:
Sew the ribbon onto the back of the banner in the two upper corners. Sew it on right behind where each of the black buttons are going to be, so the buttons will later hide the stitches from sewing on the ribbon.
Now sew on the two black buttons over the stitches from the ribbon.

Step 5:
Sew on 3 candy corn buttons across the top of the banner between the two black buttons. Then sew on 5 candy corn buttons across the bottom of the banner. To make your own buttons see our Clay Candy Corn page. There is a section on that page on how to turn the clay candy corns into buttons.

Step 6: Optional
If your banner tends to bend forward while hanging on the wall, you could do this optional step.
Cut about a 1" X 8" strip of cardboard and glue it to the back of the banner. See photo C. Only glue the two ends of the cardboard strip and be sure to place the glue right behind the two black buttons. This way no glue will show from the front. You could use any type of glue you would like, but we would suggest using hot glue.
Now your Halloween banner is finished! It's a cute little banner that will give a touch of Halloween to your home. For more homemade Halloween decorations and ideas, please return to our Halloween crafts home page.

Halloween Pumpkin Maker & MySpace Layouts

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée*
1/2 cup (1 dL) olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
Makes one loaf.

Cranberry almond pumpkin upside down cake

Cranberry almond pumpkin upside down cake

8 oz. (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups cranberries
4 oz. (1 cup) coarsely chopped whole natural almonds, toasted
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Chantilly Cream

Ingredients Chantilly Cream
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the bottom of the cake pan. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries and almonds.
Place them in the pan over the brown sugar mixture. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree and oil.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Carefully spread the batter over the cranberry pecan topping.

Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Place a large plate or platter on top of the cake. Invert the cake and plate together. Remove the pan. Carefully peel off the parchment paper.
Cool completely before serving. Serve with Chantilly Cream.

Chantilly CreamCombine all of the ingredients and whisk until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. Makes 2 cups.
Serves 8-10.
For more great recipes check out California Country!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Duchess Devonshire - 1757 -1806 Also Check out the movie ! The Duchess

She was born into priveledge, in 1757 the first child of three of John, the first Earl Spencer and his ambitious wife, Georgiana Poyntz. The Countess encouraged the friendship with the Devonshire's which led to Georgiana's marriage at the age of 17 to the fifth Duke of Devonshire.
Georgiana was accounted a great beauty as the picture at the top of the page by Reynolds from 1780 attests. She matched that with an easy going nature. She remained in constant correspondence with her mother throughout her life and the early letters show some signs of her mother's uneasiness at Georgiana's malleable nature and the influences she was allowing herself to be drawn under, such as Charles Fox, the renowned politician and gambler.

The fourth Duke of Devonshire had been both politically ambitious and astute, his son did not inherit these energies or ambitions he was a man of few words who was happiest at home with his dogs, a habit that in the Devonshire house set earned him the nickname of 'Canis'. Devonshire house remained the centre of whig politics, a place for politicians of the day to meet socially and indeed they did, many meetings were achieved under the informal auspices of a Devonshire house party. During one of the Duchess's lying-in periods at the end of a pregnancy one ambassador complained in a letter that he was unable to conduct his business as he could not meet those politicians that he wanted to because he could not casually come across them as he was used to at the house parties.

She was also the first woman to campaign for an candidate in an election in 1784, Charles Fox Georgiana wrote one novel in 1780, 'The Sylph' which has been described as being above the ordinary. It is possible that her inability to become pregnant after 6 years of marriage and her husband's lack of demonstrative affection was a key motivation to write. There is no reference to writing it in any of her letters to her mother at the time.

Georgiana did immerse herself in the social whirl, an acknowledged beauty and leader of fashion she developed the extreme style of high wigs topped with long feathers. These head-dresses were so cumbersomely large that women would have to crouch on the floor of couches to prevent them being crushed against the roof, and were in danger of catching on fire in ballrooms as they brushed the ceiling chandleliers.

The Devonshire House group set fashion, and they had their own 'slanguage' which altered words, or provided nicknames for people they knew. It was known as the 'Devonshire Drawl' and those in fashion affected it, so such words like yellow became pronounced 'yaller'.
In 1782 the Devonshire's travelled to Bath and their met the woman that would be with them for the rest of their lives, Lady Elizabeth Foster, or 'Bess' as she was known.
Bess ingratiated herself into the Devonshire household, became the Duchess's lifelong confidant and later mistress to the Duke. They lived together as a menage a trois for 25 years, and soon after Georgiana died, Bess persuaded the duke to marry her and finally legalise their relationship, but that is in the future.

The Duchess had her first child, Georgiana (or little G as she was known in the family) in 1783. In 1785 both Bess and the duchess were pregnant by the duke, both had daughters. Harriet (or Hary-O as she was called) was named for her aunt, the duchess's sister Henrietta, Lady Bessborough. Bess's daughter, Caroline St Jules, spent her first few years in Europe and France until Bess could bring her back.

Bess had a son, Augustus, 2 years later, but the Duchess failed to get pregnant again, a problem shared by the three and probably much discussed if their correspondence is anything to go by, Bess refers to it also in her diaries. So when the Duchess and Bess decided to travel to Paris in 1789 and the future sixth Duke of Devonshire was born there, it aroused gossip that the child was perhaps the love child of Bess and the Duke, and not in fact the Duchess's at all. It was certainly an odd time to pleasure tripping in France. Georgiana was an intimate of Marie-Antoinette but France was in political unrest and hardly the place for a pregnant woman to be travelling without the protection of her husband too. In May 1790 the Duchess was delivered of a son, the Marquis of Hartington, later the 6th Duke of Devonshire.

An interesting link here is that the doctor in attendance, Dr Croft, to the Duchess's lying-in was not well known at the time, which added to the gossip - (why was a top doctor not attending the birth?). 28 years later he was the man in charge of Princess Charlotte's bungled child-birth, and bore the responsibility for her death, commiting suicide soon after.
It is probably unlikely that the Marquis of Hartington, or Hart as he was known, was illegitimate, but the strange circumstances did not help to dispel rumours which lingered up until Hart's death in 1858.

The Duchess was haunted by debt all her life. Her addiction to gambling and the extravagent parties were pleasure and her bane. She borrowed heavily from her friends, and used her influence to borrow more from such people as Thomas Coutts of Coutts bank. She borrowed money on the tacit agreement that she would introduce Coutts' daughter's into society. On her death she left a note to her son to pleading that he should make sure the Duke honoured her debts which amounted to almost 20 thousand pounds.

One other scandal accompanies the Duchess. She had one known affair, with the Charles Grey later 2nd Earl Grey. Their was one child from this union, Eliza Couteney, who was brought up by the 1st Earl Grey as Charles' sister.
The household settled down into a semblance of domestic bliss and quietitude in the mid 1790's. The Duchess's health had not been good and there had been some problems in the late 1780's. Now she seemed fail suddenly. She had some kind of ulcer or infection in one eye and their were worries that she wouldn't regain her sight, she was frequently bled and leeches were applied to eyeball. Her appearance contemporaries noted was 'much altered'. Her complexion coarse, one eye gone and her neck immense, she was only 40.

Headaches and failing eyesight plagued her for the rest of her life. The Duchess's fame was so great that when news that she was dying spread in 1806 a large crowd gathered at the gates to Devonshire house in Picadilly for news.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was the queen of France at the outbreak of the French Revolution (1787–99). Her extravagant lifestyle, which included lavish parties and expensive clothes and jewelry, made her unpopular with most French citizens. When the king was overthrown, Marie Antoinette was put in jail and eventually beheaded.

Marie Antoinette, child of Maria Theresa and the Emperor Francis I was born at Vienna, Austria on the 2nd of November 1755. Maria Teresa arranged a special marriage of Marie (at age 15) to improve her the relations with France. France was the most powerful nation at that time and Marie was considered the most fortunate woman in the world. Marie Antoinette had to fit the part of the most influential woman in France.

In 1770 she married Louis XVI (1754–1793). Louis was the French dauphin, or the oldest son of the king of France. He became king fours years later in 1774, which made Marie Antoinette the queen.

Marie was unhappy in her marriage to the king, though. King Louis’ interests were totally different than Marie’s. He loved hunting, quietness and solitude. She loved the arts, fashion, dances and the French nightlife There was also difficulty in consummating their marriage because Louis was unable to. This resulted in an unconsummated marriage for seven years. Marie Antoinette gave birth to her first child, a daughter, in 1778, and sons in 1781 and 1785.

Marie Antoinette was welcomed in France at first. Her frivolity contrasted with the withdrawn personality of her husband. After her mother died in 1780, she became more extravagant and this led to growing resentment. The French were suspicious of her ties to Austria and her influence on the King in attempting to foster policies friendly to Austria.

After the Bastille was stormed on July 14, 1789, the queen urged the king to resist the Assembly's reforms, making her even more unpopular, and leading to the attribution to her of the remark, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" -- "Let them eat cake!" In October, 1789, the royal couple were forced to move to Paris.

Reportedly planned by Marie Antoinette, the escape of the royal couple from Paris was stopped at Varennes on October 21, 1791. Imprisoned with the king, Marie Antoinette continued to plot. She hoped for foreign intervention to end the revolution and free the royal family. She urged her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, to intervene, and supported a declaration of war against Austria in April, 1792, which she hoped would result in the defeat of France.

Louis and Marie were stripped of their royal callings along with anything valuable including documents, jewels, and other precious objects of the royal family. The new Republic threw the royal family into jail. Other aristocrats were imprisoned at this same time also. This was the beginning of “The Reign of Terror”. The royal family was under even closer guard in dark prison cells. In December 1792, King Louis XVI was tried for treason, convicted and put to death. In January 1793, he was executed on the guillotine. On October 14, Marie Antoinette was awoken at night and faced the Revolutionary Tribunal and soon after was found guilty and beheaded.

What Happened to Marie Antoinette's Children?

The French Revolution resulted in the slaughter of countless victims, one of the most well-known being Marie Antoinette, but what of her children? King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were the parents of four royal children. The dramatic outcomes of their lives are as varied as surely the children were themselves.

Marie Therese Charlotte de Bourbon

The first child of the King and Queen of France, Marie Therese Charlotte, was born December 19, 1778 at Versailles, France after many years with no heir. Although Marie Therese gained her mother some popular support, it was not to last. Marie Therese would enjoy the happiest outcome following the Revolution, however. She is the only child to have survived the violence.

After the family had been placed under arrest on August 10, 1792, Marie Therese remained with her mother and her paternal aunt, Madame Elizabeth until nearly a year later. On August 2, 1793, the queen was taken from her daughter and sister in law and was removed to another prison.

Unlike her mother and aunt, Marie Therese survived her time in prison from 1792 to 1795. Following this, she joined her uncle, the next King of France, Louis XVIII (Tsar Paul I of Russia) in exile and married her cousin, Louis Antoine duc d’Angouleme in 1799. She lived in various locations across Europe: Vienna, Russia and England, before returning to France in 1814 after the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Marie Therese did not remain in France long, however. She and her husband fled to England in 1830 after the betrayal of their Bourbon cousin, Louis-Philippe duc d’Orleans in which he spread the rumor that Charles X, the next Bourbon in line for the throne, had abdicated the throne of France. A few short minutes later, Marie Therese’s husband, Louis Antoine, the next in line abdicated, leaving Louis-Philippe to step into his place.Marie Therese died on October 19, 1851 of pneumonia and was buried at the Kostanjevica Monastery in Kostanjevica Slovenia, in the Bourbon family crypt. She bore no children and thus, the Bourbon line through King Louis XVI came to an end.

Louis Joseph Xavier Francois de Bourbon, Dauphin de France

Louis Joseph was born on October 22, 1781, also at Versailles, but only lived until he was seven years of age. The Dauphin died on June 4, 1789 in Mendon, France and is buried at the cemetery of Saint-Denis, Ile-de-France, France.

Louis XVII Charles, Roi de France

Louis XVII was born on March 27, 1785, and was named duc de Normandie at birth. He succeeded his brother when Louis Joseph died, though he never ruled France. On July 3, 1793, he was taken from his mother for his “re-education” and never saw her again. He was housed in Temple Prison, Paris, France where he was abused and dreadfully mistreated. It was from complications of abuse and tuberculosis that the Dauphin died at ten years of age. He is buried at the Cemetery of St. Marguerite in Paris.

Marie Sophie Helen Beatrice de Bourbon

Known by her middle name, Sophie Beatrice lived less than a year. She was born on July 9, 1786 and died eleven months later on June 19, 1787. She is buried in the same cemetery as her brother, Louis Joseph: Saint-Denis, Ile-de-France, France.
Louis-Philippe’s reign ended in 1848 following another revolution and with that, France became a Republic and would never return to monarchal rule.
The French Revolution ended many institutions in France, one of the most central being the monarchy. The two children of Marie Antoinette who survived long enough to witness the Revolution know doubt endured unimaginable hardships and horrors, with little happy ending.

Marie Antoinette

I know that I'm late but I saw this great movie and wanted to share it. In case you havent seen it, I totally recommend it.

Marie Antoinette
Born: 2-Nov-1755
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: 16-Oct-1793
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: Execution
Remains: Buried, Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eating Healthy

Women's Nutrition

  • Women should consume about three cups of dairy products, or milk-alternatives each day because dairy products are an important source of calcium. Low fat or no fat dairy products are the best choice. If you choose not to consume dairy products, alternative calcium sources include sardines, tofu, and calcium-fortified foods. One serving is equal to one cup of milk, one cup of yogurt, one and one-half ounces of cheese. Sources for milk and dairy products include milk, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream. These products can come from cows, goats, or sheep.

  • Most women need about four to six ounces of meat, legumes or other protein sources per day. Low fat meats and other protein sources are needed to provide protein and a variety of other nutrients. It is important to realize that many meats are high in saturated fat, which we don't want, and other proteins like fish and sea food are high in omega-3 fatty acids that we do want. According to the USDA, one serving is equal to one-half ounce. Other sources consider two ounces to be one serving size. Sources for proteins include meats, poultry, fish, seafood, dry beans, nuts, and seeds.

  • Women should eat five or six one-ounce servings of grains per day. Whole grains are an important source of fiber and a healthy diet, so least three of the servings should be from whole grains. Be sure to read package labels to make sure the product is made from whole grains. One serving is equal to one slice of bread, one cup of breakfast cereal, one-half cup of pasta, cooked rice, or cooked cereal. Sources for whole grains include brown rice, whole grain bread and pasta, buckwheat, oatmeal, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, and spelt products.

  • Women need five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Dark green and brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain many antioxidants and bioflavonoids in addition to vitamins, minerals, and fiber.One serving is equal to one-half cup for a starchy vegetable such as potatoes or corn, and two cups for a dark green low-starch vegetable like broccoli or leafy greens. One fruit serving is typically equal to one small to medium sized fruit or one-half cup berries.Sources for fruits and vegetables include dark green and brightly colored vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, apples, oranges, peaches, bananas, etc. Calorie counts vary significantly, so keep track of calories.

  • Women need to consume healthy fats every day. Fats are an important source of essential fatty acids, vitamin E. It is important to consume sufficient omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flax, and to reduce consumption of saturated fat found in red meats, and trans fat or hydrogenated oils found in processed foods.One serving is equal to one teaspoon. Women need up to seven servings of healthy fats per day, which are already found in much of the food we eat. Sources for healthy fats include fish, flax, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils like olive oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Born August 18, 1952(1952-08-18)

Houston, Texas, U.S.

Died September 14, 2009 (aged 57)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Actor Patrick Swayze died Monday following a battle with cancer.Swayze, 56, announced last March he was suffering from a particularly deadly form of pancreatic cancer. Some reports at the time gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor had said his situation was more optimistic. Patrick put up a good fight but the press is announcing that he died.

♥Best Movie Ever! "She is like the wind" Music Video

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Holiday Treats