Pumpkin Plate Silly Face

Pink Hair Pumpkin Plate FaceHole Punch Pumpkin PlateGoogle Eyes Hole Punch Craft GlueThread Pipe CleanersGoogle EyesGoogle Eyes Teeth SmileGlue the Google EyePipe Cleaner BraceletSilly Pumpkin FacesSilly Pumpkin Plate Face on Fridge

In case you still need to decorate for Halloween, here’s a simple and silly craft that will put a smile on your face. I put it together for a childcare group earlier this month, so when I had special breakfast guests over the weekend, we made them again at my place!

Supplies: orange paper plates, google eyes, colorful pipe cleaners, hole punch, craft glue, sticky magnet (optional).

Directions: Punch the orange paper plate with three holes in the top for pumpkin “hair” vines and two holes in the bottom for the smiles. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist them to style unique hair and smiles. Glue the google eyes on the plate and add a magnet to the back.

sunny phoenix memories

1 antique holiday window

2 joyride tacos phoenix

3 desert botanical 8

churn in the park

desert botanical 1

desert silhouette

st. francis restaurant at night
As I write, the wind chill factor in Indiana is negative 3-degrees, and there is almost 4 inches of snow on the ground. These photos were taken just over a week ago in sunny Phoenix where the temperature reached 88-degrees! The images of the Desert Botanical Gardens, afternoon markets and open air restaurants are warming, but the memories shared with a dear friend are even more so.

roasted white peaches and blueberries

1 white peaches blueberries roasted in pan

2 white peaches apples bowl

3 peach halves blueberries

4 white peaches halves butter brown sugar

5 white peaches blueberries before roasting

6 white peaches blueberries roating in oven

white peaches blueberries roasted from above
Friday night I was surprised with a beautiful hospitality gift: a box of ripe Michigan blueberries, picked earlier that day by the hands of those that gave them to me. Saturday morning I was delighted to find boxes of white peaches on the in-season produce table at the Farmer’s Market. Both fruits were already delicious on their own, but when an overcast Sunday evening rolled around, I turned on the oven and put them together. The flavors melted into each other with a little help from some butter and brown sugar. A comforting end to a memorable weekend.

Peaches, halved & pits removed / Butter / Brown sugar, mixed with butter / Blueberries

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Baking time will vary a bit depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Delicious alone or with ice cream / whipped cream. The sauce that is created from the juices is perfect spooned over Angel Food Cake.

where did summer go?

an I spy spool barbecue beets bday cupcakes bratwurst kale pepper foil dinner charcoal grill apple tree gutter coconut curry custard pie jello salad fire pit brats grandma coconut birthday little mermaid sea cake overgrown gazebo pumpkin custard pumpkin granola yogurt queen anne's lace apple background tea bags reflect stove blue tea bowlsIt happened again: lots of living and not much blogging.  This summer has been adventurous and at times, delicious.  I am grateful for the milestones we celebrated and the simple moments we savored.  When I look at these photos I remember unexpected treats from this past season; wishing all of you those reminders of the good times.  I sense a reflective autumn coming on.

swapped up black raspberry shrub syrup

shrub aerialblack raspberry shrubsrp hton foodswap meringue stackmeringue starsbeans corn swaprolls cookiesheidi maryhton swap open doorSecond food swap (first in our area!) boomed with bounty. The special aspect of a summer swap is that those with gardens bring their freshly harvested abundance. One day I will have a patch of land with a garden, but for now my swap items are kitchen creations and confections. My items this go around were meringues and black raspberry shrub drink mixers. Everything was “swapped up,” and I returned home with more than I could have ever imagined! The camaraderie is almost as delicious as the goods. I now refer to Food Swaps as “Food Christmas.”

food swap first-timer

1 honeycomb brittle swap up close in package 2 honeycomb brittle 3 organic chocolate stout 4 bowling pin pops 5 bidding 6 fudge swap 7 pickled peppers bid sheet pesto swap sign upthe loot

Last month I participated in a community food swap for the first time!  Mary has been diligently working to connect our region with the Food Swap Network (read all about it on their site).  These photos were taken when I joined her at City Market for the Indianapolis Food Swap.  My swap items were riffs on previous recipes made and documented on this blog: Honeycomb Brittle and Porter Candy Apples. I made three types of honeycomb brittle (lavender, toasted almond, black raspberry) and chocolate stout lollipops.  At first I was nervous that no one would want to swap for candy, but as you can see I had nothing to worry about.  I have been enjoying my swap loot ever since, and now because of Mary’s efforts, Northeast Indiana will host its inaugural swap this weekend. I can’t wait to see what swap-chances await; I hope people will swap for cold-pressed black raspberry shrub drink mixes…

shiny brite times

a vintage bead of silver bellsbox shiny brite ornament tin moldsfrosted sprinkle sugar cookieslamp post with colored bulbssnowman tableShiny Brite ornaments were the most popular Christmas tree ornaments made in the 1940’s and 1950’s in the United States. I have an original box set that my grandma gave to me when I had my first apartment, and Christmas tree, of my own. Those ornaments hark back to the time when she and her sisters were the age that I am today. I always keep an eye out for them in antique stores, and it makes me wonder what will evoke memories of Christmases past when I am in my eighties.

It is easy to feel homesick around the holidays, because it’s often a mile marker for realizing that things are never going to be the same. For others, the times seem more joyous and precious than ever, and I need to keep that in mind. I am just missing people right now, but on New Year’s Eve, I’ll raise my cup to the shiny nostalgic memories and hopes for unexpectedly brite futures.