Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vintage Pajama Party Sew Along

I wanted to let my readers know about this awesome month-long sewing party thats going on.

Find a vintage pajama pattern and get it sewn, Nov 7th - Dec 6th.  Carla, over at  Tiny Angry Crafts posted this party just a few days ago.

Click on the link and go check it out!  She has details and stuff!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Experiments, Sunday Horror Films, and 8 Absolutes of Scary Films

I found a recipe that was just so weird to me, I had to try it.  Before giving you the recipe, I just want to say that I found this to be GREAT!  You have to like eating celery with peanut butter to fully enjoy this recipe.  I made mine with a side of toast and jam.

Cream of Peanut Soup

Makes 1 pot

2 TBSP Butter
1/4 cup Onions, minced
2/3 cup Celery, thinly sliced
3 TBSP Flour
4 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Cream, Half n Half, or Evaporated Milk
Salt, Pepper to taste
Peanuts to float

1. In your pot, begin by melting butter with onions and celery. You will want your onions and celery to soften, brown lightly. Once brown, add in the flour to create a roux.

2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

3. Turn off the heat and add in the peanut butter, cream, and any salt or pepper. Add peanuts to individual soup bowls. You can serve this will toast and jam.


Sunday Horror Films

During the day I decided to watch a few films.

"The Last Man on Earth" (1968)

I love Vincent Price.  He pretty much carried this whole movie himself.  Very impressive.

 Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013)

This is an Australian film about a guy in a coma who is a little of telekinetic.  It's actually pretty creepy.  If you're into horror films that are set in weird old hospitals, you'll like this.

"Never Sleep Again" (2013)

This is a 3.5 hour documentary on the Nightmare on Elm Street series.  Its awesome!

8 Absolutes of Scary Films

I want to go over some of the key elements that make a scary movie scary.  I came up with this list a while ago and sure enough, if a movie has most of these elements (or all of them) then its scary.

  1. Isolationism.  Isolationism creates a base fear in most people.  From early on, this was a theme in a lot of sci-fi and horror films.  Name a few: Night of The Living Dead, The Invasion of The Body Snatchers, and The Crazies.
  2. Your POV is the same as the main characters, no real future knowledge.  If your point of view is the same as the characters, then usually you don't know what's coming next and it creates suspense.  If you know that the bad guy is around the corner, its not scary.  Name a few: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Conjuring, and In The Mouth of Madness.
  3. Don't let the music give away whats happening.  Sometimes there's a good use of music and background music, but sometimes the lack of music is scary too (like Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  Name a few: The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and The Frighteners.
  4. Some "freak outs" are okay, but don't over-do it.  A "freak out" is like a surprise moment that is supposed to make you jump.  This doesn't happen to me often because usually something gives it away.  "Freak outs" need to be quick and unexpected so you get a harsh break from what is normal, like when the mom is in the kitchen, turns around and the dining chairs are stacked high on the table in Poltergeist.  Name a few: Poltergeist, The Conjuring, The Possession, and Insidious.
  5. Don't give us too much of a pre-story.  A pre-story can really ruin a horror movie.  People try to give them to add to the depth of the characters, but its really not needed.  Pick a moment in time and have the story start from there.  Too much of a pre-story can ruin a film with too much information.  This is why a lot of remakes suck.  Name a few: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, The Exorcist, Beetlejuice, and Dawn of The Dead.
  6. The Known Unknown.  We, as a whole, are scared of the known unknown.  This incorporates serial killers, mental asylums, the government, hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, old religions, old ways of living (farming, amish, etc), myths/legends, and the paranormal.  What makes it scary is that we know something, even if its just a rumor, but we don't know everything about it.  Give us too much and the film isn't scary (like Underworld, Van Helsing, and Hellboy)  Name a few: House on Haunted Hill (remake), The Abominable Dr.Phibes, The Crazies, 28 Days Later, Frankenstein, The Thing, and Dracula.
  7. Viable?  If the story is even remotely viable, then it can be scary.  Aliens from outer space, a viral outbreak, a haunting, witchcraft, etc are all perfectly fine.  Something really off the wall will always be silly, like Attack of The Killer Tomatoes.  Name a few: A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Craft, The Shining, and Close Encounters of The Third Kind.
  8. Simple is better.  In today's world the 3D graphics are getting so over-used its ridiculous.  I understand it for sci-fi and fantasy movies, but get real.  The original Star Wars trilogy was not done with super sophisticated 3D graphics.  You don't have to have them.  The following are some that feature low-budget awesomeness or minimal special effects!  Name a few: Night of The Living Dead, The Last Man on Earth, The Wolfman, The Mummy (original), The Birds, and Psycho.  Newer films that also feature low special effects: Silence of The Lambs, Wolf, Rosemary's Baby, and The Omen.

7 Days of Halloween Movies

Starting Friday night, I started my usual ritual of horror movie watching.  I'll make more posts later in regards to the upcoming week of movies to come.

Friday Night:

"Invasion of The Body Snatchers" (1978)

While I enjoy the original, there's nothing quite as intense as the 78 remake with Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright, and Brooke Adams.

Saturday Night - double feature:

"Invaders From Mars" (1986)

This remake of the 1953 movie was pretty bad. LOL  I think the best thing about it was the appearance of a Krang-like creature (for you old school ninja turtle fans out there) and the actress Karen Black.  The weird thing is that its directed by Tobe Hooper, who is best known for Texas Chainsaw Massacre.   I'm going to have my 6 year old nephew watch this.  He would probably love it.
Its totally Krang!

"Fright Night" (1986)

I didn't realize that this film also came out of 1986.  Wild!  This is a childhood classic!  I told my guy that every time I see Chris Sarandon all I can think of is Prince Humperdink -- even as a vampire.  I love the fact that Roddy McDowell is in this film.

More to come! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

I used lime jello in this.
Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1 bag Ocean Spray Cranberries
1 Navel Orange
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Jello

1. In a pot, mix the water and sugar.  Turn the heat to high.
2. Cut the navel into four pieces.  Shave off three thumbnail size pieces of orange zest and toss that into your pot.  While your sugar water boils, squeeze the juice from the four pieces of orange into the pot.
3. Fish out your orange zest and throw it away, along with the squeezed orange quarters.
4. Pour the entire bag of cranberries into the pot.  You will want to let this boil for 7-10 minutes.  It will thicken up and you're going to hear cranberries popping open.  Stir regularly.
5. When your mixture is thick, you will want to turn off your stove and add in your teaspoon of jello.  This can be any flavor or even unflavored gelatin powder.  Sprinkle the jello over the cranberry sauce and give it 30 seconds to begin to absorb, then mix it into the sauce.  You need the jello/gelatin powder to absorb the juices of the sauce before stirring so it doesn't clump.
6. Its recommended to let it set up in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.  This will help thicken the sauce.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Postcard From Seattle

One of the girls is on a trip to Seattle for a vacation.  I just got her postcard today.  Hope she's having fun!  I bet she finds some cool vintage stuff.
I went out today and found this cute MCM fox pin.  The girls and I have been trying to name our little group and I was thinking "The Arctic Foxes".  We're hoping for something slightly Alaskan.  Any ideas?
I just got these MCM coloring books in from Amazon.  One is patterns and the other is more home furnishing design.  Both are by Jenn Ski.  I recommend checking them out if you like design.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cool New Old Stuff

Just recently I got some new stuff.

My aunt sent me a creel box full of old patterns

The patterns she sent to me from Oregon.

I found these super awesome cufflinks at Lady Lee's Antiques downtown.  They are silver, mother of pearl and jet or onyx (not sure which).

I found two Theodore Roosevelt election pins.  They're reproductions from 1972, but they are still awesome!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Winter Fabrics

We have snow up here in Alaska, which means that its time to bring out the winter fashions.  While cuffed jeans and flannel shirts seem to be an easy fashion go-to, I want to talk about other options.  If you sew, like me, then its important to mention classic winter fabrics.  I'll talk about fashions in another post, this one is just on winter fabrics.

Classic Winter Fabrics
Wool - Wool usually comes from sheep, though some variations come from goats, musk ox, and
camel.  While it can absorb water, it is very warm and burns at a higher temperature than other fibers making it fire resistant.  Its hypoallergenic.  It can be used from everything to winter coats to skirts to underwear.

Flannel - Flannel is a woven fabric usually made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers.  Flannel is brushed either on one side (single-napped) or both sides (double-napped).  It usually comes in solid colors or plaids.   Its used for shirting, pajamas, pants, and bedding.

Tweed - Tweed is a woolen product generally with a plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern to it.  Tweed is generally used for informal outerwear since it is moisture-resistant and durable.

Hand Knits - Hand knits are knitted items knitted by hand.  People generally start out learning to make scarves, hats, and mittens, but gradually learn to make more complicated items such as socks, cardigans, and blankets.  Hand knits are made from a variety of yarn that includes wool, cotton, natural fibers, and synthetic fibers.

Fur - Fur comes in and out of style.  Fur is warm, it dries easily, and its durable.  Fur is a strange
beast.  If you are going to cut out a pattern on fur, turn it over so the fur side is down.  Use a sharpie to trace your pattern onto the fur.  Use a razor blade to cut the pattern out.  DO NOT use scissors.

Modern Winter Fabrics
Polar Fleece - Polar fleece is constructed from recycled plastic, so its not resistant to high heat.  It is water resistant and very warm.  Its recommended that you wash and then air dry.  Too much machine drying will cause some pilling and the loss of softness.

Flannel-Back Satin - This is a type of satin with a single-nap, the dull backside has been brushed.  This makes it warmer and softer.  If you are looking for fabric for winter pajamas, you might want to choose this.  I would not recommend this for dresses.

Cuddle Fabrics - This kind of fabric is super soft.  Sometimes its plush chenille, but its always a polyester.  Its used for blankets, pajamas, baby clothes, pet items, and coat linings.

Today a Circle Skirt

I used a green plaid flannel and this pattern to make a quick skirt today.  I, of course, pre-washed my fabric.  I wore this skirt earlier this week (the long circle skirt in the pattern pic) to dinner with one of the girls - retro casual.

Lono, my sewing helper
This pattern is super easy.  There are two pieces  1. the skirt   2. The waistband.  If you are not using 72" felt (as mentioned on the back of the pattern), then get yourself 4 yards of fabric.  I got the skirt sewn in less than an hour.  Two side seems, attaching the waistband, hemming the bottom, and installing a zipper is all that has to be done.  I wore it out to get Mexican food going retro casual with my friend Deanna.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beef-Pumpkin Chili

So I came up with this recipe today.  I would have used chili powder, but I couldn't find any.  I did find paprika and paprika is in fact a chili.  If you try it out, let me know if you like it.  I immediately ate two bowls of this.  Its good!

Beef-Pumpkin Chili

1 small Pumpkin (coconut size)
1lb Ground Beef
4 small Onions, quartered (vine tomato size)
1 can Diced Tomato
Cumin, Black Pepper, Tumeric, Paprika, Garlic, Brown  Gravy, Beef Boullion
1 TBSP Worchestershire Sauce
4 cups water

1. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the insides.  Cut the bottom and top off - cause you don't need the stems.  In a bowl, put in a half inch of water.  Place one half of pumpkin face down in the bowl.  Put in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Do this to the other half as well.  Cut off the skin from the pumpkin, then dice up the flesh (bite size pieces).  Put this into a big stock pot with the 4 cups of water.

Quick note: By steaming the pumpkin halves first, it makes it easier to cut off the outer skin and it also cooks the pumpkin pieces quicker.

2. In a frying pan, brown your ground beef.  Add in the worchestershire sauce for added flavor.

3. While your meat is browning, add in the can of diced tomato, the onions, a big scoop of beef boullion, a tablespoon of brown gravy, about 2 tablespoons of cumin, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, some tumeric, some garlic, and a tablespoon of paprika.  If you want to give it a kick, add a spicy pepper or two.

4. Add your meat to the pot.  Let this come to a full boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour and a half.