Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Update

I've been neglecting my updates on my Rations Challenge.  Since it's over, let me say that it wasn't completely terrible, but the biggest problem that I had was getting food from other people.  For whatever reason, people kept giving me dishes of food.  It's not something that usually happens, so I really didn't know what to do except accept the food.  I did have one day where I thought I was going to go nuts...and bought a pizza.  Aside from that, I really did try to stick with challenge as much as possible.

I'm not sure when I will post next.  It could be tomorrow or in a week or something.  If this was the 19th century, they might say I suffer from perpetual melancholy.  It's not depression.  I can find happiness and joy in my melancholy, it is just fleeting.  Until it is squandered a little bit.....well, who knows.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spooky Mixes (Halloween #10)

I have two playlists here for everyone.  The first is a swanky retro mix, the second is a classic mix.  I love Halloween music and I'm always shocked that people don't play more during the Halloween season.  Here are 50 songs - 25 for each playlist - that you can look into getting.  You should be able to find them on youtube and/or itunes and/or amazon music.


Swanky Spooky Mix
  1. "That Old Black Magic" by Louis Prima
  2. "The Headless Horseman Song" by Bing Crosby
  3. "He's a Demon, He's a Devil, He's a Doll" by Betty Hutton
  4. "St.James Infirmary" by Cab Calloway
  5. "Hell" by Squirrel Nut Zippers
  6. "My Old Flame" by Spike Jones
  7. "Dunwich (Main Title)" by Les Baxter
  8. "Stone God" by Martin Denny
  9. "Waimea Witch Hunt" by Creepxotica
  10. "The Nightingale" by Julee Cruise
  11. "The Munsters Theme" by Jack Marshall
  12. "Stone Cold Dead In The Market" by Louis Jordan feat. Ella Fitzgerald
  13. "Carnival of Souls" by Combustible Edison
  14. "Bewitched Theme" by Peggy Lee
  15. "Devil in Disguise" by Elvis
  16. "Zombie" by Gene Kardos & His Orchestra
  17. "Swingin' At The Seance" by Glenn Miller
  18. "Nightmare" by Artie Shaw
  19. "I Wanna Be Evil" by Eartha Kitt
  20. "Skeleton in The Closet" by Louis Armstrong
  21. "Slaughter on 10th Ave" by The Ventures 
  22. "I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  23. "Jumpin' Punkins" by Duke Ellington
  24. "Voodoo Woman Blues" by Jay McShann
  25. "Spooky" by The Coffin Daggers



Classic Halloween Mix

  1. "Monster Mash" by Boris Pickett
  2. "Spooky" by Classic IV
  3. "Witch Queen of New Orleans" by Redbone
  4. "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo
  5. "Haunted House of Rock" by Whodini
  6. "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  7. "Psychotic Reaction" by Positively 13 O'Clock
  8. "Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett
  9. "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker jr.
  10. "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" by The Cramps
  11. "Thriller" by Michael Jackson feat. Vincent Price
  12. "Season of The Witch" by Donovan
  13. "When Your Evil" by Voltaire
  14. "Night Prowler" by AC/DC
  15. "Mr.Crowley" by Ozzy
  16. "Frenzy" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  17. "Evil Ways" by Santana
  18. "Love Potion #9" by Gary & The Playboys
  19. "A Nightmare on My Street" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince
  20. "Dark Lady" by Cher
  21. "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles
  22. "I'm Your Boogie Man" by KC & The Sunshine Band
  23. "Black Widow" by Alice Cooper feat. Vincent Price
  24. "Go-Go to The Graveyard" by Deadlines
  25. "This Is Halloween" by Danny Elfman

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween Graffiti (Halloween #9)

This is a great way to get even the slightly unsociable folks more social.  You will need wall space.   You will want to set up a specific area for people to draw on. If you are planning on using paper, use a few layers of butcher paper or some kind of thick paper.  You can also use a chalkboard.  You can also take a piece of cardboard, spray paint it a base color (white probably), and secure that to the wall.

To avoid people writing on the actual wall, place a border around your paper, chalkboard, cardboard, or whatever you plan on using.  Consider using ribbon, a drawn on border, or even a frame.  Be sure to leave out a jar of pens, crayons, markers, chalk, or whatever you want people to use.

Start out the graffiti wall!  Draw a pumpkin, leave a spooky message, ask a provocative question!  This is simple and fun.  I've seen these put up near the bathroom, so anyone waiting for the toilet can make their mark.

At the end of the night, you can always post the graffiti to facebook or instagram.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Quick Appetizers (Halloween #8)

Having a party and need some quick appetizers?  These have definite fall flavors and can spruce up any appetizer tray.  These are also real easy and quick to make.


Harvest BruschettasBruschetta is made with slices of baguette French bread for a 2-bite appetizer.  This is the long, narrow bread in the bakery of your local grocery store.  What you need are toppings to go on your slices.  To start with, slice your baguette into slices that are 1/2" wide.  I actually used standard French bread for the picture below.  It's more of a 4-bite appetizer.  Select one of the following topping combinations and layer in the order listed.

Harvest Berry - Cream Cheese, Raspberry or Blueberry Jam (not jelly), and sliced or slivered Almonds.

Hearty Beef - Horseradish sauce (I like Horseradish Mustard), slice of medium-cooked Steak, and Caramelized Onions.  Optional: Provolone cheese slice.

Lovely Fish - Shallot & Chive Boursin (brand) Cheese, Smoked Salmon (I used Alaskan smoked salmon), and sprinkle of Dill.  It should be good with either hot smoked (Alaskan style) or cold smoked (called "Lox") salmon.

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Gooey Autumn Bake
What you need:

  • 1 tube Pilsbury Dough
  • Havarti Cheese
  • Pecans
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 Apples, sliced and chunked
  • 1/2 cup Berries (your choice; cranberry, raspberry, or blueberry suggested)
  • Honey
1. Spread out your sheet of dough on a greased baking sheet.  I used a tube of Pilsbury French Bread Dough.
2. Slice up the havarti cheese and place a layer in the center of the dough.
3. On the layer of cheese place pecans, chunked pieces of apple, berries, cinnamon, and honey.
4. Place a second layer of cheese on top of this.
5. With a knife, cut the sides of the dough into 3/4" wide "fringe".  Pull these fringe pieces across the top of the center mixture.
6. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
7. Once this is out, you can slice this up on a platter for your guests.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

5 Quick Halloween Costumes (Halloween #7)

There is always that person who doesn't bother to put a Halloween costume together until the last minute.  I am not that person.  I start planning for Halloween in...January, roughly.  If you happen to be one of those last minute Halloween people, here are 5 fabulous Halloween costume ideas for you that aren't completely ridiculous.  I'm not going to mention zombies or vampires since they're an obvious easy costume.  I don't go for cutesy costumes either.  I'm a scary costume or scary-based costume sort of gal.  Princesses, Disney whatevers, movie costumes...blah.  Not my style.  I want to point out that the original purpose of a scary costume was to avoid the scary creatures and ghosts that wandered freely on Halloween.  The only way to avoid them in plain sight was to be just as scary as them.


1. Mummy
What you will need:
  • 1 pair of long johns (long shirt and pants, not a one piece) in white
  • 2 white bed sheets that you can cut up
  • 1 pack small safety pins
  • Scissors

First off, this costume is easier to put together with the help of a friend, with that said, let's start.  Start by cutting the two white bed sheets into strips that are about 1-1/2" to 2" wide.  You can find white sheets at a store, a thrift store, or you can grab about 6 yards of white muslin or gauze from the fabric store.  Thrift store is cheaper.  Put on your pants and start at the ankle.  Pin the end of one strip.  Wrap the fabric loosely around your leg, periodically pinning it in place.  If you have extra time and want to use a needle and thread to attach the fabric to the long johns, that's always an option.  When you finish the pants, you can do the same thing on the shirt.  It is okay if you have an extra strip or two.  Wrap the extra pieces around your head when you're ready to go.  If you want to add make up, you can darken your eyes and add some grey to your face and back of your hands.  The bonus to this costume is that you can easily go to the bathroom when you need to.

2. Dead Person from Time Period X


What you will need:
  • Retro Clothing
  • Prothstetic Pieces
  • Spirit Gum
  • Death Make Up

I actually really enjoy doing this.  The idea is that you are a person who is dead from the time period of your choosing.  Pick out your best retro clothes.  It could be the 1980s, the 1950s, or even Ancient Rome.  Pick the way your character died and go to the costume store real fast.  Were you shot by an arrow or a bullet?  Did you slice your wrists?  Choke on a bone?  Find what you need with either props, make up, etc.  If you are going to use prothstetic pieces, be sure to get spirit gum (glue) and spirit gum remover (to take it off).  On top of all of this, you will also need death make up.  Below is a video tutorial for corpse make up.


3.Wolf Man

What you will need:
  • Flannel shirt
  • Jeans, best if they have some holes
  • Boots
  • 4 pieces Craft Fur (from craft stores) 
  • Furry ears on a headband (Halloween store)
  • Werewolf make-up kit  Click Here to see what I mean
  • Safety pins
The idea of what you need to do is trim your shirt cuffs, your neck, your chest (if its going to be exposed), and any other parts that are going to show with the craft fur.  You may only need 2 pieces of craft fur.  Some folks like big wolf ears and some people want more of a wolf man look (see picture).  The big part of this costume is the werewolf make up.  You can make your hair a little wild and unkempt.  You can even have some wolf-like fake nails on or vampire teeth for extended canines for a more wolfish appearance.

4. Purposeful Ghost
What you will need:
  • 1 White Bed Sheet
  • Appropriate Shoes
  • Appropriate Accessories
  • Marker, scissors
  • Black cream make-up
  • Black pants/leggings

Take your sheet and place it over yourself.  Your feet will be showing.  Mark your eyes and mouth.  You will want to make holes larger than your eyes and your mouth, so keep that in mind.  Take off the sheet and cut your holes.  Make any adjustments that you need so it is comfortable.  Paint your mouth and eyes black with the cream make up.  Put on your undergarments, typically black pants and shirt.  Sometimes the shoes are black, sometimes they're not - depending on your ghost.  Put the sheet over your head and get ready to accessorize.  You will want something around your neck to help keep the costume in place.  You can use a tie or a junk jewelry necklace.  You could also use a piece of rope (maybe a noose?) or a scarf or a bow tie.  If you want to further secure your sheet, you can add a hat.  Add a little flair to your ghost.  You can be a former police detective with a tie, fedora, and a police badge.  You can be a former hung prisoner by using a rope noose, a prisoner cap, and handcuffs dangling from one hand.  You can be a former starlet by using a pearl necklace, red heels, and bracelets.


5. Scarecrow
What you will need:
  • Oversize button-up shirt
  • Oversize pants
  • Gloves - optional
  • Boots
  • Straw hat/old hat/natural fiber hat
  • Some make-up
  • Bag of raffia (craft store)
  • Safety pins
 Take some raffia strands, fold in half, and knot the bent end to form a little loop.  Do this to a handful of pieces.  Put on the oversized shirt.  Safety pin the knotted raffia strands inside the shirt, but make sure the strands are pulled outside - like your scarecrow stuffing is poking out.  You might want to do this for the pants as well.  You can pin a few strands in the hat to stick out along your hair and also pin some around your shirt and pant cuffs.  When it comes to make-up, scarecrows usually have a brown triangle nose, an extended mouth, rosey cheeks, and everything is outlined with stitches.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ration Challenge Update

After my first week on the Ration Challenge, these are my thoughts on the pros and cons.  Tell me what you think.  Are you going to try the Ration Challenge?  Here's a link to the original post about the 1940s Ration Challenge.  I'd love to see what you come up with for food or if you decide to try out some 1940s rations recipes.


In other news, I'm a new writer for Dark Matter News.  You will start seeing articles posted under 'Writing', listed at the top of the blog.