Bookspiration

Bookspiration: Boo!

photo-oct-28-6-25-27-pmToday we had a lot of fun letting Lillian get her hands all slimy with pumpkin goop while daddy cleaned out a pumpkin for her to sit in. We wanted to carve the other side of the pumpkin when we were finished, so we decided to take inspiration from the wonderful board book Boo! by one of our favorite children’s authors, Leslie Patricelli.
This sweet book is about a baby enjoying all kinds of Halloween fun.  After picking out a pumpkin that is just the right size, the baby wonders what to carve:

Since Lillian loves our two cats, we decided to go with a kitty face on our pumpkin (you’ll have to check out the book to find out what the baby carves in Boo!). I’ve seen a few different kitty carvings online, but I especially liked to idea of using pumpkin pieces for ears! We attached the ears to our pumpkin with toothpicks. One of my favorite tips to try before lighting a candle for Jack-O-Lanterns is to add cinnamon powder to the top of the pumpkin. The aroma fills the air and really adds to the cozy fall feeling of pumpkin carving! I think our kitty pumpkin turned out pretty cute, but I’ve gotta be honest, Lillian inside the pumpkin is definitely cutest of all!
What are your favorite Halloween books? Did you carve pumpkins yet this year? I’d love to hear all about your Halloween!

xx Caitlyn

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Autumn Bucket List · Projects

Fall Bucket List: Halloween Needle Felts

Happy Monday! After a weekend of being sick, I managed to get my haircut and attend an hour workshop and not a whole lot else. I was really worried today was going to be a terrible start to the week after a very restless night (runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, being uncomfortable from my changing body, having to pee all the time…), but it was a surprisingly good day at work. At the moment I’m waiting for some rice to finish in our rice cooker so we can enjoy some takoraisu for dinner, so I thought I’d show you the needle felts I finished over the last week or so while I wait!

The last needle felting I did was a while ago: a little bee, and a bit before that a cute little onigiri. Both of those were not kits, but the ones I chose for Halloween this year were! I think there are some pros and cons to choosing kits rather than making things on your own, so I’ll tell you about the kits I got!
Photo 10-26-15, 6 38 55 PMFirst of all, these were both purchased at a 100 yen shop. That’s right: for 200 yen total (less than $2), I got several hours of stabbing fun. Included in each kit was a needle, assorted felt for the project, eye parts, a round jump ring and a ball chain . Things I needed to prepare were glue, scissors, and a mat to work with (the kit also suggested an awl for poking holes for the eyes, pliers to insert them, and a ruler, but I just poked holes with my needle and inserted the eyes by hand. I also didn’t measure anything, but in retrospect probably should have!).
Photo 10-26-15, 6 39 47 PMI was a little disappointed my bear and ghost didn’t turn out as cute as the ones in the pictures, but I think part of that can be chalked up to lack of experience, part to not having the natural Japanese talent for making everything ridiculously cute, and part to not measuring *ehem, ehem* I was also a bit frustrated at having a limited amount of felt–I wanted to make my bear fatter (and thus cuter), but ran out of brown felt, and I wanted to cover the ghost with more of the black so less white showed through, but ran out of the black felt.
Photo 10-26-15, 6 40 39 PMSomething cool I forgot to mention is that each kit came with a “recipe” written in both Japanese and English. This would be awesome if you were trying to study Japanese, and in my case (since I have been really naughty and haven’t studied at all lately) if you just want the English.

I think if you just want to try needle felting, a nice cheap kit like the cuties I got are a good way to go. Plus, once you’ve got a needle, all you really need is felt, a styrofoam mat and your imagination and you can do quite a lot!

Well, dinner is calling! Hope you have a nice start to your week, too!
xx Caitlyn

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Monte Cristo’s!

Well, I’ve had a bit of a rough couple of weeks. But I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, so here I am with my first post in a while. Will perhaps go into some of the not-so-fun parts of my last couple weeks eventually, but right now I’d like to focus on something fabulous: I finally got around to making homemade Monte Cristo’s! (Sorry in advance for the HORRIBLE photos, but sometimes you can’t be a perfect iPhone photographer when delicious sandwiches are in your near future.)

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I decided to use my panini press for the Monte Cristo’s, but I think grilling them would be a delicious option as well. To start, I set out my ingredients: homemade apple butter, homemade honey mustard dressing, an apple, homemade bread swirled with apple butter, turkey, and provolone cheese.

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I cut thin slices of the apple and put them on the bottom half of the sandwich…

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…added turkey slices on top of that…

20131113-153842.jpg…and provolone cheese on top of that.

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Then I added honey mustard dressing on top of the cheese, and apple butter on the top slice of bread. If I made these again, I think I would also add apple butter on the bottom slice before adding any toppings.

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Then, all I did was grill my delicious little sandwiches. I worried at first that the apple slices would be too crunchy, but they were perfect! I was really happy with how the sandwiches turned out, and have been having fun looking at other Monte Cristo variations online. Have you ever made any good ones, or are there any you’d like to try?

20131113-153908.jpgAlso, I know it’s a little late, but I can’t help but post a picture of our cute pumpkins and our front porch on Halloween. I was able to scratch off making pumpkin seeds from my bucket list using this recipe, too!

Hope you’re doing well as we make our way into the colder, darker months, and that you can stay positive with warmth and light.