Monthly Archives: September 2009

Halloween Cupcakes V1.0


October first is hours away (or already here, depending on when you read this) – do you know what this means?!?! Holiday season is ***almost*** here! Ok, not here here, but so close I can almost taste it…! 

I just love Halloween. I rarely dress up or even go to Halloween events, I also don’t like scary movies 🙂 but I love the idea of getting to dress as someone else. Last year I did dress up – twice in one day! My employer at the time had a costume contest (was there really a contest, or did we all just dress up? During the day, I went as a Radio Account Executive from 1982. In the evening, I wore my classic Ginger Spice costume (which is what I default to most years).

halloween 2008

halloween 2008

My boss has promoted me to Official Holiday Decorator (also, official pot luck organizer, but that’s for another day :-), so I’ve been gathering my Halloween decorations and purchasing some new items to decorate the office – pictures to follow next week.

What better way to get everyone into the Halloween spirit than eating festive Halloween cupcakes? I did some Google image searching and found a lot of great ideas, there are some creative cupcake decorators out there! I bought a box of Halloween FunFetti cake mix and colored it orange. Then I added filling. You may remember my Rainbow Cake where I used my Perfect Cake Filling.



Add filling! Perfect Cake Filling: 8oz box of cream cheese, 1 package of instant pudding, 1/3 cup of milk, 8oz (1 container) of whipped topping, 4tsp flavoring (optional, use any flavor - I choose orange extract this time)


I picked three easyish and cute cupcakes – Dracula, eyeball and spider web. My mom was a big help! She is a AWESOME cake decorator, so she is always in charge of getting the first layer of frosting on. Hopefully someday I will be able to put frosting on dessert like she can.


Dracula, eyeball and spider web cupcakes!

Dracula, eyeball and spider web cupcakes!

My sister in law is an eye doctor, I hope we got the blood shot eyes correct 🙂

Dracula was the toughest. We used this FANTASTIC black icing, but it was a little runny for his hair. The plastic container had a round tip, but we needed one with texture. Once we got his eyes and pupils on him, he turned out pretty cute 🙂 

The spider is actually a plastic spider ring. I choose teal frosting for the base because it was prettier than plain white.

Yum! I can’t wait to eat these… and I hope my coworkers enjoy them as much as I do!

Fall Fashion

Market Day came and went… Thank you to everyone who came out! I’ll be back in October, but probly not again anytime soon. It was an interesting experience, but people just really weren’t buying. The majority of the crowd was 65+, not the demo to purchase recycled tote bags and clutches. It was a little disheartening seeing people buy items:

  • That have been on the market since my mom sold crafts (which was like 10 years ago)
  • fleece scarves
  • glass outdoor hangy things
  • strings of beads

Assuming that I don’t sell anything in October either, I’ve got plenty of tote bags to use as Christmas gifts. Also on a happy note, Now I’ve got lots of time to get to sewing clothes. Then Christmas gifts for the kids. And then it will be knitting/crocheting season!

So, I did get a chance to make this dress a few weeks ago. 


McCalls 9542

McCalls 9542

It doesn’t look as cute on the manni, but it’s pretty cute on the pattern. I can’t wait for it to cool off just a little so I can finally wear this and pair it with brown tights and gray boots. The pattern included some flowery brooch thing, but I just added my own leaf pins, which I think compliment fall very nicely.

The pattern was pretty easy. The pleats took the longest. What you can’t see in the photo is the back, there is a round bottom panel that connects the back body, sleeves, and collar. It contains two of them actually, to hide a bunch of seams. One of the panels called for slits on each side of the panel to a certain circle, but it didn’t make any sense when I actually sewed it, the slits were on the outside of the dress and visible. So, 75% done and I decided to take that whole panel out and switch it with the one without cuts. There was one other pattern issue with the main back panel and how it connected to the sleeves, but I worked around it.

The fabric is from Walmart. I feel odd purchasing fabric at Walmart, but it was exactly what I was looking for and only like $2 or $3 a yard! What’s a girl to do in that situation?! Anyways, I promise not to make a habit of it, I still buy my supplies mainly from the fabric stores. 

I ❤ this next one!


McCalls 8920

McCalls 8920

This is the second jumper I’ve made with this pattern. I used bright owl corduroy from JoAnns for this beauty 🙂 I fell in love with this fabric as soon as I saw it, it is SO fun and cute! I love this pattern, it’s really simple and doesn’t take long at all. I will be pairing this with pink tights 🙂

September Market Day Preview

Whew! I have been sewing up a storm, getting ready for Market Day. If you’re in Des Moines this coming weekend, you will definitely want to check it out. Learn about Market Day and RSVP to Market Day on Facebook.

I will be selling little makeup bags for your purse, recycled clutches and recycled tote bags! Today, my favorites are the clutches, because there are so many fun embellishments involved – I’ve had a blast collecting trims, buttons and charms. I could spend all day describing the products for sale, but I’ll let them do the talking. Click on any of the photos to see the Flickr set (includes more photos!).


Makeup Bags - all cotton with button closures.

Makeup Bags - all cotton with button closures.


These are the clutches - the yellow one is my ABSOLUTE favorite, and I secretly hope no one buys it so I can carry it around.

These are the clutches - the yellow one is my ABSOLUTE favorite, and I secretly hope no one buys it so I can carry it around.

This one is called Ice Ice Books Click on the image for more photos!

This one is called "Ice Ice Books" Click on the image for more photos!

Blue Ribbon Winning

Whew! August went FAST! It was filled with the Iowa State Fair, family germ sharing (flu, anyone?), working, training for Hood to Coast and finally vacation (by far the best part!)! With all these activities something had to be neglected, and unfortunately, it was Aunt GiGi’s Craft Corner. But don’t worry, my fall schedule is jam-packed with creative goodness! I’ve got YARDS of fabric to sew, BOXES of plastic bags to fuse and lots of ideas for Christmas presents… It’s going to be a fun ride!

[This is a very long entry!]

Let me just start off with a big CONGRATS to Daniel Ray for sweeping the Dutch Oven Cooking contest at the 2009 Iowa State Fair! [Read the official press release] He entered the two dutch oven categories, main dish and dessert and won first place for both! This was his first year entering anything at the fair; a few months ago I had to remind and convince him that he wanted to enter 🙂

For the main dish, he entered Italian Sausage and Vegetables. The judges LOVED it, especially how spicy it was.

Dutch Oven Itallian Sausage And Vegetables

Dutch Oven Italian Sausage And Vegetables


  • 2        Large Onions, 1/4” slices 
  • 4        Potatoes, 1” cubed 
  • 1       lb Carrots, cut to 1” lengths, or baby carrots, 3 cups 
  • 1 1/2 lb Italian Sausage Links
  • 1/2     Bell Pepper, Julianne
  • 1/4     lb Mushrooms
  • 1/2     Cup White Wine
  • 1        Can (6 oz) Tomato Paste with Italian seasoning
  • 1        Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 12-15 oz Water to cover
  • 1        Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste 

How to Prepare:

  1.  Brown sausage links in a 4 Qt. Dutch Oven in the vegetable oil with 16 coals underneath and 8 on top.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Preheat the same 4 Qt. Dutch Oven to 350° with 10-12 coals on top and 16-20 coals underneath.  You will have to add coals later to keep it cooking.  Slice onions and arrange to cover bottom of Dutch oven. Cube potatoes and layer them, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms on top of onions and cover with wine, tomato paste, and some water.  Salt and pepper it to taste.
  3. Cover and place on coals until liquid starts to simmer. When liquid is simmering, add sausage and juice and return to heat. Add coals to top.  Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.  About 1 hour. 

 Next Up: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

At this time, the judge was admitting that he could not find anything wrong with the cake, but desperately tried to.

Dad with his cake

Dad with his blue ribbon winning cake

Dutch Oven Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Briquettes: 24 | Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 35 minutes | Yield: 8 servings 


  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1    Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1    Can (20 oz) Dole Pineapple Slices, in 100% pineapple juice
  • 22 Maraschino Cherries, approximately, (10 oz Jar)
  • 1    Pkg. (18.25 oz) Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix
  • 3    Eggs
  • Juice from Pineapple Slices plus enough water to make 1 1/3 Cups for cake mix 

How to Prepare:

  1. Line a 6 quart, 12-inch cast-iron camp oven with non-stick tin foil. Melt the butter over 24 hot coals. Sprinkle the melted butter with the brown sugar.  Let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Place the pineapple slices over the brown sugar and reserve the juice. (There should be room for 8 slices, 1 in the center and 7 around the outside.) Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. I also place a cherry at the intersection everywhere three pineapple slices intersect and around the outside.  More is better.  Let simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and reserved juice and water. Stir for 2 minutes. Spoon batter over pineapple slices and cherries.
  3. Cook over 6 coals, transferring 18 coals to the lid, for 25-30 minutes. (35 minutes for me.) This is 350°F in a regular oven.
  4. When done, a toothpick inserted in the cake’s center will come out clean.  Remove the lid, remove the camp oven from the coals, and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Use heavy cooking mitts or heavy cooking gloves and place the cast iron pot on one hand.  Place a large cookie sheet on top.  Place your other hand centered on the cookie sheet and carefully but quickly turn it over. 
  5. Carefully remove the non-stick foil.  Replace any pineapple slices that may have stuck to foil. Serve warm. 

Note:  As delicious as the cake is itself, the best part of the pineapple upside-down cake is the topping: brown sugar, butter, maraschino cherries and pineapple.  To get a topping that’s slightly caramel-y and not mushy, let the topping cook just a bit being careful not to burn it, until just before you add the batter.  (I start the topping and while it is starting to cook I prepare the cake batter.) 

Congrats Dad! These ribbons are well deserved. I think you should start practicing for next years contest NOW! Im hungry!

Congrats Dad! These ribbons are well deserved. I think you should start practicing for next year's contest NOW! I'm hungry!