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Mermaid Costume

Every year I make Thing 2’s Halloween costume… except the one year she wanted to buy a princess costume but when someone else showed up in the same outfit, we went back to making our own. She has been a dead cheerleader, a rock n roller, a pirate and a zombie girl. This year… she wanted to be a mermaid… (technically it’s her fourth time as a mermaid) The first mermaid costume was worn until it was literally in shreds. So since we’ve done this a few times, I printed off some images of mermaid costumes to use as inspiration to see what direction she wanted to go.  Now someone else has already done a bang up job explaining how they did it (Ms. Mod Mischief) so the full credit and instructions are here. I did mine differently but you use what you got and that’s what I did.  The concept and basic construction is the same.
Here’s Things 2 costume – which was completed down to the wire.  She was involved in making all the various parts and it turned out (if I don’t say so myself) pretty darn good. I think she’s the cutest mermaid caught by a Pirate/Fisherman I ever did see!
We attended the PALLOWEEN Halloween event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Dr. Malibu said it was evident she was going to win.  Thing 2 was stopped every few steps by people gushing over her costume.  And she did win– 1st prize for her age division, but she won my heart a long time ago!
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Vintage Tray Message Du Jour Boards

I’ve been looking and looking for some old vintage metal trays.  I thought they would be cute with their inner sections painted in chalk paint.  Cute to display around the home – handy for whatever the “Message Du Jour” is!  Thing 1 and Thing 2 always have fun with things like these and there’s no telling what message someone might leave, tempted with a blank slate and piece of chalk!

The weekend garage sales hadn’t turned up anything.  My search of the local thrift stores turned up a few items that were too much money and just really not what I was envisioning.  I was really looking to pay no more than a $1.00 (or even less).

Are you familiar with “the Secret”?  It’s a philosophy where you put a message out to the universe.  Basically you manifest your desires.  I’m familiar with the concept only.  But I will tell you this, I do seem to have this gift!  Need a new Cuisinart?  I’ll find one, brand new at an estate sale for $25 complete with the extra blade set.  What about a Barbecue for the rental house in Palm Springs?  How’s $20 bucks sound, gently used with a filled propane tank to boot!

Yeah, lucky me.  This is my gift in life – it couldn’t be something cool like winning lotteries or finding diamonds.  But finding that certain something that I feel I need… it comes to me.

Sure enough, sooner than expected, someone moved out of one of the apartments where I lived.  They left a bunch of kitchen goods, stacked neatly in a covered area next to the recycling.  Three darling little vintage trays yelled out to me and caught my attention.  They were not too big!  Not too small.  EXACTLY what I was envisioning!

After cleaning up the trays and applying a couple of coats of chalk paint, I had three festive little message boards, perfect for any occasion!
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Naturally, Thing 2 was the first to grab the chalk and leave her message!

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Graduation Dress Update

Last weekend, Thing 2 and I worked on her dress.  She got a firsthand lesson in cutting out the pattern.  And, she is old enough now to handle an iron, so she pressed the patterns flat.  Then we pinned it to muslin fabric and transferred the pertinent markings and cut it out.  Thing 2 still has trouble pinning but she really liked transfer the pattern dots to the fabric!  I need to sit her down and have her practice pinning so she get comfortable with it.

I already did that with her for sewing.  I took some scrap fabric and with a magic marker, drew straight, curved and zig zag lines for her to practice sewing on.  She kept at it till she got comfortable and it abolished any fear since it was just scrap fabric that we were going to throw away (well, I used it to clean the barbeque first!)

After we sewed up the muslin, she tried it on and wasn’t very impressed!  Little Thing 2’s hips have come in, (sigh… puberty) so I showed her how we modified the pattern (literally drawing black lines on the muslin, then modifying the paper pattern.
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Cutting out the fabric was as far as we got.  She’s still not sure if she’s going to like the dress when it’s done so we used a bright Hawaiian print fabric to make a little sun dress for vacation this summer.  Once she can see the final result, she’ll have a better idea of what her graduation dress will look like.

We had a really nice time mother daughter morning shopping at Joanns for the white linen fabric that will be used for the final graduation dress.  We also picked through my stash of zippers (acquired from the Grady Hunt estates sale) that will be used to spice up her graduation dress.

Makeup and Enchilades – the foundation for friendship

We gain a lot from our friendships – not just in the form of support or shared laughter and memories… but crucial knowledge gained.   Take my good friend KP.  I met her when Thing 2 started kindergarten.  Up until that point, I wore the hallowed crown of all things crafty.  She, and another mom, (of Pop Rocks and Goblins fame) quickly knocked that crown off my big fat head.  I had met my crafting match.   KP, who wears minimum and requires minimal makeup taught me how to curl my eyelashes.  What?  It’s not like I don’t know how to put on my make up.  I take pride in my make up skills.  And KP barely even wears makeup!  But she showed me the technique to curl eyelashes.   (Start at the base of your lashes, squeeze, then move out slightly, squeeze, then quickly apply mascara to seal the curl.)

KP also gave me this kick ass Enchilada recipe.  Now, the story goes, the recipe was given to her by another NFL wife.  And she never ACTUALLY had the recipe written down… she just made it from memory.  So when I requested the recipe… it presented a challenge.  She had to wait until the next time she made it to remember how she did it.  When she did make a pan of these bad boys, I was over there to learn the process.  I think I’ve finally mastered the recipe.  The weather’s been really cold (ha ha by LA standards) and with left over turkey, I had all the motivation I needed to make up a family sized batch of tummy warming goodness.

Here’s KP’s recipe with one small modification from me – the use of a pastry bag.  Anytime you have to spoon sticky ingredients into small spaces (think manicotti, baking forms)  get out your pastry bags.  It just makes the process a lot easier and the bags are disposable – no clean up.  You’re gonna need:

  • 1 Whole Chicken (or left over chicken/turkey meat)
  • 1 package Tortillas (we use whole wheat)
  • 2 28 oz Can Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  • 1 4 oz can of jalapeños
  • 1 4 oz can of mild Fire Roasted Chilies
  • 16 oz Mexican Cheese Mix (I use more like 20 oz)
  • 3 Cups cooked Rositas Rice
  • 1 1/2 box softened Cream Cheese (12 ounces)

Step 1.
Start by cooking the rice.  Shred the chicken or turkey meat with a fork (or your fingers).

Step 2.

Combine rice, taco seasoning, chicken, cream cheese and chilies.  Load into a pastry bag – no tip is even necessary – just cut off about an 1 1/2″ to give you a nice wide.
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Step 3.

Set up 1 pie pan’s (or similar dish) and pour Enchilada sauce into one.
Pour your Wesson Oil into the frying pan and heat.
Set up your cutting mat.
Begin by frying the tortilla on each side until it puffs up (like in the picture below).
Remove with tongs and dip into the enchilada sauce, coating both sides.
Place on your cutting mat and pipe a row of the enchilada mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese, roll up and place it in your cooking pan.
Rinse and repeat. (literally – you’ll want to keep a damp towel handy to wipe your hands)
Once all of the enchiladas have been completed – top with any remaining sauce and sprinkle with 1/3 C of the cheese.

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Step 4.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve and enjoy.

Speaking of make up tips – The day before I made the enchilada’s, I visited my parents in Hellsperia.  My long time friend Carmen came down to visit.  Carmen and I became fast friends in high school typing class when I admired her eyeliner.  Her eyeliner was always a coveted clean and neat black line.  We quickly bonded over the eyeliner application that ensued in the back of typing class.    Now, Carmen and my path has diverged and merged many different times in our lives.  We’ve lost touch, then found each other several different times.  Carmen likes to tell the story when she found me the first time, because she recognized me by my laugh.  We had both graduated high school and moved away from Alaska an on to our separate lives.  This was long before the days of Facebook.  Coincidentally (well not so much, we were both rocker girls) we ended up in Los Angeles.   One night, on the Sunset Strip, I went out to see a show at Gazarris.  I can’t remember who I saw.  It was some glam metal band with big hair and shredded clothing so hell, it could have been anybody.    Carmen likes to tell how she heard this distinctive laugh coming from a few people ahead of her in the crowd.  Instantly she knew it was me but  I didn’t look like the Alaskan girl she had known.  My brunette tresses were blond and teased up high.  My brown eyes were disguised by blue contacts.  But she knew… from my laugh!  Somehow, in the crazy years of our youth, we lost touch again when she moved to the East Coast.  And somehow we found each other again.  But then I moved, just last year.  And she just recently moved back to Los Angeles.  She tracked me down by knocking on the doors of my old neighbors.  Carmen is very sweet and charming and finally convinced a neighbor who had my current info to pass on her number to me.    This past weekend, in Hysteria, I clearly remembered why we became friends in the first place.   It wasn’t because we had some bonding moments at the local Michaels.  It wasn’t because she promised to give me her killer pie dough recipe.  It’s just because sometimes there are people you just click with.  And even when you haven’t  seen that friend in a long, long time, you pick up the friendship, right where you left off, like time had never passed.