Halloween is Finally Here!

20181029_151844 (2)The Zomkins, Spider Boy, Lil’ Mo, B.B. Jo and all the little spiders and I want to wish all of you a very Happy Halloween! We hope your day is super great!20181029_152820 (2)Candy Rustlers!  Lil’ Mo, “Old school candy, the good stuff! Now if we can just shoo away these spiders…”20181029_182541 (2)Lil’ Mo, “Jo, why’d you loose the hat?” B.B. Jo, “It was tight on my ears. I don’t remember inviting ‘toothy boy’ to the candy party!” Lil’ Mo, “Shush! He brought more candy! What a great haul!”   Happy Halloween Everybody!

 

A Bit Of A Product Review #2

20181029_151020 (2)This TERRASOUL CAROB POWDER is really good! It is very finely ground and not gritty. It is NON-GMO and USDA Certified organic. There are only thirteen calories per Tbsp (6g) and has 3g Total Sugars and no added sugars. I use it in my tea as a natural sweetener that also gives a nice chocolate-like flavor. The only gripe I have against this product is that the pinch closure doesn’t close well once opened, so I store the bag in a plastic gallon size food storage bag that closes with twist ties to preserve freshness and protect from moisture.  On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give it a 4 1/2, and that is only because of the bag closure problem, the carob powder is SUPER GREAT!!! I ordered this from amazon.com.

20181029_151251 (2)These ‘CORN THINS’, from REAL FOODS, are very good! They are organic, non-GMO, USDA ORGANIC. They are fat free, 23 calories per slice, 7% Dietary Fiber per slice and gluten free. There are 46 calories in a 2 slice serving, 31mg of sodium, 9g total carbs, 1g dietary fiber and 0g sugars. All that is in them is organic corn, 99% organic expeller pressed sunflower oil and sea salt and that’s it. I use these instead of rice cakes. I got these at Lovey’s Healthfood Market & Cafe, in Wilmington, NC, and these can probably be ordered from amazon.com(seems like you can get just about anything from amazon now). On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give them a 5 cause they are SUPER GOOD!!! Great corn flavor and hold up well to having various toppings slathered on them! 20181029_151811 (2)I eat mostly gluten free but I don’t eat rice anymore cause it started giving me a problem. So millet is a good alternative. Unfortunately, for some reason, millet is kind of hard to get here where I live in Jacksonville, NC. I usually now have to drive to Wilmington, NC, and buy it at the health food stores there or I order it from amazon.com. ‘Anthony’s Organic Hulled Millet’, is my current favorite which I order from amazon.com. It is gluten free, vegan and organic. It cooks in about 45 to 55 minutes(similar to brown rice) at 1 cup dry millet to 2 cups water. It has 210 calories in a 1/4 cup serving, 2g total fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 0mg Sodium, 40g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 0g Sugar, 6g Protein. It is a product of the USA. Millet has a very mild flavor and cooks up to a porridge-like consistency. When you prepare millet you need to pick through it dry just like you would if you were preparing dry beans from scratch, cause it is a natural product and some times there are small rocks and grit and bits of twigs and chaff that need to be picked out. Other than that it is very easy to fix. You bring the two cups of water to a boil in a two-quart pot, turn down the heat and add the millet. Bring it back to a boil and then turn down the heat to about low to medium-low and cover loosely and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes. You do need to keep an eye on the millet while it is cooking cause if the heat is too high it will boil over all over your stove. So, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give this millet product a 5 because it has really good flavor and I’ve never had a problem with this brand tasting of mold.

So there you go! I hope someone finds my product reviews helpful. Have a great day!

The Zomkins & Spider Boy are finally done!

20181027_215847 (2)    So here is a preview of my Halloween display but not. I’m going to have more of the little spiders and spider webs and leaves and the  Zomkins’ candy. On a nice sunny day I’ll take the Zomkins and Spider Boy outside and varnish them, in the meantime, they are drying and hanging out with the little spiders. My husband works in the bakery section at Walmart and brings home the plastic spider cake and cupcake toppers that would have been thrown out when the cakes and cupcakes don’t sell. So I have a whole bunch of them from last year. 20181027_215916 (2)Zeke Zomkin. He looks excited about the prospect of candy in the near future.20181027_215934 (3)Zake Zomkin. Kind of goofy, but also excited about the candy.20181027_215906 (3)Smiley Zomkin. Contemplating how to get more of the candy for himself.20181027_215906 (2)   Baby Boo Zomkin. As long as the candy is chocolate and lots of it, he’ll be happy.20181027_215934 (2)Spider Boy. Wondering if he’s going to have to share his part of the candy with all the little spiders, he hopes not.

So here they are so far. I’ll finish decorating the area where they are sitting and Lil’ Mo and B.B. Jo will get in on the action too. I’ll take a nice picture for the Halloween greeting and post it. After Halloween I’ll do a tutorial about how I did the Zomkins and Spider Boy, and all the products I used to do them. Squirrel Boy, unfortunately,  isn’t done yet. I’ve been having to deal with insurance people looking at my living room ceiling, repair guys fixing the ceiling and then our maintenance guy installing a new light fixture. It’s kind of hard to get everything done with everybody and their brother tromping through my apartment. I’ll say Squirrel Boy is half done, he looks kind of like a mummy right now. I’ve plumped his cheeks out so he looks more squirrel-like in his face area. Hopefully he will be done by Thanksgiving or before. So, Halloween is almost here! Happy Crafting!

The Zomkins are almost done!

20181017_162316 (2)I’m down to the fine detail and embellishment stage with these guys. I’m working on improving  their coloring and tidying up their features. Then I’ll do the detail work on their eyes. So, I paused to snap their picture before I went any further. “Aaaaaaaargh! When we can see, we want candy or we’ll chew your toes off! Give us candy! Give us candy, woman, and we won’t bite you!”  Uhm, I think a trip to the store is in order! And soon!20181017_162450 (2)These are pie pumpkins. These two little guys are my color models, then they’ll be part of dinner if I can manage to process them for baking without cutting off a major limb or slicing an artery. Pie pumpkins have incredibly tough shells, my husband is going to attempt to help me cut them up. So, Halloween is coming fast! Happy crafting!

THE BLUEBIRDS ARE USING THEIR HOUSE AND THEY ARE FEEDING BABIES!!!!

20180819_193310 (2)Sorry this is a little blurry, I was swatting at mosquitoes while trying to take the picture.

This morning I opened up the living room window to air the apartment out, and as I glanced out at the bluebird house I noticed our resident wren going in the door opening. proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-CarolinaWren#1 (2)Suddenly, he shot back out like he’d been shot out of a cannon and two adult bluebirds came right out after him and chased him all over the yard.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Bluebird#5 Then a third, somewhat smaller boy bluebird came with a fat caterpillar and went in the bluebird house. Then the first two bluebirds came back and they also took fat caterpillars into the bird house. So, we are thinking the slightly smaller bluebird is an almost grown baby of the adult bluebirds from a previous batch of babies, helping to tend his/her younger siblings. And the wren was just checking out the house.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Bluebird#1The bird pictures aren’t ones I took, I got them off Duckduckgo.com/ images.  I used them to illustrate what I was telling about because my birds won’t sit still long enough to have their pictures taken. They are lightening fast little buggers! So, apparently while we have been preoccupied with hurricanes and tropical storms, the bluebirds have been operating in super secret stealth mode and have been using their house long enough to get a batch of eggs laid and hatched. I’m thinking the woodpecker hole they were using finally got too soggy from all the rain we’ve been having and they finally decided the house I put up for them was looking pretty good. YEAH!!!!    I hope you all have a GREAT DAY!!!! HAPPY BIRD WATCHING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!

So, we survived the tropical storm version of Hurricane Michael

Pray for the people in Florida, they got the full fury of Hurricane Michael. It was one mile per hour short of being a level-five hurricane when it made landfall. It’s going to be a long time before they get back to any thing that resembles normal for them. My husband’s nephew and his family have a house just in from Panama Beach, Florida. They rode out the storm and were very lucky they weren’t killed, the winds ripped the siding off the house and the roof took extensive damage. They have no water or electricity and their house is now unlivable until it is repaired. We were very lucky, the storm had weakened down to a tropical storm by the time it got here. We were on the right side edge of the wind field and got the fifty mile per hour winds and some seventy to ninety or so mile per hour gusts. And about an inch and a half or so of rain, there abouts. The lights flickered a lot but we didn’t loose our electricity. Wednesday evening just before the storm got here, I was outside in the rain moving the plants up by the building to give them some protection from the wind. I laid the zinnia down on the ground so it wouldn’t get as beat up by the wind.20181013_145746 (2)So it made it through the storm without too much new damage, I set it back upright yesterday morning. The only plant that was blown over by the wind was the lemon grass, but it happened early enough that it didn’t get any new noticeable damage and my husband set it back upright for me when he got home from work Thursday night after the main part of the storm had moved by.20181013_145731 (2)I took our hose out yesterday morning and rinsed all the plants off real good to try to remove the salt spray and I drenched the soil in the pots to remove as much as I could of the salty rain water. The little resident lizards were running all over the place, they made it through the storm okay too.20181013_145741 (2)The malabar spinach stayed upright through the storm and my bluebird house is still firmly attached to the tree, YEAH!!! So, after I had cleaned up the tree limbs and bits and pieces of pine tree that littered the yard, I dragged it all out to the curb for the organic-waste removal people to take away.

It was a nice, cool and breezy day yesterday, so I took the Zomkins outside and sanded them down some to make them a little smoother for painting, as papier-mache’ can make a some what lumpy surface. Then today, I re-gessoed them. Spider boy has been base coated with black. Smiley has got his eyes in, I was trying them to see if they were going to fit and they stuck in place, seriously stuck in there, so I left them rather than risk breaking them trying to get them back out. I’ll use my little tiny nail art brushes that I use to paint my rocks to very carefully paint the ‘pupils’ in and the eye color and to do the area around the eyes.20181013_145813 (2) And I used the Celluclay to sculpt their lid ‘stems’ to make them look a little more real and less like a dowel sticking out of them.20181013_145851 (2)So, this is how things are going so far. I’ll prime-coat the Zomkins tomorrow. And like I said earlier, remember the people in Florida, it’s going to get worse there before it gets better. Without power, their houses, if they are still standing, are going to mold. All that, plus repairs, is going to have to be dealt with before their homes are livable again. From looking at the videos, it truly looks like a nuclear bomb had been dropped there. Buildings were reduced to what looked like piles of toothpicks. Pray for those poor people there and all the others that were in Hurricane Michael’s path. If you are so inclined, donate money to the American Redcross: ‘Hurricane Michael Disaster Relief Fund’. They are the real deal and will get money and supplies to the people who need it.

A Bit Of A Product Review #1

20181006_064212 (2)   I got this product, ‘Lemi Shine’,  before the hurricane because it said it would remove mold, soap scum and bad smells from the washing machine. After Hurricane Florence finally left, our washing machine sat for a week in high humidity and 90 to 95 degree heat because we didn’t have power, so it really started to smell bad inside it. As soon as we got power back, I let the hot water tank heat up and then I used this product as per the directions. It seemed to work really well, the machine smelled lemony fresh. Then I washed clothes and everything was fine, or so I thought. A week later I washed a load of my clothes and when they were finished I opened up the lid and about had a cow! My clothes looked like someone had dumped a bucket of mud all over them. The camera didn’t pick up the muddy stains on my pillowcase very well, but all my clothes look like I’ve been wallowing in the mud like a pig. And the stains won’t come out. The soap scum and sludge had finally come out of the machine and deposited all over my clothes. ‘Lemi Shine’ works really well but it is unpredictable when the sludge will come loose. I’m glad I hadn’t been washing a load of my husband’s clothes, he wouldn’t have looked too great at his job with his clothes looking like he’d been rolling around in the mud. So I can’t give this product a good recommendation. It is too unpredictable. I’ll probably use my pillowcase to make a zombie softy, as it looks like something that came up out of the ground now. Just about right for a zombie.

20181006_064313 (2)   On the other hand, this battery powered fan, made by ‘O2 COOL’, is one of the best products I’ve ever used! We got this before the hurricane and used it the whole time we didn’t have power, it probably kept us from getting heat stroke. It runs on eight “D” cell batteries or you can plug it in. The batteries run it for three and a half days before needing to be replaced, we used it constantly. One or more of these fans should be a part of everyone’s hurricane survival kit, plus the batteries to run it, in my opinion. I give this product my, “SUPER BEST”, recommendation!!!!!!! So, there you go! Whenever I try a new product or not so new product, I’ll post a review of how I liked it or didn’t like it. Hopefully, it will be helpful and maybe help keep someone else from having a bad experience with a product like I did.

I think I have him how I want him now!

20181002_160910 (2)Que up the music from “The Six Million Dollar Man”! “Gentlemen, we have the technology, we can improve him…”. Maybe not a bionic squirrel but more squirrel-like in looks. I’ve beefed up his back legs a little, I think he is looking more squirrel-like than he did before. I know I keep saying that, but I do really think he is looking a little bit better.20181002_160924 (2)As I add the paper bits, I’ll work on his face and nose to improve the shape some more, refine it some and plump up the cheek area.  And I might increase the size of his tail, he is a work in progress. The foil and the tape have been really useful for working on the shaping. I’ve been looking at squirrel reference pictures and it has helped a lot. Now he kind of looks like Frankensquirrel, I took off his old back-legs and gave him new, more beefed-up legs. Halloween is coming fast! Happy Crafting!