"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vintage Halloween Card to Share

I may not have any Halloween tricks up my sleeve, but here's a treat for you.

Knowing how many of you enjoy creating with vintage Halloween images, here is an adorable black cat for you to play with. If you zoom in on the picture, you can see that on the original card, the cat's fur is actually black flocking. Sweet!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Fiends.

Anticipating the gorgeous Fall weather, I loaded up the three-tiered shelf outside with birdhouses and plump, bright orange pumpkins. It looked so full and festive! I was worried the pumpkins might rot before Halloween, but it never occurred to me to worry about hungry little squirrels who vandalize and steal.

The fiends.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Sweets and Treats!

A Halloween party for a group of 7-year-olds. This shouldn't be so hard.

I figure lots of sweets should do the trick.

A cornucopia of sticky caramels......

Cookies, brownies, Peeps, and colorful marshmallows...

Another mom brought orange and purple cupcakes and apple juice....

Let's not forget ghosts.....

And candy corn Autumn mix!

I don't think the 7-year-olds gave a hoot, but I loved my little cherubs!

The weather that day was gorgeous, but windy, so most of the games were played inside. I painted a picture of Snoopy on a piece of foamboard and cut out the jack o'lantern mouth. The girls were able to win prizes by throwing bean bags into its mouth.

We made paper doll witches using the girls' own faces I printed out from the school yearbook. Later, I had them wrap gauze around chenille stems with wood heads to make their own Halloween mummies.

The girls won more prizes playing a ring toss, which looked much easier than it really was! I also had them guess how many pieces of candy were in a jar and the closest to the answer won the jar of candy.

While two of the girls chose to stay inside to make caramel apples, all the others ran outside to play for the rest of the party. And after a few hours of hearing the high-pitched, ear-piercing squeals of seven 7-year-old-girls, I comforted myself with some left-over cookies.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


FRANNIE from thebagglady.blogspot.com! Congratulations, Fran!

Yesterday, I had Mary close her eyes while I danced the JOLs in front of her hands. This was the one she picked. Hope you like him!

I picked the names the old-fashioned way. I wrote down the names, folded them, and put them in a JOL. I tried to get Nic to pick one, but at 7:20 on a Saturday morning, he wasn't too happy with me.

That's ok. I'll go harrass my other one. WAKE UP, MARY!!

Can you just sense the excitement in her face?

Can I go back to sleep now?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Shaker GIVE-AWAY!!

In gratitude for my own health and honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm hosting a Jack O'Lantern Shaker Give-Away!

These vintage-style shakers are approximately 17 inches tall and filled with dried beans so they make noise when you shake them. They're made from paper mache balls that I covered in Rigid Wrap and painted. They wear fun party cones hats and are attached to a 12 inch rod. I used scrappaper, chenille bumps, cloth, crepe-paper, ribbons, and sparkly pom-poms to decorate them.

Since Halloween is next week, this is only a 3-day give-away! I'll randomly pick the winner on Saturday morning and mail it as soon as I get your address. Neither of us will know which Jack O'Lantern you'll get. Since Halloween is full of surprises, I plan on closing my eyes, picking one, and letting you be just as surprised!

All you need to do is leave a comment that you'd like to participate!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vintage Halloween Decorations, Findings, and Fun!!

Now that my nightmare is behind me and I'm recuperating from frayed nerves, I wanted to share with you some of the GOOD times this Fall has brought me.

A trip to my favorite thrifting haunt scored me some vintage Dennison Halloween decorations, still unopened in their original packaging! My dilemma is whether I want to open it! The cost? $1.50!

Two old Jack o'Lanterns. The waving blow-mold was $3.50 while the candy container was $1.50.

I found the cutest McCalls patterns for 25 cents each. I don't care about the costume patterns; it was the images I was after!

Feel free to copy the images for your scrapbooking/tag-making enjoyment!

Aren't they cute?!

The wonderful Melissa at: http://www.honeygirlstudiojewelry.blogspot.com/(why can't I ever do a link right?) contacted me to tell me the good news that I won her give-away! This absolutely ADORABLE Fall Harvest key necklace came just a few days later. My daughter, Mary has claimed it as her own.

I experimented with two new mediums - air-hardening clay and Rigid Wrap, to make this vintage-style black cat. I wasn't crazy about this specific clay as it dried quickly and formed cracks all over the cat. However, it didn't matter because once it dried, I covered it with Rigid Wrap, which is strips of paper covered in plaster. You wet it, and apply it to the piece. LOVE IT!! It's FAST becoming one of my favorite mediums! Of course, painting and decorating the cat with his party hat and crepe paper collar just added to the fun!

Everyone in Bucks County has been enjoying some gorgeous Fall weather. We took advantage of it one morning by taking the kids pumpkin picking.

They couldn't decide between round, fat ones or long skinny ones. We got a couple of each!

Last, but certainly not least, is our latest score. Ted rescued these from being thrown into a dumpster! What a WASTE that would have been! I'm using three of them in my art studio. I haven't decided exactly what I want to use them for, but without a doubt, every drawer will be filled!

Friday, October 15, 2010


God Bless the workers of St. Mary Hospital who called me at 6:00 pm on a Friday night, to let me know my Biopsy was completely normal and I don't have cancer!

I know, I haven't written about any of this. My own family members who read this are going to be pretty surprised I guess. I purposely choose to make this blog my "Happy Place". Negativity is not invited here. BUT, since this the BEST NEWS I've heard in a long time, I have to share!

If you've read my last few posts, you know all the gory details of my last mammogram. Well, thank God I had it done, because they did find something, requiring me to have a second mammo and then a Biopsy, which I just had 3 days ago. The past 2 weeks have been filled with tears, worry, fear, and exhaustion. Then, the one phone call put it all to rest.

This past year, my family has been through two major ordeals. I purposely chose not to add to their anxiety by telling them about this. Keeping it to myself was a high price to pay though. The constant "thinking" was draining me. I couldn't turn my mind off. Then the hospital called and said, "Jill, you're FINE!" Next to hearing my babies' first cries, I don't know if I ever heard such a beautiful sound!

To the few I confided in, thank you so much for your words of encouragement and prayers. I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and know God heard them! And thank you GOD for showing Your mercy on me and hearing the cries of a mother desperately wanting to live if for no other reason, than to raise her children.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Tombstone of Mary Ellis

If you're looking at this tombstone, you probably don't see anything special about it. If you look closely, however, what is it that you see in the background? It's not other tombstones, but cars. Does this grave rest on top of a hill, overlooking a parking lot? NO.

Here lies the tombstone of Mary Ellis, Margaret Ellis, and Elizabeth Margaret Evans. It lies not in the middle of a cemetery, but in the middle of a very busy mall parking lot in North Jersey. While visiting my friend, Beth, this past June in Jersey City, we stopped by to see the cemetery on the way home. This picture was taken at night, with only one picture left on the digital camera. I had to climb a stone wall, about 10 feet high to get to it. The wrought-iron gate that enclosed the grave was open, allowing me to walk in and pay my respects.

Who was Mary Ellis? Urban legend tells of a young girl who came to live with her sister, Margaret in the 1790s. She fell in love with a sea captain who one day left, vowing to marry her upon his return. Mary continued to wait for her beloved, even buying property near the river to watch for him everyday until her death in 1827. Mary was buried on her land, once surrounded by woods and brush. She is joined by her sister and other family members.

Over the years, the property changed hands. While once having a commanding view of the river, the tombstone ended up "down in a culvert often strewn with garbage." Eventually, Loews Theatre put the tombstone on high ground again, though where it is in relation to the actual grave is still a mystery.

According to the magazine, "Weird NJ", where we first learned of this intriguing cemetery, if you Google AMC Loews Theatre location, you can easily see the plot of land on which Mary is buried. It's marked "Loews Cemetery." I haven't tried to Google it. I've been there. I've stood by poor Mary's tombstone. The irony is that while it seems so lonely, it probably gets more visitors than any other tombstone in Jersey!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

LADIES! You KNOW What I'm Talkin' About!

OK, so in remembrance of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I had my annual mammo this morning. Considering this was my third time, you'd think I'd be an old pro. That's what I thought until I walked into the room to find this modern-day torture device staring down at me. OHHHHH....I had forgotten *gulp* how intimidating it looks.

I don't know about you, but to me, there's nothing like a 9-foot tall machine clamping down your boobs in a vice to start off the day. But the BEST part is when you have to practically balance on your tippy-toes as the machine pulls you up a few inches by your newly flattened boobs. Believe me, that's not a fall you want to take.

Could you imagine a man's horror if a doctor turned to him and said, "This is how we're now checking for testicular cancer"?

I'm ALL for mammograms. Matter of fact, early detection from them just saved the life of someone very close to me. It's imperative to get them done every year!

At the same time, as I get older and after having had two babies, I've really learned how to swallow my pride. That's not even counting the annual gyn visit! The stirrups, foot-long Q-Tips, that cold metal V-clamp, and let's not forget the freezing gel, all make for the most relaxing visit. And always, always the doctor asking you to "spread your legs". You think he must be crazy. There's no possible way you could spread them any further, until you look up and notice your knees are still practically glued together.

So, for the sake of our health, we endure these humiliating, albeit life-saving procedures. But for the life of me, despite not being a smoker, why do I always crave a cigarette after?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Decorating for Fall Harvest Fun!

Fall in Bucks County is a wonder to behold! Trees are ablaze with rich earthy colors. Pumpkins, gourds, and fallen leaves are everywhere. Little animals on our property busily search for morsels for the long winter, while my favorite squirrel just sits on my kitchen windowsill waiting for his daily piece of bread.

It's so exciting to bring the colors of the outdoors inside! Our old rustic home fits right in with the look of the season.

I thought it would be fun to make a hanging banner this year.

There were so many phrases to pick from; finally, I was decided "Fall Harvest" simply encompassed them all.

The large glass jars are filled with fragrant home-dried apples, oranges, and lemons. I made little cinnamon ornaments and added scented candle pieces to help fill the room with the smell of a warm kitchen! A fun part of making these jars was searching for Mother Nature's trophies with the kids. We found pinecones, teasel, dried leaves and flowers, even some rocks to fill the jars.

Remember vintage Halloween blow-molds?! Who would have thought I'd be decorating my own house with them 30 years later?

Three old spindles give the black ravens a place to perch. Now, perhaps my ear deceive me, but I would swear late last night I heard the repeated banter of, "Nevermore!"

Burnt orange, chocolate brown, prairie green, barn red....it's all eye candy!

Am I overly excited?!

Can you blame me for being overly excited?!

After taking the pictures, I remembered I had JOL Halloween lights! Though the camera makes it difficult to capture them, they really give the room some Fall ambiance!

Next to our fireplace is a little nook that holds a wood bench and old record cabinet. Ted rescued the cabinet from the dump and my Dad fixed it for us. It holds a vintage-style record player on top and I thought it could use a little sprucing up.

While visiting Lancaster, PA, we bought this glass jar with a latex bulb. They're oh-so-country!

Out with the 50s decorations and in with more Fall foliage! Another vintage blow-mold to complement the arrangement and of course, more ravens.

Who better than Edgar Allen Poe to add a bit of whimsy?

And when the lights go out, our Jack O'Lantern seems to come to life!

Hope you're enjoying the Fall as much as I am!