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Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a safe and wonderful time. I’ll be back to my regular posting starting next week. I’ve missed it!


{ Photo of our table last year. }

xoxoxoxo.

Veterans Day

Thanks to everyone who has served and are serving for this country.

That’s my father, I can’t remember what year this was taken, but it’s one of my favorite photos of him.

{ Image via the Graphics Fairy. }

Black and Red Candy Apples


Image and recipe taken from The Hive.

Red & Black Candy Apples

8-10 medium sized apples
8-10 wooden twigs, trimmed
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup of water
several drops of cinnamon flavored oil
1/4 teaspoon of red food coloring
1/4 teaspoon of black food coloring

Clean and dry the apples. Try to remove as much of the wax as possible. If you purchase them from your local farmer’s market then chances are they have not been treated with the food grade wax that makes then shine. Remove any stems or leaves and insert a twig into the end of each apple. To facilitate easier twig entry you can carefully sharpen the end of the twig or use a candy stick to create a guide hole. Set apples aside.

Heat and stir sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. Don’t go over 310 degrees or your candy burns and then you’ll be sad.

Remove from heat and stir in flavored oil and food coloring.

Dip one apple completely in the syrup and swirl it so that it becomes coated with the melted sugar candy. Hold the apple above the saucepan to drain off excess. Place apple, with the stick facing up, onto a baking sheet that’s greased or lined with a silpat. Repeat the process with the remaining apples. If your syrup thickens or cools too much, simply reheat briefly before proceeding. Let the apples cool completely before serving.

A note about the black apples: Lighter colored apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) work well in making the red appear bright and glassy; darker apples like red delicious help the black candy appear as dark as possible. Muy spooky!

You can make one batch with red food coloring then re-heat the candy mixture and add black food coloring. Adding black to red will make it darker. Repeat the dipping process. Black food coloring can be found online or at specialty baking stores.

Candy Corn Garland DIY

I just saw this on Poppytalk and had to share it. Please see this post for the tutorial!

Bon Weekend – Happy Haunting


{ A photo of one of my great aunts taken in Colombia, South America in the early 1900’s. }
However you celebrate, please have a safe, fun, and blessed sabbat.

Apartment Therapy Feature!

Thanks again, Sarah Rae! If you’re coming over from AT, the full post and all it’s glory is just a few entries down. I can’t say enough how honored I am that others like what I do when it comes to seasonal ideas. I definitely have to give props to my mother for motivating me. She’s taking over for Thanksgiving.

ATspooky
{ Click on image to go to feature. }

I’m more than happy to answer any questions!

Thanks again!

Bon Weekend – Samhain preparations.

{ Thank you Sarah Rae! }

I’m posting this a little early as Michael and I will be out of town this weekend and it’s not very easy posting via my phone. Today’s post is focusing on our Samhain interior decorations. The main area we focused on was the dining room|foyer. Goodness, I find myself more excited than usual about the upcoming sabbat. We didn’t decorate or really take part in any festivities surrounding the sabbat last year as my fathers illness was progressing and we were still in the ‘trying to diagnose’ phase. He was hospitalized for the final time just after.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term Samhain and how I sometimes interchange it with Hallwe’en, I asked Michael to write some of the history|origins of the sabbat, and how it is celebrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if more things find their way into this setting!

On October 31 we celebrate the Celtic feast of Samhain. Samhain, is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” and is the most important of the ancient Celtic feasts. During this time we honor the opposing balance of intertwining forces of existence: darkness and light, night and day, cold and heat, death and life. Our year is divided into two seasons: the light and the dark, celebrating the light at Beltane on May 1st and the dark at Samhain on October 31st. Therefore, the Feast of Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of our year. We believe that Samhain is the most important festival, since it marks the beginning of a new dark-light cycle. We observe this time as proceeding from darkness to light because we understand that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane was welcomed in the summer light with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of Samhain is at night. The Eve of Samhain, is the most important part of our celebration. We will gather our best autumn harvest for a feast. We will put out food and drink fthat was special to those who have passed on with great ceremony, and we will leave windows, doors, and gates unlocked to give our ancestors free passage into our homes. We will offer personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing our wishes or notes stating ailments to be healed will be cast into a fire. We will offer up many gifts in thanksgiving for the harvest. We carve “jack o’lanterns” and keep them at our doors to keep out unwelcome visitors from the Otherworld. We also dress in costumes in the tradition of our ancestors symbolizing the spirits of departed family returning home for the festival. For us this is a great time of contimplation as we come to recognize our own part in the eternal cycle of Life.

I generally love to decorate for the seasons|sabbats|holidays using family heirlooms, but it always feels more appropriate during this particular time of year.

Samhain tablescape
{ All images click through to larger versions }


Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The tablecloth is basic gauze and the netting we picked up at the dollar store. I’m hoping that the gauze develops picks and runs as time progresses. I want it to feel tattered. That’s my mothers wedding china, silver and crystal, and we also acquired those 1960s wheat glasses several months ago. The black place mats can be seen in greater detail here. The black box in the center held my grandfathers important papers at the house and the birds were painted by my grandmother.

The very lovely tankard – or beer stein as my mother calls it 😉 – has been in my mother’s family for multiple generations and came from England. The branches were collected in the woods behind the house and we spray painted them black. The brass candleholders were part of a cache we scored from the thrift store recently. We painted some them black but keep these untouched, as they have a lovely patina on them.

Photos of our deceased family members have been placed on the hunt board as well as a dish, bowl, and glass.

Samhain

garlandBefore

Bat garland information can be found in this post.

Chandelier

Vintage glasses

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The hexagonal terrarium in the front was purchased last fall at the same thrift store that we’ve found so many wonderful treasures. The tri-candle holder was purchased a while back on Etsy. The Staffordshire dog is another one of our ‘old’ things.

The dish that holds the eyeballs can be seen in more detail at http://thehappyheathen.com/?p=269.

Raven

Raven

The tree in the foreground came from the DC area, I believe. My mother bought it in ’73 and I need to look on the plaque for the artist’s name. I’ve always loved this tree.

And of course some of my great loves, our Carew Rice tumblers.

Foyer scene

Bats

The black candleholder is actually brass and came from the same the thrift store we love so much, for about a dollar. We spray painted it matted black. The bowl the skull is sitting in is a Goodwill score from last week for $3.50. The black and gold tin tray has been with us for a very long time!

I downloaded the image of the bats from The Graphics Fairy and printed it. The frame came from the thrift store and the ribbon is was used to hang the photos on our memorial tree at our wedding: www.flickr.com/photos/38016153@N03/3637770059/in/set-7215

Goodness, I hope I haven’t left anything out! Happy ready and bon weekend.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is soooooo much fun. I always look forward to working with it! These were taken on Saturday night by one of the photographers. I must give major props to Rogers Oxygen, who donated all of the dry ice for the evening!

Michael filling the beakers.


{ Photo credit: L.I.M.E. Charleston }

I’m still looking for some images of the Jacob’s ladder.

Mad Science Party

Last night Michael and I participated in L.I.M.E. Charleston‘s dinner. Jonathan Kaldas from Woodlands restaurant was the guest chef for the evening, and his charity of choice was the Lowcountry Food Bank. He works with molecular gastronomy so they went with a Mad Science theme for the decor and some of the entertainment. The dinner was held at the food bank itself, which is an incredibly inspiring place to wander about.

We had an understandably light budget – the less spent means more that actually goes to the evening’s beneficiary. Science equipment is rather expensive to come by, so we opted to create our own. I came up with the idea of printing the measurement gradients on transparency film and Michael chimed in with the clingy stuff. I also came up with using the food bank’s logo on the beakers with ‘Made in Charleston’ as well. I’m not sure if anyone eating noticed, but the food bank employees caught it right away and seemed quite delighted. We scoured several thrift stores and found glasses and glass candleholders that appeared to fit the bill. We bought many of those and some metal stands in hopes of creating different levels of depth. We needed more stuff and after a slight snafu Friday afternoon, I had to pick up the rest of the glassware from one of the big box stores. We also made several tent cards, some with information on Nikola Tesla, Tesla coils, and Jacob’s ladders. We also made a batch of Ooze {cornstarch and water} to demonstrate the principals of non-Newtonian fluids. We named it Non-Newtonian No.8 and also made tent cards.

Once we staged the glassware, candles, tent cards and bowls for the Non-Newtonian No.8, we took a step back to look at the set up. We decided at that point not to use the stands. We filled most of the ‘beakers’ with neon green fluid that is simply highlighter cores soaked in water. We filled them at varying heights. Once we ran out we used a secondary color, which was blue. I thought they looked great together, and we noticed during clean up that some guests had spent time mixing the two together. Michael added some dry ice to some of the beakers during the evening.

Michael also built a new Jacob’s ladder for the event. He’s been meaning to do it, but just needed the right ‘inspiration’ to get it done. We packed several pieces from his lab including the Jacob’s ladder, two small Tesla coils, a Van de Graaf generator, a wireless set up and his power units. We had originally planned to do some Tesla demos outside during the cocktail hour, but it was too bright and decidedly a little dangerous as the guests couldn’t see the plasma and Michael as worried that one may stick their hands up to touch the toroid. During several points during the dinner, Michael provided some demonstrations. Diners were encouraged to come up and take a closer look and ask questions.

All in all, I think it was a successful evening. The diners appeared to be having a good time and hopefully learned a few things, and money was raised for a very deserving organization. How much was raised wasn’t available at the end of the evening as the costs hadn’t been fully tallied. We also gave our number out (Yup, I didn’t finish Michael’s cards) to a couple of people who said they’d pass it along to possibly set up at some upcoming events. If it happens, I’ll definitely update on that.

And now, on with the photos! BTW – we had no idea that napkins would be green! Also, behind that blue wall was the kitchen where Jonathan and his assistant were working. There were three large windows in the wall, so it was in keeping with the ‘laboratory’ feel.

Mad Science Table
{ All images click through to larger versions }

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Looking toward the 'lab'
Michael keeping a very ‘serious’ face in the photo on the right.

Mad Science Table

Tesla tent card

Tesla coil tent card

On the back of the coil card was info on the Jacob’s ladder.

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Our vantage point:
Our vantage point

Standup bass

Unfortunately, this the best shot of the new Jacob’s ladder. This was done during at test run. You can see the arc at the bottom.
Jacob's Ladder

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