Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh just cuttin' up gourds... like ya do....

Growing up, Dad carved a pumpkin for us every year. He'd draw a face on a pumpkin freehand, ask us if we liked it (if not, he'd erase and begin again), and if it passed, he'd start carving. I always liked the scary ones, mean eyes and sharp teeth. The photo above is of me in 1984, with our cat C.J. Dad's pumpkin was a little lopsided that year and had to be propped up with a rock.
We didn't love it any less.
The other day there was a Halloween special on the history channel. I always geek out over these specials..they're sooo interesting. I love learning about where our current traditions originated, like why we carve pumpkins! Here's what they said:

"The carved pumpkin with a light inside was supposed to ward off evil spirits. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul...

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since.

The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

Knowing it's history makes you so eager to participate. We were so excited to carve our jack-o-lanterns last night. We chose our patterns, transferred them to the pumpkins and got to work.

Cleaning out the guts

Dixie helpin'.
Ryan at work

I did 3 candles. Mom says it looks like some optical illusion because your eyes go directly to the solid pieces and not the negative space. It doesn't translate very well in photos, but I'm happy with how it turned out!

Nora's owl turned out great!

I love Ryan's lurker, peeking out of the blinds.

Trio of pumpkins:

We spent about 2 hours on them...but of course took a break for some pizza, wine, and Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin on TV.
I'm so antsy for Halloween! We're doing to Montrose pub crawl on Saturday. I still have work to do on my costume... gotta hit the costume shop for some fake blood... CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Braided Bliss

There's a first time for everything...and today I made my first ever Etsy treasury! Booooyy is that a dangerous game.. browsing awesome item after item...having to remind yourself that you're saving up for the deposit on a new apartment... YIKES. The theme was Braided Bliss. I chose belts, shoes, bags, accessories and jewelry that were all braided. I tried to stay in the mustard yellow, olive green, brown and cream constrains and I think it turned out OK! Can't wait to make another one.
Have you ever made an Etsy treasury?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I may......have opened a little sweatshop in my office at work...which is hard because I sit next to the copy machine so there's lot of "throwitonthegroundandlookatyourcomputer" when someone's walking by...

but once work starts to get busy, the sweatshop will have to be shut down.
New things in the works!

Monday, October 25, 2010


New fun things in the shop today! Magnet sets (3) featuring some great retro fabrics. Yeee!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Give Thanks!

Fresh in the shop today! A festive little Thanksgiving-time note card, only ONE in existence!
You don't even have to mail it! HECK! Stick it in a little frame and hang it on a wall. SHAZZAM. Instant Turkey-day decor.
Give Thanks Embroidered Note Card


Can we please talk about how awesome this wallpaper is? Who is the amazing decorator who picked this out and whereeeeeeeee did she/he find it??? Ryan and I stopped in the new Queen Vic pub the other day for a post-workday cocktail. It's a new place owned by the same folks who own Oporto... only my FAVORITE tapas restaurant on the planet. I made a visit to the little girls room and when I opened the door, I was greeted by this awesomeness all over the walls. I love the saucy little minx in the red lipstick.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stitch on Paper

Today I'm trying my hand at stitch on paper! I stitched up a little Halloween card to mail to my sister and bro-in-law in St. Paul. I like it! I spaced the dots out far so it had a spooky feel. I may try thicker card stock so it's a bit sturdier. I'll need more practice for sure but I enjoyed this!
What are you working on this week?
Happy Thursday! I'll find a good tutorial for later today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New item in the shop!

This mini pumpkin is new to the Notes from the Republic shop!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cranberry Walnut EXPLOSION!

The awesome Miss Erin @ Reading My Tea Leaves posted this fantastic Epicurious recipe on her blog last week and I had to try it. It's what I was craving, only I didn't realize it yet.
It's still so so warm here in Houston. Too warm to get into the spirit of the fall season. My orange lights are hanging outside, the pumpkins are tucked in little nooks around the house, he horror movies are all over the airwaves...and it's 90 degrees. People are still having pool parties, walking around town in tanks, shorts and flip flops and the Frizz-ease is still flying off the shelves.
What's a Texan to do? Put the A/C on 60 and start baking. Sometimes you just gotta fake it, so I did and booooyyyy did the house smell good. I've baked 2 loaves in the past 2 days and there are mere crumbs left. Friends and family may all be getting muffins for Christmas.
Below are a few step by step photos of my baking process and the recipe is found here!
I threw almost 2 cups of cranberries in the mix instead of just 1, almost 3/4 cup of walnuts instead of 1/3 and stirred ground cinnamon in. FOR THE WIN.

Friday, October 15, 2010

0 calorie ravioli!

I came across this tutorial today- I looooooove felted food (even though I don't quite know what to do with it...)
Great tutorial over here!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nothin better on a Wednesday than free beer and a free show.

So Ryan wanted to go see The Futureheads and I'm like "who are The Futureheads?" They played last night at Fitz but being a Wednesday, a work night, I knew it wouldn't be in our best interest to attend. Luckily, they played an unplugged in-store @ Cactus Music @ 5:30 so WOOHOO! They start playing and I immediately recognized them from heavy airplay on MPR's The Current (Thanks Current! I love you!)
We ended up meeting them afterwards, I recommended a good place to eat Vietnamese (VanLoc) and they put us on the guest list for the show! Sadly, it was a late show and had to miss it, but if we had gone, we'd probably be in pretty bad shape today. I've only been working here for a week and calling in sick already wouldn't look so hot.
I recorded a little snippet of the in-store show, but blogger doesn't feel like uploading it at the moment. Will try later.
Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


OOOOOhh so much has happened the past few weeks! I'm SO happy to say that I'll be able to blog more now but I'm EXTRA happy to say that I have a brand spankin' new job! After a little over 2.5 years with Pegasus, nee Universal Pegasus, I submitted my resignation. It was all so bittersweet, I have lots of happy memories there, I made some wonderful friends and was very comfortable but the times, they are-a-changin' and I gotta roll with 'em. Today marks 1 full week at Bluewater Industries and it's been really good! I like my office, the location is perfect- a little under 10 minute drive, the people are great, very patient and I think I'm going to learn a lot. It's exciting!
With all that's been happening, I haven't been crafting, cooking or playing as much as I'd like, but I did manage to whip out a few Halloweeny things- some little ghosts! I stitched up a little spooky cat and a witch but they have found homes already (shame on me for not snapping photos, though).

My sister and brother in law live in St. Paul, MN where he is a law student and she is a 3rd grade teacher at the Twin Cities German Immersion School. The school has a fall/winter craft sale around Thanksgiving time so I stitched up a tiny MN to donate. I want to do a few more, maybe some variations, like a MN with a smiley face or maybe "You Betcha!" stitched inside.... hmmm..
I hope you're all having a wonderful October... can you believe it's almost Halloween already?? I better get to workin' on my costume!


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