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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/28/12

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NEVERMORE HALLOWEEN WREATH!

   This diy comes from www.kdatydidandkid.com .  Very cool, I like this!


Nevermore Halloween Wreath {Tutorial}

One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner--Halloween! I love everything about it, from the chill in the air, to crackly, curled up leaves on the sidewalks, to costumes and spooky decor. In the spirit of the holiday, I decided to craft a goth-like wreath for the front door, using stuff I found at the local dollar store.





It cost all of 3 bucks to make, but I think the finished result looks quite elegant, almost like a feather boa.



Here's the wreath hung on the back door



I purchased a foam wreath, a fake raven, and a roll of black crepe paper (it also came with an orange roll, but I need to figure out something to make with that). I also used scissors and Glue Dots that I had on hand to use for adhesive, but you could certainly use hot glue, a stapler, or other binding agent (within reason).








I'm a big fan of black birds, crows, ravens, etc., so I thought this bird would look spooky perched on the wreath.






Now I can't get Edgar Allen Poe out of my head: "Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"" Hence I leave you with the Nevermore Wreath.

So here's what I did:

STEP ONE

Cut a length of crepe paper, roughly a yard long. Fold it in half and cut it at the end, fold it again and again until you have a bunch of pieces that are 3-4" long (on the left, in photo below). You could cut them individually, but I find that the folding method makes quicker work of it.







Holding the stack of crepe paper as seen above (on the left), cut out a shape that looks rounded like a feather. Get rid of those points on the end like in my photo!







Ah, much better. Also, cut a stack of ones just slightly smaller. The variety helps make it look nicer, in my opinion.







Now you have a stack of "feathers" to start adhering to your wreath form. I made more stacks periodically while creating the wreath.

STEP TWO

Before assembling your wreath, I highly suggest spray painting it black or wrapping crepe paper around it (gluing periodically as you go) to hide the green. An unfortunate result of gravity, the crepe paper feathers will "wilt" after a week or two of hanging up.

Once your wreath is ready to go, Glue your feather shapes onto the wreath. I started in the middle and worked my way to the outside, layering as I went. The Mini Glue Dots were really handy with this project.







I kept up this pattern of layering all the way around the wreath, making sure to glue the next line of feathers overlapping the previous line by about a half inch.






It's slow and steady work, but in all this entire wreath took me about an hour to do.






STEP THREE
Once you've made it all the way around, it's time to close the gap.







Gently tuck in some more feathers underneath the row you first started with. You might have to hold the wreath vertically and let those first feathers fall open to get the finishing feathers tucked inside (and glued, don't forget that!)







Fill in any other gaps or places you might see the green wreath peeking through.




The raven, minding the gaps




STEP FOUR



Ta da! The wreath is done!




Now time to attach the bird. He has wired feet, so this is an easy task.







I clipped the wire a bit and just stuck the wire into the wreath where I wanted him.








STEP FIVE
Add a ribbon. If I had found a nice, black, satin-y ribbon at the dollar store, I would have bought it. I thought I had some at home, but didn't (too many funeral gift wrapping projects--kidding!), so I just made a crepe paper ribbon.

Take a long piece (about a yard) and two shorter pieces (6") of crepe paper.








Fold the shorter piece into a loop and secure.






Pinch the "tube" in the middle, creating a bow tie, and secure the other short piece around the middle to hold it. Glue or tape it around the back.








Cut a notch on each end of the longer streamer to make it fancy,







and glue to the back of the bowtie. Pin or glue the entire ribbon onto the foam wreath.







STEP SIX
Add a piece of coordinating ribbon or a hanging hook to the back. I simply stuck two pins into the ribbon through the back of the wreath for hanging.







Fluff out your feathers, and display most graciously, I mean, ghoulfully!







I can't wait to hang it up this Halloween! I have a feeling I might just have to make one for the back door too.

*FOR A LITTLE TASTE OF NEW ORLEANS, TRY MAKING A MARDI GRAS KING CAKE!

Mardi Gras King Cake

   This frosted yeast bread is the highlight of any Mardi Gras party. If you want to hide a token inside, do so by cutting a small slit in the bottom of the baked cake...and remember to warn your guests!



Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe


This frosted yeast bread is the highlight of many annual Mardi Gras parties. If you want to hide a token inside, do so by cutting a small slit in the bottom of the baked cake…and remember to warn your guests!


  • Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling


  • Yield: 24 Servings

    Ingredients 40 20 60       I
    • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
    • 1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
    • 1/3 cup shortening
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cans (12-1/2 ounces each) almond cake and pastry filling
    • GLAZE:
    • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons water
    • Purple, green and gold colored sugar

    Directions

    • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
    • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
    • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Spread almond filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
    • Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled cakes. Sprinkle with colored sugars. Yield: 2 cakes

     Note: This recipe was tested with Solo brand cake and pastry filling. Look for it in the baking aisle.


    MARDI GRAS FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA!!!



        The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to Medieval Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today....with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands....are traced to New Orleans.
        Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian expolorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras". He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.





        In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile)....similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boef Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed along on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.
        New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730's, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans...but not in parade form. In the early 1740's, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls...the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.





        The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Associaiton is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.
        By the late 1830's, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.
        In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws".





        1872, was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival-Rex-to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.
        In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.
        Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, we call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth"!






    History Behind the King Cake

        As part of Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kinds called "A King's Cake".
        Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold). The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.




        Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today's King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the "baby" is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.
    In more recent years, some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings.





        January 6th, the Twelfth Night after Christmas, is also the day Mardi Gras season begins. Mardi Gras Day is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday).
        So, in Louisiana, especially, Mardi Gras season and King Cakes go hand in hand with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes consumed at parties and office lunch rooms every year.
        Ordering King Cakes over the Internet has now become an annual tradition by consumers all around the world...and many of the bakers offer them year around. After all, you can't have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake.