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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/10/12

Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY PAINTED PUMPKINS. ADD A LITTLE FLARE TO YOUR HALLOWEEN DECOR!

   This was found at www.alisaburke.blogspot.com .  Here's something a little different.  For those of you who would like something other than the regular orange pumpking.  Make them in your own decorator colors.  Have fun......Make something!




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Living in Southern California it is a challenge for me to get into the spirit of traditional fall decor. Though it is raining today, typically this time of year is beautiful- like hang out at the beach beautiful! So when it comes to October/Halloween decor I like to create things that actually feel more summery and will go with the airy cottage feel of our home. I decided that this year I would create pretty little pumpkins in pastel colors full of detail and design.





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I started with a a few pumpkins in different shapes and sizes.





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I painted the pumpkins with white acrylic paint





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and let dry.



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I then added another coat of paint in very light pastel colors.





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FYI- One of my FAVORITE supplies these days is Tulip's dimensional paint. It can be used for a variety of projects and the tiny applicator tips are perfect for adding small details and pattern to all kinds of projects.




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Using the dimensional paint, I began to freehand simple designs around the surface of the pumpkin.





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I added contrast by scratching into the surface with a toothpick.





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I added more and more details, around and around the pumpkin





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until the entire surface was filled.






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I added dimensional designs to a white pumpkin that I decided not to paint.





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And added contrast with a darker color of dimensional paint.





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I filled every surface of all the pumpkins- even the tiny ones got little polk dots :)


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Now I have a variety of pretty painted pumpkins to use in my "california style" fall decorating.


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PUMPKIN CRANBERRY BISCOTTI!

   This recipe comes from www.confessionsoftart.blogspot.com .   Biscotti is one of my all time favorite things to make, especially during the holiday seasons.   It's easy to make and most people love it.




Pumpkin-Cranberry Biscotti

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Books are kind of like people, don't you think? You can tell right away if you're going to be friends with one or if you'll have a brief conversation and go your separate ways. So it was with this book - as soon as I picked it up,* I could tell that it was going to be one of my favorites. By the end, I felt like I had met Frank and Jerome and had sat with them in the kitchen of their New York cafe as they took out trays upon trays of delicious tarts, biscotti and Madeleines. I've made many recipes from this book, always with great ease and great success, encouraged by the warm tone and the friendly, quick humor on every page.


Pumpkin Biscotti

The recipes in this book are thoughtful, inventive and yet inviting and unpretentious. In fact, you get the feeling that the authors put together a list of their very favorite things to make at home and opened it to the rest of us. These pumpkin biscotti are no exception - they are simply wonderful - wonderful! If you like pumpkin desserts (and oh, I do), you will LOVE these, I promise. Crunchy, spicy, packed with golden raisins, cranberries and toasted pecans, oh goodness, I can't even really express how happy these made me. And the generous proportions of this recipe ensure that your family and friends will be very happy as well, should you choose to share (which, by the way, you totally should - these biscotti will make you many, many new friends!). Happy fall, everyone!

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*Disclaimer because some people might misunderstand: I bought this book at a bookstore, just like everyone else. I was not asked nor paid to do a review of this book, but I wanted to share it with you because it has become one of my favorite books to reach for lately.



Pumpkin Cranberry Biscotti Recipe
Note: I used 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Note 2: This recipe requires a little more effort than the traditional biscotti, but I'm telling you, it's so totally worth it.
(Makes about 25 biscotti - I got a bit more)



Ingredients

4 1/2 cups flour (495g)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (120g)
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (230g)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, packed tightly (183g)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped (150g)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries (75g)
1/3 cup golden raisins (50g)
4 tbsp of turbinado sugar (my addition, optional)



Directions

Position one of your oven racks in the center. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. With the mixer still on high, beat in about half the sugar until the egg whites are glossy. Transfer them to another bowl.

In the same bowl of the stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and the remaining half of the sugar on high speed until the eggs are pale and frothy and the sugar dissolves. Stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla to blend.

Gently fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Also gently, stir in the melted (and cooled) butter, nuts, cranberries and raisins.

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. For into two logs (flour your hands because the dough will be sticky) about 3" x 10". If you wet your fingers a little, you'll be able to smooth out the surface of the dough should you so wish to. Sprinkle each log with about two tablespoons of turbinado sugar, if using.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch. Cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes (this is important - if you don't cool the biscotti, they will crumble like crazy). Place the logs on a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch slices with a long and sharp serrated knife. Do not use a sawing motion, but make decisive downward strokes.

Line the slices on the baking sheet and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until they are crisp and golden brown throughout. Allow to cool completely before eating (this is kind of hard to do, with the amazing smell and all, but believe me, they do taste better that way).

HORN DANCE FESTIVAL FROM ENGLAND!!






    The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance involving reindeer antlers and a hobby horse that takes place each year in Abbots Bromley, a small village in Staffordshire, England.

Origins

    There are no recorded references to the horn dance prior to Robert Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, written in 1686. However, there is a record of the hobby horse being used in Abbots Bromley as early as 1532, and it is possible that the horn dance component of the custom was also present at that time but not commented upon by the writer. A carbon analysis discovered that the antlers used in the dance date to the 11th century - though these may well have replaced an even older set. According to some, the use of antlers suggests an Anglo-Saxon origin along with other native Anglo-Saxon traditions that have survived into modern times in various forms. It has been speculated, for example, that the dance originated in the pagan period and was










connected with the ruling dynasty of Mercia, based some 15 miles away at Tamworth, who owned extensive hunting lands in Needwood Forest and Cannock Chase surrounding Abbots Bromley. On this theory, the royal forester would have organised sympathetic magic rituals to ensure a plentiful catch each year, a tradition that survived into Christian times and gradually came to be seen as affirming the villagers' hunting rights. Even when the lands were granted to Burton Abbey in 1004 a forester would still needed to have been employed, and by the 16th century, when the abbey was dissolved, this hereditary position bore the title "Forester of Bentylee" (Bentylee being the wooded area of the parish). From then until the 19th century the dance remained the traditional prerogative of the Bentley family, eventually passing to the Fowell family in 1914 through a marriage alliance. The Fowells continue to run it to this day.
    Such an ancient origin for the dance has been doubted by some folklorists, who point out that while the reindeer antlers date to the 11th century, reindeer were long since extinct in the England and wales (and probably Scotland), and there is no evidence that any domestic reindeer herds remained at that time. Therefore, even more confusingly, the antlers must have been imported from Scandinavia at some point between the 11th and 17th centuries. This fact may lend weight to the theory that the custom originally began with only a hobby horse, and the horn dance component was added later, explaining why only the former was mentioned by 16th century sources.










    The dance was, like similar events throughout the country, temporarily discontinued during the Commonwealth years. Prior to this, according to Robert Plot, it was performed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Twelfth Day, in addition to the local Wakes Monday - though upon its revival in 1660 it was confined to the latter alone.

Event

    The Horn Dance attracts a large number of visitors to the village. As well as the dance itself, Wakes Monday sees a Fair on the village green; Morris dancing; and numerous other attractions. The right to hold this Fair was granted to the village in 1221.









Date and schedule of performance

    The Horn Dance takes place on Wakes Monday, the day following Wakes Sunday, which is the first Sunday after 4 September. In practice, this means that it is the Monday dated between September 6th and September 12th.
   The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
   The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.
    The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
   The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.









Dancers

    There are 12 dancers. Six carry the horns and are accompanied by musician playing an accordion (a violin in former times), Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby-horse, the Fool (or Jester), a youngster with a bow and arrow, and another youngster with a triangle. Traditionally, the dancers are all male, although in recent years girls have been seen carrying the triangle and bow and arrow.
    Until the end of the 19th Century the dancers were all members of the Bentley family. The dance passed to the related Fowell family in the early 20th Century in which it remains to this day, though rising house prices has meant that none of them live in the village any longer, with many residing in nearby towns. They have been known to allow visitors to "dance in" if asked politely, and will often invite musicians and others to take part when necessary.










Antlers

    The "horns" are six sets of reindeer antlers, three white and three black. In 1976, a small splinter was radiocarbon dated to around 1065. Since there are not believed to have been any reindeer in England in the 11th Century, the horns must have been imported from Scandinavia.
    The antlers are mounted on small heads carved from wood. Since 1981, the horns are legally the property of Abbots Bromley Parish Council. For 364 days a year, they are on display in St Nicholas Church. They were once kept in the main Village Hall, which is now the Goat Inn, beside the Butter Cross. An alternative set of antlers (red deer) are kept to use when the Dancers are asked, as they are, frequently, to perform outside the Parish boundaries.








Dance
   The dance itself is simple, since the antlers themselves have some weight to them and are large and bulky.
    As described by Cecil Sharp, there are 6 figures in the dance. He describes the dance as being done with the participants in a single line; however, it is currently performed with the dancers in a double column.