Monday, August 19, 2013


Make Your Own Scary Halloween Plates!!!

I made these Halloween plates by printing on contact paper and adhering it to the bottom of a glass plate.
Here is what I did....

1. I purchased glass plates from the $ Store and washed them. The sticky tag didn't come off nice - so I put some peanut butter on and scrubbed it off.

2. I printed out a circle from my computer and tested on my plate for size - I was lucky the first time - I got a size that worked. It is best if the circle is a little smaller than the flat circle part of the plate.

3. Cut out two pieces of contact paper that will fit over the circle. With one of the cut out contact papers, put double sided tape on the peel off backing and adhere over the printed circle. The plastic side should be facing up to be printed on. I used two varieties of contact paper - one from the $ store and the other from Zellers. The Zellers contact paper was way better quality and not as shiny. Both did work but I definitely liked the matte contact paper.

4. On your computer, copy and paste desired images in the circle - if you use printing reverse it. The images I used were from Graphics Fairy. Click Here to go to the skull - Click Here to go to the Skeleton Man. Put the contact paper sheet through the printer in a manner that the image will print on the contact paper.  Do not touch image as it is like a dry erase board and the ink will smear.

5. Take the pre-cut contact paper - peel off the back and stick it on top of the printed contact paper. You might get some bubbles - but most if not all of them can be worked out by pressing them firmly.

6. Remove the contact paper from the printer paper. Cut around circle.

7. Remove backing.

8. Apply to plate. If you have the good quality contact paper, it can be removed for washing and put on again after. Stick it on the fridge or window until dishes are washed and re-apply if desired. The cheaper contact paper didn't work so well taking it off and using it again.

So there you have it - make your own custom Halloween plates!


   It took a forklift and a cargo net to remove the massive vegetable from Jim Beauchemin's Goffstown, New Hampshire, pumpkin patch.
   But from a padded perch at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts, the gourd placed Beauchemin on top of New England's giant pumpkin world.
   His pumpkin became the New England champion when it tipped the scales at a hefty 1,314.8 pounds.
   "The Topsfield Fair is the elite weigh-off in the country," Beauchemin said. "To win it—I call it the pinnacle of my growing years. That's why we do it, the hope of someday winning a title."

How to "Go Heavy"

   Beauchemin is part of a growing group of giant-pumpkin aficionados who thrill at watching a well-tended pumpkin swell to massive proportions.
"You plant a seed the size of your fingernail and end up with a thousand-pound {450-kilogram] pumpkin," said George Hoomis, director of the New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. "That's incredible."
   Pumpkins grow in the cool of the evening, so New England's climate offers prime conditions for "going heavy."
   Still, cultivating a giant takes at least an hour or two of daily tending during the five- to six-month growing season.

   Gardeners spend that time carefully pruning, prepping soil, and keeping a sharp lookout for the twin banes of gardeners: pests and diseases.
   The pumpkins begin to germinate indoors in late April. Beauchemin's champion pumpkin moved outside under protective cover in May. By mid-July it was only the size of a golf ball.
   During an explosive growth spurt in August, the pumpkins may suck up nearly 50 gallons (190 liters) of water a day. In a single ten-day period they can pack on up to 35 pounds (16 kilograms) a day.
It's thrilling but a little scary to a degree as well, because that's when they'll split open," Beauchemin explained.

   Growing a champion takes discipline during the long season.
"You're basically locked in for the summer, you're not going too far," Hoomis said. "You don't like to leave them, because a lot of things can happen."

Gotta Be the Seeds

   You don't become a heavy hitter with seeds from just any leftover jack-o'-lantern. Champion pumpkins come from championship stock. Most serious competitors use the "Dill's Atlantic Giant" seed variety, produced in Windsor, Nova Scotia, by pumpkin legend Howard Dill.
   Dill is a former world-record holder. His 1979 champion pumpkin weighed in at 438.5 pounds (199 kilograms)—a mere dwarf by today's standards.

   "A few people started getting seeds from Howard," said Hoomis of the growers association. "It was probably like eight or ten guys to begin with.
"Now just because you've got a bunch of backyard growers who are cross-pollinating, sharing seeds and information, we're closing in on [growing a pumpkin that weighs] 1,500 pounds [680 kilograms]."

Friendly Rivals

   The world record has fallen annually in recent years. The current champ is Larry Checkon of North Cambria, Pennsylvania. He won with a 1,469-pound  gourd at the Pennsylvania Giant Pumpkin Growers Weigh-Off in October.
   Competitions in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Germany attract thousands of growers.

   "Once you grow a thousand-pound pumpkin once or twice, you're kind of recognized as a heavy hitter," Beauchemin, the New England record holder, said.
   The increasingly crowded field includes many friendly rivals. Every spring growers from all over the world attend a Canadian seminar where people talk about pumpkins, play poker for valuable seeds, drink beer, and generally have a good time.
 "The pumpkins are great," Hoomis said, "but over the years we've met hundreds of the nicest people."
Beauchemin says that aspiring champions will find plenty of experts willing to help them get started.
   "We work together instead of against each other," he said. "Obviously you want to win at the weigh-off, but during the season we help each other. By helping each other, we all get better."


   Competitive growers aren't the only people fascinated by giant gourds. Pumpkin displays and weigh-offs are huge draws for fairgoers.
   "Fair organizers say that the two questions that they are always asked are 'Where's the bathroom?' and 'Where is the giant pumpkin?'" Hoomis said. "And not necessarily in that order."
   Shape, color, and aesthetics have no importance, which is a good thing, as most giant pumpkins lack the shape and form of their smaller relatives.
   Weight is the only quality a champion pumpkin needs to possess. Heavy rinds make heavy pumpkins, but those aren't always apparent at a glance.

 "We always leave the three biggest ones for last," said Hoomis, who runs the nationally heralded weigh-off at the Topsfield Fair.
   "Chances are that they will be the heaviest. But out of those last three the smallest one could be the heaviest."
    The last chance to see Beauchemin's champion pumpkin is drawing nigh. This Saturday it will become New England's largest jack-o'-lantern—just in time for Halloween.



The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event which since 1964 has taken place on the streets of Notting HillRoyal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea , LondonUK each August, over two days (the August bank holiday Monday and the day beforehand).   It is led by members of the West Indian community, particularly the Trinidadian and      Tobagonian British population or 'Trinis', many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival has attracted up to 2 million people in the past, making it the second largest street festival in the world after the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival held in that country.   


   The roots of the Notting Hill Carnival come from two separate but connected strands. The Carnival began in January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall as a response to the depressing state of race relations at the time; the UK's first widespread racial attacks (the Notting Hill race riots) had occurred the previous year. This carnival organised by Claudia Jones (a "Trini") who is widely recognised as 'the Mother of the Notting Hill Carnival', was a huge success, despite being held indoors. The other important strand was the "hippie" London Free School inspired festival that became the first organised outside event in August 1966. The prime mover was Rhaune

Laslett, who was not aware of the indoor events when she first raised the idea. This was a more diverse Notting Hill event to promote cultural unity. A street party for neighbourhood children turned into a carnival procession when Russell Henderson's steel band (who had played at the earlier Claudia Jones events) went on a walkabout.

The carnival's traditional starting point has been Emslie Horniman's Pleasance in nearby Ladbroke Grove.
By 1976, the event had become definitely Caribbean in flavour, with around 150,000 people attending. However, in that year and several subsequent years, the carnival

was marred by riots, in which predominantly Caribbean youths fought with police — a target due to the continuous harassment the population felt they were under.      During this period, there was considerable coverage of the disorder in the press, which some felt took an unfairly negative and one-sided view of the carnival. For a while it looked as if the event would be banned. Prince Charles was one of the few establishment figures who supported the event.

   In recent years, the event has been much freer from serious trouble and is generally viewed very positively by the authorities as a dynamic celebration of London's multi-cultural diversity, though dominated by the Caribbean culture in the best traditions of Rio. However, there has been controversy over the public safety aspects of holding such a well-attended event in narrow streets in a small area of London.
   Concerns about the size of the event resulted in London's former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, setting up a Carnival Review Group to look into "formulating

guidelines to safeguard the future of the Carnival".   An interim report by the review resulted in a change to the route in 2002. When the full report was published in 2004, it recommended that Hyde Park be used as a "savannah"; though this move has attracted some concern that the Hyde Park event may overshadow the original street carnival.

   In 2003, the Notting Hill Carnival was run by a limited company, the Notting Hill Carnival Trust Ltd. A report by the London Development Agency on the 2002 Carnival estimated that the event contributes around £93 million to the London and UK economy.
   In 2005, entrants from the Notting Hill Carnival participated in the BridgwaterSomerset, carnival - Europe's largest lighted carnival and part of the West Country Carnival circuit.
Attendance Figures

2010 - 1,000,000

2009 - 720,000

2008 - 850,000

2007 - 850,000 (250,000 Sunday | 600,000 Monday)

2006- 1,000,000 (500,000 Sunday | 500,000 Monday) organizers / 800,000 (300,000 Sun | 500,000 Mon) authorities

2005 - 750,000

2004 - 750,000

2003 - 600,000

2002 - 1,400,000

2001 - 1,250,000

2000 - 1,500,000

1999 - 1,400,000

1998 - 1,150,000

1997 - 1,300,000

1996 - 1,000,000

Public Order
   Since the carnival did not have local authority permission, initial police involvement was aimed at preventing it taking place at all, which resulted in regular confrontation and riots. A change of policy came after a confrontation in 1987, which saw a change to allowing the Carnival to take place with police taking a more conciliatory approach. During the 2000 Carnival, two men were murdered and future policing, whilst conciliatory, has led to police deployment in large numbers - upwards of 11,000. Some of the crime associated has been displaced to the periphery. In 2007, two teenagers were shot just outside the Carnival area. The Review in 2000 by participants (but not local residents) resisted calls from the Mayor of London to resite the event in Hyde Park but led to the parades taking a circular rather than linear route.


The 2008 Carnival was marred by rioting right at the very end of the weekend, involving large numbers of youths and injuries to police. Some media outlets captured footage of the violence -  approximately 500 youths were arrested. The carnival has come under criticism for its cost to the London taxpayer as the cost for policing the event totalled over £6,000,000, however, it is argued that this should be put into context as the carnival is estimated to bring in approximately £93,000,000 into the local economy.
Five murders have taken place since 1987:
30 August 1987 - Michael Augustine Galvin, 23, stallholder - stabbed.
26 August 1991 - Dr. Nicholas John Hanscomb, 38, bled to death after being stabbed in the thigh.

28 August 2000 - Greg Fitzgerald Watson, 21, stabbed to death after an argument over food.
28 August 2000 - Abdul Munam Bhatti, 28, beaten to death in a racially motivated attack by a group of 40-50 youths.
30 August 2004 - Lee Christopher Surbaran, 27, shot by a gang using a machine pistol for "showing disrespect".