Friday, September 20, 2013


 This diy comes from www.thevintagedresser.blogspot.com .   When ordinary leaves just won't do.

Musical Leaves Tutorial

When we were in one of our favorite shops in Snohomish a couple of weeks ago, Joyworks, I spotted some leaves they had hanging above their check-out area. They had been cut from music sheets from a song book. For some reason they struck me as a fun project to do, so here we go:

On a trip to town a few days ago, I cruised some streets, looking for trees with pretty leaves. I was in a residential area and felt a LITTLE conspicuous parking in the street, jumping out and ripping leaves off of trees, but sometimes one has to sacrifice dignity in the name of "art"! LOL!

Now, FYI, It would have been easier to use these leaves if I'd come right home and jumped on this project! But no---I waited a couple of days before I got to it, and the leaves were curling and getting kind of crispy! So, I smoothed them out the best I could and used a fine point marker to draw an outline around them. If you're really creative you could just draw your own leaves and leave out the hunt, but I enjoy looking at fall leaves, so it was kind of enjoyable cruising around checking them out.

This one was especially challenging!

This huge one is a Sycamore leaf. That's the kind of tree that has the big green prickly looking balls on it that fall all over the yard in the fall, along with the leaves!

So, I've now got a tracing of all the leaves I collected. I'm not much of a leaf expert, but I do know that I have a Sycamore and an Oak---not that it matters!

Now the fun begins---I cut around each of the tracings so I would have a nice flat pattern for tracing onto the music sheets. Then I did just that--traced around the leaves onto the music.

I used my flash in this picture because for some reason, even tho I have every light in the kitchen on, including the under counter lights, the pictures seemed a little dark.

I like the darker pictures better!

Next I got busy with my scissors and did some more paper cutting. Kind of takes you back to grade school, huh? Aren't they pretty?

But now what?! The ones we saw at the shop were attached to a gnarly tree branch, but, having just moved to a new house with absolutely no landscaping and nothing remotely resembling a tree, I have to come up with some other plan. I'll go on another scavenging trip soon and find a tree branch, but in the meantime--------
I decided they'd look pretty on my kitchen cabinets! Now I just need to do several dozen more!


  There has always been a lot of debate in both the scientific and the supernatural realm with regard to what actually constitutes a ghost. Some believe that they are souls that haven't, for some reason, crossed over to the other side. Those believing in this theory suspect that there is something that the dead left unfinished in life. Therefore, they can't cross over until they finish whatever their task.
    Others believe that someone holds them back, not allowing them to cross over. It could be a loved one who can't let go of them, or it might be an enemy who seeks to block them from paradise.
    Some believe that ghosts are nothing more than residual energy left behind at a place where something tragic occurred. They call it a "loop" in time and space that replays the incident over and over again.
    Both theories have some credibility. It wouldn't be unnatural for any one to want to complete their purpose in life. It also makes sense that those who die a tragic death might leave behind some residual energy that is locked up in the place where the event occurred.
    In the case of naval ship hauntings, the second theory would most likely apply. In most instances, the ships in question had not experienced any paranormal activity prior to the tragic event that jump-started it. Such is the case with the following:

U.S.S. Hornet

The USS Hornet

   Many ships have held the name of the Hornet, but it is the eighth in a long line of colorful and heroic ships by that name, that seems to bear witness to ghost stories. Many sailors lost their life aboard her. Some were, of course, as a result of battle. Others, however, were the result of other types of tragedy.
    Accidents aren't uncommon aboard naval carriers, but it does seem odd that the Hornet experienced more than her fair share. Sailors were sucked into air intakes, blown of the deck by aircraft exhaust, and killed due to the carelessness of others. A few were even acts of suicide.
    In her 27 years of active service, the Hornet lost 300 people. The majority of these deaths were battle related. However, the ship also holds a horrible title. It is known as the U.S. ship with the highest rate of suicide. So, it certainly seems plausible that such a bloody history might result in a ghost or two.

    Over the years, both crewmen and visitors have made claims about the Hornet's ghostly activity. Some of the claims might be dismissed easily by other explanations. Things like objects falling off shelves, toilets flushing on their own, bangs and other sounds could have perfectly feasible explanations.
    However, the same can't be said for the number of people who have witnessed full body apparitions. Doors opening and closing by themselves can't be easily explained away. Nor can tools that vanish in the midst of being used be easily explained. Especially when they are never found again.

U.S.S. Lexington

USS Lexington

    Many of the same types of events occur aboard the USS Lexington. Although dry-docked in Texas, the ship turned museum seems to hold on to its illustrious military past.
    It was nicknamed the "blue ghost" by the Japanese who claimed on more than one occasion to have sunken the ship only to watch it return yet again. The ship certainly had an illustrious military career, but it was also equally bloody with hundreds of sailors losing their lives aboard the carrier.
   Tourists and staff alike have reported seeing and, in some cases, talking to sailors dressed in old-fashioned uniforms. Visitors at first assumed the beings were part of the "show" put on by the museum. However, after talking with others, they were surprised to discover that such individuals were aboard the ship.
Others swear to have seen a man dressed in full Japanese World War II regalia aboard the ship, sometimes in the company of another young American sailor. Again, however, no such individuals were hired to "entertain" visitors.
    Still others claim to have witnessed a soldier moving through a wall of the ship, in the location where a doorway once existed. They also reported hearing footsteps, bangs, and clanks that sounded as though soldiers were at their work stations.
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) checked out the Lexington themselves and managed to catch two different cases of vocal electronic voice phenomena. Oddly, both appeared to be female.

    After extensive research, TAPS was able to discover that one female sailor had been killed on board the Lexington. Whether or not it was she who attempted to make communication with the group, no one can say.
    If these ships are haunted, one must question why. Certainly, it seems feasible that they could have left behind some residual energy because of the bloody past of both ships. On the other hand, it could be that some of the crew continue doing in death what they did in life - - perform their duties on behalf of their country.
    Certainly, it isn't a stretch for anyone who believes in ghosts to believe that they might also haunt ships. The real question lies not in the location of the ghosts, but in whether or not you believe in them at all. Those that do, will likely see the hauntings of the Hornet and Lexington as just another link the chain being forged as the ultimate proof.


Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

With the arrival of fall and Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkin dishes are back on our menus. Say “pumpkin” and most people say “pie”. But pumpkin is not just for pie. Some of my favorite pumpkin recipes include pumpkin breakfast muffins, pumpkin and black bean soup, and the sublime pumpkin mousse.
Having planned pumpkin mousse for dessert for a catered party I set out to pick up some canned pumpkin. I had to go to four grocery stores to find it! Then just this past week the newspaper announced that there was a shortage of canned pumpkin. Hard to imagine. We are so spoiled being able to walk into a market and buy just about anything we need without thinking about it.
I’ve made this pumpkin mousse many times to the delight of family, guests and clients alike. The best thing is it can be made a day ahead (or first thing in the morning) of the party. Being able to get something done and “off your checklist” in advance is always welcome.
Pumpkin mousse is versatile. I’ve piped it into pastry puffs, white chocolate cups, pretty stemmed wine glasses, or just glass dessert dishes. Garnish with a bit of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, maybe a ginger  or amaretti cookie, and you’ll have a hit on your hands guaranteed.
To get dessert ready quickly at the end of dinner, I place the mousse in a disposable piping bag with a star piping tip in the end, ready to go.  When you are ready for dessert, slice off the tip of the plastic bag to expose the tip, twist the top of the bag to squeeze the contents down into the tip and pipe. As I am right-handed, I twist and gently squeeze with my right hand and guide the bag with my left.
Mousse and other soft fillings, either sweet or savory, are easy to store and transport in a disposable piping bag. I often use a star piping tip in the size of #865 – #867. These are larger tips than what you usually find at typical stores. They can be purchased at a restaurant supply, pastry supply, or on the web.
The disposable piping bags are 18” and available in a roll. One box will last a long time. I use them not only for piping mousse, but deviled egg filling and even fancy mashed potatoes. They come in handy and are clean and sanitary compared to the old cloth style.
One more note – to reduce fat you could replace the heavy cream with a vegan product called Healthy Top from the folks at MimicCreme. It comes in a shelf stable box and whips up like cream after chilling. It’s a bit heavier than whipped cream in texture. Tastes great. You may need to order if from their website. I’ll be testing this version soon and will make additional notes. 
I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie but I do love the lightness and flavor of this pumpkin mousse. I’ve made notes along side the recipe to help you. I hope that you will try it. Please let me know how it worked for you.

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

Creamy, rich and light with a soft spiced pumpkin flavor. Make it a day ahead and have dessert taken care of during a busy Thanksgiving celebration.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine – November 1998
Note on spices – you can use the individual spices below as the recipe was written. I like to use a blend from Penzeys called Cake Spice. I keep it on hand for baking, making granola, and in oatmeal or cookies. It’s an aromatic blend of China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. I also love Penzeys Double Vanilla. Visit www.penzeys.com if you are not familiar with their site and all of the wonderful herbs and spices they have to offer.
Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (less than 1 envelope)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain canned solid-pack pumpkin, not pumpkin pie base (a 15 ounce can)
  • 1 to 1/2 teaspoons Penzeys Cake Spice blend (or blend 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon groudn ginger and a good pinch of clove)
  • 1 1/2 cups well-chilled heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality vanilla (I use Penzeys double vanilla)
  • 6 Gingersnaps, Gingerman, or Amaretti cookies for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium metal bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water to soften 1 minute. Whisk in yolks and sugar and set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook egg mixture, whisking constantly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into mixture registers 160°F with a kitchen thermometer ( I use a digital one for easy reading). (Tilt bowl to facilitate measuring temperature.)
  2. Remove bowl from pan and with an electric mixer (or a hand mixer or standing mixer with the whisk attachment) beat egg mixture until cool and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mixture will be very sticky. Beat in pumpkin and spices. Chill pumpkin mixture, covered, until thickened and cool but not completely set, about 1 hour.
  3. In a bowl with clean beaters beat cream with vanilla until it just holds stiff peaks and fold into pumpkin mixture gently but thoroughly.
  4. Transfer mousse to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain or star tip and pipe into stemmed glasses. Cover with plastic film and chill until firmed up, about 3 hours, and up to 1 day. If you have piped it into white chocolate shells where the mousse is not protected by a glass rim, you can leave uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours or cover loosely with plastic film, taking care not to mess up your piping.
  5. Just before serving, garnish with whole cookies.
Note - It’s equally as good freshly made if you have not had time to make it ahead but will pipe easier after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.