Party Fouled

The WarLock Family's Halloween Party has been cancelled! Turns out that not even pie and free booze can distract our Bay Area friends from something else orange and black this year.

Which means that I have swathed my house in cobwebs for nothing.

Even Tom sheds a tear. A single molten tear.



A DIY Borrowed from Maggie Rose

A while back Maggie posted a tutorial for beautifying a bulletin board, and I was inspired. Bulletin board? Check. Extra fabric? Check. Tacks? Check. 20 minutes to spare? Check!

Mine didn't turn out as beautifully as Maggie's did, as I used plain old tacks instead of handsome brass upholstery nails (and I won't even pretend that I spaced them evenly), but now it complements my color scheme!

I thought I'd show it off since it's currently costumed for Halloween...

Thanks to Maggie for the great idea and instructions!

Did anyone else dress up their inspiration board for Halloween?


Halloween at the WarLock House

Only a few days left until our Halloween party, and I'm scurrying around to make our house look appropriately haunted.

Our pumpkin continues the "Matilda WarLock's Ornery Face" theme. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting my Tildy-Cat, this requires some explanation. Tildy has been, since kittenhood, an unfortunate combination of intelligence and malevolence. When crafting our party invitations, I pictured Matilda's expression right before she pushes something valuable off of a shelf. It was the scariest thing I could think of!

Pumpkin carving is a serious tradition in my family, and my efforts fell far short of my Dad's past masterpieces (I can remember people posing their trick-or-treating kids for photos next to our pumpkins every year). I carved a day or two too early, and the wet weather has already eroded what were crisp lines and precise pinholes. Oh well! If it turns to glop before the party, I'll just show the guests a picture.

An adorably wicked welcoming committee, don't you think?


Kitchen Chemistry: Soup II

Happy Monday! Adam's here with a recipe that could literally last you all week long...

The soup of the day is homemade chicken and rice. Just the thing if it's chilly where you are, if you've got many mouths to feed (or want to create a week's worth of meals in just a few hours), or if you just want to impress the hell out of your guests by making chicken soup from scratch. Bragging rights do apply!

This recipe was inspired by a large leftover pot of wild rice that Elizabeth made (she's not really one for measuring, apparently). It was delicious, seasoned with garlic powder, lemon pepper, and bay leaves and dotted with tangy Craisins. Elizabeth said, "I think it would be tasty in a soup. Make it happen!"

The first step is to make the stock. Fill a large stockpot with about 1 1/2 gallons of cold water. Chop up the meat and bones of 3 chicken legs and the ribs and rib meat from 3 chicken breasts. Allow the chicken to soak in the cold water for 20 minutes or so, then cover it and set it for a low simmer (tiny bubbles and a still surface). After 2 hours, add the following:

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • The peels and ends from 6 carrots
  • 1/2 pound of celery ends
  • 1 clove of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley leaves and stems, whole
  • A handful of pearl onions, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of dried rosemary
Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, then remove all of the solids with a mesh strainer. Put the clear stock back in the pot at a low simmer and add the following:
  • 3 raw chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 pound (about 8 stalks) celery, rough-chopped
  • 1 pound (about 8) carrots, diagonally sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
Simmer for another 30 minutes, then add 3 cups of pearl onions, peeled. Simmer for yet another 30 minutes, then add the following:
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3 cups (or so) cooked wild rice
  • 2 cups Craisins
  • 1/2 bottle or so of left-over white wine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs cracked black pepper
Lastly, add salt. The salt in this soup is entirely to your taste or dietary wishes. Add a teaspoon, stir well and taste thoughtfully. Repeat until you've reached your desired saltiness.

This recipe makes about 12 generous bowls of soup, which we paired with rustic sunflower seed bread and roasted garlic (delicious spread on the bread or plopped in the soup). 

You certainly can't get a soup like this in a can. Tender white meat chicken, perfectly cooked vegetables, light herbal flavor, and the unexpected sweet notes of the Craisins.

Truly, the ultimate comfort food.


Here & Now: Fading into Fall

Hello Readers: I'm experiencing some technical difficulties, so Adam's Kitchen Chemistry will go live tomorrow morning! For now, I offer you tomorrow's post today...

Autumn seems to come with its own photographic filter, tinting everything with pale silver and antique gold. My camera is full of Fall. The pumpkin on my doorstep, a basket of apples, foamy caramel lattes, leaves kicked and scattered on long walks.


Fall Tablescaping: Plaid & Patinated

The table is all set for Adam's second Autumnal Soup post tomorrow. Without giving away the chef's secrets, I'll just say I was inspired to create a warm and rustic tablescape to compliment the ultimate comfort food...

Soup's on, and we'll serve it piping hot tomorrow!


You're Invited (If you DARE)

The First Annual WarLock Family Halloween Extravaganza looms on the horizon! This morning was spent assembling the invitations, which feature Tildy WarLock's grumpy question mark face...

Did I doubt my sanity as I painstakingly snipped each tiny whisker? Clearly, yes.
My perfectionism boggles the mind.

If you're a Bay Area blogger, blog-reader or general party person, would you dare attend our Extravaganza? Say boo if you'd like an invite!


Here & Now: Meet Tom

Ah, Halloween. The holiday when my Gothic fancies seem perfectly normal, when I can bedeck my house in creepies and crawlies and let ALL of the skeletons out of my closet...

I found this handsome fellow at Target. His tag tells me that when I light the wick, orange wax should begin to drip from his eye sockets! I'm anxious to try him out (though sorry to have to disfigure him permanently!).

He certainly does have a winning smile, but if you look closely you'll see he's an orthodontist's nightmare. That's a serious case of Tom Cruise Middle Tooth Syndrome!



I'm back from my visit to Seattle and taking some time to get over a cold and get used to the heat! It's 80ยบ here. Forget about 900 miles, I feel like I got transported back in time to, say, July. Quite unnatural.

Next week I'll resume daily posting, and I've got quite the lineup. Adam will rejoin us with his second Autumnal Soup recipe, I'll share some of my adventures in the greater Seattle area, and (best of all) I'll redefine what it means to go all out for Halloween. Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha! (<--- Evil laugh.)

Take a look at my Mom's spooky decor. I have a lot to live up to!


Postcard from my Vacation

Hey all- just checking in before I'm off to Ballard to browse my favorite shops with my Mom. I'm taking so many pictures that I'll have blog content for weeks. But, until I'm back in Berkeley on Tuesday night, I'll be spending most of my time with Paige here...

Can you blame me???

Back soon,



Blue Mood

No, not sad- I'm quite happily immersing myself in all the colors of the Northwest, especially the chilly blue of the Puget Sound.

 I wake up in this gray and blue bedroom, just the shades of the waves outside my window. 
(Doesn't my Mother have lovely taste? I'm tempted to make this a permanent vacation...)

These pale periwinkle hydrangeas were begging to be photographed in downtown Edmonds.

So much prettiness, and it's so nice to be home.

I promise I won't let the blog get too quiet,



Word to the Wise: 101 Things to Put in Apothecary Jars

I'm kicking off my Seattle visit with a shout-out to local blogger Maggie Morgan of Maggie Rose, who just published her first ebook, 101 Things to Put in Apothecary Jars. I can't divulge the 101 decorating secrets within, but I can tell you that I'd never thought of idea #12 before, and that suggestion #40 would fit into my decor nicely!

When I get back to Berkeley, I'm going to be putting Maggie's tips to the test in my own collection of apothecary jars- because right now they're just filled with air!

I'm off to enjoy the Northwest! Wishing you all a beautiful weekend,