Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooktacular Party Tonight...

Just a few more pics of my party preparations. Last minute decorations and treats.

My tablecloth we made last year using this fantastic vintage looking material for Halloween.

And while you are at the table you simply must have some rum cake.

If you'd like the recipe leave a comment and I'll post it later. It's scrumptious! Just ask these fellows:

And now I must go, but be careful as you leave, my porch can be dangerous...

After all, it's not a party until someone's been beheaded...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just the Facts, Jack

I've been debating about whether to divulge anything remotely personal on this blog as I'm rather a private and shy person in real life, but I also know that I appreciate it when other bloggers share a bit of their own lives so maybe in the interest reciprocating I can reveal a few facts about myself. Often times bloggers tag one another with a game of sharing a few facts so I'll do it that way as I haven't been tagged yet myself.

1 - My name is Nicki, 58Cherries is our shop on Etsy and sometimes Ebay which I share with my mother, Mary.

2 - I am legally deaf. I can only hear wearing hearing aids and mostly read lips, but I have been slowly losing my hearing since I was about 5 and I can speak perfectly well and no on knows my disability unless I reveal it. The email and internet have been a godsend as I can communicate on equal footing for the first time.

3 - I have a Bachelor's degree in History and Politics with an emphasis in History - I'm a Tudor buff and love reading anything I can get my hands on about Henry VIII and his wives and children. I'm currently reading a bio on Mary I. I have a Master's Degree with a dual major in Management and Computer Resources and Information Management. A boring degree as I'm really more of a History gal - not a techie.

4 - I have scoliosis - I was diagnosed when I was 11 and wore a brace for a year as well as a lift in my shoe (middle school was oh so fun). The curve in my spine was severe enough that it didn't help and I had to have surgery. I have three rods in my back.

5 - I love lots of different artistic styles, but have recently come to really appreciate folk art, much to my mom's amazement. I hated it as a kid, but she always loved it.

6 - My mom's an amazing artist. She was always making stuff when I was a kid and she painted a beautiful folk art wedding portrait based on her own wedding picture and it is just amazing. I'll have to post a picture of it soon. I most want to be able to paint like her. She has great taste and is super creative. If only she had more time on her hands.

And...that's enough for now. Just a few facts. I will post fun stuff soon. Halloween is tomorrow night and I can't wait. I bought a beautiful new costume as a treat to myself. Check it out:

Isn't it beautiful?? I got it in the mail yesterday and it looks every bit as good as the picture. I'm so happy with it - great quality and very flattering. I only wish my hair was longer to style it better. I'm gonna wear a great little jeweled necklace that will go perfectly with this. (I'm not a choker kind of girl).

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Speaking of cute sugar cookies - check these out:

Picture found on Cute Overload site. Oh so cute. I'll have to make some like this someday. ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Decorations

I'm woefully behind on my outside decorations for Halloween this year. Very strange for me - I'm usually decorated early in the month. Here's a few things I've put out in the last two years:

The handmade pillory my dad made for any stray witches we might catch.

The Leaky Cauldron sign from Harry Potter - also made by my handyman father - it's about four or five times the size of the real one in the movies, but it's cute and can be seen in the distance.

And of course, my Haunted House sign, lest anyone not realize this house is special by the decorations and purple fairy lights at night. ;) Not to mention the attack cats perched in every window.

And in Martha Stewart related Halloween news - I just love her invitations you can print out on her site. The skeletons and owls are so cute! I think I'm going to make some skeletons just to hang up as I can never find any cute enough in the stores.

And don't you just wish you had the time and patience to make one of these??

I just love gingerbread houses - the more intricate the better and especially a Victorian!! Every Christmas I promise myself I'll make time to make one - and now I want to make them at Halloween, too. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Winner + Heirloom Tomatoes - Yum!!

So sorry for my late post, but I've had a few doctors' appointments this week and lots of errands, etc. going on. It doesn't help that I'm feeling very run down just now. But enough excuses - on to the winner!!

The witch stained glass giveaway winner is: Kandes Lee!!!!

Kandes Lee said...
I love your mini treats. They are so cute! I think your cookies look really cool.
That witch is wonderful give away. Please enter me.

Congrats, Kandes!! Please email me with your address so I can send it as soon as possible!! ;)

And in other news - the days grow colder and we had some frost scares so I went out to pick some more tomatoes and peppers from my garden. I think I might've left it off a little too long since I last went out there...

There are still more little green peppers out there to get and even more little yellow tomatoes - they are a weird kind of heirloom yellow tomato that is only slightly larger than a cherry tomato. They taste great, but my mom bought like eight plants and they took over my garden. They got to be about 8 feet tall if you can believe it. Man, anyone want some tomatoes?? However will I eat all these? I think I'll give some to my grandmother to give to her friends. Quite a crop this year. I've had good crops in the past with regular sized tomatoes, but these little ones are just too cute.
And my favorite necklace this time of the year?

A glass art pendant with a little image of a vintage post card. I keep getting compliments on it when I wear it. Gotta go - I need to get up early to go to yet another doctor tomorrow. Ugh. I can't wait for Friday.
Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trick or Treat

Hoo? Oh, the party already began! Sorry I'm a little late posting - my computer shut down in mid-blog last night and lost my stuff. I was sooo tired I had to leave it til today. Let's get started - I'm not much for tricks, but I do have a few treats, but first - the decorations. They set the tone for the party -

Nothing says spooky like some skulls in an apothocary jar on the mantel. And my spider candle holder is one of my favorites - it always looks like it is about to crawl off the mantel.

Oh, beware of the attack cat - he thinks he owns the mantel.

*Hisssss* Stay away from the owl - he's mine!!

But while we are over here, would you like some candy?

I just had to share this cool Halloween dish I got at Cracker Barrel of all places. It's still on sale if you have one near you - soooo cute!

And I also got this at the Cracker Barrel - so cute. BOO!!

And now for some cookies:

I bought some new little bitty Halloween cookie cutters that I just had to try out - I have the best sugar cookie recipe so I made them the other day. They are by far the best sugar cookies to taste - they have the slightest hint of lemon to cut the sweetness and the stuff they sell in a tube at the store around this time of year is absolutely awful compared to these.

If ever I could cast a spell to give everyone that visits a cookie I would - they are too good!

I just wish I was better at decorating them - I'm no Martha Stewart. Oh well - they may look juvenile, but they taste better than they look and I'm having trouble keeping people from eating them before I can take a picture. Here's the recipe:

Nicki's Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies


3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup butter or margarine
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Lemon Extract


2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 tbsp Half & Half (or Milk)

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.
In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt, mix well.

Using fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly. In small bowl, beat eggs; gradually add sugar, vanilla and lemon extract, beating until light. Add this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl, mix by hand and knead until dough forms, dough will be sticky. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour for easier handling.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/3 at a time, to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters - I used small ones, but usually 2-3 inch cutters are best. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 - 11 minutes or until lightly golden brown. (If making smaller cookies watch them carefully - the bake very quickly). Wait a minute to remove cookies as they will be limp, then remove to cool completely before decorating.

In small bowl, combine all ingredients adding enough half & half or milk for desired consistency. Blend until smooth. Then decorate as you like - pipe it on the cookies, spread thinly, whatever. Then sprinkle colored sugars or sprinkles.

As you can see - they are a bit of work to make - but sooo worth it. And while we are still in the kitchen - check out my new kitchen towel I got at Target:

And now for some othe party goers - Marie, the small porcelain doll is enjoying some of my miniatures:

I made her a little jack o lantern to store her goodies in - a large twisty sucker, chocolate - of course, licorice, and caramel apples. If you'd like to see the Country Living cake miniature I made in a little more detail - see my past posts.

And didn't I promise a give away?? Yes, I did:

Nothing says Halloween like a witch on a broom - this stain glass decoration is soooo cute. I had to buy one for a gift and another for here to give away. So please leave a comment on this post if you'd like it and I will randomly select a lucky person to get this. I guess I'll pick by Tuesday?? It's not a lot of time, I know, but I want to quickly ship it out so someone gets it by Halloween.

Here's a pic of it with the light shining through.

Not a great pic, but you get the idea. Cuter in person.

So...that's all for now - Happy Halloween!! Off I go to check some other blog partiers. I'll be posting more Halloween stuff right up to the day so be sure to check back here now and then.

Monday, October 13, 2008

In the blink of an eye...

I posted the houses yesterday and already the little Musical house is sold. So fast! I'm going to miss it on my desk, but I know it's going to a good home.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tale of Two Houses

October, how I do adore you. The leaves are just starting to change on the red maple just outside my bedroom window and soon they will be a bright vivid orangey-red like you can see on my blog banner.

I love the warm weather we're having right now. Just the right temperature to go outside and pick the last of the tomatoes and flowers from my garden. Also the perfect time to start decorating for Halloween. Tomorrow I'll probably start stringing up my purple fairy lights in the bushes. Last year one older neighbor looked at me like I was crazy and asked me if I wasn't a bit early to be decorating for Xmas already. Nope, sorry - you're next door to a Halloween lover. I like to decorate for Christmas, too, but Halloween is my first, best love.

So far all I've done is added the scaredy cats to my pumpkin wreath:

Ahhh - NOW it's Fall for me. ;)

Another week speeds by fast as the blink of an eye. I meant to update over the past few days, but was under the weather. A Fanciful Twist had a great Autumn tale on her blog a few days ago and it had the little Literary House she bought in the pictures. The witch that lives in the house seems very happy to me.

So now that I'm feeling a bit better and the weather was so nice outside I'm finally able to present my two new houses:

In the tiny grove of a nearby woods lived a fairy with a cheerful purple Polka Dot House. It's been worn by time, but the roof doesn't leak and the windows let in plenty of light.

Nearby lived another fairy in a far more musical house with a dark red roof:

Everyone knew just where to find it - the address is clearly printed above the door - Melody 79. (The same as the sheet music she used to paper the house.) I'll be posting these houses on my Etsy store very soon. They are the same size as the previous houses I sold, but I do also plan to post a smaller house and possibly one of my larger houses as well in the future.

And in other news - the Halloween Blog Party is this Friday and I can't wait to post some cool stuff. I'll also be doing a give away that day - something very Halloween-y to decorate the lucky winner's home so be sure to check out this blog and join the fun!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Studio 58Cherries

I'm dreaming of a studio right now. We bought our house about 4 years ago and are just now getting around to gutting and redoing the den downstairs which will then become a studio and I can't wait til it's done! Right now I just work on a table in the living room and stash my supplies under the table of in the bottom half of a dvd cabinet. I can't wait to be able to stretch out and organize my stuff better. At the moment the room is totally gutted except for a new ceiling - we still need walls and a floor so I'm impatiently dreaming up what I'll do with it when I finally get to decorate/set it up. I bought a magazine to drool over - Cloth Paper Scissors Studios - special issue at Jo Ann's today.

So beautiful! I love comparing the different studios and figuring out how much counter space and light I'll need. It's the perfect inspiration and if you like looking at artists' studios I highly recommend this issue. It even has a fantastic prim style studio on the cover - lovely.

I like a mix of primitive and shabby chic, myself. A bit more on the light and airy colors and old vintage mix of knick knacks.

I plan to also use the studio as a spare bedroom when needed or just as a place to get away from it all so I'm going to set up my lovely white (heavy!) metal daybed with some nice shabby chic style covers and pillows which I'm sure my cats will enjoy while I'm working down there. ;)

The three musketeers:

At the foot of my bed you can see the old chair I had as a child that I painted black - I keep it because it is so cute and reminds me of sitting on it with my dolls and playing with my cousins and friends, but also because it makes a very handy step for the two older kitties that need a bit of help up.
And sometimes they just want to sit in it and watch TV...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mmmm...Gooey Sweetness...

It's fall and that means it's time for caramel apples!! I don't much like those happy apples they sell with the little chopped up peanuts, but my mom does. We both agree, though, that the Bionic Apple sold at our local Dierberg's grocery store is the best - it's a bigger apple with richer caramel and the best part - pecans - yummmm.

Unfortunately, they are nearly 5 bucks a pop and a wee bit expensive for the budget. So we decided to make our own this year.

Mmm..mmm - they were good. The big one in the back of the picture is my version of the big bionic one - I bought a Honey Crisp apple - expensive at about $2.40, but so good and big enough for all of us to share. The rest are Macintosh apples, I think. Not quite as good as the Honey Crisp, but still better than most. Next time I'd make them with Granny Smith's, though, so they are more tart the way I like 'em.

And why should I stop there? I decided to make more - but this time not quite so big...

What's that you say? They still look big - nope - they are pretty small, actually:

Did I happen to mention I like to make miniatures?

So I decided not to stop there and dug out my miniature making supplies and also whipped up a cake - this time from the cover of a magazine:

The table is set - would you like a piece?

So while you can see I was gone a bit from my blog (sorry, medical problems causing me quite a bit of pain right now) - I decided to make up for it with a big post with lots of pictures. Please let me know if you like them. I've sold miniatures on ebay in the past, but haven't yet added them to Etsy yet - I'm unsure if they'd sell, but I'd like to try. ;)

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