Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's Your Poison?

How many times have you heard that phrase over the years, when someone is asking you what kind of drink you'd like to have?

Well, apparently, back in the bootlegging days, drinking alcohol was akin to playing Russian Roulette.  I had no idea that so many people died as a result of what they sipped at a speak-easy!  Nasty, nasty stuff in more ways than one!

I had heard a glowing interview with the author, Deborah Blum, about her book while we were in Rochester, MN.  The local B&N didn't have it in stock, but ordered it for me. It was waiting for me when I got home.  I truly wish that I had it with me to read while waiting for appointments at the clinic, when I had more free time for reading, because it is hard to put down.

Murders by poison was the choice way to get rid of someone in the 1800's & early 1900's, until forensic scientists learned ways of tracing the various toxic elements and compounds, and were put in charge of determining how someone died. This book follows that journey, highlighting some of the more spectacular cases, while showing how widespread the use of poisons were.

Arsenic in your lipstick?  It was common for manufacturer's to use, what we now know as toxic substances in many of the cosmetics, medicines and even foods.  Remember that bottle of bluing that your Mother used on the laundry?  So innocent and trusting that all was safe to use. 

Heck, I can remember my parents putting over-the-counter available, paregoric on my gums when my teeth were growing in, to relieve the pain. .and this was in the 50's!  The "active" ingredient in paregoric, is opium. .which may explain a lot about me today. .but never mind. . .I do remember REALLY liking the taste of it!  No wonder!

I know that today, we are concerned with pesticides and other toxins contaminating our water and food sources, but in comparison to what the people had to deal with back in "the good old days", we are better off, in that we are much more knowledgeable, and know what we are fighting.  Those poor people had no idea.  Innocence isn't always bliss. It is a wonder that anyone survived that era.

This book is a true, factual book, that reads like a suspenseful mystery novel that transports you right back in time, causing you to ignore the clock, and obligations.  I highly recommend it!  And, I'd love to know your thoughts about what you learn!

Wishing you all a beautiful Thanksgiving!  May all of your food be poison free!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

And The Winner Is. . . .Drum Roll Please. . .

I found out late yesterday, that my Mom is being transferred from the hospital, to a long term care facility to continue her physical therapy, and I have to be there this morning, to oversee taking her clothing and personal items. .sooo, that means that I don't have time to print and cut out the names, tossing them all in the cracked cauldron to have them swirl and toss out the winning name, as usual.

Instead of delaying the drawing, so the winner could start baking asap, I took the cold, unfeeling quick route of the random generator, who picked Lulu Kellogg's name!

Congratulations, Lulu!  Please send me your mailing address either here (and I won't post your comment), or send it to me at

THANK YOU, EVERYONE, for signing up for my little Give-Away! I love doing this, and will be having another one soon. .maybe next time, YOU will be the winner!

Wishing everyone a glorious Mabon, and breathtaking beauty throughout the whole Autumn season!  It is by far, my most favorite time of the year! Let the fun begin!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Treats, No Tricks Halloween Give Away!

Although my Halloween celebrating is going to be trimmed down this year, nothing says "Treats!" like homemade goodies, so I'm offering some of the fun elements to make some of your own!

These Halloween cutters aren't the flat, two dimensional kind, but have co-ordinating parts that slide together, so that your cookies can stand! They are extra fun to decorate!  And, you'll get the additional holiday sprinkles and glitter gel to help you on your way.  

If you'd like a chance to win this little Give-Away, please follow this blog, and leave your name in the comments, (on this blog only. .I don't want to miss your name, if you sign up elsewhere!) and please make sure that I have a way of contacting you, should your name be drawn from the Magic Cauldron on September 23rd!

Good luck, everyone!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life's Winding Road

Hello everyone!

Out of necessity, and to cut down on redundancy, (since I know that some of you follow both of my blogs), if you haven' read my long post already, please head on over to my Cat In The Moon blog to find out what has been going on in my life lately.

Being that it is approaching my beloved Halloween, and we are entering my most favorite time of the year, I had a number of posts planned for this Halloween blog, but obviously haven't had the time to sit down at my computer for very long.

I do have some things for a Give Away, that I hope to get put up here soon, so stay tuned!

And thank you all for hanging in here with me. I appreciate it more than words can express!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Follow-up to Masterpiece Mystery!

If you missed Hallowe'en Party (it was on this past Sunday, on our PBS station), you can watch it on line until August 4th!   Please click on the link to go to their website.

The other Poirot mysteries that have been shown this season are available, too. 
Three Act Tragedy is available until July 19th, and The Clocks until July 26th.


Monday, June 27, 2011

A Halloween Mystery on PBS!

I've been enjoying watching this season's Masterpiece Mystery series on PBS for two weeks now, but am truly looking forward to the third Poirot installment, airing next Sunday evening, July 3rd.

They are airing "Hallowe'en Party", a perfect way to celebrate July! I may even bring out a Jack O'Lantern to light, to help set the mood!  Click on the link to see the preview. .doesn't it look good? (turn off the music below, first, please) 

Check your own listings for the time in your area. This should be a good one!

BOO!! Happy Hallowe'en!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Holding My Breath

That I'm going to be able to post this. .I've been trying to do so, but Blogger hasn't been co-operating. Please cross your fingers for me. It is hard to type when I do. . . 

I have a cauldron. .a quite large cauldron that has been in my family for who knows how many generations. .I'm the third one that I know of, and sadly, the two previous generations chose to ignore the heritage of my Great-Great Grandmother, and used it to plant petunias in it instead. 

Leaving it out over winters didn't help it either, and now, Harry Potter has nothing over on me. .I've got a Leaky Cauldron, too. .only mine doesn't serve up Butter Beer.  However, it does make a neat receptacle for holding names for my drawing!

There were 14 names, all neatly typed out and then folded in half.

If you notice, at the last minute, I had to hastily put a just emptied flower pot inside the cauldron. .seems the name drawer has an aversion to a little rust and spider webs!  Good thing Hubs didn't mind a little potting soil!

He reached in and stirred the names around. . 

And drew one out, (almost too quickly for me to get the shot!)

And the winner is. . .(this is always the hard part for me, because I'd love to have prizes for everyone!) 

Judith!!  Congratulations!!  Please send me your mailing address, either by trying to leave a comment here (and I won't post it), or by sending it to my e-mail address.  I'll try and contact you, too.  We won't let Blogger stop us, any longer!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who entered! This has been fun for me, and I think that I'll come up with something else to offer, very soon, just for the fun of it!

Wishing everyone a beautiful evening!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do I Need To Send My Monkeys?

Blogger, get your act together!  The first part of the week, I couldn't log on, and part of the design page was showing up in the header, and then I started seeing messages from others on Facebook, saying that they couldn't leave comments.

Earlier, I had no problems, but just now happened to see on a blog that I follow, that she wasn't able to leave a comment for my Give-away!  She mentioned my Cat In The Moon Blog, where I had left a link, leading here, and tried posting a new post there, and can't!

I tried leaving a comment on Judith's blog, Merlin's Magickal Mistress, and couldn't do that either. 

So, if anyone has tried to sign up for the Give-away, and hasn't been able to do so, then write to me at and I'll add your name into the cauldron that way.

If this glitch doesn't get fixed with the next day, I'll extend the deadline so that everyone who wants to take part, can.

So be aware, Blogger. .I've got my eye on you!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Kind Of Friend

Lives three states away, goes to Florida during the winter to get away from anything to remind her of the cold weather up here in the North, and while there, buys me something that she knows I'll adore. . .

And the very best part is that she tolerates me anyway!!  That's a BEST Friend, that's who!!!

Thank you SO much Pam!! He is going front and center on my Halloween tree!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Birthday Came Early This Year!

Before I begin my little tale, I want to congratulate David Everett for his Chicken Lips article in the current issue of Art Dolls magazine! Wonderful three pages! Well done, David!! (sorry for the glare. .shiny paper, etc.)

And about now, you may be asking why I'm mentioning this on my Halloween blog. .well, please be patient, I'm getting there. . . . .

Every year, I give myself a Birthday gift of a piece of Halloween art. .sometimes I even think that I've been extra deserving of more than one, but this usually happens during the exciting Fall months, during the month that actually includes my birthdate. .HOWEVER, last year, a piece caught my eye, that I fell instantly in love with, but circumstances kept me from purchasing her.  I followed her in photos from show to show, with a heavy heart, knowing that someone was going to snatch her up, and I'd give a sigh of relief, after the show, to see that she was still listed for sale on etsy.

In April, I received a little surprise windfall, and decided not to press my luck any longer. Within a few days, a nice box arrived, with this label on it.

After doing a Happy Dance, I proceeded to open it, and was met with a sea of peanuts, and a bright red envelope. .

With this card inside. .

After six hours of digging through the peanuts (ok. .I exaggerate, but it seemed like forever, when I was SO anxious, but being careful, so as to not hurt her), I arrived at some tissue paper wrapping. . 

Surrounding a well wrapped bubble wrap cocoon (I  had carefully opened it in the photo). .she was SO well wrapped, and prepared for the shipping trauma!

After huge hugs of greetings, I took  her on a tour of the house, and showed her, her new home, safe inside my glass fronted cabinet, where she is safe from kitty paws, and promised to provide her with lots of clover!  She wanted to see it right away, so I took her outside. .(she was hungry from her long trip!) I told her that I will cut it and bring it in for her, but she wanted me to take her photo, knee deep in the stuff.  She is SO adorable, how could I say no?

May I present, Ewenice, my very own Chicken Lips, Halloween Sheep! Now she is mine, all mine! I truly think that it was meant to be!  Thanks so much for creating her David! She is SO filled with happiness, she makes me grin, every time I look at her, so I'm keeping her out, to enjoy all year long!

May you all find a piece of art that makes your heart smile!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mid Year Halloween Celebration & Give Away!

Joyous Midyear Halloween Greetings!!  Please look at the thickly layered dust as decorations in the making.

Some of you may remember that last year at this time, we were more than midway through a midyear celebration of Halloween, by trying to find vestiges or outright celebrations of our favored holiday, which is now only a little more than 6 months away.

I had fully planned on doing much of the same this year, with expanded plans to include other Halloween related ideas to start working on, for completion by October. I had planned on asking others to get involved too. .right up until May 1st, when I had to make the hard, sad decision to forgo everything this year. There is just too much else going on in my life right now, for me to celebrate in any sort of manner that would do Halloween the justice that it deserves.

And the fact that it is now May 21st, and I'm just now finding the time to devote to sharing, shows me that I made the right decision, no matter how much it tore me up at the time, to do so.

HOWEVER (and I do hope that you think that this is a good "However"), I had purchased something(s) to give away on May 31st, and since they are sitting here, jumping up and down, begging me to take their photo, and let them wing their way to a new home, I'm feeling compelled to listen to their demands.

So, I am offering a black bibbed baker's apron by Gravestone Artwear. It has two large pockets in front, and is approximately thigh length. Perfect for wearing while making Halloween treats, mixing papier mache, potting up some herbs, making soaps and lotions, or conjuring up a spell!

Also included in this give-away, is a well padded, orange and black cooking mitt, complete with black skull and spider webbed design.  A must for pulling those cookies out of a hot oven, or holding onto a hot handled spoon, while stirring a bubbling cauldron.

And last, but not least, to read while relaxing, sipping tea and sampling treats, is the newest book by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, "Halloween Nation; Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night". Published earlier this year, it covers not only some of the history of Halloween, but all of the aspects of why it is now so popular.  It is a fun and informative addition to any Halloween library. .or an excellent start to a new one!

If you would like a chance to win this give-away, the requirements are simple and the usual.  Please be a follower, and leave a comment on this post only, on this blog.  And if I don't have a way to contact you, please leave that info too.

The winner's name will be drawn on May 31st!  Good luck, and thanks for entering!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Only 268 Days Away! What A Joyful Journey!!

If you believe as I do, that the fun is in the journey, not the destination, then now is the time to start planning for Halloween! Actually, it is never too early to plan for the next year,(I make notes the night of Trick or Treating, of what to do differently next year)  but one must being in earnest after the New Year's confetti has been swept away. 

Fortunately for me, there are a lot of kindred souls out there, and news is starting to trickle in of festivities, and other Halloween related events to keep us buoyed while yearning for that ultimate season.

Last week, I got 2 messages that made my heart sing. .this year, for the first time, Ghoultide Gathering, that Halloween art show,extraordinaire, held here in Michigan each year, has expanded into a special showing on the eve of the usual Saturday show.  HOW exciting, is that???  For a special admission price (which includes entry for the next day too), you can have three hours to drool over the gorgeous Halloween art.  If I had MY way, there wouldn't be anything left to sell on Saturday. .and I'd be hightailing it back home to savor my new treasures! 

I don't know if this next event will keep me satisfied, or fuel the fire, but there is a new Halloween book coming out in April!!!  I already have my copy pre-ordered. Do you?

Lesley Bannatyne has written Halloween Nation; Behind The Scenes of American's Fright Night.  The author wanted to to delve into the why and how of Halloween today, and to savor in the essence as to why so many of us share the passion that is Halloween.

She has already thanked a number of people who helped her on her quest, and I see a lot of familiar names in her listing. If their Halloween Spirits have helped influence this book, then I'm sure that it is going to be a gem!

Wow! January hadn't even closed, and I got those two great pieces of news! If this is any indication, then this year is going to be an AWESOME Halloween Year!!

Have you started working on your Halloween decorations yet?.  I found that planning where I'm going place more JOL's and decorate with tiny orange lights helped make the 5 foot snowdrifts disappear. .at least in my mind!

Think Black and Orange!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flinging Your Footwear On Halloween

After the treats have been passed out, after your party guests have departed, but before the last candle in the Jack O'Lantern has flickered its last, you might want to add another tradition to your very special Halloween Day.

The Irish and Scots have long practiced a form of divination known as "throwing the shoe".  There is record of it as early as the 17th Century, so it must be worthy, if it has been around that long!  But be forewarned. .besides the aforementioned footwear, you must have a strong arm or/and, a low roof line.

The act itself, is quite simple. Remove one of your shoes and "toss" it over the roof of your house. .and it has to be YOUR house. .not the neighbor's, not your garage, and most certainly not the dog's house.

Then you go and find your shoe, but don't disturb it.  If the shoe is pointing away from the house, the wearer will soon be traveling in that direction.  If the shoe is pointing toward the house, no travel is forecast for the coming year.

Good fortune is indicated if the shoe lands with the sole down. If the shoe lands with the sole up, well. . you guessed it. .a sign of bad luck.  

There isn't any provision for if your shoe lands on the roof. I am guessing it is a bit of both. .bad luck that you have to get the ladder, and climb up to get your shoe, and lucky that you don't fall off of the ladder, and you have your shoe back!

While some may think it best to try this with an old shoe in case it should find its way down the chimney, in a muck filled rain gutter, or other undesirable circumstances, but I, on the other hand, think that the proper footwear could enhance your chances of inviting only the best of luck, and to that end, have found a site where you can have your pick of a multitude of Halloween footwear!  Check out Zazzle!

The only problem is. .which ones do I like the best?  What pair would YOU chose?  

Ummm, another problem. .getting my pitching arm in shape. .I'm in trouble. .sigh. . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


For the second year in a row, the semi-legendary "Poe Toaster" didn't show up to leave roses and toast with cognac at Edgar Allen Poe's grave, on Poe's Birthday.

Has he met with his own demise?  I guess unless someone steps forward to let the public know, he will always remain a rather romantic mystery.

Sometime in the 1940s, it seems, an anonymous man began the annual tribute at Poe's grave. It was first referenced in print in 1949 by The Evening Sun of Baltimore.

Those who have glimpsed the "Poe Toaster" always saw him dressed in black, wearing a white scarf with a wide-brimmed hat. But he was always very secretive. No one has seen his face, and no one knows exactly why he chose to honor Poe in this manner.

In recent years, impostors have begun showing up, but according to the caretaker of the cemetery, none of them act like, dress like, nor leave the roses in the special pattern that was a tell-tale act of the true toaster. 

If indeed, this is the end of this personal tribute, it is rather sad, but I don't think that anyone should pick up the tradition. This seemed to be a very personal tribute, and no one else could continue with the mystery person's sincerity.

And it is fitting, that even in death, Edgar Allen Poe continues to have a mystery surround his name. RIP both of you gentlemen. May the roses always be at their peak of beauty and fragrance, and may your cognac be warm and lush.