want it now: mod gingerbread house

modginger

I am always tempted to make a gingerbread house, but never get around to it. Perhaps I’m not inspired by the traditional Hanzel & Gretal cottage style they all have. Well, it looks like I have found my dream gingerbread house, The Modern Gingerbread House. It’s so cute I don’t want to eat it – I want to live in it! With classic mid-century style it comes with a rock garden and garden. Add a few teal and orange gumdrops on the roof, and you’ve got centerpiece any mod homemaker can be proud of. Get the kit at uncrate.com, $80. — Angela M.

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surely we can DIY this: anthropolgie trinket candle holders

trinketcandles

As usual, I find myself drooling over many of Anthropolgie’s holiday-wares. There are an insane amount of gift-and-get worthy table top items. But these Trinket & Treasure candles gave me pause. A delicate tower of found objects, including thimbles and salt-n-pepper shakers, they would add whimsy to any dining experience. But the price, just shy of $400 puts them out of the realm of reality. No doubt they are hand-crafted with care, and no two pieces are alike. But couldn’t someone with a good eye craft together something similar with flea market finds? The repeated tin knobs help hold it together. What kind of glue do you think you’d need? Lets try it! Send me your suggestions and I’ll add it to my to-do list! — Angela M.

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test drive: singer heavy duty sewing machine

singermachinelyonhalloween

I learned how to sew on a Singer when I was seven or eight. Not just any Singer though — a before there was electricity Singer treadle machine — that my mother wisely purchased, thinking that I was too impatient for her Bernina. (She was right, of course, but that’s a whole other post.) When I finally graduated to sewing on her Bernina, I was forever spoiled. So spoiled, that until last month, I never purchased my own sewing machine, fearing that a cheap machine would just be more trouble than it was worth. With Halloween looming and my grandmother’s old machine (not that old, this one is electric) wheezing and snapping threads every couple of inches or so, I decided to look for an interim machine. (I still have my grandmother’s but repair will be slow and costly). Enter the Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine. Listed for $132 on Amazon, it boasted a speed of 1,100 stitches a minute. Perfect for the impatient sewer. After sewing two vampire dresses out of slippery, shiny material and making various minor repairs on pillows, curtains and such, I’m sold. The stitch range is basic. No fancy embroidery package. And it’s not the sexiest thing ever but oh is it fast. The one annoyance? The release lever for the foot that I kept knocking into the first day, causing the foot to fall off. But for the intermittent or beginner sewer, it’ll do everything you ask of it and will handle glittery polyesters and satins with the greatest of ease. Although with any luck, I won’t have to deal with any of those until this time next year. — Sarah L.

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post off: what’s your costume plan for halloween?

custume

Have we told how excited we are for Halloween this year? Our three-old daughter is combating the princess storm by dressing as the ONLY female Disney character with a job: Mary Poppins! It’s all about the accessories: hat, umbrella, carpet bag. Not easy, but the payoff will be worth it. Her dad and I will dress as obligatory chimney sweeps and allow her to steal the spotlight. After showing off our duds in the neighborhood parade, we’ll lure trick-or-treaters into a makeshift porchside photo studio to capture their portraits. Last year, Batman fell into our lair. Can’t wait to see who will stumble by this year. What will you be dressed as? — Angela M.

Photo by Chad Hunt

More Halloween costume posts:

What was your favorite costume, ever?

What was your best homemade costume?

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how to avoid a moldy pumpkin

pumpkin

If you’re like us, you spent a glorious fall weekend leaping around pumpkin patches and picking apples right off the tree. Divine! But before we start carving our jack-o-lantern masterpieces, we thought it’d be a good idea to remind ourselves what we learned last year. As you may recall, our 2010 porch pumpkins had a tough time. First, they got nibbled on by some squirrels. Then, they got moldy and basically caved in.

1. Don’t put your pumpkins out too soon. Rainy damp days can be deadly. Take them inside when it’s moist out!
2. After you carve it, soak it in cold water for a bit.
3. Smear some Vaseline on the carved, exposed edges.
4. If you’re worried about hungry critters taking a bite, mist it with a diluted cayenne pepper mix or try some Bitter Apple.

Got any other tips? Tell us here — and send us photos of your carved pumpkins! We’ll be sharing ours soon.

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