Thursday, October 30, 2014


Yes I know Halloween is technically and eve, but October is all about Halloween for me, so any excuse to celebrate....
Lunch today at Tailored Tea, a lovely tea cafe in neighboring town of Latham.  Tailored Tea is in a 1785 farm house with a vary colorful history. 

"The farmhouse built by Revolutionary War veteran Ebenezer Hills Jr. in 1785 has a storied past.
The private home served as Watervliet Town Hall at the turn of the 19th century when Hill was elected town supervisor. Two decades later, his son Laban turned it into a stagecoach inn, tavern and post office. It became the infamous trysting spot of Van Rensselaer scion Elsie Whipple and handyman Jesse Strang, whose affair led to the murder of Elsie's husband at Cherry Hill Farm. The hanging of Strang in 1827 — Albany's last public execution — drew 30,000 spectators.
The Rebusman family owned the center-hall Colonial for a full century before getting it listed on the National Register of Historic Places and selling it to the Albany County Airport Authority in 1982. It languished, vacant and deteriorating at the edge of the runway, until the authority scored a federal grant of more than $600,000, enabling it to move the landmark 600 feet to a knoll near Route 7. Work was completed in 2010, with careful preservation of the original woodwork and wide pine floors, and the addition of central air conditioning and modern wiring and plumbing."
(By CHERYL CLARK, Special to the Times Union
First published: Sunday, June 03, 2012)
Lunch, ratatouille, chicken pot pie with a small side salad and 1/2 pot apple spice tea.

And Halloween treats for my lunch companions.
Little coffin boxes from the Dollar Tree, with Halloween scarves, orange and black pumpkin and black and white spider.  Cute little Witches' potion bottles and black cat and jack-o-lantern pins from Oriental Trading Company.  They come on little cards that tell the folklore behind both.  Halloween bubbles and a small bag of candy corn complete them.

Tie them with a bit of raffia ribbon.

In the piece above about Tailored Tea, historic Cherry Hill is mentioned, here is a look.  Beautiful Cherry Hill is located at 5231/2 South Pearl Street in Albany, NY. 

And, just for October, a dramatic tour reenactment of the infamous murder at Cherry Hill.
In 1827, a murder occurred at the Cherry Hill farm, home of the well known Van Rensselaer family. The crime aroused tremendous public interest, and the subsequent trial culminated in the last public hanging in Albany. Although it appeared to be a crime of passion, it uncovered some simmering issues of the day including women's roles and legal rights, social class, punishment and the law, and slavery in New York. Hear the words of those involved in the crime and decide whom you think was guilty or innocent.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


So I have been counting down Halloween since October 1 with my trusty Hallmark Halloween date cube.   Today we are at 5 days and counting.  So now the real spirit starts.  Trick-or-Treat sacks are already put together, thanks to some rainy weather last week.  Today it is dry but blustery (we had some very impressive thunder storms move through last night) so this calls for some inside festivities.

First, it is Sunday and my Sunday morning routine requires reading the paper and watching the CBS Sunday Morning Show with Charles Osgood, breakfast and then I start my day. 
A good indoor activity, pumpkin carving.  I leave most of my pumpkins un-carved.  I like to use them as long as I can.  I love incorporating them into my winter decor through December and January.  Most years I can, as long was we don't get to many really low temperatures.  I will bring them in some nights too, just to keep them going.  But, I should carve at least one. 
Ta Da the pumpkin!  So I set up with some butcher paper.  I purchased several rolls quite a few years ago when a local restaurant equipment store was closing.  I am down to one roll but this stuff is great, especially for something like this.  A cute little plastic cauldron from the Dollar Tree and a pumpkin mug with pumpkin carving tools.  I wipe the pumpkin down with a little water and bleach.  I cut out the bottom instead of the top and a little hole in the back to get at the battery powered, led disk light.  Separate the pulp from the seeds for roasting later. 
I used a template to carve a cat this year.  I am not too happy with the face but It didn't come out too bad.  Clean up is easy, roll the paper up, clean the counter and done.

Now to roast the seeds.  I like to clean them well, even tho a little pulp won't hurt.  I soak them a few minutes in salt water and then drain them well and into a bowl. I purchased F. Olivers Fabulous Finger Lakes Squash Seed Oil while in Ithaca this past Spring.  So I mixed the seeds with the oil and some coarse ground sea salt and layered them on a lined backing sheet.  Then in the oven for 45 minutes at 300 degrees and until nice and golden brown.

All done.
A windy, Fall day calls for something spicy and comforting for lunch.  Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla with sour cream and salsa and Martinelli's Apple Cider.
Lazy Sundays call for eating in front of the T.V.  Over the last few weeks I have DVR(ed) several of my favorite Murder She Wrote episodes  (some of the spooky ones.)
"The Witch's Curse,"  "Threshold of Fear," "Incident in Lot 7," "The Legacy of Borbey House" and "Murder Takes the Bus."  All perfect for a cool, windy Fall day.  The sun sets earlier and the wind is whipping the leaves, time to take a stroll outside. I love to go out and look at my decorations.  It is nice to just make a cup on tea and stroll outside to admire the lights.
Then a stroll out back, just enjoying the fresh night air.  It is really looking and feeling like Halloween.  The count down continues to my favorite holiday.


Saturday, October 25, 2014


A beautiful Fall day with a beautiful Fall week to come.  We just finished a week of rainy weather.  I honestly do not mind the rain, especially when we are experiencing a deficit.  The only problem with this past week I could not sit out side on the patio to read.  After Thanks Giving I put my front porch and back yard patio furniture away until March or April, so I like to use it as much as possible in the Fall.  I could sit on the back porch, but there will be enough time during the Winter to do that.

Rain aside it was a very busy week.  Ran a ton of errands, finished a bunch of chores, got my hair cut and put together my Halloween sacks for the Trick-or-Treaters.   But the rain is over and we are in for another fantastic Fall week (we really have had a perfect Fall.)  

But since the weather is cooperating this is still one of my favorite hobbies.

Start with hot chocolate or Chai Tea with Halloween marshmallows.  This is one of my favorite mugs, I have a set of two Martha Stewart for Macy*s.  Keurig is the best brewer.  I use it to brew my tea in bags, too.

The marshmallows don't look like much but they melt great and add a seasonal glow to the hot drink.

They are starting to melt already. 

Sun readers, The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan.  This is a "new-to-me" author, so I chose to start with her third book, since it was a spooky theme perfect to read during the Halloween season.  And so far so good.
My little  pumpkin chiminea is not needed but it is great for burning AmazonLights.  These things are great, they come in cones and sticks.  I first found them in a general store in Woodstock, Vermont but then started to order them on line.  They smell fabulous and really keeps the bugs a bay.

As I have said, I live in a city with in New York States Capital Region.  But my neighborhood is more suburban, just 5 minutes from downtown  It is a planned community which they started building in the 1920s, so there are plenty of wonderful mature trees to provide wonderful Fall color.

And my Nantucket Daisies are if full bloom, although a little bent from all the rain.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014



BALLSTON SPA, NEW YORK                             Click on pictures to enlarge.

Another day of playing tourist in a local community.  I have said it before and I will say it again, some take there own areas for granted.  I hate to admit I have done this from time to time.  Although I spend a lot of time out and around in the Greater Capital District, many times it is just to hop out of the car and hop back into the car.  There is something to say about getting out and walking and looking around the community.  You see so much more than staring ahead while driving.
So, this day out and about was in Ballston Spa.  Just about 17 miles from my little bungalow, along Route 50.  Route 50 is a great drive, there is plenty of stopping and shopping along the way.  We did stop at a Dollar Tree in Glenville to check out what Halloween stuff that was left.  Getting out of the car and looking off to the left saw a pretty site through the trees.
The church steeple in the trees.  Not the greatest shot, but none the less pretty.  Surprisingly we did find a few Halloween goods.  But now off to Ballston Spa.

Strolling along Route 50 in Ballston spa.

Looking down Front Street.  There are so many great shops both on Front Street and Route 50. Antique shops, gift shops, floral shops, barber shops, salons and spas and even an independent pharmacy with a gift shop.  Restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries complete the experience.


A few of the many antiques shops along Front Street. 

A sweet quilt and fabric shop on Washington Street, there are a few more shops down Washington Street.


The Whistling Kettle one of the many eateries in Ballston Spa, this a popular tea shop cafe.  They have a second shop in Troy.

And a little Ballston Spa history too, Ballston Spa in Saratoga County has a few natural spring fountains, this one in the business district in no longer functioning but still maintained.  Along with a small town park and a walking trial at the Old Iron Spring.

And, the birth place of  Civil War Hero Abner Double Day, who is also commonly associated with the birth of baseball.

For more on Ballston Spa check out Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association..  Well another day out on the town, but for now homeward bound.  Maybe a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts to pick up some fun Halloween donuts.  Then relaxing with Celestial Seasonings pumpkin spice tea and pumpkin vanilla cream filed donut.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



A few pictures of my inside Halloween decorations.  I don't go too crazy inside but every room gets a touch from the Great Pumpkin.  Click on the pictures for a closer look.

The foyer, a couple of initial "M" pumpkins and my favorite stained glass candle lantern pumpkin.  I stick silhouette black bats and an orange pumpkin on the entry mirror.  I like the back drop they create with the wood Halloween sign when I open the door.

The living room.

The dinning room.  My dinning table seems to get the most attention.  My little fabric ghost hang from the chandelier, a table runner, metal pumpkin lanterns and cute mice.
Ghost wreath on french door, my bird girl holding little jack-o-lanterns and the pumpkins to in front are coconuts.
Even the pantry, I told you no room gets missed.

The dressing room and the guest room.
Back porch.  I love the pumpkin under the feather lamp.  I found it a Lowe's of all places.  I light it with a LED battery touch disk light.
My bedroom.
In my next post I want to take a closer look and some of my favorite decorations.