Halloween Craft: How To Make a Cork Pumpkin

I know I don’t typically share crafts on this blog. Or home decorating ideas. Why? I’m not a craft person. I don’t really decorate my apartment. I don’t get too much pleasure out of either of those things. I’m much more into baking, reading and running for fun. But this is the craft that we did when I hosted the Ladies Craft Beer Society and it was a success. And easy!

Got a lot of extra wine corks hanging around? Looking for something easy to do to decorate for fall and Halloween? I have just the idea for you – you can make a wine cork pumpkin!

This is a VERY EASY  – and I repeat … easy – craft. Even the not-so-crafting-inclined (like moi) can feel good about this!

diy wine cork pumpkins

Here’s what you need:

  • Some wine corks. To make a medium pumpkin (the two on the left in the picture above), you’ll need 25 corks.
  • Something to make your leaves. You can buy fake leaves at a craft store, or green felt or green scrapbook paper.
  • Orange acrylic paint. I bought one that was called “pure pumpkin.”
  • Paint sponge
  • Hot glue
  • Twine or raffia
  • Scissors

Here’s what you do:

  • Find 24 wine corks about the same height and width. I liked lining mine up ahead of time and making sure they looked okay before gluing them together.
  • Glue the corks together! I found it easiest to first use the hot glue to glue the corks in rows. Glue rows of 4, 5, 6, 5, 4. And then glue your rows together. You should have a nice hexagon.
  • Once glued together, you can put the leaves on top. I cut leaves out of scrapbook paper. One of my friends used felt.
  • Cut the last cork in half to make the stem. Use the hot glue to glue it on top of the leaves.
  • Tie the twine or raffia around the cork stem. Tie loosely a few times around or in a bow – whichever style you prefer.
  • Paint your corks! I do this last because it takes a while to dry. You could also paint the corks first, but then you have to wait for them to dry. I poured some orange paint out (fittingly named Pure Pumpkin) on some cardboard and dipped a spongy paint brush in and then painted the corks that were facing out.

And that’s it! I told you it was easy. Feel free to play around with different size pumpkins – bigger or smaller. Also, feel free to paint only some of the corks, or leave them natural or even wine stained for a more rustic look.

lining the corks up, getting ready to glue

lining the corks up, getting ready to glue

We made these at my Ladies Craft Beer Society. So fittingly, I was drinking pumpkin beer while making them 🙂

Warlock pumpkin beer and finished cork pumpkins!

Warlock pumpkin beer and finished cork pumpkins!

Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on Pickling (Weekend Update: How to Make Pickles)

This Saturday was our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society. For those of you who need to catch up, each month I meet with a few lady friends for a few craft beer drinks, and a new craft. (B calls this my witchcraft society … ’nuff said) This month’s craft was pickling! I don’t know if it counts like a craft or not, but it was definitely something I was pumped for.

For you Portlandia fans, here’s what I was thinking about all week:

We had it at the lovely home of Cuoghi – she has a great kitchen and knows how to entertain. I wish I had taken a photo of all the glorious food she prepared – brown butter nectarine bars, two different quiches, homemade hummus, homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. So. Good. Oh, and some delicious frozen strawberry lemonades  made with the lemon vodka we’d made at a previous LCBS.

frozen vodka strawberry lemonades

ice cream sandwiches

all the igredientsWanna make some delicious pickles? Here’s what you do. First we all made the pickling spice, which was a combination of 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 whole cloves (crushed),   2 dried bay leaves,  2 T mustard seeds, 2 T whole coriander seeds, 2 T black peppercorns, 2 t whole allspice,  2 t dill seeds, 2 t caraway seeds and 2 t chili flakes. Combine everything in a jar – easy peasy!

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Then we made the pickles. She had prepared recipes for both dill and bread & butter, but the dill were more my kind. Here’s what we did:

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Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s what you need:

  • 6-7  kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T pickling spices (above)
  • 3-4 fresh dill springs or 2 tsp dried
  • optional: 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, chile flakes, sliced jalapeño, you can add another teaspoon of dill seeds if you like them really dilly

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up cucumbers and put in clean jar.
  2. Add optional items. I made one with garlic and sliced jalapeño and one regular.
  3. In a medium sauce pot, put everything else stir, bring to boil so that salt is dissolved, pour over cucumbers, seal jar.
  4. Let sit out for about an hour, then refrigerate.  They’ll be ready in about 24 hours! Enjoy 🙂
pickling

ladies pickling!

The finished product - spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

The finished product – spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

And that’s it for my weekend update! Coming up next .. a race recap from the half marathon I ran on Sunday. Guess what – another PR!

Meatless Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s something delicious you made or ate this weekend?
  • Have you ever made pickles?
  • What’s something fun you like that’s pickled?

Weekend In Photos

I’m going to attempt to not write a lengthy blog post, and instead share my weekend update with you in mostly photos. My challenge – two sentences per photo. Okay … go!

Friday night we tried out a new vegan restaurant in Cleveland. Vegan is maybe my favorite food to eat before  a long run.

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Saturday morning=waking up at 5:35 a.m. to find that it’s already 76 degrees and 70% humidity.

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And you need to get in a 9 mile run.

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So you take a sweaty selfie when you’re done. 9 miles by 8 a.m.

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And because you’re already up early, you hit up the West Side Market for breakfast and shopping.

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AND Hingetown for coffee and scones.

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And kombucha.

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80 degrees means a perfect beach day. And yes, I actually went in the water.

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And evening walks.

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Which lead to patio drinks on the water.

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And dinner outdoors. You can see B and my shadow.

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And after dinner craft brews.

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And more photos of the city on the water. Because why not.

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Sunday morning Muppet movie marathon. I love the Muppets so so so much!

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Ladies Craft Beer Society. This month was beers in cans and bracelets.

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Another nice day means a walk around some lakes before dinner.

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Mexican with B’s family for dinner! Chips and some of my favorite salsa.

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And a gorgeous sunset. Which meant another walk to round about a perfect evening!

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That was it! Sums up my weekend. Hope yours was as fabulous!

Some questions for you:

  • Any new favorite summer beers I should try? Two days in a row i’ve had grapefruit beers and loved them!
  • Are you an early riser? Or do you prefer to sleep in on weekends? Definitely prefer to sleep in but waking up at 5:30 on Saturday ended up working out great!

PS – I’ll be linking up with Running N Reading and Her Heartland Soul today 🙂

 

Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on the Burbs

Friday night was a beautiful night – a little chilly but that didn’t stop B and me from finding a patio for a few drinks. It had been a long week at work and I was very much looking forward to the weekend and relaxing and sleeping in. Rooftop beers sounded like the perfect way to kick off my Friday!

Rooftop Patio Beers at GHT

Rooftop Patio Beers at GHT

As did sushi.

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Saturday morning started out with a nice run. It was a beautiful morning – 60s, a cool breeze – and my legs were happy to get outside for a run at my own pace. I also was able to catch up on my favorite podcast – which meant I was laughing while running at some points – guess that was a better workout, huh?

7 miler

Then we hit up the West Side Market for a few groceries.

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And then it was imd for the Ladies Craft Beer Society’s monthly meeting! This month Cari hosted us in her new home in the ‘burbs! Cari used to live downtown but recently moved about 25 minutes south of the city. We obviously got lost on our drive down but it was great to see Cari’s new home, do some cork crafts and drink some beers. Definitely a success!

Ladies and our crats

Ladies and our crats

finished work

finished work

After getting back downtown, I watched the Belmont Stakes (did you see the Triple Crown win?!) and enjoyed dinner and drinks.

Just saw a Triple Crown!

Just saw a Triple Crown!

I love buff chick salads

I love buff chick salads

Sunday was a truly gorgeous and HOT day. It started off with an easy 3 miles while watching Black Mirror on Netflix. Have you ever seen that show? Oh my goodness. I watched the first episode on the treadmill and then hit the elliptical. Wow.

Sunday afternoon B and I had tickets to the Indians game and had plans to go with his coworker. It was HOT and we lost but it was fun to go with the guys. We sat in the 3rd row so we had pretty amazing seats. I had a veggie burger too – I’m so glad the Indians stadium finally got veggie burgers and dogs and I love them!

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Sunday evening ended with a summery dinner at B’s parents, complete with brownies and ice cream of course.

part of dinner - beautiful salad!

part of dinner – beautiful salad!

And then it was Cavs game time!  The games get me so riled up that I don’t know how I sleep or how I can make it through the series. Thank goodness they won. I can’t wait until Tuesday and our first home game!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any cork crafts you can recommend with my leftover corks?
  • Do you have any favorite podcasts for while you workout? OR just in general?
  • Are you watching the NBA finals?

When it snows in March … We feast on treats!

I really can’t believe it’s March. It’s still cold. And snowy. I mean, I know they say that March “comes in like a lion” but I’m ready for at least 30 degree temps, especially on my weekends!

It was cold and snowy this weekend, which meant it was a perfect weekend to stay in, bake, and eat comfort food. So that’s pretty much what we did.

On the schedule for Saturday (I just started my training plan for the Cleveland half marathon) was an easy 5 mile run (hooray for “long” runs under an hour!), and because I haven’t been too brave or running outside lately, the 13 degree temps (feels like single digits) didn’t sound appealing to me so I decided to run inside on the treadmill. It went by fast, and with a warm up and cool down and some walking while B ran, I got in more than 7 miles. (Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Training Tuesday and I’ll share my entire week’s schedule)

It was also a cold day, perfect for some baking. I first made some peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake bars. I had found a few recipes, but none of them were exactly what I wanted so I pretty much decided to just combine 3 or 4 recipes and keep my fingers crossed that they would turn out. And they did. Definitely sharing the recipe soon.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Bars

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This weekend was also our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting – I look forward to our get togethers every month but especially this month: our craft was BAKING! We gathered at Nicole’s apartment and made homemade salted caramels, vanilla honey marshmallows and almond marshmallows. Oh, and of course we had plenty of snacks to enjoy while we were baking. And craft beer.

So many snacks!

So many snacks! Chips and huac, pizza dip, spinach artichoke dip, tortilla green chili rollups, my cookies and more!

I loved making the caramels! They were so delicious when they were done and after wrapping them they were pretty cute looking.

homemade caramels

homemade caramels

To keep up with the theme of comfort food, B and I went out to dinner for a belated Chinese New Year feast at one of our favorite local Chinese joints, Wonton Gourmet. And feast we did – we got Chinese broccoli, Szechuan fish, crab rangoon and lomein. I think B has gotten more adventurous in his eating after our Asia trip which is great. Oh and other good news? I wasn’t too hungry after all the glorious food at Ladies Craft Beer Society so we have plenty of leftovers. Yum!

Yummy Szechuan fish

Yummy Szechuan fish

Sunday, B and I woke up to a snowy slushy day. Ick. I had a cross training or rest day on the schedule, so somehow I managed to convince B to take a walk. When it’s a nice day, we like to run the bridges, a 4 mile route downtown, so instead, we took a walk – stopping along the way for coffee, tea, and groceries.

First stop, Cleveland Tea Revival for some Ginger Turmeric tea.

First stop, Cleveland Tea Revival for some Ginger Turmeric tea.

<3 tea. For those of you that are familiar with the background, yes, I'm enjoying tea at Rising Star Coffee (B got a pourover).

Seen on our snowy walk back

Seen on our snowy walk back

Last stop on our walk? The new Heinen's grocery store downtown to pick up some food for the week. Yup, I took a picture of the grocery store and I wasn't the only one - isn't it beautiful?

Last stop on our walk? The new Heinen’s grocery store downtown to pick up some food for the week. Yup, I took a picture of the grocery store and I wasn’t the only one – isn’t it beautiful?

Even though the weather was messy and the roads were in no way clear, I’m so glad we got out there – I still managed to hit my fitbit 12,000 step goal even without a run or elliptical workout and felt good about not sitting around all day and not moving (which very much could’ve happened with the snowy weather we were having).

Sunday night, we enjoyed dinner with B’s family – they had pork, quinoa and Brussels sprouts. I gave up meat for Lent so filled up on the other goodies. And of course – dessert!

ice cream sundaes!

ice cream sundaes!

How was your weekend?

  • What’s your favorite food at Chinese restaurants?
  • What’s your favorite type of Asian food?
  • What’s your favorite herbal tea? Usually anything with ginger. I love the turmeric ginger that Cleveland Tea Revival has!