The combination of apples and caramel is something that I’ve always loved. Whenever Halloween comes along, I always have the intention of making some caramel apples, but, sadly, I never get around to making them. Well, this year, there’s no excuses! I’ve found a couple recipes (thank you Pinterest) that look really yummy. Here are several more caramel-apple-inspired recipes in case you’d like to skip the traditional candied apples this year.Tips on How to Make Caramel Apples  This caramel apple recipe is simple and easy, and the end result looks sooo good!https://i2.wp.com/thechicsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/TheChic_caramel-apple-cupcakes.jpg Another great option are these caramel apple cupcakes that uses fresh, diced apple folded into the batter.

20131008-105150.jpg  This caramel apple popcorn uses caramel apple milky way minis. Enough said.

They’re pint-sized, use apple crumble, and are perfect for a party. Get your trifle on here.

  Skip Starbucks and make your own yummy Apple Spice drink!

Have you any desserts lined up for this month? I’d love to hear from you. Talk soon, Sue



Halloween Inspiration

My all-time favorite holiday has been Halloween. Forget Christmas, if I could have Halloween repeat itself on December 25th, I’d do it (sorry Santa). Of course when I was younger, it was all about the costumes and dressing up. Now, at least for me, it’s shifted to the decorations. The whole concept of turning your home dark and dreary can be really fun. The amount of inspiring ideas are overwhelming on-line, but here are some of my favorite DIY halloween decor.

this DIY ghost wreath is adorable!These Halloween Luminaries are easy to make and look great!

DIY Halloween/ Nevermore Tree decor

    This Poe-inspired tree is pretty cool!


These broomstick lollipop favors are great for trick or treaters, or if you’re a teacher like me, as favors for your students!

Spooky Bat Chandelier

I’m definitely making this spooky bat chandelier; it’s incredible!

Now that I’m getting settled with the new school year, I found a chance to share a bulletin board that I recently made. Please forgive the pics; the lighting isn’t that great in my school’s hallway.
Talk-bulletin2 At the beginning of the year, I had my students choose from several writing prompts: write about about something funny that happened to you in the summer, write about a new hobby or sport you tried out over the summer, or write about a place you visited over the summer. I used it as an ice-breaker with the class (students would take turns sharing in small groups), but also as a review on paragraph writing.
This assignment sparked a lot of excitement since the students were enthused with the idea of sharing their adventures with each other. For this board I used 2 yards of teal fabric, a wave-print border, multi-colored construction paper, and jumbo-sized index cards. For your speech bubble shapes, any on-line template will do.

Beside paragraph writing, you can also use the board to display the students’ understanding on using quotations in dialogue, speech writing, or story writing which includes a dialogue script. Other possible titles: “You Can Quote Me,” Outspoken Words, Bubble Talk.

If you watch Parks and Recreation, there’s an episode with Aziz Ansari where he dedicates a day to treating himself. My “treat yo’ self” moment came this past week in the form of making myself something I have always wanted – an infinity scarf. I was shocked to realize that my last “treat yo’self” was back in December 2012 (see here). Don’t get me wrong, I splurge now and again but making something for myself is quite rare since I’m always caught up in creating projects for either my shop or for family and friends.

I wanted to stitch up something quick and easy, and this tutorial was perfect. I was sure that a skein and a half of the sport weight yarn (poppy red!) would be enough but then I came up short, so I used a heathered mink yarn to complete the scarf and . . .

my color block scarf was born! At first I wasn’t sure I liked it but the color scheme grew on me.

Modifications: since I used sport yarns instead of super bulky, I did have to make some changes to the pattern (remember the yarn weight you use will effect the gauge or size of the stitch, the heavier the yarn, the larger the stitch). I chained 60 to make the scarf wide enough to my liking. Also, before stitching both ends together, my scarf measured 55″ long.

One of the main reasons I chose this lattice design was that I can wear this anytime of the year (except the summer months, Miami is scorching!). Since the scarf is breathable, I can stay warm during our winter without feeling too warm! Can’t wait for our cooler weather to come. Talk soon, Sue


Autumn Projects

So, it’s official. Fall started this past Saturday. Unfortunately, South Florida really doesn’t ever see what true fall is like. No changing of the leaves or windy days, just a nudge of cool weather right around Halloween clues us in that brisker days are ahead. Nonetheless, I still love the idea of switching up my projects and shifting into a different color palette to fit the season.
Several years ago, I crocheted a star garland for my Christmas tree. I found it in my closet the other day and thought about how pretty it would look in fall-themed colors, so I stitched some up this weekend.
I used lots orange and golden hues, along with a rich violet color for my leaf garland.
This one is my favorite (I made two!). I combined heathered amber, calypso blue, and gold yarns. Making these are so addicting that I’m already working on a 5th one. Since I don’t need so many for my place, I decided to add some to my shop.  Talk soon, Sue

Wonders of Embroidery

The first hand craft I picked up was embroidery. My mom bought me an embroidery kit which I begged her for and over the following week, I clumsily stitched two swans with flowery wreaths around their necks that my mom later sewed onto a pillow. Mind you, the backing was a mess, I had made odd knots in a couple of areas, and the fabric was puckered but when you’re eleven years old, you’re blind to those details. I was just so happy to have done something with my own two hands.

Embroidery to me is in a realm of its own these days. It isn’t just stitching added to a baby’s blanket or tea towel anymore, but at the hands of creatively-mindful people has evolved into stunning works of art and I LOVE it!

Em Takashi
The work of Takashi Iwasaki is incredibly intricate and uses vibrantly colored threads. Just stunning!

Em Korn Em korn3The first time I saw Daniel Kornrumpf’s work I thought they were paintings. His stitching technique looks more like short, lined brushstrokes in which the colors overlap. How he does this using thread is absolutely amazing.

Em McKel
Laura McKellar ,a graphic designer, combines photography and embroidery to create beautiful mixed-media pieces.

Em izzy
Izzyana Suhaimi (a favorite of mine) overlays her sketches with colorful embroidery. Check out her site to view more gorgeous work.

I haven’t done some serious embroidery in a while. The last time was when I stitched my Edgar Allan Poe piece, but seeing these artists makes me want to start a new project. Hope you enjoyed this post! Sue


This year for my welcome back bulletin board, I wanted to create something that was 3-D. After looking over the many wonderful ideas on Pinterest, I was inspired by this cute board. I know kids don’t drink coffee, but I do know how much kids love a cup of hot chocolate. I didn’t want it to be a Starbucks theme, but I did keep their color scheme (the colors also remind me of the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie box!).

I used a brown polka dot border, hunter green fabric (approx. 2 yards),
coffee cups with lids (bought at the dollar store), white pipe cleaners,
coffee sleeves (thank you Starbucks!), and cream-colored cardstock.

To give the impression of tendrils of steam, I used one pipe cleaner per cup, folded them in half, and curled the ends, then taped the pipe cleaner to the inside of the coffee lid. I printed my students’ names on the cardstock and glue-gunned each to a coffee sleeve. The cups were then attached by placing a pushpin on the inside of the cup. Another title for this style of bulletin board could be “Warming Up to a New Year.”   Sue