Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Creepy Crawly Adorned Bottles



This is another experimentation into altered bottles.  For these the common component is plastic creepy crawlies.

Both started out with a layer of  mod podged tissue paper.  The paper makes for a nice surface for everything else to cling to.  Then it was just a matter of gluing stuff on and painting them.

Last year while I was putting away Halloween stuff I thought the spiders made a nice design laying side by side. A normal human being would probably just have glued the spiders on by eyeballing it.  I'm am sure that would work just fine. I can be a little particular.  That's why I measured the circumference of the bottle and used graph paper to evenly lay out the spiders.  I pinned cheesecloth over the graph paper and glued the spiders to their proper places.  I let it set for a minute or two. Long enough for the spiders to stay in place, but short enough that I could pull the graph paper off.  Ignore the concentric circles they're for another project.


Gluing the spiders on the cheesecloth worked pretty well.  Once the glue had dried I applied Mod Podge on the bottle and wrapped the spider cheesecloth around it.  I still had to touch up a few legs with glue, but it was much easier with the spiders already in place.  Because the spider bodies were flat they pulled up a little in the rear, so I added a little layer of tissue paper to cover up the gap.  This also gave a little texture to the smooth plastic.  I probably could have used a heat gun to curve the bodies to the jar, but I didn't trust myself not to melt the legs.  After painting I added the rhinestones.




Next up is this centipede jar.  I really fail at photographing metallics, so you'll just have to imagine rich copper tones, champagne gold, antique bronze and just a hint of metallic green.  Beside plastic centipedes, I used cord, rhinestone mesh and lentils as embellishments.  



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Nightmare Before Christmas Stuff


Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, but managed to dragged myself to the nearest Walgreens last night.  I remembered Spooky Vegan's post, referring to Spooky Little Halloween's post about TNBC merchandise at Walgreens. There was still quite a bit of stuff left, now 50% off.  I exercised restraint and only bought this oversized mug and this Jack Skellington.  My daughter asked if he is like an Elf on the Shelf, which he sort of looks like with his knees in his chest.  Jack on the Shelf would certainly be more fun and less creepy.  Fully extended he is a little over 2 feet tall.



I would've bought the Jack Snowman, but just
about every time he spun around he tipped over. 



This Jack looks adorable, I would've like him as just a plush. The sound was horrible, and all that bouncy didn't really go with the music and really would the Pumpkin King ever bounce like that anyway? 


There were also a lot of dog toys, which I thought was an odd niche to market to. Not that I wasn't tempted even though I don't have a dog. Although even if I did I would still get the toys for me and not let any dogs chew them.  

Anyway, lots of good stuff from wreaths & trees to snow globes & nutcrackers.  If you have a Walgreens nearby, you should give it a look. 

While I'm at it, I might as well totally brag, I got Jack Skellington pj's for xmas.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Krampus Bread


Last Krampus recipe, I swear.  Alright last one from me, but you really should check out this one from Krampus himself, on how to make the traditional family recipe for Krampus Ham

I didn't follow this recipe for Sourdough Krampus , but it's where I got the idea.  It's probably a very good recipe, but it intimidated me, there were ice cubes involved. Instead I decided to see if I could get similar results with the only dough recipe I ever use for everything. Seriously, everything. For other things to do with this dough check out my Zombie Guts.  I think it worked out well considering I was in a bit of a hurry. Next time I will take a little more time shaping my Krampus.  I should have stretched the dough to make them longer.  They look more like cute pudgy baby Krampus.

I dabbed the tops of my little Krampus with melted butter and gently rubbed their chubby little faces in cinnamon and sugar.  Because he's sugar and spice and everything nice. That is how that goes right? But you could sprinkle him with garlic salt and parmesan or just leave him plain.  If you are doing savory, I think adding a little sundried tomato pesto to the dough would give him some nice color.  The little bit of cinnamon and sugar on top wasn't quite enough flavor so I also made some Krampus dipping sauce.

Krampus Bread



Dough:
1 cup water
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
3 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter at room temp
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Coating:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup fine white sugar
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon  (more or less to personal taste)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Lightly oil baking sheet.

Place water, flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt, butter and yeast into bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Set to Dough cycle, and start the machine. Dough will be 1/2 pound.

When the bread machine has finished the Dough cycle, take the dough out. Knead for 1 minute by hand. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn a few times to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for 15 minutes in a warm place. (An easy way to check if the dough has finished rising is to poke it with your figure, if the dent stays it's good to go.)

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and pour onto a plate.  Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.  The sourdough recipe has nice pictures on how to shape your Krampus.  Basically pull the dough into a rectangle shape and cut it down the middle of both ends.  One end is the two legs, the other end you twist and curl into horns. 

Lightly pat melted butter over the top of the Krampus.  You might find he's a little more cooperative with being shaped in his buttered form.  Then lay him butter side down onto the cinnamon and sugar.  Flip him back over and placed him on the baking sheet.  Decorate him as you see fit.  I used two whole cloves for eyes. The kids were disappointed that they kind of looked like mini chocolate chips, but weren't.

Once they are decorated, horns properly twisted and whatnot, toss them in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.  If you used cloves, you'll probably have to push them down a bit after baking and also warn everyone that they are indeed cloves and not chocolate chips.  And then explain why you didn't use chocolate chips.





Krampus Dipping Sauce:

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar mixture
1 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I really don't ever use a recipe. You probably have some cinnamon and sugar and some butter left over from dipping the bread.  If you don't have approximately a tablespoon left, melt a little more.  Add a teaspoon or so of the cinnamon and sugar for some extra flavor.

Gradually add the powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until you end up with a thick paste.  Exact measurements of butter and sugar don't matter as long as you keep adding sugar until it's a thick paste. 

Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Smooth out any lumps with the back of your spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and again stir until smooth.  Slowly add more milk a little at a time until it's thin enough to dip the Krampus bread in. Alternatively, you could just drizzle it over the Krampus, but I figured he would just look like a deformed cinnamon roll if I did that.

If you refrigerate it or you just like it warm, you can microwave it for a few seconds.  It doesn't take much, 10 seconds should do it, even less if you are just doing a small portion.  Stir and it should be a syrup like consistency.  We used about a tablespoon per Krampus.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Krampus Cupcakes


This really started out as a nefarious plot to use up some of the zucchini in my freezer. I've heard, in polite conversation, about beets being used to make red velvet cake. These conversations were pure conjecture seeing as how not one person in any of these discussions had actually used beets in this manner.  I also learned during these chats that not everyone can taste the vile nastiness of red coloring. Although obviously there are enough of us that we sit around chatting about alternative ways to dye foods. 

Always ready to take one for the team, I thought I'd give beet coloring a try.  Lemon Blueberry Zucchini cake was one of the most popular things I made this summer and I envisioned adding beets to the recipe would result in a lovely bloody hue, with the blueberries nestled in all that red like round little blood clots.  That's not quite how things worked out.  For those who have always wondered, but never tried, I offer you my experience on using beets in cake. 

For those of you interested in making Lemon Blueberry Zucchini cake, I recommend zesting the lemon before juicing.  Only make half the frosting, trust me it's plenty and add a half teaspoon of the zest to it.  Toss the rest of the zest into the cake batter.  


I added a half cup of finely grated raw beet to the batter and it looked quite lovely.  Not so much after baking, but still a reddish hue and I do like the way the beets on the surface look like the beginnings of a zombie infection.   Oh, but inside it was filled with disappointment.  Where did all the lovely color go?  Also the cake tasted different.  Not bad exactly, not like beets, just different.  The kids didn't seem to care.  I wrote this off as a failure and didn't even bother to frost it and they still ate it.  They are teenagers though, so there's that.


On a positive note, a peeled beet is a vision of beauty.  


And I have this baggie in my freezer, which hopefully
will catch someone by surprise one of these days.  



In an effort to find out where I went wrong I did actual research on coloring cakes with beets.  I read cooking them first helps to set the color, as does adding some acidity.  This recipe at wellnessandequality.com has all the right ingredients vinegar, buttermilk, natural cocoa, pureed cooked beets and lemon juice which should all produce as much color as possible.  You can see the tops are reddish, but the inside is still disappointing.  I don't know if I did something wrong, if it's the recipe or everyone just photoshops their cake pictures and it's all lies.  

As far as the recipe goes it produced a moist tasty cupcake with a mild cocoa flavor that married well with the cream cheese frosting. The only thing I would do differently is to either use less batter or larger cupcake liners.  I knew when I was filling them it was too much batter and you can see how my cupcake tops flattened out.  I found a way to cheat is to use Texas or Jumbo sized cupcake liner.  They'll fit in regular pan, and the sides are taller so it doesn't matter if you have a little too much batter.  


On to making the Krampus horns, which lets be honest, could transform any cupcake into a Krampus cake.  I used the Sculptable Frosting recipe from sewcando.com. It is overwhelmingly sweet, being mostly powdered sugar, but it doesn't taste nasty like fondant. 

Of course if you like the taste of fondant you can use that.  In fact if you use fondant which is a bit sturdier you can follow my unicorn horn tutorial for a slightly different look. Which is what I did when I made a fondant unicorn

I used half the sculptable frosting recipe and it was still way more than I needed for a dozen cupcakes.  It probably would have been perfect for 24 cupcakes.  I started with about a tablespoon and divided that into two cones.  I laid them side by side and curled the tips. 



Trim the bottoms off so they are even and make little indents on top.  I used the dull side of a paring knife.  Brush with a dark colored edible dust.  I used a mix of copper and black.  The dust will stick everywhere it touches the frosting, so use sparingly otherwise it will coat instead of highlight.  Let them dry before moving.  I think these were stiff in under an hour.  


In hindsight substituting some of the powdered sugar with cocoa probably would have made a nice horn shade.  Visually there wasn't much of a contrast between the frosting and horns.  As I said before I really like the cream cheese frosting with this cupcake, but maybe a different cupcake with chocolate frosting and the white horns would look nice too.   

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Krampus Clusters


I see a future where Krampus is to Winter, what Pumpkin Spice is to Autumn.  If Etsy is any indicator in trends, it's already begun.  Krampus seems to invoke essences of evergreens, musk, leather, charcoal, orange and spices both fiery and aromatic.

Just a few of the products out there:

Cocoa Vom Krampus - "Fiery Black Gourmet Hot Chocolate"

Krampus Oil - "... a wickedly good winter blend of evergreens, rich herbs, mystical black tea leaves, aged leather and a trace of warm incense."

Krampus Beard Oil - "...it smells of Spiced woods with notes of Fir Needle, Balsam, Juniper Berries and Cinnamon Clove with a touch of Vanilla."

Krampus Perfume Oil - "A dark smudge of holiday naughtiness.... well worn leather whips and smouldering black coal."

Krampus Yule Soap - "This charcoal infused soap is scented in a lovely orange clove scent that will wake you up and put you in the mood for some holiday cheer."

Gruss Vom Krampus Bath Bomb - "...an amazing fragrance that smells like a firey mix of amber, incense, patchouli, cinnamon, and cedar."

With that in mind I wanted to make a chocolatey Krampus treat.  I played with the idea of using some peppery heat, but decided to go a little tamer with cinnamon spice instead.  Altogether I wanted a little citrus, a little cranberry, a little spice and some pecans all wrapped up in dark chocolate.  I found this recipe at glutenfreehomemaker.com which was pretty close. 

The original recipe calls for a sprinkle of salt at the end.  I forgot to do this, but it is a nice touch.  I did sprinkle a few pieces of fruit as a garnish, but I don't think it's worth the effort and wouldn't do it again.

I'll be honest the cinnamon didn't do anything for me, if anything it was a little distracting.  Can I still name it after Krampus if I leave out the cinnamon next time? Krampus Lite maybe? 

Also I thought the texture of the craisens was too soft.  Even though I chopped them up pretty fine, next time I will mince the hell out of them and only use half a much. Also I might do half pecans, half pistachios. The recipe is basically 3 cups of stuff mixed into 12oz. of chocolate, so you can mix and match how ever you like.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Krampus Clusters


2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 candied orange*, chopped 
12 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
coarse salt (optional)

Toast the pecans on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for 10 minutes at 300°.
Let the pecans cool, then very coarsely chop them. 
Mix the candied orange pieces with the cranberries with your fingertips to separate the cranberry pieces.  The sugar from the orange pieces will act as a coating to help keep the cranberry pieces from sticking together.  
Add the pecans and cinnamon and toss together.
In a microwave safe dish that is large enough to hold all the ingredients melt the chocolate.  Microwave at 50% power for 60 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave at 50% power at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until the chocolate is almost melted.  
Continue stirring until completely melted, then add the pecan & fruit and stir until coated.
Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired and let stand until hard.

Makes about 42 tablespoon sized pieces.  These keep well in an airtight container and freeze nicely as well.  

*The recipe for candied orange can be found at tiphero.com.  It makes a lot more than you need for the Krampus Clusters.  That is a good thing, because candied orange is divine.  It's great by itself or dipped in chocolate as the recipe suggests.  You can use it anywhere you would normally add dried fruit. Add it to cookies, breads, trail mix...  I love it with butternut squash, diced with a little butter, salt and pepper.  

The only deviation from the recipe I make is how I cut the orange, which after all these years I just learned is called supreming. My peel slices don't end up all nice and uniform, but I prefer my orange segments without any pith or membrane.  I'm assuming it's a little extra work, although I've never done it the way the recipe says.  The edges of peel that are just pith need to be trimmed off and any remaining orange needs to be sliced off.  I use a serrated knife to supreme the orange and a thin paring knife to clean up the peel.  

I refrigerate the leftover syrup and usually end up cooking up a second batch of orange peels in it. The second time around I keep the lid on the pot during the first half of the cooking time.  I can't tell a difference between the two batches.  By the time I've cooked two batches the syrup is fairly thick and I'll use it as a sweetener.  I like it in plain Greek yogurt with a splash of vanilla and fresh fruit.  

Friday, December 15, 2017

Krampus Krispies



I really can't take credit for these.  I saw this rice krispie reindeer pinterest fail and immediately saw not failure, but a cute tasty Krampus.

I suppose I'm just being heavily influenced by the original picture I saw, but I really like the green eyes with the blue nose despite those probably being the least Krampus like colors.  I tried blue eyes with a green nose, but it didn't look right at all.  I didn't care for orange either.  The red eyes are probably most Krampus like, but I do like the feral look of the yellow eyes.

I've deviated from the original recipe.  It calls for a package of hot cocoa mix. In my opinion the only reason the average cocoa mix is appealing at all is because it's hot and usually consumed after riding the wave between hypothermia and frostbite during snow induced activities. Also adding gobs of whipped cream doesn't hurt either.  Now if they used Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies, I can understand why they would feel the need to amend the flavor.  That stuff is nasty.  I use Mom's Best Crispy Cocoa Rice, because it actually tastes good. It's recommend by four out four people*.

*Admittedly it's a small survey group of the people I live with including myself.


Krampus Krispies


3 cups Mom's Best Crispy Cocoa Rice or some other cocoa crisp rice that doesn't suck
1.5 tablespoons butter
5 oz of marshmallows (20 regular sized)

pretzel twists for horns
mini M&M's for eyes
regular M&M's for noses

candy melts, chocolate or frosting (whatever your edible adhesive of choice is)

Butter a large bowl.

Melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the marshmallows and constantly stir until the marshmallows have completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa krispies until all the cereal has been coated. 

Pour the mixture into your prepared bowl. Lay out a sheet of wax or parchment paper. When the mixture is cool enough pull off a chunk (3-4 tablespoons?) with buttered hands and form a loose ball. Smoosh it down on the paper to flatten the bottom and insert two horns.  Squish the ball tight enough to hold them in.

Melt your candy, chocolate or make frosting and glue on the eyes and nose.

Below is a little diagram of the best way that I found to make pretzel horns.  I used a thin paring knife and for each cut I made,the pretzel would also break in another spot on it's own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Creepmas Needle Felting


I added a little needle felting to my Creepmas this year. The frog is from a previous post.  The tree is combination of hemp, wire, beads, glitter and tatting.


If you were around last year you might remember the Cthulhu Snowdeity inspired by the Cthulhu Snowman card by AmysNotDeadYet,which can still be ordered by the way.  This is the felted version.  I'm currently working on another one and once I see which method works best, I'll write up a tutorial.

I'm not thrilled with how these others turned out, but I can count them as a learning experience.

The Yeti.  I like his teeth.


My Creepy Snowball that doesn't look very creepy or snowbally.
Probably shouldn't have given him hair.


My Sinister Snowman.  He looks more like a crotchety old snowman,
yelling at the snowkid to get off his lawn.  


My favorite creepy felted snowman of the season is the guy lurking in the back, that a friend made.  He was actually created with Steven Wright in mind. I'm pretty sure he's up to no good.  The snowman that is.  I don't know what Steven Wright is up to.  

Well another Creepmas season is at it's end...Who am I kidding, that's a lie.  I still have Krampus recipes to post and there's a lot of posts from other Creepers I haven't read yet.  And the Krampus Advent is still going.  So I'll still be here keeping it creepy.  Thanks everyone for making this another twisted fun filled Creepmas.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

There'll Be Scary Ghost Stories…

What could be better than reading M.R. James on a cold winters night? Listening to Christopher Lee read them. He narrates "The Stalls of Barchester", "The Ash Tree", "Number 13" and "A Warning to the Curious" in a series called "Ghost Stories for Christmas".

The Stalls of Barchester

Check out SOG59's The Horror Vault channel for the rest.  The Christopher Lee version of "Number 13" is unavailable but there is another version, along with many other M. R. James stories and quite a few other classics to give you Creepmas chills.


Another classic Christmas ghost story, this is A. M. Burrage's Smee.  


And Lovecraft's "The Festival"

Over at SoundCloud there is a reading of The Christmas Carol by Neil Gaiman.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Grinch (Grincsfa) Trees

I love these Grincsfa trees, which seem to be very popular in other parts of the world much more interesting than mine.  Someday I will make my own Grincsfa.  I haven't figured it all out yet, but it will be black with a beautiful skull bauble hanging down off the tip.

 Here is a tutorial video. 


This one is in English.


This video is still shots of a three tipped (headed?) Grincsfa.
I love the alienesque look of it.


Here are some more examples and any other interesting tree that caught my eye. 
I see so much Creepmas potential in these. 



















Speaking of the Grinch, I love this mashup that's linked to teefury.com but I couldn't find it there.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Krampus Plushies & Dolls

The question is whether being naughty or nice will increase you're odds of finding one of these wrapped up under the Creepmas tree...

I love the expression on this Krampus by RavenCroftCottage


This Krampus by Camamiel is an ornament, but he looks cute enough to cuddle.


I swear this Krampus by Zombiehun  looks like it could be a real creature.


The details on this Krampus by MedusaWood are incredible.


This Krampus by grandbaby1 has such a silly grin.


I think a letter from Krampus is a fantastic idea. 


This guy looks so huggable. 


This is actually a set of three dolls by, Living Dead Dolls ,
but I love the white one most, it's such a contrast to the usual Krampus.