Friday, October 30, 2009

BOO!! Another project....

Are you scared? You should be. It's another project you can make 5 minutes before Halloween.

Your very own ghost. 

I told my kids at school that it's a real ghost. I'm sure there are a few that will go home and tell their parents that I have a real ghost in my room. My classroom can be spooky at times, that's for sure.

This real ghost is about 12" tall. Not really big enough to cause any mental or psychological problems if you see it.

Want to know how to make it? Then keep on reading. If you don't want to know, go to and watch any episode of any tv show you want to see. That's how I got caught up on Glee, Modern Family and Community. I have tried watching the Office multiple times and just don't get it.

Get any bottle or something like a bottle. This will determine how tall your apparition will be. Add something round to the top for the head shape. Twist a wire around the neck of the bottle and bend it into whatever position you want the arms to be. I then bent the wire around at the ends to make 'hands' and padded the 'hands' with some scrunched up masking tape.

I took a piece of plastic wrap and draped it over the armature.

I taped the plastic wrap to position it around the armature better. I bought some liquid starch and some 100 percent cotton cheesecloth at the grocery store. (Before I got to this point.)

I draped the cheesecloth over the armature from back to front to see how much cheesecloth I would need. Leave a little extra so you can bunch it up at the base. Cut.

Unfold the cheesecloth because it's all folded up when you get it. And then double it before you use it. Pour some starch into a bowl.

Dunk the cheesecloth into the starch to soak it.

Carefully remove the cheesecloth from the starch. Don't wring it. Drape it over the armature and arrange the folds into however you want them to be. I did mine on a paper plate. I bunched up the cheesecloth at the bottom to give it good support and arranged it into the shape of the paper plate. (Actually it was a styrofoam plate but don't tell the environmentally concerned teachers I work with. They would have a coronary.)

Ready to dry. It takes a long time. Don't attempt to remove it if it's at all wet.

When it's all dry, carefully pull it off the armature. Cut out some black felt into eyeballs and a mouth of your choice. Tell everyone it's real.

That's it!

P.S. Did you know that you could actually make CHEESE with cheesecloth? 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkins Rock!

Here's a little project, using small, smooth rocks to make small, smooth pumpkins.
They can be used as a paper weight or......
I don't know what else they can be used for.
But I thought they were kinda cute!

Two finished rock pumpkins.
First I went to the beach and found some nice, smooth, small rocks. If you don't have a beach nearby, I don't know what you do.

Then I primed them with some Gesso. (I suppose any primer will do.)

I used Acrylic paints: an Orange, a yellow-orange, and black.

I painted them regular orange first. Then I did the streaks using orange and black mixed together to make a dark orange/brownish color.
Then I used the yellow-orange to brush in some highlights here and there.

Close up.

Then using a fine tip sharpy, I carefully drew on jack o'lantern faces in black.

I brushed on a shiny finish. I used gloss acrylic medium. I suppose any type of glossy, clear finish will do, like Shellac, Polyurethane, etc. Then I hot glue gunned a stick to the top for the stalk. I also cut a small oval of orange felt and glued it to the bottom so that it doesn't scratch anything.

That's it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Fall in Maine...

Nature's paint box is now opened...

The view out my front door.

Chilly air is a good reason for lighting the fireplace.

The cat is now in ultra slow motion mode.

A little cuddling is always good. Especially fur against fur. What could be nicer?

Time for home-made rolls and Golden Autumn Chowder. (See January 12, 2009 post...)

Autumn is fleeting. Come a windy, rainy day and all the leaves will be gone.
A brief touch of beauty.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Fun Theory....

I saw this on someone's blog and then found it on You Tube. Volkwagen started this initiative and I think it's very cool. I love stuff like this.

Upon further grueling research, I found two more....

And this....

As a teacher, I KNOW that making things fun is so much more productive.
Even for me!
That's one reason I love my Mr.Downeastdoingstuff....he's FUN !

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's my Birthday!!

This picture just about says it all....(sigh)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who'da thunk it?

"Cheese is nutritious food made mostly from the milk of cows but also other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. Around 4000 years ago people started to breed animals and process their milk. That's when the cheese was born." (excerpt from

Yes, I did !

I needed some Farmer Cheese for a recipe I had, and I used to be able to find it once in a while in the supermarket. Lately, though, Farmer's Cheese must be out of fashion. So I had to take matters into my own hands. Again.

With my bff, the internet, I found many recipes to make my own Farmer Cheese.

Who knew? Who knew you could make cheese? Not me.

The above photo shows what it looks like when it's finished. Pretty cool.

Here's the recipe. (from

Farmer's cheese is made from basic kitchen ingredients. It is common on dairies, yet it is sometimes considered a gourmet cheese. If made from goat's milk, it is known as chevre. The French call it fromage blanc or white cheese. This cheese can be used as you would use cream cheese or cottage cheese.

Difficulty: Easy

Things You'll Need:

  • 2 quarts Whole Milk
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Colander or Strainer
  • Clean Cheesecloth
  • Heavy Pot
  • Large Pot or Bowl
  • Storage Container with Lid
  1. Step1

    Put 2 quarts of milk in a large pot and bring it to 180 degrees over low heat, stirring frequently.

  2. Step2

    Add 2 cups of buttermilk and stir, then add the vinegar and stir. Turn off the heat and stir slowly until the mixture starts to separate. (This is what's called the curds and the whey. The whey is the watery stuff.)

  3. Step3

    Let it sit for 10 minutes. Do not disturb the mixture during this time. While waiting, line a colander with at least two layers of cheesecloth. (Who knew that cheesecloth was used for making cheese!)

  4. Step4

    Using a large spoon or ladle, put the curds (the solids) into the cheesecloth-lined colander.

  5. Step5

    Let the curds drain for at least an hour. Occasionally gather up the cheesecloth around the cheese to apply some pressure to the cheese to help it drain. You can also tie the cheese up in the cheesecloth to keep pressure on it.

  6. Step6

    Transfer the cheese to a storage container, add salt to taste, and store covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.(actually will last a little longer...But it's usually gobbled up by then.)

  7. It was soooo easy !! Try it!
  • Sweeten with sugar or flavor with fresh herbs. Use as a sweet breakfast alternative to yogurt or spread on bread or toast. Add berries for a tasty dessert. (spreads better when it's warm.)
I wanted to make a nice spread for snacking.

(Snack*ing: verb. 1.) An essential activity, scheduled every couple of hours, involving placing delicious food inside your oral cavity.
2.) A ritual to avoid death and/or boredom, whichever comes first.

So I used this recipe to achieve the above picture.

Farmer's Cheese with Honey, Raisins, Cinnamon and Toasted Walnuts

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Warm cheese is a comfort food if ever there was one. If it hadn't occurred to you, just think of Mac and Cheese and you should be on the same page with me.

Prep Time:
5 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
18 min
4 to 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 pound farmer's cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • A couple dashes cinnamon
  • A couple pinches salt
  • Crackers or bread, for serving


Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Lay walnuts on baking sheet. Roast and shake once or twice to insure even toasting. Roast until a shade darker and aromatic, about 15 minutes.

Remove walnuts and set aside to cool.

Turn the oven to broil.

Place farmer's cheese in large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and the toasted walnuts. Mix thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a small baking dish (aluminum disposable is fine).

Place under broiler until brown and bubbly on top, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve hot or at room temperature with crackers of any kind or slices of crusty bread.

Apparently, using something called Rennet, you can actually make your own mozzarella cheese!

Cottage Cheese and Ricotta are similar to farmers cheese. Cottage Cheese isn't drained as much.

You end up with a ton of what's called WHEY left over. You can drink it or use it in recipes.

I found a recipe for bread using Whey. Any recipe where you use milk, you can use up the Whey.

I made 3 loaves of bread this weekend using 4 C of the whey.

It's really quite amazing what a person can do. Even me.

And a-whey we go......

Friday, October 9, 2009

Screen cleaner...

Y'all have probably seen this before. Someone just sent this to me and although I have seen this before, it still cracks me up.  Click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Moose, Meeses and Mooses......

Last weekend we went on a one day roadtrip up to Greenville, Maine. Once know as T9R10NWP (NOT kidding...), Greenville is on the southern tip of Moosehead Lake. Called Moosehead Lake because it supposedly looks like, you guessed it, a Moose's head. It sorta does and it is home to many, many, many Moose, and Mooses and probably some Meese, too.

Moose are big. Moose can be trouble for your car and for you, too. 
(Actual moose crash cars pictured below.) 
Your car is trouble for them.

Moose average 6 to 7 feet high at their shoulders and the males can weigh 380 to 720 pounds or more.
They can do a job on your car if you should make contact with one.

Traveling up the Maine Turnpike, we got off on Route 201 toward Skowhegan (I love that name).

This is the sign that greeted us to Greenville. Note the moose....

Cresting a hill, Moosehead Lake suddenly came into view. Nice. (See how it looks like a Moose Head?*&^%$#@)

In Greenville, you will find many, many, many, many, many things named after the Moose.
We stopped and got Mr. Downeastdoingstuff some take-out grub at the above place.

Then we found a nice picnic table on the shores of the lake to have our lunch. My pathetic coffee yogurt is in that red bag. The mister is eating a club wrap with, get ready, CHIPS ! (Not in my diet, I'd like to say.) (As long as I don't place said chip into my mouth.)

A girl on a moose...

A fabric store named after the moose.

I have no idea what this moosin' around store sells....

Roadkill, I guess. But it's for sale!!

If you can figure out the rules, you can go on a Moose Watch! 

Main Street in Greenville. 

We roamed the street and visited shops up and down Main Street. We almost stopped for icecream, but I was too full from having my coffee yogurt for lunch. (yeah, right.)

And on we went to our next adventure in my next post............

By the way, we did not see one real moose. Probably for the best.