Along Came a Spider Free Halloween Printable

I finally got around to decorating for Halloween this week. I made it a priority because if I waited another week, it just wouldn't be worth it. It takes way too much work to only have it up for two weeks.

Halloween Vignette at Scribbles and Dabbles

Decorating for me is often a love/hate sort of thing. I love the crafting, the creative process, and the final result. But more often than not, the whole thing ends up being a time-suck because I try 400 things to get it perfect and it still doesn't look right.

This vignette took me the longest. I had spider webs up at one point, a hanging sparkly skeleton, a banner, and the fans that ended up elsewhere. And I kept adding things and moving things and it never looked quite right. So I tore it all down thinking I needed to start over. And that's when it hit me. . . all it needed was--less. I left it all off and liked it the best.

Halloween Mantle at ScribblesandDabbles.blogspot.com

I put up some picture frames for this vignette and liked how it looked. But the frame still had a picture from my wedding in it, so I had to figure out something more spooky to fill it in.

Free Along Came A Spider Halloween Printable at Scribbles and Dabbles

I found a number of things I liked on Pinterest, including this cute framed saying. I couldn't find a printable at the time, so I had to make my own. (I found it later at houseofsmiths.com.) Lucky you! Because now you get mine for free.

I printed mine on green paper to match my pumpkin, but you can print it on whatever paper works for you! I should also note that my frame was 8x12, which is an odd size. I have three sizes for you -- 8x12, 8.5x11, and 8x10. Enjoy!

Free Along Came A Spider Halloween Printable at Scribbles and Dabbles


Fresh Tomato Soup Recipe

For the past two years, I have grown exactly one cherry tomato plant and one beefsteak tomato plant. Each of these has grown to be the size of a small giant, producing way more tomatoes than I know what to do with. This year, I found a recipe for cherry tomato salsa, and with one round of picking cherry tomatoes, came up with sixteen cups of diced cherry tomatoes. Anyone who doesn't can probably won't think that's a lot, but those of you who do--that's a ton for one picking, right? These tomato plants are out of control! My beefsteaks are starting to ripen, and hopefully I'll get a bunch to ripen all at once so I can make a batch or two of regular salsa. But, right now, I'm getting one or two a day, along with epic amounts of zucchini and squash, and I was stumped as to what to do with any of it.

We eat tomatoes on salads, but that's about it for fresh tomatoes. Then, last night, I was craving cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Not only is this combo tasty, but I can whip it up in under ten minutes. Which is perfect for a day like yesterday (let's not go there--it will get nasty, I promise). But, after searching through my pantry, high and low, I found that I was out of Campbell's trusty Tomato Soup! *Melodramatic swoon* Tragedy strikes.

Enter (stage left) my large bowl of tomatoes staring up at me from the counter. Aha! I thought. I can make tomato soup. Why had I never thought of that before?

Out came trusty Google (stage center, of course) where I found this recipe by the Pioneer Woman, whose recipes have never failed me before. But it called for canned diced tomatoes and canned tomato juice (do people actually keep tomato juice on hand?). It looked so tasty, I decided to wing it with what I had. And it turned out de-lish! The altered recipe is below.

1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
5 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cups water
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook until juices are released. Add the tomato paste, water, sugar, bouillon cubes, basil (if using dried--if you're using fresh, add it with the cream), parsley, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then heat almost to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Serve warm.


Patio Garden

I finally got around to writing a prompt. We had done away with them in November and December because the holidays just get too hectic. But Leah has been putting them up again since Christmas and I made myself take the time today to write one. Mostly because the prompt was my idea. :) Leah already did hers and you can read that here.

He sat with his grayed head propped up with his hand, reading poetry, surrounded by friends. He couldn’t see me, with the sun using my window as a mirror to reflect his terraced apartment building. My face hidden by the reflection, I knew my presence would not intrude on his routine.

Every morning he came out, lovingly caring for the plants that were held by every flat surface of the tiny patio. Boxes he built himself rested heavily atop half of the short cement wall that protected the space. Pots of every shape and size lined up behind them. Squash, climbing beans, cabbage, limes—an assortment of life overflowed each one. Above the patio door, he had hung shelves that held spices, petunias, lettuce. Even the second-story window held a small testament to his green thumb.

I wondered as I watched him—a smile only touching his worn face as he trimmed and watered each day—what was his story? Was he a farm boy that lost his love long ago? An honored war veteran no longer needed by his country?

Each of my neighbors held a story. Some I thought I knew, some still remained a mystery. And that is why I watched. Trapped here, in my head, in my body, in my apartment I didn’t choose, they were my only connection to life outside these walls.