At Home: Fall Stories and Crafts

Nov. 2015

Halloween is just around the corner and fall is here in the Inland Empire. It almost rained and almost stayed cold last week, but now it’s back in the 80s. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying the warm but “cooler” weather and sometimes I even play Christmas music in my room.

Truth be told: When I used to teach, I used to take Veteran’s Day off and take the longer weekend to visit New York. The first time I visited during Veteran’s day weekend, I went to look at some wedding dresses (2010). I remember walking through Greenwich Village to a small wedding dress boutique and seeing The Sartorialist and Garance Doré sitting at a cafe across where I was walking, and they were both looking in my direction, and I imagined–had they been walking on the street, perhaps they’d taken a street photo of me. Haha! (Please excuse my vain memory/imagination/hallucination). Fall weather was so perfect, I took a mental note and visited during the same time thereafter. The photo from two posts prior was from this visit (in 2010).

It is a lovely time to be in the city. The leaves are golden and falling, and it is right before wind and rain invade the city and take down all the leaves so that on one bitter morning before you realize what has happened, all things fall and golden lay on the ground in grey mush. Never in my visits during the same weekend have I experienced inclement weather. Ideally, one should visit New York City during the first week of November. Not before Halloween though. Halloween in New York is crazy and unpredictable. You have to go after Halloween when people have shaken off their eerie party spirits and are feeling more light and festive. When the pandemic is over, keep in mind, dear readers, the best time to go to NYC to experience fall is right after Halloween (the first two weeks of November).

Random story: During my first year at NYU, I didn’t know about NYC’s crazy Halloween parades and festivities. On the night of Halloween that year (2006), I had finished my evening classes after a full day of classroom observations, and when I exited the building which was located around Washington Square, I found myself in the middle of a Halloween parade. Mind you, I never attended a Halloween party in my life, and there I was in the middle of the biggest one in the city, or so it seemed. The streets were closed and everyone, adults and children, were in elaborate costumes. I remember seeing Marie Antoinette (full wig, gown, makeup, etc.) and a mother hen (full-feathered) with three little chicks, etc. Those were the most memorable costumes that stuck with me, but when I say people went all out, I mean, The Walking Dead characters would feel normal in such a setting and I don’t think you could’ve gotten away with a costume from Target. I was in regular old clothes and so tired, I shoved myself across a flood of people though three blocks and remember wanting to get away from such mayhem. Oh, the memories.

To change the subject,

Here are some fall crafts to enjoy with family:

  • Leaf crafts also this: I especially like the card concept
  • Pumpkin seed craft: Similar to the above idea, but with dyed pumpkin seeds
  • Seed Pictures: Another similar to the idea above, but more versatile
  • Dried Flower Turkey Gourds: A chic take on decorating the table
  • Caramel Apple Recipes: Yum! I think E will enjoy the DIY Caramel Apple Bar. She prefers peanut butter over caramel, so we might have a peanut butter apple bar instead.
  • Apple Cider Caramels: Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and she claims it’s her favorite, in her own words, “These apple cider caramels are my love letter autumn in my city, my attempt, as I wrote in the book, to ‘pack everything I love about New York City in October — the carpet of fiery leaves on the ground from the trees I didn’t even know we had; the sky, impossibly blue; the air, drinkably crisp; the temperature finally delicious enough that it implores you to spend hours wandering around, sipping warm spiced apple cider from the Greenmarkets — into one tiny square.'” Perfect for gifting later in the year. I never saw the appeal of caramels until a coworker brought homemade caramels to share at work and people were inhaling them. I tried one and couldn’t believe how soft they were! Not sticky on my teeth as I had imagined. Hopefully Smitten Kitchen’s turns out similar.
  • Try a stuffed squash recipe. A savory option for fall cooking.
  • Family game night: Scattegories using fall themes: Fall movies, fall foods/dishes, fall harvest (seasonal fruits/veggies), etc.
  • or Pumpkin Games: some active options

Happy Fall!

Field Trip: Unique L.A.

My first experience at a craft fair was Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco (2010). It was located in one of the warehouses along the piers and I remember the space being massive. Not only was the space massive, it was filled with booths for independent artists and their goods lined side by side in a circular shape. I didn’t know what to expect at the time and found myself being thrown along the tide of people in a conveyor belt-like fashion not knowing when to stop and look or when I should turn around and go back to my favorite booths. It was overwhelming but fun to experience–I came out feeling like I’ve been thrown around in a craft filled tornado. Since then I have made an effort to attend annual pop-ups and have learned to take my time and be okay with not seeing everything; I know what I’m interested in and which ones to pass. That would be my tip for first-timers: brace yourself to be overwhelmed and know what to pass.

Of the seemingly many events that happen year round, Unique L.A. is probably my favorite that happens in L.A. because: 1) it’s located in a good venue with ample parking (not free, but that’s pretty much everywhere in L.A.; must be thankful for availability), 2) they have a tasteful selection of booths, not too overwhelming, 3) it’s kid friendly, 4) they offer “free” goodies that aren’t likely to end up in the trash (samples, sponsored products, photo booths, canvas bag, etc.), and 5) they usually have a hands-on activity station. This year they had a flower crown making station with several tables for crafting and an abundance of flowers to work with. I made a crown for Elaine and she loved it.

Our admission/complimentary tote bags included free admission to the OC Fair. I’ve never been, so I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to go. :)

birthday party ideas

My daughter’s birthday is in June and I am already planning her class party/parties. I was brainstorming on paper but I had to make a visual layout with links to where to find products because it helped me plan better. This will be her first class party and for the past few months she’s been attending school (only 3.5 months), I feel as though she’s been coming home with a goody bag every other week because of a classmate’s birthday party. Ah, the good ol’ days: when your class celebrated your birthday with you. I suppose it stops after kindergarten due to public school policies regarding equity or such. Anyway, after creating my collages, one thing was for certain–her goody bags will be awesome!

Idea #1: Purple (her favorite color and also this year’s “Color of the Year” by Pantone)


1.  candles // 2. metallic rhye plates (small) // 3. ube leche flan cupcake // 4. lilac cake stand // 5. purple flatware // 6. galactic napkin // 7. galactic cup // 8. “For You” favor bags // 9. glitter crayons // 10. star glasses // 11. grape flavored gummy bears // 12. honeycomb mini-balls garland // 13-14. balloons: quartz purple, purple chrome

Idea #2: Flowers


1. flower bouquet garland // 2. sugar cookies shaped like flowers // 3. flower grow kit // 4. burlap favor bag // 5. felt stickers // 6. Liberty of London cupcake kit // 7. gold tall candles // 8. spring flower assorted plates // 9. Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla buttercream cake or 10. Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes

*note to self: make sugar cookies myself, other candle color might be better, check out Target’s dollar section for mini-plant kits (I bought a poppy in a flowerpot kit for $1 in the past)

Idea #3: Fruitfruit

1. pompom party hats // 2. neon citrus plates // 3. red cutlery // 4. confetti balloons // 5. Porto’s Strawberry Bavarian Mousse cake // 6. windowpane favor bag // 7. fruit party picks // 8. pineapple straws  // 9. Japanese fruit gummy candy from Kasugai // 10. fruit erasers

*note to self: need to prepare fruit platter, check out Daiso for gummies and erasers

Idea #4: Stars


1. vanilla cupcakes // 2. cupcake kit // 3. Mylar star balloons // 4. silver star party plates (small) // 5. star party cups (silver) // 6. silver napkins // 7. silver cutlery // 8. heart-star glassine bags // 9. Hershey’s Kisses // 10. cosmic temporary tattoos // 11. silver star magnets

Now to decide which theme to go for…