Thursday, January 29, 2015


So, here's your dilemma....

You saw a cake that you want to make, but the recipe is just too complicated.... what to do, what to do? You ask The Queen, that's what you do!

This picture and request came from Sarah, and she's a bit lost. You see, Sarah admits that she's not much of a wiz in the kitchen.... so she wanted to know the "easiest" way (that she quote "won't screw this up!") to make a cake like this.

Well Sarah, you came to the right place. I'm all about easy (hehehe) and I know that baking can be pretty tricky. Cooking is a lot easier in my opinion.... because baking is all about formulas. You have to use exact measurements, ingredients, and some complicated techniques. So it can be a little intimidating.

But have no fear, The Queen is here. Just remember, instant cake mixes and frostings were invented for a reason, my dear Halloweenies! If you don't trust yourself slaving over a recipe, run to the grocery store, and pick up a box of red velvet cake mix, (and whatever ingredients you'll need, that will be listed on the box) 2 tubs of cream cheese frosting, and some black food coloring.

Make sure you have the proper cake pans (you'll need 2, 8 or 9 inch rounds) and prep the pans according to the instructions on the cake mix.

Pre-heat the oven, and prepare the cake batter. Once it's done, and in the oven, set the timer (very important!) and you can start mixing up the frosting.

Take 1 tub of frosting, and with a plastic spatula, pour it into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops of the black food coloring, and mix well. Keep adding a few drops at a time, until it's the shade of black that you want. Set aside.

Now, take the other tub, and so the same thing, in another mixing bowl. You'll use one bowl of frosting to cover the cake, and the other to make the rose design.

Once the cake is completely cool, you'll icing the first layer, then place the second layer on top, and icing the whole cake.

Now for the rose design..... You may want to grab a butter knife and practice making swirls in the remaining bowl of frosting.

Take a big gob of frosting on the knife, and make a simple swirl pattern, (but don't press down too hard, or you may tear the cake!) once you've got the feel of it, do it over and over again, on the top and sides of the cake.

Use the above picture as a guide, and remember.... it doesn't have to look exactly like the picture. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it in no time.

And if the idea of doing a whole cake is just too frightening, you can always do a practice run on a batch of cupcakes. That way you'll get a lot of practice making swirl roses.

And if you're still not happy with that, you can always eat the evidence!

Good luck, Sarah! I know you'll do great! The Queen is always here to help.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I received quite an interesting e mail from one of my favorite Halloweenies, Julie.... and it seems that she had stumbled upon an facinating, little exhibit while on a recent visit to the UK.

Julie did a bit of research and found this article (from 2013) by Allison Meier, and she thought we all might enjoy it. Read on....

Edinburgh-based artist Jessica Harrison transforms the collectible ceramic ladies that populate grandmothers’ china cabinets into spectacles of gore. These elegant abominations are now on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York as part of Body & Soul: New International Ceramics, the first of a series of exhibitions highlighting different materials to mark the museum’s fifth year at its Columbus Circle home. Body & Soul is centered on the human figure in contemporary ceramics, and as the exhibition text notes: “Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today.”

However, the found figures in Harrison’s work are mass-produced, the personal emotion of clay-work eschewed in favor of a machine process. Through Harrison’s alterations some of that emotion of the body returns, although in a very visceral way. And that’s meant quite literally: the collectible ladies cradle their spilled guts or present their extracted hearts while maintaining cheery visages.

There is quite a bit of blood and horror in Body & Soul, which was curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan and includes 25 international artists. Marc Alberghina has a figure pummeled with bloody human hearts, Kate MacDowell’s jumbled porcelain “Daphne” shows the Greek nymph cut down like a tree, Saverio Lucariello has severed heads in an earthenware dish filled to the brim with fruits and vegetables, and Mounir Fatmi has a whole team of ceramic skulls sporting hard hats.

For an art form that has so traditionally been about dainty perfection, contemporary ceramics seem to be embracing the messy and macabre.

Thanks again, Julie! That's quite an interesting exhibit.  If you'd like to read the original article, click here!

Monday, January 26, 2015


Happy Monday, Halloweenies! I hope you all had a frightfully good weekend.

I thought today would be a good Project Day, and as I was searching around the old archives, I came across this oldie but goodie, so let's make some felt, Batkin Rings!

Here's a Halloween how-to from a few years back, that's so easy and inexpensive, from that crafty guru Eddie Ross. They're so fun to make and will look great all year long, if you ask me..

Check out these step-by-step instructions from Eddie, himself....
 To start, click here to download this template.
Cut it out with a pair of scissors, trace it onto black felt with a white pencil or even a piece of chalk, then cut it out again.
Next, using an Exacto knife, carefully make a small incision in the felt.

Fold one wing into the other...

...then insert a cloth napkin of your choice, spread your wings and soar!
So what are you waiting for? Vamp up your Halloween buffet with a bevy of beautiful, sinfully simple Batkin Rings!

I can't wait to show these off at our next dinner party! Thanks again, Eddie! They're just boo-tiful!


Friday, January 23, 2015


Thank goodness! What a long week.... I sure could use a drink. Why not invite over some of your favorite witches, and serve up a few cocktails? Sounds like the perfect Friday nite to me.

Witchy Woman

• 2 oz. ginger vodka (like Bendistillery’s Crater Lake Sweet Ginger vodka)
• 1/2 oz. simple syrup
• 1/2 oz. pomegranate juice
• 1 oz. pear brandy
• 1/2 oz. lemon or lime juice (whichever you prefer)

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon or lime twist.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I'm sure you know that The Queen gets lots of requests. But one of the most frequently asked is "Can you tell me how to make a voodoo doll?"

Well, it is a practice The Queen has dabbled in for quite a long time. Each doll should be handmade, and there are a few things you should know before doing so.... most importantly, remember one of the principles of voodoo is that whatever you cast upon someone else, can come back on you 10 fold.

So, I would think long and hard about that, before breaking out the old sewing box.

But if you're looking for something fun.... I think this is the answer! Check out these little cuties I found on Amazon!

You can choose form the Light Gypsi, Dark Gypsi, or the Voodoo Doll Complete Kit. They're priced from $18.49 to $24.99. Each doll is 100% Cotton Muslin with hand stitched details, is 7 inches tall, fits perfectly in your hand, and comes in a coffin box. (Note: The Light and Dark Gypsi do not come with spell cards or straight pins)  The  kit includes 6 spell cards and straight pins.

But if you're still considering trying your hand at some voodoo, be sure to check this out.... at your own risk.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


One of the necessitates for every Halloween Homemaker is a good apron. But forget those old boring ones like your Auntie Minerva wore, this two-tier apron is so very cute. 

Composed of a fun skulls and roses fabric, this apron has it all!  Two tiers make this a very darling piece.  The bottom layer has a black and white  polka dotted fabric.  The belt is in a black  color which makes this apron fully come to life.  The chest is accentuated with a black eyelet trim making it quite feminine.

The apron can be worn with a tutu/ petticoat under ( as shown ) or without it.  Perfect as a gift or to wear around the house with a pair of red heels  and some pearls while whipping up your favorite dishes. 

It retails for $59.95 on the Inked Shop website, and they've got lots of super cute aprons to choose from. Classic movie monsters, sugar skulls and polka dots galore! Prices range from $44.95 to $59.95, and well worth it! Because after all, if you've got to be slaving away in the kitchen, you might as well look cute doing it.... right?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


One of the essentials of creating the Haunted Mansion Style that we all love so much, is lighting. And bad light fixtures are the worst! Not only are they horrible to look at, but they almost become the focal point of a room! And you don't want that.

Lighting comes is so many different styles and materials, you shouldn't have any problem finding something to suit your taste.

Not sure what to look for? Check out some of these little gems, guaranteed to make your room shine. They come from White Owl & Company, and they are quite fab-boo-lous!

This Metal Chandelier holds 12 empty wine bottles and is lit up by a 40 watt bulb. Can you imagine the deep, romantic glow this would give to a room? It retails for $159.99

One of my favorites is this Mercury Glass Table Lamp. It sells for $139.99 and would just sparkle in any room. I love the deep, dark, black shade.

It's a pretty simple design, but very classy and sophisticated. This type of lamp would be great as a pair, because it is quite simple, and not too gaudy.

And how cool is this? You can't tell me you see a lamp like this every day. This Distressed Metal Birdcage Lamp is pretty unique, and could be quite the conversation piece.

It's 34 1/2 inches tall and has a really pretty distressed finish, that look like it came straight from Great Grandma's attic. It's only $229.99 and it's one of the top Customer Picks on the White Owl & Company website!

When you're decorating a room, think about how you get dressed each day.

What are the main pieces? What's a good accent color to wear with this? What kind of jewelry would really show off this outfit?

That's how you want to decorate. When working with lighting, think of it as the jewelry for your room. And who doesn't looooove a good piece of jewelry?

Friday, January 16, 2015


If there was ever a bath tub fit for a Halloween Queen, this would be it!  I came across this awesome black and white painted clawfoot bath tub with white swirls, and I just had to share.

How sinfully delish is this? The Belgravia: Clawfoot Bath Tub is black and white, and what a stunning combination!

Traditionally, clawfoot bath tubs have been painted black and white, often with a white interior. But this one just stands out from all the rest! The contemporary white gothic-esque patterns are simple, yet eye catching, against the black painted tub.

Now this particular beauty just may set you back a pretty penny or two.... but if you want to splurge, I say this would be worth it.

For more information about the classic and contemporary freestanding clawfoot and roll top bath tubs, be sure to visit the website!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Surprising no one, actor Kyle MacLachlan has been cast in Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks. Oh, what fantastic news to kick off the new year!!!

According to the Comic Book Resources website, the casting was announced yesterday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. MacLachlan appeared on stage during the cable network’s presentation to confirm that he’ll reprise his role of Special Agent Dale Cooper – the lead character and lead investigator of the two-year mystery series from David Lynch and Mark Frost that melted America’s minds over two decades ago.
The series’ original run ended on a the cryptic note as murdered teenager Laura Palmer told Cooper “I will see you again in 25 years.” True to form, the new nine-episode run of Twin Peaks will air in 2016, 25 years after the original series. “I think, in David’s mind, 25 years was the magic number,” said Showtime executive David Nevins. “He pays attention to that kind of numerology in a big way.”

For his part MacLachlan joked, “May the forest be with you” before Showtime released a new photo of the actor enjoying a damn fine cup of coffee.

Of course, MacLachlan is a longtime collaborator of Lynch’s going back to serving as the lead in the director’s cult sci-fi epic Dune. He currently appears as a mysterious (though confirmed to fans) comic book villain in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Twin Peaks revival will be entirely written by Frost and Lynch and entirely directed by Lynch. It begins filming later this year.

Oh, I'll be counting down the days!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


What a dreadfully dreary day to do a little on line shopping, don't ya think? You all know I'm always on the lookout for cool stuff, and I happened to stumble onto this little gem. I also happen to be in the market for some new Tarot cards.... and I found this set on for only $14.99!

This Penny Dreadful Tarot Cards set is a full deck of 78 Tarot cards, just like the ones Vanessa Ives uses on Penny Dreadful. And if you're a Tarot neophyte, there's also a 96 page booklet included with instructions and information into card meanings and spreads.

Perhaps using your Penny Dreadful Tarot Cards will help you meet strange and interesting people. Or, perhaps they will let you divine Vanessa's hidden message for you in these words. Ooooooooo. 

P.S. There really isn't any hidden messages, but we're sure you can put the above letters into new orders and pretend.

Product Specifications
  • For Ages 18 and Up
  • A replica Tarot deck, just like the one used by Vanessa Ives on Penny Dreadful
  • Printed on smooth, laminated paper
  • Includes 78 Tarot cards and a 96 page instruction book
  • Officially-licensed Penny Dreadful collectible
For more cool stuff, be sure to check out's website!

You're not familiar with Tarot Cards? Well, most Halloween Homemakers are.... but if not, here's a quick lesson!

Monday, January 12, 2015


I really enjoy this time of the year, and I always make a promise to myself that I'm going to make more time for me.... and read more.

I love to read, and I'm always on the lookout for a good book to curl up with. So, over the weekend, I stopped by this cute, dreary little used book store and found a few classics that I'd thought I'd re-read.

I really hit the jackpot, take a look....

Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin. Still one of the scariest books I ever read in my life! This one will be fun to read, right before I go to sleep!

My second choice is The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.

I was so scared reading this book, the fist time, I had to actually put it down for a while. It look me months to finish it, but it was sooooo worth the great scare!

Book #3.... It by Stephen King.

Come one! It's Stephen King..... you know it's gonna scare the pants off you! And boy, does this one do it! Beware, if you're scared of clowns.... this one will push you right over the edge!

The fourth book I found was The Cipher by Kathe Koja.

You know the same old story.... A young couple find a hole in the floor of their apartment building, so what do they do? They start poking stuff down it. They don’t like what comes back. Scary as hell is all I can say.

And last but not least is Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

This book is very well written, and so much better than that silly movie ever was! Isn't that usually the case?

It's a very classic ghost story, and one of the first I ever read. To me, it's like visiting with an old friend. If you like spooky tales of the past, you'll enjoy this one.

Be sure to set aside a little bit of time for yourself, to enjoy something spooky today!

Friday, January 9, 2015


Happy 2015 Halloweenies!

I hope you all are having a great start to the new year. I don't know about your neck of the woods.... but here around The Manor, the weather has been cold and damp (how delightful!) so I think some good, warm comfort food is in order today!

And there's no better comfort food than PIZZA!

This is a favorite recipe from blog posts past, and I think it's perfect for a frightful Friday night at home. Because everyone needs a good hot meal on a cold, creepy, winter night.... and this is perfect!

Disguises aren't just for Halloween. Surprise your family with these dressed-up, spooky-looking snacks any time of year. Kids looooove pizza and they can help by spooning the pizza sauce on the English muffins and making the mummy face with the cheese and veggies. The faces are so fun to make and the kids will eat 'em up!

~English muffins
~Pizza sauce
~Black olives
~Red or green pepper
~Cheese sticks or slices

1. Heat the oven to 350ยบ F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like).

2. Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils.

3. Lay strips of cheese (we used a pulled-apart cheese stick) across the muffin for the mummy?s wrappings.

4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.

Enjoy your Friday!