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Easy Monster Cake & Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to one and all!

This year I am writing this post and celebrating Halloween here at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina with our youngest daughter and two granddaughters. Rebecca's husband is nearing the halfway mark of his deployment so while he was away we decided to celebrate a spooktacular Halloween together.

Before I hopped on a plane I made this cake for young Wyatt and Avery, they were delighted with the amount of eyes. Avery oohed (she's only two) Wyatt gasped and asked if it was Frankenstein. Both of them just had to poke their fingers on the eyes and get a great big dollop of frosting too. Grandchildren just make my heart so happy!

Just thought I'd share this fun cake with you and because it's a monster cake...it's made to be messy and easy. You can easily make it today. There are days when I have patience to be particular when I decorate a cake and there are days when I do not-so this is a great no pressure cake, with endless possibilities too.





Supplies that you will need for Easy Monster Cake.


  • Cake mix
  • 2 cans frosting (orange & brown)
  • Candy Corn
  • Crazy eyes
  • Candy melts
  • Orange colored gel
  • Piping bag
  • Medium size star tip for cake decorating
  • Candy Corn
  • Halloween sprinkles
  • Wax paper






Directions for Cake

Follow package directions for making and baking the cake and cupcakes. I saved out enough of the batter to bake 3 cupcakes and then I used those cupcakes for the 5 monster balls which I placed on top of the cake.






Directions for Monster Balls

I took the three cooled cupcakes and crumbled them up in a bowl, added about one tablespoon of canned frosting to hold them together. Shaped them into 5 little balls and stuck a cake-pop stick into the middle of them. I placed them on wax paper and into freezer while I decorated the Monster Cake.

Once the cake is all frosted it is time to add the finishing touches to the monster balls so just follow the directions on Candy Melt package for melting. Remove monster balls from the freezer and dip each monster ball into orange melt. Before dip sets roll top of monster balls into sprinkles and add monster eyes. Place on wax paper and allow to set before placing on top of cake.





Directions for Decorating Cake


  • Apply a crumb coating on the cake before decorating.
  • Put cake in fridge for about 30 minutes to set while filling piping bag with frosting.
  • Remove cake from fridge and begin decorating.
  • Using chocolate frosting first pipe around the sides of the cake. I wasn't particular about this-I just wanted the frosting to look sort of hairy, truly just have fun with it and if you have little hands that want to help go for it!
  • Using Orange frosting I piped on the top of the monster head with same mindset of messy hair.
  • Add eyes, and place candy corn around the base of the cake-imagine monster nails or toes!




Add Monster Balls, and the cake is all ready for you and any little or big hungry monsters!





Wishing you a safe and Happy Halloween!




Southwest Simplicity

Welcome Friends to my revised, updated and easy to navigate blog, I am super excited that you have joined me today and if you were here with me you'd hear me squeal!

Please take time to peek at the categories and I made a little welcoming video too.

At Home With Jemma is southwest Simplicity made from my heart and home, I am embracing all things handmade and home cooked.

My little craft shop is a reflection of myself and the creative mindset of both of my Parents.

They have given me the gift of artistic expression.

Everything in the shop is hand painted, glitterfied, blingified and made by me.

(I am having fun)

In a world where products are mass produced it feels good to me to make something just for you.




Here on our front porch you will find a comfy chair, southwest congeniality and a genuine simplicity that comes from my heart to your home.

Take off your boots or shoes and stay awhile.

You will still find the same Jemma here, the one in her craft room, kitchen and garden talking to herself and jotting down notes and ideas that she really wants to share with you.




I am a family loving woman who struggles, tumbles and stumbles. I have had my share of broken hearts, hurt feelings, disappointments, skinned knees, hair dyed from brown to blonde, cut short, grown longish and I cry when my children hurt, my grandbabies are sick, or my husband is sad.

Some days I wake up and tell myself I am going to loose ten pounds, and then I eat a bag of M&M's.




We can be a hot mess around here, but we pull it together, put on our best dress, polish up our shoes, curl our hair, add the pink lipstick and smile.

I think I tried to be a version of what I thought perfect looked like in my younger years. I was always dodging the bullet of failure, and I fell off the tightrope of pleasing and critiquing myself so many times that I got tired of the bruises.

So, now it's just me in my imperfect and aging body that you are going to get, but it's real.




I have a dilemma going on in my life right now and it's my hair.

It has officially gone white-not gray.

White! How does this happen, one night you go to bed blonde and the next morning it is white!

Just look at it in this picture. I may be a Grammy, but even Grammy's like to have color on their hair. No more golden highlights for me...champagne blonde is what we are calling it now.

So you see friends, life has a way of forcing us to accept who we are, what we are and how we are.

So here I am sharing my life with you, in all of it's natural glory and working on embracing it.

I am a work in progress, but I am not giving up my glitter for humdrum.

I'll do my best to edit the photos, but I can't edit out my white-champagne hair.



On a happier note, I grew these two pumpkins and in all honesty they are this color. I put together this little vignette on our front porch. (Can it be called a vignette when it's on porch?) and burlap.

Now let me say this burlap is my type of cool and where I grew up it was cool long before some decorator decided it was. It is what we put the potatoes in during harvest-potato sacks. So for me burlap and Fall go together like salt in your soup.



During my restless young years growing up I'd sometimes ask my Mama what could we do today? She would always tell me this.

"Oh you never know what good things might happen, that phone could ring at any time."


It's true friends, always remember when your mind is aggravating you and your time seems unfulfilled you never know what good thing might happen to you when you least expect it!

That doorbell or phone could ring!



I'll be having a little giveaway soon to welcome you to my pretty new blog.

Thank you to the lovely Lady behind the scenes of my blog, Henderson, you can reach her here.



Taffy Colored Pumpkins

Hello friends!
I have been gone for a bit, but I have returned  refreshed, renewed, revitalized and recharged-Fall does that to me, how about you?
I have a new lease on life and I'd like to share the joy of it all with you.
Thank you for welcoming me into your lives where we are able to chat and exchange ideas.
You know I really do believe that we can be anything we want to be at any age, we just have to go out and embrace it all. Not to say there won't be hurdles, but anything worth doing is going to have bumps along the way.
Thank you too for your sweetness in your emails, I loved, loved hearing from you and  I missed you too!

decorating, pumpkin, gourds Jemma




During the course of the last few months the garden was a little neglected. One of our wee pumpkins was budding out ever so slowly and was going to be a little late for Halloween
cheer. But my motto is never let a pumpkin go to waste (especially homegrown!)
If it can't be turned into a carriage, well how about a taffy colored planter for some pansies.

Jemma, decorating, Fall


Many of us grew up in a world where pumpkins were one color.
Orange...right?
Some of you may remember that world and it was great, however...we have options now!
I bet my Mom would have thought that it was neat that pumpkins could be pink.


How to paint a pumpkin for Halloween, Jemma


Since I have been feeling a little adventurous in my crafting style of late, and moving away from my comfort zone.
I decided to take some homegrown pumpkins and gourds and turn them into taffy colored Fall décor as well as a planter.
This project is simple, inexpensive, easy and can be done with any color of paint for any style of décor. If you'd like to jazz it up a bit add a stencil, rhinestones or ribbon. The sky is the limit.

blue, pumpkin, Fall,

Simply take a real or faux pumpkin, cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin large enough to accommodate the size of the plant you will be using. Remove seeds from real pumpkin, spray paint and tuck the little pot inside.

Decorat with pastels for Fall
























Well, since the spray painting turned out, I took another daring step along with a big gulp and headed for the Master bedroom. I decorated our little grey Secretary desk in the master bedroom with these glorious shades of taffy hued gourds and the pumpkin planter.
Trust me, I am not adventurous in decorating-I am always afraid of making a mistake.


pumpkin, carnations, gourds, secretary desk

So, with some spray paint a pumpkin transformation was born!
I began with blue, then pink and for adding glitz and glam I added some gold.
I really didn't take it all too seriously because it was pumpkin fun.
I approached the entire project similar to tie dying.
.

glitter, pastels, fall



I meant to add glitter...because it is true it does make me happy!


glitter



But instead of adding it to the pumpkin I added it here!
We have a little miss who will be turning one very soon...
XOXO






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Desert Chic And A Cactus Or Two

Many of you are great decorators and I have a question that I hope you can help me with today.
 I have been puzzling over this for awhile. It is about decor and the labels that are associated with it. Labels..labels and more labels and truly can decor be just one label? You can label a can of pears, you can label a species of a flower. But can we truly corral decorating into one style especially when there are so many fabulous colors, textures, accessories, fabrics, furniture, art, lamps, and more to choose from when decorating our homes. Not to mention so many styles are blended together now and just when I thought I had it all figured out a new label appeared or at least to me it did and I love it best of all!
 I grew up in era where our choices were limited and some of those colors and choices were just plain ugly!
I love the decorating and fashion choices that we have in 2017 there is pure joy in discovering new ways  of dressing myself and our home!
decorating-minimal-Jemma
When we first purchased our land two and a half years ago and built our home, I was so certain that the style of our decor leaned towards French Farmhouse with a Texas flair.
I have the farmhouse sink.
It was decided...check. DONE.
But the longer we live here and the more in-tune I become with myself, nature, my gardens ( I do have jalapenos) and where I live (which is the Southwest) I do believe that I have discovered a style which is better suited for me.
Desert Chic...oh and Cactus.
But is Desert Chic really a style of decorating, a label, a decor choice, or an idea...will we ever truly know.
Or is it all as simple as finding the right fit, just as I do with a pair of shoes or a colorful blouse.
decorating-whimsical-interesting-neutral-minimal-Jemma
While reading a few decorating articles on-line, Desert Chic has been described as an interesting and whimsical style with shades of orange and pink that are easily incorporated into a neutral pallet.
I just happen to adore pink and I actually have quite a few orange accent pieces.
I truly feel that I may I have discovered my happy place with this decorating style.
It seems to be not overly ridged, but yet has enough direction to keep me on track.
Sometimes I like too many things and become distracted.
clean-bright-white-Jemma
I really like the idea of a neutral backdrop, I like to infuse color with accent pieces and not so much on the walls.
Clean, bright and white with an interesting addition and contrasts of colors, copper, textures, lots of natural greenery and oh yes cactus.
Rugs, pillows, poufs, furniture, draperies and accessory pieces can be the flurry of color in my home, and quite frankly I need a little more color.
growing-cactus-inside-jemma
This past weekend the husband and I moved furniture around and drew out a plan for the beginning of our Desert Chic journey and we  purchased three cactus.
Our first "big," purchase to inspire and guide us along!
(Did I mention that purchasing new furniture rankles with me... its costs too much!)
I still have our original Thomasville furniture that has been sanded and painted quite a few times.
So I will let the furniture purchasing settle for a bit and grow accustomed to the idea and begin with purchasing some new art.
In the meantime, lets talk about the cactus....
water-sun-drainage-soil-jemma

Naturally Cactus go very well with Desert Chic as they are interesting, beautiful, and add texture.
While studying the care of cactus I have discovered that I will need to take a different approach, than I do for regular houseplants.
Here are a few tips if you'd like to give cactus a try as well.



Guiding Steps to successfully growing a cactus or two indoors.
Great Website for more Information.

1.  Water sparingly.
A cactus can survive without water for many, many months.
2. Find a Spot in the Sun.
If possible leave Cactus outside in the Sun from March to September.
3. Drainage is Super Important.
Drainage in the bottom and gravel in the pot.
4. Soil Matters.
Cactus do not like soggy bottoms.


decorating-style-Jemma
I will  be on this quest awhile for verification of Desert Chic, so I welcome your opinion and also any decorating tips or shopping venues too.
Thank you for joining me today!
Up next this week is a sweet recipe!
XO
Jemma
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Easy Summer Squash With Spaghetti

I made this yellow squash and spaghetti dinner about a month ago for the hubby and I.
Our garden was being overtaken by these bright yellow and ferocious Summer squash.
(Until the squash bores) took over, but that was another saga that you can read about right here.
During the height of the squash frenzy I was putting these squash in everything, seriously everything.
My husband would walk past the stove and just shake his head.
Well here is why, I even put the squash in our scrambled eggs, just add a little cheese and hot sauce and you have a mighty tasty morning treat.
Is hot sauce on eggs a Southern, Western, or Southwestern regional thing?
recipe-pasta-noodles-easy-summer-cooking-Jemma


My garden vegetables motivate me to cook on these endless Summer days, because sometimes  I just want to read and take a nap!
But then I think of the vegetables and I know that I can't let them down, they did their part, now it's my turn to do mine.

orange-cast-iron-pot-Kitchen-Country-Farmhouse



It' s just that in Texas that big old blue sky just seems to hold onto the Sun like it was a precious prize and there are days that I just look forward to sunset.
But enough of my moaning.

herbs-easy-tasty-Italian-robust-jemma

Every dish tastes better with fresh herbs, I have been smitten with Thyme for a million years now, it has a robust and hearty disposition so best to go easy when adding it.
You can grow your own herbs in the garden or on the patio in a pot or even buy them at the market.
Basil and Italian themed recipes are a perfect marriage and a nice garnish as well.


easy-vegetarian-yellow-squash-green-olives-Parmesan-cheese

This is a super easy Summer evening meal, sort of a take on a one pot wonder sort of dish, and you can customize it to your liking too.
Keep it totally vegetarian or add grilled shrimp or chicken, maybe even a meatball or two.


fresh-herbs-olive-oil-pasta-focaccia-bread-crumbs-red-pepper

I am pretty certain that zucchini will work in this dish too, so if you are being overrun with fresh squash this might be a keeper of a recipe for you too.


simple-tasty-fast-easy-vegetarian-Jemma
Thanks so much for joining me and Happy Thursday!
XO
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A Month Of Flowers

It has been a glorious month of flowers for my North Texas garden and especially considering it was July in the Southwest.
So many of our Southwest Summers can be brutal. 
Truly, neither fit for man nor beast and certainly not conducive for a flower farmer and her flowers.
Do I sound dramatic? Well I might, but seriously it is so true.
When I hear Summer In North Texas I cringe and I live here!
sunflowers-flower-farmer-
This post is dedicated to my Mama, she would have been 97 today and she is the woman who inspired me to plant and grow!
Her nimble fingers tended to my sister, Dad, me and the farm.
She was a beautiful and powerful role model for me.
We grew flowers together from the time I was old enough to take care of them myself.
Thank you Mama, I love you!
pink-red-zinnias-pink-milk-bottles-flower-arrangement
We have been making the most of these showy blooms with colorful vessels and bouquets on the patio.
You know I have just given into the environment that I live in...I can amend the soil, adjust the water and fertilization methods.
But I can't fight the weather!
I'll swim upstream in other areas of my life...but not flower farming.
Sunflowers-wrought-iron-basket-Summer-blooms-Jemma
A voluptuous and colorful mixed bouquet in a well worn wrought iron basket on a unloved rocker which I rescued when I was working in the furniture hospital in Southlake.
I miss that part of my life, I think that I will need to find another furniture hospital near me.
You might enjoy that little tale of this rocker,  it is right here.
Texas-gardening-Summer-blooms-Jemma
Whimsical bouquets which last so very well.
The garden thrives when I plant flowers that like heat, imagine that one...
Now I am envisioning expanding the Flower Farm, I am, I really am!
I love having my own multitude of flowers to cut anytime I please, they bring me a giddy joy on these hot Summer days!
sunflowers-gardening-July-Blooms-Jemma
I always place the fresh picked bouquets in a vessel filled with water and leave them on the patio for a few hours so the lady bugs, random spiders and such can make their way home before I bring uninvited guests into our rooms. 
I would feel sad knowing that a Lady Bug couldn't fly home.
Plus I don't like seeing a glistening web or two from a dining room chair, I am sort of afraid of spiders.
Well, I actually I am afraid of spiders, there I said it!
But I do befriend snakes...
flowers-blossoms-zinnias-sunflowers-Jemma

Zinnias and Sunflowers bloom more the more you cut them!
Lucky for me.



mulit-color-zinnias-pink-bright-beautiful-bouquets-jemma

The beginnings of a natural Summer wreath and the tutorial you can find right here.


zinnia-diy-decorate-flowers-Southwest-jemma

I enjoy arranging flowers in random vessels.
My youngest daughter gave me these assorted turquoise mugs and creamers.
Adding whimsy to our homes is always a positive thing to do and of course flowers brighten up the day.


flowers-add-charm-jemma-flower-arranging-ideas
And for when I am not in the flower patch tending to the flower farm.
Well, I am wearing flowers on my shoes...
Keeping flowers close to our hearts acts as an insulation against bad vibes.
Wouldn't you agree??



gardening-with-jemma
Thank you for joining me today!
Up later this week, an awesome Summer pasta recipe!
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