Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Thank you loyal readers for following me all year long, for commenting on my blog posts and for generally being awesome. I'm grateful for your support! As a way of saying thanks, I'm counting down the top ten most favored blog posts this year. These are the posts on A Desire to Inspire that you loved the most, either through direct engagement or through site visits.

Here's to the best of 2011 and to even better moments in 2012!  Enjoy!

10. January 2011 - "We've All Been There"

9. February 2011 - "Monday Morning Fun"

8. April 2011 - "Our First DIY Floral Project"

7. May 2011- "Minion Cupcakes"

6. July 2011 - "Blogging Begins Again!"

5. August 2011 - "Celebratory Sangria"

4. September 2011 - "Floral Favorites - Amanda's Wedding"

3. October 2011 - "Halloween Cookie Pops"

2. October 2011 - "Inspirational Doggies"

1. December 2011 - "Easy Christmas Sugar Cookies"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Inspirational Kid Gives Thanks

This story is so touching. I've never known an eight-year old who has so much integrity.

Cody Jackson regularly takes the time to give thanks to our troops at the airport in Georgia. With a smile and a wave, he thanks them for the sacrifices they've made for our country. His mother says he does this willingly, without any prompting, and that it all started with him first thanking the troops he would see at his local Walmart store.  One day, he hopes to join the Army.

You can read more about Cody's story here.  What a wonderful, little boy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Eve Poppers

Later this week we will be hosting my husband's childhood friend and her husband for the New Year holiday. We're excited to have company staying with us!  While we're big on celebrating on New Year's Eve, they are more laid back than that so we will likely end up staying at home.

We will probably cook something delicious for dinner and of course, do a champagne toast at midnight. To keep things extra festive and fun, I'm thinking of making these homemade poppers for the dinner table, but wrapping them in silver and gold paper.  In addition to the crinkle paper on the inside, I'd also like to fill them with chocolate gold coins and whistles for noise-making. Aren't they neat?

The full set of instructions can be found here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things

Readers, it's been way too long! I hope you've all had a fantastic holiday season. I apologize for the lack of communication for the last week or so. I caught the crappy cold that's been floating around and it knocked me out for six days. Yuck!

After a visit to the doctor on Christmas Eve, I was given antibiotics and told to take it easy. Fortunately, I felt well enough to participate in all the holiday celebrations on Christmas Day so it wasn't too bad.

Many people (myself included) had the day off from work today so I wanted to take some time and reflect on things that made my Christmas extra wonderful this year.  In no particular order, here they are!

My husband surprised me with these adorable cupcakes on Christmas Eve. It made my night!

My step-brother's girlfriend, Jen, introduced us all to holiday poppers filled with these colorful paper hats!  They are a big deal in Canada I guess? It's a tradition in her family so she passed it down to ours. What fun!

These mugs, hot cocoa, and marshmallows are courtesy of The Chocolate Box here in Seattle, a place that has sentimental value for me. Oh, and this was breakfast this morning.  Yummy!

Last, but not least, our holiday puzzle. Every year we put a new one together. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hello Giggles - Homemade Salt Scrub

Hello Giggles has been around for a while, but I just discovered it and had to share. Any Zooey Deschanel fans out there? (LOVE her!)  She's one of the site's founders and I think it shows.  There are so many wonderfully quirky and cute things to soak up, from hilarious opinion pieces to expert beauty advice.  I could spend hours perusing all of their pages!

One of the things that caught my eye yesterday was this do-it-yourself homemade salt scrub gift.  It looks luxurious, but it won't break the bank. Anyone on your Christmas list this year who loves handmade gifts would enjoy this.  (I'm thinking of making one for myself!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nostalgia Shoppers Special Trains

The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority is getting into the holiday spirit this year with the temporary addition of vintage subway trains. They're calling them the "Nostalgia Shoppers Special" trains and they are running through Christmas Eve. Everything on the inside and out is authentic - from the ceiling fans to the wicker seat covers (who knew that back in the day, the seats were actually wicker?! Ouch!)

This time of year is always so beautiful in New York, but this really steps up the "wow factor" for me. So festive and fun!

The exterior looks just as it did back in the twenties and thirties.
These ladies look like they've stepped off a movie set!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Funny - Simon's Cat

Friday Funny! Have a great weekend everyone!

Beautiful Handmade Wine Stoppers

A Lapin Life has this great idea for sprucing up a bottle of wine by simply adding a fancy doorknob to it! I think this wine stopper would look great with a vintage wine, since the knob also has a vintage feel to it. The ribbon and jewel embellishments are a nice touch, but you could use anything really.  Feathers, lace, twine, burlap, chiffon... anything goes!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Color Crayon Art

Ramblings from The Sunshine State has this cool DIY color crayon art project and I'm in love with it!  It would be perfect for an arts and crafts room or an office space. I love that it's something you might see in a high-end art gallery, but it's also easy enough to create that kids could help with it.  See how it's made!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Caroling Tradition

Happy Monday everyone!  We're inching our way closer and closer to Christmas. Can you believe it's only two weeks away?!

So one of the things we did last night to spread some holiday cheer was join an annual Christmas caroling community event.  It was so much fun!  The best part was seeing those around us who weren't part of the event smile and listen as we sang along. It was also a great way to get to know members of the community and there wasn't a time commitment so people were able to come and go as needed.

The Clemens, Luxa, Roth and Davis families gathering for a quick photo.

So how did we do it?  Easy!

1.  Pick a date. We picked a Sunday evening when people were less likely to have holiday parties. Sunday is also a great night for caroling because it sets the tone for the week ahead.

2.  Reserve space at a local restaurant; we picked a pizza joint because it's low-key and cheap so cost wouldn't be a factor for anyone.

3.  Contact your neighbors, friends, family or other members of your community and let them know about the event. Encourage anyone without a singing voice to participate. If you have a large enough crowd, people without a solid voice (like me) will feel more comfortable singing along.

4.  On the night of the event, pass out song books (see below for resources). Call out the page numbers prior to beginning each carol and sing until your heart is content!

Christmas Carol Resources:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Funny

I love this Friday Funny because it refers to two of my favorite things - nerd movies and musicals.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Easy Christmas Sugar Cookies

I was up until midnight last night baking the cookies I mentioned earlier this week. After some debate over what I would make, I settled on sugar cookies. They're easy, festive and fun to decorate.  Here's hoping they're a hit at the charity event this weekend. If they are, I'll be sure to share the recipe with you!
Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's the Season of Charity

***whining alert***

I'm running a little slow this morning after a late night out. We went to a local radio station's holiday concert last night and saw a few of my favorite bands: Mumford & Sons, Foster the People and Young the Giant. It was a great night for live music, but I am absolutely dragging this morning!

***...and whining complete***

Dragging or not, I committed to doing something charitable this year for the holidays and it has to be completed later tonight. Specifically, I volunteered to bake twelve dozen cookies for a community auction and donate one of my floral centerpieces for decorative purposes.

I'm undecided at this point what I'll do for the cookies, but I'm thinking of doing this for the centerpiece (thanks to Serenity You for the inspiration):

I'll be sure to share photos of the final results!  Also, if you have the chance to volunteer this holiday season or do something nice for those in need, do it!  You won't regret it :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Calling All Baking Fans!

I haven't started my holiday baking yet, but the plan is to start with cookies or cupcakes for a few charity events this weekend. Once I start baking, I have a hard time stopping so we'll see where it leads!

In the meantime, I've had baking on the brain and I think it's starting to influence my Christmas wish list. It's surprising what gifts you can find online for baking lovers like me. There's so much cool stuff!

Like these:
Aren't these stacking cat measuring cups cute?!
With the kind of cold winter weather we have in Seattle,
a beanie like this would get a lot of use!
Everyone's heard of a gingerbread man cookie before,
but have you ever seen a NINJA gingerbread man?
I love this apron! It has a retro housewife kind of feel,
but the cupcakes keep it from being too serious.
It's a Lego kitchen scale!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Candy Christmas Trees

My Heart's Desire has this fun DIY project for making candy Christmas trees!  It looks like the perfect snow day project for kids.  Plus, you don't need a lot of supplies in order to pull this off so it's inexpensive to boot!

If I were to make candy Christmas trees on my own, I'd definitely include red and green gumdrops and peppermint rounds, but I'd also do one in red licorice wrap and maybe even one with green or red Hershey's kisses.  Too cute!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Funny

Some of you may have already seen this on the web today, but as soon as I saw it I thought it would make for great "Friday Funny" material. What kid hasn't done something like this before?  Is it too cute to get angry about? Thoughts/opinions/stories welcome!

Without further ado, I present "S*** My Kids Ruined."   Enjoy! Happy Friday everyone!

Bye bye iPhone!
This computer needed more flair.
This oriental rug was far too colorful. Luckily, one oh-so-helpful kiddo
toned it down a bit. 
What's sweeter than a permanent love letter on the hood of the minivan? 
Lastly, the ever-popular attempt at a self-haircut. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Hurricane Vases

Though space is limited for additional holiday decorations in our house, I just may find room for a few holiday hurricane vases. They are not all that expensive and can be decorated to fit any holiday or special occasion.  I've found several inspirations online, but I'm not sure which one I'll go with.  I think they would look great up on a dresser or even as a centerpiece if we host any holiday dinners this year.

Red beads or sand plus a white candle and a simple star = brilliant (and cheap!)

Glass ornaments in hurricanes feel very Pottery Barn to me. I love it!

I love the use of cranberries and other winter berries for this one. I would
leave this up past the holidays, as it isn't Christmasy so much as it is wintery. 

Take any chestnuts you don't roast over an open fire and put 'em in a
hurricane vase like this! 

A hurricane vase filled with pine cones makes me think of a winter cabin.
I like the addition of gold ornaments for added shimmer. 

Peppermint candy makes a fun filler! It smells good too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Decorating in the Davis Household

As promised, here are a few choice photos from the holiday decorating I did last week. Given that our place is on the small side, I couldn't go as crazy as I wanted to, but I'm satisfied with the end result.

Our most elegant Christmas tree yet.  We tend to alternate between multi-colored and white lights, but this year
the white lights and gold ornaments won out.  

The stockings were hung...  above the fireplace's fake flames. 
Since we put up our tree, Bella has slept in this same place every night.
For an indoor cat, bringing the trees inside must be the best Christmas gift ever!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paper Ornaments Aplenty!

Paper ornaments are in all the store windows this holiday season, or at least that seems to be the case in Seattle. I've never really appreciated the craftsmanship that goes into them until now.  They can truly be works of art! I also love that they serve a double purpose as both a decorative piece and a present to be used and appreciated year after year. 

If anyone has any fun tutorials on making paper ornaments, please send them my way! I'd love to make anything that even closely resembles these beauties: