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:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Gluhwein or "Glow Wine"

Happy Monday, readers! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And now on to the next holiday...

My Christmas decorating started early this year - everything went up on Friday! I'll post some photos later this week so you can see the results. There isn't a part of our house that doesn't look like Christmas. I love it!

After all the decorating was done, I had the itch for a rewarding holiday drink, but I wanted something just shy of normal.  Long story short, my online search for the perfect sip resulted in the discovery of something called Gluhwein. It's delicious and perfect for a cold, winter night.

The prep work... It looked so pretty and filled the house with the most
wonderful smell. 
The beauty shot just after pouring.

Here's what you'll need in order to have enough Gluhwein for 4 to 5 people:

2 bottles of red wine
8 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
3/4 white sugar
1/4 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 orange with some of the zest removed, then sliced into rounds

Pour red wine, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, lemon juice and orange rounds into a large sauce pan. Warm on low to medium heat for 1 hour, making sure the liquid does not boil (you'll lose the alcohol content that way!)

Remove from heat, pour into glasses or mugs and garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick. For a unique twist, try adding a shot of amaretto just before serving.  

I've linked this post to:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30th Birthday / Homemade Photo Booth

So my 30th birthday was this weekend and boy, did I celebrate! My whole family, plus high school friends, college friends and co-workers showed up and we had so much fun. One of the things that I think kept the party going was our homemade photo booth. If you've ever looked into renting one of these things, they go for anywhere from $200 to $600 per hour!

Certainly my 30th birthday was something special, but we didn't feel like spending quite that much. In total, we spent $70 and now we have the supplies to set-up the booth again at future parties. So how did we do it?

  • We bought a $50 Japanese-style, folding room divider from
  • Then we picked up some blue bulletin board paper from Blick Crafts
  • Party City had $0.50 balloons  and the Safeway down the street blew them up for us for $0.50 each
  • Lastly, we raided our old Halloween costume stash and asked some friends to bring some of their old costume accessories as well
  • We put our digital camera on a tripod and turned on the timer. We set the timer to snap 3 successive photos with an initial 10 second delay (to give people time to prep)
  • We taped the blue bulletin board paper on the wall behind two chairs to serve as a colorful backdrop
  • Then we put a box of all the Halloween costume accessories next to the camera so people could choose which items they wanted to wear as the entered the photo area
Though it was homemade, I think our photo booth turned out great! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the event.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    DIY Easy Holiday Centerpiece

    Jen over at I Can't Stop Crafting has this idea for an easy, elegant fall centerpiece.  We're not hosting any Thanksgiving dinners this year, but if we were, I'd definitely make a few of these.

    Check out Jen's blog for instructions. She's made it look so easy!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Cute Overload - Marcel the Shell

    Have you ever heard of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On?  It's only one of the cutest animated films out there!  My favorite part about the series is the voiceover work. I think Marcel's character is captured perfectly.  It helps me buy into the fact that I'm watching an animated half-shell creature hop around the screen. So cute!  My second favorite part is the that the film is only a few minutes long.  Just the right amount of "squee!"


    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Flowers, Friends and Future Celebrations

    Hi readers! It's been about a week since my last post - apologies! We had a house guest last week and I was busy preparing the flower arrangements for a family wedding before that. Since then, I've been preoccupied with planning my 30th birthday party.

    I don't have professional photos to share with you yet, but here are a few photos I snapped at the wedding. There wasn't a huge budget to work with, but we pulled everything together somehow. Most of the arrangements featured white roses. I also mixed in queen anne's lace, white stock, new zealand pittosporum, green hydrangeas and gardenias.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Gluten-Free Baking - Orange Almond Cake

    Happy Monday everyone!

    I baked a little this weekend and ventured into new territory with almond flour. If you're unfamiliar, it basically consists of very finely ground almonds and it's commonly used as a flour substitute for people with gluten allergies.  We don't have a gluten issue in our household, but with more and more people being sensitive to it these days, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a recipe or two on-hand just in case.

    This particular recipe focuses mostly on oranges and has a nice even texture. I sprinkled powdered sugar over the top for added sweetness, but fresh whipped cream would be yummy too. It's great for breakfast!

    Top view

    Orange Almond Cake

    2 large oranges
    6 eggs, beaten
    1 1/3 cups sugar
    2 cups ground almonds or store-bought almond flour
    1 tsp baking powder

    Wash and scrub the oranges before boiling them for an hour. Cool, cut in half and remove seeds. Put in a food processor and blend to a puree.

    Heat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9" spring form tin. Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth, then fold in the baking powder, ground almonds and oranges until evenly combined. Pour mixture into tin and bake for an hour or until firm to touch.

    I've shared this at and

    Recipe courtesy of Hipcooks.

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Designer Pies

    I'll admit it - I've already started thinking about Thanksgiving and all the baked goods I get to indulge in. I'm a foodie at heart! Since I love baking so much, making some kind of yummy pie goes without saying.

    This year, I think I'd like to try my hand at making some kind of extraordinary pie crust. What do I mean?
    Take a look at these inspirational beauties. I've never done anything like this with pie crust before, but if I can work a cookie cutter and I'm willing to use a little elbow grease, I'm confident I can make one of these "designer" pies. They look so good!

    This pattern scares me. It's so perfect! Too perfect?
    Peanuts with your pecans?
    Love the thatched pattern on pies. Very traditional.
    What a great way to use leaf-shaped cookie cutters.
    Apple crumble pie with jelly-filled heart cookies.
    This one is my favorite!
    This would go over well in my family!

    Are you hungry yet?!

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Mustache Obsession

    In recent weeks, I've grown obsessed with tack-on mustaches. I'm not sure what I like more: the hipster vibe they give off or that everything looks infinitely more ridiculous when you slap a mustache on it. Either way, I was tickled to find this mustache product gallery on Perpetual Kid. So many mustaches!

    Why use an ordinary chip clip when you can add a mustache?!

    Add some pep to your soda or beer bottles.

    Disguise your Christmas tree with a mustache.

    Mustache wrapping paper for all occasions.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Tree?

    I found this little gem on Geekologie. It really does look like a Ninja Turtle!

    In the early nineties, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series was a much-anticipated part of my Saturday morning television routine.  That show brings back so many fond memories from my childhood, in particular, face painting. Whenever I had the chance to get my face painted, it was almost always of a Ninja Turtle. No princess crowns or girly-girl frills for me!