While the Cat is Away, the Mice will Play

What have you all been up to this week? I can tell you one thing I haven’t been doing…cooking. I know, I know quel horreur! But, Eric is out of town on business for the whole week and this is the 3rd week in a row. When its just me and Bailey, I don’t cook a lot. The desire to fill my days with baking is strong but then I think to myself, who will eat all those baked goods? The answer is me, I will eat them all. So its best not to make them at all for fear of turning into a cupcake (you are what you eat, right?).

Instead of cooking, I’ve adjusted to this new state of unemployment by going over every square inch of my house and making To-Do lists. I currently have 4 lists compiled. One of cleaning tasks to be completed this week. One of deep cleaning tasks that will be spread out. One of smaller/cheaper projects that require less time and finally, one of major projects to be completely that require planning and saving.

I figure, this house is now my job, I’m going to make sure it looks great! Plus, projects make me happy and keep my occupied. Eric works really hard and his job takes him away from home a lot. This means that when he is home, he isn’t all that excited about helping me paint the spare bedroom or hanging a light fixture. He’ll usually give in to me and do it, if asked, but I like accomplishing things while he’s away that he can come home to and relax with.

Here is my run-down on projects. Last week I gave an old night stand a makeover. This was an old IKEA night stand that Eric purchased for his apartment before we got married. I was keeping it in the living room, purely because I didn’t have anywhere else to put it. You can see it in between the two chairs with picture frames on it.

I was also searching for a new night table for our office/guest room. While walking through the house last week it occurred to me that I could simply paint that night stand white and use it in the guest room. So I primed and painted that bad boy, purchased some cute new knobs and voila!

 

 

Also note the lamp on the night stand. That used to be painted with blue and gold flowers, not my style. So I took a can of glossy white spray paint to it last week and then covered the lampshade with some sale fabric I picked up at the fabric store. Bam! New lamp! I love how it turned out.

While I was spray painting, I had a bunch of different color picture frames that I couldn’t really use anymore, those also got a fresh coat of white spray paint and now I’ve got 4 new white frames that I can fill and hang!

The next project was also simple and cheap. I’d seen images on Pinterest of china hutches with the backs painted or stenciled in neat patterns. I knew I wanted to do something to spruce mine up, but mine is an antique so I needed whatever I did to be removable and temporary.

 

 

I found some textured wallpaper at Lowes and used some poster putty to attach it to the back of my cabinet. I reloaded the cabinet (in a more organized fashion) and the end result was this:

 I like its subtlety and the way the white backing really shows off my glassware and brightens up the whole china hutch.

These all happened last week. This week, I’ve given an old desk a makeover and painted our spare bedroom. They’re not fully complete yet, so I’ll wait to show you those photos next week.

What about you guys, any DIY projects going on at your houses? Do you get into mischief when your spouse is away? Spill it.

12 Days of Cocktails – Day 1 German Gluhwein

It’s officially 12 days until Christmas, you better get those halls decked, packages sent, cards stamped and cookies baked. There is no more time to procrastinate. In honor of these last 12 festive days, Red Velvet is going to feature a new cocktail recipe each day.

I hope that these recipes will help to make family time a little more bearable, and keep those cheeks warm and rosy this holiday season. The first cocktail I’m going to highlight is one that Eric and I discovered in Germany a few Christmases ago.

We were enjoying a bustling Christmas market in the town of Speyer which smelled of bratwurst and baked goods.

We noticed that lots of people were holding ceramic mugs filled with something hot. I could see that it was not hot chocolate and immediately wanted to find out what it was. We quickly learned that it was a hot spiced wine called Gluhwein, see the sign below.

We did not get any at the Christmas Market but were able to order some at a restaurant later in the trip. It was served nice and warm and with sugar packets. Eric and I both loved it and upon returning, I set out to find my very own gluhwein recipe.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any cheap red wine. The spices you add will contribute more flavor to make the wine taste great. I also love the idea of an alternative to hot cider. Simply combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low until just simmering and allow to steep for about an hour before drinking.

Here’s the recipe:

12 Days of Cocktails – Day 1
Print
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • A 750ml bottle of inexpensive dry red wine
  • 2/3 cup of raw cane sugar or white sugar, or non-artificial sweetener of your choice
  • Juice and peel of one small lemon
  • 2 cardamon pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Instructions
  1. Combine all in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just simmering, but do not allow to boil.
  2. Steep at that temperature for about an hour.
  3. Serve in small mugs, straining out the ingredients.