Holiday Insta-dump

Fun with photography apps!

A few favorite ornaments seemed to be a good place to play around…..

These first two are from my childhood….my parents picked them up for me on their travels in the 70’s.

A family favorite was “Pancho Claus”  picked up south of the border.  He was a candle in the form of Santa wearing a sombrero….the wick came out of the top of his hat.  One brutally hot summer he melted in the attic and we mourned his loss, not unlike a pet.  What?!  It was the 70’s and Pancho Claus was cool I tell you….Trust.

These glittery little beauties were found at estate sales in my 20’s….from someone elses childhood.

Um…all birds.  Sorry.

The red flocked deer below belonged to my parents, and I adored them growing up.  They used to be on our dining room table every year, in front of a silver punchbowl full of poinsettias. Sometime in my 20’s or early 30’s, I begged for them, and they were kind enough to oblige.  The vintage brass deer candle holders are a recent Etsy purchase.

Felt circles bought from Fred Flare a few years ago are sill holding strong….

On the puppy front, Otto is growing very fast and into everything…..he even tried to chew the lights!

He is Ottofabulous the LoveShark.  Sometimes he’s Pushkin (the CC wanted to name him that at one point, so it’s one of his bazillion nicknames.)

What are some of your favorite holiday decorations?  Hannukah, Chinese New Year, etc..  Is there a piece from your childhood that you cherish, or have you gotten something new that will be a keeper for years?


 Photos brought to you by Diptic, Hipstamatic, Big Lens and Instagram.  I found a plug- in that imports the Instagram photos to the right sidebar, so the latest snaps will be there.  I swear, I will pick up the SLR again at some point.

Haunted Forest Recap

It’s a mixed bag, my friends.  Some might say, I failed you big time.  Others might recognize that I did way better with photos than last year, so let’s focus on progress and development….mmmkay?  Glass half full people.

Weather was our main foe this round.  Last year, it was nice and dry all week, this time, we had rain Thursday AND Friday.  So?  This means the bulk of our forest adornments must be put in all at once….on the day of the the mud.  We had a dry party, so there’s that…not cashing in on your rain date is definitely a win.

We used a Paperless Post invite which I have edited for public viewing…

We had about 95 peeps this year, and some of these snaps were taken before and after the party, and some were taken the next day.  Again…just not a lot of time for photos during the party.

As guests arrived up the driveway, there is a table at the entrance to the forest with treat bags.

We pulled out the tombstones we made last year….

And hung the moon…..

For those worried I might expose children to Gnarls Barkley, rest easy…we went with the spooky sounds instead, which I think scared the kids a lot more than the Boogie Monster ever could have, so they were potentially ruined either way.

For safety reasons, the treehouse was off limits, but we styled it up super spooky.

We created a little scene underneath the treehouse with our new gifted butler from our good friend…she loves Halloween as much as we do and I hope we did her proud with him!

I decided to put more than just skelebirds in the cages…this one has ghost bats…..

The other practice moons ended up adorning the bar area.

I’m pretty bummed I never got a single photo of the table spread.  It looked pretty good too…it was heaving with yummy stuff….

Now nothing…no bloody cranberry grape juice with brain ice, no hot spiced apple cider, kettle corn, mini pizzas, mini bagel dogs, carrots, sugar snaps, sun sugar tomatoes, hummus, grapes, manadarins, chips, pumpkin cakes, oreo tower, cheese plate, paté, garlic toasts, and of course…  dem bones!  Photo FAIL!!!!

The Tattoo Station was back again this year…..

….as was a pinata.  We didn’t make it ourselves this year…not enough time.

There’s really no better reminder of our savage animal insticts than watching the melee after a successful hit on a pinata.  That’s SCARY.

So this is one of those funny little things you discover after a party….who took the teeth?  Did they wear them, and did they taste like raw pumpkin?  Who knows.


This year’s movie feature was a series of old Scooby Doo episodes from 1969-1971.  Here’s a theater before and aftermath……

The next night, we had a fire, leftovers and popcorn and the Things choice movie.  Heh. Ven.  New tradition for sure. After the Things went to sleep, the CC and I watched the 39 Steps.

My favorite photo:  The CC and Thing Two kept me company after the party while I was snapping away in the forest, and I got lucky……

Happy Halloween everyone.

Crafty Time: Tatooine for Halloween

It’s that time of year!  For long time readers, we will indeed be doing the Haunted Forest again this year, bigger and better, of course.  By the time the Things are in college, it will be epic, then no one will care.  Anyway, I created a tag for all DIY, etc… related to the Haunted Forest preparations here.

Last year we cobbled together a lighting situation that I am determined to improve upon for round two. We thought we’d have installed some low voltage lighting on the trail by this year, but the treehouse kinda sucked all the energy and resources for such a project.  I saw this project below and wanted to do something kinda like it, but with a slight twist.

via eighteen25


I loved the idea of creating a big “moon” in the forest with bats affixed to it.  When I discussed this brilliant plan with the Things, I was immediately shot down as Thing One said, “But there’s already a moon.  It will look like Tatooine.”   I countered that it might be cloudy, and wondered since when has a touch of Star Wars EVER been a problem around here?!  For proof, go here.  They relented.

I ordered a 24″ yellow paper lantern to act as the moon and I already had some of these LED battery powered mini-lights.  The less extension cords out there, the better, so I’m hoping if I group a few of the lights in the big lantern, it will give off enough light for impact.

 via Just Artifacts

To test my crafty plan, I happened to have both a small yellow and a white paper lantern up in the attic.  They are a little worse for wear, but at least I could get an idea of how it will look before the big one comes.  I can use them in other parts of the party as long as they are high enough to hide their flaws.

I used a bat template from Country Living, but it was too big for a folded piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, so I ended up freehanding them, and just looking at the template for reference.  I used 80# black card stock.

Here are the “test lanterns.”  I’m excited about how the big one will look in the forest…I think it’s gonna work!  As you can tell, the dining room is officially, Halloween central.  I think we’ll be eating at the breakfast bar, or outside for the rest of the month….

Year of the Rabbit

Today is Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit…. Gong Xi Fa Cai or Gong Hei Fat Choi!

This year, we are postponing our big celebration until the weekend.  Of course we’ll Americanize the whole thing and make my fortune cookies to enjoy after our Dim Sunday meal.  Wait, what is Dim Sunday,  you ask?

Dim Sunday was born out of a soul crushingly bad experience at the ONLY restaurant we know of that serves dim sum in the Nashville area.  If you’ve ever lived anywhere with even half way decent dim sum, you know it’s addictive power.   Going without those delicious morsels of goodness is a sad, sad state of affairs.  I don’t recommend it.

We’d had enough disappointment and deprivation, so it was time to take matters into our own hands.  Schedules permitting, we now make a heap of dim sum on Sunday afternoons for the family.  This weekend we’ll try and add some some traditional CNY fare like noodles, etc..  We try to keep it exciting for the Things by surprising them with what’s on the menu….and yes, (nerd alert!) we make a menu.  Here’s one from a couple of weeks ago we still had laying around.

You like Thing One’s ploy for candy?  When we bring an order to the table, we let them stamp it for us – just like in the restaurants.  They love it.  Now I need to find a cool vintage bar cart to wheel to the table and we are O. fficial!  (Aalto anyone?)

I’ll confess that the BBQ pork bun is frozen as I have not attempted to make that puffy white dough yet…I’m kinda skeered of royally screwing it up, but I will be trying it soon as it’s Thing One’s fave.  Everything else is made by us.  I’ve found egg rolls are a great way to sneak in veggies they normally don’t go for.  One item we are excited to try and make is soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao.  They key is a good homemade stock made with lots of bones to create the gelatin.  We’ve been stashing chicken carcasses in the freezer in anticipation.  Wish us luck!

We’ll go to the Lion Dance and drummers show on Saturday at K & S to get in the spirit…and pick up ingredients!  For glimpses of our past Chinese New Year geekiness…go here.

For a great local post about CNY from someone who is actually Chinese, therefore knows what the hell she’s talking about, check out Tabitha’s post about her family traditions.

Holiday Shout Out

The Holidays have me neglecting all sorts of things, like feeding children, “What do you mean it’s been four days since you’ve eaten?” and perusing stats.

A belated thanks to Megan at Urban Casita and Renee at the Modernica Blog for liking our holiday disco action.  I love Renee’s description of it, a “Charlie Brown Disco Tree.”  So true.  Modernica post is here.

Also, a big thanks to sfgirlbybay, and Shelterrific for digging my gift guide!