Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider {Day 13: Loving Fall}

Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider

Cranberry Apple Cider Recipe

Mulled Cranberry Cider

Mulled Spiced Cranberry Cider

Mulled Apple Cider Recipe - The Inspired Room

Mulled Hot Cranberry Apple Cider

Hey Friends! I’m so glad we are all back after the little email fiasco where 20,000 emails went MIA every day for a couple of weeks. Sheesh. Let’s hope we can all stick together from now on! We’ll see how it goes this week with the emails if you are a subscriber. I have lots of Christmas decor posts in the works (I’m SO excited about Christmas this year!) and my laundry room update coming up (it turned out pretty cute!)! I don’t want anyone thinking I’m being a Scrooge and hibernating from the blog world so just remember, I’m STILL HERE at The Inspired Room even if my emails get lost in cyberspace!

So, this is my GO TO fall and winter delicious hot drink recipe. It’s a mulled cranberry apple cider! Sound good? IT IS! We made it this weekend, it was SO COLD around here. Not sure what’s up with our temperatures here in the NW, but it was FREEZING.  But while I don’t like cold, the good news is it made us all the more in a festive fall mood.

Not only will this drink warm your tummy, delight your taste buds and make you feel all fall-cozy as you sip it, but it will make your home smell DIVINE. I make this every time we have a fall or winter party, and even just for US. It’s such a treat!

Here is what you need to make my favorite hot spiced cranberry apple cider:

8 cups of cranberry juice (not cocktail, just cranberry juice)
8 cups of good apple cider (get it fresh from the farm if you can)
2-4 T brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
Allspice (I just put a pinch in)
8 whole cloves
Slices of orange

In a large pot, combine the cranberry juice and apple cider. Stir in brown sugar. Add cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and orange. Heat until it almost boils and then reduce it to simmer. You can taste it and if it needs a little more sugar or whatever you can add to it.

Strain out your cloves and cinnamon sticks before you serve.

Now … for the best part.

Grab a pretty mug.

Pour yourself a cup of cider.

Sit in a comfy chair next to the fire.

Inhale and exhale deeply.

Sip slowly.

Relax and enjoy! And maybe make some while you do your Christmas decorating? If you need a little Christmas inspiration, you can find my Christmas house tour from last year here and my Christmas decorating gallery here.

21 Days of Loving Fall - The Inspired Room Fall Series

DIY Paper Backed Wood Gift Tags

DIY Patterned Paper and Wood Gift Tags

You all know I’m not skilled in all the ways of DIY projects. It’s just the way it is, so I’ve come to terms with it. You’ve accepted (or at least put up with) my limitations since 2007. Yet, I do try now and then. While I’ve shocked myself by making a few lamps (not literally, of course, well maybe a little electrocution once or twice), in general DIY and craftiness is just not my calling.

So when the ever-talented and immensely creative Jamin and Ashley Mills of The Handmade Home asked me months ago to be a part of their 10 blogger challenge & blog hop to create something amazing using art from one of their books (without simply putting art in a frame, which I totally would have been all over), I doubled checked the email to make sure they meant to invite me. Cause, you know, awkward mistakes happen.

But Jamin wouldn’t let me off the hook even after I ignored him for a month or two, so eventually, I caved. I dream of being in the group of those awesome DIY girls so I said “sure” (confidently, as if it was NO BIG DEAL).

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It took me some time to decide what to do, there were just SO MANY OPTIONS. Okay, the truth is, I PANICKED. I procrastinated. I was paralyzed. Until YESTERDAY I still couldn’t even decide what to make. Y’all, I’m terrible if I have to create something ON DEMAND (not that Jamin and Ashley are demanding, they are the sweetest).

Everyone in the group was all excited about photographing their (completed) projects and I was still all curled up in bed yesterday (I KNOW) eating Halloween candy and scrolling Pinterest, just trying to make a decision about what I should do. I really wanted to do ALL THE OPTIONS.

I had flashback visions of Ashley’s ridiculously amazing DIY Mariners Compass that she created OUT OF A RANDOM BRASS PLATE I sent her in the She Sent Me What challenge. I tried to stump her and without batting an eye she created A MASTERPIECE that I dream about buying from her someday, because it’s that awesome.

DIY Paper Backed Wooden Gift Tags

After ruling out projects involving power tools, furniture revamps using paper måché or wallpapering a bathroom with art, and basically avoiding anything involving over 7 steps or the likelihood of any injury, colossal or irreversible damage to my house or furnishings…I decided on gift tags. I know. Safe.

But yet, I think they turned out pretty adorable! And they were easy, so big sigh of relief over here.

I had found these adorable sturdy wooden gift tags (pre-cut, which meant I didn’t even have to whip out my Dremel MultiMax or my Ryobi…SCORE) at Michaels Craft.

I made a bunch of “handcrafted” gift tags and didn’t even suffer one paper cut or splinter! Proud!

While they would be adorable on a gift box, a jar, or a basket, or even strung together like a snazzy pendant, I’m thinking of using these cute tags on a little mini tree this Christmas! Yep, I’m already getting in the festive holiday spirit and thinking about my Christmas trees :).

Handmade Home Art Books

I love all of the ideas and paper and print options in the books. There were so many cute images to choose from, it really was inspiring! I love that you can also photocopy the pages and reuse them as much as you want! I actually came up with several ideas for how to use some of the other prints I loved, but they would involve a little more time and practice so I’ll save those projects for another day.

DIY Mod Podge Paper Backed Wood Gift Tags

So, these are really easy and nearly DIY-challenged people proof! Here’s how:

DIY PAPER BACKED WOOD GIFT TAGS:

1. Find the wood gift tags at Michaels’ Craft (they were near the Martha Stewart craft aisles at our local store).
2. Select a pattern or image you want to use for your tags. I photocopied (onto regular printer paper) this page from Jamin & Ashley’s book called: Art for the Contemporary Home.
3. Cut your design to fit, using the tags as a template. You can cover both sides, use different images on each, or leave one side raw wood, as I did.
4. Use Mod Podge or a similar glue and a foam brush to adhere the paper to the tags and put one or more coats over the top. You can seal them with a topcoat if you want to make them extra sturdy and durable, but I skipped that step for now.
5. Use a small hole punch to pierce the paper to expose the hole.
6. Tie a ribbon, twine or string through for hanging!

ENJOY! Now go forth and be inspired and in awe of the amazing talent of the rest of the group! Did you see Jen Rizzo’s owl project? SO CUTE! Next stop is my friend Nester! Head on over! See below for the entire blogger list!

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Thanks, Jamin and Ashley, for including me in on your challenge. You guys rock.

5 Ways to Plan for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

5 Ways to Plan for a Stress Free Holiday Season

Believe it or not (don’t hate me) but if you’re in the US, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. And you know what happens after that, ta da! Christmas. But the best way to ensure that you have an enjoyable, relaxing, and meaningful holiday season is to put your thinking cap on early and start your preparation. It’s time to declutter, organize, and plan! I’m excited to start thinking about our holiday plans this year.

Today I have 5 ways to plan for a stress-free season over on The Decluttered Home. Come on over!

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