Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pinterest Inspired Christmas Crafting

This holiday season I have been spending way too much time on Pinterest. It has become an addiction, second only to buying pretty, sparkly things! But with Pinterest ideas getting my creativity flowing I can make my own sparkly things! Check it out:

I had seen several different versions of the craft below. Some featured the trees on top of the cars sitting out for decoration, while others put them into a jar with fake snow creating a snow globe. All were darling ideas, but for a gift to take to my coworkers I opted to glue the car on top of a jar of candy. Cute cars carrying a tree plus chocolate...they were a hit. 

To start I found some fake snow:

Next fill up mason jars with a small amount of snow at the bottom and lots o' chocolate. Tie a ribbon around the top. 

Tie an ornament on, attach a gift tag and then tie in a bow. 

Next assemble your cars. I purchased Hotwheels, but any small cars will work. Place a small dot of hot glue on top of the car then push the tree on top. 

Once the glue is cooled tie a piece of twine through the window of the car and on top of the tree. 
You are now ready to assemble your jar topper. 
Glue a ball of fake snow on top of the jar, (for this I found Tacky Glue worked better than hot glue). 
Hot glue is recommended for the last step..gluing down the car. Put a generous amount of glue on all four wheels and the entire underside of the car to ensure it stays put. 

Then you are done and have a crafty little surprise for your friends!

I have also been looking for a centerpiece for the dining room table. When I couldn't find exactly the right thing I decided to craft it from ideas I found...guess where! Yup, Pinterest. 

For this one I found some cheap glass candlesticks at the $1 store. I spray painted them gold and put then in a decorative tray. 

I found three foam cones and glitter to match my decor. To make glitter trees get Elmer's glue and put a small amount of water, I suggest 1/4 water to the amount of glue. It should be easy to brush on the foam, but not too runny. Mix the glue and water and start brushing the mixture on the cone with a foam brush. As you get a section glued begin sprinkling glitter on. I worked section by section. You may have to go over spots as it dries since the foam is very porous and requires quite a bit of glitter. 

I figured out something that I will pass on as a tip. I was having to let it dry section by section, but got the idea to use a skewer stick so that I could let the entire thing dry at once. Stick them somewhere to dry. 

When fully dry, glue your cones to the candlesticks, (I used Tacky Glue for this as the hot glue kept peeling off my painted candlesticks). 

Then viola you have created your own centerpiece! 

Have you found any Pinterest ideas that you gave your own spin to? If so I would love to see them! 
Feel free to follow me as well at

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Hope you all have a great time getting treats and playing tricks! 

What is your costume this year? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Haunted Hollywood...a Continuation of the Spooks

In the spirit of Halloween I love a good ghost story...or several. Hollywood is a place in which there is never a shortage of ghostly tales. You can spend hours just visiting the infamous and haunted sites. In fact that is what I do each time I make a visit there. A few years ago I originally wrote a post on Haunted Hollywood where you can read about many of the famous spooky landmarks, but I wanted to do an update so as to add some new info. 

The Los Feliz Murder Mansion
2475 Glendower Place 
Los Feliz

Seeing what could be a gorgeous Spanish revival style home falling into disrepair is odd in the Los Feliz area, where you are more likely to see a random starlet's multimillion dollar mansion. But with what is known as the Los Feliz Murder Mansion odd isn't the half of it. 

This was once home to the Perelson family, which consisted of Dr. and Mrs. Perelson and their three children. On December 6, 1959 life as the family knew it came to a gruesome halt. Dr. Harold Perelson murdered his wife and severely beat their 18 year old daughter. The daughter was able to escape the home and ran for help. Help wasn't needed, however, to stop her father's wrath as he had helped himself to a bottle of acid and killed himself. The two youngest children, who were also in the house at the time, were unharmed. 

Being that it was Christmastime, like many families, before that fateful night the Perelson's had been preparing for the holiday. A Christmas tree was put up. Presents were already being wrapped. But for the family there would be no celebration. 

After this horrific crime it was reported that the children all moved across the country to be with family. The home was sold the following year to Julian and Emily Enriquez. This is the point where the story gets downright peculiar. After purchasing this house the couple never moved in. They also never leased it out and according to many articles written on the home, never took the Perelson's belongings out. There were reports that for years the Christmas tree was still visible through a window as well as wrapping paper and gifts on a table. After the Enriquez couple passed away the home was left to their son Rudy...who also apparently has left it vacant. 

This story leaves so many questions...Why have a home that has been estimated to be worth over $2 million sit completely empty for over 50 years? Why leave the home for years as if the Perelson's were going to walk back in and get back to their Christmas preparations? Were the Enriquez family too spooked to stay there? 

While visiting Los Angeles in May my husband and I picked up our ghost hunting friend Nikki who has left Texas for Hollywood. Nikki and I were all for running past the tight security, aka a tiny one-inch thick chain across the driveway, to take a peek in the window and get better pictures. Unfortunately there was a vehicle parked by the garage so we had to deter from our plan. This made my husband happy as he already had written a horror movie in his head in which Nikki and I were abducted, taken into the house and tortured with meat cleavers. I am not sure how he came up with that scenario, but needless to say he was relieved that we didn't play amateur ghostbusters. 

Ennis House
2607 Glendower Avenue
Los Feliz 

Directly behind the murder house is the Ennis House. While I have read no reports of this home being haunted, it is of importance to horror movie buffs as the exterior of the home was used for the 1959 film "House on Haunted Hill". It is also of importance to architecture buffs as it was a fantastic example of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's work. 

100 North Carolwood Drive

Does this gate look familar? Look closely, because it is likely that on June 25, 2009 you saw this home plastered all over the news. This was the home in which Michael Jackson passed away and well...unless you have been living under a rock, no better yet a boulder, then you know the rest. If you would like to visit this site it is directly off of Sunset Blvd, which I found strange as I would have expected Michael Jackson to stay far off the beaten path.

 Greyston Mansion
905 Loma Vista Drive
Beverly Hills 

 This Tudor style home, built in the 1920's was once home to the extremely wealthy Doheny family. With a fortune made from oil the family was very powerful and apparently just as corrupt. Twisting tales were told of government officials being bribed and then caught for giving the Doheny's drilling rights to government land, indictments of the Secretary of Interiors, family members fearing having to testify and then...a murder/suicide of the only Doheny son and heir to their fortune and his best friend in the home on February 16, 1929. The web this story weaves leaves this home shrouded in mystery and some say haunted.

The home is now the property of the city of Los Angeles and the grounds are open to the public daily free of charge. It is a great way to spend an afternoon. Wandering around the manicured lawns you quite feel like Alice in Wonderland..that is until you realize that for many of the wealthy who live in this type of home wonderland is more secluded and lonely than the lives that us regular humans lead. There is a sadness there in my opinion, perhaps of lost dreams and lives that put money above all else and subsequently lost everything. 

If you would like to read more about the Greystone Mansion I found a couple articles of interest online here and here

The Hollywood Sign

For a full story on the haunting of the Hollywood sign please see my original post here
For the purpose of this update I wanted to fill you in on a viewing location that I never knew about for the sign. I had long heard that one of the best public viewing locations for the sign was the Griffith Observatory, and while it is a good view you can do much better! In fact wear your hiking shoes and you can get right up to the fence that protects the sign from trespassers. To get there take Deronda Drive all the way up the mountain until you get to Mt. Lee, (or on your GPS just type in the intersection of the two and it will lead you straight there).  This is a little tricky as it is a residential area and you will have to find a place on the street to park your car. Once you park at the intersection you will see an arch over a pathway. Go through it and that will lead you to the trail going up to the sign. If you aren't wishing to hike the full distance there are great photo opportunities right from the start of the path which is where this photo was taken. If you do want to  do the hike up be careful of snakes as I have heard they are often seen on the trail. 

Have you visited any of these sites of have a trip planned? If you know of any places that I have left off the two lists please do fill me in! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finding Beauty in the Strangest Places...

Growing up in a city you often have a been there, done that mentality when it comes to being a tourist in your own area. While perusing ideas for interesting things to do in Houston I ran across reviews for Glenwood Cemetery. Rave reviews were plentiful for this place that I had never heard of. Many spoke of the beauty there and of how it appeared more like a lovely park than a place of eternal rest. Plus if you have read Joy De Vivre for some time then you know I am intrigued by anything that holds the possibility of being eerie. 
A visit had to be paid...and so I went...

Just after driving through the entrance it is apparent why this is a place that people choose to come to just to stroll around on a nice day. It is beautiful. Set along the bayou, with views of the downtown Houston skyline, you truly forget you are in a cemetery. The statuary on some the of sites is more Rome than Texas. 

The angel above was my favorite one there. I had seen pictures of it online and just had to find it during my visit. Thankfully it was very easy to spot as it was on the main road and large in size. 

Billionaire Howard Hughes was laid to rest at Glenwood. Apparently his recluse ways played a role here as well, as his is the only grave with a large gate around it. 

The Avenging Angel above is a bit frightening in person. From what I have read while trying to research her is that she stands watch over the grave of  former businessman William Dunovant  who was murdered. The culprit William T. Eldridge never served time for the crime. This was a very sordid story and really has me wanting to take the private tour here to learn even more about these interesting characters. 

Some days you just need a reminder on what is important! 

This space in the center of the city holds such a rich history. Many names sound familiar as they are those that some of Houston's most popular landmarks are named after. I came here expecting to have a little spook during the Halloween season, but instead walked away with a sense of peace from this beautiful little spot. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

From the Golden State to Alaska

Last month we had the amazing opportunity to mark another one off of our to do before we croak list...Alaska! Generally when planning a trip I enjoy visiting a large city, so when given the chance to go to Alaska I was very excited, but a little curious about what to expect. There are no huge cities there, no amusement parks and in comparison to other locales very little shopping. What I found there though was beauty beyond belief. I miss the smell of pine trees, the 24 hours of brightness, the sweet people and the views..oh and the Shamu's out in the wild weren't bad either! 

Here is a peek into my time there: