Home-made Glühwein (German mulled wine) packets

Mulled wine, variations of which are popular around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. (quoted from Wikipedia)

I was first introduced to glühwein when studying abroad in Germany in a fall.  As the holiday season approached, I started going to craft/gift fairs and many were held outdoor.  The aroma of cinnamon, orange, wine, and the warmth of a hot drink in hand was a great companion to browse through the stands in the cold.

This holiday season, I wanted to introduce some of my L.A. friends to this drink.


  • $4 for 60 tea packets
  • $10 for all spices purchased
  • $0 for twine, business card papers already had.


  • about 2 hours for 15 packets.  Faster once mastered the work flow

Step 1: lining up the raw materials.

The packets were sold originally to contain loose tea leaves so that drinkers can make their own tea bags without having to deal with the mess of loose leaves in the mug.

The spices I wanted to include were: whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and dried orange peels.

Step 2:  I used AVERY Business Cards 8376 that I would print instructions on.

I found this really cute printable tag from Ez of Creature Comfort blog.  I used one side for the gift recipient and the other for the instructions on how to use this packet.

Then I cut out each tag to shape and drilled a hole on top to tied one end of the twine.  I then attached another end to the packet.

Step 3:  Stuff all spices into the packets.

To use it, you basically will steep this packet in inexpensive red wine, water, and sugar on low heat for a while.  For extra flavor, add fresh orange slices+juice, and splash or brandy.

Step 4: I gathered few packets into 1 colored mesh bag to be given away as presents.


Hanging Wine Labels

Yay for another post, finally!

Since the wine collection slowly expands in our apartment, I realized there was no good way to know much about the wine by just looking at the bottle.  Most likely, there isn’t any information on the bottle itself, and sometimes the bottles would come with a nice write-up that’s on another sheet of paper.  With storing our wine in boxes stashed inside of our wall closet to keep them cool,  locating the bottle itself AND the write-up paper can often be very laborious.  I always thought there has to be an easier way to do it and finally I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment.  This is a fun, quick weekend project.


  • $0 for old, unused hanging folders & shipping stickers
  • $0 for screwdriver, needle, strings


  • 1.5 hour

I found some old hanging folders in my overly crowded stationary box and old UPS shipping stickers.

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Step 1: Creating custom size labels using MS Word.

Using the Envelope & Label function, you can create new labels, specifying the size you want.  I went with 2″W x 3″H.  After setting the label size template, I searched for the fonts & icons I want.  Fonts are such fun things to browse through 🙂

I also wanted simple, clean wine glasses icons on my label so I can tell if it’s a red or white wine without pulling the bottles all the way out from the storage boxes.  Then type in the information.  I used the write-up that already came with the bottles, and/or information I found online.  Mostly, I wanted to know about “what it will taste like”, “drink it now or open it when I turn 40?”

Step 2:  Print labels, attach onto old folders, and cut out the individual labels

This is a pretty straight forward step.  Use your imagination. 🙂

Step 3:  Drill 2 holes for the string to go through

I used a small screwdriver for this.

Step 4:  Use a needle to thread the string through.  Tie knots on the back of the holes

Insert from the back side of the label to the front.  Tie the first knot on the back side.  Then go back through the 2nd hole.  Adjusting to the desired length, then tie the 2nd knot.  Cut off excess.

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Step 5:  Put the label on the bottle.


Plant shelf


  • $0 for shelf  (already had)
  • $0 for paint (left-over )


  • 1 hour

The shelf I had painted previous was actually only 1/2 of the original shelf.

The other half had been sitting on the side of our dining room, looking quite confused without a purpose.  We had used it to just pile on stuff that didn’t have a home and hide all the homeless stuff in the big closet before guests would come.  Finally, an ah-ha moment came.

I am going to put my herb plants on it.  The plants have been sitting on the cabinet in the kitchen, toward the side that’s hard to reach and getting too much direct sun.

I painted the middle shelves the same brown color as the dining chair.  Then, I tried using the blue paint I had for the side panels.  The blue I have is really too light and looked weird on a wood shelf in the dining room.  I then performed custom blending that I’m so *good* at… NOT!

plant shelf

Fortunately, gradually adding the darker paint into the lighter paint was the key to control the color change.  It also created better blending.  I’m quite happy with the shade of blue it ended up…. matches with the new blue carpet we got for the living room.  maybe some day I will do a post of apartment tour.

Until then… our newly trimmed herb plants are sitting quite nicely on the painted shelf.  The biggest pot is the newest addition — Tomato plant!  I can’t wait to start harvesting.

plant shelf (2)

plant shelf (3)