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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 01/23/12

Monday, January 23, 2012

HOT CHOCOLATE ON A STICK? WHAT A GREAT IDEA!

   This recipe/diy comes from www.moredesignplease.com .  Make some and stow it away for later.  Great stuff!





Hot Chocolate On A Stick? Yes Please!
I love hot chocolate and I love popcicles. Therfore, I love this idea. This comes from the absolutely adorable blog Givers Log. It's for all of us who can't get enough of this warm chocolately beverage, even on a hot Summer's Day! Keep in mind, I'm no good at cooking, baking or anything that requires high skills in the kitchen department- so you know if I post a recipe, it's gotta look pretty easy! I know what I'll bed doing this weekend- trying out this recipe. I'll let you know how it goes!



Hot Chocolate on a Stick
10 cubes of hot chocolate (ice-cube-tray size)
(use 1 oz. hot chocolate on a stick per every 1 cup milk or cream)

Equipment:
Ziplock bags or piping bags
A double boiler or pan with a glass bowl that can sit over the simmering water
Some kind of chocolate mold, ice trays work great
Stir sticks or a bag of wooden craft sticks like I used (like these, available at any craft store)

Ingredients:
8 oz. chocolate (see note above), bittersweet, semisweet, milk, and white chocolate all work
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
6 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream if you plan to enjoy these right away

Method
(read a whole post about melting chocolate, including how to melt in the microwave, here)
  1. If your chocolate is in a block, chop it into even-sized meltable pieces. Simmer a couple inches of water in a pan, then turn down the heat so the water is below a simmer. I like to remove the pan from the heat, but if you keep it on, keep that water below a simmer. Place glass or stainless steel bowl over the top to make a double boiler. If the bowl touches the water it’s alright, as long as your water is mildly warm, not hot. Dump chocolate into the clean, dry bowl and stir as the chocolate melts. (If you are patient and let those chunks melt slowly, keeping them from getting over 90 degrees F or 88 degrees F for milk and white chocolate, the chocolate will stay “in temper” and will still be nice and pretty when it cools.)
  2. Once the chocolate is 2/3 melted, with just some pieces of the chocolate unmelted, remove the bowl from the pan, dry the bottom with a towel and continue stirring until chocolate is fully melted. This is just one more step to keep the chocolate from getting too hot.
  3. Add cocoa, sugar, and salt and continue to stir until combined. The chocolate will be thicker, as thick as frosting, but stir on. If it looks and feels grainy it’s possible you’ve accidentally gotten a drop of water in the mixture. If it has gotten water in it and has seized up, it will still taste alright, it just won’t be as pretty or smooth or melt quite as fast.
  4. Scoop chocolate into a ziplock bag and clip off the corner.
  5. Pipe the chocolate into your chocolate mold, tapping the mold on the counter to make sure all the chocolate settles into the mold. Add a stir stick and you’re done. The stir stick should stay upright without any trouble. If the chocolate bursts through the bag in places you don’t want it to, just put the whole thing in another bag. If the chocolate starts to get too thick to squeeze, just put the whole thing in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or so at half power.
  6. Let the chocolate cool either at room temperature or in the fridge if you’re in a hurry. I find the chocolate pops out of the mold nicely if it’s been in the fridge. It’s okay to cool chocolate in the fridge, just don’t store it there, because chocolate soaks up the odors of other foods pretty quickly.
  7. If you don’t like the look of the chocolate once it is removed from the mold, you can dip the cubes into a new batch of plain melted chocolate for a shinier finish (again, try to keep chocolate from heating over 90 degrees, or use candy melts, which don’t need to be in temper, they will stay shiny and pretty even if you go above 90 degrees). This also lets you add sprinkles or crushed candy or just lets you dip in fun patterns. I like dipping at an angle into a different color of chocolate.
  8. In order to enjoy these, heat up any combo of milk, water, half and half, or cream. I like 6 cups milk with 2 cups heavy cream. One ounce of chocolate on a stick should be melted into one cup milk or cream. So a standard ice cube-tray block, which is 3/4 an ounce, should be melted into a mug with 3/4 cup milk or cream in it.
Word of warning: no water!
There is one thing you need to know before working with chocolate if you don’t already: never let water or alcohol touch it. Not a drop.




DIY POTTERY BARN INSPIRED MONOGRAMED ORNAMENT!






   This diy comes form www.itsoverflowing.com .  So many projects you have planned for the new year and so little time to do them.  Bust some paper, glue and glitter out and GET BUSY!



{My sweet mother-in-law and I had a wonderful time this weekend shopping {scouting ideas} from our favorite stores. Pottery Barn had this simple ornament and I'm a sucker for anything monogrammed!


The price was too much when you consider it would take little effort to be duplicated! Every crafter is different, but I'm not one to fill a shopping cart of goodies to make something that ends up costing more than if I'd bought it ready-made from the store. This craft has my stamp of approval for simplicity!


You'll need a sheet of cream or white card stock {whatever you have on hand}, a computer and a printer. As soon as I saw the template ornament, I knew the font I wanted to use! Have you seen that 'L' font before!?!? Recognize it!?! It's the font I use on my website for all the text. It's simple, but unique. It's called Skia and it works perfectly for imitating Pottery Barn's CAPS! Here it is so you don't have to add an extra step to your simple project! Skia Font. {I set my text size to 200 in my word document}.


Next I used a drinking cup and traced around the letter. I didn't want to purchase a punch from the craft store, but if you have one on hand feel free to use it. I personally take great pride in how great I am at cutting out circles! LOL! You'll want to cut two circles. One with your favorite initial and the other plain.
Paint a coat of mod podge on the plain sheet of paper and lie the monogrammed circle on top of the plain circle so that your ornament is extra thick, but the initial is still visible. Use a bit of elmer's glue and line the rim of the circle.
Cover the glue with glitter.
Paint a SUPER thin coat of mod podge to the bell {careful not too much or the glue will reach the bell and you won't have a jingle anymore ~ been there, done that}. Sprinkle some glitter on the glue. Let it dry and recoat the bell with another thin coat of mod podge
Once the glitter and glue have dried, paint a thin coat of mod podge over the entire ornament to minimize the spread of glitter {that pretty stuff sure is messy}!
Let the ornament dry completely. Use a hole puncher {use a thin punch if you have one} at the top of the ornament to make one small hole. Separate a 8 inch piece of jute string so that you just have one string {keep it combined if your hole is a larger size).


String the bell with floral wire and place the wire through the jute string. Pull the jute string through so that both ends are even. Hold both strings together, wrap them around to make a loop at the end and tuck the end through the loop. Pull tight.
Add your newest Potterybarn-ish ornament to your tree and step back to enjoy. Consider making one for each member of your family, to attach and hang from your stockings or attach them to gifts! It would take five minutes and some dry time to make a couple dozen of these! I love it when a craft has a good payoff both in time and money!



DIY FAUX DEER HEAD MOUNT!







   This comes from www.chroniclebooks.com .  Save a deer make one out of cardboard and paper. I thing this is a real cool tutorial.  You could even make it more Christmasy by using some sort of holiday wrapping paper. 


Oh Dear, Deer Head
Excerpted from Dorm Decor (available May 2009)
For the animal lover, activist, or simply anyone with a sense of humor, this faux buck will make any dorm-room dweller proud. Hang a scarf or hat on his antlers, keeping floors free and clear, or use him as witty wall art.





YOU’LL NEED:



Deer templates
1 20″ x 30″ piece (3/16″-thick) foam core
1 6″ x 7″ piece (1/2″-thick) foam core
60″ length (30″-wide) wrapping paper
1 6″ x 7″ piece of contrasting paper
Craft knife
Cutting board
Spray adhesive
Picture-frame hanging wire
Awl


Make the pieces

1. Using the deer templates:
From the 3/16″ thick foam core, cut:
2 deer heads
1 deer body
1 deer nose
1 deer antler
From the 1/2″ thick foam core, cut:
1 mounting board


Cover the pieces

2. Using spray adhesive, spray one side of the nose piece and adhere it to the Wrong side of the wrapping paper. Use the craft knife and the cutting board and cut out the nose piece. Repeat for the other side of the nose.
3. Repeat to cover both sides of the two deer heads, the deer body, and the deer antler pieces.
4. Using spray adhesive, adhere the contrasting paper to one side of the mounting board. Cut it out using the craft knife and cutting board.


Hang the deer head

5. On each deer head piece, cut a hole 1″ below the top edge and 3/8″ inside the back edge with the awl.
6. Assemble the deer head as shown in the photograph.
7. Thread wire through both holes several times and end by wrapping the wire around itself for a hanger.
Click here to download the below images. They are formatted to 8x10in layouts. So, when printing on 8.5x11in paper, select (when printing through Windows Print Wizard) “8x10in cutout print” in the layout selection. It should print perfectly.