DIY Christmas #3: Hot Chocolate Blocks / Spoons

 

So, this is my second time writing this post as for some reason Blogger decided not to save any of the text when I published.. Has this ever happened to any of you guys before? Oh well! Anyway, here is my recipe for these ridiculously cute hot chocolate blocks/hot chocolate spoons. They look really pretty and oh so Pinterest when all packaged up, and they make the most delicious hot chocolate! Pick up a pretty mug to go with them, and you have a gorgeous gift for a chocolate lover. We got about 30 from this recipe, but it will depend on the size of your mould.

You will need: 
Ingredients: 
  1. 9oz of milk chocolate. Do not use chocolate chips. We used Lindt, but anything works. Lidl chocolate is great!
  2. 7oz of semi-sweet chocolate/dark chocolate. Once again, not chips.
  3. 1/2 Cup of Cocoa powder. Not hot chocolate powder!
  4. 1 cup icing sugar
  5. Mini Marshmallows
Other Supplies: 
  1. A piping bag
  2. Wooden spoons/skewers to stick into the blocks. These are optional!
  3. Bags/Christmassy craft supplies to package the blocks.
  4. Chocolate moulds for the blocks to set in. We used an empty tray from chocolates Lily O’Briens kindly gifted me, but chocolate moulds or an ice cube tray works perfectly too.

 

Firstly, melt your milk and semi-sweet chocolate together. If you have a microwave, melt it in the microwave in 30 second intervals, taking it out and stirring it each time. If you are like me and do not own a microwave, make a bain-marie with a glass or porcelain bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whatever you do, do not try and melt the chocolate in a pan on direct heat. You’ll end up with a grainy mess, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Once your chocolate is almost entirely melted with a few small lumps left. take it off the heat and stir it until the lumps have dissolved.
You should end up with something like this!
Stir your dry ingredients together until they are combined in a bowl,
Then pour in the chocolate. Fold the ingredients until combined and then beat them together. Don’t worry if it looks grainy and almost curdled at first, keep beating until you end up with a glossy chocolate mix.
A bit like this!
Pipe the chocolate into your moulds. Ours were about an ounce each, but basically just pipe until each of the moulds are full.
By the time you are finished the chocolate will have had a chance to set a little, so now is a good time to push in the spoons! Then add as many mini marshmallows as you like. You can also do these without the spoons/skewers, I did a mix so you’d be able to see which way you prefer. Then simply pop them in the fridge for 3-4 hours, pop them out and package them nicely! It’s that simple.
I hope you guys liked this mini-series! Will you be making these for anyone this Christmas? 

DIY Christmas #2: Cookie Mix in a Jar

 

Welcome to the second instalment in my DIY Christmas series! If you don’t know what this is, it’s essentially a mini series where I share some DIY/crafty christmas gift ideas! If you want to see the first (a paint swatch calendar), click here. All up to speed? Brilliant. Let’s get on with this.
These are my personal favourite of the three, they just look so cute and are so easy to do, seriously, if you’re not a gifted crafter or baker, don’t worry. A monkey could do this with some prompting, but they look lovely and are such a nice christmas gift. I’ve had confirmation from friends I’ve given them to in the past that they are damn fine cookies. This is also a really nice thing to give friends/family with young children to make cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. When all is said and done, they also have a really cute jar to use however they choose.
You will need (for the inside of the jar):
  • 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oats (not jumbo! standard porridge oats)
  • 1/2 cup of M&M’s or similar coloured chocolate shelled candy. Preferably christmassy colours!
  • 3/4 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • Vanilla pod (optional)
For the actual jar and decoration:
  • A litre (quart) jar. Kilner do these, but we bought ours from IKEA!
  • Christmassy decorations. Go wild with this! Bows, stickers, ribbons – the Christmassy sky is your limit.
  • A tag or a piece of card.

 

It really couldn’t be easier. Layer your ingredients in the jar in the order they appear above – so, flour/baking powder/baking soda/salt go in first, then oats, then m&m’s and so forth. If you find that it’s a tight fit really pack down your ingredients so that there isn’t any unnecessary air! When you have all the ingredients in, you should have a bit of space left at the “neck” of the jar. To keep the ingredients from moving we cut a sheet of baking paper to the size of an average tray and folded up to put in the top. It keeps everything in place and gives the receiver something to make the cookies on!
Next up you just want to make your instructions card! Write or type the instructions on the card pictured above in whatever way you want to, last time I did this I did them on gift tags which looked great! We used a vanilla pod to flavour our sugar, but if you don’t want to do this, just change “seeds from the vanilla pod” to “a teaspoon of vanilla essence”. Once again, you have total creative license on how you want to present this!
There you have it! A really, really easy recipe/craft that looks so cute and makes such a wonderful gift. Will you be giving this to anyone this Christmas?

DIY Christmas #1: Paint Swatch Calender

Welcome to the first in my DIY Chistmas series! At this time of year, the blogging community seems to be saturated with gift guides, giving you a few ideas for the people in your life that you love. I’ve decided to step away from this trend a bit, and I’ll be coming at you with 3 different DIY’s over the 3 weeks before Christmas! This is the trickiest of the lot, with the last two being relatively simple, but I thought it’d be a nice way to inspire some heartfelt craftiness, instead of your standard bath gift set from TK Maxx… Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’d love either.

The first on my little DIY quest is this paint swatch re-useable “whiteboard” style calendar. I’ve seen things similar on Pinterest, but never a wipe-clean one, and never actually with a tutorial, so I thought I’d do it! It’s a pretty fab gift for anyone, everyone needs a calendar, and they look really interesting and effective. This one has been done in gradient rainbow colours, but you could easily do it in say, all blue shades in a gradient design if you knew someone who LOVED blue, or maybe all light pastel colours. That’s the fun of crafts, there’s a definite creative license being given here.

First up: Supplies. You will need:

  • Paint Sample Cards: 3 of each colour you want to use (remember, you need 7 colour cards for each day of the week). We used Dulux, but go nuts on what type as long as it fits.
  • Poster/Mounting Board, cut to the size of the frame. Once again, colour optional. You could use a patterned background like chevron print or whatever works for you as well!
  • A guillotine and/or a scalpel and a ruler. Or, if you want to be crazy about it, I’m sure scissors will work fine too.
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Pritt Stick kinda thing)
  • Picture frame. We used a 40x50cm one from IKEA (the RIBBA frame) and it was perfect!
  • Dry erase marker
  • Pen (Black ink works nicest)
  • Large Hole Punch. This is optional, but it creates a smoother circle than scissors would!

 

On Dulux Paint Cards, there are 6 colours – Only 5 are needed. You want 5 shades of 7 colours. We cut them down to the 5 we wanted to use – I found that cutting off the dark colours was best, as they were perhaps a little too dark so it would have been hard to read them. We arranged them into a rainbow pattern, but as I said above, feel free to use different colours. Be creative. Unless you like rainbows, then follow us exactly.

Cut the name of the paint company off, if there is one. No need for Dulux to appear on every square, it looks much cleaner without that there. Do not throw this away. It’s gonna be useful in a minute, I promise.

Cut the colour cards up so each colour is seperate. You don’t have to use a guillotine, but if you have access to one, it’s much quicker and neater. Remember how you needed three of each colour? Cut up 2 of the corresponding colour cards, but leave the third aside for the time being.

Now you should have 2 of each colour matching. If you don’t, you’ve messed up and should probably retrace your steps at this point. Use the piece of card you cut off with the paint company name to glue the two rectangles above together. This will reinforce it and make it that bit stronger. Repeat this with all of the colours. For reference, our squares are 5.2cm.

This is where the third card comes into play. Take your hole punch (or scissors and round template, whatever!) and cut out a circle of each of the 7 colour families you’re using. We used the lightest colours, but whatever floats your boat, knock yourself out.

Write the intitial, or the whole day (whatever!) on each disc. These will go at the top of the calendar to indicate which day of the week it is, so make sure to write the right initial on the right colour based on what order your colours will go in.

We laid all of the cards on the mounting board and lined them up to make sure they were square. I highly recommend doing this before sticking anything in place to make sure it all lines up properly!

When you’re happy, just glue everything down into place, being careful to maintain the placement.

Frame it! Then you can fill in the dates corresponding with that month, as well as the name of the month etc. Make sure to include the dry erase marker in their gift, as this is how they will write on the calendar.

And there you have it! A gorgeous, cute, very Pinterest on-trend paint swatch calendar. Will you guys be making this for any of your friends/family?