Winter citrus is rolling into groceries stores everywhere, and this always makes me happy during the cold, blustery months. One of my favorite pairings is chocolate and orange, and I take every opportunity to combine bright winter oranges with bittersweet chocolate. I used regular old navel oranges here, but blood oranges would also be delicious.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375F. Place liners in two standard 12-cup muffin tins, filling 16 of the cups.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and orange zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
In a large bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the butter, oil, milk, orange juice, egg, sugar, and vanilla until completely combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients and mix gently until almost combined. Fold in the chocolate chips until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork the batter (the batter should not be completely smooth; there should still be some visible lumps and bumps).
Scoop the batter into the prepared tins, filling the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake 15-20 minutes, until the a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While the muffins are still warm, top with the chocolate ganache (you may want to remove the muffin liner before topping with ganache, as it will trickle down the sides).
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and whisk until completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
Do you want to build a snowman? Well, today we’ve got just the project for you, no winter boots, mittens, or real snow required! Craft this DIY snowman puppet while staying warm and cozy inside on those super chilly days this winter. This snowman loves bouncing around, and we’re betting he might even like to go on a walk around your neighborhood to meet all the other snowmen and women! Watch the how-to video below, and keep reading for the written instructions.
what you need:
- White yarn
- Three styrofoam balls
- Felt (black and orange)
- Pipe cleaners (brown)
- Wooden dowel or skewer
Begin by covering each of the three styrofoam balls with white yarn. Use a dab of glue to secure the one end and wrap the ball until it’s covered completely. Use another dab of glue to secure the other end of the yarn. We used three identical sized balls for this snowman, but you can mix it up if you like! Once all three are covered, use glue to secure them together, forming the snowman’s body.
Time to make all the accessories! For the arms, we shaped brown pipe cleaners into stick-like arms and hands, simply twisting to keep in shape. For the face, cut two black felt squares to be the eyes and a black felt curve for the mouth. For the nose, of course we went the traditional carrot route with this orange felt triangle. And finally for the top hat, cut a piece of black felt into a circle to be the brim, and them roll a rectangle into a tube, gluing to secure. Glue the tube onto the circle and voila!
Use glue to secure the face and hat onto the snowman. For the arms, you should be able to pierce the pipe cleaners into the styrofoam body. When doing this, you might need to gently rearrange some of the white yarn so that the pipe cleaner can get into the foam. Use glue to secure even more if you like.
To make your adorable snowman into a puppet, simply tie a piece of string onto each arm and then tie the other ends onto a wooden dowel. Trim any excess string and you’re ready to go!
Want even more winter-themed puppets? Check out this rad snowboarder puppet in the archives!
Video and photography by Caroline Gravino
Creative Direction by Handmade Charlotte
Did you ever order a “Shirley Temple” as a kid? That was my favorite drink at our local Mexican restaurant! It always required some extra stirring, and we had to dig the maraschino cherry out with a stir stick. This would be the perfect drink to serve at a kids’ party, and these stir sticks (inspired by Kokeshi dolls) add another element of fun (and function) to the party décor!
They are easy to make if you’re looking for a simple party craft, and they pair well with Shirley Temples, tea, or hot chocolate! It would be easy to paint “boy hair” if you’re planning for mixed company. You could even use them for a little puppet show when the party is over!
what you need:
• 1” Unfinished wood bead (1/8” hole)
• Wood ball knob 1/8” hole (¾ in)
• 2 Round wood balls (3/8”)
• Apple Barrel Acrylic Craft Paint
(Hair: black, brown or yellow
Face: black, pink
Body: white & color of your choice)
• Various paintbrushes
• Wood glue
• 1/8 x 6.5 – 7” wood round dowel
Use the end of a toothpick to paint a hair outline on a wood ball knob, then use a paintbrush to fill in the rest of the hair. Paint 1-2 round wood balls the same color as the hair to use as ponytails, pigtails, or buns. Allow to dry.
Paint an unfinished wood bead in the color of your choice, and set aside to dry.
Once the wood ball knob is dry, put it on the end of a dowel. Hold it steady while painting black eyes and a pink mouth on with a toothpick. You can do plain circles for eyes, or curvy slits with eyelashes, or half-circles with lashes, etc. Allow to dry.
Use a toothpick and white paint to add a pattern to the wood bead “outfit”. It is easy to paint x’s, small dots, crosses, v’s, etc. Allow to dry.
Once the outfit is completely dry, slide the wood bead onto the top of a dowel. Push it down until it no longer moves, but make sure that the dowel is below or level with the top of the bead. Use wood glue to glue the wood ball knob “head” onto the body. Allow to dry.
Glue one or two painted wood balls on the top, sides, or bottom of the head – one at a time. You may have to lay the doll on its side to allow each ponytail to dry. You will also need to hold the ball in place for 30 seconds to a few minutes until it seems secure enough to dry on its own. Allow to dry completely.
Your Kokeshi dolls are ready to stir! Happy crafting!
Bring some snowy sparkles to your home with this fun snowflake sequin artwork! A few simple materials let you add bling to your winter decor (and keep little hands busy making)!
Templates create a framework for crafting these snowflakes, but they’re just a starting point. By choosing from different sizes and colors of sequins you can really get creative.
Show off your snowflakes as framed artwork, give them as gifts, or craft something else with the shimmery flakes!
Let’s get ready to craft some sparkle and shine!
what you need:
Open the back of the wooden frame and remove the glass (or plastic) as well as the backing. Trace around the backing on a piece of felt. Cut out the felt piece just inside the traced lines.
Print the Snowflake Sequin Art PDF template and trim down the snowflake you want to use. Center it on the felt piece and use your pen to poke a hole and mark the pattern on the felt.
Be sure to hold the template steady as you work, and check that the markings show on the felt.
When it’s all finished, you should be able to see the design clearly.
If you’re having trouble, try punching the holes on the template with a thumbtack first. Then go back and make the markings. Or, try another pen, such as a felt-tip.
Use a glue stick to attach the marked felt piece onto the glass or plastic insert from the frame. Be sure that the marked side is facing up! This keeps the felt smooth and secure.
Place the felt and glass back into the frame with the marked felt side out.
Grab your sequins and lay them on the snowflake markings. Try out different combinations of sequin colors and sizes until you find a design you like.
Use a tiny dot of craft glue to attach the sequins to the felt. Let them dry.
Once you finish your sequin snowflakes, it’s time to display them for all to see!
Our snowflake template has three designs, but when you change up the sequins, you’ll end up with lots more design options. But they’re only the beginning, because you can design your own sequin snowflakes too!
Hang a few snowflakes on your wall (maybe mixed in with family photos!) or set them around on shelves. Want to make them extra fancy? Decorate the frames with paint or more sequins!
You could use these sequined snowflakes for other projects too. Attach them to the front of a notebook, use them to make a hanging ornament, or stitch them onto a patch!
Christmas has passed, and the New Year is now upon us. While I have eaten my fair share of cookies, bars, candy canes, and pastries, I find I still need a treat here and there for family in town, brunches, and the like. I decided to make tiny cinnamon rolls this week while headed to an event, mostly to help everyone feel a little better about still indulging in January. These rolls are delicious, and just the right amount of sweet after an entire month of feasting.
Tiny Cinnamon Rolls
Note: I used a no-knead brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. This dough is wonderful because it can be mixed together and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The brioche master recipe will make about four pounds of dough, and this recipe only needs just over a half pound. You will have leftover dough, but it can be used for so many other delicious things!)
- 10 ounces (a little over a half of a pound) of your favorite bread/sweet dough (I use this no-knead brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup (226) confectioner’s sugar
for the filling
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
for the rolls
Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.
On a lightly floured surface, fold the cold dough over 3-4 times and then form it into a ball. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.
Roll the dough into 24 inch by 5 inch rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. Spread the sugar over the dough.
Roll the dough up, starting at the long end (there isn’t a lot of dough, so you won’t get a lot of spirals!). Using a sharp kitchen knife or a scissors, cut the log into 24 equal pieces (they will be tiny!).
Place the pieces in the prepared muffin pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350F while the buns are rising. Also make the icing (instructions follow) while the buns are rising.
Bake for 9-10 minutes, or when the centers are set when poked with your finger. The rolls will still be light in color (if you bake them for much longer, they will not be soft).
Immediately remove the rolls from the oven and flip them onto a wire rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath (this catches any leaky sugar and cinnamon).
Cover the buns with icing while still warm (this will help keep them soft). Best eaten warm.
for the icing
Place the cream cheese in a small bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water and mix until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined, adding more water if needed, until the desired consistency is reached.
New Year’s Eve celebrations may be over, but who says you can’t celebrate with confetti any day of the year? For today’s DIY, we paired clear contact paper and confetti for this festive garland! And speaking of New Year’s Eve, if you have any leftover confetti from earlier this week, this handmade garland is a great way to repurpose it. If not, you can turn any paper scraps (wrapping paper, old envelopes, anything!) into colorful confetti with the help of a pair of scissors and a hole punch. We hung this garland up against the wall, but the transparent contact paper would look really neat hanging in the window too, kind of like a sun catcher! Keep reading for the full instructions below.
what you need:
- Tissue paper (assorted colors)
- Mylar (gold)
- Transparent contact paper
Begin by laying out your transparent contact paper so that the paper side is facing up. Use a ruler and pencil to mark out even rectangles – ours were about 3″ wide and 8″ tall. We drew a dotted line down the center at the 4″ mark – this is where we’ll be folding them later.
Cut out the rectangles you just drew. You can make as many as you want, depending on the size of garland you’re going for.
Time to make some confetti! You can use confetti you already have on hand, or make your own custom mix using tissue paper, mylar, or any paper you like.
Peel the paper backing away from the contact paper so that only a half of the rectangle is exposed. Lay a piece of string across the center of it, keeping it as even as possible. You’ll want to leave some excess string off the edge for hanging later.
Sprinkle some confetti onto the sticky side of the contact paper. Once you’re happy with the look, remove the rest of the backing and carefully fold the contact paper onto itself, sealing the confetti inside.
Leave as is, or use scissors to trim into a triangle shape. Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 for the remaining rectangles.
Your garland is ready to hang! Mix and match with other garlands, or make a whole bunch and hang them all together.
A snowfall doesn’t truly count unless you can build a snowman! Now that I’m old(er), I get pretty cold in those negative degree temps, so I prefer to make “indoor snowmen” from the comfort of my home, drinking hot chocolate – fireside. Doesn’t that sound like a nice way to spend a winter day? I can watch the kids build a real one from the window!
These itty bitty snowmen are just so lovable, and you can serve them on a little cupcake treat with hot chocolates when the kids come in from winter play. Sometimes special handmade details make childhood memories extra magical!
what you need:
• 2 Styrofoam balls (0.9 inch and 1.4 inch)
• Extra-long toothpick
• Party streamers (color of your choice)
• Craft foam beads
• Foam brush
• Folk Art Glitterific Acrylic Paint (clear hologram)
• Apple Barrel Acrylic Craft Paint (black)
• Paint palette
• Orange pipe cleaner
Stick an extra-long toothpick all the way through the middle of the larger Styrofoam ball. Place the top of the extra-long toothpick about 2/3 of the way through the middle of the smaller Styrofoam ball. Slide the larger ball up so that it is touching the bottom of the small ball. You may want to use glue to hold the balls onto the toothpick.
Use a foam brush to coat both Styrofoam balls in Glitterific Acrylic Paint. Allow to dry.
Use a small paintbrush to paint your craft foam beads black. It is easiest to place them on wax paper, and roll them around in small dabs of paint. Once they are dry, use glue to place them on the snowman’s face.
To make a carrot nose, cut about a 1 inch piece of orange pipe cleaner. Cut the end of the pipe cleaner piece into an angle all the way around, so that it looks pointy, and then stick the blunt end into the Styrofoam face of the snowman.
Cut some skinny twigs down, and stick them into each side of your snowman as arms.
Cut a 5 ½ inch piece of streamer, and cut that piece in half the long way, so that it is skinnier. Wrap it around the snowman’s neck (between the two balls), and use scissors to cut fringe into the two ends of the streamer scarf.
Now name your snowman (or woman), and stick him in a cupcake for a magical winter treat!
This post is sponsored by Plaid Enterprises.
Can you believe 2018 is almost over already? We sure can’t! With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, we’re sharing these super simple DIY decorations for your New Year’s party this year! We love crafting with paper plates around here, and they lend themselves to these DIY clock faces perfectly. Kids will love helping with this project but we think the finished craft has such a clean, modern look that it works perfectly for a grown-up or kid-friendly New Year’s Eve bash!
We chose a few of our favorite blue shades of Folk Art acrylic paint for a cool, wintery look but of course you can mix and match any colors you like to exactly match whatever theme you like. Silvers, golds, and other metallics would look pretty great here! Keep reading for the full instructions below!
what you need:
- Folk Art Acrylic Paint Set
- Number stencils
- Foam pouncers
- Paper plates (various sizes)
- Popsicle sticks
Begin by laying out all your paper plates on your work surface. Depending on the shape and size of your plates, you can paint either the front or back side – for ours, we painted the backs so that the clock faces would have a nice raised face. Use whatever paint colors you like and let dry completely.
Once the paper plates are dry, pick out your stencils and arrange them onto the plates at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. Squeeze some contrasting paint onto a paint palette and use the foam pouncer to dab up and down vertically so that you have some paint on the pouncer, but not too much. Use one hand to hold the stencil in place on the plate and the other to apply the paint moving the pouncer in that same up and down motion. Make sure not to use too much paint at once to prevent any messy edges on the stencil. Do this for all the numbers on the clock and let dry.
To make the clock hands, cut a popsicle stick so that it fits the face of your paper plate clock nicely. Apply a coat of contrasting paint and let dry.
Once everything is dry, use a dab of glue to attach the hand onto the clock face at midnight. Repeat for as many clocks as you wish!
Use rolls of tape to secure the plates onto the wall as decorations for your new year’s eve party!
We used number stencils on the bigger paper plates, but on the smaller ones we left them numberless or used the I stencil to make 12 tick marks around the clock face.
Happy New Year!!