Christmas Chocolate Stars

DIY Chocolate stars for Christmas

I thought between posting my gift guides I’d throw in a quick and easy DIY to gift to anyone from a host to a teacher this festive season. Although it is a small gesture, making something yourself like these chocolate stars, can mean so much to the recipient. It would also be the perfect addition to your Christmas table, serve as a great accompaniment to coffee and compliment many a dessert. So really this is an all-rounder! As an added bonus, it is really simple and affordable to make! All you need is chocolate, your favourite toppings (added bonus if they’re in festive shades) and a silicone ice or chocolate tray.

DIY Chocolate stars ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 200g milk or dark chocolate
  • 40g pistachios, chopped
  • 40g cranberries, chopped
  • Spray and Cook
  • Gold dust

DIY Chocolate stars for Christmas

Method:

  1. Break up the chocolate in a microwavable bowl and put to the side.
  2. Chop up the pistachios and cranberries and keep at the ready.
  3. Give a festive ice or chocolate silicone tray a light spray with Spray and Cook. If you are working with an ice tray, see whether you need to fill the whole shape or whether filling it half-way would be better. My stars turned out quite thick and it might have been better to only fill the shapes halfway.
  4. Take the bowl of chocolate and melt it in the microwave. I usually put it in for 30 seconds at a time at full power. I take care to stir it in between microwaving it and often stop it shortly before everything is completely melted, knowing the final small lumps will melt as I stir. Each microwave is different and your melting times might be different to mine. I know this isn’t conventional or the best method, but it is by far the most convenient! I always microwave my chocolate to melt it (a double-cooker is the correct tool) and rarely use bakers chocolate, but know that if you use regular milk chocolate it will only melt once. So you have to work quick, before it sets.
  5. Fill your tray with chocolate, stopping two milimeters before you get to the top.
  6. Sprinkle the tray with the nuts and cranberries and lightly press each star to ensure that the toppings will set in the chocolate.
  7. Leave the chocolate to fully set.
  8. Once it is set, turn out the stars and dust the top of each chocolate with gold dust.
  9. Store in a cool spot in an air-tight container.

 

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5 Times We Used Paint to Transform Our Home

About 95% of our home DIYs include or are solely comprised of paint. It is by far the cheapest and easiest way to transform a space! It also requires the least amount of skill, although patience definitely is a virtue (waiting for layers to dry is literally the worst!) I thought it would be fun to think of all the times Ryno and I have used paint to personalise our space. Not all projects have to be as big as our recent garage transformation witht the help of Prominent Paints. Some of these jobs could easily be completed in a weekend.

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Our Garage Makeover: After | AD

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I am so happy to bring you these pictures of our garage after it received a massive overhaul thanks to Prominent Paints. It is proof that a little bit of paint chosen in the right colours and formula can really transform a room! I was honestly ashamed to publish pictures of our garage before the makeover as it just wasn’t the best representation of our taste, I’m sure we aren’t the only ones that felt like that about our garage.

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My Top 5 Favourite Products for Reusable Containers

Lisianthus and ranuncula

The saying that “It’s what’s inside that counts” really rings true when it comes to grocery shopping, but today’s post might just shift your focus to pay a little more attention to the packaging. I’m sharing my top five products to buy in the grocery aisle, not just for their awesome content, but also for its awesome storage potential! The packaging of products we finish often end up on landfils, so upcycling this really is a great way to spare the environment. Plus scoring awesome containers – practically for free – is just the icing on the cake!

Flowers and copper candle on magazines.

 

Mrs Balls Chutney
Such a classic in any South African’s kitchen, we go through this chutney on a monthly basis! I use this mainly as a bud vase for long-stem flowers, but you could store home-made cordials, ice teas or homemade condiments in here. Fair warning though, the labels are tricky to remove!
Nailpolish storage

Ferrero Rocher
I’ve been storing my nail polish and other manicure essentials in these handy lucite containers for years. They are the perfect size for a 2×5 nail polish arrangement and you can use them both with and without the lids. Just another reason to add this delicious treat to your Christmas wish list!
Airtight glass containers

Douwe Egberts Coffee
Now I don’t have nearly enough of these yet, but I am slowly but surely building up a collection. These airtight glass jars are the perfect size for finer grains and things like ground coffee. Investing in glass airtight containers could cost you a fortune, now it will only cost you a caffeine high! I think stick-on chalkboard labels would be a really chic solution for important info like expiration dates.
Bonne Maman preserve

Bonne Maman
Just as versatile as the ever-famous Dipytique candles, Bonne Maman jars are equally Instagrammable. There is just something about that faceted glass and delicate label! I like to use mine for storing canned preserves, but you could just as easily display make-up brushes, candles or posies in it.
Beauty essentials

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
This an awesome affordable alternative to other choc-hazelnut spreads that I stock up on at Checkers (for only R23!) The best part is that I never get sad when I finish a pot – partially because I’ll have a back-up ready but also because I love the containers. They are very similar to empty candle jars and are the perfect size for cotton buds and wool pads. You could of course also melt down candles into the empty jars.

Which containers do you end up repurposing and what do you use them for? I’d love to know.

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DIY Rose Bath Salts

DSC_3064I’m really lucky to have had one of my lifetime dreams realised with four amazing types of roses in our garden. Although most of them do last quite a while when placed indoors, I’m always looking for ways to reuse them after they’ve wilted. Last year we saved all of them for our wedding confetti so I looked into making rose bath salts. This is a surprisingly easy and very simple DIY, with only three ingredients (maybe four, read more below…)

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You’ll need:

  • 3-4 Fragrant roses
  • 1 kg Epsom salts
  • 50 g Baking Soda

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Steps:

  1. Pick the petals of three roses that have slightly wilted and leave open in a bowl for about two days, so that it can partially dry. If you do use plain cut roses that aren’t as heavily fragranced, you can add a  little bit of essential oils in the next step.
  2. In a larger bowl combine rose petals, salt and baking soda. If you want the petals to be able to drain, place the mixture in a food processor with a blade for finer leaves. I like just fishing mine out of the bath when I’m done, leaving zero possibility of blocking the drain.
  3. Store all the loveliness in an airtight container to treat yourself.
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DIY Octagonal Coasters

DSC_1962We found ourselves constantly needing more coasters as a white coffee table is not the most forgiving. I really struggled to find ones that I liked and started thinking of ways that I could DIY them. These were as much fun to make as you’d imagine, and we’ve been using them all the time. They’d also add the perfect touch to any festivities and they’re fully customizable (shape and colour).

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Tips on planting a succulent in a container without drainage holes

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When Ryno and I just moved into our home a good friend of mine gifted us our first house greenery. And whilst I’m happy to report that the plant has survived the first few months, I can’t say the same of the plant holder. It was time for a change and I had just the thing- this lovely candle holder from @home.

Unfortunately the candle holder doesn’t have any drainage holes and succulents generally don’t like too much moisture. To work around it, I’ve taken a few steps that will hopefully help keep the roots dry and the plant healthy.

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DIY Decorative Tray

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Recently I’ve been loving home accessories that inject a little texture and colour into our (mostly monochrome) home. So instead of painting this wooden tray white, which I would have done before, I tried something slightly different and I’ve been loving it. Whitewashing wood is so easy and it can really transform a piece. I think it looks great on this tray but could work just as well on a wooden box.

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DIY Tassle Garland

DSC_9537textI had been admiring gorgeous tassle garlands on Etsy and Pinterest for quite a while before something clicked and I realised that I can easily recreate it on my own. It took me a while to hunt down the tissue paper colours I wanted (or something relatively close) and I eventually found it at my local grocery store. Although it was quite time-consuming, I wouldn’t describe it as a difficult process and I really like the end result. So I highly recommend you make one for yourself as it is a much more affordable option and you can customize the colours.

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You’ll need:

  • 2,5m plain twine
  • 2 sheets of each colour tissue paper, minimum three colours
  • a pair of scissors
  • clear tape
  • Bostic

Steps:

  1. Start by folding each sheet in three (across the width) and cut along those lines leaving three sheets of approximately 20 cm wide sheets.
  2. Fold each sheet in half (across the length) and start cutting the fringe leaving about 5 cm uncut at the top fold. Repeat this on all the pieces of paper. This is what took me the longest and seeing Martha Stewart’s solution (a simple slicing machine) did not help!
  3. Once I was done with this you’ll have to unfold all the pieces and lay the coloured side of the paper down on your surface. You’ll then start rolling down the centre of your fold. I found it best to pause every now and again just to comb through the fringe and rearrange it otherwise you risk tearing pieces off. Try to roll this as tight as possible, but don’t worry if all the pieces don’t look the same.
  4. Once you’ve finished rolling you can twist that section and fold in half to create a loop. Secure it with a small piece of tape.
  5. I decided to alternate my pieces according to colour and arranged them onto the twine. Lay it out on a table and add a little bit of glue to each tassle so that it stays in place.
  6. Once dry you can hang it anywhere from a party table or wedding car and even above the bed. The possibilities are endless!

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How to ask your bridesmaids

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Once all the hubbub around our engagement started dying down, we immediately started thinking about who we wanted in our wedding party. I knew who I was going to ask, but for me the important thing was how I was going to ask.

I waited until we had already decided on the look and colours of our weddings as I wanted it to tie into that. I then tailor made a gift for both girls, one a close friend and the other my niece including small gifts (not the fragrance, that is only for colour inspiration).

The important thing is to give them as much information about your wedding as possible to help them make an informed decision. I decided that I want each of them to get a unique dress within my colour palette so I collected a few colour swatches from my local hardware store to include in the gift pack.

I also gave them a budget for dresses, a ball-park for wedding dates and in which region it would be. I think it is also important for them to know with whom they’ll be sharing the responsibility and fun and what extras I would pay for them or expect them to pay for. This is particularly important if your wedding party needs accommodation.

I made sure to finish it with a nice card asking her to be part of our special day and explaining why. Pretty wrapping also helps!

How did you ask your bridesmaids? Maybe you can steal a few ideas?

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