DIY GIFT- Brownie Mix in a Jar

9 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 9

Today we do another edible DIY gift. This is Brownie Mix in a Jar. This could easily be cake mix or pancake mix or almost anything you like. For this I chose brownies.Whatever baked treat you decide on, you can select a recipe of choice and basically put the dry ingredients in a jar.

Brownie Mix Ingredients 

For this Brownie Mix I used a slightly varied version of a recipe on Joy of Baking. Everything this lady does is golden. I substituted white sugar for brown sugar and added walnuts and pecans.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 150g of chocolate chips

2) 113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

3) 2 tbsp cocoa (unsweetened ) powder

4) 1 cup brown sugar -I used coconut sugar (most brown sugar will be less sweet than granulated  sugar, you can substitute it with that if you want it more sweet)

5) 3/4 cup flour

6) 3/4 cup pecans and walnuts (mixed)- you can add  whatever you like here; MMs (or Smarties), pretzels, crushed oreos etc (just make sure it’s dry)

7) Transparent jar with lid for storage.

WHAT TO DO 

1) Assemble your ingredients and place a funnel or makeshift funnel  ( I rolled wax  paper into a cone shape and taped it) into the jar so your ingredients can land where you want.

PROTIP : Do not be like me and use the wrong  sized jar, try to estimate what size jar will fit the ingredients beforehand. 

Jar with funnel 



2) Pour in your first layer, flour and tap bottom of jar to counter to make it as level as possible.

Flour layer




3) Add second layer, sugar in similar fashion. If you are using granulated sugar you may want to place the cocoa powder between the sugar and flour for contrast. 

Sugar added


4) Add the next layer which for me is cocoa. Next time I would put the flour between the cocoa and sugar for more contrast.

Cocoa layer


5) Add chocolate chips and nuts on top.

Add toppings and extras




6) On a large tag or piece of paper, write the name of your mix (Brownie mix), list the ingredients included as well as what will be required and write the instructions on how to prepare.

Tag and twine




7) Add to jar with twine and it’s ready to gift!

Finished gift


When your giftee is going to make her/his treat advise them to carefully scoop out each layer so they don’t end up getting mixed together.

This gift is visually pleasing and as much fun to give as it is to receive. You can get as creative as you want adding whatever toppings and extras you think your friend or relative will love making it really personal. The cost of this gift depends heavily on the ingredients you choose however most basic baking supplies are inexpensive and if you plan on giving multiple people this gift it will really cut your cost down.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day ! 

 DIY GIFT- Christmas Bark

8 Dec

BLOG-Mas Day 8

Welcome to Day 8 of Blogmas and welcome back to DIYS . This is one in a series of edible DIY gifts , if that’s your thing. As with crafty DIYS ,  sometimes baking your own gifts can be more costly and definitely time consuming BUT if  you are savvy and do it in bulk it can turn out more budget friendly and of course it is made with loads of love.

Today’s DIY is Christmas Bark which is essentially chocolate filled with many things and broken into shards of deliciousness. Please stay tuned…

Ingredients 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Chocolate – I chose Cadbury milk chocolate .  You can use chocolate chips or candy melts as well, I personally find candy melts a bit too sweet in large amounts hence my choice of regular eating chocolate.

2) More chocolate – To compliment your main chocolate . I chose white candy melts but you can use any colour or type of chocolate you wish. I think peanut butter chips(like chocolate chips but out of peanut butter)  would go well with this.

3) Stuff– What I mean is, miscellaneous morsels such as dried fruit, nuts, candies etc. I used a trail mix I had containing dried cranberries, salted cashews, almonds and dark chocolate chips.

4) Wax/Parchment paper– To line the container you use.

5) Pan/Cookie Sheet– Alternately you can use a silicone mat.

WHAT TO DO

Line your sheet ahead of time and clear some space in the refrigerator . 

1) Melt the chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts  (or use double boiler technique )

Melted chocolate 

2) Spread milk chocolate onto sheet.

Chocolate spread

3) Add white chocolate  (or other colours ) in marble fashion . 

White chocolate added

4) Press in additions (nuts, candies etc) throughout chocolate . 

Add “stuff ”

5) Refrigerate and let harden-I left mine overnight . 

Hardened bark

6) Using hands or long sharp knife, break into shards.

Broken up bark




7) Wrap and gift!

Wrapped in wax paper

The bark tasted delicious ,  the contrast of the very sweet cranberries with the salty cashews and the mild cocoa flavour from the milk chocolate is a winning combo.

This is a cute gift. It’s great as a stocking stuffer or for a large group of persons e.g coworkers. The cost varies depending on the chocolate you use and what kind of toppings you add but no doubt it can be a fairly economical gift.

Be sure to try this one out and have an awesome day!

Gift Guide for Pets

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BLOG-Mas Day 7

On the 7th day of Blogmas we talk about gift ideas for pets, whether you are looking for something for the furriest member of your family or you want to give something to the friend who loves  animals more than people.

This gift guide is general, suggesting types of items not any specific brands or prices. It is also aimed at including something for most common household pets.

This is Cali, our naughtiest kitty.

CATS AND DOGS



FEEDING

Fancy Feeding Bowls

Feeding bowls

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows you can never have enough clean feeding bowls. Gift your pet some new ones for milk drinking and kibble munching.

Treats

Kitty treats

Just like humans, animals love treats. This is a very affordable pet gift and one that will be fully appreciated.



SLEEP



Pet Bed

Bed

Cat and dogs love a warm soft place to recline. A nice plush bed is great for this and gives him or her their own space.

PLAY

Scratching posts and trees

Multi coloured posts 




This is strictly a cat gift. Anyone with cats knows how important it is for them to get their claws in something that isn’t your ratan furniture . These are available in many shapes and sizes for maximum exercise and fun.

SMALL ANIMALS



FEEDING

Water Bottle

Cute small animal feeder



This is a useful gift for your gerbil or rabbit.  It’s suitable for someone who works fairly long hours as the animals can remain watered while he/she is out. There are also animal feed bottles.

SLEEP AND PLAY

Hideout

Pineapple hideout

Little alcoves like this are great for your guineas and hamsters and Spongebob😉 for both sleep and play. 

BIRDS



FEEDING

Treats

Birdie sticks

Get your feathered friends some treat sticks for them to peck away at and enjoy. Remember there are usually different recipes for different species so be sure to pick out the one for your bird.

PLAY

Perches

Multicoloured bird perches 

Perching is a big part of being a bird. They tend to enjoy having something to hop from one spot to another and having something for them to push  around and play with like these wooden beads pictured here adds to the fun.

REPTILES



FEEDING

Feeding Bowls

Rock shaped bowl

Is my family the only one who feeds their tortoises out of container lids ? #ratchet #reducereuseandrecycle.  How about upgrading your reptilian friends with a legitimate feeding bowl. This too is reuseable.



SLEEP AND PLAY

Habitats

Woodland habitat 

Reptiles love to bask in heat and then hide under things, it’s what they do. Now you could use an old shoebox like my mother does for the tories #still ratchet or you can get them a slightly more exciting one like this woodland inspired habitat pictured here.

FISH



FEEDING 

Vacation Fish Feeder

Fish shaped feeding block

This is for when you have to travel and can’t trust your neighbours to feed your finned friends. It is essentially a block of fish food that the fish picks at while you’re gone. They come with different period of time they last for such as 7 day or 14 days.

Automatic Fish Feeder

Feeder

This is like a hardcore scaled up version of a vacation feeder. This is also useful for persons who keep odd hours and may not get home in time to feed their fish. The food is preloaded and set to deliver specific amounts of food at a particular time. They exist both battery and electrically operated.

Aquarium Habitats 

Coral aquarium habitat 

I’m pretty sure your fish don’t care if you put a mini treasure chest or a pile of rocks in their aquarium. But they do seem to enjoy having  something to swim into and out of so get them a nice interesting habitat like this imitation coral one.

OTHER



Pet Subscription boxes 

Petbox

Like I said in my Gift Guide for her there are subscription boxes for EVERYTHING ! That includes pets. You receive a spread of treats and toys every month to spoil your fuzzy companion with. Some popular brands are Barkbox, Pet box and Cratejoy (for pets)

FOR PET PEOPLE

Animal Lovers Parphinalia 

Cat Lady Mug #catladypride



These are great gifts for pet people ( we aren’t their  owners or parents). Whether its a cute T-shirt professing their love of hamsters or this cat lady mug, a real pet person will receive this gift with glee.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration for gifting your pets or your pet loving friends. Have an awesome day!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

This post is dedicated to our beloved cat Blonde Rose Pepper who we lost last year just before Christmas . 

A few Festive Things

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A few Festive things



BLOG-Mas  DAY 6

Today I thought I would share some of the things putting me in a festive mood.

Anastacia of Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario

ABH Master paletteby Mario


This limited edition palette by Mario (known for doing Kim Kardashian’s makeup and making contouring popular among non-makeup artists) was released in October and isn’t meant to be a “holiday” palette per se but to me the colours in it embody festive colours; muted jewel tones and metallics. The shadows are high quality,smooth and easy to blend and you can create a myriad of looks from these 12 shades. And of course, it’s fabulous for year round use.

Milani Metallic Matte Liquid Lipcolour

Milani Metallic Lipcolour in Amor

This drugstore brand knows what it’s doing, it has for quite sometime. When I first heard of metallic mattes I couldn’t understand ,  to me metallic means shiny and matte means not shiny but it works. This lip colour dries down completely matte but maintains a vibrant metallic look. Due to my love of all red lipstick I chose this colour: Amor. Like the ABH palette, it wasn’t meant for holiday time specifically but if you out this colour on, you look instantly festive.

Spiced Gingerbread Cookie by Philosophy 

Spiced Gingerbread Cookie shower gel

Philosophy ,  I don’t know how you did it but it seems like you actually crumbled real spiced gingerbread cookies into this shower gel. This little bottle of Christmas cheer smells sweet and spicy but clean, not overwhelming in any way. The colour, a metallic copper tone is beautiful and as with all Philosophy products there is writing all over the front- this is an actual recipe for a gingerbread cookie ! Having a shower with this outs me in a great mood and makes me feel festive.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses


SJM, is a prolific YA/Fantasy Novelist with a number of popular series namely the “Throne of Glass” series. This book is the first in this series (A Court of Thorns and roses) This book comes highly recommend by just about every BookTuber (YouTube channels dedicate books) and book bloggers and the last series that came highly recommended :The Lunar Chronicles changed my life!

So this book, as far as I know has nothing to do with Christmas . But what males it festive for me is that I am looking forward to getting cozy and reading it over the holiday season.

Bath and Body Works candles 


BBW Candles

What festive holiday favourites list would be complete without at least one BBW item. BBW releases scents for all seasons and Christmas is one of the best in my opinion . I took it easy and only bought 3 of the large 3 wick candles which I got on sale for $12.50 US a piece.

Pictured here is :

Twisted Peppermint:-This is a strong one, and it smell exactly like peppermint. It’s a good pick me up king of candle.

Marshmallow Fireside– Thank goodness BBW changed the colour of this candle from that murky grey they used in the Fall release. Now it looks as beautiful as it smells. The scent is like a mild version of a toasted marshmallow, not super sweet like a lot of marshmallow scents are.

Winter Candy Apple– This candle smells delicious .  There is a tart undertone like you would expect from a crisp granny smith apple with a sweet but mellow overtone , like candy.

So these are a few of my festive things. What items make you feel like the holidays are here? Thanks for reading and have an awesome day ! 

Christmas Poem

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BLOG-Mas DAY 5



FESTIVE FEELS 

The tree , the wreath and the glittering centrepiece 

Shops decked out with lights , garland and fake snow 

Ironically worn ugly sweaters and sparkly nails 

Everyone happy with Holiday glow 

Spending money while sipping yuletide coffee drinks 

Christmas music playing , carols being sung 

Buzzing around spreading Holiday cheer 

Thinking cozy thoughts of eggnog and spiced rum 

Sharing moments with loved ones ; family and friends 

Jingles and sprinkles heard in the air 

Joyful feelings you hope never end 

Ah yes the festive feels are here 



Thanks for reading and have an awesome day ! 

DIY GIFT-SUCCULENT SPREAD

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Hello It’s December 4th. Know what that means? 21 days until Christmas! Today is the 3rd DIY gift tutorial so let’s get started.


Three succulents in a row


Succulents are great plants because even plant killers like myself have a hard time finishing them off. I’ve had one for over 2 years now and it’s still going strong(somewhat). For this reason, you can be comfortable gifting a succulent to anyone. It’s perfectly fine to give one small succulent as a gift but I think having a cluster in a pot looks even nicer and that’s what I did here.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Succulents – at least 3 but you can use as many as you like. I also recommend getting different colours and shapes. I was only able to get these three which are pretty similar in colour and size but still quite varied.

2) A plant pot -preferably with a wide opening, you can also use anything typically used as planters e.g wine crates, old bowls, tyres (tires)

3) Soil or potting mix

4) Decorative items– Decorative rocks or gravel are good for this, you can also use sand or other miscellaneous items. I used decorative gravel and wine corks (cause it’s what I had)

Wide mouthed pot

Decorative gravel 

Old wine corks – a testimony to my taste in wine (cheap)
WHAT TO DO 

Disclaimer: I am NOT a gardening extraordinaire so you might find better potting instructions elsewhere.

1) Place potting mix into pot.

Pot with soil
2) Remove succulents from their pots being sure to crumble away a bit of the soil and get the roots exposed. Place into pot and add more soil to cover up the roots.

TransPLANT your succulents 
3) Place wine corks in design around the plants.

Corks placed
4) Fill in remaining space with gravel.

Filled in with gravel (not sure what went on with the lighting there)
5) Add a tag and gift!

Finished product 



Review

This is a super easy DIY and it can be manifested so many different ways. You can use multiple colours of gravel (my initial intention but I found none) and create different designs, you can also use coloured sand, weathered glass, woodchips etc. 

Cost

The cost of this type of project can vary quite a bit depending heavily on the number and type of succulents you select, the ones I used cost 2.99 US each but they can run you all the way up to $12 or $15. The other major determining factor is the pot. I bought this muddy coloured clay  pot and saucer brand new and it cost me $10 US but you can use something you already own, plastic pots etc. The decorative items I already owned but garden gravel and sand are typically inexpensive . Regardless ,  this project is affordable . If you were to buy something similar from a garden store it would likely cost double or even triple what it costs you to make. 

This gift gives the recipient something to take care of but without too much responsibility  (like a pet but WAY easier). Plants also always add organic decor to any space. I think this is an excellent one of a kind gift.

See you tommorrow and have an awesome day !

DIY GIFT- Candle

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BLOG-Mas DAY 3

Hello  and welcome to day 3.  I am continuing my gift DIYs and today I am making a candle. There are two ways I do DIY candles, one is using wax from white candles and the other is using shortening. I never use kits sold in craft stores as they are just too expensive.

Apparently, shortening is an excellent burning agent and in post natural disaster zones people use a can of shortening with a wick and get light for up to 22 hours. #whoknew So this makes CRISCO the star of this show. I was so enamored with the idea of making g candles from shortening that last year I gave EVERYONE  homemade candles for Christmas.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Shortening  (the white thick stuff )

2) Fragrance – either fragrance oils or scented was cubes

3) Colouring agent- either coloured wax, maybe from an old candle or wax crayons.

4) Wick- This is the tricky bit. Wicks  are sold at craft stores and are a bit expensive ,  you can alternately use craft cord/twine but it needs to be soaked in a flammable liqiud (e.g olive oil or borax)and/or coated in wax. I learnt this the hard way.

5) Container- I chose a large jelly jar because they are so affordable and lend to the homemade vibe but you can use any heat resistant container e.g a mug or glass.

6) Duck tape (you’ll see why)

7) Scissors

Some of the ingredients : shortening , jelly jar, scented wax melts,wax crayons, wax coated craft cord.



WHAT TO DO 

1) Prepare your container

  a) Store bought wicks: Place wick and end into jar, glueing down if needed.                       

  b) Homemade wicks: 

i)    Cut a length of your cord (pre soaked and waxed) slightly longer than needed

ii)  Cut a small square of Duck tape.

iii)  Fold over tape being careful not to let it stick to itself, and cut a slit in it.

  iv)   Insert cord through slit in tape and allow it to stick to the tape.

  v) Place wick into jar and stick to bottom of the jar    

   

Cut slit into tape



Place wick through slit and allow to stick to tape



Stick onto bottom of jar



Ensure tape is stuck



  Wick secured     




 c) Take two pens/pencils/crochet needles (anything slim and cylindrical ) and tape them together at either end and feed the wick through the space in the centre – this will help keep the wick centred while the candle hardens.

Place pens on top of jar


2) Place shortening, scented wax melts (if you are using them) and crayons in a microwave safe bowl.

Notes:

 If you aren’t using wax scent but liquid instead don’t add this until the shortening has melted.

 Use highly pigmented crayons (I used Crayola) because the colour does get diluted once the candle hardens.

Use a bowl you aren’t attached to because there will likely be waxy residue no matter how well you clean it.

Shortening, scented wax and crayons


3) Melt in microwave in 30 second bursts stirring each time . 

Melted solution


4) Pour into jar, reposition wick ensuring it is central, place into refrigerator to harden.

Pour wax into jar


5) Allow candle to firm up completely, it takes about an hour but you can leave it longer.

Hardened wax of first layer


For my candle I wanted to make a two toned or bicolor one, so this was just part 1. If you only want one colour stop here, if you want multiple colours continue.

PART 2

6) Melt  shortening (along with scented wax melts and colour) – For this step I added no colour and decided to add a fragrance oil.

Melted shortening and scented oil



7) Pour carefully over already hardened wax- If your first layer isn’t completely set the colours will mix.There is likely to be some mixing regardless but if you are careful it will be minimal.

Pour second layer


8) Allow to harden.

Hardened second layer



9) Cut wick down.

Cut wick




EXTRAS


Name/Label

You can write on the label that usually comes with the jars or print one aND add it to the jar or the lid. You can give your candle a name or just write the name of the recipient on it. I named this one which is a mixture of vanilla sandlewood (coloured brownish red) and coconut (“white “) Merry and Bright -it was pretty random.

Decoration

Feel free to add some extra flare to the top of the candle e.g coloured wax shavings, coffee beans, dried flowers or whatever suits your scent or colour scheme . 

Add name



10) Add a bow and gift! OR keep it for yourself and light!

It’s lit!


Review

As far as being a candle, this works. I made a bunch last Christmas and kept one for myself which stayed solid all year round and burnt well. In terms of the scent, once you use wax melts or essential oils there is a good convincing scent. In terms of burn time they seem to burn more slowly than for example a BBW or Glade candle.

Cost

In terms of cost, the priciest item was the jar costing just under $2US, however if you are making multiple candles you can buy the jars in bulk or use other containers you already own. The shortening is extremely affordable and a large container can literally give you dozens of candles, the crayons cost less than $3 US for a box and you can get colours for multiple candles from one box. The wax scented cubes and essential oils are also very affordable and again you get so much use out of just one package or bottle. By my calculation this candle cost me approximately  $3.50 US to make and for that you get a one of a kind gift.

Try this and tell me how it goes and have an awesome day!

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