Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ringing Out 2013 With Thanks and A Look Back

I'm still not sure how the heck it got to be New Year's Eve 2013 already. Blink and a year goes by it seems. As with all years in our lives there are somethings I will be more than glad to say goodbye to in 2013 but thankfully much more I'll look back on with fond memories.

First a thanks to all who continue to hang around my little corner of the blogosphere. When I started blogging almost four years ago, I had no idea what I was doing ( not sure that still isn't the case) or where it would lead. I've seen some of the blogs that started out when I did come and go; others take off into huge blogs; others remain, like me the tortoise and not the hare: slow(er) and steady. I think I'm just fine with that pace.

I've had some amazing opportunities to work with incredible brands and sponsors. Definitely want to continue that into the New Year. I've shared laughs and some tears with readers and definitely want to continue the laughs in the New Year but life being what it is, there will be some tears and those are easier to bear when shared. I've been honored beyond measure to have some of my work featured at blogs like homework, Someday Crafts, and curated sites like LooksiSquare.

It was fun to take a look back at some of the posts that resonated with my readers in 2013 and sharing some of them here. Again, thank you for being part of the chocolate fueled fun here at The Answer Is Chocolate. I hope you find a reason to continue in 2014! Happy New Year chocoholic friends.

Top Posts of 2013: 

I love playing with coffee filters and in January made this "medium time" coffee filter wreath which resonated with readers:

Still one of my favorite projects ever, this one was popular with readers too: Eggshells Under Glass

The most viewed project of 2013 was this silkscreened box and votive ( thank you Plaid and Blueprint Social):

Some jewelry projects were popular too like this copper and silver birds nest necklace and bracelet: 

and another post that gave me an opportunity to work with Plaid, Martha Stewart, and The Blueprint Social:

Halloween crafting is one of my absolute favorites and you also liked these projects: 


Glitter Finish Stars and Pumpkin using Martha's new decoupage finishes.

You also liked these painted appetizer plates made as a Hanukkah gift for a friend ( she liked them too!)  and most recently, these little bleached bottlebrush trees were a hit. 

Wishing you all a very Happy and safe New Year's Eve. Looking forward to more fun in 2014!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #137

The Answer Is Chocolate

Happy Boxing Day everyone! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. This week's party is featureless and I'll resume features after the New Year. In the mean time if you're not too pooped to party, party on! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Elegant and Easy: Dollar Tree Candle Hostess Gift and Table Favors

Dollar Tree Candles

Tall jar ( prayer) candles are a staple in my craft stash. I love altering them and they make easy and affordable gifts. I pick mine up at Dollar Tree and in all my trips there, I’ve looked at but not picked up the lidded jar candles in the same section. Until now.

Dollar Tree Jar Candles

While I was at DT, I also found this gorgeous tissue paper…natural colored with metallic dots! It comes in silver, gold and red dots. I bought the silver and gold. Why didn’t I buy the red???

For this project you need:
  • Small jar candles ( as mentioned Dollar Tree)
  • Tissue Paper
  • Decoupage Medium ( I used Martha Stewart Matte)
  • Ribbon and beads to embellish
Remove labels from candle. I was so happy that these came right off. Cut tissue paper into strips ( 1.5 x 8 ). Coat glass with decoupage medium and apply tissue. Go over top of tissue with more decoupage medium. Let dry. Embellish with ribbon and beads. Done!

Dollar Tree Candle Table Favors

I always like to have a table favor on my holiday tables. A little something guests can take home with them to remember the occasion. I made these for each of my Christmas dinner guests and have them at each place setting.

Tissue Papered Jar Candles

Easy, affordable, and I hope elegant. Tis also the season for parties and hostess gifts. I made the tall candle for a friend hosting a treat exchange.

Tall Altered Glass Candle

Instead of paper, I wrapped the candle in a scrap of drop cloth. I bought this huge drop cloth at Home Depot a few years ago to use as a tablecloth and ended up cutting it up and using it for all kinds of things. And anyone wonders why the Home Depot people look at me funny?

Kaiser Craft Holly Leaf

I used the Glitter Finish Martha Stewart decoupage medium for this one. The focal is this little Kaiser Craft laser cut wood holly piece I picked up in the scrapbooking section somewhere. I added self adhesive rhinestones and glued on some additional jewels and wrapped the center of the candle with ribbon yarn.

Tall Altered Glass Candle

To finish, I tied on a big glittered bell and two small bells using plain twine.

Glitter Polka Dot Jar Candles

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #136 "We're In Crunch Mode People!"

The Answer Is Chocolate

OK people. It's crunch time! Less than a week to go before Christmas. More exciting here at the Chocolate house is: THREE DAYS UNTIL COLLEGE BOY COMES HOME!!!!! Not that I'm at all excited. 

Let's take a look at some of the fantastic ideas shared last week and then see what you busy elves have been up to this week. 

I have so much fun walking through Dollar Tree and seeing what I can come up with from what I find. So does Shellie from Saving With Shellie who made this glam gold wreath without having to break the bank. 

Shellie's wreath would look great next to this genius idea from Rachel at Holy Craft. Rachel used up some of her vinyl scraps to make this beautiful gold dot tree using an old window . I can easily see a big heart for Valentine's Day using this technique. 

Wesens Art shared these adorable Wineglass Lampshades. Don't you love the silhouette of the reindeer from the tealight? Again, infinite possibilities for any occasion. 

Oh dear. Bad enough that Hershey's has come out with a chocolate spread but Karyn from Pint Sized Baker has gone and gotten her hands on it. That can only mean more temptation like these mini no-bake cheesecakes. Trouble!

On to this week's party!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Did You Know There Were Triple Double Oreos? Oh and Snowman Goodie Bags and Ornaments

College Treats 2013

By now my readers know that I love to send treats to College Boy whenever I get the chance. Those of you who’ve been here through "my" college journey have heard me say that college kids really do love being kids again especially during the stress of finals.

This year I went with a Snowman  / Winter theme and decided to go with dipped Oreos which are my go to treat. I actually screamed out loud in the grocery store when I saw these:

Triple Double Oreos

Triple Double Oreos! The regular filling and chocolate filling and three layers of the cookie all in one. Had to get!

Dipped Triple Double Oreos

And because clearly there wasn’t enough sugar involved as is, I dipped them in confetti candy melts and sprinkled them with sugar pearls and snowflakes ( All cookie decorating supplies: Wilton). The look like they’ve been dipped in snow .

I found some Lindt Truffles at the store that matched the color scheme of the bags I had as well as the confetti candy melt:

Lindt Truffles

White chocolate and dark chocolate and the blue and black wrapping was perfect.

Triple Double Oreo Goodie Bags

The dipped cookies and truffles went in cello snowman bags and then I picked up individual hot chocolate packages to go with each goodie bag. I finished everything off with a snowman ornament for each of the recipients.

Frosty Ornaments

Snowman Treats

The ornaments were super super easy!

  • Clear Glass Ornaments ( I used the flat round ones you can find these at any craft store)
  • Mod Podge
  • Glitter
  • Self Adhesive Rhinestones
  • Glitter Glue ( I used ZAZZ Copper )

Snowman Ornament Supplies

I swizzled the ornaments with a little alcohol and water to clean them and once dry poured in some Mod Podge:

Mod Podge Ornaments

Swirl your MP around inside the ornament until fully coated, pour in glitter, shake to coat. Turn your ornaments upside down in a cup to drain and dry.

I used self adhesive rhinestones for the eyes and mouth and just freehand drew the nose with the glitter glue tip. SO EASY!

Frosty Ornaments

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vintage Winter Wonderland Mantle

Vintage Christmas Mantle 2013

Are you a traditionalist who uses the same decorations each year no matter what, or are you someone who has to have a new look every year? Or, are you like me… a combination of both?

Thought I’d share this year’s mantle which is a combination of new additions and repurposed pieces from prior years.

VIntage Repurposed Christmas Jar

New to the mantle this year are my Vintage Christmas Vignette in a Jar and Bleached Bottlebrush Trees.  I decided I wanted a “Winter Wonderland” theme this year so chose metallics and white as my color scheme.

Ornament Display

Since I do like to change things up I try to keep it budget friendly so after Christmas shopping is a staple. I picked up these glittered sleigh ornaments last year for 50% off at Macy’s and then filled them with small gold ornaments ( also a post-Christmas find). Topped with a metal snowflake ornament.

Vintage Christmas Mantle Silver

I made the silver tinsel trees a couple of years ago with supplies from Dollar Tree. To change them up I swapped out the previously red pom poms in the middle of the snowflake toppers with gold. A silver mercury glass tree topper rests in a stemmed votive holder…more after Christmas deals from prior years.

Vintage Mantle 2013

A DIY hurricane vase ( $1 candlestick glued to $1 vase…thank you Dollar Tree) is filled with silver and gold balls and some epsom salt snow.  I collect Marc Roberts faeries and this one matched my mantle so he sits atop another stemmed votive. To complete my mantle, I added metallic silver and gold glittered tulle.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #135

The Answer Is Chocolate

Happy Friday eve all! Hope everyone is managing to stay dry and warm. YIKES...we're less than two weeks out from Christmas already and if last week's party is any indication, you all are on top of things. I am counting down the days until College Boy comes home. I want the time to go by fast and slow at the same time.  Here are just a few ideas that caught my eye. 

Gifts don't have to be huge or expensive to be thoughtful.  Stacey at Glued to My Crafts has an easy way to show your thanks or complete your stocking stuffers.

Fonda, over at Southern Scraps has I think my favorite upcycled sweater idea EVER. Combine an old but festive sweater with embroidery hoops for adorable ornaments to keep or give as gifts. 

How totally awesome is this washi tape reindeer? I can't count the ways. Visit the guys at Crafty Lumberjacks for the details. So many possibilities. 

This week's chocolate feature is almost too eat. Who wouldn't love a piece of this gorgeous Chocolate Mont Blanc cake? Katerina from Culinary Favors shares the steps for making this incredible creation. 

Now it's time to see what everyone's been up to. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dollar Store Decor: Chalkboard JOY Sign

Chalkboard JOY Tray

Sometimes you have a project in mind and you go in search of the supplies. Other times, you pick up something for your stash knowing that you’ll use it someday. And yet other times, you stumble upon something that gives you the spark to use stuff you already had on hand (because you picked it up knowing you'd use it someday) .  I know I'm not alone.

For this project you will need:
  • “Silver” oval tray from Dollar Tree
  • Chalkboard paint (I used Martha Stewart)
  • Chalk
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue
I have a few of these Dollar Tree silver trays in my stash. I mean they’re $1 so they're useful for something right? Maybe even to serve food.

Dollar Tree SIlver Tray

What I didn’t have (and still don’t know what they’re for) are the mini silver trays that coordinate. Tea bag holders? Dunno. I stumbled upon them at an antique store and for a few dollars, thought “there’s a project here somewhere and oh hey, tray stash at home” which turned out to be adding some additional decorations to my dining room for Christmas.

First the big tray:
Chalkboard Painted Tray

Paint the inside of the tray with chalkboard paint. Let dry completely between coats. I did three coats. I also learned by the third coat that a foam brush works better than a bristle brush. The instructions said to let the paint cure for at least 24 hours. Patient crafting is not my thing but I did it.

Chalkboard Conditioned Tray

To condition your chalkboard before you write anything on it, cover the surface with chalk. This is a good way to let your inner child out. Especially if you’re in a bad mood. Scribble that mood away! Wipe the surface with a clean cloth then do your thing.  I kept it simple and just wrote JOY. I’ll probably change it to 2014 for New Year’s. See…d├ęcor mileage!

Hot glued gold ribbon the the back and made a bow and glued it to the front and washi taped it to two pictures in our dining room. 

Holiday Lampshade

Holiday Decor Lamps

I decided that the mini trays would be a fun way to decorate our dining room light fixture. This is one of those idea that make Mr. Chocolate say “ What goes in in that head? " This is also when I know he likes a project.

Process is the same only after I conditioned my chalkboard, I used a paint pen to write the words. Glued a satin ribbon the back of each and then tied to each of the six lamps on my fixture.

Mini Chalkboard Trays

I could also see these as place cards, or buffet food markers or used to embellish a glass jar candle….or yep that’s what goes on in this head. Of course I have no idea what they’re supposed to be used for and no intention of finding out!

Since I already had the paint and chalk on hand, cost was around $5.

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