Monday, 21 December 2015

All things Christmassy - Chocolate Coated Candy Canes, Sweetie Tree & Snow Dome.

I adore this time of year ... I love making all the decorations for around the house, popping up the tree, making foliage garlands and foliage candles for the front door and homemade goodies to go into our stockings at Christmas. 

I had a few candy canes left over from my sweetie tree and sledge table presents so I decided to try my hand at chocolate coated candy canes…..

A quick five minute job…. or so I thought.  What could be difficult about melting some chocolate and covering a dozen or so candy canes!  Not a lot really but  after doing 20 I managed to pick up a few practical tips to share just in case you’re thinking about having a go at these:

My candy canes came in a box of 15 from Home Bargains and the chocolate I used was Milky Bar as it tastes better than cooking chocolate. Milk or dark chocolate will work equally as well but I wanted to stay with the red and white theme.  I also left my dipped candy canes plain but hundreds & thousands or some other cake topping would look lovely on these.

1. Chill (not freeze) the candy canes in the freezer first. If you freeze the canes they’ll be brittle and shatter.  Chilling the canes helps the chocolate cool and set quicker. 

2. I used a jug to melt my chocolate in. Because it’s deeper than a bowl it’s easier to get the chocolate higher up the canes. A mug would be even better in retrospect.

3. Melt the chocolate and then once melted, let it cool so that it’s ‘sluggishly' runny.  Again this makes it quicker for the chocolate to set and you don’t have to spend minutes at a time twiddling and rotating the canes as the chocolate cools.  

4. Once the chocolate has slightly cooled on the cane I popped each one into the bottom drawer of my freezer for a couple of minutes… this sets the chocolate completely and stops any drips that might spoil the look. I literally only left each cane in there a couple of minutes. Basically swopping them over each time I added a new cane

5. After the canes come out of the freezer set up a rack and hang them for a couple of hours before wrapping.  I wrapped mine in cello bags with some festive ribbon and a label.

This is a picture of my home made rack …. my red wine carafe, the wooden carafe coaster on top and then a stainless steel trivet on top of that….… Perfect.

I've found a new use for my red wine carafe!

Here's a close up of my candy canes....not perfect but then that's the fun of homemade.

Finally here are my canes wrapped and ready to pop into our Christmas Stockings….. a nice treat just perfect for stirring mugs of hot chocolate with on cold wintery nights or just munching your way through. Christmas is a time for treats after all.

Here's a picture of the sweetie tree I mentioned.... a little elongated but I'll make my oasis cone core wider when I try again next year.

This'll be lucky to last until Christmas!!!

And finally here is the snow dome I made........

I am so pleased at how this turned out

Here's my little ceramic house with a battery T light inside.

The base of my snow dome is a Royal Doulton cake plate that I've had for years and hardly ever use. I just flipped it over which left me with a lovely lip to contain the snow and  secure the glass dome in place. The dome itself is an old light shade that I kept as a replacement shade just in case I broke the shade on my hall ceiling light. Besides it's gorgeous and I always knew I could find a use for it..... it's was perfect for this project.

I didn't have any TH Xmas trees in my stash but I did have some bottle brushes that I thought would do the trick. I cut off the long wire handles and twisted the ends to form a stand which I then taped to the base of my plate.

Even though I sprayed the bristles with green DS it didn't take and they remained brown. The Rock Candy Distress Glitter did take though and this softened the brown. I used hot glue to adhere self adhesive half pearls (for permanence) and then finally added a generous spray of artificial snow.  A happy accident was that some of the snow did pick up the green DS and added a green tinge to the trees.... perfect.

My little house also got a generous sprinkling of snow.  The final touch was to add snow to the base. I didn't want to use the spray snow as I wanted it to be fluffier and softer. Instead I used a packet of artificial snow that I've had in my stash for awhile... it's shimmery, very fine plastic, almost holographic (very hard to describe I'm afraid) and is sometimes used in baubles etc.  This gave me the effect I was after....softy drifts of fluffy snow.It's a good job it's contained inside the doom as the slightest breeze sends it swirling through the air.

As a normal T light wouldn't stay lit inside the dome and would probably have been a fire hazard in a any event,  I opted for a battery operated T light inside my ceramic house.  

I'm delighted how it turned out but I'll probably do a little more tweaking before I'm finished.  I 'd like to add a small die-cut snow-topped picket fence to the scene and also some tiny stars and/or snow balls.....don't you just love playing!!!

I hope you like me sharing some of my holiday creations. Thank you so much for popping by. Have a magical Christmas one and all.

Love & hugs every one.

Carol. x

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