My Adventure in Making Apple Swans Turns Jurassic

By Michelle D.


Recently, I watched this fantastic video on how to make art out of fruit and vegetables by Scrumdiddlyumptious. I was super inspired by the swans. Here was this incredibly creative way to make wonderful edible decorations that would be right at home at either a kid’s birthday party or an outdoor wedding reception. Talk about versatile! Also, I happened to have apples on hand so swans it was.


The first part of carving an apple into a swan is to make the body. I used a large apple to give myself more surface area to work with. I took one apple and cut it in half. This is the base of the body. The wings are made from nested V cuts and boy they are nowhere near as easy as they look in the video. I had to swap to a paring knife halfway through for better control. The apple skin was more resistant than the flesh so my knife kept biting deeper than I expected it to, every time it pierced through the skin.

Slice the apple in half to form the body


Make nested V cuts to form the wings

Next was the neck. I cut a slab from the other half of the apple. Then, I carved a “7” out of it. It is much easier carving the neck with the apple slice on the cutting board and the knife held vertically as opposed to trying to do it in my hand. Apparently, apples are fragile carving material, haha. My first neck did not go as planned. I didn’t realize the chef shallowed out the cut at the end and ended up making a plain C shape. Fortunately, it was easy enough to salvage.


The last step is to mount the neck on the body with a toothpick. My apple was starting to brown by the time I finished the swan. This was partly because I was going slow to be cautious, taking tons of photos, and new at the craft. It still is something to account for. If I were going to make a whole flotilla of swans for a party I would definitely be sprinkling them with lemon juice to halt the oxidization. I chose not to do a fancy crest or seed for an eye as I liked the plain look.


Now for the dinosaur!

I admit, the first apple swan did not make it. Instead it became a dinosaur. An apple brontosaurus is a much easier edible animal. I used one of my swan necks, cut a half round thick slice of apple for the body, cut a c out of the body, and boom. Dinosaur.


Now to eat my delicious and healthy creations!

Here is the video I used to make these lovely Apple Swans.  Watch it and make your own, then share your photos so that we can see your awesome creations!


Homemade Valentine's Day Chocolate Hearts Recipe

By Michelle D.

Valentine’s Day is upon us!

For as long as I can remember my mom has always made chocolate dipped strawberries for every special occasion; especially for weddings and Valentine’s Day. This year my sister chose to continue the tradition and made a batch for her beau. After she finished, I grabbed the chocolatey double boilers and decided to try something new. I present to you, homemade Valentine’s Day chocolate hearts! I wanted to do a new twist on our family tradition and to make something truly personal to give thanks to all the wonderful people around me.

This is a fun and easy to make treat that melts in your mouth. I made these delicious hearts for my family and friends alike. They are a great way to creatively express your love to those around you.

To make these Valentine's Day Chocolate Hearts, I first laid a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. This is where my creations will come into existence. I then set up my double boiler by adding water in the bottom pot. The upper bowl should rest on the rim of the pot. NOTE: The bowl should not be floating. If it feels floaty, drain some of the water.



To start melting the chocolate, I placed the double boiler on medium heat and added a half a bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 tablespoon of shortening to the double boiler bowl. Using the scraper, I stirred fairly often. The shortening helps the chocolate chips dissolve and makes the final chocolate hearts less likely to crack.


Once the chocolate is thoroughly melted, I stirred the chocolate mixture a few times using a teaspoon. This helped heat up the teaspoon and made the next step easier.

To form the hearts I loaded the warm teaspoon with about 3/4 full and with smooth sure strokes, made a V shape. This stage takes practice and patience but everyone in my family is happy to eat the “less than perfect” hearts, haha. What is really neat about this recipe is that anyone making the chocolate can drip it to make whatever design they wish. This recipe is extremely versatile.




To add a different flavored chocolate drizzle to the top, I simply made all of the base shapes first. Then I cleaned the double boiler and added a fresh round of the alternative chocolate and shortening. Here I have drizzled semi-sweet dark chocolate over milk chocolate. To get fine stripes, after the dark chocolate has melted, I dipped a fork into the mix and stirred. Then I used the fork to quickly flick dark chocolate on to the base shapes. For thicker doodles I used a small spoon. Feel free to experiment with chocolate combinations! They all turn out delicious.

Next, I set the tray of finished hearts aside to cool. After 30 minutes or so they were firm enough to peel off the parchment paper. If the hearts do not want to come off easily, I give them a bit more time to set up.


After I removed them from the parchment paper and placed them on a plate, they were ready to enjoy.


To make your own Valentine's Day chocolate hearts here are the tools and ingredients you will need.  You can then download the recipe by clicking the image below and saving it to your computer.

Tools:
1 Double Boiler
1 Scrapper
1 Teaspoon
1 Fork
Parchment Paper
Cookie Sheet

Ingredients:
1-2 Bags Chocolate Chips
Shortening


njoy your delicious homemade Valentine’s Day hearts!


DIY: How to Make a Washcloth Bunny



Valentine's Day and Easter are just around the corner. This is the time when homemade items can truly show how much we love and care for one another.  Whether it be delicious baked goods like cookies or a fun little craft to put beside a box of chocolates, a little touch of personalization is a must.  



Because I love to include little handmade crafts with my gifts, I did a search for something fun to make. While on Pinterest, I found a 'how to' on how to make a towel teddy bear.  It is an absolutely adorable craft that is pretty easy to make for almost any crafter.  Basically you roll up a towel on both sides to form a hot dog bun, fold it in half and twist to make the body, rubber band the head, rubber band the ears, fluff, and display.   Using those simple steps I created this little guy.

While I was creating this teddy bear made from a washcloth, my mom saw me and exclaimed that she used to make these and that her favorite is the bunny.  I blinked with confusion.  Who knew there were other animals that could be made from a washcloth. I had to know her secret and insisted she share her talents.  The bunny, as it turns out, is far easier than the bear!  Here are the instructions to make the bunny.

Materials

  • 1 Washcloth
  • 1 rubber band
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 1 nose
  • 1 12" long ribbon

Directions

  1. Lay a washcloth flat on a flat surface with one corner facing you
  2. Starting from a corner, roll the washcloth into a long tube
  3. Fold the tube in half
  4. Fold the tube in half again with the two ends going on top of the curved end
  5. Rubber band the most recent folded end to form the cheeks of the bunny, tie a ribbon around the rubber band
  6. Prop the ears up
  7. Glue on a nose, the eyes, and a fluffy tail. Let dry. 
  8. Display and enjoy.
 

So adorable! Be sure to share pics of your creations in the comments below.  We would love to see them.