All posts by Revamperate

I’ve Moved!

Happy Sunday! I’m happy to announce I have a brand new website at www.revamperate.com that I hope you’ll follow as I will no longer be posting here. Check it out for my latest recipes, projects and other updates.

Thanks for the support!

xo – Holly

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Christmas Decor: Floating Ornaments

Christmas Decor: Floating Ornaments | Revamperate Christmas Decor: Floating Ornaments | RevamperateEvery day, it feels more and more like Christmas as I see more decorations going up at home, at work and everywhere else. I just wish it weren’t going by so quickly! I’m happy to say I’m almost done with holiday shopping though, so I’ll just give myself a little pat on the back. Considering I’ve worked in retail for the last FIVE Christmases, I am happy to stay away from the malls this time of year. As inviting as the sales are, I don’t miss the craziness of holiday shoppers stressing me out. That being said, I’m totally looking forward to my (hopefully) last round of holiday shopping this weekend. Renegade Craft Fair is coming back to LA this weekend, so you know where I’ll be!

Anyway, if you’re still looking for easy dollar decor for the holidays, look no further. These floating ornaments will cost you almost nothing! You’ll need:

  • Clear fishing line
  • Clear thumbtacks
  • Plastic Christmas ornaments
  • Scissors

It’s probably as easy as you’d expect – purchase several ornaments from a dollar store (usually sold in bulk for a dollar) in different colors or patterns that match your holiday decor. You can also buy large packs of complementing ornaments from stores like Target for pretty cheap.

Cut several varying lengths of clear fishing line, ranging from 1-3 feet depending on your home. Tie one end of the line tightly to the ornaments and the other to thumbtacks, and pin them to your ceiling about 6 inches apart in no particular pattern. Keep the ornaments hanging at varying lengths and several inches apart for best results.Christmas Decor: Floating Ornaments | Revamperate Christmas Decor: Floating Ornaments | RevamperateI hung these ornaments above my dining room table, acting as a type of centerpiece in an area where I had less holiday decor. I also had to take into account the fact that I have a cat who loves to jump on my tables and counter tops, so I didn’t want the balls hanging too low. These would also look pretty in a corner, perhaps with longer strings, or you could hang them in your window if you have a short overhang to stick the thumbtacks.

Have fun with it and enjoy decorating for Christmas! After all, you only get to do this once a year.

Peppermint Frosting

Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love peppermint and chocolate. It reminds me of Christmas, so of course, I couldn’t resist making a few peppermint chocolate sweets this month. In fact, I’m sure I will make several more this month to celebrate while I can.

Anyway, I’ll get down to the point. I kept it pretty easy with this peppermint frosting recipe by adding it atop chocolate cupcakes made from box mix. It really is so much easier and a big time saver. Plus, the frosting is the real focal point here. The cake just complements it!Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateTo frost about 14 cupcakes, you need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy
  • 1 drop of pink or red food coloring (optional)

First, mix together the softened butter and powdered sugar. Then add the extracts, beating well before adding one drop of food coloring. The color just brightens it up a bit, so one drop will do.

Frosting tip: always add liquid ingredients after the butter and sugar have been well combined, otherwise your frosting may not achieve the right texture. I’ve made this mistake before and it really does make a difference.

Place a handful of peppermint candies into a plastic bag and use a hard object (I use a rolling pin) to break them into pieces. Then use the rolling pin to crush them as fine as you possibly can. You can also use a food processor if you have a good enough one – mine would break if I tried to crush hard candy.Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateMix in the crushed peppermint, setting aside the larger pieces for topping. Then top chocolate cupcakes with this colored peppermint frosting and garnish with crushed candy for a perfect yet simple holiday cupcake. Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark: Two Ways

Peppermint Bark | RevamperateI’m all about the peppermint, guys. Mint and chocolate are a heavenly combination for me, so I really take advantage of all of the treats this time of year. In honor of my strong bond with peppermint, I made some peppermint bark, but I tried a new way of doing things. See, the easiest way, as you may know, is to spread out the chocolate on a piece of wax paper and break off pieces.

Instead of doing things the easy way this time (still a big advocate of the “easy way”), I tried to use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of the chocolate. It kind of works and kind of doesn’t so here are two different ways you can make shaped peppermint bark as well as two different sets of ingredients you can use. I’m totally bias here – I’ll tell you what I liked best and what worked for me, but figure out what works best for YOU. I still love the look of the shaped ones because they look really pretty as a gift.Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Peppermint Bark | Revamperate The first set of ingredients:

  • Chocolate chips or cocoa candy melts
  • White chocolate chips
  • Peppermint candy

The second set of ingredients:

  • Chocolate chips or cocoa candy melts
  • Peppermint candy melts

As you can see, you can either use peppermint candy melts (the easiest way) or you can use white chocolate and sprinkle it with crushed peppermint (the slightly harder way). Personally, I still prefer using white chocolate and crushing the peppermint topping myself, but the candy melts still do taste great. You can crush the candy by placing unwrapped pieces into a zip-lock bag and using something heavy (I use the end of a rolling pin) to break them into smaller pieces. Then I use a rolling pin to further crush small pieces. Like I said, this just my opinion. They both taste like peppermint bark!

Now, moving on to the different ways to fill the stencil with chocolate. First, lay multiple cookie cutters on a parchment lined baking sheet. Melt the milk or dark chocolate first – melt on defrost mode in 20 second increments until smooth. You can either use a spoon to pour the chocolate into the mold, or you can move the chocolate to a piping bag to distribute it into the mold.

Pros: It’s easier and a little faster to use a spoon, but the piping bag makes it easier to reach corners of the mold.

Cons: Using a piping bag tends to take longer, but using a spoon means you have to use something else (like a knife or toothpick) to move the chocolate into small crevices.

Once the dark chocolate has hardened (which takes longer for chocolate chips than candy melts), you have two more options. You can either leave the the candy in the mold or you can gently remove it. It is difficult to remove the peppermint bark without breaking it, which is why it can help to remove it before you add the next layer.

Pros: The chocolate is much easier to remove when you only have one layer, but leaving it inside the mold keeps the next layer looking significantly cleaner.

Cons: The thicker the bark, the more difficult it is to remove from the mold, but if you remove it early, the peppermint layers won’t look very clean.

Personally, for the aesthetic aspect of it, I preferred to leave it in the mold because it looks much better. If you gift it with it still in the mold, you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking it.Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Next, repeat the process with either the white chocolate or the peppermint candy. Before it dries, sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top of the white chocolate. Then let the chocolate harden. If it is still in the mold, you can use a spoon or piping bag to fill it in. If you’ve removed it from the mold, you would need to use a piping bag to shape the candy as best you can, which is quite difficult to do. I wasn’t pleased with the final look of this technique, but it did keep my bark from breaking.

In summary, I actually think the best choice is to leave the peppermint bark inside of the mold until you are ready to eat it or gift it. After all, it’s pretty heartbreaking when it breaks after you’ve worked so hard to make it look nice. However, if you grease the sides of the cookie cutter with some oil, it can be easier to slip the chocolate out of the mold. I also preferred the white chocolate with crushed peppermint over the candy melts because of the crunch and look – it’s easier to hide imperfections with candy topping.Peppermint Bark | RevamperateNow, get out there and make some beautiful and delicious peppermint bark! Enjoy!

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateWhat treats come to mind when you think of Christmas? Eggnog? Peppermint? Pie? Well, I just think of cookies. Sometimes even pie cookies and cookies with peppermint or eggnog. Yeah, those are real things I’m planning. I’m actually really excited because this is the only time of year it’s social acceptable to share eggnog recipes.

Anyway, this cookie is a classic one with a Christmas spin. These classic sugar cookies feature red and green spirals (aka pinwheel cookies) to get you in the holiday mood. You can also see how I used this recipe to make autumn themed sugar cookies with royal icing a while back.

To make 20-25 cookies, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • Red and green food coloring

First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.

Separate the dough into two large balls and use your knuckle to push a small hole in each piece. In one, add about 4 drops of red food coloring, and in the other add about 4 drops of green (note, this can get messy so wear gloves if you prefer). Use your hands to close the opening and, one at a time, massage the food coloring into the dough until it is not longer streaky. Add more food coloring until you reach you desired color. I kind of looked like I’d beat someone after I finished kneading the red dough because my hands were covered in red coloring…but luckily it’s washable!

Sprinkle some flour on the waxed paper and on a rolling pin, and roll out each piece of dough separately until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If you can, try to maintain the same shape between the two colors. Then peel one piece off of the paper and place it on top of the other, evening it out as much as you can. If needed, use the rolling pin to gently roll over the dough to maintain shape. Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateStarting at one end, roll the dough into a log as tightly as you can without tearing it. Leave it on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once chilled, it should be a little stiffer and easier to cut. Using a sharp non-cerated knife, cut off a 1/2 wide slide at the end of the dough (set aside if the dough didn’t match up). Reshape into a circle with your hands if needed and continue to cut until you have used the entire log. Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateBake on 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes until the edges begin to lightly brown. Baking times will vary depending on the thickness of the cookies. Let them cool on a cooling rack before devouring, and enjoy! These holiday cookies make a nice holiday party item for your friends, family or coworkers. For an added touch, you can also roll the sides in sprinkles before baking if you’re a sprinkle fanatic (yeah, that’s a real thing). Now get baking!

Feather Glass Christmas Ornament

DSC_1213 DSC_1210Homemade Christmas ornaments open up a new world of opportunities. OK, that sounds dramatic. Really though. Those clear glass ornaments give you an endless amount of options – you can fill them, paint them, glue things to them. The world is your oyster.

I know it seems weird for me to be so dramatic about Christmas ornaments, but you get my point, right? With just a couple dollar store glass ornaments, you can create so many things, and here’s one of them: fill a glass ornament with feathers.

Yes, it’s that simple. Cut feathers down to size if necessary and carefully maneuver them into a glass ornament, using your finger or a pen to move them around inside of the orb until you reach your desired look. Then pop the metal cap on and use a piece of ribbon to tie a bow around it for hanging.DSC_1205This incredibly easy ornament makes a wonderful Christmas gift or would look lovely on your own tree. You can also personalize it with a silver or gold Sharpie marker or even a little puffy paint on the glass. No would would ever guess that it is so quick, cheap and easy. Enjoy!

DIY Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament

Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | Revamperate Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | Revamperate Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | RevamperateIt’s finally feeling like Christmas in my little apartment, and I’m enjoying every second of it! Filling up the Christmas tree isn’t hard to do with my growing collection of ornaments, but you can never really have too many ornaments, right? This year, Andrew and I combined our ornament collections (talk about commitment!) and filled up the tree pretty nicely, but that wasn’t about to stop me from making even more. My family has a tradition that every year for Thanksgiving, we hold an ornament exchange, so my collection grow exponentially every year – mostly with cat and owl ornaments. They know me so well!

Well, I wanted to share a few easy ornament DIYs this month that make both excellent gifts and great tree fillers for those empty spaces on your tree. This one goes out to all of the foodies and especially the macaron lovers! Making this ornament will take you about 5 minutes – as long as it takes to heat up a glue gun.Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | RevamperateYou’ll need:

  • 2 bottle caps (twist off are better because they are not dented)
  • Paint and a paintbrush
  • Glitter (that compliments the paint color)
  • Glue gun
  • Ribbon

First, paint both bottle caps while your glue gun heats up, and paint a second coat once the first has dried. Use the glue gun to glue both ends of the ribbon to the inside of one bottle cap, leaving a 2-inch loop for the ornament to hang from. Then carefully glue around the inside of the bottle cap and secure the other bottle cap to it, insides facing each other. At this point, the glue shouldn’t be showing. Once cooled enough to touch, slowly glue around the crack between the bottle caps and sprinkle glitter on it before it dries. Because the glue hardens quickly, you can also do this in separate pieces. Slow is better and will keep it looking clean! Let it dry and pull off any glue strings. Then you’re ready to go!Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | Revamperate Bottle Cap Macaron Christmas Ornament | RevamperateHang this macaron ornament on your free or give it as a gift to the macaron-lover in your life. Enjoy!