Dec 20, 2012

Cute Christmas Crafts and Confections!

I'm not quite sure what it is about the holiday season that makes this the case, but whenever the weather gets cooler and the jingles start playing, it seems like everyone gets a lot craftier and barks start popping up left right and center! I'll address the craftiness in the second part of the post, but we'll start with the yummy chocolate barks :)

Arno Chocolates is a super sweet small business specializing in all sorts of chocolate barks.

They use all natural ingredients, make their barks from hand, and are dedicated to giving back to the community by supporting organizations supporting cancer survivors, victims of domestic abuse, etc. (read more about their efforts here).

And while peppermint bark is their most popular variety, their bark isn't just for Christmas!

I mean, it's great for Christmas. But it's also great for other occasions, like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthdays, teacher appreciation days, and just life in general. There are so many flavors!

I tried the peppermint bark, pretzel & toffee bark, caramel crunch bark, roasted almond bark, and coconut almond bark. Across the board, they were delicious!

They don't skimp on the mix-ins, but the mix-ins don't take over either. There's always something delightfully crunchy in every bite, but there's also lots of smooth, creamy chocolate around it. They're also, for my tastes, just the right thickness.

My favorite is the peppermint bark, perhaps because it just tastes so Christmassy - smooth white chocolate studded with peppermint crumbles, over intense dark chocolate base. YUM.

The other flavors are really good, too - the pretzel and toffee is my next favorite bark, with the delightful combination of crunchy nuts and sweet toffee in dark chocolate (all of these barks were dark chocolate based). 

After that comes the caramel crunch, because the caramel was Werther's quality good and the sweetness of the toffee with the creaminess of the chocolate paired amazingly with the sea salt. The saltiness brings out the sweetness!

After that is the roasted almond, which also has that great sweet and salty flavor combo going on, with buttery slivered almonds.

Last is the coconut almond. It's only last for two reasons: first, I'm not super wild about coconut (though I do enjoy it now and then in some things). Second, simply because all the barks are so great and one of them had to come last!

Seriously, there isn't a single one of these that I wouldn't recommend. And there are way more flavors, like S'Mores, Lime, Irish Cream, Coffee, etc.

YUM. Now that you're all craving chocolate, let's get to the crafty portion of the post :)

The whole I-want-to-bake-all-day-every-day thing, despite the fact that I shudder to even look at a stove in the summer, kind of makes sense around Christmas. But why I suddenly get way too excited at the sight of glitter and construction paper?

I don't know! Christmas just makes crafting magical!

And there's a lot of shiny stuff to be had :)

Anywho, here are some cute Christmas crafts if you're feeling like putting on your DIY dirndl this year!

What, is that not a thing? If the thinking cap can be a thing, so can the DIY dirndl.

Back when I was a Girl Scout, I used to love making homemade ornaments around Christmastime. I also loved doing Secret Santa and the holiday party!

Personalized Holiday Gifts
From Crunchy Frugalista
All you need is a clear ornament, some glitter, and a lot of imagination, cookies, egg nogg, and Christmas music!

We also made popcorn garlands now and then, but I've never been a fan. They just don't look properly Christmas-y, or pretty, to me! I much prefer tinsel and lights - but this candy garland is a step in the right direction.

From Craftsmumship
I made this (to take a word from the Whos of Whoville) hideodorous wreath out of gold-spray painted elbow macaroni and styrofoam in elementary school. Like this, only elbow instead of bow-tie macaroni:

From Stonewall Kitchen

My mom must really love me, because she only threw it out a few years ago! And we even had it hanging up in the house for several years!

I never did this (I think) but I did a lot of crafts with toilet paper rolls as a kid. These Christmas treat bucket critters are pretty cute!

From Kiki Creates

And you can put candy inside and send them along with your child to school for their friends, if you have a little one in grade school!

I did love making painted pinecones - only I spray painted them. Usually silver or gold :)

Paint Dipped Pinecones3 Paint Dipped Pinecones

But this would be cool, too, especially if you drowned it in glitter afterwards.

Glitter makes everything awesome-r. Motto of my life:

Especially if it's both!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmaaaaas, everywhere I go!!

Do you like to DIY?

Do you get more creative around the holidays?

Do you like doing Secret Santa?

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