Kbatz Kraft: DIY Flower Pens

I love zany pens – especially goofy or oversize flower pens and buy a bunch at a time whenever I see them in the Dollar Store so I have a back up when one runs out of ink. Yes, the bane of these fun conversation pieces (that no one can nonchalantly steal from us overprotective pen lovers) is that eventually, the ink ceases to flow. Occasionally I’ll leave a cool one in the pen cup, but then you inevitably end up grasping for that one working pen among the pretty but useless accumulation. Bulk pen options online look to be only cutesy daisies or rose wedding favors that feel cheap – a bud topped on a pen wrapped in ribbon. Well then, I can do that my tacky self!

Our on hand ingredients are simple:
*back to school clearance stick pens
*assorted thrift store flowers
*dollar store floral tape.

1.) After cutting single stems from the floral bunches to the length of the pen without its cap, hold the stem and pen firmly together and start wrapping the tape at the bottom of the pen.

2.) Once it is tightly started, continue winding the tape around the pen and stem – the green tape sticks to itself and any rough spots can be smoothed.

3.) At the top of the pen – just beneath the flower – the tape edge can be folded to cover the pen top.

OPTIONAL: On a few flower pens, I hot glued extra leaves from the floral bunches beneath the flower to hide any troublesome gaps.

Mine are red flowers with just the green floral tape stem, but for more dramatic looks one can use a longer flower length, feathers for faux quills, or go totally goth garden with black flowers and a black wrapped ribbon finish. My bunch inside a reused dark candle jar looks misleadingly real, and my husband said, “So THAT’S where you’ve been hiding the pens!”

This craft feels deceptively simple and almost not even worth sharing. However, during these stay at home initiatives, it’s the perfect time to revitalize old artificial flowers as something both summer vase decorative and useful fresh for that new at-home office or classroom. The kids can ritz up their writing utensils with bemusing toppers with this spare change fun, and the best part is that when the pen runs out of ink, you can remove the flowers for another project and make more themed pens per season.

Halloween pen bouquets, oh yes!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

Repurposed Black Topiaries

Creepy Cloches

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins Video

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Morbid Meals – Black Blood Truffles

MM06I think it says a lot about me that when I pondered The Lovers tarot card, that I immediately thought of vampires. Add in the fact that KBatz is discussing the movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” for this episode, and this card’s imagery was even more inspired.

So I created a recipe that might embody something vampire fans would enjoy and perhaps something lovers might share. Sticky sweet blood-red chocolate truffles seemed to fit the bill. The name comes from the black cherry and blood orange preserves in the filling.

EXAMINATION

These truffles bring together three flavors: bitter, sweet, and tart. You can go as dark and bitter as you like with the chocolate. If you are like me and prefer something less dark, semi-sweet is the lightest you should go because you don’t want milk solids in the chocolate that you use, since we’ll be adding cream and butter in this recipe.

ANALYSIS

Makes about 18-20 truffles

Ingredients

4 Tbsp blood orange marmalade
3 Tbsp black cherry preserves
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, or finely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp orange liqueur, or vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp red sugar sprinkles

Apparatus

  • Small bowl
  • Stick blender (optional)
  • Large bowl
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or wax paper

Procedure

Making the filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine the black cherry jam and blood orange marmalade.
  2. If you have a stick blender, you might like to puree the fruits down to a smoother consistency.
  3. Chill mixture in your freezer for about an hour to firm it up.
Making the ganache
  1. If using a block of chocolate, chop it fine. Place your chocolate into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Into a small saucepan over medium heat, pour your cream and add butter, and heat up until bubbles start to form, but do not allow it to boil.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds to allow it to melt the chocolate.
  4. Add in the orange liqueur or vanilla extract, if desired.
  5. Gently whisk to incorporate the cream into the melting chocolate.
  6. Cover your bowl of chocolate ganache with plastic cling wrap, and place it in your refrigerator for about an hour.
Filling the truffles
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
  2. Dust your hands with some cocoa powder.
  3. With a teaspoon, scoop out a ball of ganache. Flatten it in the palm of your hand.
  4. With a 1/4 teaspoon, scoop out a small ball of filling and place in the middle of the ganache.
  5. Fold the ganache over the ball of the filling, then roll gently into a ball. Place the candy onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. Redust your hands and repeat with all of the ganache and filling.
  7. Put the tray of truffles into the freezer to chill again for at least 15 minutes to firm up.
Coating the truffles
  1. Pour red sugar sprinkles in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Gently roll each of your chilled truffles in your hand to make them just a little tacky, roll it gently in the sprinkles, and return to the lined baking sheet.
  3. Put the tray of truffles into the refrigerator to chill again for at least 30 minutes. If not eating immediately, place them gently into an air-tight container. They will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or they can be frozen about 3 months.

DISSECTION

If you can’t find blood orange marmalade, or don’t want to make it yourself, you can use preserves or pie filling of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, cranberry, etc. The goal is a deep red and thick filling.

You can also use those candy mold trays, but they are trickier with fillings. Be sure to dust them with cocoa mixture before pouring in ganache, so the truffles do not stick to the mold.

POST-MORTEM

These are soft and smooth and I found them to be very tasty. The gush inside makes them fun to eat. I hope you will share them with someone you love.