DIY Apple Cider Caramels

What’s a better treat for this holiday season? Apple-Flavored caramels really evoke the essence of the holidays. These candies cook up very fast and make a sweet gift for friends and family. Boiled cider, fresh nutmeg and cinnamon add the warm, baked-apple flavor. Harry Dalian


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup boiled cider*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg


  1. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening. Line it with a piece of parchment that overhangs the long edges of the pan.
  2. Stir together the heavy cream and syrup in a 6 quart stock pot. Add the granulated sugar, cubed butter and boiled cider. Stir well until the mixture is a consistent color.
  3. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, or insert the wand of a digital thermometer into the mixture and set the alarm to 248°F.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. When sugar is dissolved and mixture is at a full boil, decrease the heat to medium-high. The mixture will continue to bubble. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the candy thermometer reads 248°F.
  5. Stir together the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small condiment cup. Remove the pan from the heat source. Be careful, it will still be bubbling.
  6. Stir in the spice mixture.
  7. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
  8. Let the pan stand, uncovered, at room temperature overnight. You may also refrigerate the pan for quicker setting. Run a knife between the parchment paper and pan.Turn the solid caramel block out on a work surface or cutting board. Cut it into 1 x 5-inch lengths.
  9. Wrap the caramels in 6-inch squares of wax paper and twist the ends to close. Be sure to wrap them soon after they’re cut into pieces; if left at room temperature for an extended period of time, the caramels will relax and lose their shape. Keep caramels in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 8 days. Caramels will keep slightly longer when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


5 Easy DIY Tricks to Transform Your Home

If you too are looking to get the most out of your home and to transform it into a comfortable living space, this list may just have a few tips for you to do all you can do. While you can add some stylish and well practical additions to your home without having to spend the money. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Bookshelf from Household Objects

Harry Dalian, DIY BookshelfIf you were thinking of spicing up your home a little bit and wanted to add some ambiance and organization, try adding a bookshelf. One, you can keep organized with your entire family’s reading, and two, the bookshelf will be a classy addition to your home that also looks good.

If you’re not planning to spend the cash on one, or you don’t want to build the simplistic and boring bookshelf from spare wood, try this cool recipe: chances are you’ll have a step ladder or two. Now with the addition of some spare wood from before, you can have a sweet design that is totally modern. While this shelf can be a man’s man’s mode of storage, you can see the same design used by such celebrities as Ellen Degeneres and her styling counterparts.

Harry Dalian, DIY Mail HolderWindow Shutter Mail Holder

If you have an extra window pane laying around, or have easy access to one, you can make yourself another stylish alternative to this otherwise seemingly useless object. With the natural grooves in a traditional window shutter, you can make a perfect, quant, and modern looking place for people to leave you mail. Just imagine how this looks as opposed to a traditional wooden box.

DIY Shoe Holders

Harry Dalian, DIY Shoe RackWith a little bit of PVC piping, the kind you would use to build a waterway or a house’s plumbing, you can create an easy way to get organized with any extra shoes you may other wise have laying around. Whether they are yours and laying around in your closet with no better place to be, or they are your kids and family’s laying around in the house always ready to make a mess and add to clutter, you can take care of this by creating a little home for each pair. All you’ll need is a circular saw and some work goggles. Take a look at the picture.

Harry Dalian, DIY NightlightDIY Nightlight / Emergency Lighting

With an old headlamp you might have had once for that camping trip you may or may not have ever taken, you can create a brilliant emergency lighting source. If you are currently a father, mother, or ambitious kid, go ahead and make yourself a nightlight by strapping the light to a gallon water jug. You’ll find it nicely lights up the room for a comforting effect.

DIY Bulletin Board / Message Board

Harry Dalian, DIY Bulletin BoardNeed a way to communicate with your family that looks classy and is not costly? You could post one of these behind your front door to instantly communicate with your family and leave a message behind such as the week’s assignment of chores. Try getting a painting frame, size of your choice, and filling it up with used wine corks.

With your new DIY tricks, your friends and family will be impressed with the clever and classy organization you’ve introduced into your home. Don’t forget to share a few tricks with them, and maybe you’ll figure out a few new ones to add!

Heat Your Room for 80 Cents a Day

Would you like to be able to heat your room for just 80 cents a day? If you’re on a tight budget and bothered by a chill in your bedroom, here is a DIY recipe for you. With just the list below you can create a DIY heater in your room which will provide heat and help you stay on budget, and keep you and your family comfortable without spending too much cash. Here’s the list.

Homemade Heater List:

Harry Dalian, Tea LightsTea Light Candles: These are best to buy in bulk. The more you buy in one set, the less you will pay for the individual candles. As a reference, you should be able to find a pack of 100 unscented tea lights for about $10, which amounts to 10 cents a candle. You’re not going to buy the flowery, scented, colored candles from a luxury store. Those will be way over priced, and you might as well pay for heating.

Harry Dalian, Baking panBaking Pan/Metal Bread Tray: The important part here is that it is metal. We want the tray to be able to heat up, and not be at risk of fire. Glass may also work, but it will not be as conductive of heat as metal will be. Pick a tray which is just deep enough for the four tea light candles you’ll put in, and wide enough that you can fit your biggest pot on top of it, and so that your smallest pot can rest on top of the sides, not within the pan. Because smaller means the heat is more concentrated, I would suggest a mini loaf pan of about 6”x3”, which you should also be able to find for about $10.

Harry Dalian, Flower PotsTerra Cotta Pots: You will want two different sizes here: a larger one and a smaller one. The smallest one should be able to sit on the rim of the pan without falling in, and the larger one should just about cover the whole surface of the pan without going too much over the sides.



Harry Dalian, Aluminum foilAluminum Foil: You won’t need a whole roll, just a sheet to fold up into a disk and place over the hole at the bottom of your terra cotta pot, to keep the heat in. This should be reusable. Hopefully you have some aluminum foil at home, or can borrow some from a friend.



Lighter/Matches: Something to kickstart your candles.Harry Dalian, Lighter




Harry Dalian, Oven MittsOven Mitts: These pots and the baking pan will reach super high temperatures (160*), so you’ll need something to handle them.






Make sure to set this up somewhere safe where it won’t be knocked over, and if you have kids, make sure they do not play around with it recklessly. Teaching them how to use it carefully though, could be beneficial. This project holds the same risk as having candles in your home. The metal pan should actually be safer, just make sure you’re cognizant of the fire.

Putting the Heater Together:

Place the baking pan on a stable surface out of the way in your room. Place the 4 tea lights into the pan, and the Flower Pot Heater, Harry Daliansmaller terra cotta pot on top of the pan with the bottom facing up. Wad the aluminum into a disk that will cover the hole in the bottom of the smaller pot. Place the larger pot on top of the pan over the smaller one also with the bottom up, and this time leave the hole unplugged. There should be enough space between them for maybe an inch of air around the sides.

That’s it. Wait for about half an hour for the pots to heat up, and you should begin to feel heat circulate out of the top flower pot. Be careful: do not touch the pots without oven mitts. They will be heated to about 160 degrees, you will burn your hand. Just leave the heater to the side where no one will bother it unless intentionally.

The tea candles will burn for about four hours, so you would replace them, or check on them and see, after the four hour mark.

Based on an experiment where the temperature of the terra cotta pot was 75* when we began, within 15 minutes the pot grew to 112*, and after thirty, was 130*. After an hour, the outside pot will have reached a temperature of 160*, and you should be able to feel its effects in your room.