Tuesday, February 12, 2013

(Don't Hate) Valentine's Day...a craft round up!

Growing up, my family celebrated Valentine's Day as, well, a family. My mom was pretty adamant that it was not a day exclusively for romance but rather a day to celebrate all sorts of love. She would make a fancy dinner for whole clan and my dad arrived home with not one but three bouquets. To this very day my grandmother, my mother, my father, my sister, my brother-in-law, my nephew, my husband, and myself all exchange candy gifts--I've even gotten my in-laws in the mix. I think this perspective takes Valentine's Day from a generally lame, pressure-filled day to a really great one. Dean Martin wasn't joking when he said everybody loves somebody sometime. Maybe that somebody is your spouse, partner, parent, friend, cat, whatever. My point is don't be a hater and join in the fun.

As I mentioned, my family has a sweet tooth so candy is the preferred Valentine's Day gift. Over the years, as our numbers have expanded so has the cost of candy! A few years back, Matthew and I began making homemade treats. This not only costs less but also allows us to give more candy to each person!

In years past, we've experimented with more elaborate recipes and combinations of treats. This go-around, however, we got back to our chocolate roots with straightforward candy molds. I bought a small set of heart-shaped molds along with several ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Then we played around with different "extras" like wafers, sprinkles, crushed-up Whoppers, and the like. It made for a fun evening together. All of the candies were divided among plain boring sandwich bags which were instantly transformed into adorable Valentine's Day bags with these toppers designed by Thirty Handmade Days.

And this centerpiece? Easy as can be. Starting with my apothecary jars, I simply cut three heart shapes out of seasonal scrapbook paper, added smaller red paper hearts, and secured everything with yarn. I threw in some scented red candles for good measure.

I love this argyle wreath. It is wonderfully understated in a world of over-the-top, cheesy Valentine's decorations. Assembly is easy but time consuming. To begin, tie a loop of yarn around a form ring, securing it with a double knot. Then, wrap the yarn around the ring a few times and smoosh it all together so that you can't see any foam behind it. Also pull the yarn taut. Move on to the next section of foam and repeat, repeat, repeat until you have covered the entire ring. Tie one final knot on the back side of the wreath. I opted to add small felt hearts, laying them out flat on the wreath. Then I carefully wove more yarn around the wreath, taking care to make an X over each heart so they won't slip out of place.

Last is my banner. Oh, this was fun! A friend of mine posted this on Facebook January 31st and I knew I wanted to try it. It's sort of like an advent calendar for Valentine's Day, where each envelope has a fun activity for you and your partner (or family, friends, etc). I made a list of easy, low-key activities ranging from a picnic dinner to a martini night. Considering I threw this together at the last minute and I'm terrible at writing in bubble letters, I think it turned out nice enough.

That's it for my Valentine's Day round up; I hope this holiday finds you in good spirits and ready to share some love with those around you!

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