Get started: Glue candy hearts on an initial form. (mattandshari.com)
Take some time this year to craft a few gifts and make some awesome Valentine’s Day decor for your home without spending too much cash.
All those heart decorations are a great way to add a little cheer to those cold dreary winter days.
1. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, have your children help decorate the house. You can easily turn a large potted plant like a ficus into a Valentine’s tree with the addition of small white lights and hand-cut hearts of all sizes. To make your tree more interesting, cut the hearts out of sheets of patterned paper in white, pink and red.
2. Why not have your children help create swags for your staircase banister? One idea would be to use white ribbon, red mini lights, and pink and red hearts. Loosely wrap the ribbon and lights around the banister. Cut small- and medium-sized hearts out of pink- and red-patterned papers, punch a hole in the tops, and hang them from the ribbon swag. Even good old-fashioned paper chains make for a fun swag or garland around the house.
3. Candy conversation hearts are a Valentine’s must and can be used to create a number of decorations to make the holiday more special. Just be sure to buy several extra bags, however, so that you can snack as you craft.
Recently, I found an interesting font on my computer (Harlow Solid Italic) and created a giant foam initial covered in candy hearts. I started by making the letter as large as I could on my computer and printed it out, even though only a portion of it was printed. I then finished the letter by tracing around it and then completing the letter right on the foam, using a sharpie pen.
Just cut the letter out of the foam using a serrated knife. Make sure to remove the black marker lines when you cut. Then, glue the candy hearts on using regular white school glue.
To finish off the raw foam edges, I glued grosgrain ribbon on. For this I used Fabri-Tac glue and it worked great.
Display your candy heart initial in a spot that everyone can enjoy it.
How about using the same candies to create a small wreath? Start by wrapping a foam wreath with ribbon; any ribbon will do, but pink checked ribbon is perfect for this project. Once wrapped, secure the ribbon with glue. Next, arrange the candies on top of the ribbon, mixing and overlapping colors and sizes, gluing the hearts in place as you go.
You can also create clever cards or Valentine’s Day poems with candy conversation hearts. Write out your sentiments using the candy hearts to fill in phrases wherever they might fit.
4. And what about that special gift for the grandparents? Why not make a Valentine’s Day photo ribbon? First, go through your photos and find some assorted sized pictures of the kids sharing special time with their grandparents. Then, use the photos as a size guide and cut two identical hearts per photo. Cut a heart-shaped opening in one of the pieces, gluing the photo to the back so that the picture is framed by the heart.
To create the photo ribbon, lay out a long piece of white grosgrain ribbon. Place the heart frames along the length of the ribbon, varying the sizes and colors of the hearts as you go. Once you are satisfied with the layout, glue each heart frame to its mate, sandwiching the ribbon between the two. Top the ribbon with a simple bow.
This photo ribbon would look darling hung in a window or doorway. Glue a magnet under the bow, and the photo ribbon could even be displayed on Grandma’s refrigerator.
5. What about a pretty in pink heart-shaped pillow? Start with two favorite Valentine’s Day fabrics, one for the pillow and one for a ruffle.
Cut two pieces of the pillow fabric large enough to make the heart pillow the size you want. Then, just like back in grade school, fold both pieces in half and cut through the four layers to make two of the exact same size hearts.
Cut 3-inch strips of the ruffle fabric and join enough pieces together to measure twice the circumference of your heart pillow. (Make the width of the ruffle appropriate to the size of your heart.) Fold the strip in half and add two lines of basting stitches along the open edge so you can pull on the bobbin thread to create the ruffle.
Pin the ruffle to the right side of one side of the heart pillow and stitch in place.
Then, pin the other side of the heart pillow on top of the ruffle with right sides facing and stitch in place, leaving an opening wide enough to turn the pillow right side out and stuff it.
Pin and stitch the opening closed. You may have to remove one line of the basting stitches if they show on your ruffle. Then simply enjoy or give as a gift.
6. Another quick Valentine’s craft is heart bookmarks. Just gather together the felt colors you like, regular and pinking scissors, and some iron-on hem tape.
Measure a bookmark, ours is 7 inches by 2 inches, and draw it out onto your felt using a white marking pencil. Cut this one out with regular scissors and it becomes the back.
Cut out another strip using pinking scissors from a contrasting felt color. Make this one a bit smaller all the way around and cut a shape out of it, like a heart!
Cut an even smaller strip out of a third contrasting piece of felt. This will become the color in the heart-shaped window. So, attach it to one side of the back felt, right in the middle, using a couple strips of iron-on hem tape.
Next, adhere the top felt piece onto the white, covering it completely, using the iron-on hem tape as well.
Add a double thread of embroidery floss and tie in a knot at the top to finish off the bookmark.
To complete your Valentine’s Day decor, get your dining room ready for a special Valentine’s Day dinner. To dress up a simple white tablecloth, lay red and pink assorted ribbons of varying widths along the length and width of your table.
Once you’ve created a pleasing pattern, add a covering of a sheer shimmery fabric.
A simple centerpiece can complete the look. A floral bouquet flanked by candles would be lovely. Or perhaps, several flowering plants wrapped in red or pink chiffon held in place with ribbon and a bow.
Add some tea lights hidden in candle sprinkles, some “lovely” music, and even pizza will seem like a special Valentine’s treat.
See information about the projects, including pictures, online at http://bit.ly/M5p9Xi.
Shari Hiller and Matt Fox host the PBS television series “Around the House with Matt and Shari.”