marshmallows. this year’s homemade valentine treat.

Last Valentine’s Day I made these simple name chocolates for my littlest valentines. So this year, I thought I might make a tradition of it and attempt another homemade treat. And really what better excuse than perhaps the “sweetest” day of the year to finally try my hand at making marshmallows (and use a candy thermometer for the very first time 😊) . . .

I used this recipe included in Susan Branch’s book Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.

The taste, the look and the feel of them are so dreamy! Eating them or drizzling them with chocolate = the perfect pair.

Making them was definitely much simpler than I’d assumed. Even the clean up wasn’t so bad. Once warm water hits the mess, it simply melts away.

My favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is that it’s a great excuse to be a little extravagant and do the unnecessary. Now go make some marshmallows!

~xoxo-~

diy valentine carrier. using an empty oatmeal container.

Many years ago (when I was young), making your Valentine’s Day box and seeing what others created was always one of the highlights of the school year for me. I was always truly amazed at the creativity others had. In not only what their end product was but even more so at the materials they used to create it. Remember this was not only pre-Pinterest but pre-internet days!

With my littles, not as much emphasis has been placed on creating or even needing a Valentine’s Day box. And I’m definitely ok with that – we’ve been doing good some years just to get the cards made and signed! With that being said, if your little one DOES need an easy and inexpensive idea for carrying and/ or receiving their cards this year, decorating an empty oatmeal container works perfect for this. Mine are definitely not contest worthy and I’ve kept them rather simple but you can do as much or little as you please. Just a little color makes everything cuter – especially if you add hearts!

In addition to the oatmeal containers, the only supplies I used were paint, glue, scissors, paper, mod podge, a paint or foam brush, a heart punch, and some scrap fabric and ribbon.

We made the red gingham container from two pieces of scrapbook paper and a little mod podge (watered down Elmer’s glue will work). And as for the pink one, we simply painted it and added some heart confetti that I had punched out of some scrap paper. Place holes on two sides of the container at the top with a scissors or a hole puncher, thread some fabric or ribbon through them and then knot it on the inside of each to create your handle.

And one with baby legs in the background . . .

It’s really so simple! Just use what you have around the house. Add a cute little tag with their name on it or have them write it across the front. If you need to, you can even add a slit in the lid or don’t use the lid at all.

I hope you are feeling loved this week!

~xoxo~

“always cheering for you” pennant valentine. free printable.

Hello there!

I have one more fun and enthusiastic 😊 valentine for you! The “always cheering for you!” pennant valentine.

They require a little time but if you have a tween that likes to craft, these are a fun idea for a class valentine.

Supplies Needed:

  • Felt (or felt and canvas if you’d like to use this as your pennant instead of felt)
  • Pennant templates-valentinepennanttemplate.pdf
  • Embroidery floss or thread
  • Craft or Tacky Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Card Stock
  • Pennant Valentine – pennantvalentine.pdf

Directions:

There are so many pennant diy’s out there that I almost feel it unnecessary to provide you with step by step instructions but I’ll give you a summarized version just in case. It is similar to this one – Crate & Kids Blog Pennant DIY.

Step 1 – Cut out your templates, trace them onto your felt and then cut out your two felt triangles/ pennants (one is larger than the other). The felt I used for my pennant (the larger triangle) is a little thicker felt than the felt I used for my letters and trim (the smaller triangle). Also, cut your piece of trim for the edge of your pennant. I cut mine 1 to 1.5 inches thick and then the length of the wide edge of your pennant.

*Note: You can also use canvas for your pennant but you may need to sew your edges to prevent it from fraying.

Step 2 – Cut your letters. Divide and cut the smaller pennant (the felt that you cut for your letters) into the number of letters that are in the name you will be spelling out. Or feel free to make each letter in the name a different color! Use each piece to make your letters so that they correspond with that portion of the pennant where they will be placed. Have fun with this and don’t worry about your letters being perfect – unique is perfect for this. Especially if your tween or little one is helping out.

Step 3 – Glue your letters and trim onto your pennant. I used tacky glue. With the trim, fold it in half so that it wraps around the wide end of the pennant. After gluing it, I placed a book on it to hold it down until the glue dried. Once dry I trimmed the open ends so that they were flush with the angled edges of the pennant.

Step 4 – Stitch or sew. This step is optional. I used some embroidery floss and stitched only along the trim, but if you would like to add a little more detail (and have the time – depending on how many you are making) sew or stitch the letters as well. I would normally do this, but “no sew” pennants may be more feasible if you are doing these for a class valentine.

Step 5 – Print out or make your cards. I have formatted my cards so that you can print two per one sheet of 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of card stock. Fasten your pennants onto your cards by using a few small pieces of double sided tape.

Step 6 – “Yay your done! Give to your valentine(s) and cheer on.

These are perfect to hang on a locker, in a cubby or on door or wall at home.

Happy (almost) February!

~xoxo~

“so happy to gnome you” valentine. diy and printable.

I “heart” Valentine’s Day for one main reason. Pretty paper and cute cards! Almost always a staple of the simple yet sweet holiday.

My ten year old little lady is the only one that will need class valentines this year. Her only request was nothing too “mushy”.

Out of several random ideas, gnomes (“especially their cute noses”) made the cut . . .

We made our gnomes into magnets that are conveniently a clip. If you can’t find the large clips (I’ve linked them below), really anything solid yet lightweight can be used as the base to make your gnome magnet. The clip is just an added bonus.

To make your gnome magnet valentines. . .

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Hole Puncher
  • Cardstock
  • String
  • Faux Fur
  • Felt
  • Small Buttons *optional
  • Large clips / clothespins or wood rectangles
  • Craft glue or hot glue
  • Magnets
  • Round wood balls or small felt balls would work too
  • Printer and Valentine card pdf *optional

gnomevalentine

Directions:

Step 1 – Cut out a small piece of felt and fur. I cut and used a 3.25 x 3.25 inch piece of felt (for the hat) and then a piece of fur a little longer and just a tad wider than my clip. So if you are using something other than the clips that I used, cut your felt and fur accordingly. *Cut your fur a little longer than your clip or base so that you are able to trim and shape (your beard) later on.

Step 2 – Glue the fur onto your clip or base. Then fold about a quarter of an inch or so of the felt upward onto itself and glue down. Wrap your felt around the front portion of the clip only, and then overlap and glue onto the clip and then together in the back. (My hat went about a half to three quarters of an inch down onto the clip over the fur/ beard). Glue your overlapping felt together all of the way up the backside of your hat. Roll the top down once and glue and then once more and glue it again. I used hot glue for all of this (for fast drying purposes).

Step 3 – More Glue. Embellish your hat with a small button or felt heart (that you have cut from your scraps). Glue them onto the hat with either hot glue or craft glue. Lastly, glue your cute little wooden nose just underneath the hat. I used craft/ tacky glue for this so that I didn’t end up with hot glue in my beard. Once your glue has dried and everything has set, turn your gnome over and glue a small magnet onto the back of your clip or base.

Step 4 – Give your beard a trim. Ours ended up being all shapes and sizes.

Step 5 – Print and Attach. Print out the cards and sign (I have formatted the pdf so that you can print four cards onto a letter size piece of cardstock). Or simply use small blank pieces of card stock and write your own message to include with your gnomes. I have used a small hole puncher and attached mine with some string, but do as you wish here. Put the card and gnome in a small bag or simply clip the gnome onto the card.

The End!

In other news, we’ve had plenty of winter weather here as of late. School has been cancelled the past two days. Two kids have been at home with me watching the rain, snow and ice fall (while the other ventured to D.C. for a planned school field trip). It’s been all things cozy – especially potato soup and blueberry muffins + warm coffee. I’ve been enjoying it so (maybe a little too much) but I’ve also been missing some routine. High hopes that we keep some of the “cozy” while some shadow of a routine returns next week.

P.S. – Wander by next week for one more Valentine idea! 💌

“name” chocolates – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 2).

My oldest two are now old enough that I feel like we can fulfill the necessary chocolate gifting that seems to be a Valentine’s Day requirement. I wanted to do something that felt special and personal. After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (and chocolate)!

I have hopes that the things handmade by me for them will be memories they can take with them. AND even on the days where I’m not at my best, they still know they are special to me partially because of these times and small gestures I did for them on my better days! In other words, may the good outweigh the bad in their beautiful minds. 🙂

For making the name chocolates, I have this silicone letter mold and I used dark and white chocolate ghirardelli melting wafers (the ones I used did not need tempering). Place the mold on a baking sheet (so that you can move it without the chocolate shifting in the mold). Melt the wafers over a double boiler and then with the help of a small spoon pour or drizzle the completely melted chocolate into the letters you prefer (or use a plastic squeeze bottle with a small tip/ opening for a cleaner approach). Next, use a toothpick to stir and even out the chocolate once it is in the molds. I then used my dough cutter to scrape over the letters to create a nice flat bottom. After you’ve evened out your letters, place the mold (still on the baking sheet) in the fridge or leave on the counter until completely cool or dry. When moving the mold, be sure to keep it as level as possible. Once completely dry, pop the letters out of the molds and put them in any sort of packaging you wish. I placed mine in a haphazardly sewn pocket that I made out of parchment paper (it just happened to be what I had on hand). The end! Enjoy!

Happy Heart Day!

P.S. – Speaking of chocolates. Check out all of this cuteness!

photo books – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 1).

Every new year one of my resolutions is to get our family memories (photos, videos, menus from those special restaurants, tickets from our trip to the zoo, etc.) organized and every year I fall short or really long. :). BUT this year I’m using Valentine’s Day as a great excuse to start tackling the 30,000+ photos on my iPhone.

I took all the special photos for each kiddo from 2018 and made them into books. Even though I’m more of “a flip through a set of prints type” gal, I thought that books would be the best option for them and of course they make a great gift.

My goal is to do this every year. For it not to be so overwhelming next Valentine’s Day, I am saving (at the end of each month) all of those special photos of them/ for them to separate albums that I have created for each of them on my phone.

For creating and printing the books, this year I used the Shutterfly ap because I had already downloaded some of the photos there while making some projects for family members over Christmas. However, for the few photos I have printed in the past years I have done so with Artifact Uprising, Mpix, timeshel, and Chatbooks.

One of my favorites was the Chatbooks book below I did of my pregnant belly – what a special time. I love the quality of the photos (even though they are all Iphone) and the quality and matte-like finish of the cover.

(sorry for the detour)

Let’s hope the kids will be happy with some memories to hold onto- literally. I had so much fun looking back at this past year. Hopefully they will to. Now onto to tackling the remaining 29,800 photos! 😉

(They are also being gifted part 2 – see “name” chocolate post. Just in case they may not be as excited about the photos books as their future self might be.)

L O V E + T A C O S – a “spicy” valentine.

I was trying to come up with something simple yet useful to give to a few of my favorite gal pals for Valentine’s Day. As I was making some taco seasoning for our family one day last week, I thought why not “spice things up” for them as well. Smile. It’s something that can be put to good use and oh how I love anything that I can put in a small jar.

I’m sure most taco seasoning recipes are fairly similar but I’ve used the one in Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple cookbook for the past couple of years now. I love the authentic taste of it so much more than the prepackaged seasonings I used to buy.

Danielle’s Taco Seasoning Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and store in a jar for up to 6 months. Makes about 1/2 cup.

XOXO!

three simple yet sweet non-candy valentines – free printables.

. . . or maybe not so sweet (because no candy). hehehe.

Anyways, here they are. ENJOY!

#1: Nerdy Valentine

This one is fun for everyone! It was my son’s school valentine a few years ago, but it would be great for teens or coworkers as well!

After printing, the only thing left to do is place a small hole above the top of the pocket to place the pen cap in. I used the manual hole punch and hammer from this kit that I’ve had forever, but anything that has an extended reach will work. I also trimmed down the top, bottom and sides a bit more. So the final size is more like 4.75 by 6.5 inches.

#2: Coffee Cup Valentine

This one is for your coffee loving friend! It requires just a little more work than the first.

After printing, use an exacto knife and a straight edge (I used a small ruler) to cut slits along the sides of the coffee cup about 2.5 to 2.75 inches long. These will be used to slide the wrap through so that it hugs the sides of the cup.

The wrap is also attached in the coffee cup printable below. There are two wraps per 5 x 7 inch page. For the actual valentine, I used white 100lb card stock and for the wrap I used a thinner kraft card stock that I had gotten from the local craft store.

Once you have your slits cut, gently pull open and slide your wrap into them. Then flip your valentine over and fold the wrap so that the ends overlap in back. You may want to cut down the ends before securing the wrap with glue or tape. Turn the valentine back over and place the gift card within the wrap. You can secure it a little more by placing a piece of tape on the back of the card – especially if you will not be putting the valentine in an envelope.

#3: Ribbon Valentine

Again, so FUN for everyone! For the first example, I made a little holder for some Burt’s Bees lip balm. Get it – “BEE MINE”. 😉 In regards to the holder, you can find several different tutorials online for these or you can purchase them. I used this leather ribbon to make it and it worked really well. Instead of a large ring (like what I used here) you can use a swivel clasp with a ring for a more substantial design.

After printing, I placed two small holes within the small heart on the ribbon. Then, with some string, I secured the holder and lip balm in place.

OR by following the same steps above you could secure a honey dipper in place. And for someone extra special – place the “Bee Mine” valentine with the dipper in a clear bag with a small jar of honey. Love this idea!

coffeecup.pdf

nerdyvalentine.pdf

ribbon.pdf

(all in 5 x 7 inch format)

P.S. – And just one more for the littles (or littles at heart). Glitter slime for your Valen-slime! One of our favorites from last year.

Happy Heart Day!!!

new use for an old calendar – origami heart garland.

The first week of a new year always leaves me a bit torn. Torn between wanting to achieve ALL of my 2019 goals in one week and wanting to do absolutely nothing and recover from all of the holiday festivities. Crazy, huh?! I’m happy to announce this past week seemed like the perfect medium. A lot was accomplished and several goals were set (not yet achieved ;)) but I did in fact take some time to clean up my home and clear my mind.

Speaking of cleaning up – since moving, I’ve been trying my darndest to not be such a collector of things, especially ALL THE PAPER! It has and will always be one of my weaknesses (it’s all so pretty!). Glass jars or really glass anything is another one! But instead of tossing my old paper calendar into the recycle bin, I thought why not make it into a new something pretty! Not to mention, something that will be cute when the month of February rolls around! HEART GARLAND!

Some notes about the garland:

  • The calendar pages were a bit thick but it still worked! Next time, I would probably make my hearts just a little bigger. For these, I cut down my pages to 6 x 6 inch sheets. I was able to get two sheets from each calendar page. Therefore, I made one garland for me and one to give as a gift. Hearts will help them welcome in the new season!
  • You could use any paper you have lying around. Including a thicker wrapping paper (use some of those remnants from Christmas – red and white dots or stripes would be lovely)! I love that this is actually a project that can be done without a trip to the craft store.
  • I followed this tutorial I found on Pinterest. There are so many out there, but I love kids doing tutorials. I’m always so impressed!
  • I used a glue stick to adhere my hearts to the string. Just dab a bit underneath the folded tips (the last fold if you follow the above tutorial). It dries fast and does the job.
  • I used the end of my scissors to keep the distance the same between hearts. Although my cutting board with measurements was sitting right there. 🙂

Such a simple yet thought provoking craft to turn something old into something new! Once I got the hang of the “heart making” it was very meditative. Not to mention, it’s the perfect decoration for now until mid February (V-Day) at least!