“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!