Thursday, February 14, 2013

Overseas Friendly DIY Valentine's Ideas

All last year in language school, holidays would sneak up on me.  As in, I would wake up one morning and be like, "awwww man!  How did it get to be insert specific holiday already?"  And the kicker was, we didn't own a car and getting to the store to find insert specific holiday food/decor item we equated with specific holiday  was challenging to say the leastEven if we did manage to get to a store, usually that specific thing, you know, jelly beans, or whatever didn't exist here.  I would wind up feeling homesick and sad and maybe just a bit grouchy too.

Well.  This year I have set out to remedy this.  I am working to plan ahead and realize long ahead of time that a holiday is coming and then to make provision for it, which is working some of the time.  But I do feel like I am at least a bit further ahead then I was last year.

I am also trying to think outside the "normal" for each holiday.  You know, embrace this living in another country and coming up with our new normal.

So in honor of Valentine's Day (do they celebrate that in your host country?)  here are a few last minute ideas that you should be able to pull off even if you can't find heart shaped boxes of chocolate for your valentines.  I am going to try to give you variations in case you can't find specialties things like heart shaped sprinkles or fancy North American ingredients like chocolate chips. 

First up, an interpretation of said heart shaped boxes of chocolate.  I made these up yesterday and I am so pleased with how they turned out.  Basically, it's a big heart shaped pocket.  I had some felt in my fabric stash that I cut into hearts, like this.  The big thing you want to do is make sure that the side with the opening has an overlap on between the top and bottom.

Then with some red yarn I did a blanket stitch around the outside.  No fabric or pretty red yarn?  A couple of pieces of paper and some glue, or tape, or staples or ribbon or whatever you have on hand, and you could accomplish the same thing.

I filled ours with some gummie worms (what boy doesn't like gummie worms?) I found here and some leftover Hersey's kisses someone sent us at Christmas time.

Now here's something you could do even today.  Heart Shaped sugar cookies.  No cookie cutter?  Use a knife and cut out a heart shape (you could even make a pattern out of paper or cardboard).  Don't have a pastry bag to write cute sayings, making them cute conversation hearts?  Use a plastic bag of some sort, fill it with frosting and cut just the tiniest part of the tip off.  Presto chango, a pastry bag you don't have to clean!  Want some cute colored sugar to sprinkle on?  I found you can dye sugar with food coloring.  Just a few drops in your sugar and now you have pink, or red or whatever color you choose!

And one last idea.  A paper heart garland. 

Cut out hearts of different sizes, and sew them together either with your machine or by hand.

 No needle and thread?  Tape them to a branch, string, whatever you have.  And remember, go for the little wonky, bohemian look and then you don't have to worry about things being perfect.

So how about you?  What helps you make holidays special?  Did you do anything for Valentine's Day?


  1. These are GREAT ideas! Thanks for making them "universal" in the supply list. I'm going to pin the cloth/yarn heart because I think that'd make a great gift bag at other times, too. Now to learn the blanket stitch....

  2. Fabulous ideas to inspire ladies who don't always have what we think we HAVE to have in order to celebrate a holiday! Thanks for thinking outside the box!

  3. We don't do Valentine's Day. Our anniversary is a few days before it, and we decided from the beginning that it just wasn't important to us.

    I love your universal ideas, though! For me, frosting was a big issue for years. I got way too emotional over cakes. Powdered sugar only comes in small packets here, and what is in those packets is too coarse for icing. Then I found this: Pioneer Woman's Frosting. Problem solved. So, if anyone wanted to do the heart cookies (I know it's too late for V. Day), or for your next cake, try it. :-)

    1. Phyllis! This is great! The powdered sugar here is expensive, but I have been buying it...but this just might change all of that!!! Thanks for sharing!

    2. Oh, and Happy Anniversary!!