Valentine’s Day is almost upon us once more, but you don’t have to spend the earth on a gift for it to be special.
Create something with a personal touch this year, and you’ll find it might be much more appreciated.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
Buy an ice-cube tray (or a silicon baking mat) with heart shapes to make your own ice-cubes for G&Ts, soft drinks, or cocktails on Valentine’s evening. You could even put pomegranate seeds in with the water for a nice extra touch.
Leave a romantic message on the fridge door surrounded by homemade, heart-shaped magnets. Use air dry clay (you can find it online or in a craft store) and mould different sizes of hearts by hand. A good way to do this is to make a triangle and then reshape it into a heart. Let them dry for a day or two, and then stick some magnetic tape on the back - again, you can find this in craft stores. Paint the hearts different shades of pink, red, or silver – or choose whichever colours you like!
Find a short, chubby mason jar and clean it thoroughly. Fill it with your partner’s favourite sweets or snacks, and then seal it up. Decorate the jar by tying colourful string around the lid, or using any other accessories you have. Make your own label by cutting it out of card, and using letter stamps to put a message on, or simply decorate using stickers or sparkles and write on your personal message.
Get a cardboard beer or wine bottle carrier from the supermarket and pimp it up! Cover the carrier by gluing on coloured paper, before decorating it with ribbon and heart shapes. Or you could make a heart-shaped stencil and use it to create glitter hearts all over the box. The options are endless, so just use whatever you have, or something that’s easy to get hold of. Fill the carrier with your loved one’s favourite drinks and then make a drinks menu to tie on, with a personal message too.
Making your own cards can be easy, and it can also save you a fortune. Make a simple love-heart card by using zig-zag fabric scissors to cut out a heart shape from some fabric. The fabric could be pink, red and white gingham, floral, or anything you like. You could simply stick this straight onto a blank card - ivory or brown coloured cards look great with fabric - or you could embellish the heart shape with some stitching first, or attach a bow etc. You can make your card designs as fussy or as simple as you like.
I’ve invested in some letter stamps so I can print a message on the inside or the outside of cards to make them look a bit more professional, such as Happy Valentine’s Day, and then I handwrite my own personal message too. Letter stamps come in handy for making gift labels and lots of other things too.
There are so many sweet treats you can create for Valentine’s Day. You could make pancakes, or heart-shaped dropped scones for breakfast, or biscuits with sprinkles on for a snack - wrap in red paper and tie with ribbon if your loved one is heading into work. Alternatively, you can bake and decorate a cake for the evening.
Candles and candle holders
Decorate a large pillar candle to use on Valentine’s Day. Cut out heart shapes from tissue paper or card, and thread or stick them onto some string before wrapping the string around the candle - just be careful it doesn’t catch once the candle is lit. Alternatively, you could wrap the garland around an old jam jar (wash the label off first!) and put a tealight candle inside. Some of the simplest designs can look the best...
Whatever you decide to make or give to a loved one for Valentine’s Day, remember the sentiment behind it. It doesn’t need to be expensive at all - spending time making a gift for a loved one can be much more heartfelt.
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.