Archive for February 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

gold-dipped necklace

Today we are featuring another lovely tutorial from my sweet friend, Erin. Visit her at Lovesome!

Okay, this tutorial sounds a lot fancier than it is. This is the easiest little project and takes just minutes, but in the end you have a unique and fun statement necklace. Does it get better than that?


I've seen a lot of necklaces made with these wooden beads floating around Pinterest and stores, but I thought it would be fun to do a little somethin'-somethin' to spruce those beads up a bit. Is anyone else obsessed with the 'dipped' phenomenon going on right now? I thought it would be cool to dip the beads in metallic gold paint (or any paint, really. I'm just obsessed with gold). Well...minus the dipping part. I decided to opt out of the dripping mess and long drying time dipping would bring and instead went for a "fake dip." 
 
 all you need are these easy supplies:
+wooden craft beads (found at any craft store)
+some type of string/cord/leather to string the beads on (i used waxed-leather cord)
+paint
+paintbrush (unless you want to dip. if you do you are braver than me, so send me a link, i would love the see the results!)
+skewer
+painters/masking tape
+two objects of the same height to set the skewer on (i used little bowls, but cups or really anything  will work. this is to keep the beads elevated to help with painting and drying.)
 
Here's a close up of the paint i used. i love how metallic and sparkly it is. i think a bright color or anything that contrasts would look great too: bright blue, white, red, coral, black....it's endless!
The first step is to tape around the beads. This does not have to be perfect, the less perfect it is, the more interesting and "dipped" it will look (or at least that's what i told myself :). After the beads are taped, string them on the skewer.
Then whip out the paint and paint those little babies. This is when the skewer really comes in handy. I just had to hold the paintbrush and spin the bead and bam! The painting took about a minute. For reals.

 
Then just let the beads dry on the skewer, string on your desired string, and viola, you have yourself a one-of-a-kind "dipped" necklace.
I bought tiny gold beads to put in between each wooden bead but they were too small, they went inside the holes of the wooden beads. fail. but it could be another fun way to mix it up, just do your hole vs. bead-size homework first :).
Enjoy!

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

LeadingLadies giveaway winner

Thanks for entering the fabulous LeadingLadies giveaway. The giveaway has ended and we are excited to announce the winner! The lucky lady who is the winner of a $35 gift certificate to the LeadingLadies shop is...

Missy Shay
who said, 
"I like the Asian dangles and the delicat pink flowers, sorry couldn't pick just one! LOL"

Congrats! We have passed your email address onto the sponsor, so she should be contacting you.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

festive cookies

My friend, Charity brought some cookies over to me a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't believe how beautiful they were! She did royal icing and then brushed a beautiful design onto them. Take a look...


I oohed and aahed over her artistic talent, to which she told me she had none. Right, uh-uh. But she told me she followed a technique from a video and I was very intrigued! I have yet to try it myself because I really do think she has ample artistic talent to support her efforts, but I was excited that I might be able to do it!
Here are the videos she followed. She kind of did a combination of the two techniques and boy did they turn out beautiful!


 This second video comes from Ali Bee's Bake Shop. Be sure to visit her blog!


These are great cookies to make for a party or for upcoming Spring or even Easter! You can choose any array of beautiful pastel frosting colors and hand them out to neighbors and friends. They will be super impressed with your artistic skills.

Another festive cookie you can make is these cookies with colored M&Ms. My friend Barbara gave me this recipe at Christmas when she brought them with the Christmas colored M&Ms for a holiday cookie exchange.

I recently made them with the Valentine colored M&Ms for a Valentines playgroup I hosted at my house. I just saw that the stores are now carrying the Easter (or Spring) colored M&Ms, so you can make these with those ones as well. Any color works and they are delicious!

Holiday Double Chocolate Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 oz. package M&Ms (both milk and dark chocolate are delicious!)

Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla together until well blended. Add eggs, beating well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in about 1 cup of M&Ms., reserving the rest. Drop by spoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Press reserved M&Ms onto the tops of dough balls. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees until just set (Do not overbake!). Cool and enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

faux nickel letters tutorial & my crocheted heart {featured}

We're sharing the LOVE for Valentine's day with two featured postings today! We'll show you how to make these faux metal letters over at Make and Takes--perfect for any home decor, not to mention cheap and quick to make!
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And my crocheted heart pattern is part of the most darling crocheted amigarumi bunny pattern on All About Ami. Isn't that the cutest bunny you've ever seen? It's sweet for Valentine's, but it would also be fun to make for Easter! Love it!
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valentine kids crafts and party ideas {reader submission}

READ THE REST OF THIS POST -->>>» |

Remember my amazing friend Kerri, the Mom-of-the-Year candidate? She passed on some fabulous ideas for kids Valentines and Valentine party games, snacks, and crafts for me to share with you. I'm sorry I couldn't get them posted sooner--baby and I are sicky and getting less done than usual after literally being up all night. Even without that, why is it so hard to sit down at the computer for 5 minutes with a newborn? Anyway, if you can't use these this year, for sure Pin It for next Valentine's day!
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Kids Valentine Party Games 

Valentine Math Bean Bag Toss 
This is a jazzed up version of the bean bag toss. Each child tosses the bags into the mouth and must do the addition and subtraction (with help from and adult if needed), depending on where their bags land: 5 points if they make it in the mouth, 10 points if they hit the teeth, and minus 5 if they miss.
Photos:
1. Simple sewn candy hearts for the bean bag math toss.
2. Mouth with moving teeth to toss the candy hearts in.

Spin the Bottle
3. Each child spins the bottle and then does the activity it lands on. You can make up anything or do the ones I thought up:

*Stuff 4 marshmallows in your mouth and say “Happy Valentine’s Day” 3 times!
*Turn to your neighbor and say “ I love you, but I just can’t smile” without smiling!
*Balance an M&M on your nose for 5 seconds…good luck and don’t sneeze!
*Make your funniest face to the person across from you. 
*Try and move a valentines candy from your chin to your mouth…then eat it!

Hot/Cold Packs Craft
4. For the Craft we are going to make little reusable HOT/COLD packs.
They are all pre-sewn we'll fill them with a funnel and then they will get to try their hand at sewing (it's only about an inch). Then we'll put them in a little bag with this note attached:

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Monday, February 13, 2012

LeadingLadies giveaway

LeadingLadies is a family business, operated by a mother and two daughters who have a passion for jewelry making. It is such a great shop and they have some beautiful jewelry pieces. LeadingLadies use only the finest quality materials, including gemstones, pearls, Swarovski crystals, and lampwork glass.

I am currently drooling over a few (ok, many) of their lovely pieces. Like these beauties...

And this bracelet...

And these (oh jade, how I love you)...

Alright, I know you want some of this beautiful jewelry for yourself. So, LeadingLadies is giving away a $35 gift certificate to the shop for one of our readers! All you need to do to enter is visit LeadingLadies and find your favorite item (good luck finding just one!) and then come back and leave us a comment with what item it is! This giveaway will end on Friday, February 17, 2012 PT.

Also, LeadingLadies is offering our readers 20% off their purchase during this giveaway. Use code BUBBLEGUM.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

love notes valentine tree {valentine's craft}

One of my favorite photography blogs gave me a brilliant idea for this week's family home evening activity (we set aside one night a week for a family activity and lesson). Rebecca Cooper of Simple As That made a darling Valentine's tree with simple paper hearts, and tied it into a wonderful video message entitled "What Matters Most." (If you don't know Rebecca, check out her blog. You are going to love her!)

We watched this short message and then wrote messages of love to each other on the back of simple paper hearts (that I had prepared earlier--believe me, we would not have made it through the activity if I had my kids make them). My boys absolutely loved writing these little notes, and even more, they loved reading the ones written to them! It was so sweet, and the little Valentine's tree on the mantel reminds us each day about all the love feel for each other in our family, and how important it is to share that love with each other daily. I love this new Valentine's tradition! We really needed it in our family (there was way too much fighting over the Wii going on this week). Maybe it's just what your family needs, too!

Here's what you need to do this project:

*Paper hearts, decorated or not, it's up to you
*Hole punch
*String or yarn
*Dry branches from the yard
*Vase or jar filled with marbles or rocks
*Pens or pencils

I made my own heart template, traced it onto various patterned papers, and cut them out. Then I totally copied Rebecca's hearts and included a little banner for the name of the person and glued it on front. I finished them off with a button or mini staple for a little interest. Simple and easy, but cute!

Next, punch a hole in the heart and tie a 6" piece of baker's twine, string, or yarn through it for a hanger.
 

Have each family member write at least one message to every other family member, telling them what they love about them or something sweet.

Fill a jar or vase with floral marbles (I found these red ones at Walmart for around $3) or rocks. Place dry branches in the vase or jar and arrange. I felt extra lucky that we've had such a mild winter so I could easily find dry branches. Hang your hearts on the tree and put it somewhere everyone can see!
 



I didn't have a chance to finish all my ideas for the mantel, but here's something I carried over from my Christmas mantel that only took about 3 mintues. Remember how it looked with the ornament in the center? I simply replaced the ornament with a glittered Styrofoam heart and some Eiffel tower ribbon to match my Valentine's theme. I just tied the ribbon on the frame and used a pin to attach the heart. Easy peasy!
 

Happy Valentine's day!

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Friday, February 10, 2012

quick and easy valentine ideas {round up}

This Valentine Round-Up has been amazing. We have gathered up a bunch of fantastic bloggers to share their favorite "Quick & Easy" ideas for this special holiday. There are so many ideas that I want to re-create for myself! The best part is that these can all be done in about 30 minutes or less. This works out well for all procrastinators out there! :) Our spouses will never know that we completed our Valentines, a day or two before.... You will definitely want to surprise your spouse with a personalized present. It will mean a lot to them, and there is something here for everyone to try.
#1) Shower Love Notes {HowDoesShe} - Getting a little dirty, while getting clean... A fun love note tradition. A fabulous *gift* that only costs $5! :)
#2) Tied To You {The Dating Divas} - A fun way to prepare the house before your sweetheart gets home! All you need is string and the free printable!
#3) Love Notes & Balloons {Somewhat Simple} - Surprise your sweetheart with a dozen balloons over his bed, each containing a reason you love him.
#4) Valentine Prints {Sweet Rose Studio} - For some easy peasy Valentine decor that couldn't be any quicker, simply print one {or all!} of these prints out and put it in an 8x10 frame. Done in no time flat!

#5) Now That I've Kissed The Ground... {The Dating Divas} -A SUPER fast & clever V-Day idea. Items needed: Hershey's Hugs & Kisses, rose petals, & the super cute FREE printable included in this post. "Now that I've kissed the ground you walk on...."
#6) i {heart} u Blocks {iCandy Handmade} -Stencil these 4x4x4x blocks for a quick and easy stack-able home decor.

#7) You Make My Heart Bounce {The Crafting Chicks} - A fun and easy Valentine for the boys (or girls) to share with their friends! Free Printable!

#8) Easy Love Notes {Little Birdie Secrets} - Quick and easy love notes to give as Valentines (or to show your love any time of year!).
#9) Basket of Snacks with Printable Poem {My Insanity} -This candy gram style gift snack basket is easy to replicate since its contents come from the grocery store (or dollar store) and the Printable Poem is provided!
#10) DIY Valentine Candy Labels {Lil' Luna} -Doll up your Valentine candy with these quick, easy and cute V-Day Labels.


#11) Candy Heart Bracelets {Brown Paper Packages} -A fun activity and a yummy treat all-in-one--your girls will love these darling bracelets!
#12) Stitched Heart Bookmarks {Thirty Handmade Days} -Heart stitched bookmarks with cute printable card. For both your spouse and your kids.
Good luck on creating your own quick and easy ideas. Make sure to use the printables that are already available for you through the various links....to make YOUR Valentine's Day prep work THAT much faster!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

valentine's day treats {round up}

The girls over at The Dating Divas have given us another great round-up today--delicious sweet treats to help you celebrate Valentine's day! Don't miss our chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies--mmm, I need to make some of those NOW. Actually all these ideas look amazing. How to choose?

#1) Love Potion Drink Labels {The Dating Divas} - Add "love potion" to the menu for your upcoming Valentine's Day party. Adorable & free Love Potion Printables that you can put on any bottled beverage.
#2) Cookie Valentine's {Eighteen25} - Hand out Cookie Valentines this year. Make some yummy Peanut Butter and M&M cookies (or your own favorite cookies) and package them into fun cd sleeves!
#3) Strawberry Heart Homemade Oreos {Thirty Handmade Days} - Fun Valentine cookies- PINK strawberry oreo hearts! Plus a free "I heart you" printable!
#4) Valentine Tea Bags {FunkyTime} - A fabulous "how to" make your very own heart shaped tea bags. Relax and soak up the love!
#5) G, PG, Pg-13 Cookies {HowDoesShe?} - Three exciting ways to decorate a heart shaped sugar cookie. Rate them G, PG, or even PG-13! You do NOT want to miss out on this one!
#6) Hearts on a Stick {HowDoesShe?} - This is a very fast and easy treat for kids and adults. Plus it tastes soooo yummy!!
#7) Anniversary, In the Kitchen {The Dating Divas} - Love fruit tarts?? This is a very cute and unique way to show your love for someone special! ....plus...a lot MORE fun ideas that you could use for Valentine's Day OR another special occasion...say....your anniversary! :)
#8) Valentine's Twinkies {Somewhat Simple} - Quick and easy strawberry shortcake ala heart shaped twinkies! Dessert NO ONE will forget!
#9) Valentine's Day Peanut Butter Blossoms {Eighteen 25} - Can't get any cuter than these!! A favorite combination...peanut butter and chocolate! A crowd pleaser every time!
#10) Stained Glass Heart Cookies {Brown Paper Packages} - Fun to make, yummy to eat--these cookies are perfect for home, classroom, parties, and giving away to a special someone!
#11) Evil Treats for the Sweetest Sweet {The Crafting Chicks} - Deliciously "evil" brownie recipe with a Valentine's Day twist.
#12) Heart-Shaped Pizzas {My Insanity} - Check out how to make your own heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine's Day! Remember that red peppers can make great red hearts too!
#13) Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies & Tin {Little Birdie Secrets} - Chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies are absolutely addictive! Make a batch and package them in an altered tin for an unforgettable gift!
#14) Chocolate Themed Dinner {My Insanity} - If a little chocolate is the recipe for romance, think what an entire meal featuring chocolate could do for your love life! Sweet and savory chocolate recipes and presentation ideas.
#15) Red Oreo Pudding Pole Cake {Lil' Luna} - Quick, easy and delicious oreo pudding poke cake that is red and perfect for Valentine's Day!
#16) No Bake Berry Oreo Cheesecake { Lil' Luna} - Pink and heart-shaped, these no bake berry oreo cheesecakes are perfect for your Valentine's dinner dessert!
#17) Easy Valentine's Day Dessert {The Polkadot Chair} - Simplify your Valentine's Day dessert by using a heart shaped cookie cutter to dress up a tray of brownies! Don't forget the irresistible strawberries too!

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is! I think I'll make one of everything. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for even more great ideas during this love season!!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

valentine's home decor craft ideas {round-up}

Today's our big day on The Dating Divas' Valentine's Day craft round-up! They're featuring fun Valentine decor craft projects from their favorite bloggers (including us x2!). Check out all these amazing ideas for darling Valentine's craft projects!

#1) Be Mine Valentine Banner {HowDoesShe} - Add a festive touch to your home every year with this simple "Be Mine" Valentine's banner!
#2) Valentine Garland {Somewhat Simple} - Spend a night talking with the people you love, about all the things you love, while making this fun Valentine garland!
#3) Love Story Print {Eighteen25} - Are you looking for an easy addition to your holiday decor? All you need is an 8x10 frame and this fabulous website provide the rest!
#4) Valentine's Day Countdown {iCandy Handmade} - Using some heart-shaped wedding favors, a cookie sheet and some magnets, create this fun Valentine Advent. Fill it with goodies or love notes!
#5) Pretty Polkadot Valentine Pillow {Sweet Rose Studio} - Create this pillow cover to sweeten up your couch (or your bed!) just in time for Valentine's Day!
#6) Conversation Blocks {Brown Paper Packages} - These adorable conversation blocks are so easy to make and easy on your budget too!
#7) Love Tree Centerpiece {The Crafting Chicks} - A personalized "Love Tree" centerpiece featuring photos and love notes about your family members!
#8) Heart Bunting Countdown {Brown Paper Packages} - Looking for a fun way to count down the days to Valentine's Day and create darling decor at the same time? This heart bunting is the perfect way to do both!
#9) Heart-Shaped Flower Arrangement {My Insanity} - Find out how to use fresh flowers in making a heart-shaped floral centerpiece!
#10) Doily Heart Banner w/Advent Inserts {My Insanity} - This banner doubles as a countdown to Valentine's Day. Each insert has a rhyme with a love challenge for the day!
#11) "LOVE" Banner {Little Birdie Secrets} - This vintage-inspired "LOVE" banner is made with sheet music and a little glitter glue!
#12) Family V-Day Mailboxes {The Dating Divas} - An adorable way to decorate AND keep the love alive during this month of appreciation!
#13) Burlap Valentine's Bunting {Little Birdie Secrets} - Create a darling burlap bunting out of jute webbing. It's quick, cheap, and cute!
#14) Valentine Wreath & Frame {Lil' Luna} - Cute, fun and easy way to doll up your door for Valentine's Day!

Next thing on The Dating Divas' list. . . FOOD! Tune in tomorrow for something sweet to eat this Valentine's Day!

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Get Creative with The Lorax Blog Tour

In support of Universal Pictures’ Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie, we are participating in a blog tour of wonderful crafts and activities inspired by the film. The movie will be in theaters on March 2 and I cannot wait to take my boys to see it!


In coming up with a craft to coincide with The Lorax movie, my boys wanted to help make a garden wrapper for their potted plants. My boys have a big hand in helping with our gardening, and they love to dress up the pots. I also thought this would be a great idea to help them get excited about planting some things since the movie has some focus on conservation. We wanted to make a garden planter that would look like the face of The Lorax while also featuring the Truffula trees that are highlighted in the film.


First we got all of our supplies together. 


Then we cut a strip of paper to fit around the pot. We used bright colors for everything to fit the theme of the movie.

Then I drew the face of The Lorax to attach to the strip that wraps around the pot.

We also added some foam eyes, a pompom nose and a tongue to complete the face.
Then we cut out long strips of yellow paper for the trunks of the Truffula trees. We drew black stripes on them and attached them to the wrapper. We made some straight and some curved since they are shown that way in the movie.


Next we wrapped the paper around the pot and got ready to attach some brightly colored pompoms to make the tops of the Truffula trees. You might need to attach another piece of cardstock to the trees to hold the pompoms up.

We're finished! Now the kids can plant anything they like in the pot and watch it grow! If you don't wish to make a garden pot wrapper, you can also let the kids where this as a crown! My boys got a kick out of that as well.

Be sure to check out the trailer for the upcoming film The Lorax.



Also, make sure you visit the other stops on The Get Creative with The Lorax blog tour. You will find so many other fun crafts and activities to do! Here are all the stops:
Feb 1        Today’s Creative Blog 
Feb 2        Katydid and Kid
Feb 3        zakka life
Feb 6        Smashed Peas & Carrots
Feb 7        WhiMSy love
Feb 8        Little Birdie Secrets
Feb 9        Art Projects For Kids
Feb 10      Dabbled 
Feb 13      Prudent Baby 
Feb 14     TonyaStaab.com 

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

valentine's handmade gift ideas {round-up}

We were so excited to be invited to be a part of The Dating Divas' crafty Valentine's Day Round-Up this year, and it's getting started today! These cute girls partnered up with a bunch of their favorite websites to show off some fabulous Valentine's Day ideas. There will be more coming up the rest of the week, including some of our favorite Valentine's ideas. Today they're sharing tons of amazing DIY gifts that you can whip up for you special someone this coming Valentine's Day!
Here we go.....
#1) Lucky In Love Scratch-Off Cards {The Dating Divas} - Show your spouse how lucky you are to have them this Valentine's Day! Follow this simple tutorial to create scratch off cards to reveal your love for them.
#2) Love Story Pallet Art {Sweet Rose Studio} - Create a special piece of rustic art for your special someone using pallet boards, paint, vinyl, and one amazing quote!
#3) Hate Ironing? I Do! {HowDoesShe?} - Perfect gift for him (and you)! Ironed shirts. You'll love it as much as he does.
#4) Felt Valentine Fortune Cookies {Somewhat Simple} - Give your sweetheart some love coupons in a new, creative way!
#5) "How Do I Love Thee?" Countdown {The Dating Divas} - If you can think of 24 reasons why you love your sweetheart, you are already halfway done with this project! An adorable way to show your love by using a muffin tin and FREE printables!
#6) Made With Love {Eighteen25} - Giving the gift of a homemade treat is a great way to show someone you love them. And we're sharing a cute little tag to help you prove it.
#7) Frayed Cut-Out Applique Valentine's Shirt {iCandy Handmade} - We love to make Valentine's Day shirts for our kids to wear on the big day. Whip one of these up and gift it to them on V-day morning!
#8) ABC's of What I Love About You {Somewhat Simple} - Think of characteristics you love about your spouse for every letter of the alphabet and find photos that illustrate the qualities on your list. I'll show you how to put them together to create a fun mini book printed and bound professionally for less than $5!
#9) Love Buckets {Brown Paper Packages} - Give the gift of love with these darling love buckets! Each day the members of your family can leave each other little love notes, making the countdown from February 1st to the 14th extra special!
#10) Thumbprint Valentine's {Brown Paper Packages} - Put a personal "touch" on Valentines for friends and family this year---perfect for parents, grandparents, and more!
#11) Be Mine Banner {Polkadot Chair} - What better way to surprise your sweetheart on V-Day than by "spelling it out" for him! Recycle an old book into a fun banner perfect for Valentine's Day!
#12) Valentine Button Necklace {Blue Robin Cottage} - Create a darling Valentine's gift by making this unique and charming embroidered fabric button heart necklace.
#13) Valentine's On The Hour {Thirty Handmade Days} - A genius idea for your loved one - give a gift throughout the day on the hour....includes sticker templates!
#14) "Hooked On You" Pail {Lil' Luna} - Easy and cute, these pails are perfect for anyone you're "hooked on!"
#15) Magnetic Heart-Shaped Shoe Clips {Polkadot Chair} - Have any fashionistas in your life? Use some might magnets to make some fun interchangeable shoe clips for a present! Great for lovey dovey day :)
#16) DIY Felt Valentine Envelopes - Pottery Barn Style {The Crafting Chicks} - Make your own felt Valentine envelopes to fill with treats and love notes for your kids! FREE love mail printable, too!
#17) Chair-Back Valentine Envelope Knock-off {iCandy Handmade} - The perfect stash for your child's little Valentine goodies!
#18) Pocket Kiss Flip Book {Brassy Apple} - Blow a kiss to your sweetheart wherever they may be!

#19) Valentine's Kit {Blue Robin Cottage} - Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift for your hubby? Make him a Valentine's kit with all the things in it he loves! This tutorial even includes a Free kit card printable!
#20) "Cross My Heart" Pillow {Polkadot Chair} - Looking for a present for a holiday decor queen? Here is a fun tutorial for a quick and easy pillow to make for that fabulous friend to display on Valentine's Day!
#21) Big Hunk Candy Bar Bouquets {My Insanity} - With some bamboo skewers and a little hot glue, you can make Big Hunk bouquets to give to your husbands. This post also features a FUN "Amazing Race" date you can do on Valentine's Day!!
...and there you have it! A BUNCH of fun gift ideas to try out this coming Valentine's Day! Check back tomorrow for even MORE Valentine's Day ideas!

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