2/4/11

Making Valentine's Day a Little More DIY and a Lot More Creative

Think back if you please to those grade school days and those classroom Valentine's Day parties for which each child would design her own special Valentine's Day box into which the other children could bestow their handmade or store bought but crayon scrawled Valentine cards. Usually, these Valentine boxes were fashioned from shoeboxes or tissue boxes lovingly decorated with colored paper and hearts and foil and lace, with a little slot cut into the lid, awaiting its bright bevy of Valentine cards.

I don't know about you, but for me, designing and decorating and adorning my extra-special Valentine box was almost as much fun as receiving those Valentine's cards themselves. The process of creating my box was a delight that allowed me to express myself uniquely while joyfully anticipating the fun-filled party time soon to come and THEN that eagerly- awaited time after the party when I would get to sort through the contents of my Valentine box and check out all the goodies!

Here's a fun and unique DIY idea if you have a nostalgic significant other, a creative friend, or maybe even a special BFF who you can trace all the way back to those grade school days-why not give your special someone the chance to relive those fond memories from Valentine's Days past by making them a homemade Valentine's Day gift basket in the form of one of those old-school Valentine's day boxes?

You can literally use a shoebox or a tissue box, just like in the days of yore. Or you can make it a little more adult-like by choosing a more sophisticated keepsake style box that your friend can enjoy reusing after the holiday. Why not pay a visit to your local Container Store for box ideas galore? Make sure the box you choose will be spacious enough to accommodate all the groovy Valentine's Day goodies you intend to nestle inside.

Before you fill the box with Valentine's Day gifts, don't forget to decorate it. Be creative! You can use a decorating style that is reminiscent of your grade school days (think red and pink construction paper, notebook paper, red foil paper, crayons, Magic Marker, old photos, heart-shaped doilies or stickers; heck, maybe even break out the paste for old time's sake and that minty fresh smell). Or you can take a more sophisticated, adult-like approach with higher-quality paper and accoutrements such as pretty ribbon, vintage lace, pressed flowers, unique buttons, and more. A few other ideas to get your creative juices flowing: decoupage, calligraphy, handmade paper, pieces of real love letters (or what about notes that the two of you exchanged way back when in an old classroom?)...

The creative Valentine's Day decorating possibilities are myriad and lovely.

Of course, decorating the outside of your lucky friend's Valentine gift box is only part of the fun. You also get to decide what special Valentine gifts to nestle inside. Maybe some of these gifts will be homemade, too, such as a favored baked good. Red Velvet cupcakes are a wonderful choice for Valentine's Day and you can even bake them in a heart-shaped muffin tin. Decorate your heart-shaped Red Velvet cupcake with delicious swirls of vanilla or cream cheese frosting (perhaps with just a drop of red food coloring added to the frosting to create a pretty pink tint), adorn with silver dragee flourishes and you have a baked good that's attractive enough for even a discriminating Valentine's Day gourmand. Or get even fancier with raspberry tarts, reminiscent of The Queen of Hearts. Or what about homemade truffles, rolled in red edible sugar?

Delectable baked goods are only one idea for the yummy innards of your special friend's homemade Valentine's Day gift basket. If you're using the old-school theme, why not consider adding a mix tape with love songs or just a multifaceted music mix that includes ditties of special significance to you and your friend? Poetry is also an excellent gift notion for Valentine's Day. Whether you handwrite a classic love poem to add to the gift box or better yet, write your very own poem for your friend (if you don't feel poetic enough, a handwritten Valentine's Day note would also be nice) or acquire a unique hand-designed poetry chapbook by a contemporary poet, these especially expressive words will surely add a significant and memorable touch to your friend's Valentine's Day gift basket.

Etsy is a wondrous one-stop shopping source for all your unique handmade items needs, so it might serve you very well indeed to browse some etsy categories and shops in search of even more idiosyncratic and personalized special additions for your lucky BFF's Valentine's Day gift basket. From letterpress greeting cards to gourmet cookies to fuzzy red legwarmers to all manner of holiday-themed specialties, etsy offers it all-and all you need to do is visit esty.com online.

Etsy even features a bath & body category, but another sumptuous source for luxurious bath & body products and blissfully wonderful aromas is lush.com (or Lush in person, if you're lucky enough to live near one of their yummy little shops). Lush stocks all kinds of delicious temptations from lovely hair conditioners to sublime perfumes to a handcrafted facial cleanser known as Angels on Bare Skin.

I think that an especially apt Lush addition to a Valentine's Day gift basket would be one of their famous bath bombs, which are handcrafted in many romantic, relaxing, sexy, sassy, or just plain fun varieties such as the Kiss me Klimt (ylang ylang and rose), the Sex Bomb (jasmine), and the Tisty Tosty (a delicate heart-shaped bath bomb infused with precious rose and orris root to "weave a magic love spell for your bath). While you're browsing these bath bomb offerings for your friend, you'll probably desire to choose one for YOU, too-and why not indulge yourself? It is Valentine's Day, after all and it is oh so important to love yourself and treat yourself, too.

It is also important to show your friends and lovers that you care and what better way to do so than by adding personalized, unique, handmade, artistic flourishes to their Valentine's Day gifts? They'll love you for it.

Happy Valentine's Day!


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Read more of my Valentine's Day (and Anti-Valentine's Day) articles by clicking the links below.

Paint a Piece of Pottery For Your Valentine:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1426072/paint_a_piece_of_pottery_for_your_valentine.html?cat=30

Valentine's Day Cards:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1381810/valentines_day_card_messages.html?cat=41

Anti-Valentine's Day Cards:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1379598/antivalentines_day_cards.html?cat=7

How To Celebrate An Anti-Valentine's Day:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1380278/how_to_celebrate_an_antivalentines.html?cat=7

Some Alternative Uses For Love Letters:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1371657/some_alternative_uses_for_love_letters.html?cat=10

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Also Blood Pudding Press has added a new small section of Strange Valentine's - from on-sale special poetry chapbooks to ivory lace & more. Please do feel free to partake:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/BloodPuddingPress?section_id=7799241