By Amy Lorentzen Associated Press
Don’t worry if you’ve yet to find something special for loved ones for Valentine’s Day. You can easily and inexpensively add extra heart to gifts by making them at home.
Popular homemade gifts include aromatic candles and bath salts, personalized photo frames and customized scarves. Jo Pearson, with arts and crafts supplier Michaels, says vintage lace and traditional red hearts are trends this year, and can easily be applied as stamps, stickers and appliques.
Many craft stores carry candle-making kits, some requiring only a few minutes of microwaving.
You can choose the color of the wax and add scented oils, such as chocolate fudge, sugar cookie, ginger, sandalwood or rose.
Silicone molds are available in many shapes and sizes. Or personalize a glass votive candle holder with scrapbooking embellishments such as beads, charms or other baubles. Glue dots allow no-mess application.
A lovely bath
Making your own bath salts is easy. Use Epsom, kosher or sea salt, plus essential oils. Food coloring, dried herbs and flower petals can be added for more interest.
Use three parts coarse salt to one part Epsom salt, and mix in a few drops of oil and a pinch of baking soda to soften the water.
Allow the salt to dry on waxed paper, then pour it into apothecary jars or other attractive containers.
To adorn a frame, use scrapbooking stickers to incorporate your valentine’s favorite interests. Use a hot glue gun to adhere ribbon to the frame, or use a stencil and paint.
Photo books are also a memorable way to tell your story as a couple, to highlight special vacations or to show off children, grandkids or pets. Create one online at sites such as Shutterfly.com and Snapfish.com.
Easy iron-on appliques, pins and colorful tassels are just a few ways to personalize a store-bought scarf.
If you’re feeling adventurous but don’t sew, check out no-sew T-shirt scarf techniques online. There’s a simple T-shirt shag scarf at http://snapguide.com/guides/repurpose-a-t-shirt-into-a-stylish-fringe-scarf.
Cut a T-shirt off horizontally below the armpits so it becomes a tube, then cut vertical shag lines from the raw edge about one-third up the tube. After that, pull on each piece to separate and elongate.
Wake up with love
For an extra perk in the morning, flavor coffee beans for your valentine. Buy roasted beans and then add a few teaspoons of food flavoring oil per pound. Or use spices such as vanilla beans or cinnamon to add depth to ground coffee.
Whether your gift is store-bought or handmade, make it even more appealing with a handcrafted card or wrapping paper. Simply stamp a plain piece of paper and add ribbon for homemade wrapping. Cut your desired shape from a sponge for a do-it-yourself stamp.
For a romantic flair, apply lots of lipstick and put your pout to paper.