Valentine’s Day String Heart Door Decoration
I don’t know about you, but my Pinterest feed has been full of Valentine’s Day gifts, decorations and foods.  I love all the brilliant ideas I’ve seen but there is one thing that keeps catching my eye – String Heart Decorations.  They are absolutely adorable and look relatively easy to make. 
So, I decided to update my front door Valentine’s Day Wreath with a String Heart Door Decoration.  I love how it turned out, so bright and colorful, and get so happy every time I pull up to our house! 
String Heart 2
Here are the materials I used in my project:

12×12 Wood Panel from Michaels
White Paint – had on hand
12×12 paper – to draw heart on
#18 x 5/8 inch nails from Home Depot
Pink String from Home Depot
Pink Ribbon
Staple Gun

There are tons of tutorials out there, but this one lays things out step by step and was easy to follow.  I loved the look of it, but because I planned on hanging this on my front door, I wanted the heart to be filled in more so it shows better.  So, I followed this method  (sorry to send you to my pin – I couldn’t find the original source) for arranging the string. 

String Heart 1Once I had my string heart made, I stapled some ribbon to the back of my wood panel and made a bow to hang my adorable string heart decoration up with.  


String Heart 3

So cute!  
Are there any Valentine’s Day ideas you’ve seen on Pinterest or elsewhere that you love?  Let me know.  I’d love to see them!
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DIY Valentine’s Day Bookmark
I prefer to avoid sending candy Valentine’s to school, if I can help it.  It’s not that I have anything against candy.  In fact, I LOVE candy.  I just prefer to send something that Lovebug’s friends can enjoy for more than a few minutes, like these Loopy Straws we gave out last year.
This year, we decided bookmarks would be perfect Valentine, since Lovebug loves to read.  So, we spent a morning in the craft room playing around with some craft paper and heart shaped punches.  Throw in a laminator and some ribbon and suddenly we had these super cute Valentine bookmarks ready for Lovebug’s friends!
Craft paper
Heart shaped punch
Laminator sheets
Paper Cutter (or scissors)
Hole punch
Step 1
We started by punching hearts out of colorful craft paper.  We used two sizes, but the bookmarks are adorable with just one size heart too! 

Step 2Next, I made “Happy Valentine’s Day” tags in a Word document and cut them into cute flags with my scissors.


Step 3Then, Lovebug helped me arrange the tags and craft paper hearts into laminator sheets.  We started with the tag on top and arranged the hearts below it, trying to keep everything within two inches to maximize space and not make the bookmarks too big.  We were able to fit 4 bookmarks into each sheet, leaving enough room to cut between the bookmarks.


Step 4Then, we carefully fed the laminator sheet through my laminator.


Step 5Once the sheets were laminated and cooled, I cut the bookmarks with my paper cutter.  I also trimmed the edges a bit so that the bookmarks wouldn’t be so sharp.


Step 6Lastly, we added ribbon to the bookmarks by punching a small whole in the top, making sure to leave at least 1/4 – 1/2 inch space from the top.  If you punch the hole too close to the edge, it can rip when you feed the ribbon through.


Step 7Lastly, I fed ribbon through the hole by folding an 8 inch length of ribbon in half, then feeding the loose ends through the back of the bookmark, pulling the ribbon about halfway through.  Then, I pulled the looped end of the ribbon up and over the back of the bookmark and fed the loose ends through it.


That’s it!  Fun, festive bookmarks for Lovebug and her friends on Valentine’s Day!

I love how these bookmarks turned out. They were really easy to make so Lovebug helped with almost every step (I didn’t feel comfortable having her handle the paper cutter, but she helped with everything else!) and we knocked them out in about an hour.   I love that she gets to hand out homemade Valentine’s that have her personal touch!  It just makes it feel that much more special!


If you want to make Valentine’s bookmarks but don’t have a laminator, you can easily make something similar with card stock and heart shaped stickers.  Just cut the card stock into 1 1/2 to 2 inch strips and have your kiddos attach the stickers and sign their name.  Add a little ribbon and your done! ๐Ÿ™‚
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
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For the last several years, I have favored handmade gifts and cards for my family over store bought ones.  With websites, like Pinterest, full of ideas and inspiration handmade gifts are easy, thoughtful and economical.  So, it just makes sense to me to make home made Valentine for my hubby.

This year, I came up with a fun and simple valentine for my mister.  All I needed was a newspaper and a marker.  We don’t get the newspaper anymore as we read most of our news online.  But, we still get a free local paper, which we read for local news, information and events.  This would work perfectly for my valentine. 

I simply looked through the paper for an article or advertisement that had the word “love” in it.  This was much easier to do as Valentine’s Day drew near.  Once I found the word “love” in the article, I looked for the letter “I” before the word “love”.  Finding an article or advertisement with the word “you” after the word “love” that would be ideal.  But, I wasn’t so lucky.  So, I decided I could piece the word “you” together by finding the letters “Y”, “O” and “U” in other words.  I made a note of where my “I”, “love” and “you” were then began marking all the other words and images out with the marker.  This was a long article so I just marked out the relevant paragraph.  I also used a red marker and added a heart around the paragraph since this is for Valentine’s Day.  I was left with “I LOVE YOU” in the article.  A sweet (and free) little Valentine hidden in the paper for my love. 
Free Valentine Idea

NOTE:  I knew my love wouldn’t be upset about me marking out an article or advertisement.  But, the marker seeps through the thin paper so it can affect what is written on the back of the page. If your love really enjoys reading the paper, you may want to consider using a page from an older newspaper so as not to ruin your special someones paper.

Since we aren’t daily paper readers, I will tell my hubby to check the paper out for an event coming up in town.  That way he’ll find his Valentine on Valentine’s Day.

I hope you have a LOVE-ly Valentine’s Day!!
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For Christmas, I asked my family for some new baking supplies.  So, my hubby and Lovebug got me some new sheet pans and Lovebug picked out a couple cookie cutters to go with it.  She was so excited about a heart cookie cutter she picked out and has asked me repeatedly if we could bake some cookies in order to use it.  This weekend, we finally found the time to bake some cookies (a surprise for her daddy, at her request – she is such a daddy’s girl!).

I wanted to switch things up and do something different than our regular sugar cookies so I did a little research and came across these rolled chocolate cookies from Restless Chipotle.  They looked delicious and the title said they were “the best” so I figured we’d give them a shot.  I have to admit, I was skeptical when I saw how wet the dough was before we put it in the freezer. But I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out.  They rolled out nicely and they taste delicious!  They have the perfect amount of chocolate flavor without being too sweet.  YUM!   We made 1/2 the recipe which resulted in plenty of cookies for our little family.

Initially, I had planned on filling them with ice cream.  But, once I tasted them I was immediately reminded of chocolate wafers, which I typically use for chocolate crusts in my cheesecakes.  So, I decided I’d try to replicate the flavors of my favorite cheesecake in these sandwich cookies.  I created a cheesecake frosting and added some fresh strawberries and ended up with a delicious cookie, perfect for Valentine’s Day!

I made a minor adjustment to the recipe because rolling the dough to 1/8 inch made the cookies a little too crisp for my liking.  I rolled the second batch of dough to 1/4 inch thickness so they would be a little softer.  It worked out perfectly because the softer cookie helped prevent all the filling from squishing out of the cookie on the first bite.

But don’t be fooled, these cookies can still be messy!  Totally worth it though!!

Chocolate Cookies with Cheesecake Frosting & Fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Cheesecake Frosting & Fresh Strawberries
Makes 18 cookies

3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for rolling
small pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped very small

For the Frosting
16 oz room temperature cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1.  Beat together the melted butter and sugar until combined.
2.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix to incorporate.
3.  Add the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.  Mix until combined.
4.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
5.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6.  Lightly flour your board and dough, then roll your dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
7.  Cut the shape you want with cookie cutters and remove the excess dough.
8.  Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.
9.  Allow the cookies to cool.
10.  Once the cookies are cooled, make the frosting by beating together cream cheese and sour cream.   Then, add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat together until smooth and creamy.
11.  Assemble the cookies:
Spread a thin layer cream cheese on the bottom of a cookie.  This will keep the cookie from adsorbing any juices from the strawberries.

Then pipe some frosting around the edge of the cookie.

Sprinkle a layer of chopped strawberries inside the frosting border you created.  Then, spread a thin layer of frosting on the bottom side of another cookie.

Place the cookie on top of the frosting and strawberries, creating your sandwich.


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Earlier this month, I made a simple burlap wreath with the intention of changing added decorations each month to embellish it for holidays, seasons, etc.  Burlap is such a versatile material that it really lends itself well to anything.  So, it is the perfect backdrop for a project like this.  
In January, I made this wreath to celebrate the New Year.  For February, I added a few pieces to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I made a festive Cupid’s Bow and Arrow and added a simple “XOXO” sign to complete the wreath.  I was able to find all the materials at Michael’s but I’m sure you could find them at any craft store.   The steps are incredibly easy and for the most part come together quickly.  The bulk of time is spent wrapping yarn, which isn’t hard, just time consuming.  But, I think it was worth it because I love how simple this wreath turned out.  

Here’s how I made this simple and elegant Burlap Valentine’s wreath.

Burlap Valentine's Wreath Tutorial

Burlap Wreath – see how to make one here
Piece of cardboard – I just cut a lid flap off of a box
Small glittery foam heart
4 Red glittery heart stickers
Wooden dowel – I painted mine white
Red Yarn
White Yarn
4 White glittery heart stickers
Red glitter alphabet stickers
Hot Glue Gun


Using scissors, I carefully cut the wooden dowel to about 14 inches long.

Using the tip of my scissors, I carefully poked a small hole in the center of the top of the red glittery foam heart.

Then I placed a small dot of hot glue on the tip of the dowel and inserted the dowel into the hole I made in the foam heart.

I wanted to incorporate more hearts into this decoration.  So, I decided to use heart stickers instead of feathers for the bottom of the arrow.  To make them, I trimmed a small piece (about 1 cm) off the bottom of the red glittery heart stickers at a 45 degree angle.  If this decoration was visible from all angles, I would have added another two hearts.  But, the back will be pressed into the wreath, so there was no need to waste additional stickers.

I spread a thin line of hot glue along the area I trimmed on the stickers and attached them to the bottom of the wooden dowel. I didn’t want them laying flat, so I stood the the second row up a bit and attached them that way.   

Next, I worked on the X’s and O’s.  I simply attached the alphabet stickers onto the white glittery heart stickers, pressing down hard to made sure they stuck.  You could really write anything though.

So far, everything had been quick and easy.  But, the arrow is where most of the work came in.  I started by drawing a freehand bow onto the card board.  I just looked up images of bows online and did my best to sketch one.   I made my bow about the same size as my arrow.

Then I cut the bow shape out using scissors.

Next, I added the bow string.  I simply placed a dot of glue towards the bottom of the bow and tied my white yarn into a knot, making sure the knot was nestled into the glue.  This will ensure my yarn won’t move.

Then I did the same on the other side and trimmed the extra yarn to create the completed bow string.

Next, I glued a row of yarn around the edge of the card board.  I wanted to be sure the edges of the cardboard wouldn’t be exposed.

Then I began the most time consuming part of the project, wrapping the red yarn around the bow.  I started by spreading a small amount of hot glue on the card board so that the yarn would adhere and not move too much.  
Then wrapped the yarn around and around and around and around….

I realized too late that I wouldn’t be able to fit the ream of yarn between the bow string and the bow itself.  So, I cut a few long but manageable lengths of yarn and fed that through.  Then, I just kept wrapping and wrapping while thinking “Just keep wrapping…”  (in my best Dori voice).  

When I’d run out of yarn, I would lay a dot of glue down and push the end into it to secure it.  I would use the same dot of glue to attach a new length of yarn.

It took forever to wrap this little bow!  Ok, so it really only took about 10 minutes but it felt like forever.  Anyway, I finally finished wrapping which meant all the components for my wreath were done! 

I put the wreath together, by taking a short length of red yarn and wrapping it around the bow, inside the bow string, a few times.  Then I simply fed the lose ends of yarn through the burlap to the wire wreath frame and tied a knot.  I did this on both the top and bottom of the bow to hold it in place the way I wanted.  Then, I fed the arrow over the bow string and under the bow to hold it in place.  Finally, I added my XOXO heart stickers by sticking them directly on the burlap.

Voila!  Cute and simple Valentine’s wreath is done!

I think it looks pretty cute.  ๐Ÿ™‚  Now to start thinking about what to do in March!

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