Monday, 9 February 2015

9 Home Crafted and "Less Expensive" Valentine Gifts

I do not get flowers usually.  Not a sad thing... anyone who knows me has learned that I always forget about the poor things and I end up with a dried flower display.  But every Valentine's Day my husband has a bunch of red roses delivered after he has gone to work and I try my hardest to keep them alive for as long as possible... that is my gift to him, i.e. making the most of the money he spent on them! 

No, I am only (half!) joking.

Saying "less expensive" Valentine gifts is a long winded way of saying "cheap."  Somehow "cheap" and "Valentine" seemed wrong together.  As if I am trying to skimp on my love.  That is not the case.  Sometimes, whether it is spending on your most loved or a way to show your love, if there is no more than a fiver in the pocket.... there is no more than a fiver to spend, full stop.  In which case, that fiver is enough when the gift is found or created and given with love.

A nice way to send a card to the one you love, especially when they are at work, is to send an ecard.  These are especially good for those (of whom I know one!) who would not appreciate the attention of their colleagues if a surprise arrived in the post!  You can let them know that you are thinking of them without making a song and dance about it.  Care2 often have nice free photo or interactive cards for various occasions and have not-for-profit charity cards.

I like to browse the really good charity shops near where we live.  They often have nice cufflinks and jewellery or niche gifts.  Some interesting finds could be old football (soccer) cigarette cards or framed posters of local favourite beauty spots.  Earlier in the year, I found a gorgeous faux velvet bound book of love poetry that barely looked touched in a 5-books-for-a-£1 deal (this actually went to a newly engaged couple for a Christmas gift, but shows even looking through everyday things like the book section, rather than a "Valentine" range,can turn up a great gift.)

7 Home Made Gift Ideas

See below for link to this pattern from Bunny Mummy's blog (my colour themes)

  • These gorgeous stuffed crochet hearts on Bunny Mummy's blog can be made by keeping the top part of the hearts unstitched to leave an opening.  Instead of stuffing with... stuffing... pop in a little tube of Love Hearts or other favourite sweets.  If you are feeling more flash, then you could pop in the cufflinks or jewellery bargain you found (see above!)  See one of the completed sides I have been working on in the photo above.  Bunny Mummy also has other colour themes... the colours above are not really done justice in the photo, but are bright blue, bright green, dark brown and the red; they are really nice and homely and yet fairly masculine all together as a gift for my husband.  A deeper burgundy red would have been nicer but I realised I had run out!
  • Wash out a glass coffee jar or similar.  Using multi-surface pens like these (well worth the money for the use you and the kids will get out of them) decorate to make a vase.
  • Decorate a plain mug (using the pens mentioned above) and fill with sweets including Love Hearts or lip-shaped jellys, etc, or the homemade sweet ideas below.  Finish with cellophane, brought up at the top, and tied with ribbon. (Use well shaken out clear cellophane bakery packaging if you do not have any on the roll, and ribbon can be cut from the inside shoulders of clothing.)
  • Truffles. You melt the same quantity of chocolate and cream together then leave to set in the fridge.  Roll into truffles, then finish by rolling in a mixture of icing sugar and cocoa powder. We like to use coconut cream - pop a tin in the fridge overnight, then scoop out the thick cream from the top leaving the watery liquid behind (I add this to a curry) and whisk up a bit to smooth out before melting with the chocolate. You can make a selection of flavours by rolling some truffle around various things in your cupboard e.g shaping it around a dried apricot or brazil nut, or finely chopping nuts to mix in with the truffle. 
  • Favourite fridge cake recipes made into little bite size pieces, like Rocky Road or Coconut Ice.
  • Red Velvet Cakes are common in the U.S.  They are basically chocolate cake dyed with red food colouring, so you could get away with using your favourite chocolate cake recipe. There is also a naturally coloured Red Velvet Cake with no saturated fat here. 
  • Favourite cupcakes, or Red Velvet done in cupcakes, and arranged on a pretty cake stand waiting for your beloved to arrive home.
 Please do share in the comments if you are making something special for this (or have done for a past) Valentine's Day!

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