Valentine's Day Projects

Well, February is almost here. Thank goodness we can say good bye to January. It's been a cold one up here in the Northland. Winter started out so very nice and then, as always January hits and BOOM...it's frigid. Looks like the whole nation has been dealing with these extremely cold temps. The snowfall this winter has been minor compared to last year. Trust me that's a good thing. My husband decided to purchase a new snow blower this year. I told him that's why we don't have any snow. LOL! Never fails.

So this year for Valentine's Day I thought I would continue making items that are quick and easy and relatively inexpensive. Most of the items I needed to buy for  the Valentine's wreath and candle decoration were purchased from Dollar Tree. I've learned to purchase the items long before a holiday comes. If you wait too long, everything is gone. So, right after Christmas I made my list went to the nearest Dollar Tree in our town and purchased everything I needed.

Last year I concentrated on cake pops, bonbons, and nugget wrappers. If you would like to see those posts, they are located in the sidebar of this post. This year I decided to make a wreath for the front door, a small candle wreath for the kitchen table. Also I made a small quilted mat to put under the candle decoration...and finally a new way of making very simple bonbons. I got the idea for the bonbons after making Oreo cookie bonbons for Christmas. Once again, I changed up the ingredients and I have to say they turned out delicious.
So Let's Get Started...
First off, let's gather what we need to make the wreath. Sometimes people have problems trying to figure out how to make the little clumps of deco mesh, so I have also put a "how to video" on how to make those little clumps.
Shopping List...
  • 6 decorative mesh (3 pink, 3 white & red or what ever colors you want) 
  • 1 14" wreath form
  • 1 8" wreath form (for centerpiece)
  • Valentine's embellishments (hearts, ribbon)
  • 2 rolls of Valentine's (wide) ribbon
  • 1 Valentine door hanging (this will be taken apart and added to the bottom of the wreath
  • pipe cleaners (any color) - I purchased these at Walmart
  • glue gun and glue
  • scissors
All these items can be purchased at Dollar Tree. However, I purchased the pipe cleaners at Walmart.
The wreath form is 14". When you purchase the smaller forms, there are 2 per package.
Dollar Tree has lots and lots of embellishments for Valentine's Day and they are of course only $1.25 each. Their selections are always great.

Time to Make A Wreath...
Start by rolling the mesh over 2 times and cut. You will do this with all the mesh. I used 2 different colors in my wreath and centerpiece. So just keep cutting.
Once you have completed cutting all the mesh, cut all the pipe cleaners in half. At this point if you want to add ribbon, cut them in 6"-7" pieces and trim both sides like a bow end. I believe you will get around 15 cuts out of 1 roll of ribbon. Then start assembling the little bundles. I added ribbons to the white deco mesh and left the pink ones plain.
Once you have all your bundles made, it's time to attach to the wire frame. I forgot to take a picture of assembling the Valentine's wreath, but I made a St. Patrick's Day wreath and the picture above shows how to assemble. Take 1 bundle and wrap around the inner two wires and twist. Don't worry about the pipe cleaners on the back. You will trim all of those at the end.

When all the deco mesh bundles have been put in place, it's time to embellish the wreath with the Valentine's embellishments you purchased. I added a heart at the bottom. I painted it pink and then added glitter and hearts. The Kisses plaque was also purchased at Dollar Tree.
And that's it! I have to say making the little bundles is time consuming, but fun. The finished product looks so cute!

Here is a Video DIY that will help with the placement of the deco mesh bundles... by Bianca Andress   
Now Let's Make the Candle Decoration...
Basically, you are doing the same steps for the smaller wreath frame. Use your leftover deco mesh, ribbons and embellishments to make a smaller version. You might need to purchase 1 or 2 more deco mesh to finish the candle wreath. Add a candle and a cute Valentine's mat under it and you're all set for Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day Table Mat...
This is another easy project if you like to sew. I purchased a 1/4 yard of 2 different Valentine's day fabric. I had some pink scraps of fabric to make the hearts. I then cut 18 5" squares (9 of one fabric and 9 of the other fabric. I made a heart template and cute out 10 hearts. Then it was time to place the hearts on each one of the squares. I zigzagged around each heart two times to make them look clean. 

Then it was time to sew the squares together for both sides. I added a low loft batting between both and stitched down each seam to hold everything in place. Then the binding was added. This was a quick project to make and definitely added to the candle and wreath decoration for the table.

So much for the crafty portion of this post and on to the yummy Bonbons...
Have you ever made the Oreo/cream cheese bonbons? For Christmas I made them for the first time. I usually  make cake bonbons, but these looked so easy and less time consuming. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were. It gave me an idea. Why not try making different flavors?

So it was time to gather the few ingredients needed and try to change the flavor. The Oreo bonbons naturally use Oreo cookies and cream cheese. I decided to try using Great Value brand Vanilla sandwich cookies. I added strawberry extract to the crushed cookies, then the cream cheese and finally a little gel food coloring. I used my food processor to make sure the cookies had no large pieces remaining in the mixture.

Grocery List:
  • Vanilla Great Value Sandwich cookies
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • Strawberry extract, or you could use strawberry cream cheese)
  • Gel food coloring-pink (can be purchased at Walmart in the cake decorating section
  • Candy melts - for outer shell


Equipment needed:
You will need a dipping tool. I use the curlyQ tool above to take the bonbons out of the candy melts. It works really well and can be purchased on the internet. They are very reasonable. I also use a 1" scoop to make all the bonbons uniform.
I also use these silicone candy melt containers. I've tried a lot of different ways to melt the chocolate, but these little pots are the best. There is no waste, which is a great thing. I purchased mine at Michael's. Again, very reasonable and if you have a coupon they're even cheaper.

So Let's Make Some Bonbons...
First, you'll need to put the cookies into the food processor and make sure that the cookies are really finely chopped. Then add the cream cheese, strawberry extract, and a few dabs of gel coloring (pink). Mix until everything is incorporated.
Now it's time to make the bonbons. I believe I got 38 bonbons out of the mixture. Once rolled, place in the refrigerator until you are ready to dip. Place the candy melts in a container to melt. I highly recommend the silicone bowls. 
I noticed after I dipped the bonbons, that there were little holes in the bottom of the bonbon. I just took a little chocolate out of the silicone bowl and placed it over the opening. It fixed the problem.
Now it's time to add some pink and white squiggles on the top of the bonbons. Just to add a little color.
And here they are... Such an easy recipe. My experiment worked out very well. They taste like strawberry...and who doesn't like strawberries and chocolate. 

This was a fun experiment. The more I thought about it, the more flavor ideas I got...lemon, blueberry, vanilla, raspberry...the sky is the limit. If you have some time, you might want to try these. They are so delicious!

Strawberry Bonbon Recipe...
Ingredients:
  • 36 vanilla sandwich cookies (I used Walmart brand)
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese (you could also use strawberry cream cheese)
  • pink gel good coloring (can be purchased at Walmart)
  • strawberry extract
  • candy melts (can be found in the cake decorating isle at Walmart)
Directions:
  1. Crush vanilla sandwich cookies to very fine
  2. Add cream cheese
  3. Add 1 tsp. strawberry extract
  4. Add 3-4 drops of (pink) gel food coloring
  5. Mix until you have a pink mass.
  6. Keep pulsing until everything is incorporated
  7. Use 1" scoop to make round bonbons
  8. Place in refrigerator until ready to use
  9. Place candy melts in microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Then pinch the bowl a little to kind of mix the candy melts. Repeat for another 30 seconds and stir or squeeze again. From this point heat in microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power until everything is melted and is almost the consistency of Hershey syrup. Now it's time to dip. 
  10. Take 5 or 6 bonbons out of the refrigerator and dip and place on waxed paper or parchment paper until set
  11. If you notice small holes on the bottom of the bonbons, place a small amount of candy melts for the whole and place back on parchment paper until set
  12. I used vanilla and pink candy melts to decorate. You will only need about 25 melts for each color. Follow the same instructions for the candy melts above.
  13. Place candy melts in a plastic zipper bag and cut a very tiny hole in the corner and drip over bonbons. Repeat with second color.
One Final Note...
I do hope you enjoyed this post. It was a lot of fun making the wreaths, the mat and the bonbons. I do hope you have a chance to make at least one of the crafty items or try the bonbons. You won't be disappointed. The bonbons would be a fun craft to do with the kids.

Always remember..."Life's short...eat dessert first!"...words to live by!