I’ve never been a schmaltzy Valentine’s Day kind of girl. Forget the flowers and candy, I want something with meaning.
Make me a CD of songs you think I’d like. Build a blanket fort in the living room and have an indoor picnic and play video games. I’ll also take chocolate truffles — I’m not insane.
When we looked for Valentine’s Day craft projects, I didn’t want anything too over-the-top schmoopy, you know? I wanted simple, pretty, romantic.
My editor? She wanted bacon.
So voila, two projects that will make your Valentine smile, and one that might make him or her shudder with horror and recoil in disgust.
Which could be what you have in mind because, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer wisely said, “Love, it makes you do the wacky.”
Project 1: “The Puzzle of Love”
Goal: Make a heart-shaped wreath out of puzzle pieces.
Reality: Some hearts look more like, uh, circles. Go with it. It’s the circle of love, like your wedding ring.
Details: Really, this isn’t that hard and would be a good project for children. Using old puzzle pieces, put them into the shape of a heart first, then paste them together using craft glue. Tip: The glue will glob out when you put the pieces together, so use less glue or be prepared with a cotton swab. Otherwise your heart will end up glued to the coffee table. Not that something like that happened.
Paint the nonpuzzle side a nice pink or red using acrylic paint, and then paint with Mod Podge to add gloss.
If you’re super lazy like me, use the puzzle pieces with red in them and use that side, which is already glossy. No need for the evil Podge. Overwhelmingly people liked this version more than my excellent medicine-y pink painted version. Fine. Be like that.
Add a ribbon and hang from your front door, proclaiming your love and amazing recycling ability.
Project 2: “Crayon Hearts”
Goal: Melt crayons into heart shapes.
Reality: Wow. This looks amazing, is easy and now I have an excuse to buy myself new crayons — just to melt them down. A great little gift for co-workers, friends or children’s classes.
Details: You need crayons and a silicone heart-shaped muffin form. That’s it. The hardest part of this project is unwrapping the crayons. I suggest a gel manicure first.
Our crayons came with regular and metallic colors. But perusing the Crayola site, you could get really creative with this — melt the silver and gold crayons together, or yellows and oranges and reds for a fall heart. The metallic ones added sparkly glitter.
After unwrapping the crayons, break them apart into small pieces or chop them up. Make sure all the pieces are the same size, or they won’t melt evenly.
Fill the muffin tin about halfway. Bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Put immediately into freezer for 10 minutes, pop out.
We loved these. It was fun coming up with color combinations. If you’re giving them away, stick them onto a card with rubber cement (glue doesn’t work with greasy crayons so much) or pop them into a small plastic bag with a note that says “You bring color to my world!” or something equally cheesy.
As I’m single, I suggested some black hearts for enemies and exes. What? I’m thoughtful like that.
Project 3: “Bacon Roses”
Goal: Take bacon, wrap into rose-like spirals. Bake in muffin tin. Place on fake flower stems. A bouquet of piggy love.
Reality: Choose between burning the hell out of yourself handling spitting hot bacon curls to get them in edible condition or giving your honey a dozen cold, grease-congealed lumps. Schmoochies!
Details: I can see where someone thought this would be a good, trendy idea. It’s just a stupid one.
First you need two muffin tins. In one, drill a hole into the bottom of each muffin to let the bacon grease drain. Actually, first you need to make sure you have a drill and that your editor remembered the thing that makes the drill tighten around the bit. Because without that, a steel bit might go flying around the kitchen. This might happen several times before you say words that are not printable.
Give up on drilling. Open bacon. Hopefully, you will have remembered to put the bacon in the fridge. Otherwise, the bacon will be warm and your entire body will cringe at the melty fat. Blurgh. Disgusting. I don’t love anyone this much.
Take a slice and roll it up in a spiral fashion. Repeat with other slices. Put them in the muffin tray where they will immediately unspiral. Try it with two slices. Keep doing this until you are screaming at the bacon to just “stay there already!!!”
I suggested Super Glue to keep it in place, but apparently that’s toxic and that’s a bad thing, even though you’re giving your loved one a heart attack with this present anyway.
Put bacon in oven. Then brutally rip the fake petals off your fake roses. You can use them to throw on your cat’s favorite pillow in a romantic gesture that he will return to you later in the form of a rose-petaled hairball.
There’s a little green cap holding the rose on the stem. Take that off. You will need that.
When the bacon is crispy, use tongs to pull them out of the muffin tin. Seriously, I don’t even know what to do with all that grease. Who am I, Laura Ingalls Wilder? I’m sure Ma and Pa would’ve used them drippings for something.
Attempt to shove bacon onto the stem and put the cap on. The bacon is so heavy with grease that the stems will fall over, dripping hot fat onto whatever pretty lace thing you put down for your romantic dinner. The roses will then start unraveling, looking like melting flesh roses.
At this point yell, “Do you know how long this took me!” at your partner, who will be either laughing hysterically or wondering if they are in some Stephen King novel. Stomp out of the room. Eat all the chocolates. Do not share the chocolates.
If you have any suggestions or requests for craft projects, please send them to KCStardawn@gmail.com or tweet me @dfallik. You may receive a glitter surprise in return.