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Michaels suggests crafts like this clay pot painted to look like a bee.
PHOTOS BY SPM COMMUNICATIONS/MICHAELS
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BY AMY LORENTZEN
Don't worry if you've yet to find something special for loved ones this 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, an expert with the national 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.
"That's the beauty of homemade gifts--they can be inexpensive, yet they show you care enough to put a lot of thought, creativity and effort into the gift," says Pearson.
Light up your holiday with beautifully shaped and scented candles. 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 to fit your Valentine's preference. Try scents such as chocolate fudge, sugar cookie, ginger, sandalwood or rose. Silicone molds are available in many shapes and sizes. Or, Pearson says, personalize a glass votive candle holder with scrapbooking embellishments such as beads, charms or other baubles--which come in just about any theme. Glue dots allow for 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. Glass paints and adhesive silk screens can adorn the jars. Or wrap them in a square of vintage-looking lace, gathered atop and tied with ribbon for a fancier look.