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Bottom line: You guys are the B.E.S.T so THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you, one million times over… thank you! Thanks for supporting us in this crazy adventure and making us feel a little less coo-coo for spending our free time DIY-ing & bloggin’ about it.
To spread the LOVE to all of you this Valentine’s Day, we are giving away a $50 HomeGoods gift card. But before we get to the good stuff, we want to inspire you with ONE LAST look at our Valentine’s DIY… it’s not too late!
Now…before you run off to tackle one of our Valentine’s Day projects…enter to win that $50 HomeGoods gift card. First, sign up via Rafflecopter and follow the instructions. It will direct you to comment on our blog and we want to know…what are you LOVING this Valentine’s Day? It could be a favorite food, home decor trend, your dog, your mom, your +1, anything! Let’s spread the love here people!
Valentine’s Day is 1 week away, and today we have a decadent dessert that will be the perfect addition to any V-day dinner for two. This recipe combines two of our favorites…mint and chocolate (kinda like in this martini recipe!)
This cake is incredibly rich, so you will only need a small piece to satisfy that sweet tooth (bring the rest into work on Monday, and your coworkers will love you forever!) It’s also very easy to make, so if you’re cooking a homemade dinner for you and your +1, this will be an easy dessert to whip up…leaving you plenty of time to cook a delicious dinner and look fabulous for that special someone.
Mint Chocolate Cupid Cake
Like I said, this cake is incredibly easy to make, however you need to create it in 3 stages. I recommend baking the cake at night and then letting it cool overnight. Then you will need a bit of time the next day to add the mint, followed by the chocolate topping. Just be sure you give yourself plenty of time to let it cool in between each step.
Ingredients for the Cake:
-1/2 cup margarine
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla
-16 ounce can chocolate syrup
-1 cup and 1 Tbsp. flour
Directions for the Cake:
Cream margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then slowly add the rest of the ingredients, mixing completely as you go. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool several hours and refrigerate.
Ingredients for the Mint Filling:
-2 cups powdered sugar
-1/2 cup margarine
-2 Tbsp. milk
-1 tsp. peppermint extract
-3 to 4 drops red food coloring
Directions for Mint Filling:
Mix together sugar, margarine, milk, and peppermint extract. Then slowly add the drops of red food coloring, until it is the desired color. Frost cake with mint filling and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Ingredients for Chocolate Topping:
-6 Tbsp. margarine
-1 cup chocolate chips
-Candy canes or peppermints
Directions for Chocolate Topping:
Melt margarine and chocolate chips in a sauce pan on the stove top until it is smooth. Then pour over the cake so the entire surface is covered. Put the candy canes in a plastic bag and pound with a hammer until you get small pieces. Sprinkle peppermint pieces on top of the chocolate top. Refrigerate for another hour, and then enjoy!
Feel free to use sprinkles or some other decoration on top in place of the peppermint pieces. I used them because they added a bit of color, and it was also a great way to get rid of some candy canes from Christmas! #winwin
I hope you enjoy this ooey gooey chocolate cake, that tastes just like a frango mint! This sucker will actually leave you with fresh breath (can’t say that for many desserts!), so don’t be afraid to smooch away at the end of your romantic date. Ohhhh la la…
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the DIY Playbook is turning up the heat on red, pink and gold inspired crafts that can add a v-day hint to your home OR be perfect gifts for your friends, co-workers, neighbors, or favorite family members.
First up, these fun tribal coasters. Because our scrabble coasters were such a big hit, we thought why not inspire our readers to replace those coasters with a little February spirit?
These lovely coasters are the perfect addition to your coffee table, nightstand, desk at home or work, or festive bar cart. We tried our hand at a cupid-meets-tribal inspired pattern, but you really can make your set of coasters to fit your valentine’s day needs. (names, hearts, polka dots, love is quotes, initials…)
-Tile Squares (we scored ours at Habitat for Humanity Restore for 10 cents each)
-Paint Markers or oil-based Sharpie
-Felt stickers (4 per tile)
-Ribbon (optional for wrapping)
Speaking from the perspective of having absolutely NO artistic talent, this pattern looks faaaaarrrrrr harder than it actually is. You don’t need to be at all “artistic” to make these coasters. With a ruler, we drew 3 or 4 vertical lines across the tile. Then, without the ruler, we made little lines that zig-zagged through the other lines. Here’s a sloppy version of the steps:
After that, we colored in random boxes throughout the pattern. No rhyme or reason to the coloring, it was all very random. As you can tell, ours are neither perfectly aligned nor perfectly straight and that’s okay. When you try and tackle all of these lines to create the desired pattern… don’t be hard on yourself. The imperfections make it unique to you and that’s what makes this project fun!
Then we colored the border of the tile, baked the squares according to the marker’s instructions, let ’em cool, slapped the felt pieces on each, poured ourselves a drink & cheers-ed to our lovely new coasters!
And the extra coasters we created? We stacked these darling squares and wrapped them in a festive ribbon. We hope to give this adorable “package” as a valentine to someone who will LOVE them just as much as we do. (Sneak Peek: tune in tomorrow to get the story about the gold & glitter dipped feathers)
We especially love the extra pop of color that the border provides when the tiles are stacked.
And there you have it…. ten cent tiles that quickly turned into trendy coasters that you can’t help but L.O.V.E! In honor of these coasters, let’s all cheers to kickin’ off a week of Valentine’s Projects in style. See you tomorrow….
P.S. Speaking of LOVE. We would like to send our LOVE & a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Casey’s mom…the Janimal! We wish her a perfect day and the start of an unforgettable year. She deserves nothing but the very, very best. Cheers!
Can you believe it’s almost February?! As in almost time to celebrate Cupid’s claim to fame? Although Casey and I aren’t head over heels obsessed with Valentine’s Day, we ARE pretty excited to turn up the heat and celebrate love for the next two weeks. We have two amazing +1’s, and we also have amazing families, wonderful friends, supportive DIY Playbook fans, and a whole lot of love surrounding us each and everyday. For ALL of that, we’re beyond thankful and excited to celebrate 02-14-14. To kick it off….
… an XOXO project that can have two different outcomes. Whether you use the final product as a wreath or as shelf decor, you’ll start with the same supplies.
Either way you will need:
-Cardboard Letters (XOXO)
-Mini Paintbrush or sponge brush
-Multi color yarn
-Hot glue gun
You can paint your cardboard letters any color you want. To try my hand at a non-traditional Valentine’s day color scheme, I went with….
After the XO’s were painted, it was time to dress them up. (My favorite part!) The embellishment is totally up to you and can look very different depending on what materials you have. I used yarn, a button, an old broach, washi tape, and some old string, but you should use what you have around.
I started with the multi colored yarn. I hot glued the yarn on the back of the letters and started to wrap it tightly around and around the letter.
After quite a bit of wrapping, I added more hot glue on the back of the letter and glued down the piece of yarn to conclude that “section” of yarn.
I repeated that process on each of the letters, switching off where I put the yarn on each of the letters. I also used the hot glue gun to glue down some extra embellishments (like the button) and other types of string/washi tape.
My XO’s ended up looking like this.
You could call it quits there and style or “stage” them as bookshelf decor… kinda like this:
Ooorrrr… you can take it a step further. I took it one step further and hot glued these letters to a long burlap ribbon to create an XOXO wreath. Kinda like this…
This light weight wreath is unique, colorful and welcomes all of our guests with a warm x and o.
I love the wreath and especially love the happy POP of blue and orange on the clean white door. It seems festive without screaming…. I’M A TYPICAL VALENTINE’S DAY DECORATION DRIPPING IN HEARTS & PINK LEOPARD PRINT.
Whether you use these X & O’s as tabletop decor or a hanging wreath, all this DIY takes is a coat of paint and a little creativity with colorful embellishments. In no time, your home will be ready to greet February with a big hug and kiss!!
With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, I thought I might do something a bit romantic in our little love nest.
Our master bedroom has a nook with nothing on the wall, and I figured it would be the perfect spot to display some sentimental and personal “art.”
Here’s what I’m affectionately calling our “Wall of Love.”
Let’s first take a look at the white special dates frame.
Those 4 dates are very special to Finn and I. They represent when we first started dating, when we moved in together, when he proposed, and our future wedding date!
I just created them in a word document on my computer, and printed it out on card stock.
I then got out my colored pencils, and drew some hearts after each number. I tried to do a bit of an ombre color scheme..with the green hearts subtly getting darker from top to bottom.
We all know I have a certain love for geography (like the vintage globe in this post). So, I thought the map would add some flair to the simple white frame mat.
I had a $4 wall map left over from a DIY project gone wrong (it happens…often!) With this project, I was finally able to put my map purchase to good use! I just took out the frame map, traced it, cut out the map, and glued it onto the frame. #DIYdoesntgeteasierthanthis
Moving onto the other sections of the “Wall of Love.”
This love quote from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 was a gift for our engagement. #sosweet
How about this adorable chicken wire frame? My mom found it at the Kane County Flea Market (If you live in the Chicagoland area…go! You will love it)
Clothes pins hold some sentimental items from our engagement night.
Here is the key card from the hotel where we stayed the night we got engaged.
This is Finn’s hospital bracelet.
Funny story…my man was in the hospital for 3 days and got out just in time to keep the Christmas plans with our families. (More on that day here) We kept his bracelet to remember that love can conquer all!
Here is a card from the restaurant where he popped the question.
Rounding out the “Wall of Love” is this large canvas photograph.
Finn’s mom bought us a Groupon for a canvas print from Canvas on Demand (Thanks Kathy!) We decided to use a picture from our engagement night of our large group of family and friends. It is very special to have such a nice picture where we’re surrounded by everyone we love.
I heart this new little area of our bedroom.
So what about you…do you have an area in your love nest to display ooey-gooey sentimental stuff?
Inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial, I was ready to tackle my own wood block art! Here’s a step-by-step plan on how you can create double the blocks for half the price without any tools.
To start this project, I ventured to Home Depot to find some wood blocks. I can handle paper crafts, spray painting, staining and all things rookie level DIY, but when DIY turns to power tools, I’m lost and extremely intimidated. I set out to Home Depot not having a clue what size wood I needed, how much wood I needed, or how the heck I was going to create wood blocks without any access to a saw. (Minor Detail… right?)
Throughout my travels, I learned that the Wood section at Home Depot contains big carts like this one in the middle of the aisle. These carts contain “scraps” of material for sale for a fraction of the cost. SCORE! When a customer buys wood, the customer has the option to get this wood cut and only purchase what is needed. The leftovers from these cuts are considered the “scraps” (or sale items). The scraps are sold for a significantly lower price. Thanks to this exploding sale cart… I found my blocks wood. On the very bottom of this cart, I found a piece of wood (2 inches x 6 inches) that I thought would be perfect for my blocks. The wood was about 3 1/2 feet long and about 2 inches thick. All you need is to find a piece of wood that is thick enough to stand up by itself after it’s cut. Beyond that requirement, the size is all up to you & your space.
Then a miracle happened. I learned that Home Depot will cut any of the wood you purchase in the store for FREE… right then, right there! I took my scrap wood, drew lines where I wanted Mr. Home Depot to cut, and I was checking out within 7 minutes. My prayers had been answered. I got my wood blocks, all for less than $5 and I didn’t have to use a power tool. Thank you, Home Depot.
Here is a closer look at the blocks I was left with. Because of the super cheap price, I ended up getting two different pieces of wood and combining the pieces to create the varying height levels. One side will say “LOVE” for Valentine’s Day and the other side will say “IRISH” for St. Patrick’s Day.
I decided to use both sides of the blocks to cut down on material costs and save some serious storage space. Plus, I won’t even have to pack these blocks away right after Valentine’s Day. I will simply flip them around and keep these suckers up for the next big day, St. Patrick’s Day. Talk about going green… it’s a win-win situation if ya ask me.
I gathered a large variation of Valentine’s inspired scrapbook paper. I liked the random variety, but if you’d rather a more uniformed, matching set… a few of the same sheets could definitely work.
I gathered some irish inspired scrapbook paper for the “IRISH” side.
I cut the paper to fit each of the the wood blocks, leaving a little frame of wood exposed on each block. I wanted a little bit of the wood block to show behind the scrapbook paper to add a little bit of extra charm (and to prove my staining steps weren’t a total waste of time). The next night, I started to stain these puppies…
For a step-by-step staining tutorial…. check out this post.
Here’s a closer look at the wood blocks before the stain. Notice that these “scraps” had some obvious imperfections, but because I planned on staining them and then covering them with paper, I was not concerned.
While I waited for these beauties to dry, I got to work on cutting out the letters for each block.
I had previously created a Microsoft Word Document that said “LOVE” and one that said “IRISH” using a few different fonts. I printed both out and cut out each letter individually. These letters became my templates, and I traced them onto the scrapbook paper.
I then simply cut on the line of each letter and what seemed to be an alphabet later… I was all set to glue!
Helpful Hint: I would suggest tracing your letters on the backside of your scrapbook paper instead of on the front side if possible. By doing this, you will avoid having to erase any of the pencil marks you miss while cutting.
I added some Mod Podge to each block and attached the first layer of paper.
I then added the letters with another layer of Mod Podge. Finally I added the last coat of Mod Podge to the TOP of the entire block. I know this goes against your better judgment… I was extremely hesitant during this step because Mod Podge does not paint on clear. The idea of painting a glue-like substance onto the top of your hand-crafted papers just doesn’t seem right, but trust me… it’s worth it. This coat will dry clear and ensure that your paper stays flat and stays stuck to your wood block for years and years to come. After all our hard work, we need these blocks to last for at least that long. Let the LOVE side dry and repeat this entire process on the IRISH side. Before long, you are all set for the next two holidays.
I added some extra ribbon but any embellishment would be the perfect finishing touch.
With a few extra accessories, I was in L.O.V.E.
After Valentine’s Day is over, I plan to flip my blocks around and enjoy them for at least another month longer. These double sided irish blocks give a whole new meaning to “going green”.
Planning a romantic Valentine’s day date can be intimidating for most couples.There is always so much pressure to pick the perfect restaurant, get the right gifts, and have a romantic evening. I’m all about planning dates that are a little out of the ordinary, so I typically forgo the restaurant scene.
Making reservations isn’t exactly rocket science, and it can be expensive to wine and dine your beau by taking them out on the town. That’s why I think a romantic night at home is your best bet for Valentine’s Day.
Here is a fun dinner/date option, that puts a creative twist on staying in with your sweetie.
“Fondue for Two” *For all you Gleeks out there, here is a little “Fondue for Two” action to really get you in the fondue mood 😉 Okay, so we all know eating a heavy and greasy meal isn’t exactly the sexiest way to start off your evening. So have a fondue night instead. It’s very simple, so you won’t be slaving away in the kitchen all night. And it’s the perfect mix of savory and sweet, so you’ll end the night satisfied.
Ingredients for Cheese: -2.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar -6 oz. shredded gruyere cheese -1 T. all purpose flour -1 cup your favorite beer -2 T. brown mustard -A few drops of worcestershire sauce -Hot sauce to taste -Pepper to taste
For Dipping: -Veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower -Tortilla chips or pretzels -Pita bread -Crusty bread like rye, french, or sourdough Here are our dippers…
Directions: Combine cheese in a bowl with the flour. Add beer to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the head to simmer and add cheese in handfuls. Stir constantly until cheese is melted with a wooden spoon. When the cheese is melted, stir in mustard, hot sauce, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Transfer fondue to a warm fondue pot.
Finn & I decided to test the cheese part of this fondue date…and man did we have a good time!
But…word of advice don’t eat the entire pot of fondue. This pot serves 4, and we somehow managed to eat every.last.bite. #tummyache
We were way too full to indulge in the chocolate fondue portion of the evening, but give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes!
Chocolate Fondue Recipe
Level: Easy Time: 10 minutes Servings: Serves 4
Ingredients for Chocolate: -2/3 cup half and half -12 oz. milk chocolate, or 1 bag (11.5 oz) chocolate chips -2 T. orange-flavored liqueur
For Dipping: -Sliced fruit like apples, bananas, pineapple, and strawberries. -Marshmallows -Pretzel rods -Cookies -Angel food cake -Chopped rice krispie treats
Directions: In a heavy saucepan pour in half and half and chocolate, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Mix until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur.
Here’s a short, sweet and super cheap way to add a hint of V-day into your love shack. Collect Paint Swatches. Use these swatches to cut as many hearts (any & all sizes) as you can. I drew different sized hearts onto the first swatch and used that one as my template for the rest. To get the most bang for your buck, make sure to cut more than one heart per swatch. 1. I used a needle and kite string to thread these hearts together. Thread the heart from the bottom up 2. …and then about an inch over, thread the needle through the heart the other way. 3. Continue to thread each heart onto the kite string (hint: do NOT cut the kite string until you are done threading all of your hearts. This will ensure that you are guaranteed to fit each heart onto the string) 4. The best part of the thread is that you can adjust the space between each heart before, during, and after the craft. This is perfect so when you go to hang your heart garland, you arrange the hearts to fit perfectly into your space! And the best part is that you will be able to move your hearts along the line of garland, but they won’t move along the line without your help. #gottaloveit 5. Hang & admire!
Here’s a look at all of my garland piled up. Holy tangles, combining several strands of garland at once was not a good idea at all.
To think that this super simple (and practically FREE) project could be applied for ANY holiday is just too good to be true. Shamrocks for St Patty’s? Eggs for Easter? Stars & Stripes for the 4th? Thank goodness it’s only February!
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