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Pretty in Pink

By Christina Katz

Valentine's Day is coming! And after all the hustle and bustle of the end-of-year holidays, you may want to keep your heart-day celebration simple. Luckily, your family can have plenty of fun making crafts with items you have on hand.

Embellished Jewelry Boxes
• Cardboard jewelry gift boxes
• Foam brushes
• Acrylic paint
• Glossy Mod Podge
• Tissue paper scraps
• Wire rack
• Magazine cutouts
• Glitter
• Spray lacquer
• Leftover jewelry charms
• Stick-on embellishments
• Ribbon
• Tacky glue

Drying times will vary, but as long as you apply liquids in a thin layer, they will dry quickly. Paint box inside and out, as needed, or cover with Mod Podge and tissue cut into 1-inch squares. Let dry on wire rack. Add a thin layer of paint or Mod Podge, magazine cutouts, another layer of Mod Podge, and sprinkle lightly or thickly with glitter. Let dry, tap off excess glitter, and then spray with a generous coat of spray lacquer to permanently adhere glitter. Let dry. Add charms, embellishments, and ribbons using Tacky glue as needed. Let dry.

Seed Valentines for the Birds
• 1/2 cup boiling water
• 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2.5 teaspoons)
• 3 tablespoons corn syrup
• 4 cups birdseed
• 3/4 cup flour
• Non-stick cooking spray
• Cookie sheet
• Parchment or waxed paper
• Heart-shaped metal cookie cutters
• Drinking straws
• Waterproof ribbon

Place water in microwave-proof bowl or cup and heat to boiling in microwave. Slowly sprinkle in gelatin, stir with fork, and let sit one minute. Add corn syrup and stir.

In large bowl, combine birdseed with flour. Pour a thin stream of liquid all over the top of the dry ingredients. Spray a large mixing spoon with non-stick cooking spray and mix until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Give it a light spray of non-stick cooking spray. Also spray the inside of cookie cutters. Fill each cookie cutter with birdseed mixture, while inserting a short piece of a cut drinking straw all the way through each cookie. If you do not have straws, you could use a chopstick or something similar. If birdseed mixture is sticking, use more cooking spray, even on hands. Then push the seed cookie through the cookie cutter and onto the tray and let sit overnight.

Once dry and firm, thread the cookies with waterproof ribbon and hang outdoors where birds gather. Discard leftover seed mixture outdoors.

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz enjoys whiling away the hours making crafts with her teenage daughter.



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