Valentine’s Challenge: Today’s Nest

The third post from our Valentine’s Day Challenge is here, this one from our wonderfully inspiring friend Sam from Today’s Nest! Sam is a genius at all things food, photography and lifestyle and hosts a month #NestChat on Twitter! You must hop over and say hello on his site!

From Sam: I was thrilled to be approached by Aleah and Nick to be included in their Valentine’s Day Challenge.  The idea was to take to a goodie box of various objects and turn on the creativity to produce a post of inspired Valentine’s projects.  I opened the box and stared… for about 20 minutes.  Some of the things drove ideas immediately while others left me scratching my head.

Originally, I had no idea how I would use the pinecones included, but it turned out that the pinecones and orange glitter were the easy objects.  However, it wasn’t long before I knew just what to do (good or bad) and I set out to make it happen.  In the end I included almost everything.  I must admit that I got stumped with the purple candles and plastic arrows.  I was going to add them but it would have been gratuitous so I left them out.

What I have created for you are 3 fun and easy ideas to complete some unique Valentines projects that are sure to win over the heart of that special someone… a floral arrangement, some candy cones, and a chocolate paper bag.  Here’s a list of what was included:

  • Pinecones
  • Flamingo swizzle sticks
  • Copper paper
  • Paper doilies
  • Plastic arrows
  • Multi-colored paper ‘ribbon’
  • Brown paper sacks
  • Metallic wire
  • Kraft paper tag
  • Orange Glitter
  • Small purple candles
  • Red mini cupcake papers
  • Walnuts

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For the chocolate paper bag:

  1. Lightly spray the inside of a paper bag with cooking spray. Set aside on a rigid cutting board.  Make room in the freezer.
  2. Place a stainless steel bowl in a large skillet with 1 inch of water.  Place 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in the bowl and melt over medium heat until all chocolate melts.
  3. Remove bowl from pan of water and add ¼ cup more chips.  Stir until melted.
  4. Lay bag flat on one side and spoon in enough chocolate to coat one side.  Use an offset spatula to smooth out over inside surface of bag.  Be sure to get all the way to the edges and corners.
  5. Place in freezer to harden for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Reheat chocolate.  Remove bag from freezer and turn on next side.  Repeat process until all four sides are coated and hardened.  Melt more chips as necessary to create enough chocolate.  A standard 11.5 ounce bag should do the trick.
  7. Stand bag up and add chocolate to bottom.  Harden in freezer.  Remove from freezer and allow keep at room temperature. *Note: If you leave bag in freezer it will sweat when you remove it to fill.
  8. Fill bag with ice cream and any toppings you wish (banana, marshmallows, graham crackers, etc)  Top off with chocolate dipped kiwi pops.

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For the flowers:

  1. Put about 2 tablespoons of glue in a small bowl.  Add a teaspoon of water and stir it together.
  2. Using a small paint brush, paint the outside edges of several pinecones.  Our arrangement had 10, but you may need a few more or less depending on the size of your arrangement.
  3. While still wet, sprinkle glitter over painted areas and then tap on hard surface to remove excess.  Allow to dry completely before using in arrangement.
  4. When dry, use a 9 inch piece of wire around bottom layer of pine cone and twist at the center of the bottom leaving 5-6 inches as a tail.  Wrap the tail around a drinking straw and set aside.  Complete for all of the pinecones.
  5. Arrange flowers and pinecones in your hand creating a bit of a dome shape.  Cut off bottoms off at the same level.
  6. Place flowers and pinecones in a vessel with a small enough mouth to keep them all close together.

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For the card:

  1. Cut the cupcake papers in a straight line down one side.  Cut out the bottom of the cupcake paper.  Repeat for all of the cupcake papers.
  2. Using tape attach to the backside of the cardstock.  Fold over occasionally to create ‘ribbon’ effect and attach with more tape.
  3. Place another cardstock circle over the taped areas on the back and place a contrasting cardstock circle on the front.  Write in your greeting.
  4. Use a hole punch to make a hole at the top and bottom of the card.  Thread a straw ( or two straws pushed together if you need more height) through the holes first through the front and then the back.
  5. Cut off the straw so the card sits atop the flowers when inserted into the arrangement.

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For the kiwi pops:

  1. Melt chocolate in the same way as you did for the chocolate bag, but add ½ teaspoon of shortening for each cup of chips.
  2. Peel kiwi and cut into 1 inch slices.
  3. Dip one end of a popsicle or lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then insert it into the bottom of the kiwi slice.  Repeat for all kiwi slices.
  4. Place kiwi in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Chop walnuts into small pieces and place in a shallow bowl.
  6. Remove kiwi slices.  Dab off any moisture with a paper towel.
  7. Dip kiwi slices into chocolate and then press each side into walnuts.  Repeat for all and return to freezer to harden.

For the candy cones:

  1. Cut a small paper doily in a straight line from one edge to the center of the circle.  Overlap the cut edges and spin around until the edges meet again.  Use tape to secure on along the outside edge.
  2. Use a piece of metallic paper to create a cone to fit outside of the doily cone.  The middle of the longest edge of the paper should be the point of the cone.  Secure with a piece of tape.
  3. Place the doily cone inside the metallic cone and fill with candies.

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Photos and projects: Today’s Nest

Big thanks to Sam from Today’s Nest for sharing so many awesome Valentine’s Day ideas with us!

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