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Wednesday, February 16

I'm A Cheap Valentine: How we celebrated with $17

Many people don't like Valentine's Day because it's pricey- gifts often include perfumes, jewelry, and bouquets of roses. Prices for everything romantically related, especially roses, skyrockets. With a little creativity, it doesn't have to be expensive at all; in fact, you could do Valentine's Day for almost free! 

I started off Valentine's Day with a doctor appointment:  not my idea of fun! But thanks to some wonderful blogs, websites, and my friendly neighborhood Goodwill, I'd already prepared for our celebration.

The Decorations
You might have already seen my "Easy Valentine's Day Banner" that I posted about earlier this month.

This didn't cost me anything, since I used scrapbooking paper I already had and the free hearts printable from At Second Street

I also printed the Valentine subway art from the blog eighteen25, and put it on the bookshelf in the dining room.

I used the print I made, of the adorable owl. You can download it for free, just go to my "Free Stuff" link in the top left corner of the blog. 
Owl image from The Graphics Fairy.
I was going to make these, also from eighteen25, but I never got around to it. It would have also been "free" since I already have all the things I'd need to make them. 
I think I still will make them, because really, that's a message that can stay up for longer than just February!

What's Valentine's Day without roses?
When I was too sick to go to church Sunday, and had to stay in bed and work on school work, Brian bought me the most gorgeous rose! I put it in a recycled bottle and arranged it on our coffee table.

I found these wooden letters at Goodwill! They were 99 cents each, and they'll look wonderful year round! (In the background is an art easel I also bought, but I didn't use it for anything related to Valentine's Day, in case you're wondering.)


 The Presents
I printed these free valentine's from Peptogirl, gave some away, and hid some around the apartment for Brian to find. My favorites are "Just My Type," "Sew in Love," and "Owl be yours." Too cute! I snuck some into his lunch box, I taped one to his computer, and one to his shaving cream.

I also printed this adorable valentine and wrote a message to him inside. This valentine was also free, and I got it from mmmcrafts.
{What can I say? I love puns!}

For Brian's main gift, I was inspired by "How To Make A Marriage Bed" from A Holy Experience. I shared the link to this post before, so if you've read it, you'll remember the letter to Ann Landers. Ann Voskamp shared a letter to Ann Landers from a daughter writing about her very-much-in-love parents. Every time they made love  they put a dollar into a box, saving for their dream trip. On their 50th anniversary they went on a second honeymoon to Hawaii.

I found the perfect box at Goodwill for $2.99.


The quilted top had to go. With a screwdriver, it was easy to bend back the metal prongs holding it in the back, and take out the top. I replaced it with scrapbooking paper, a wedding picture of us, and a sticker, all of which I already had.

I wanted to protect the picture, so I used a clear scrapbooking protective sleeve, slipped the wooden top with the paper and picture on it inside, and cut off the edges. 

I copied and pasted the letter from Ann's post into a Word document and printed it out. I slipped it in the inside of the lid. 


The Plan
I really wanted to go on a picnic, so I  thought about going up to Canyon Lake again, but remembered we'd have to buy a pass, and I didn't want to mess with that. So I did some research and found a nice park not to far away with nice picnic areas, grassy slopes, and a lake. Perfect! 

I wrote the directions from Google maps on pink sticky notes and placed them inside an envelope. I added a leaf that happened to fall off of the rose; it was supposed to be a clue, signifying that we were going somewhere outside. 


I decorated the outside with a number one, and I incorporated the "bon appetit" scroll from these free printables for a picnic at home from Eat, Drink, Chic. There's two of them, and you're supposed to attach them to your silverware, but I liked how it looked on the envelope. Plus, it was another clue for Brian!


 After our picnic, Brian was supposed to open the second envelope. In this one, I had this sticky note:


Unfortunately, by the time we got to the park, it was dark. It was really too bad, because I had outfits picked out and ideas for the pictures, and it would have been so cute! Next time, I guess!

 So Brian opened the third card. In this card, I put the rest of the free printables for the picnic at home: the heart and movie tickets.

Eat Drink Chic

We didn't have take-out or champagne, but it was close enough!
Eat Drink Chic
I'd been awhile since I got a musical/Disney movie fix... Enchanted fit the bill perfectly. Plus, we watched that movie the evening after Brian proposed to me, and Brian gave it to me on our first Valentine's Day together as a dating couple. 

Unfortunately, Brian isn't as musical and Disney crazy or sentimental as I am, and he didn't want to watch it. Instead, we lit candles, cuddled, and read books and magazines together, which was still nice!


I'm really proud of the numbers... I drew them free-hand. 

This is what Brian saw when he came home from work.

 The Food
When he walked through the door, The kitchen was covered in powdered sugar, and I was wearing an apron, mixing frosting, looking a little flustered. In my mind, I had the ideal cupcake: tall, soft confetti cake, topped with fluffy pale pink frosting and adorable paper toppers, TomKat Studio style.
TomKat, Ice Cream Shoppe Party
I suppose that was a bit unrealistic. 

First, I only had three cupcake liners. Second, I was short one egg. Third, the cupcakes turned out really...flat. Like, maybe two inches tall. Fourth, I had to cut the frosting recipe in half, because I didn't have enough butter. Fifth, the frosting turned out so runny, I literally dipped the cupcakes in it, because it was impossible to spread, and it was a bright, Peptobismol pink. When it actually dripped off the cupcakes, I scraped it all off and added almost the entire bag of powdered sugar to thicken it, and re-frosted them. 

It was STILL runny, as you can see. But it made a nice glaze. 

I finished the cupcakes with free paper cupcake toppers from the blog Free Pretty Things For You. I printed the circles, cut them out, taped toothpicks to the back of each one, and inserted into the cupcake.

the sugar sign is from Eat Drink Chic
On the cupcake to the left, you can see how runny the frosting was, and the remains of the first batch. Notice how flat they are? I substituted 150 ml of milk for the missing egg. Someone online said it would work, and I believed them.

Even in their imperfection, they're still kinda cute.

For our picnic, I made jello and egg salad sandwiches, and used pink plastic plates and cups that I had left-over from my bachelorette party last spring. 

The day after Valentine's Day, we went to Walgreens to pick up my prescription from the day before. Of course, all the Valentine's stuff was 50% off, so Brian picked out a classic gift for me: a heart shaped box of chocolates, complete with a picture of a puppy, for $1.50. I bought myself this little rose plant for $2. 

So, the total price for Valentine's Day: $16.50. The most expensive and least useful cost was the rose, which cost $6. Compare that to my plant, which will last longer, for $2. 

Moral of the story: 
  • As far as gifts go, it is the thought that counts! It doesn't have to be expensive to be perfect.
  • As far as decorations go, you can find great stuff online for free! 
  • And, you'll never have to buy Valentine's again; there are SO many blogs and sites that offer them for free!
  • After Valentine's Day, get ready for next year! 
  • When you look at the stuff that's 50% off, think about how you could re-purpose it for Mother's Day or a birthday coming up.  

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Did you use any free stuff or thrifty finds? Tell us about it!

6 comments:

  1. I shall not comment on the box...HERE ;-P (although, I must say it is very pretty :-D). But I think I will have to go get myself a rose plant! I've been wanting one anyway and $2 is a great deal! :-D

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  2. I am totally amazed with all your treasures! And with all the effort you put into having a lovely day--way to go! I think it's beautiful that making a special day was so important to you. I'm sure it made your hubby really feel loved and appreciated!

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  3. I am really impressed with your craft skills and all the effort you put into Valentine's Day! Everything is so cute and pretty!

    That's too bad that your cupcakes didn't quite turn out the way you wanted them to. I really hate it when icing decides that it's never going to thicken despite how much icing sugar you add! When that happens, I know I should probably just throw it out and start over, but the stubborn part of me just wants to make it work! haha.

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  4. that is SO sweet of you, emily =)

    Visit my other blog: www.theblogforbrides.com

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  5. Such cute ideas! what a steal on the wodden letters for $.99 each!

    Thanks for your wedding question- I answered it over at kdcevents!

    =)Denice

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