Though some may argue that crass commercialization of Valentine’s Day is irreparable, there are numerous ways to show those around you that you care. From the effortless no cost card to congenial handmade gifts, Valentine’s Day remains more than mere materialistic consumption.

PERSONALIZED VALENTINES DAY FLIP BOOK
It’s the thought that counts; show your valentine exactly what you’re thinking with this unique flipbook. While artsy and original, it’s surprisingly simple and takes no more than 20 minutes to make.

Materials Needed:

• Cardstock
• Printer
• Paper
• Marker
• Camera
• Tripod
• Scissors
• Camera assistant
• Binder clip

Instructions:

  1.  On sheets of paper, write out your message. This can be anything from the mundane “I love you” to a short heartfelt message, but limit yourself to just one sentence.
  2. Set up your camera on a tripod and position yourself in the frame. While doing so, ensure the area is well lit and that your camera is in continuous shooting mode.
  3. At this point, you’re going to need a hand. Have someone hold down the shutter button while you flip through your pages. Don’t be discouraged if they’re not great the first round. Repeat this step as many times as you need until you get the pictures you want.
  4. Transfer the photos onto your computer and copy them onto a Word document.
  5. Depending on how big you want your flip book, arrange your photos on the document. For a larger flip book, center four images per sheet; for a palm sized book, center 16. Keep in mind that a portion of your paper will not be seen as it’ll need to be held down while flipping.
  6. Print your photos on cardstock and cut them into equal sizes, leaving room for your book to be held together.
  7. Organize your photos in order and secure them with a binder clip.
  8. After removing the handles of the clip, your book is complete and you can continue to decorate it as you wish.

Inspired by: Pic Flips

VALENTINES DAY CARDS FOR ALL
As purchasing Valentine’s Day card becomes more taboo, it can be difficult to come up with simple, homemade cards. However, with a few simple steps and the support of some cheesy puns, you can spit out cards for friends, family and lovers alike in as little as three minutes.

Materials Needed:

• Printer paper
• Pencil (optional)
• Pen
• Coloring supplies (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Fold your printer paper in half hamburger-style. For a smaller card (pictured above), repeat this step.
  2. Punder which pun will be most effective for you both stylistically and communicatively. For those at loss for words, examples can be found here.
  3. Feeling gung-ho about this project or need to get this done fast? Feel free to skip this step. Sketch out your design with a pencil.
  4. Trace the design in pen, being careful to not overstep the boundaries of your pencil lines.
  5. Add your finishing touches and voilà!

<strong>Pro Tip:</strong> If doodling isn’t your forté, choose from a selection of printable cards: I DONUT know what I’d do without you,  You are just WRITE for me, You’re BEE-utiful and You CRACK me up.

Inspired by: Doodles by Sarah

GLUTEN-FREE, VEGAN, VALENTINE’S  DAY  PANCAKES
Planning on going all out-to-dinner? Opt for a less expensive breakfast with surprising sentiment. These heart-shaped pancakes start the morning off the right way – telling loved ones that you flipping love them and can be paired with numerous other breakfast treats.

Serves: Six pancakes

Ingredients:

• 1 cup flour Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
• 2/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• Red food coloring
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
• 2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
• Topping of your choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine flax seed with three tablespoons of water in a small bowl, set aside for five minutes to create a flax egg.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients.
  3. By this time, your flax egg should be done and can be added to the mixture alongside your wet ingredients and sugar.
  4. One of the advantages of gluten free flour is that it can be stirred as long as necessary to disperse all clumps without losing any of it’s “fluff-holding” abilities.
  5. Add red food coloring until you get the desired color.
  6. Heat large skillet over medium low heat. Add a dollop of coconut oil, spread, and remove excess with a paper towel.
  7. Pour 1/4 cup scoop of batter onto the pan in a heart shaped pattern.
  8. Flip pancake once bubbles begin to form on the surface and it can easily be lifted.
  9. Continue to cook on other side. Repeat with remaining pancake batter. Serve warm and with as many, or as few, toppings as you desire.

<strong>Pro Tip:</strong> If your pancakes don’t come out as perfect hearts, feel free to carve away the excess and indulge on the extra scraps.

Inspired by: Sarah Bakes GF

From romantic love or friendly appreciation, the Valentine’s Day tradition of giving carries on.

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