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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

World Nutella day!

Today is World Nutella Day!  Yay!  Unfortunately, I've been snowed in all day, so by the time I found out, I had no chance to go out and get Nutella.  Boo!

There's no reason nobody else can enjoy it though.  I urge everyone to at the very least, enjoy a spoonful.  I plan to do some late celebrating in the near future with this Nutella-stuffed brown butter sea salt chocolate chip cookies recipe.  I've been trying to eat healthier, but this might just be perfect to have as a special treat. I'll just have to share with some other people so I'm not tempted to eat them all.

Nutella is Italian, but I don't think I'd love it so much if not for trips to Germany as a kid.  It tastes better on freshly baked German rolls than on anything else.  Plus, a Ferrero plant in Stadtallendorf, Germany produces the Nutella for Germany and northern Europe.
No need to explain why it's relevant to this blog.  It's delicious.  That's reason enough.

Valentine's Day Crochet Hearts with Lollipop Arrows

Holidays are big where I work and we're always finding excuses to bring in food and other things for everyone.  Mostly food.  For Valentine's Day last year, we decorated paper bags and anyone could fill them with treats.  It was a throwback to elementary school days of trading valentines with everyone in the class, but our parents weren't paying for it.  I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but I like candy and I love anything crafty and creative.  So, I came up with something to make it more fun.

Valentine's Day bag
Me embracing researching foreign laws too much

I'd love to say I came up with this craft+candy myself, and it's possible I did because after a lot of searching, I can't find anyone else who's done this.  I know that my initial inspiration was a pin on Pinterest showing crochet hearts.  Unfortunately, it was misleading and linked to an Etsy Shop instead of a pattern.  I looked around and found an amazing, free crochet heart pattern.  I had tried a few others in my search, but this one wasn't huge, was relatively fast to make, and came out actually looking like a heart.  I took some red yarn I had lying around, put my hook to work, and knocked out enough hearts for my coworkers and then some.

Crochet Heart
One of many.  The camera makes it look slightly less heart-shaped.
I liked it, but figured that a bunch of yarn in the shape of a heart wasn't the best gift, especially for the male coworkers.  Our team revolves around food, so I knew that was what was missing.  I wanted it all to go together, and finally thought of using something as an arrow through the heart.  It's a classic Cupid-inspired symbol of Valentine's Day.  Candy canes seemed too Christmasy and other treats wouldn't fit.  I even considered Smarties (which I can't have lying around or I will eat a whole bag in one sitting), but they didn't quite look right.  I either found it somewhere, or a lightbulb went off, but I realized dum-dum lollipops would be perfect!

dum dum valentine craft
Sweetest arrow in a heart I've ever seen

I got a valentines pack (which unfortunately only has 5 or so flavors...none of which are typically favorites in my experience) and started sliding them through the hearts.  I probably made 20 even though I only needed a dozen or so for work, and the whole thing took 4 or 5 hours spread out over a couple of days.  If you want to do this, it's not a total last-minute craft, unless you want to pull an all-nighter, but it doesn't take forever either.  This would be fun to do with kids too, especially if they're learning to crochet.  It's maybe a step above beginner and good for practicing counting, sc, dc, and hdc.

Lollipop valentine
Finished pile
People loved them.  Some of the women even still have the hearts somewhere.  I can't complain about what I got in my treat bag either!

Office Valentine treats
Nom nom nom

If you're looking for something a little different and handmade for Valentine's Day this year, this heart and arrow craft is great.  Maybe some people can even modify it and improve on my idea!
Have fun and happy early Valentine's Day!