On Friday, I decided that I wanted to decorate for Valentine’s Day. Late to the game, much? I had been on the fence all throughout January on whether or not I should put any decorations up or not. After taking down all of my Christmas decorations, my apartment felt so bare and I missed the cozy feeling of seeing my tree and Christmas lights. So, with just a few days to spare, I decided that a little pink would do my apartment good.
And if you’re like me and waiting for the last possible moment to put up decorations, I hope that you find inspiration in mine. If anything, they are cheap (everything was less than $30!) and easy (everything came together in under two hours).
The main area for my decorations was going to be my sideboard table by my front door. It’s fun to look back on the evolution of this table through the holidays.
And now Valentine’s Day…
In the middle of the table is a four piece vase that I had picked up on clearance from Target last year filled with artificial flowers from Michael’s. I love how bright and cheerful the flowers look, and more than once, I’ve caught myself just staring lovingly at them. If you want a similar look, you can pick up retro style milk bottles that are becoming very popular and are available at most stores. Or you could go a little more vintage and use mason jars instead.
On the right hand side of the table, I replaced my snowflake sign in the white frame with a love themed one that can be seen in detail at the top of this post. I lined three 4” red heart doilies on top of a large white round doily and used self-adhesive pink letters to spell out ‘Be Mine’. I found all the materials at Michael’s and was even able to score the doilies for 50% off.
Next to the picture frame, I set out a small candy dish filled with dark chocolate and cherry Dove candies. I don’t have high expectations for these lasting too long in my household, if you know what I mean.
On the left hand side of the table was the easiest project of all my decorations. I took a glass hurricane vase and white pillar candle that I already had on hand and poured four bags of the candy conversation hearts (the candy was on sale at my local grocery store 4/$5) as a vase filler around the candle. I wanted to use the heart-shaped Red Hots instead to stay more consistent with the red and pink theme, but wasn’t able to find them in the store. This would make such an easy centerpiece and would work with virtually any type of candy… now that I’m thinking about it more, the Valentine’s Day themed M&Ms would also have worked out great.
Going across the mirror is a heart doily garland which certainly takes the title of the second easiest project. I bought a thin gold ribbon that I was able to weave through the lacey sides of the doilies and then just secured it at each corner of the mirror.
Using the same method as the heart garland, I strung together five heart doilies and tied them around a small, clear vase that held a large candle. Again, I already had the vase and candle on hand making this an incredibly easy project. This is sitting on my TV stand in my living room.
Also in the living room is a beautiful bouquet of pink tulips that I picked up from my grocery store. At $8, they were a little bit of a splurge, but they really do bring a smile to my face, so I think it’s worth it.
Did you know that you can put a penny into the water to help your flowers bloom faster? I recently heard of this trick and couldn’t wait to try it out. When I bought my bouquet, all the buds were tightly closed. Within 5 minutes of dropping a penny into the water, I could already see a huge difference with petals starting to open up, and after letting them sit over night, they had fully opened up into beautiful blossoms. All the better to smell them, of course.
The next few details are permanent fixtures in my apartment and aren’t Valentine’s Day decorations at all… but they fit the bill nicely enough that I wanted to share.
I’ll categorize these items as geography love. On the top shelf of my bookcase are three fames filled a heart-shaped map. For those Pinterest users out there, I’m sure you recognize this idea as I’ve seen several different variations of it popping up in my friends’ pins. For those not familiar with the idea, each map represents a special location. For me, this is the three places I’ve called home – the Seattle area, Orlando area, and Hartford area. (For anyone interested in recreating this look, I ordered maps for free from AAA since I’m a member. You can also pick these maps up at a bookstore for a small price.)
On the second shelf, I have a map of the U.S. with three small hearts in the same three special locations. I originally got this idea off of Etsy. I printed a map of the U.S. out off of Google Maps and then traced it onto white construction paper. After cutting my map out (and small hearts out of red construction paper), I glued everything onto an aqua piece of paper. Also on the second shelf is a graphic image of “I Love You From Here To Seattle” that I ordered off of Etsy. Oh, and the red berry garland on top of the bookcase is a leftover decoration from Christmas that I purposely left out to help tie in the Valentine’s Day theme.
Did you catch the white light garland sneaking into the corner of bookcase picture above? That would be the Valentine’s Day decoration that I was most excited to try making and the one that almost didn’t happen.
I had been obsessed with the idea of turning Christmas lights into a pretty garland with the use of doilies after seeing this pin on Pinterest.
So on Friday night, I found myself on the mad hunt for white lights but kept turning up empty handed. After checking The Party Store, Big Lots, and The Dollar Store all I was able to find were white lights that were on a dark green strand. I had given up all hope of finding lights on a white strand when I made one last quick stop at Jo-Ann’s five minutes before they were supposed to close. After doing a quick swoop around the store and seeing nothing, I found a store associate and asked if they had any Christmas lights. She said that they didn’t and all they had were bridal lights which were all white lights on a white strand. I was so ecstatic that I nearly hugged the poor woman. I had never heard of bridal lights before and would have never had thought to look in the wedding department to find my lights.
I thought making the garland was going to be an incredibly tedious task, and although it did take some time, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I thought. To start off with, I kept my doilies in the stacks of 12 that they were packaged in so I could cut all of them at once. I cut out a slit going to the middle with a small hole at the end that the wire would have to fit through. I then pushed the wire through the slit and into the hole and then stuck a small piece of scotch tape over the slit to hold the doily in place.
Using clear push tacks, I hung the strand of lights in five places on the beam that divides my living room from my dining room. You can kind of see it in the picture below, but I ran a 9ft extension cord down the side of the wall and to the nearest outlet to power my lights.
I was somewhat apprehensive of the safety aspect of putting paper doilies next to the bulbs. I tried doing some research online about it, but didn’t turn up any clear guidance. I decided to risk it with turning on the lights and all I can say is from my own experience, I’ve left the lights on for a maximum of six hours straight so far and no fires. If you decide to make your own lighted heart garland, I would just recommend being careful that none of the doilies come in direct contact with one of the bulbs where it could potentially heat up.
As much as I love the way the garland looks during the daytime, I’m even more in love with it at nighttime. It gives off such a pretty, soft glow that I’m already tempted to leave it up year round now.
So there you have it, with thirty dollars and two hours (and the help of some items that I already had on hand), I was able to transform my apartment into a bright, cheerful space. It was just in time too since I threw a party Saturday night in honor of someone special’s birthday.
But that’s a story (and a cake) for another time.