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A Sweet, Sweet Valentine

What's better than a store-bought valentine with your name on it? Add a little something sweet to make it a valentine to remember. Sure, you can buy pretty candy at just about any store this time of the year, but you can also get creative and make it yourself.

 Choosing Chocolate

Depending on what you want to try, a visit to a crafts store might be a good idea. There you will find lots of candy molds in fun shapes. It's easy to use molds to make special chocolates. Check out these directions at HappyNews.com for making molded chocolates with a microwave (easier) or on a stove. You will need molds, a grown-up's help, and, of course, chocolate!

An Easy Holiday Treat

Take extra thick Oreo cookies, put a (new) lollipop stick or popsicle stick in the middle, dip them in melted chocolate, then after they've cooled on wax paper, take a different color of chocolate such as pink or white, and drizzle it on top. If you like, you can add another layer of mini M&M's, Heath Bar crunch, or anything else. Chocolate in different colors is often available in button shapes for melting at craft and chocolate stores. You can make these for all kinds of holidays, just by changing the colors.

Got Sweethearts? Make a Candy Wreath

Candy heartsIf you are old enough to craft with a hot glue gun, this simple candy wreath idea from Better Homes and Gardens is a perfect present for someone special. Take any size of Styrofoam wreath form (available in the crafts section or a special crafts store). Pick some pretty, wide ribbon and wrap the wreath so that no foam shows. Secure the ribbon with hot glue. Then add lots of conversation hearts (best in different sizes) to the outside of the wreath, attaching them with dabs of hot glue. You can use glue to stack the hearts in loose layers on top of each other for a nice effect.

Can't Eat Sugar?

There are people who can't eat sugar. For them, a special kind of sweet treat might be best. Think about using sugar-free chocolate for your crafting. Some companies that produce sugar-free chocolate for candy making are Van Leer, Chocoley, and CandyLandCrafts.com. Their chocolate is available to order online.

Sweet Reading!

Maybe you'll take some of these ideas and have a Sweet Valentine party with your family and friends. When the treats are all made and good to go, settle in with a delicious book:

Candy Construction: How to Build Edible Race Cars, Castles, and Other Cool Stuff Out of Store-bought Candy! by Sharon Bowers
Sharon Bowers reveals how inexpensive and readily available store-bought candy offers an irresistible treasure trove of crafting material. Projects offer plans for complete tabletop scenes, including a construction site with dump truck and construction workers; a steam train with an engine, tanker cars, caboose, and boxcars; and a magical castle with stacked cookie towers.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Good guy Charlie's got a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's amazing candy factory.

How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy by Ruth Freeman Swain
Provides a brief history of a variety of candies and chewing gum. Includes recipes for sugar paste, fudge, and taffy.

Raggedy Ann and Andy books by Johnny Gruelle
Kids still enjoy these quiet, imaginative stories about the kind-hearted, old-fashioned doll and her friends.

Valentine's Day Is-- by Gail Gibbons
Don't know much about Valentine's Day? Gail Gibbons tells all about its history and how it is celebrated today.

If you've taken a liking to candy craft, check out Candy Making Basics by Evelyn Howell Fryatt. This book has step-by-step directions and a special section for young candy crafters.