Feb. 9, 2009 -- Valentine's Day is coming soon, but if you're worried the recession will put the squeeze on your display of affection, lifestyle expert Nancy Soriano has some inexpensive, homemade gift ideas for you.
You can give your sweetie great gifts and tokens without breaking the bank. Check out some of the gift ideas below.
Cards and Gift Tags
We all need cards and gift tags. So get all that leftover wrapping paper, scrap and scrapbooking paper — and get some note cards or note card stock – to make some beautiful cards.
It's easy and cheap, but very personal. You can also make gift tags the same way.
Another great thing to do with paper is to get a chocolate bar, any kind you like, remove the paper wrapper and then rewrap it in beautiful scrapbooking paper. Then put a gift tag on it with a message.
And one last thing — get a vintage key and attach a tag that says "key to my heart." It costs next to nothing, and it's such a tender sentiment.
Creating the Perfect Mood
You can create a wonderful tablescape using clear glass containers like vases or mason jars, and votive candles.
Fill them with Valentine's Day candies like pink M&Ms, white and red jelly beans and Red Hots. It really easy and cost-effective and it's great fun.
Put it on your table and on mantles. It's so visual and accessible, and anyone can do it.
Re-use Household Items
This goes right back to using what you already have in your home. You can make what Soriano calls a love box.
Take a shoe box or gift box and cover it with a love poem and personal items, like photos. Use a copy machine to copy everything. Then cover the box and fill it with items that reflect your sweetheart's passions.
Another great item you can make from reused items is a Valentine's Day cracker. These are really popular Christmas gifts, but they're also great for Valentine's Day.
Use a toilet paper or paper towel roll and fill it with candies. Cover it with tissue wrap and decorative paper and tie the ends with ribbons. It's great for kids or as an office gift.
Don't Forget the Flowers
One thing even the guys can do is to create a beautiful bouquet of silk, red roses.
Get a nice vase that you already have in the house, and fill half with real roses and half with silk roses. It will really stretch your dollar and still look great.
Another great idea is to take an old flower pot -- it can be terra cotta or even plastic -- and paint it with craft paint, which doesn't require a primer and is really easy, then stencil it or add a monogram, and plant it with herbs or a flowering plant. It's a great gift.
Textured Bonding Paint and Silver and Gold Guilding Kit used for flower pots, unfinished wood pieces and other decorative accessories courtesy of Caromal Colours, available at caromalcolours.com .
Crafting supplies used throughout courtesy of Martha Stewart Crafts, available at Michaels stores and other independent retailers or marthastewartcrafts.com.