Winter Olympics inspire handmade Valentines gifts

Associated PressFebruary 7, 2014 

There's no Olympic medal for making rubber band bracelets or bad puns, which is too bad because Valentine's Day falls right in the middle of the 2014 Winter Games.

I tried to persuade my 9-year-old to make Olympics-themed Valentines this year, but he declined.

Instead, he decided to make those ubiquitous rubber band bracelets for each of his classmates. His cousins had shown him an easy way to make them without a loom, and he's been cranking them out like a champion (OK, we are not the most athletic family).

So the least I could do was come up with a card and a pun to go along with them. He rejected "You're a great friend, hands down," but was pleased with "Let's band together, Valentine."

I still wanted to come up with an Olympics-inspired idea as a backup, in case he didn't make enough bracelets.

I turned foil-wrapped chocolate coins into miniature gold medals. We are lucky to live near a great candy shop that sells a variety of chocolate coins year-round, but they also can be purchased online. In Lexington, the coins are available at My Old Kentucky Chocolates and Ruth Hunt Candies.

"You're a winner to me, Valentine," works as a message, as does "You have a heart of gold, Valentine."

INSTRUCTIONS

Rubber band bracelet valentines

Small (about 1-inch diameter) rubber or stretchy plastic bands in assorted colors. You can buy bands for Rainbow Looms and similar kits at many craft stores and online.

Plastic clips to close bracelets. You can also buy C- and S-clips used in Rainbow Looms where you find the bands.

Children's chopsticks (the plastic kind that are attached at one end) or two pencils held together at the bottom with a rubber band

Cards, which can be downloaded at Stitchcraftcreations.com

Slip a band around one chopstick, twist it, and slip the resulting loop over the second chopstick, creating a figure-8 shape. (This is the only step that includes a twist.)

Slip two more bands over both chopsticks.

Pull the bottom band and lift it up and over one chopstick, effectively removing it from the stick. Repeat on the other side, lifting the band up and over the other chopstick.

Add another band around both chopsticks. (You should always have three bands on the sticks.) Continue lifting the bottom band up and over the chopsticks.

When bracelet is the desired length, completely remove the two bands that remain on the sticks. Carefully remove the bracelet from the loom and attach a C- or S-clip to both ends to create a clasp.

Olympic medal valentines

Foil-wrapped chocolate coins. Available in Lexington at My Old Kentucky Chocolates and Ruth Hunt Candies.

Ribbon. At Sochi, the ribbons are royal blue and made of a shiny, satin-like fabric.

Scissors

Double-sided tape

Cards, which can be downloaded at Stitchcraftcreations.com

Cut ribbon into approximately 10-inch lengths.

Fold ribbon in half and tape ends to the back of the foil-wrapped coin.

Tape ribbon to back of card so medal hangs down below the message.

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