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Olympic rings, rubber band bracelets inspire handmade Valentines

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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, however, in case he didn't make enough bracelets, so 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. "You're a winner to me, Valentine," works as a message, as does "You have a heart of gold, Valentine."

RUBBER BAND BRACELET VALENTINES:

MATERIALS:

— small rubber bands in assorted colours

— plastic clips to close bracelets

— children's chopsticks or two pencils

— cards, which can be downloaded at my blog, www.stitchcraftcreations.com

DIRECTIONS:

1. Slip a band around one chopstick, twist it, and slip the resulting loop over the second band. This is the only step that includes a twist. We use children's chopsticks — the plastic kind that are attached at one end — because they are smooth and easy to hold, but two pencils work fine, as well.

2. Slip two more bands over both chopsticks.

3. Pull the bottom band and lift it up and over one chopstick. Repeat on the other chopstick.

4. Add another band around both chopsticks. Continue lifting the bottom band up and over the chopsticks.

5. When bracelet is the desired length, remove from loom and attach clip to both ends.

OLYMPIC MEDAL VALENTINES:

MATERIALS:

— foil-wrapped chocolate coins

— ribbon

— scissors

— tape

— cards, which can be downloaded at my blog, www.stitchcraftcreations.com

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut ribbon into approximately 10-inch lengths.

2. Fold ribbon in half and tape ends to foil-wrapped coin.

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

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