Katie's Craft Corner: Valentine's Day gifts

With Valentine’s Day so close, how can there possibly be time for a handmade gift? Yes, it’s too late for hand knit mittens, but in order for a gift to be handmade, it doesn’t have to be 100 percent from scratch. Since Valentine’s Day comes right as everyone is just financially recovering from the holidays, don’t feel you have to spend a ton of money for a heartfelt gift—this is the holiday where the thought really does count.

Think small, think personal and think outside of the (candy) box. Little gift packs, an assortment of small trinkets wrapped up in a cute reusable box, jar or other container, is a good idea that can be altered for everyone from a romantic interest to a best friend. Here’s some ideas for little present sets you can make for $20 or less, with one-stop shopping—and zero hot glue or sewing machines involved.

For the person who loves baking or just cozying up at home, hit Cost Plus World Market in Ann Arbor for unusual, boutique-style goods. Ty quirky kitchen accessories, such as ceramic Russian nesting doll measuring spoons and carved wooden spatulas gifted in a small heart-shaped mixing bowl. Or pick up some designer hot cocoa mix, espresso or tea (and a $3 milk frother to make coffee shop quality drinks) along with a few boxes of English tea cookies to pack in a gorgeous oversize mug.

If your gift is for a girl who loves jewelry, skip the usual earrings and go to Michael’s Crafts right on Washtenaw Ave. where a wall of beads in every size, type and color, from crystal to western turquoise, lets you choose. Include a spool of stretchy cord in a vintage-looking photo box (they sell these long-lasting heavy paperboard boxes in all sorts of colors, prints and shapes) will let her customize an armful of bangles.

For guys, gifts can be tricky, but that just means being a little extra creative. A surprising (or not surprising, depending on who you’re gifting) place to make a present bundle is Tractor Supply Co. on Jackson Rd in Ann Arbor.

More than just farm supplies, the store has cool (and often funny) graphic tee shirts, handy pocket tools, nice wool hats and even room décor with a rustic twist that’s not for your stereotypical country boy. Hint: hit up Tractor Supply Co. for Valentine’s treats for your beloved dog or cat—they have a great pet department.

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