Staff Blogger: Ellen Venema, Rhein Center Assistant Coordinator

Valentine's Day 'Something Sweet'There’s nothing like receiving a handmade valentine. No matter how beautifully crafted or adorably haphazard it may be, the knowledge that special time and care was taken to create a gift or message just for you is wonderful.

So, why not let your creative side loose this February and take some time to put a little exclamation point on how much you care about the people in your life.

Something Sweet

Do your dessert-decorating skills not extend beyond a can of frosting, a knife and perhaps some sprinkles? Go semi-pro, and try this simple way to sweeten up your Valentine’s Day message.


  • Cookies
  • Frosting, homemade or store bought
  • Food coloring
  • Bowls
  • Plastic bags (Ziplock bags that are a little thicker work best, but any sandwich or snack baggie will do)
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels

Start by frosting your cookies with a thin layer, prepping your canvas. Or, let your cookie shine through and decorate directly on it.

Divide your frosting into bowls and mix up your chosen color palette.

Next, spoon some of your colored frosting into the Ziplock bags, one for each color. Push the frosting as close to one bottom corner of the bag as possible, squeezing all the extra air out of the bag before zipping it closed. (If you don’t have Ziplock bags, remove the air and twist the bag closed behind the frosting.) Try to avoid air bubbles!

With your scissors, carefully trim a tiny bit of the corner off of your plastic bag. Remember, the size of the opening determines the size of your “pen,” so if you want to draw or write in fine detail, start as small as possible. You can always cut the opening to a bigger size later.

To draw with your new “pen,” simply twist the bag behind the frosting, holding it in the palm of your hand, squeezing while trapping the excess bag in the corner between your thumb and first finger.

As you apply steady pressure, your “ink” will emerge from the open corner. Practice your strokes on a paper towel or plate to get a feel for how to draw smoothly. The consistency of your frosting and the size of the opening will determine how much pressure is needed.

Once you have a handle on your technique, let your inner artist shine!

If you’d like to take your decorating a step farther, there are pastry decorating tips available in many grocery or kitchen stores that create different shapes and textures. You can still use your plastic bags. Just cut a small hole in the empty bag first, insert the decorative piece from the inside, and screw the fastener over the outside of the bag to hold it in place. Then, add your frosting and get creative.