Friday, February 21, 2014

Valentine's Projects - 2014

I've recently chatted with a couple other people about how I do not make the kids' valentines. (That may actually surprise you since I like to make just about everything else!) For what they are, though, and considering how little time children actually spend appreciating them, this is not worth it to me. (I do understand what a friend said, though, about a child wanting a certain theme or character that wasn't readily available. It was smart of her, in that case, to make them herself!) For my kids, I just run out after Valentine's Day,-- when stuff is on clearance -- and pick up one or two boxes that I know they will like to set aside for the next year.

This year, for example, Mia had a choice of Disney fairies or princesses and she selected the fairies. (I found her a box of princess valentines that came with suckers to use next year. I figure suckers don't really go bad. Any other candy I would worry about, but suckers should be fine.) Logan chose Cars, so he will have either the Toy Story ones or the Hot Wheels that I just picked up the other day. They still get choices, but I don't have to spend 20 minutes in the store while they debate among a million options. So far, it has worked for us. (And for the record, I'm not knocking anybody's choice to make the cutesy homemade kind. I have seen some really awesome ones! It's just not something I care to do as long as my kids are fine with the current system.)

That said, we did do a few Valentine's Day related crafts this February. Mia's teacher sent home a note a few days before their class party that said they needed to have a valentine holder of some sort. I was trying to figure out what sort of box to use when I remembered the cute felt envelopes featured in the February issue of FamilyFun magazine. We had everything we needed at home, so this was a good choice. I showed Mia the picture, and she loved it, so it was decided. I downloaded the Special Deliveries Envelope pattern and then traced it onto some pink felt that I had left over from making the poodle skirt. (My only complaint is that they don't tell you how much felt you need, so let me tell you. I measured it to be about 41" by 28.5" so allow a bit extra, just in case my measurements are slightly off.)

{Finished valentine holder is 91/2" x 141/2"}

For embellishment, we added a red felt heart, and Mia selected 2" blue self-adhesive felt letters. (We didn't have a "M" so she decided an upside down "W" would work in its place.) I skipped the step for cutting holes and threading ribbon through to make this a chair back valentine holder since I wasn't sure if they would fit the chairs at school, and this seemed like unnecessary effort. It turned out great, and she was very happy. I was also glad that it could easily fit inside her backpack for the bus ride home, which would not have been the case if we had gone with a box of some sort!

{This is the great heart garland!}

As Valentine's Day approached, Mia felt that we needed some extra decorations and I showed her how I had made some heart-shaped chains inspired by this blogger's photo that I had seen on Pinterest. Her directions are great, and I wish I had actually read them first. One important step that I missed was starting with folded paper to get that nice edge at the bottom of the heart. I just gave Mia some 1" strips of red and pink construction paper and showed her how to invert them before stapling (as opposed to overlapping them for traditional chain links). Then, I suggested that she pinch the bottom segment to form the base of the heart. Mostly, she skipped that so her hearts are rounded and sweet-looking instead of crisp and precise. She was happy with the results, so I couldn't have cared less. Besides, they looked kid-made, and that was the point! Mia quickly used up the red and pink and asked me to make more strips out of purple and blue paper. By the time she was done, we had a garland that draped nearly all the way from one side of the dining room to the other. (Some of the chain links were regular circles interspersed among the hearts.)

{Close-up of Heart Chains}

Today was yet another snow day. (Well, technically, it was an ice day.) Anyway, I had some project ideas in mind and one was stamped hearts from toilet paper tubes, which came from this blogger. (I had wanted to try this before Valentine's Day, but then Mia's school needed lots of TP tubes for science night and I sent in all that I had at the time, around 50!) Mia was not interested, but Logan happily created some stamps with the heart-shaped tubes that I made. We had two tubes to work with since I no longer had a big stash of them: one to dip in pink paint and one to dip in purple paint, both of which I poured onto a Styrofoam tray. These stamps were quick and easy to make using the directions found on the Rust & Sunshine blog. My only suggestion would be that you could also cut the tubes in half to make more if you wanted to do this with more kids but were short on tubes.

{Art in Process...}

{Finished Stamped Art}

{Close-up of Tubes, After Stamping}

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