Monday, February 14, 2011
The happy memories are no doubt the reason I often spent every February 13th when my kids were young once more parked at the kitchen table with mounds of craft supplies trying to coax my craft-indifferent sons to make their own Valentines too (and then staying up late finishing them up when the boys abandoned the project midcourse and I couldn't bear to think about some poor classmate being left out).
Fortunately for me, my daughter was a different story. She liked to make things too. And still does to my everlasting delight.
The little matchbox Valentines she made in first grade remain one of my all time favorite Valentine projects. (The little love bugs inside were NOT my favorite - too fiddly for little hands.) These Valentines were also a favorite of my middle son's, because not only did he do something similar, albeit simpler:
He spent the next zillion summers constructing elaborate if rather wobbly structures from the matches and glue and then setting them alight (under adult supervision, in the driveway, on low wind days with a bucket of water handy, but still). I am a terrible mother obviously.
These are very simple Valentines to make, possible to do at the last minute if you have a spare box of matches handy. Simply cut a paper strip long enough to wrap around the box, draw a design on the front (my daughter designed four different buildings - the flower shop and house shown at the top of this post, and I think a school and a library, but I guess I didn't save samples of them), and then glue it in place. For mass production purposes, I pasted up the four designs on a single piece of paper and photocopied them, and then my daughter cut out the strips and glued them around the boxes -- but one of kind designs work too.
I recommend putting some heart stickers, a sweet note or a little candy inside (as my son did) rather than spending a bazillion hours gluing miniature googly eyes and punched heart "wings" onto glass gems. Fewer frustration tantrums for everyone that way.
I'll close with a photo of my pug, Koko, who is celebrating her 11th birthday today. In style.