I'll be honest: years ago I would have been filled with envy and irritation for those seemingly "together" moms who turn every holiday into a crafting lovefest. I could never seem to plan far enough ahead to facilitate a homemade holiday celebration. As I shelled out the bucks for ridiculously overpriced and flimsy Valentines (is it me or do I remember there being more variety and substance to the Valentine's of my childhood?) I would grit my teeth in exasperation for my caving into the demands of Hallmark and their artificial holidays. (do you buy St. Patrick's Day cards? What about Easter? National Potato Day?)
But I could not completely abandon these holidays because I do remember them as a child and how my mother infused into the tissue paper, cardboard and glitter so much sparkle and fun. Holidays as a child were not store-bought; they were loving crafted by my mother who I believe really enjoyed making decorations, baking heart-shaped cakes or green icing cookies. Now my mother worked out of the home (okay, I have to say I never saw her doing all that much "work"; my memories of my mother are her sitting in the big wingback chair, a book on her lap and a box of Cheese-It crackers by her side. I can say I've learned the most important skills from my mother: always have a good book at hand; going to movies by yourself is not only acceptable, it is preferable; travel often; left-overs can be an art) My mother had time, the crafting genes and the ability to read and follow directions so she was always making something for me. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries were merely excuses to indulge in celebrating, preferably with gooey sweets and decorations.
So I have felt guilt in the past when unable to live up to this standard. Yet I am here to say persistence and optimism will pay off. After years of slowly adding more crafting time into our day (as a means of quality mother/daughter time) it has become enough of a habit that this year I actually remember well enough in advance to gather the simple supplies we would need to make our own Valentine's Day cards and decorations!
Oh, so easy and affordable! Blank cards and envelopes on sale at Michael's for $3, some crayons, foil and glue and you have the fixings for a melted crayon craft.
(Take a baking tray, add a sheet of foil and heat at 350 degrees; when nice and hot carefully place on hot pads with pads under your wrists and carefully draw on the hot foil with a crayon.
The heat will melt the wax making a lovely, juicy drawing. When cool, cut out and glue to card and voilá! a unique and one-of-a-kind Valentine! This craft idea came from The Artful Winter ebook available here.)
I made a heart banner out of newspaper, craft paints, my own melted crayon letters, a string of packing thread and a hot glue gun to slap it all together.
(Inspired by the banner made by Maya Donenfeld here; I may even attempt Maya's chocolate cupcakes although I guarantee, mine won't look as lovely!) Now the last task (and the one I do resent) is the obligatory decorated box for school Valentine's (which Cowgirl only brought up the morning before as she darted off to school) which always seems to be a last-minute affair.
For whatever reason, I've been heart crazy which has made this Valentine's Day extra fun and joy-filled for me. Don't get me wrong: the minute I feel I ought to do anything is when I will rebel and resist. But for now, the pleasure is in making time to create, celebrate and play with my girl. I think that will be my new mantra. For those three things - create, celebrate, and play - lighten my spirits, generate sunshine even in the gloomiest of Winter days and revive me body and soul. I'm here to say - it cannot be purchased in a store but must be made by two, loving hands.
Happy Valentine's Day!