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FAB Five of Valentines

By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 3:02 pm in Valentine.

Valentines (Courtesy BHG.com) Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a chance to express how we feel, not just to our spouses and loved ones, but to our friends too. That’s why the idea of storebought Valentines never thrilled me much. Well, OK – when you’ve got four kids under 10 and four classrooms worth of Valentines to churn out, storebought TinkerBell cards start looking really, really good.  But when you take the time to make your own cards, you’re not just saying hey, Happy Pink Cards & Chocolate Day, you’re also giving someone a piece of yourself. It’s not just the doilies and construction paper, it’s the thought and effort and love behind it all. Plus, Valentine-making is the sweetest family craft activity around.

So here’s a Fab Five roundup of adorable, handmade valentine ideas to get us started:

1. Hershey’s candy bar wrappers: Family Fun Magazine suggests making your own custom-made Hershey’s style logo to wrap around those candy bar valentines. The site has downloadable Heart-ey’s chocolate wrappers, but you can also make your own at home. (A friend used a similar idea to make baby announcements a few years back — filling in the baby’s weight, height and other stats in what’s normally the nutritional analysis box. Too cute for words.)

2. Swedish Hearts: We’ve always had a soft spot for these woven heart baskets, especially when they’re made from red and white, or red and pink paper. The instructions are here, but basically, you cut two, identical, long rectangles. Fold each in half and round off the ends. Now, cut two long slits in each, from the fold up, but not all the way through the end. Weave the two pieces of paper together. The first one takes forever, as you figure it out, but then they’re a breeze. And they’re the perfect little holder for a Peppermint Patty or similar treat.

3. Invisible Notes: This clever idea from BHG.com is better suited to family card exchanges than classrooms, but it’s adorable. Cut hearts from white construction paper or cardstock. Use a white crayon to write a secret message. Then leave the hearts on the breakfast table, with a box of watercolors and a brush. When the hearts are painted, the message appears.

4. Face Time: This valentine hails from MarthaStewart.com and it couldn’t be easier. You’ll need small clear candy bags, a stash of bulk candy to fill them (M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, Red Hots or whatever) and card stock. Scan a photo of your child and print it onto card stock or other heavy paper to make tags. Fold the tags in half, pink the edges and staple them over the top of each candy bag. Voila.

5. Write Cards: Our final one’s a two-fer, because we couldn’t decide which idea was more darling. One of our favorite readers, Cathy, spotted these “Write Cards” on the Family Fun site and they’re just darling. Cut a heart out of colorful posterboard or card stock. Decorate the heart and write “You’re just write for me!” across it, then punch two holes and thread a pencil through the heart. Our other fave was spotted by Marci: cute lollipop flower cards on that site too.

This blog post is part of About.com’s Valentine-themed “All About Love” Parenting Blog Carnival. Follow the link to read more musings on love, parenting and family life from across the blogosphere.

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