Yes, I’ve been away for a while despite wonderful intentions to tell you all about our fall and winter adventures. But I’m back, guilt free, to spend the week telling you about how wonderful the children’s Valentines turned out this year (and to update you on last year’s Valentine projects, since, well, I have the photos so I may as well pack it all in to one wonderful Valentine fest.)
This year’s successes are due in very large part to my mother’s willingness to let us be her guinea pigs to try out some of the new flash equipment she got for Christmas. I literally threw some red clothes and a few Valentine’s props in a bag with a couple of vague ideas in mind on our way out the door to visit her and the rest of the magic is all hers. I’m so ridiculously excited about how the photos–and the Valentines–turned out, especially with the last minute nature of the whole thing.
Up first is Xavier. He is exchanging Valentines with all 21 classmates and his two teachers and, because of the monumental task of having a couple dozen early readers match names to handmade mailboxes, they are actually taking the entire week to deliver them. He had to bring all of them in to school, hand addressed, yesterday.
By far the most cooperative photo model these days, it was tough to pick one photo for his card.
I had seen some sample Valentines where someone had taken photos of a child holding a blank heart and used that space as the canvas for the child to write each friend’s name, so that was our goal. We used a white foam craft heart we had left over from a previous year’s stockpile of craft supplies. I didn’t want the cards to get so big that they wouldn’t fit through the opening in each shoebox mailbox at school, but I also didn’t want to make the heart so small that my budding writer wouldn’t have enough space to fit some of his longer classmates’ names. Since I was printing the cards myself on 8.5 x 11 sheets of photo paper, I could make them whatever dimensions I liked, so I went with a tall and narrow design that would fit through each mail slot, but leave enough room for names. The printed cards are 4 x 8 inches.
After some trial and error, we discovered that a Sharpie worked best on the glossy photo surface and a black crayon was perfect for signing each card on the back without having any writing show through the front in the light.
I’m really happy with the results and so is Xavier. Of course, some of the longer names were tough to fit completely in the white heart, but they are still perfectly legible and no less adorable (in my humble opinion). All in all, it was a fun and surprisingly easy project that gave Xavier some ownership without getting too difficult and tedious.
Tomorrow, I’ll share the Valentines Xavier and I made for his preschool class last year, a much different, but equally fun project.