Also, of course, because we're DIYers to the bone, we don't buy what we can make, putting a little effort into a handmade gift makes our celebrations more thoughtful and meaningful, and frugality is a habit that must be constantly cultivated or it slips away.
In other words, I like to save a couple of bucks.
That's not to say that the kids' valentines take hours and hours of painstaking work for them to craft, however. Instead, the valentine work exists on a sort of spectrum. At the smack beginning of February, I tend to set out the materials to make big, splashy, complicated valentines, because the kiddos are super-excited and want to make big, splashy, complicated valentines.
A few days later, and they're perhaps cutting hearts out of paper and writing HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY on them, along with a hand-drawn picture and some stickers or stamps.
The day before the big party, I count out how many more valentines they each need to make, hand them some heart die-cuts, and say, "Here, write your name on these." Done and done!
The following project comes from the BEGINNING of the month of February, when hearts and valentines and complicated holiday crafts are pretty exciting to be starting off with. It also utilizes power tools, which everyone knows by now is something that my Will and I are both big suckers for.
You start by making yourself some recycled crayons. Will made hearts both big and small to use for valentines, as well as big LEGOs and small skulls for an upcoming friend's birthday.
Next, you set yourself up with a power drill, a good work surface, and a big old book or something else underneath your drilling area.
You probably want to put your kid in safety goggles. I evaluated the project, and decided not to require them for this one--with the power drill, it depends on the material for me regarding whether or not I make the kid wear the safety goggles. Wood and masonry and even plaster=goggles. Crayon and beeswax and just messing around in the dirt=no goggles.
Notice Will's good posture here:
She's on her knees on the chair so that her head is elevated above the work surface and the drill, and so that she can hold the drill vertical to the work surface without having to keep her arm at an awkward angle.
She's got a firm grip on the crayon on the far side away from the drill, and she's pressing with just the right amount of force to keep her grip on drill and crayon without losing control:
And then you drill!
I had a better video, but then at the end of it Will suddenly swung the drill up and pointed it at her face so that she could "watch it spin," and in my chastising I may have called her a little redneck and told her that if she put her eye out with a power drill she'd have to be a shop teacher instead of a humane society worker when she grows up, so with that fabulous combo of dangerous tool use and impeccable parenting, I'll just save it to show at her rehearsal dinner or something.
After you drill a hole in the crayons, you'll have a stack that looks like this:
To make these into valentines, Will typed "from Willow" onto cardstock, cut it out and hole punched it, and tied it to each crayon with yarn.
Not that you need a reason to drill through big crayons or anything, though, because frankly it's just fun.
Even if you're NOT a redneck like us.