DIY valentines (Feb. 10)

February 8, 2008

Last year Valentine’s Day caught me off guard.  It was M.’s first year in his current preschool and it never occurred to me that valentines or sweets would be exchanged.  Unfortunately, he’s the kind of kid who likes to give as well as to receive, so he wondered repeatedly why we hadn’t given anyone valentines.  This year, I vowed to be on top of it — and without shelling out for schmaltzy cards or candy.  Using an old box of printer-friendly card stock (from back before I had kids, way back when making your own cards on the computer was newfangled and cool), a potato, a bottle of red washable paint and a leftover bag of New Year’s Eve confetti, M. and I sat down for a marathon art session.

He was duly impressed by how I wielded the paring knife in cutting the potato into suitable shapes (judge for yourself below!) without hacking my fingers — and I was likewise impressed by how little mess he made as we stamped 25 cards. Then we broke out the glue and adhered confetti to the insides, where I wrote the message Happy Valentine’s Day and he signed his name.  To my complete amazement, the project kept him occupied for a good hour before his interest tapered off and he had to be bribed with allowance money to sign the remaining cards.  But by then the stamping and confettiing was behind us and we could allow S. and his dad back into the room.

The VERY next day, his teachers sent home word that there would be no exchange of valentines in class this year.  So now I’ve got to pay anyway, 41 cents per envelope to mail the stinkin’ things to his classmates.  That will teach me to think ahead!

But I can console myself that the card-making idea is a worthy one:  It’s the COCA Free @ 3 activity this Sunday, Feb. 10, from 3 to 4 p.m. for ages 6 to 12.  OK, they’ll probably be using something more advanced than potatoes and leftover confetti (the workshop is sponsored by ArtMart, after all, and taught by instructor Rudy Zapf) but M. did at least get a taste of printmaking and collage techniques.

Upcoming Free @ 3s include an introduction to African dance (March 9) and an Earth Day celebration using recycled materials (April 10).  The workshops are free, but participants need to arrive 10 minutes early to register.  For details, call 314.725.6555.

And here’s a sample of one of the cards:



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