CREATE A HOUSE OF HEARTS

     

The last of the December holiday decor has finally been tucked away in bins in the attic. Well, almost. In frigid snow-covered Minnesota, I’ll keep the white twinkle lights up that frame our outdoor windows and wind around the pine treetops in flowerboxes. The lights seem to brighten our spirits, and add warmth with their sparkle in the evening snow during sub-zero temps and blistery snowstorms — at least through February … OK, March.

This time of year I think about the happy color pink, the taste of chocolate and lovely heart shapes everywhere. Even outside. That’s why I’m inspired to freeze water with a sprinkling of birdseed in heart-shaped cake pans to unmold and hang with twine from tree branches in the front yard. It’s a suncatcher attraction for feathered friends and passersby (search Heart-Shaped Ice Sculptures at www.donnaerickson.com).

What’s next? More heartfelt ideas to create a house of hearts. Enjoy them with your kids no matter where you live:

  1. Heart-shaped cookies

Use your favorite rolled-out sugar cookie recipe and cookie cutters in heart shapes to fill your cookie jar with cookies made by you and the kids.

For a creative twist, when making medium or large cookies, use a knife to cut out a 1 inch deep and 1/4 inch wide wedge off the side of the heart-shaped dough before baking. Once cool and decorated, hang the cookie on a glass of milk or a mug of hot chocolate.

Or, poke a hole through the top of several cookies before baking. When cool, string them with twine individually, and hang from a table centerpiece of bare branches. When friends visit, they can take home a cookie heart.

Make mini cookies with your smallest heart cookie cutter. Pack in a cardboard jewelry gift box lined with waxed paper. Give to someone special with a Valentine message attached.

                             

  1. Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day

Put a love twist on breakfast. Use strawberry jam from a squeeze container to draw a heart on your child’s toast. When you prepare pancakes, spoon the batter onto the pan in various sizes of heart shapes. Top them with fresh strawberries cut lengthwise to make hearts.

  1. Family love

Share your wedding photos with your children. Tell them how you and your spouse met, and include any funny or romantic stories they would enjoy. Look for formal wedding pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents, too. Learn their names and share family love stories and lore.

 

DECORATIVE PAPER STRIP HEARTS

 

 

 

The heart shape is a traditional and enduring symbol of love when celebrating Valentine’s Day. Why not display a beautiful heart with creativity in your home starting this week with this easy to make eye-catching version using easy to cut paper strips and a stapler? That’s all you need to make memories, while you craft lots of fun with your family.

Grab some pink, red and white construction paper or other colorful paper with or without designs that fits your vision for hearts, and enjoy this messless paper craft activity with your school-age kids. Your preschooler can also lend a hand, when you make it together.

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:

–3 sheets of construction paper in three different colors (I chose white, dark pink and a light shade of pink for these directions.)

–ruler

–pencil

–scissors

–paper cutter (optional)

–stapler

–glue (optional)

–thread or fishing line for hanging (optional)

 

Here’s the fun:

  1. For each heart with the colors I used, measure, mark with a pencil and cut with scissors or a paper cutter:

2 strips of white construction paper, 1 inch by 3 inches

2 strips of dark pink construction paper, 1 inch by 5 inches

2 strips of light pink construction paper, 1 inch by 7 inches

 

  1. Pile the 6 strips, starting with one white short strip, one dark-pink strip, two light pink strips, the second dark pink strip and end with the one short white strip on top. They should be evenly stacked up at one end. Carefully staple this 1-inch-wide stack about 1/4 inch from the even end.

  1. Bring the loose ends of the white strips away from the pile (and over the staple) to form a heart shape. Hold with one hand as you pull back the light pink strips and then the dark pink strips in the same manner.

Staple the six strips together near the pointed end of the heart.

Bend paper near the staple to spread out the sides.

If you make more, string several in different sizes vertically with fishing line and hang from a hook attached to the ceiling or by a window and watch it move freely with the air.