Thursday, February 16, 2012

Over the Top Valentines

When I was a kid at school, we exchanged little folded cards with cartoon characters on them (like Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Scooby Doo, GI Joe, Transformers... I can't remember what else was popular then).  Each had a little envelope.  If you were really lucky, you might have a couple envelopes with three or four conversation hearts.  Those were the jackpot.  Nowadays, the cards are still popular, with revised versions of many of the same characters, but almost every one has to come with a piece of candy or a sticker or tattoo--at least!  This year Sweetheart brought home a long tube of bubbles, a bouncy ball, and scratchboard art with his candy.  Belle had six packs of Fun-Dip and more Laffy Taffy than she got from Halloween.  This year, we went over the top with our valentines.  It even tops the woven paper heart pockets with a Tootsie Roll inside that we made last year.  Family Fun magazine gave me the idea to use a photo of your kid giving a giant lollipop, so I went with that idea and made these:
I took pictures of the kids holding a heart shaped cake pan and a cardboard tube, and then used my photo editing software to write on it and check the sizing.  I taped on our crayon hearts (see the last post) over the pans.  I got a bunch of lip glosses for really cheap at an after Christmas sale.  I used an X-Acto knife to cut around Belle's hands and arms and then tape in the lip gloss.   Then they wrote their names with a permanent marker at the top.  It was a fun project for us to do together, and we were all really happy with how they turned out.  It was a lot of effort for a valentine exchange, so I don't if we'll try to match it, but we enjoyed doing it together.  The price was probably a little higher than buying premade cards and candy, but I got a deal on the photo prints and lipgloss, and the crayons were free.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Heart Shaped Crayons

Instead of candy this year, my kids will be passing these crayon valentines to their friends.  They are fun and unique, and help clean out the crayon box as well.  This silicone baking tray is available from Wilton.  You can probably get one at your local craft store.  Just fill each cup with broken crayons like so:
Place it on a baking sheet and heat in a 200 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  The crayons need not be completely melted because you can use a toothpick to push down any lumps into the liquid.  The first time I tried this project, I must have left them in way too long because the wax separated quite a bit.  The crayons had a rather thick layer of wax at the top that did not color on paper, and some of the wax actually absorbed through the silicone and coated the outside of the cups.  It was quite difficult to clean, and I don't think I'll be using this tray for making food anymore.  Taking them out sooner this time made a big difference.  There was still a layer of wax on the top, but it was very thin this time.
Allow the crayons to cool and harden.  I set the tray outside (it is freezing here) for a little while to speed it up.  Pop the crayons out of the mold.  If you like, you can rub the back side against some paper to try and remove some of the non-coloring wax and to smooth out the surface.