Adventure in Valentine’s Day Decor

I love Valentine’s Day and the hearts and bright colors it brings to my decor! The old window frame and pitcher are staples on my mantel. I like to swap out the rest for each season.

I equate me trying to craft to a mother of toddlers trying to use the bathroom alone or sneaking chocolate. The exact moment I get started, I am no longer alone. I am caught. Don’t get me wrong; I love my little crafting companions, and most days I enjoy creating with them. But, there are moments I just want to be left alone with my creative processes.

The day I recently decided to embark on a solo Valentine crafting adventure was no exception. The girls were playing so nicely with each other. One with her Legos and the other right next to her sis with a city of cars. I could hear them happily chattering away as they played. So, I jumped at the opportunity to play around with craft supplies.

This little set up makes my heart happy! I love swapping out different colors for different seasons. The tray is so versatile and can be found here.

But wouldn’t you know, as soon as my supplies were all laid out, and I was about to get started, I heard a sweet little voice say, “‘Can I help you, Mommy?” What happened to my quietly playing children from just one minute ago? How could they have possibly heard me? I’m convinced that children have some sort of ‘Mom is alone and doing something fun without me’ radar. Soon, another little gal was in the doorway stating that she would like to do a project too.

Well, what was I to do? Put the supplies away? Tell the girls to go back to playing? I knew neither of those things would make all of us happy, so I chose option number three: Have a Valentine’s Day Decor Adventure!

More punches of red for Valentine’s Day.

My craft for the day was to make a Valentine’s Day banner to hang on my mantel. With some quick thinking, a search on Pinterest, and use of my stash of well-intentioned craft supplies (who else has one of these stashes?), the girls’ craft was to make a coordinating framed piece of artwork. These projects turned out to be pretty simple, inexpensive, and adorable. Feel free to use them as inspiration as you prepare for Valentine’s Day (my most favorite holiday of the year-not kidding).

Valentine’s Day Banner Supplies:

  • Old book (I picked one up at a thrift store for $1)
  • Cutting mat of some sort
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Red paint
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Large black sharpie
  • Heart-shaped paper doily or other decoration
  • Glue (glue stick, school glue, or decopage)
  • Twine
  • Small clothes pins or hole punch

Banner Directions:

  1. Remove desired amount of book pages and trim edges so all pages are the same size. I used 8 book pages for this project. (My fabric cutter and mat worked much better than my paper cutter to trim edges.)

    Supplies for the banner ready to go! The blades on my paper cutter are dull and ripped the book pages, so I opted for my fabric cutting mat in a pinch.
  2. Find the middle of each book page and measure 1.75 inches up from the bottom. Mark that spot with a pencil, and use a ruler as a straight edge to make a diagonal line from that spot to each bottom corner. Cut along those lines and discard the triangle piece of paper.
  3. Put a little blob (technical term) of red paint on a paper plate or other container. Add a small amount of water to dilute the paint.
  4. Using a scrunched up paper towel, dab the diluted paint around the edges of each book page. Allow to dry.

    A paper towel serves as a great tool for dabbing diluted paint around the book page edges.
  5. Use a black sharpie to write your desired message on the book pages. I used ‘Be Mine.’ (I had planned to use paint and stencils, but due to extra help and executing two different projects at once, I opted for a simpler technique).
  6. Glue a heart-shaped paper doily (or other decoration) on one book page.
  7. Once dry, hang on twine with small clothes pins. Another option would be to punch two holes in the top of each book page and string onto the twine before hanging.
  8. Hang up the banner, and enjoy the festive DIY project you accomplished!

    The finished banner!

Framed Valentine’s Day Artwork Supplies:

  • Old book pages
  • Wood picture frames
  • White or off-white paint (mine was a small bottle of ‘antique white’ from Walmart’s craft section)
  • Paint brushes and/or sponges
  • Cutting mat  or ruler and scissors
  • Red paint (or other Valentine-y colors)
  • Random scraps of paper, ribbon, burlap (or whatever else inspires you)
  • Glue

Framed Art Directions:

  1. Disassemble the frame: Set aside the glass and cardboard backing. Place the wood frame on a painting surface.
  2. Paint the frame with a thin coat of white paint and let dry. I like to use a sponge brush for this step. You will need 2-3 coats of paint. Let dry between each coat.

    The girls hard at work painting the frames.
  3. While paint is drying, cut a book page to fit inside the frame.
  4. Decorate the book page using paint, glue, and random scraps. (We looked at Pinterest for inspiration, but the girls really used their imaginations at this point).

    This little lady traced a heart stencil on her book page and then used a round paint sponge and red paint to fill in the heart.
  5. When the decorated pages and frames are completely dry, reassemble the frames and insert the decorated book page.

    The finished pieces are pretty darn cute! The sky is the limit with this project. I see shamrock and Easter egg decorated pages in our future!
  6. Be sure to write a name and date on the back of the frames just in case  your children become famous artists (or if your memory fades and you can’t remember who made what).
  7. Find a spot to display the unique piece of art, and admire the handiwork of your child (or yourself)!

    The girls were pretty proud of their projects!

While it took extra time (and a TON of patience on my part) to complete these projects, the girls and I had fun creating together. We found homes for their masterpieces (and mine). The fruits of our adventure add a little something special to our Valentine’s decor. My girls love decorating our house (they are little Joanna Gaines wannabes). They thoughtfully found places for all our Valentines decor, and while some things aren’t quite where I would put them, I think I’ll leave them be. All too soon I’ll be doing these things on my own again.

This framed piece of art has a home on my end table. An old book and a bird finish off the look.

So, enjoy creating something unique this Valentine’s Day. It may mean you have extra help and a bigger mess, but seeing your kiddo’s artwork (even if it is scribbles on paper) around your home will warm your heart. It is an adventure worth taking!

Happy Decorating Adventures, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Crafty Girls: Creating Memories and Masterpieces

Intently Painting
This little gal carefully painted her mermaid. Making messes together can led to great memories!

Being creative can lead to a great adventure! This Girls Adventure was full of creativity, laughter, and fun. The day was made even more special when my mom joined us for an afternoon of painting at Cool Catz Pottery Studio in Storm Lake. While Cool Catz, a paint your own pottery studio, has recently closed its doors (I’m super sad about this!), I still wanted to share this experience since the idea is more important than the location.

While at Cool Catz, my mom and the girls thoughtfully picked out the pottery pieces they wanted to paint. (I decided to be a helper rather than a painter on this occasion.) One of my girls chose a bunny and troll to paint while the other picked a mermaid and a cup. My mom found two bowls that she and my dad will use for popcorn (my parents make the best homemade kettle corn ever!). After a quick lesson on paining techniques, the brushes were put to use. My girls, although only 5, worked on getting the details just right. They made pieces that were uniquely theirs. The girls critiqued Grandma’s work and helped her pick out paint colors.

Painting Pottery
My animal lover had so much fun painting her very own bunny. Both girls were so proud of their work.

The finished pieces were left at the studio to be kiln-fired. I was able to pick them up a week later. My girls quickly found special places to keep their handiwork. They were so proud of their work and couldn’t wait to deliver Grandma’s popcorn bowls. All masterpieces are now proudly displayed and will be treasured for years to come.

We chatted and laughed while making masterpieces that afternoon, creating not only art but lasting memories. Now each time my girls see their painted treasures they will think of the afternoon spent with Grandma. And when my mom enjoys popcorn in her hand-painted bowls, she will remember the fun she had with her granddaughters. I will forever cherish the time spent with three generations of crafty girls.

Grandma and Her Little Helper
Grandma and her little helper had fun picking out paint colors together.

Now its your turn to have a crafty adventure! Grab family members or friends and make memories. Although Cool Catz is no longer open for business there are plenty of other ways to get creative. Check out local art galleries, newspapers, colleges, and community education agencies for area classes and events. Or, try out one of these Northwest Iowa locations (not an extensive list by any means, but it will get you started):

It’s also okay to get creative in your own living room or kitchen. Have your grandma teach you to make her famous homemade rolls, get out the kids’ watercolors and create together, put together a puzzle, bake cookies together, try out a Pinterest project as a group, admire family photos or quilts, or have Grandpa teach the little ones how to make a birdhouse. Get several generations together, and do something a little different.

All Done!
All done painting! Waiting a week to pick up the finished pieces was so hard. The girls couldn’t wait to see their new treasures!

The great thing is, it won’t matter if you aren’t an expert painter, baker, or bird house maker. It’s okay if your cookies get burnt or you have a Pinterest disaster. (Those mishaps may bring more laughter and make your experience even more memorable!) What will matter is that you’re having fun while creating memories with the ones you treasure the most. I can’t think of a better adventure!