School Valentines Ideas; or, going against the herd like a dumdum


Sometimes I’m an idiot who just can’t do the things other people do because it seems too easy to follow the herd.  In my over-complicated brain, if it’s easy and the herd is doing it, it must be wrong.  Usually about 11:43 p.m. when I am still working on my anti-herd “unique” project I realize, hmmm, maybe the herd is onto something.  Alas, Valentines was not one of those occasions.  It never is.

I was going to make Hershey’s kiss rings out of pipe-cleaners and kisses, but I saw someone had given those away at school a few days prior to Valentines.  My goodness, now the rings were herd tainted!  One other person had done them.  Nope, can’t have that.  I remembered I had a 5 lbs. bag of dumdums leftover from Halloween.  And a box of scrapbook paper.  No-cost Valentines?  Yeah baby!

I knew I wanted to glue something to the dumdum.  But what?  I was going to go with a butterfly, but for a 6 year old boy that seemed a little girly.  (Aw damn.  I could have done dragonflies.  Ah well next year).  After a lot of Googling, I came up with the Yoda-face Valentine.  I think I ultimately went with that because I could write on there “Yoda Best!”  or “Yoda One For Me!”  I traced a Yoda head silhouette on green paper 25 frickin’ times, cut out 25 frickin’ Yodas, drew on 25 sets of eyes, noses and mouths, and glued 25 Yoda faces to the dumdums.  I was kind of feeling dumdum myself by this point (“Could the herd be right?  Are store bought Valentines the answer to the overextended mother?  Yes, you dumdum ass!”).  I printed out tags with the aforementioned Yoda greetings, being unable to think up a suitably Yoda-hackneyed saying (“My Valentine, you will be.  You … will … beee.” Wait that’s a good one.  Dammit!).  Punched holes in the end of the tag and tied one on I mean tied it on with red ribbon to bring in the Valentines theme.  10:15 p.m., Yodas done.

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Now on to Lil Bro.  More dumdums.  More scrapbook paper.  I was sitting at my desk at work thinking about what I could do for him and getting a little punchy from the never-ending pile of stuff landing in my e-mail (having a My Cousin Vinny moment, truth be told: “Is there anymore s#!t we can pile on top of this?  Is it possible?”) and the thought of curling a paper dunce cap on the top of the dumdum seemed like a good idea with the tag “This Valentine is for you, dummy.”  Yeah, it was a bad day.  So I opted to use my handy dandy Flexo-lite hole puncher and emphasize the sucker portion of the dumdum and add “I’m a sucker for you” with a heart in the middle.  I only had blue striped scrapbook paper in large enough portions to make 27 Valentines, but I figured that was candy-themed and if I added a heart that would bring in Valentines.  Hole punch, draw heart in with a Sharpie, write “I’m a sucker for you” around the edge, and add Lil Bro’s name to the bottom.  Glue circles to dumdums.  11:15 p.m., suckers done.  Starting to feel like a sucker myself.

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Finally the teacher’s gift.  What to make the teacher, hmm.  Well, as previously mentioned in the gifts in a jar post . . . well I have a thing for gifts in a jar.  She is going to think I have a fixation with baby food or wonder who is eating it in our house.  I decided to make paper flowers similar to the ones I used for the baby shower and use a dumdum as the stamen, and fill a small jar with the flowers.  I bought a jar of baby food and saved the food part to add to muffin batter.  Waste not want not.  Once I washed it and used steel wool to scrape off the last of the label and glue, I filled the jar with Valentines M&Ms.  The paper flowers are made like a snowflake — a square of paper is folded in fourths and then a triangle, then rounded at the end.  Cut a small slit in the center for the stamen and boom — flower.  I added the flowers to the jar, and then tied on a tag with Valentines greetings on it.  Logistics raised its ugly head — how would she carry this home without spilling all the M&Ms?  I didn’t want to, but I taped the baby food cap to the back of the jar.  What it lacks in presentation it makes up for it in practicality.  I never really figured out how to transport it as a bouquet.  I had to deconstruct it and reconstruct it at school because the flowers kept falling out.  Looks pretty, but totally unstable, kind of like the villainess in a James Bond movie.

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I added the remaining M&Ms to empty plastic baby food containers and glued two paper flowers I ended up not using to the tops to make small gifts for my boys for Valentines Day.  By this point it was 12:15 and I had to go to work the next day.  Yeah, time to stop.


So there is Valentines Day, going against the herd.  Trying to be unique and crafty takes time, people.  Who are we kidding — you don’t have to tell me, I know I’m a fool.