Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Report Inspiration: Handmade Valentines


I planned on making some anti-valentines, but after reading Valentines, Ted Kooser's lovely book of Valentine's Day poems, I decided to make some sweet valentines. Just so we're all on the same page: in 1986 Ted Kooser decided to write a poem on a postcard and mail it to some friends for Valentine's Day. It was a hit, so he made it a yearly tradition. Eventually his list of postcard poem recipients reached 2,600 people. Valentines collects these postcard poems. I know poetry can be a terrifying prospect, especially when it's concerned with L-O-V-E. But Kooser's poems are not overflowing with flowery, gushy sentiments--they're sweet, sometimes silly, and fun...

So, I wanted to do a take on the classic fold and cut red construction paper heart. After debating a run to the dollar store for paper doilies, a trip which would have required real clothes, I chose (wisely) to look for inspiration in my craft box. I found my good old Crayola watercolor set and some cheap watercolor pencils and set about to make something and imbue it with ALL MY LOVE. No pressure.


Now, I find any kind of painting intimidating--I mean, there's no erasing!--and I'm not going to lie, there was some trial and error. But after a few failed attempts, I hit on the blob technique. Just make vaguely almond or half circle-shaped blobs with a little yellow or orange blob in the center. Once I mastered that, it was pretty easy to crank out a bunch of blooms of various blob shapes and shades. And you can always toss the really wonky flowers before a sister comes along and judges them.



This is "A Pocket Poem" by Ted Kooser (His very first Valentine's Day postcard poem!)

Here's the perfect Kooser poem to inspire your Valentine's Day crafting...


A PERFECT HEART

To make a perfect heart you take a sheet
of red construction paper of the type
that's rough as a cat's tongue, fold it once,
and crease it really hard, so it feels
as if your thumb might light up like a match,

then choose your scissors from the box. I like
those safety scissors with the sticky blades
and the rubber grips that pinch a little skin
as you snip along. They make you careful,
just as you should be, cutting out a heart

for someone you love. Don't worry that your curve
won't make a valentine; it will. Rely
on chewing on your lip and symmetry
to guide your hand along with the special art.
And there it is at last: a heart, a heart!

Aww, so sweet, Ted Kooser!

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