cafe mama

finding magic every day

my art beats for you . february 13 . 2012

fingerpainting and spackling on watercolor paper
If I love Valentine's Day, it is the Valentine's Day of my youth; it is the Valentine's Day of these boys' youth. It is the Valentine's Day in which the sweet-heart saying is all that matters; it is the Valentine's Day in which a treat in miniature makes the heart grow fond, and two of them, fonder.

Most of all, the Valentine's Day I love is the one in which homemade is always better. Craft rules, and the messier and redder, the more authentic, the more desired. Add paper-lace, add glitters and sparkles, add ribbon, and desire shows its heart there, on the paper-lacy sleeve.

So we will make Valentines. I will not worry nor kvetch nor even roll my eyes over jeweled gifts and splendiferous dates and steak tartare. Pinot Noir is only for the noir, and won't I be asleep by then, speckled in red and yellow acrylic, stuck with Elmer's glue? My husband is overseas and all I dream of, is the art of hearts.

A little something, then, for all you who do not drink deeply on the bitterness of the commercial, nor do you look askance at people such as me, dip your dipper into the well of Walgreens and pull up a shrink-wrapped package. Who am I to judge? Not I. I am here in all my muck and paper scraps, delighted and deviled, dancing to the music and stomping my feet in rage. We will get it done. It will never be quite as imagined; it will never be done quite on time; it will never be something I will not look back on with a fondness of heart only delivered by dozens of treats in miniature.

I made it for them and for you, too. We thought we'd make -- no, I thought I would make -- marbelized paper as I once did in grade school, straight out of Martha.. But I could not find quite the right thickener for the watery goop, nor did I remember to apply the alum solution mordant, so this paper was more fingerpainted with acrylic paints from the art store, thinned with water and much of that non-toxic glue, than marbelized. I splattered the yellow over it, though, just like in the magazine; with a tiny paintbrush and a tap-tap-tap; each one is an art piece, in miniature.

I'm sure they'll all be thrown away by Wednesday. You'll want to make them, too? There are two Mario Brothers-style powerups -- put little mushroom caps cut from painted paper on the fronts, big mushroom caps in the insides -- and the pun on "art" and "heart." It's great for use with those joyous chaotic fingerpaintings that you are sure mark your three- or four-year-old as the second coming of Jackson Pollack. The color theory on this one! I made pdfs; use, or giggle.

My 'art' beats for you
I'll power up... if you'll be my Valentine. (print the first page and then feed it back into the printer to go again on the back.)
Hey! You power me up, Valetine. (print the first page and then feed it back into the printer to go again on the back.)

use the pdfs and get these pretty easy valentines
And tomorrow, I'll make cupcakes, and read poetry out loud.

ads with greatly diminishing significance

read my previous post . the writer on pinterest . 26 january . 2012