Holidays, birthdays, and the like are a favorite of mine. Really, any opportunity to celebrate gets me excited and fills my heart. There’s something about not just feeling joy, but intentionally searching for it, that make these special occasions dear to me. Is anyone else with me?
However, age has slowly replaced the exploding-jack-in-the-box with a more quiet happiness. I am content with this, but still have a secret way to experience both kinds of holiday cheer.
You see, I teach at an elementary school. I am convinced that no one (not celebrities, socialites, event planners, nor even royalty) celebrates with as much determination as a group of twenty-eight 6-and-7 year olds.
You who are blessed with children of your own know exactly what I mean. Bright eyes expecting Santa; a child on the morning of his birthday, quietly wondering what the day will hold; or an impending visit from the tooth fairy all are just better with sweet peas around.
Valentine’s Day is no exception. Sure, Mr. S. is my very favorite Valentine, but it’s fun to plan a surprise for little hearts, too.
Last year, Mr. S. spent hours helping me, then a kindergarten teacher, make “I Whaley Love You” cards for my students. He painstakingly cut out so many tiny whales, waves, and bitty hearts. That was a one-time benefit of being newly married, so this year I knew I’d be on my own and needed to simplify the process.
I searched for every corny saying I could think of (elementary school is a very safe place for cheesy people like me), before stumbling on this gem. It’s from Rifle Paper Co. I’d never heard of the company before, but it has fast become my favorite card company ever since. I love their fresh, warm-but-modern designs. Never fussy or busy, always appropriate for the occasion.
However, while I’d gladly fork over that much cash for one person, I couldn’t justify buying the four boxed sets I’d need to give one to each of my students.
Besides, I needed the card to be a little less subtle. It needed to
say scream Valentine’s Day to my students who, no doubt, would feel disappointment in anything less than in-your-face-thematic pink hearts.
I set about making a crude sketch version. I restricted my space to 1/4 of a full page in order to fit multiple valentines on each sheet of printed paper. I knew there was no hope of me re-creating the kind of awesome lettering found on the original, so I just used my own swirly cursive.
Next, I sketched a copy onto watercolor paper, traced with a Copic Multiliner (A REALLY tiny, nearly bleed-proof pen), and colored it with alcohol-based markers. Even though I loved the original, I added pink hearts in place of berries and some pink-and-red apples to add just a little more Valentine’s Day cheer.
Happily, I accidentally create a big lump on one of the layers of hive. At first, I panicked. But after a few minutes, I decided I kind of liked it. It’s a hive with character just like our own real-life “hive.”
I included three bees at the bottom, one for each member of our teaching team, and signed each of our names in the wings. Just writing their names made me thankful to teach with such amazing women.
I scanned my design (anyone else technologically challenged?), and duplicated the image 4 times per page! All done!
I hope the kids will enjoy these. No cutting-and-gluing-of-tiny-whales necessary.