a handmade valentine

This move of ours has not been a favorite of my mother's. She has a hard time living so far away from us and she laments about not being around to see her babies grow up. It's tough. So to help, this year, I thought we'd send a little handmade valentine to cheer her (and grandpa) up.

handmade valentine / her threaded needle

When we were each newborns in the hospital, my mom measured our feet with her fingers. This way, she said, when she was sitting alone in her rocking chair old and grey, she could look at her hands and remember how tiny her babies once were. When she came to help me with my own newborns, we measured their baby feet with our fingers too. (If you're wondering, my feet were as long as her thumb. My kids' feet were both as long as my index finger. Their dad's genes?) So I wanted to have the kids make something for her to track their growth from afar. Annnnd, enter salt dough.

We used:

1 c. salt
1 c. water
2 c. flour

(salt dough is a 1:1:2 recipe, so you can adjust to make as much or as little dough as you need. I wanted to make three sets of prints {for both grandparents, and, selfishly, for myself}, so I made more dough than I actually needed, just in case. I had leftovers.)

Luke loved this part. "We cooking mama? I a holper!" (He tried to eat it. It's not very good) I took a lot of photos of him pouring and mixing and kneading and rolling and stamping (he really had a blast), but somehow they all got deleted before they made it to my computer. This was the lone survivor. Just trust that he enjoyed it, and was adorable making them.

handmade valentine / her threaded needle

We rolled the dough about 1/4" thick and used cookie cutters / a small bowl to stamp out our dough. I chose a heart shape for Elsie but Luke said "no want it mama", so he got a circle. (What he actually wanted was a triangle {it's his favorite shape, don't you have a favorite shape?}, butttt, sorry. We don't have a triangle stamp buddy).

Since Luke's feet are really too big to stamp cutely, he did a hand print, while Elsie really enjoyed wiggling her little toes into the dough. Again, lost pictures. I'm kicking myself.

We baked our dough at 175* for three hours, flipped them over, and baked another three hours.
The great part about this project is that it is two activities in one. We did the dough just after our morning temper tantrum over eating our waffles, and by mid afternoon, just as we were getting desperate for daddy to come home, we had another distraction ready to go.

handmade valentine / her threaded needle

Luke went to town painting while I did Elsie's (I knew where the paint would go if I let her try to finger paint them...and it wasn't on the dough). After they dried, I outlined Luke's hand in sharpie because it was kind of hard to see under his paint. I also wrote their names/age/date on the back, and they were ready to send.

 photo 066CA8F4-16D1-4A6C-BFA8-95A4153834CB_zpsapota6y5.jpg
handmade valentine / her threaded needle

Luke proudly presented his project to his Mimi (It's Luke's! See Luke's hand! And Elsie's foots!), and Grandma's went off into the mail. We coupled the prints with a photo valentine (because who doesn't want to see those cute faces?) and they made the perfect pair. I chose these cards from TinyPrints, and they're gorgeous. So, so gorgeous. My father in law swiped one the night they arrived to hang in his office (and so did their daddy). And I think my mother has a spot reserved for hers on the fridge.

handmade valentine / her threaded needle
 handmade valentine with tinyprints / her threaded needle
handmade valentine with tinyprints / her threaded needle

I loved helping the kids make these, and I loved sending them. I think sending valentines to grandma's (near and far!) will definitely be a tradition we'll be keeping.

p.s. the photo I used for the valentine? this one:

her threaded needle

I totally had to bribe my boy with chocolate chips to let me put those lipstick kisses on him & to sit still for the photo. When he looks at the picture now, he thinks they have owies on their faces. Whatever works, amiright?


  1. This is such a cute idea. I did foot prints for Elodie at Christmas time, but I got lazy with the baking part and hers turned yellow and smelled like bad bread. I'll follow your instructions this time because the ones I used were much different than yours. And I LOVE LOVE that picture with all the kisses. Those babes of yours are to die for.

  2. Truly a wonderful Valentine gift! Thank you Luke for tolorating your mom's bright red lipstick being kissed all over your face. Thank you for putting your whole heart into making me such a fabulous gift! Thank you little Elsie girl for posing for your picture- your darling smile chases away the sunless winter days!


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