Tag Archives: paper crafts

Flirting with the Dark Side, Or, My Funny Valentine

His name was Yoda, he was a Jedi… (am I the only one with the melody to “Copacabana” in my head?)

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A reminder that if you’re with someone, you should feel obligated to shower your significant other with love in the form of chocolates, roses, or jewelry. I’m not big on celebrating this holiday with Nacho Man, although I always remember this time of year fondly because Nacho Man proposed around this part of February. And in his true romantic form, he dragged me up a mountain that smelled of urine and was littered with broken glass to do it.

That’s right. I’ll pause while you wipe away your tears of envy, ladies.

Anyway, while Nacho Man and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (that’s right honey, this is a Get Out of Jail card), I love celebrating it with my girls. The flush of color that injects itself into our dreary midwinter weather in the form of valentines, the class parties, handing out cards to friends and neighbors–I love it all.

I especially heart making homemade valentines. Bookmarks used to be my standard go-to, until Lupe begged me to come up with something else. That’s saying something, coming from a book lover like her. So the following year, we made these gnomes, which were so stinkin’ cute that they were worth the time and effort. Lupe reported that several kids still had them on their desks months after Valentine’s Day.

(Note to parents: if you want kids to not eat candy, make the packaging sweeter than the candy.)

The problem is that the following year, I felt the need to outdo myself. If you know me, this isn’t surprising but you’ll roll your eyes anyway. We were inspired by–what else?–a book: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger. It encapsulates several of Lupe’s interests: Star Wars, paper folding, and a great story.

And Star Wars. In case you missed it the first time.

There are very simple instructions for making an Origami Yoda here. More interested in folding a C-3PO or Darth Vader? You’ll find instructions for those, too. Lupe is constantly folding these: in the car, in her room, at school when she’s bored (ahem). These things would be irresistible even if they were folded out of toilet paper. For Valentine’s Day, Lupe used colored copy paper (I think cardstock might be a little too heavy) and attached Pixy Stix candy as a lightsaber.

So whatever you do this year (and if you’re like me, it’s the weekend before and you still haven’t done anything), good luck.

And may the force be with you.



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May Day, or, The Art of Surprise

May is such a busy month for us–it’s Lupe’s birthday (it happens to fall on Mother’s Day this year!) and Nacho Man’s and my anniversary. But we’re always game to squeeze in another celebration. So we’re adding May Day to our repertoire. The European version of May Day has been celebrated for centuries, but it’s new to us. Since even our spring has been winter-like, I’m all for celebrating a holiday that embraces warmer weather.

Last year, a co-worker told me about how she and her mother used to sneak onto neighbors’ porches and drop small bouquets of flowers–the nicest kind of surprise you can find on your porch. We live in a neighborhood where “booing” is a Halloween tradition and I loved the idea of leaving a small reminder that spring is actually here. So we created paper cones from recycled picture books and sheet music and filled them with little goodies.

I’m not a crafter and with two active kids, I measure a craft’s worth in terms of time and frustration. Can a four-year-old feel as successful as a kiddo who’s practically eleven? That’s important to me. This craft scored high for time, use of readily-available materials, and ease–you can whip these up in just a few minutes. Our only upgrade? We used our Cricut machine to die-cut paper flowers, but that’s an optional extra, not a necessity.


An assortment of papers in a fairly rectangular shape–old books, scrapbook papers, the Sunday ads–whatever you have lying around

Glue stick

Hole puncher

String, yarn, or twine, cut into 12-inch lengths

Embellishments such as paper flowers (optional)


Roll your sheet of paper into a cone. Lupe did a much better job of this than I could manage. Apply glue along the inside edge of the paper, and press it to the cone.

Creating the Cone

Use the hole punch to create two holes on either side of the opening.

Lupe Demonstrates the Hole Puncher

Tie the ends of the string into each hole.

Tying the String

Optional–decorate with paper flowers or other doodads.

All Those Hours of Playing "Operation" Paid Off

Almost Finished...

Load ’em up! We filled ours with organic lollipops from Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s Kisses (Rue’s idea; I didn’t do much to try to talk her out of it), and wax paper envelopes of sweet pea seeds (Rue’s favorite flower to grow).

Definitely Finished

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