handstitched hearts

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Valentine's Day really is the perfect excuse for sweet crafting and homemade goodies. I got the idea for these Valentines from my friend Liz, who had a stack in progress when we visited last week. They are so very sweet and such a beautiful opportunity for handwork with the kids. We have a stack of wet-on-wet paintings from the last couple months and this seemed the perfect way to use them. I can envision making many versions of these cards throughout the year in different shapes and color schemes reflecting the season or holiday.

I put together a tutorial for wet-on-wet painting recently. If you're interested in making these Valentines and haven't used this painting technique before, you should start there.

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Materials:

Dry wet-on-wet painting

Tapestry needle

Embroidery thread

1. Cut or tear your painting into cards. I like the rough edged look for these, so I tore ours. To tear a straight line, fold your paper along a ruler and crease it, then fold in the opposite direction and crease again. This will make it easy to tear along the line.

2. Draw a heart on the white side of one card, then draw dots along the line about every 1/4". Make sure there is a dot on each of the center angles of the heart shape. dont worry about doing this perfectly. These are handmade and are allowed to look it! :)

3. Use your tapestry needle to poke holes through the paintings on each of the dots. Make sure to pull your needle all the way through the paper each time so the holes are big enough. (Thanks for that tip, Liz!)

4. Using your first card as a guide, draw dots and poke holes in the remaining cards.

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5. This is when the children get involved! Help them thread their needles and tie a knot at the end of their thread.

6. Use a backstitch to create the heart design on each card. This type of stitch creates a continuous line rather than having gaps between each stitch. Fiona needed some guidance throughout on where to put the needle next, while Elijah was able to sew them independently. Fiona finished one card completely on her own and then chose to draw on the backs while Elijah and I finished the rest. I wouldn't expect young children to make more than one or two cards, while older kids can probably plow through many of them.

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7. This last step is optional. We cut rectangles that fit on the back and hot glued them on to cover the back side of the stitching. Elijah wrote notes and Fiona drew pictures in that area.

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All of us were so pleased with the results! Don't you love them? I love that they were truly a family effort. Fiona's painting is on the front, Elsa's is on the back. They are mostly sewn and written by Elijah with drawings by Fiona.

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I am still trying to come up with a quick little handmade gift for the kids. Last year I made soaring hearts. Any ideas for this year? Are you doing any Valentine's Day crafting? Or baking? Maybe Valentine's Day baking is the answer! Hm.